Tuesday 22 Jul

Escape from Tomorrow

With Escape from Tomorrow, one fears the story behind the movie would loom larger than the movie itself. Luckily, that is not the case. After all, it opens with a decapitation on Disney World’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster.
05/06/2014 | Comments 0


William Friedkin spends a lot of time in his 2013 memoir discussing why Sorcerer didn't click with critics and audiences even though he believes it to be better than his previous film, The Exorcist. Now that Warner Home Video has reissued Sorcerer on Blu-ray, we can see what Friedkin's fuss is all about.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Broadchurch: The Complete First Season

Welcome to the coastal resort of Broadchurch, population … oh, who can keep track, what will all the corpses? Yes, Broadchurch is yet another British television procedural involving the search for a murderer in a quaint little town, just like the limited series The Fall and Top of the Lake.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Essentially part five in the ridiculously profitable horror franchise, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones continues the found-footage conceit of the other films. The difference is instead of the scares taking place in rich white suburbia, they do so in a junky apartment complex on a largely Latino side of Oxnard, Calif.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Holy Ghost People

Holy Ghost People examines two sisters whose bond is torn — but by what? After her sibling has been missing for more than a year, Charlotte (Emma Greenwell, TV's Shameless) intends to find out.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Movies · Drama · Take Shelter

Take Shelter

Your forecast for ‘Take Shelter’: sustained tension with a 100 percent chance of palpable unease. Armpit precipitation possible.

Rod Lott November 2nd, 2011

Rain the color and viscosity of fluids found in barrels at Jiffy Lube falls from the sky in the opening moments of “Take Shelter,” serving as a dark harbinger of things to come. Right out of the gate, this act of weird weather alerts the audience that something bad is going to happen, and the calm before the storm will be anything but serene.

The indie drama is scheduled to open Friday at AMC Quail Springs Mall 24. Strangely, Curtis (Michael Shannon, TV’s “Boardwalk Empire”), a blue-collar worker in a small town in Ohio, is the only one who notices how different the drops are. That’s because it’s just a dream. Trouble is, his dreams have seeped over into his waking moments, with troubling nightmares ballooning into apocalyptic visions of a storm so strong, “tempest” is a better word for it: one gray cloud cast in a solid shade of sinister, with multiple funnels dropping out of it like spiders from webs newly plucked.

On the job or at home, Curtis witnesses birds swooping in mesmerizing but unnatural patterns, and even falling from the sky as if they were balls of hail, complete with sickening thud. And so, like “Field of Dreams” without the predetermined tear-jerking end, he literally risks house and home to finance one mother of a tornado shelter: If he builds it, it will come. And only his family will be safe.

As he tells his doctor, “It’s not a dream, it’s a feeling.”

Any lifelong Oklahoman can empathize, having known the torturous, nerve-wracked waiting game that exists when our television meteorologists switch into doomsday mode, and we huddle with loved ones in that middle closet, not knowing whether the roof over our heads will be there 20 minutes later. If only you can make it that long without incident, everything will be fine.

That’s what “Take Shelter” feels like, but for two hours. In his sophomore effort, writer/director Jeff Nichols (“Shotgun Stories”) turns “Twister” into a thinking man’s thriller. It’s a slow burn, but a profoundly tense one, leaving the audience to wonder if Curtis is judiciously cautious or just crazy.

Luckily, no one does potentially insane better than Shannon, turning in another superb performance to stand aside his breakout turns in “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” and “Revolutionary Road,” for which he deservedly won an Oscar nomination. Matching his excellence as his fragile wife is Jessica Chastain, capping an already great year of work in “The Debt,” “The Help” and “The Tree of Life.”

Naturally, the rural Ohio sky is a supporting cast member in itself, with Nichols depicting the weather as both beauty and beast. Only one makes it to the final shot.

Read Rod Lott's exclusive interview with Michael Shannon at his Rod & Reel film blog!

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