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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

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Entries in Helen Hunt (16)

Thursday
Nov222012

THR Actress Roundtable - Part 1

Live Blogged via Tape Delay! Woot 

I've embedded the whole hour at the bottom of this post. Please to enjoy.

00:01 Photoshoots. We begin with a lot of hand to throat or chest or hair gesturing. And... pose! This year's models in order of first solo shot in the montage: Marion Cotillard, Sally Field, Naomi Watts, and Amy Adams, Anne Hathaway and Helen Hunt . Weirdly Rachel Weisz does not get a solo shot. Don't they negotiate every second of these things: "AGENT!!!"

00:38 One thing that's immediately clear about this latest edition of the Hollywood Reporter Actress Roundtable -- now one of the best Oscar traditions -- is that they're upping their game. The camera work is more expressive, and the spacious well designed interior with white couches is less corporate bland than I remember and more conducive to the group therapy session that follows. Psssh, it is so group therapy!. I mean they start with a question about fear and move straight into rock bottom trauma of careers the "should I give up?" moment before the big break. 

00:43 Helen Hunt's "I'm thinking about the question" face is hilarious. PONDERING in all caps. [Lots more after the jump.]

Click to read more ...

Monday
Oct292012

Review: Free Pass for "The Sessions"

This review was originally published in my column at Towleroad...

When Madonna's "Sex" book turned twenty last week, a common thread of blog coverage was 'tame by today's standards' and I wondered which new standards other people were living by that I wasn't privy to? I'm not talking about private culture -- people have been seeing strangers naked long before Grindr or easily clickable pornography -- but about mainstream entertainment. Which mainstream female celebrity has been running around aggressively in her birthday suit lately? We've hardly made great strides at accepting female sexuality since then. Proof positive: the current political debates. The male body has, on the other hand, become more commonly objectified two decades on but penis sightings are still as rare as they were in the "Sex" book and people continue to make a big flaccid point of being shocked whenever they're visually reminded of their existence... especially in the movies. Find even one article about Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Eastern Promises or Shame that doesn't mention Jason Jr,  Viggo Jr. or The Fassmember; tough assignment. 

This longwinded preface isn't as off-topic as it sounds for a review of THE SESSIONS. The sexually-minded lightly funny new drama stars Oscar nominee John Hawkes (Winter's Bone) as Mark O'Brien, a paralyzed man who dreams of losing his virginity from the discomfort of his iron lung. 

more...

 

Click to read more ...

Friday
Oct192012

Interview: On Casting and Politics of Sex with the Director of "The Sessions"

Amir here. TIFF has been over for more than a month but I still have one interview left to share with you. With The Sessions opening in theaters today, it was the perfect time to share my chat with Ben Lewin, the film's director. We touched upon everything from the politics of sex and nudity in Hollywood to the influence of his own experience with polio on building the character of Mark O'Brien. It's a film I encourage everyone to see because it's surprisingly funny and incredibly heartfelt, and features two of the strongest lead performances of the year. (In case you missed these back in September, here's my review of the film and my interview with one of its stars, William H. Macy.)

 

Amir for TFE: I can’t think of a better place to start the interview than nudity.

Ben Lewin: Neither can I!

Amir: Because, in general I’ve been accustomed to seeing certain types of people have sex on screen in Hollywood films and everyone else’s sex life is barely ever shown, as if, you know, people in their 40s or black people don’t have sex. It’s unbelievable and I really appreciate that we get to see something very different here. Was the film always so explicit since the idea was conceived in your head?

Ben: I think if you read Mark O’Brien’s article, there’s no other way. The essence of it was that he was learning the ABCs, what goes where, what do you do, and I think the explicitness is part of revealing his naiveté and how childlike he was when it came to sex. I was only keeping faithful to his original work, which was really what inspired me. Every time I felt like I was losing my way in the script, I’d go back to his text and rediscover what turned me on in the first place. The first thing that struck me when I read it was the frankness. The explicitness doesn’t make it sexier, it just makes it more ordinary.

My point exactly! Everybody at every age does it. You don’t have to look like a star.

I’d never imagined myself going there though...[MORE]

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Oct142012

Podcast: Lincoln, Pitch Perfect, and the Supporting Actress Oscar

Weeeeee're ba-aaack.

Katey and Joe attended the sneak Lincoln preview at the NYFF and lived to tell the cel-phone free tale. Nick forces yours truly, Nathaniel, into an aca-awkward confession and the only movie that everyone has seen is Pitch Perfect which is clearly 100% appropriate for an Oscar-focused podcast. Certain to sweep!

Topics include but are not limited to:

  • Anna Kendrick being so over it in Pitch Perfect.
  • Sally Field being over the top of it in Lincoln.
  • Helen Hunt being on top of it (John Hawkes) in The Sessions.
  • Nicole Kidman killing it in The Paperboy.
  • Supporting Actress doubling up on it.
  • Elle Fanning giggling through it for Ginger & Rosa
  • Ben Affleck, Amy Adams, Molly Ringwald (???) and More!

You can download the podcast on iTunes or listen to it right here. The more the merrier in this conversation so join in in the comments.

Pitch Perfect, Lincoln, Supporting Actress

Friday
Oct052012

Predictions in Actressing: Few Locks, Many New Variables

It's entirely redundant to tell you that Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress are The Film Experience's favorite Oscar categories. This year's field continues to feel slippery, amorphous, unknowable which is... great. It should be hard to pin down the Oscar race before films have been widely seen and release dates have fully settled. The charts this month are quite shuffled so I hope you'll devour them.

ACTRESS Most pundits have assumed since the very beginning that Cotillard and Wallis were locked up done deals but I'm actually still not comfortable inking either of them in. They could happen, sure, but there are so many contenders and no one beyond Jennifer Lawrence (having one of those mega years that's impossible to deny) has cemented a position here. Especially with all the movement. Even one of these smaller films with rising stars (Olsen, Winstead, Fanning) could happen theoretically or at least siphon key votes if audiences and critics are kind and their campaign is strong.

We should note that little Quvenzhané Wallis has a new problem beyond her very young age in that SAG won't be nominating her (declaring the cast ineligible). Cotillard also has a significant problem in that she isn't the only reknowned actress killing it in a subtitled drama. Emmanuelle Riva anyone? The Hiroshima Mon Amour star is a powerhouse in a very difficult role in Amour. I've just seen the movie so perhaps it's wishful thinking but this is very moving work.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS The big new question mark for me is whether biopic mimicry -- Scarlett Johansson doing Janet Leigh's arched brow Psycho tics -- will finally win her Oscar attention after her breakthrough early misses nine years ago (Girl with the Pearl Earring and Lost in Translation... and to a lesser extent her Woody Allen hussy in Match Point). She stopped being an actress for awhile moving straight to über celebrity but after her Tony-winning run on Broadway and renewed vigor in her filmography, this could be the year. Or will various Psycho co-stars steal the spotlight. It's worth noting that Toni Collette can steal spotlights from anyone anywhere... and if her Hitchcock assistant role has a key scene or two that she can wow in, watch out! (That's a mighty big "if" of course in a film with stars this big playing famous Hollywood icons.)

I should also note that though I'm on the record as no fan of Helen Hunt's 90s Oscar win, I found her work in The Sessions to be very strong. To me it's unquestionably a leading role (it wouldn't be if we didn't spend time with her outside of the titular sessions but we do, making this a lopsided duet) and I'm a bit curious as to why Fox Searchlight so adamantly settled on a supporting campaign so early given that a lead Actress nod still doesn't seem unattainable for this previous winner.