November 19, 2012 at 8:00 am , by Sonia Harmon
The holidays are one of the best times to hit the movie theater—doesn’t relaxing at the movies sound perfect after a big family meal? And it’s so much easier to avoid the Friday and Saturday night crowds if you have some time off of work. Luckily, there are some great films coming out this season including Les Miserables, This is 40, and Jessica Biel’s new movie, Playing for Keeps (check out our In My Words Q&A with her in the December 2012/January 2013 issue!).
To help put you in the holiday movie-watching spirit, we’re giving away five sets of two Fandango movie tickets. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this blog post. Happy holidays! (Only one entry per person and per email address.)
October 1, 2012 at 9:30 am , by Sonia Harmon
If you enjoyed our In My Words interview with Helen Hunt from the November 2012 issue, you’ll love these soundbites of her talking about some of her most memorable roles. This month she stars in The Sessions, which hits theaters on October 19th. Which of her roles is your favorite? Tell us in the comments!
Mad About You (1992-1999)
August 30, 2012 at 9:00 am , by Sonia Harmon
If you enjoyed our In My Words interview with Susan Sarandon from the October 2012 issue, you’ll love these Sarandon soundbites where she talks about her most memorable movies. Which of her films is your favorite? Tell us in the comments!
Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
March 29, 2012 at 2:32 pm , by Anna Schonauer
Have you heard about Bully? The documentary, which opens in select cities this week, follows kids and their families as they experience the devastation of being, well, bullied. After Bully received an R rating by the MPAA, the filmmakers are now releasing the movie without a rating, so individual theater owners can rate the documentary themselves. “The small amount of language in the film that’s responsible for the R rating is there because it’s real,” says Bully director Lee Hirsch. “It’s what children who are victims of bullying face on most days.”
We talked to Hirsch about the film—and why for some parents and kids, it might be the most important movie they see this year.
LHJ: Why make a documentary about bullying?
Lee: I was bullied myself as a kid. I felt like I could give a voice to that experience, not just for the 12-year-old me but also for all the people who are going through it today.
LHJ: What shocked you most while filming this movie?
Lee: The physical bullying didn’t surprise me because I remember going through that myself all too well. But I was surprised by just how many people are struggling with this issue. When you’re being bullied you think you’re alone and you don’t have a voice. This film is helping band people together who’ve had this experience—whether they had it themselves, or its something their kid sister is going through. There’s not one family that bullying doesn’t touch.
LHJ: Why aren’t teachers and school administrators doing more to solve this problem?
Lee: I screened the movie for a group of administrators and one of them said to me afterwards, “To be honest, not one of us hasn’t gotten it wrong at some time.” But for me, the point is not to create division or fault. Instead, it’s to create an important conversation for educators to have about the value of social and emotional learning, about teaching empathy. I’d love to see school climates considered to be just as important as test scores and athletic victories.
LHJ: What advice do you have for parents whose kids are being bullied?
Lee: I encourage your readers to visit our website where we have resources for victims of bullying. Parents should know that it’s your right to make sure your kid is not being bullied. If the teachers are not being responsive, you have to go to the principle, the superintendent, the school board, the office of civil rights, the local media. Just keep fighting. Some parents feel like they can’t win and they pull their kids out of school. But the most important thing is to let your kid know you’re fighting for them.
To learn more about Bully and what to do if your child is being bullied, go to www.thebullyproject.com.
March 16, 2012 at 3:33 pm , by Anna Schonauer
You may know her from comedies like The Hangover and Kicking and Screaming, but in Natural Selection Rachael Harris proves she can do more than just make us laugh. In the indie drama, which hits select theatres today, she plays Linda White, a housewife whose world is turned upside down when her husband suffers a stroke. What unfolds is a road-trip tale with a bit of a twist as Linda sets out to find her husband’s out-of-wedlock son. Harris’s touching portrayal earned her the SXSW award for Breakthrough Performance at last year’s film festival, as well as a nomination for an Independent Sprit Award. We caught up with Harris, 44, to talk about her career-changing film.
