Note: This is a reprint of my review of The Sessions, formerly The Surrogate, upon its premiere at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. I’ve changed the name of the film below, but left everything else remains intact. It opens on a limited basis today and is truly one of the year’s most special films.
With 2011 being a rare exception, a Sundance award winner is almost always in the thick of awards season. And while the 2012 Sundance Film Festival has yet to bestow its awards, let alone premiere all the films, I feel confident in saying Ben Lewin‘s The Sessions will likely be in the mix for awards here and possibly next year at the Oscars.
The Sessions is the true story of Mark O’Brien (John Hawkes), a California-based journalist relegated to a gurney and iron lung because of disabling polio. At the age of 38, he’s still a virgin and, with the blessing of his priest (William H. Macy), Mark hires a sex surrogate (Helen Hunt) to remedy the problem.
While the story sounds kind of creepy, pathetic and depressing, The Sessions is exactly the opposite. It’s hilarious, brave and frank about both disabilities and sexuality. It’s a special film which had its world premiere this week in Park City, leading to what looks like a $6m deal for Fox Searchlight to distribute the film. Read more after the jump. Read More »
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Posted on Thursday, June 28th, 2012 by Angie Han
The story of a guy trying hard to get laid for the first time has been told and told again in many an R-rated comedy, but Ben Lewin‘s The Sessions isn’t American Pie or even The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Instead, it’s a truth-based drama that’s garnering serious Oscar buzz for its star, John Hawkes. The Martha Marcy May Marlene actor plays poet Mark O’Brien, who’s confined to an iron lung thanks to a long-ago battle with polio. At 38, he decides it’s time to lose his virginity, and he enlists the help of a professional sex surrogate (Helen Hunt) to do so.
The Sessions originally debuted at this year’s Sundance Film Festival under the title The Surrogate, and then briefly changed its name to Six Sessions before settling on The Sessions. But whatever it’s called, it’s proving well-loved. Germain called it “truly breathtaking” and named it one of his favorites of this Sundance 2012, and other critics have been similarly enamored. Watch the first trailer after the jump.
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We can probably blame the Bruce Willis sci-fi film Surrogates for the fact that Fox Searchlight has changed the title of the John Hawkes-starring Sundance fave The Surrogate. The Willis film was pretty forgettable, but not quite forgettable enough that Searchlight wanted to go with the original title for the film about a sex surrogate (Helen Hunt) hired to, er, ‘work with’ a bedridden man played by Hawkes.
The film is now called Six Sessions, and it will be released on October 26 of this year. Read More »
Posted on Thursday, November 3rd, 2011 by Angie Han
Emma Stone has been moving into more dramatic territory lately with parts in The Help and Gangster Squad, but she may be returning to her comedy roots soon. The actress has entered talks to star in He’s Fuckin’ Perfect, a comedy by first time feature writer Lauryn Kahn. The film is being produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay‘s Gary Sanchez Productions, where Kahn has worked for the past several years as McKay’s assistant.
He’s Fuckin’ Perfect revolves around a pessimistic woman who uses her social media know-how to research her friends’ dates and help them weed out the losers. But when she stumbles across the ideal man, she convinces her friend to dump him so that she can claim him for herself, using her Internet savvy to turn herself into his perfect match. [Deadline]
After the jump, Michelle Monaghan is a sex-addicted FBI agent, Alice Eve is a homewrecker, and Brian Cox gives Zach Galifianakis some serious daddy issues.
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Posted on Tuesday, November 1st, 2011 by Angie Han
My Week with Marilyn star Eddie Redmayne will join Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, and Anne Hathaway in Tom Hooper‘s prestige musical Les Miserables. Based on the hit Broadway show and Victor Hugo‘s classic novel of the same title, the film follows an ex-con named Valjean (Jackman) in 19th century France as he seeks to redeem himself. Redmayne will play Marius, who falls in love with Cosette, daughter of Fantine (Hathaway) and eventual charge of Valjean.
Les Miserables is already being touted as a likely Oscar contender, with a release date of December 7, 2012. Redmayne isn’t exactly a household name yet, but has marked himself as a talent to watch in projects like The Good Shepherd, My Week with Marilyn, and Hick. [Deadline]
After the jump, Rashida Jones and the guy who played Ernest Hemingway in Midnight in Paris befriend Samantha Morton, while David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook picks up a Boardwalk Empire star.
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Posted on Wednesday, October 5th, 2011 by Angie Han
Olivia Wilde has landed the coveted role of ’70s supermodel Suzy Miller in Rush, Ron Howard‘s Peter Morgan-scripted drama about the real-life rivalry between British Formula One driver James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Austrian racer Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl). Miller married the womanizing Hunt, but then fell in love with Hunt’s friend Richard Burton. Burton agreed to pay the $1 million divorce settlement that Hunt owned Miller, and then married Miller.
Howard is reportedly eyeing Russell Crowe to play the supporting role of Burton, but it doesn’t sound like negotiations are too far along at this time. Rush began preliminary shooting last month, but real principal photography is starting soon. [Deadline]
After the jump, Billy Crudup gets to show off his comedic chops while Helen Hunt, Maggie Grace, and Aaron Paul get to fight breast cancer.
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The title The Surrogate, to me, immediately calls up impressions of a horror film or thriller, but the movie that has had John Hawkes attached is something else entirely. An emotional thriller, perhaps. The Surrogate is based on a true story and will feature the actor as “Mark O’Brien, a paraplegic polio victim who lived most of his life in an iron lung, paralyzed from the neck down.” But that’s only the setup; there’s quite a bit more to the story than that — it addresses a longing to experience one specific aspect of humanity that such a life would be removed from.
He’s now joined by Helen Hunt, playing the role alluded to in the film’s title, and Moon Bloodgood and Rhea Perlman are on board, too. Read More »
Earlier this month, a in-house promotional teaser trailer leaked for Soul Surfer, a drama about young, teenage surfer girl (played by Bridge To Terabithia/Race To Witch Mountain‘s AnnaSophia Robb) who “summons the courage to go back into the ocean after losing an arm in a shark attack.” When I posted the teaser, I was kind of weirded out that it contained no hint of a shark attack — the teaser made it out like the film is just a happy-go-lucky story about a teenage girl surfer.
The new full length trailer which has premiered on EW (via FirstShowing) gives audiences the full reveal of what this story is really about. That and a really cheesy speech from Carrie Underwood. Written and directed by Sean McNamara (Bring it On: Fight To The Finish, Into The Blue 2: The Reef, Bratz, 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain), the film co-starring Dennis Quaid, Helen Hunt, Carrie Underwood, and Kevin Sorbo. Watch the trailer embedded after the jump. Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.
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