Mark (John Hawkes) is an academic who spends much of his day in an Iron Lung helping him to breathe. His nurses are able to take him out for hours at a time, but he has very limited movement. After learning about sexual surrogates, people who work with the disable to allow them to have sex, he engages the services of Cheryl (Helen Hunt) and discusses the process with his priest, Father Brendan (William H Macy).
It’s a fairly gentle film, really. There is little drama or action – it almost feels as though the filmmakers decided that it was enough for people to learn that these services exist and can improve the lives of those involved. Having said that, I don’t think that the film would have been improved by adding unnecessary drama; as it was, it was interesting and beautiful and fascinating. And does raise the debate of disabled actors playing disabled roles – John Hawkes is wonderful in this, and is generally quite wonderful in most things that he does, but why not have a disabled person in this role? (Money, for one. John Hawkes is a respected actor who would be a draw to producers. But still…)
Helen Hunt was nominated for an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a supporting Role in The Sessions .
Ma (Brie Larson) has been held in a room by a horrible man, Old Nick (Sean Bridgers), kept as a sex slave, for years. She has a son, Jack (Jacob Tremblay) who was born in Room – it is his whole world. All Ma wants to do is protect her son and leave. Jack doesn’t know that anything is wrong with the way they live. And then, finally, they get free… and they need to deal with the outside world, with reuniting with family, with the press and just everything.
The book was hard but wonderful, and this is an excellent interpretation. I think the performance of the young boy was particularly wonderful – not only in his little world, but coming into the real world. Heartbreaking.
Brie Larson won an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, and Room was nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Achievement in Directing (Lenny Abrahamson) and Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay (Emma Donoghue)
Having recently watched the television series of Fargo, I wanted to go back and revisit this film. Set in small-town America, we have Jerry Lundegaard (William H Macy) arranging to have his wife, Jean (Kristin Rudrud) kidnapped to get the ransom from his rich father-in-law. The kidnappers: Carl (Steve Buscemi) and Gaear (Peter Stormare). But things don’t go great, and things are investigated by heavily pregnant cop Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand).
I love this film. It’s one of my favourites. It’s strange, sad, funny, odd, violent, wonderful, brilliant and I just loved it – I love it so very, very much, and will absolutely revisit regularly. Apparently, some people don’t get this film. I don’t get that.
Fargo won Oscars for Best Actress in a Leading Role (France McDormand) and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (Ethan Coen, Joel Coen) and was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing.
A brother and a sister in 1990s America. Jennifer is far more interested in boys and partying than schoolwork. David is a geek, unseen in his own way, and obsessed with a 1950s Leave it to Beaver type television show called Pleasantville. A little bit of magic and they end up in the world of Pleasantville; 1950s America, with all the hot apple pies, sodas, sexual stereotypes and racism that anyone could want.
I really like this film. There’s not much that you would not expect from this film; fighting injustices as people discover who they really are. I found it clever and entertaining the first time around, and I’ve watched it several times since and really enjoy pretty much everything about it.
Pleasantville was nominated for Oscars for Best Art Direction – Set Decoration, Best Costume Design and Best Music, Original Dramatic Score.
Ages ago, I reviewed The Ides of March and felt that it was quite average for a political thriller, especially compared to films such as Wag the Dog and Primary Colors. Since, I’ve discussed the film and read other reviews, and it seems that most people thought it was a much better film that I did. I do want to revisit it, however I wanted to see the others first for some comparison.
Wag the Dog tells the story of a Conrad Brean (Robert De Niro) and Winifred Ames (Anne Heche) who are working in the last fortnight before a presidential election to bury the story of a sexual encounter between the President and a young girl. They bring in Hollywood producer Stanley Motss (Dustin Hoffman) to produce the appearance of a war with Albania, along with victims, heroes, the whole kit-and-kaboodle.
It’s fabulous. It totally plays into the idea of a massive conspiracy. It couldn’t be done now; with the internet and wikileaks, it would be very easy to disprove. In fact, it couldn’t have been done then. There is no way the media would just go along with the stuff that is being fed to it – regardless of how cleverly the leaks appear are done. But what the films shows is how it could almost be possible – and if it could happen, this is how it would go. It’s fabulous, so funny. Wonderful cast, great script. We even got a bit of Woody Harrelson, Kirsten Dunst, William H Macy, Dennis Leary and Willie Nelson. Perfect.
Wag the Dog was nominated for Oscars for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Dustin Hoffman) and Best Writing:Screenplay Based on Material Previously Published (Hilary Henkin and David Mamet)
It had been so long since I’d seen the film. All I could remember was that it was fabulous. It did not disappoint – such magnificent performances, excellent scripting, wonderful costume and set designs. It is amazing.
Boogie Nights is the story of the rise of Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg) a young and extremely well-endowed man who forged a career in the adult film industry. Led by one of the top producers in the field, Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds in one of the film world’s greatest comeback roles) and taken under the wing of actress Amber Waves (Julianne Moore), Diggler achieves stardom in the porn world. But, for all of the players, the partying, drugs and money have a finite life. Especially when the industry is turned on its head with the introduction of video.
I’m such a whinger about long films – I truly believe that most film stories can be told in ninety to a hundred minutes, and that going above this is rarely worth it. Boogie nights is two-and-a-half hours long, and not a moment is wasted. If every long movie was as good as this, I’d stop complaining. I promise.
Matthew McConaughey plays Mick Hailer, a lawyer in Hollywood who plays hard and defends nasty, nasty criminals. He’s a smooth talker and has a reputation for getting the guilty off. Then he gets the case of Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe), a very rich young man who has been accused of beating a prostitute. But, as he investigates, he comes to believe that his client is guilty and capable of a lot worse.
This film has an awesome cast – William H. Macy, Marisa Tomei, Bryan Cranston, and so many more. But a good cast wasn’t going to save it. I just didn’t believe the emotions that McConaughey’s character was supposedly feeling. Ryan Phillippe was surprisingly good – I say surprisingly, but I don’t think I’ve seen anything he’s done before, so I didn’t have any reason to think that he wouldn’t be good. But the way he switches from playing the innocent victim to the evil control freak was pretty impressive. Still not enough to save the film.