Pictures 1 & 2: Christian and I at the “mansion.” It’s always a blast acting with Christian! Pictures 3 & 4: Frank… https://t.co/VCnNHb036B
It's been four years since Mel Gibson played a lead role in a movie, and with all of the tabloid headlines in the meantime it's been easy to forget how magnetic he is on screen. He's looking rather grizzled in this action thriller from French filmmaker Jean-Francois Richet (Mesrine), but his piercing presence turns what's essentially a cheesy exploitation film into something remarkably gripping.
He plays an ex-con tattoo artist named Link, who lives out in California's Mojave Desert, next door to his 12-step sponsor Kirby (William H. Macy). His home may be a trashy trailer, but he has cleaned up his life. Although his quiet reverie is disturbed by thoughts of his 17-year-old daughter Lydia (Erin Moriarty), who has been missing for four years. So he's stunned when she calls him out of the blue for help. Kicking into action, he rescues her and immediately discounts her stories that the ruthless henchmen of her late gangster boyfriend Jonah (Diego Luna) are after her. It doesn't take long for Link to realise that Lydia isn't exaggerating, and as they go on the run, he turns to old prison friends (including Michael Parks, Dale Dickey and Miguel Sandoval) for help. Even though he doesn't really trust anyone.
Director Richet doesn't seem very interested in the father-daughter drama at the centre of this film, even though it's far more involving than the madcap action carnage. Gibson and Moriarty do what they can to create some chemistry amid the mayhem, but they only have a few scenes in which they can push their characters a bit further. And frankly after the set-up, the audience needs that to put the violence in context. This is mainly due to the fact that the brutal pursuit is fairly predictable, and the side characters, as well played as they are, are little more than stereotypes.
Continue reading: Blood Father Review
John Link hasn't been the best father, up until recently he's constantly been on the wrong side of the law and usually at the bottom end of a bottle too. Having been in prison, John and his daughter have become estranged, Lydia is actually missing and has been for years. John's only real connection to his daughter is the missing poster he keeps pinned up in his RV.
In recovery and now working a legal job as a tattoo artist, John admits that there's not much he wouldn't do to right the wrongs of his past - including losing contact with his daughter but also says there's very little he can do. When he receives a phone call from Lydia claiming that she's in serious danger, John is glad to hear his daughters voice but also worried about her safety.
As the father and daughter return to his home, John raids Lydia's possessions looking for answers and what he finds leads him to believe that she's in real danger. Lydia informs her dad that she's been living with a cartel leader and that, after accidentally shooting him, his crew is now out for vengeance. John must turn to past associates in order to formulate a plan to protect his troubled daughter.
One of the most extraordinary films of the year, this drama cleverly weaves in events from the news headlines to tell a raw, deeply involving story that's unnervingly personal. Irish director Lenny Abrahamson and writer Emma Donoghue bring these events to life with uncanny skill, using a young child's perspective to give it an extra-strong kick. And Brie Larson's central performance is so powerful that she's become the one to beat on Oscar night.
She plays Joy, a young woman who was abducted at 17 by a man she only knows as Old Nick (Sean Bridgers). The story opens as her son Jack (Jacob Tremblay) celebrates his fifth birthday in the single room where he was born and has spent his entire life. There isn't even a window to look out of so, to help him cope, Joy explains that there is no life outside the room, and everything they see on television is fake. She also gets Jack to hide whenever Nick visits, so they can't develop any kind of relationship. But as he grows up, Jack's curiosity demands more answers, and Joy finally decides to tell him the truth in the hope that he can help them escape.
Its halfway into the film when Jack's world is suddenly opened up around him in a rescue sequence that's exhilarating, terrifying and literally breathtaking. And from here, the film gets even more punchy, as Joy and Jack struggle to adapt to life in what seems like an alien landscape. Joy's parents (the great Joan Allen and William H. Macy) have split up, and her mother has a new partner (Tom McCamus), and their reunion is watched closely by the media, police and psychologists. All of this is seen through Jack's curious, observant eyes. Everyone is worried about him, but he perceptively notices that his mother is having even more trouble coping than he is.
