Somebody messed with the wrong mother when they murdered her daughter Angela Hayes (Kathryn Newton). Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) will stop at nothing to make sure that her child's killer is caught and after several months of still no arrests, she decides to take drastic action. She forks out for three enormous billboards to go up in her Missouri town with a message to the highly respected Police Sheriff Bill Willoughby (Woody Harrelson). An embarrassed Willoughby visits her to encourage her to take the billboards down, but she's standing firm and will certainly not be intimidated by police involvement - or, indeed, anyone who dares complain about them. She assaults her dentist with his own drill after discovering that he made a complaint and attacks two local high school kids who try to mock her. Even the local vicar is trying to appeal to her sanity at this point, but when she torches the local police station, it becomes clear that she's quickly becoming way out of control.
We won't know who'll walk away with the top prizes on offer at this year's Screen Actors Guild until Sunday (Jan 27), but there are a few people who might know already as the deadline for the final ballots for this years awards ceremony is today.
At noon (PT) the members of SAG will have their final say in who wins what at the 19th annual awards show at the weekend and it really is anyone's race to take home the top prizes (except for Best Actor, because Daniel Day-Lewis does not lose these awards).
Feel-good Brit-hit The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is the surprise entrant to the Best Picture Category, facing stiff competition from Lincoln, Argo, Les Miserables and Silver Linings Playbook. Meanwhile, Day-Lewis is against Denzel Washington (Flight), Hugh Jackman (Les Mis), Bradley Cooper (SLP) and Oscar-snub John Hawkes (The Sessions), whilst the Actress section looks a little more familiar, with Jessica Chastin (Zero Dark Thirty), Helen Mirren (Hitchcock), Jennifer Lawrence (SLP), Marion Cotillard (Rust and Bone) and Naomi Watts (The Impossible) are battling it out for the top acting prize.
Continue reading: Final Ballots For Screen Actors Guild Awards In Today
Helen Hunt and John Hawkes star in this delicately-handled story of Mark O’Brien (Hawkes) in an iron lung, who – at the age of 38 - decides that he wishes to lose his virginity. Help comes in the form of a sex surrogate (played by Hunt), who starts a series of eight sessions, designed to lead to sex and to Mark losing his virginity. The Sessions is based on a true story and as such, the narrative takes turns that you would not necessarily expect from a scripted drama. The movie is all the richer for it and is all the richer for the stellar performances put in by Hunt, Hawkes and co-star William H Macy.
Many have wondered why The Sessions didn’t feature more in this year’s Oscars list. As it is, Helen Hunt has been nominated for the Actress in a Supporting Role award – a testament to the quality of the acting, for a movie with such unusual subject matter. Our reviewer was impressed by the handling of The Sessions, by breakthrough director Ben Lewin: “Lewin refuses to shy away from any aspect of this story, confronting everything in honest, sometimes uncomfortable ways that are never remotely sentimentalized. It would be easy to drift into syrupy schmaltz with this kind of material, but the script maintains a bracingly sharp wit, and the actors cleverly underplay every scene.” The remarkable thing it seems, is that viewers can identify with all of the characters onscreen, despite the unusual situation in which they are found.
The Sessions is released in UK cinemas today (January 18, 2012).
Based on the autobiographical writings of journalist and poet Mark O'Brien, The Sessions - starring Helen Hunt and John Hawkes - hits cinemas in the UK today (January 18, 2013) - on the back of universal acclaim from critics. Boasting a score of 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, Ben Lewin's drama is ahead of Django Unchained, Lincoln, Life of Pi, Les Miserables and pretty much every other Oscar contender bar Argo (96%) - so why didn't it feature prominently when the nominations were announced this month?
Its lead star Helen Hunt is up for Best Supporting Actress, though there was nothing for the movie itself, or for Hawkes. It was a frontrunner for Best Picture following the film festivals in 2012, though appeared to fall off the radar. Perhaps it's the subject matter that had the Academy looking elsewhere? The Sessions - originally titled The Surrogate - tells the story of a man confined to an iron lung who is determined to lose his virginity, despite being 38 years-old. With the help of his therapists and the guidance of his priest, he sets out to make his dream a reality. Writing in the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert said, "This film rebukes and corrects countless brainless and cheap sex scenes in other movies. It's a reminder that we must be kind to one another." Alex Zane of The Sun said, "It's a brave performance from Hunt, who spends much of the film entirely naked. Both her and Hawkes are brilliant in a movie that is a massively uplifting experience," while CNN.com said, "A very different kind of love story, breaking taboos lightly, with sensitivity and humor." Our very own Rich Cline gave the movie 4 stars, writing, "The most remarkable thing about the film is that we can identify with everyone on screen."
