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Monthly Archives: August 2014

Father Brendan (William H. Macy) listens intently as Mark (John Hawkes) makes yet another confession to him about his sexual activities.

After some of the films I’ve watched recently (not all reviewed here yet) it’s nice to have a change of pace and be able to sit down and watch a slower more adult film with nuance and proper dialogue. Based on the real-life story of Mark O’Brien (played here by John Hawkes), a poet and writer who has been paralysed by polio since childhood and is largely reliant on an iron lung to breathe. The film begins with him now in late thirties and yet to have a sexual experience.

Cheryl (Helen Hunt) is the married sex therapist who agrees to give him the six ‘sessions’, referred to in the title of the film. These start with simple foreplay and bodily sensations and will eventually progress to full penetrative sex and hopefully – simultaneous orgasm. However things are complicated, not just because of Mark’s disabilities but because like many of the females in Mark’s life, Cheryl begins to feel more emotionally attached to him that she would like…

Mark also has strong feelings for Cheryl and these, his internal conflicts and neuroses are cleverly expressed to us via a series of confessions/conversations with his priest friend Father Brendan (William H. Macy).

Thankfully given the sensitive subject matter everything is handled in a mature and adult way, with both humour and realism. Although considering this was made in 2012 there’s still a strange reticence to show male genitalia which can make the framing seem a bit odd at times.

Well told, with a good script and a high standard of acting this is ultimately a touching story of a disabled man who lives his life more fully than many able-bodied people do. Definitely worth watching.

7/10

A tank, classic sports cars, and flying men – are all standard fare in Fast & Furious 6.

A cringe-worthy beginning in which bland trophy wives and bimbo girlfriends strangely give their immediate blessing for their partners and boyfriends to put their lives on the line, thankfully quickly gives way to a series of trashy yet blistering set pieces – with cars.

This time round (I’m acting like I’ve seen the other films in the series which I haven’t) Brian (Paul Walker RIP), Dom (Vin Diesel) and the rest of team must work with US police detecive Hobbs (The Rock) in London to help him stop a gang of car driving villians. They do this in exchange for a pardon from the US government and the hope of getting Dom’s former girlfriend Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) back.

Since the film is set in “Jolly old” England, this predictably means now standard national-stereotyping such as the ex-special forces man with a ‘tache and English people who either speak in incredibly plummy posh accents or like cockneys during the last century :”al’right guv’nor”, “Spare me a penny mister?” etc.

However it’s all good fun, and gets extra points for having the most ridiculous over-the-top action sequence I have ever seen in a movie where Vin Diesel jumps from a car travelling at high speed and somehow catches Michelle Rodrigueuz midflight as she is thrown from a tank. This could only have been topped by Diesel gaining superpowers mid-fight and having him fly off with her to the top of a skyscraper in New York City. Fast and Furious 7 perhaps?

Predictable, exciting, flashy and lame, all at the same time. An entertaining 6/10