Continue reading: Room Review
When Jiro Horikoshi was a young boy, all he ever dreamed about was flying planes - at least he did until one night he came across Italian plane designer Caproni in one of his dreams, who subsequently told him that his poor vision means he'll never be a pilot. Jiro instead resolves to take up aeronautical engineering and design aircrafts himself . While at university, he meets a young woman named Naoko who he helps off a train during the Great Kanto Earthquake and the pair become close. His life begins to spiral, however, with his work projects becoming few and far between and Naoko's health deteriorating. But will Jiro finally realise his dream and build an aircraft of pure beauty? Or will his dream come crashing to the ground?
Continue: The Wind Rises Trailer
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).
By taking a sensitive, honest approach to this true story, breakthrough filmmaker Lewin both avoids sentimentality and keeps the focus on the inner lives of the central characters. He also somehow manages to make a movie about a sexual surrogate strongly involving: we are never even remotely tempted to giggle.
This is the story of Mark O'Brien (Hawkes), a journalist from Berkeley, California, who lives in an iron lung that he can only leave for a few hours a week. Paralysed from the neck down by polio as a young boy, Mark decides at age 38 that he wants to lose his virginity. Consumed by Catholic guilt about this desire, he consults his local priest (Macy), who says he deserves a pass on this one. So his no-nonsense assistant Vera (Bloodgood) finds him a surrogate in Cheryl (Hunt), who starts eight sessions that are designed to lead to sex. And as she gets to know Mark, Cheryl begins to let her guard down.
Lewin refuses to shy away from any aspect of this story, confronting everything in honest, sometimes uncomfortable ways that are never remotely sentimentalised. It would be easy to drift into syruppy schmaltz with this kind of material, but the script maintains a bracingly sharp wit, and the actors cleverly underplay every scene. This adds to the realism and helps us understand all of the people on-screen. Hawkes and Hunt are both transparent and revelatory, each in a difficult role that could have been much showier, but is stronger due to their restraint. Macy and Bloodgood are terrific as the sardonic supporting characters. And Marks (as another assistant) and Arkin (as Cheryl's understanding husband) add terrific layers to their much smaller roles.
Continue reading: The Sessions Review
We’re entering something of a pre-Christmas lull in the land of the blockbuster movie but there is still plenty of activity in the land of cinema this weekend… and not all of it is paranormal.
The film that everyone is talking about this week is The Sessions. The movie – starring Helen Hunt, John Hawkes and William H Macy - debuted at the Sundance Festival earlier this year and wowed the critics with its “profoundly sex-positive” story. The Sessions tells the tale of a man, paralysed by polio, who seeks the help of a priest and eventually a sex therapist, to help him lose his virginity. The performances are touching, the script (based on the writings of California-based journalist Mark O’Brien) is tender and funny. If critical opinion is anything to go by, The Sessions should be heading towards the top of the box office chart.
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.
Mickey Haller might not be one of the top lawyers in LA but the service he provides for his clients is an effective one. Generally Mickey defends bike gangs, prostitutes and drug dealers but when he learns of a case that might just give him a huge break, it's something he can't turn down.
Continue: The Lincoln Lawyer Trailer
You won't find any sort of rabblerousing or sense of time in Emilio Estevez's Bobby, his account of the people that were in attendance when Robert F. Kennedy was shot and killed in Los Angeles' Ambassador Hotel. Estevez tosses together close to two dozen major characters and storylines along with footage of RFK campaigning against racism, America's poverty, and unlawful McCarthy tactics. The stories run the gamut from a young couple (Elijah Wood and Lindsay Lohan) getting hitched to keep the groom out of the war to an alcoholic diva (Demi Moore) and her forgotten husband (Estevez himself) to a philandering hotel manager (William H. Macy) who must keep his affair with a switchboard operator (Heather Graham) from his wife (Sharon Stone) and from an infuriated ex-employee (Christian Slater). There's also a pack of poll campaigners (Nick Cannon, Joshua Jackson, Shia Labeouf, and Brian Geraghty) who must deal with an acid freak out facilitated by a hippie (Ashton Kutcher), a pushy Czech journalist (Svetlana Metkina), and a flirty waitress at the hotel restaurant (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Sounds like the makings of an ensemble comedy, no?