The lack of Oscar recognition will be a bitter blow to Ben Lewin and his team, made no less palatable by the fact Helen Hunt has almost no chance of winning Best Supporting Actress. Anne Hathaway - at odds of 1/25 - will turn up and take the gong come February 26, 2013.
John Hawkes Palm Springs, California, United States Variety to honor David O. Russell and "10 Directors to Watch" at the 2013 Palm Springs International Film Festival held at Parker Palm Springs Sunday 6th January 2013
John Hawkes and Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala Palm Springs, California, United States 24th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala - Red Carpet Saturday 5th January 2013
The Golden Globes are one of the biggest film and television awards in the world. Winning an award from them will almost always top the C.V.s of anyone involved in film. 2012 has been one of the best years in film for a long time, with many films being deemed 'instant classics'. Although, of course, that's said every year, with just a quick glance at the calibre of performances, narrative and cinematography this year it's easy to see why it's being said.
2012's nominations were revealed today with few surprises. The favourites during speculation included Argo, Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty and The Master, and they haven't failed to impress in the Globes' nominations. Lincoln's set to be a big winner with seven nominations, while Argo has 5 nominations, Zero Dark Thirty has 4 and The Master has 3. All four, except The Master, are also in the running for Best Motion Picture, competing alongside Ang Lee's Life of Pi and Quentin Tarantino's re-envisioning of a slave narrative, Django Unchained.
Tarantino's film received 5 nominations, which included two in the category for Best Supporting Performance by an Actor, for Christoph Waltz and Leonardo Dicaprio, which proves to us that it's more than worth the watch. Best Director nominations mirrors the Best Motion Picture, and include Ben Affleck (Argo), Stephen Spielberg (Lincoln), Ang Lee (Life of Pi), Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) and Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained), which is no surprise really.
Continue reading: The Golden Globes Nominations, No Surprises For A Great Year Of Film
The Sessions, an indie-drama about a paralyzed poet who hires a sex surrogate to lose his virginity, is creating quite a buzz as awards' season approaches. The movie, directed by Ben Lewin and starring Helen Hunt and John Hawkes, hits theaters in the U.S. this weekend and has received rave reviews.
The movie holds a quite stunning 97% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 53 reviews from some of the most revered critics in the business. Writing in the New York Times, Stephen Holden said, "The Sessions is a pleasant shock: a touching, profoundly sex-positive film that equates sex with intimacy, tenderness and emotional connection instead of performance, competition and conquest." Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times praised the movie for tackling its subject matter, writing, "In a country that embraces cinematic violence with such ease but blushingly prefers to keep sex in the shadows or under the sheets, the grown-up approach of "The Sessions" is rare." Bookmakers don't fancy the movie's chances to land Best Picture at the Oscar, though we see the current 14/1 odds as a real steal. As with 'The Artist' last year, word-of-mouth can really enhance a movie's chances heading into the Golden Globes and the Oscars, and the Academy has favoured indie movies in recent years. If you're of the opinion that 'Best Picture' is a bridge-too-far for 'The Sessions', you could do worse than backing Hawkes for Best Actor. He's currently the second favourite (behind Daniel Day Lewis) for the gong, and recently discussed his chances with Just Press Play.com , saying, ".who knows what will happen? The buzz, the talk, in a way makes me nervous to think about it, the Oscar evening, and the events leading up to it. But, it brings more people to the movie and that makes me really happy."
So, why not eschew the latest Paranormal Activity movie this weekend and go see The Sessions?
Mark O'Brien suffers from a particularly virile form of polio; a debilitating disease that has caused him to become paralysed and rely on the help of an iron lung in order to breathe. At aged 38, he becomes resolute in a quest to lose his virginity and his understanding therapist suggests a sex surrogate to help him achieve this. A God-fearing man, Mark goes to his priest for guidance, unsure of how the decision could affect him in the eyes of his God. Surprisingly, the Father Brendan agrees that it could be a positive thing in Mark's life and urges him to go for it. He meets up with Cheryl with the help of his therapist and is happy to discover that she is beautiful and kind as well as highly professional and helpful in aiding Mark to achieve what he doubtlessly wouldn't have been able to achieve without her.
