“Take Shelter” – 2011 Dir. Jeff Nichols

With Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain, Tova Stewart, Shea Whigham and Kathy Baker

“Is anyone seeing this?”

    “Take Shelter” seemed to follow the trend of the 2011 spectacle films like “The Tree of Life”, “Melancholia”, and Abel Ferrera’s “444: Last Day on Earth”. I missed this movie in theaters and I was really excited to rent this movie, considering it currently trends with a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes and much critical appraise for Michael Shannon.


    I did not dig this movie. While the premise of this film, Curtis (Shannon) having premonitions of an apocalypse, and we can’t decide weather (get the pun?) or not they are actual foreshadowings, or if it is a hereditary mental illness (his mother, played briefly by Kathy Baker, is held up in an assisted living place because she’s mentally ill).

    The first act of this film builds really nicely, and Curtis is a very complex character. He has a loving and beautiful wife, played by the remarkable Jessica Chastian, and an adorable as well as deaf daughter. Curtis takes out a loan, borrows construction equipment from his work to construct a very big storm shelter in his back yard. The dreams that Curtis has are very frightening, but by the time unwinds, and then spins to a “gotcha” ending, I could have cared less about Curtis, or his family or especially the movie.

    Michael Shannon was good in the movie, but he wasn’t anything remarkable, and wasn’t anything that you wouldn’t have expected him to be. He essentially plays the same character he plays in “Revolutionary Road” and “My Son, My Son What Have Ye Done?”. I don’t mean to take away from Shannon’s performance, it was very good, but a lot of bloggers and Oscar Sayers keep sighting his performance as the biggest Oscar snub since (insert name here).


    It’s really not. Albert Brooks not getting nominated for “Drive” is the biggest Oscar snub since (insert name here).

    After the film closes with its “gotcha” ending, it just didn’t make much sense to me, not that I didn’t understand the ending of the movie, it’s obvious, but the events and dreams Curtis’ had had leading up the ending that just don’t make a lot of sense, it really doesn’t add up.

    “Take Shelter” is a very good effort by writer/director Jeff Nichols, but it comes up very short, and it isn’t daring, or anything particularly special, it’s just rather bland.

Rating: 6/10

    

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“The Tree of Life” – 2011. Dir. Terrence Malick

With Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain, Hunter McCracken, Tye Sheridan, Fiona Shaw and Sean Penn

“Guide us. To the end of time.”

    I was fortunate enough to see Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” today. Anything I could try and articulate about the film, would fail it in every way possible. I don’t know whether or not I’ll ever muster up the courage to write a review, or even my thoughts/interpretation of the film, but this is for sure: “The Tree of Life” is not only “the greatest movie ever made”, but – it is the most profound thing that I have ever seen.