Continue reading: Bobby Review
Turns out Doogal (Daniel Tay) is actually a dog. His best friend is Florence (Kylie Minogue), as well as a cow (Whoopi Goldberg), a train (Chevy Chase), and a flatulent moose (Kevin Smith). Their adventure, and you'll need to hang in there for this, involves magic diamonds that can freeze the sun. There's of course a bad guy with a plan to do just that: He's a kind of alien with a spring for the lower half of his body (voiced by an audibly bored Jon Stewart). Their adventure to stop her takes them across the countryside and, er, into, like, a magic land, or, something, I think.
Continue reading: Doogal Review
Why? Well, besides star Aaron Eckhart's flawlessly sumptuous performance as Naylor, I'll just quote a line from Naylor himself: "The beauty of argument is that if you argue correctly, you're never wrong." In the end, Nick Naylor is not just right; he's unquestionably the most passionate, most seductive man on the screen, and everyone else just looks limp and dull beside him.
Continue reading: Thank You For Smoking Review
David Mamet's latest project is far from conventional fare, and ultimately that works in his favor. From the opening scene, where two soldiers pursue each other through a jungle, Mamet keeps us guessing. What kind of movie are we watching? Within about 10 minutes, the bones of the story are made clear: the president's daughter (Kristen Bell) has been kidnapped from her dorm room, and the Secret Service pulls out all the stops to get her back. That includes recruiting special operations soldier Robert Scott (Val Kilmer), an uncannily capable military man who's as intuitive with people and motives as he is skilled with weapons.
Continue reading: Spartan Review
A brilliantly observant, darkly humorous and immaculately acted movie about an average suburban father in the throes of a midlife crisis, "Panic" bears an vague, off-kilter resemblance to "American Beauty" in style and subject.
Its central character is a meek and neurotic man in his 40s (William H. Macy) whose growing fixation with a sexually conflicted nymph (Neve Campbell) half his age is turning his life upside-down. The two films share a similar dysfunctional domesticity as well, and a crisp but sparse visual elegance with just a pinch of excess color.
But Alex (Macy), the sympathetic anti-hero of "Panic," has a much bigger secret than his newfound temptation for a younger woman. Alex is a hit man -- and he's just not sure he's comfortable in that line of work anymore.
Continue reading: Panic Review
"Cellular" has all the earmarks of a genuinely smart thriller rewritten by a studio-lapdog script doctor who was told it didn't have enough car chases and comic relief.
As originally conceived by Larry Cohen ("Phone Booth"), the film makes cunning use of the titular technology in its plot that follows an aimless beach dude (utterly bland buff-boy Chris Evans) whose cell phone is on the receiving end of a desperate call for help from a kidnapped woman (Kim Basinger). By tap-tap-tapping together the wires of a smashed old rotary phone, she's managed to dial his number at random from the attic where she's being held.
Disbelieving at first, Evans ("Not Another Teen Movie") is soon robbing a cell phone store for a charger (his battery is low) and stealing cars to drive like Andretti through downtown Los Angeles, trying to beat the bad guys to Basinger's son and husband (it's him they're really after) so he can save the day.
Continue reading: Cellular Review
In 1993, the first "Jurassic Park" took Hollywood's first giant step into the world of computer generated special effects, rendering from scratch huge life-like dinosaurs that genuinely interacted with the humans they chased and chowed on. There were a few tell-tale signs of CGI style that savvy audiences now recognize (soft-focusy skin on some critters, for example). But there wasn't a movie-goer on Earth who wasn't agog at how real those dinos looked.