'The Sessions' is based on a remarkable true story of an American journalist and poet whose real story has been chronicled in his 1990 The Sun article 'On Seeing a Sex Surrogate' and his book 'How I Became a Human Being: A Disabled Man's Quest for Independence' as well as an Oscar winning short documentary called 'Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O'Brien' . This movie has been directed and written by Ben Lewin ('Lucky Break', 'The Favour, the Watch and the Very Big Fish', 'Georgia') and is set to be released on January 18th 2013 in the UK.
Fringe director Ben Lewis' newest work, The Sessions has sparked a buzz among film crowds. Not only does it feature some of the top names in Hollywood - Helen Hunt and John Hawkes - but the premise is more than enough to spark moviegoers' interest. The film centers around the relationship between writer and polio survivor Mark O'Brien (John Hawkes) and his sex therapist, played by Helen Hunt. As the storyline unfolds, the relationship between therapist and patient develops into more than a strictly professional affair.
The film is based on a real-life story and deals with some heavy subjects like long-term illness, relationships and intimacy. Somewhat surprisingly, though, The Sessions is marketed as a comedy and Lewis himself says that he aimed to bring humour to something that could have turned into a very depressing story.
"There are always those early moments where the audience kind of gets the cue, "OK you have permission to laugh," Lewis has said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. His own experience with polio and paralysis is bound to bring some realism to the plot, as well as hopefully a few laughs in the right places. Whether or not he succeeded still remains to be seen, but the film has been generating early Oscar buzz. This seems like a very different process from Lewis' previous works, not least of all in terms of the marketing, which has been much heavier for The Sessions, than any of the director's other films. It looks like this may well be the flick which turns Lewis from a fringe filmmaker into a mainstream success.
It's only right that a film about a dog named Sparky being brought back to life by his school-boy owner, firstly, be the creation of king of Halloween Tim Burton, and secondly that it be the first spark of hopefully many to set the BFI Film festival ablaze in filmic glory. Tim Burton's 'Frankenweenie' opened the festival in London today (Oct 10th 2012), not far from where the film was created in the east of the city.
The festival has been running for over fifty years and is a celebration of the world's most creative, inspiring and enjoyable films. Every year the festival is divided into categories, that differ year on year. For 2012 the assemblages are “Love, Laugh, Cult, Thrill and Debate.”
The festival will close with a new version of Charles Dickens' 'Great Expectations', adapted by Mike Newells. There will be a whole host of other premières including 'Hyde Park on Hudson' (a comedy about Franklin D. Roosevelt, starring Bill Murray), Ben Affleck's thriller 'Argo' and 'The Sessions' starring Helen Hunt and John Hawkes.
Continue reading: Frankenweenie Brings The BFI Film Festival 2012 To Life
'Lincoln' will show the last four months of President Abraham Lincoln's life as he campaigned for freedom before he was tragically assassinated in 1865. It will reveal in detail the extent of his conflict with various members of the cabinet over his decision to abolish the slave trade towards the end of the American Civil War. His very close success in the House of Representatives over the proposition of the Thirteenth Amendment which outlawed slavery is portrayed as one of the most crucial steps in his work against the trade. The last months of his life also saw him fail to negotiate an end to the War and saw the Union's ultimate victory.
This drama-fuelled biopic is the important story of one of the most influential and inspiring presidents of the United States that have ever been in office. It has been based on some of the biography 'Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln' by Doris Kearns Goodwin with an adapted screenplay by Oscar nominee Tony Kushner ('Munich') and the directing genius of the legendary Steven Spielberg ('Jaws', 'E.T.', 'Jurassic Park', 'Schindler's List', 'War of the Worlds') who wanted to show Lincoln 'at work' and not just 'posing for the history books'. Spielberg has described the former president as 'arguably the greatest working President in American history'. The movie is set for release in the UK on January 25th 2013.
Starring: Daniel Day Lewis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tommy Lee Jones , Michael Stuhlbarg, Jackie Earle Haley, Jared Harris, Lee Pace, Sally Field, James Spader, Julie White, John Hawkes, David Strathairn, Bruce McGill, Hal Holbrook and Adam Driver.
After going missing for two years, Martha (Olsen) phones her sister Lucy (Paulson) for help, then goes to stay with Lucy and her husband Ted (Dancy) in a lakeside house. Martha says she's been living with a boyfriend, but actually she was in a cult-like commune with her friend Zoe (Krause), working a farm under the leadership of the charismatic Patrick (Hawkes). Renamed Marcy May, she was coaxed into sharing everything there, including her body, and now she's not quite sure what's real and what isn't. And also whether she actually got away.
