- Views & Opinions
‘Steam: The Turkish Bath’ displays early talent of Ferzan Ozpetek
Set in mid-1990s Turkey and Italy, “Steam: The Turkish Bath” is gay filmmaker Ferzan Ozpetek’s full-length feature debut. It tells the story of Francesco (the hot Alessandro Gassman), who has inherited a hamam from his itinerant Aunt Anita. Francesco travels from Rome to Istanbul with the intention of selling the Turkish bathhouse, but once there he is smitten with the people, the culture and the bath. He also finds himself attracted to Mehmet (Mehmet Günsür), the son of the family who ran the baths for Anita.
The problem is that Francesco is married to Marta (Francesca d’Aloja). She’s having an affair with Paolo (Alberto Molinari), and when she surprises Francesco with a visit in Istanbul, divorce papers in her purse, she is in for a surprise herself. For all of its sexual intrigue, “Steam” is rather unsteamy. It’s more of a love letter to Istanbul, and the vaguely foreshadowed and violent ending feels a bit rushed.
Still, it’s worth seeing, if only as an example of early work by an important gay filmmaker.
DVD special features include an Ozpetek interview, a 20-minute doc about the film, the original trailer and much more.
Jackman takes on robots in raucous ‘Real Steel’
“Real Steel,” which is set a few unspecified years in the future, finds down-on-his-luck boxer Charlie (an occasionally shirtless Hugh Jackman) reduced to the county fair circuit. There he performs with his gigantic, fighting, RockEm, SockEm-style robot Ambush. But Charlie, who owes everyone money, gets deeper in debt when Ambush is gored by a bull in the ring.
To add insult to injury, Charlie’s ex-girlfriend Caroline, the mother of his 11-year-old son Max (Dakota Goyo), has kicked the bucket, and he has to make an appearance at a custody hearing. Sensitive father figure that he is, he has no trouble handing Max over to Caroline’s sister Deborah (Hope Davis) and her loaded hubby Marvin (James Rebhorn). For a sum.
While Debra and Marvin are off globe-trotting, Charlie temporarily looks after Max. The two virtual strangers bond over a series of mishaps and mayhem. Max turns out to be a quick study, not only when it comes to training fighting bots, but also in making friends (and enemies) and influencing people in the sordid world of robot boxing. He’s also got some pretty smooth dance moves. Together, they’re almost unstoppable.
This surprise box office blockbuster is as loud and violent as anything in Michael Bay’s bag of tricks. After all, it is about boxing robots. The ending leaves plenty of room for a sequel – and with any luck it will feature a more shirtless Jackman. If you don’t mind a mild ringing in your ears, there are probably worse ways to waste a couple of hours.
Bonus material on the two-disc Blu-ray/DVD combo pack includes bloopers, deleted and extended scenes, featurettes and much more.