CGI effects have evolved exponentially in the last eight years and in "Jurassic Park III" the movie's biggest stars are so seamless blended and thoroughly convincing that the very concept of these ancient beasts being a special effect barely even crosses your mind. It only occurred to me once, for about 10 seconds, during a fight between a Tyrannosaurus Rex and this movie's even bigger, meaner baddie called Spinosaurus. Half way through the furious dust-up, it hit me: "Holy cow, these things aren't real!"
I might not even have thought about the effects at all except for being drawn to the extreme deliberateness of the movie's big-budget post-production by the over-amped, over-bearing, Dolby'd-to-death sound effects, apparently designed to shatter eardrums.
Continue reading: Jurassic Park III Review
Pictures 1 & 2: Christian and I at the “mansion.” It’s always a blast acting with Christian! Pictures 3 & 4: Frank… https://t.co/VCnNHb036B
Parting is such sweet sorrow. https://t.co/2cQ7kHXDJc
Picture 1: This is more the face of a director than an actor. Pictures 2 & 3: It sure was fun directing Andy Buckle… https://t.co/Ek66khxitI
Picture 1: Luis and I look after each other’s personal hygiene. Picture 2: Here we are discussing the deeper aspect… https://t.co/dgheKpelvw
Two masterminds at work in last night’s episode of #Shameless https://t.co/QgCFx2wYkl
Did you check out last night’s episode? Christian is scared. I’m just pretending. #Shameless https://t.co/IpNlXqELqd
Picture 1: These are the geniuses who ACTUALLY make the sausage. Picture 2: My final scene with Emmy. Picture 3: I… https://t.co/dcBEvJYlxw
The first photo here is me and Emmy in the bar. I always got a little extra charge when I got to do a scene with he… https://t.co/MdoDmYbt5z
Hello all you #Shameless people. Check this out! Two behind the scenes photos. The first one is us checking the scr… https://t.co/mNkrC2Ow0J
I am an inebriate from the future. Watch #Shameless this Sunday! #OnlyOnShowtime https://t.co/R4524838wB
The LACHSA orchestra and concert choir at their gala. Magnificent musicianship. What a school! https://t.co/iZPPOzzael
Wait till you see Luis Guzman on this week’s episode of #Shameless. We did Boogie Nights together. Lordy, he’s funn… https://t.co/dJDlFeskoC
What can be better than season 10? Always been one of my favorite numbers. I’m fifth from the left. #Shameless https://t.co/L0W917PBlB
Check out Katey Sagal on #Shameless this Sunday at 9pm. Lordy, we had fun! #OnlyOnShowtime https://t.co/6lSASxhCcu
We’re baaaaaaaack. #Shameless returns this Sunday. Don’t miss it at 9pm #OnlyOnShowtime https://t.co/Yeme3UnYgO
Hey. I just visited the Twitter office and did a bunch of tweets. Check it out @SHO_Shameless
Some behind-the-scenes takes with Walt. Love that little guy’s enthusiasm... but his voice? Not so much.… https://t.co/5zMLHRJiqQ
They’ve arrived. Find out what they want on 1.6.19. #TheEncounter #partner https://t.co/2ByB21P6v0
I got a gift from the effects guys at work. I’m so proud I could pop. https://t.co/XtloJDnU2n
SHAMELESS had a kick as party tonight. 100 episodes of our show. I love our Shameless fans.
It's been four years since Mel Gibson played a lead role in a movie, and...
John Link hasn't been the best father, up until recently he's constantly been on the...
One of the most extraordinary films of the year, this drama cleverly weaves in events...
A young woman and her 5-year-old son Jack live together in a confined, sound-proofed room...
The shift from bright comedy to rather grim drama is gradual enough to carry the...
Jennifer Aniston delivers an Oscar-calibre performance in this rather over-worked drama, which tries to emphasise...
Claire Bennett is struggling to get through day-to-day life despite her buffet of pills, one-on-one...
For what he has said will be his final film, animation maestro Hayao Miyazaki tackles...
Jiro Horikoshi is an aeronautical engineer whose childhood was filled with dreams about becoming a...
When Jiro Horikoshi was a young boy, all he ever dreamed about was flying planes...