Germain’s Top Ten Movies of 2012

2012 was an incredibly good year at the movies. Looking back at the almost 200 films I saw that were released this calendar year, many were in contention for this list. But in the end, there can be only 10. These ten films, ranked in reverse order, are the ones that most stuck with me during 2012 and will continue to do so in 2013 and beyond. Some were pure jolts of entertainment. Others nestled their way into my brain and made me think for weeks on end. But either way, like most top 10 lists, mine is extremely personal and exceedingly different. From Jump Street to Neo Seoul, check it out below. Read More »

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This morning Megan Fox, Ed Helms, and Jessica Alba announced the nominations for the 2013 Golden Globes. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organization behind the event, is famous for nominating films and performances simply based on their star factor — if there’s an actor that members of the HFPA want to hang out with, they’re sure to get a nomination.

But the HFPA is great at putting on a show, and so the Golden Globes generate a lot of attention every year. And, as the NY Times points out, with the Globes nominations coming just days before Oscar nomination voting starts, there’s a possibility that nominations here could affect Oscar voting. The Best Picture nomination set includes what is already becoming a standard set of awards favorites, such as Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, and Zero Dark Thirty, but there are also nominations for Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, and Django Unchained. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen picked up a few nominations, actually, which was one of  the big surprises.

The Golden Globes will air on January 13, 2013, hosted by Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. The full nomination list is below. Read More »

Hilarious, charming and heartwarming, The Sessions is one of the best films of the year. It’s 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.

Directed by Ben Lewin, The Sessions is now open in select cities with plans to expand over the next few weeks. As that happens, buzz will begin to grow for the film, which makes complete sense considering the source material. This fictional take on a true story is based on the 1997 Oscar-winning Documentary Short Film Breathing Lessons, written and directed by Jessica Yu. It too centers on O’Brien, but instead of using sex as the window to his struggle, the short presents a more traditional, complete portrait of the man.

Check out the Oscar-winner that inspired a potential Oscar-winner after the jump. Read More »

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 »

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.

Read More »

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