Continue reading: Martha Marcy May Marlene Review
In Minneapolis, Mitch (Damon) is horrified when his wife (Paltrow) comes home from a business trip to China, collapses with the flu and dies. But she's only the first of a series of similar cases around the world, and soon officials from the Centers for Disease Control (Winslet, Fishburne and Ehle) and the World Health Organisation (Cotillard) are on the case, trying to manage emerging clusters while tracing the disease back to its source. Meanwhile, a blog hack (Law) is pestering a San Francisco scientist (Gould) for a cure.
Continue reading: Contagion Review
When Beth Emhoff returns home after visiting an opening ceremony for a new factory, she complains of jet lag and her husband, Thomas Emhoff, thinks nothing of it. He becomes concerned when she falls ill, even more so when she has a seizure in front of him and has to be rushed to hospital. It comes as a shock to Thomas when she dies; her cause of death: a highly contagious and rapidly mutating bird flu virus that spreads via human contact. The virus is spreading so fast there is no vaccine or cure for it.
Continue: Contagion Trailer
After her drug-cooking dad jumps bail, 17-year-old Ree (Lawrence) is in an impossible situation: she's desperate to get out of town, but the bondsman (Taylor) is seizing her house, and she's has to take care of her nearly catatonic mother (Richards) and younger siblings (Stone and Thompson) who aren't old enough to hunt their own food. So she decides to find her father, calling on her uncle (Hawkes) for help. But her dad's disappearance is tied up in local customs, and by digging around she stirs a hornet's nest.
Continue reading: Winter's Bone Review
An idea man, you see.
Continue reading: The Amateurs Review
Ridley Scott has a good thing going here, tossing these two Hollywood bigshots into the ring and letting them play cops and robbers while he slathers on the period detail with a trowel. There's some serious Superfly outfits (including a godawful $50,000 chinchilla coat that plays a surprisingly key part in a plot twist), a generous helping of soul music, enough fantastic character actors to choke a horse (Idris Elba, Jon Polito, Kevin Corrigan, an incredibly sleazy Josh Brolin, and so on), the specter of Vietnam playing on every television in sight, and the odd enjoyment one gets from watching cops in the pre-militarized, pre-SWAT days take down an apartment with just revolvers, the occasional shotgun, and a sledgehammer to whack down the door. Scott's smart enough to let the story cohere organically and without rush, keeping his main contenders apart for as long as could possibly be borne, making them fully developed characters in their own right and not just developed in opposition to the other. But there's something in this broad and expansive tale that can't quite come together, and it seems to start in Denzel's eyes.
Continue reading: American Gangster Review
Wristcutters: A Love Story takes place in a barren landscape littered with the detritus of consumer culture, where the unsmiling populace eat grayish junk food, hang around dingy bars and dilapidated apartments, and listen to audio cassettes of Joy Division and Gram Parsons. Welcome to Purgatory, a drab and monotonous dead zone, appearing like a cross between the Mojave Desert and Trenton, New Jersey. This is the depository of all the unhappy folk who have offed themselves in life and are now in limbo, not quite dead but certainly no longer among the living. Dukic tells the tale in a literally deadpan style road movie, resembling a George Romeo version of The Wizard of Oz, filtered through a sardonic sensibility; a quieter, gentler version of the Dylan song "Ain't Talkin'" or Cormac McCarthy's The Road.
Continue reading: Wristcutters: A Love Story Review
All that's needed is a guy getting hit in the nuts and a food fight to have the first film solely based on cinematic clichés. I can't wait to see the deleted scenes when it comes out on DVD.
Continue reading: Hardball Review
Somewhere inside "The Perfect Storm" there's a near-perfect movie drowning under gale-force swells of romanticized sea-faring melodrama.
Here's a stomach-in-knots true story about the rugged crew a swordfishing boat caught in the biggest sea storm in modern history -- a terrifying human saga with unsurpassed, seat-gripping special effects, strong performances from a stellar cast and level of realism so potent you can almost smell the 200-lb. fish and the sweat of the men who scrape together a living endangering their lives to net them at sea.
Yet the movie's potential got gutted in post-production, where director Wolfgang Petersen ("Outbreak," "Air Force One") slathered it in sentimentality weepy voice-overs, choppy editing and an incessant, intrusive score (by "Titanic's" James Horner) that saturates every single frame of the film with pounding tympani and crashing cymbals.
Continue reading: The Perfect Storm Review
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