John Hawkes

Superb cast anchors McDonagh’s outstanding southern tale  

Grieving mother Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) expresses her frustration with her daughter’s stalled murder investigation via three billboards. 

“Raped while dying / And still no arrests / How come, Chief Willoughby?” So read the titular three billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri, in writer/director Martin McDonagh’s brilliant, searing new blackest of black comedies. Whether the picture is correctly classified as a comedy – as its trailer would have it – may be a point of argument, however. While the film is not without its head-shaking, laugh-out-loud moments, they serve as counterpoint to the overarching dark, almost biblical tale that envelopes them, which will leave the viewer contemplative and affected for days after the credits roll.
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Film Review: Everest

by Carrie Kahn on September 18, 2015

Everest tragedy comes alive in stunningly shot, absorbing new film

A breathtaking but precarious route up Everest awaits its climbers.

Readers of a certain age may remember the spring of 1997, when the must-read, buzz generating new release was Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, his account of the tragic Mt. Everest climbing expedition from the year prior. With Everest, Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur has crafted a cinematographically stunning and emotionally powerful dramatization of the events of that climb. Basing the film not just on Krakauer’s book, but also on other published survivor accounts, screenwriters William Nicholson (Gladiator; Unbroken) and Simon Beaufoy (127 Hours) bring us another a heart-pounding, riveting story of both the best and worst of the human spirit.

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Helen Hunt and John Hawkes in THE SESSIONS

If you think you’ve seen every possible narrative variation on a man trying to lose his virginity, then allow me to introduce you to The Sessions. A cheerful film of irrepressible optimism and remarkable sexual frankness, it is the true story of Mark O’Brien (John Hawkes), a man who was left near-paralyzed following a childhood bout with polio. Having attained local fame for graduating from Berkeley by attending classes on a motorized gurney, Mark now spends the majority of his days in an iron lung. His physical movement is limited to a 90-degree rotation of his neck, which he doesn’t let prevent him from pursuing work as a writer and freelance journalist (and what have you done lately?). When a magazine assigns him a story on sex and the disabled, his research leads him to “sex surrogate” Cheryl Cohen-Greene (Helen Hunt), essentially a physical therapist with an emphasis on sex. Yes, her vocation involves having sex with her clients. With great trepidation, Mark (still a virgin at 36) decides to undergo a series of therapy sessions with Cheryl to see if he is indeed capable of performing sexually.

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