LHJ: You’ve primarily done big feature comedies and TV sitcoms. Were you purposefully trying to do something different, or did this just kind of fall into your lap?
Rachael: I told my agents I don’t want to just do comedy, and I’m a big fan of actresses like Frances McDormand, Kathy Bates and Meryl Streep because they can do both comedy and drama. I knew it would be a tough sell but when they read the script for Natural Selection they thought it would be the perfect opportunity for me to step outside of my comfort zone.
LHJ: You’ve said that the director, Robbie Pickering, wasn’t really interested in seeing you for this role at first. How did you change his mind?
Rachael: Well, luckily I didn’t know that he didn’t want me for the role, and I’m really grateful to the casting people who insisted that he take a meeting with me. During our meeting I talked to him about the script—in particular the scene where she’s brushing her teeth and Abe is at the hospital. She’s so overwhelmed and just trying to be normal and she can’t. She’s consumed with fear and loneliness and she has to turn on the water just to feel normal. So I was telling Robbie about my divorce and how I understand this character and he was like, “Oh wow, she’s been through a lot.” Then I read for him and I got the part. I’m glad he took that meeting!
LHJ: How did you get into the mindset of being Linda? She’s much more vulnerable than a lot of characters you’ve played.
Rachael: I think what I connected to the most was Linda’s faith in the beginning that everyone is good. She’s described in the film as “this perfect little angel in a puffy coat” and that’s how I thought of her, as this person that’s just very unconditional and eventually has to learn that people can still be really good even though they make bad decisions from time to time.
LHJ: Was it harder for you to play a dramatic role?
Rachael: I don’t really try to do anything different with comedy or drama; I just try to be real. The movies I respond to are the ones where the performances are so heartfelt and you can really relate to the characters and feel what they’re feeling. When I’m acting I always trying to be truthful in the moment and hopefully the audience feels that.
LHJ: Natural Selection swept the SXSW Film Festival awards last year. Were you surprised?
Rachael: We didn’t expect it at all. It blew us away. We weren’t even sure how many people would see it, so we certainly didn’t expect to sweep the whole thing. And then the Independent Spirit Award nomination was even crazier! It’s crazy that I was nominated with Michelle Williams and Elizabeth Olsen. I mean, it was a big deal for me. I’m very proud of the work that I did in this film, so to get this response feels really, really good.
July 9, 2010 at 8:00 am , by Ladies' Lounge
Can a small act of kindness really make a difference? Yes, if you listen to the story of Chris Mburu, the subject of the inspiring documentary, A Small Act, which premieres July 12 on HBO. Chris grew up in Kenya—with little hope for a future beyond coffee picking—until a Swedish pre-school teacher named Hilde Back stepped into his life. Hilde and Chris never met, but she sponsored his education, sending him a few dollars each month to pay for his school. Thanks to Hilde, Chris went on to do great things: graduating from Harvard Law School and becoming a human rights activist.
To honor his “angel,” Chris started the Hilde Back Education Fund in 2003, so other bright yet disadvantaged Kenyan students could have a chance at a better life. The film not only shows the first meeting between Hilde and Chris, it also follows three gifted students—Kimani, a high spirited boy, Ruth, a shy yet quietly ambitious girl, and her beautiful yet brainy friend, Caroline, as they compete for the one Hilde Back scholarship that will determine their fate. The results are both uplifting and heartbreaking (keep tissues handy).
“When I started making this film, I kept thinking, I’d like to do good in the world, but I’m not Gandhi and I’m not Mother Theresa. I have a full-time job. What can I do?” says the film’s director, Jennifer Arnold, 39. “But after making the movie, I learned you can do something small. You might think it won’t make a difference, but there’s someone out there it will touch, and that person will touch someone else. All of us have the power to make a difference.”
So moved were audiences members at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, where the documentary premiered, that they handed over checks and cash to Arnold, to go to the Hilde Back Foundation. “We raised $90,000 in ten days,” says Arnold. “And recently, one person donated $250,000 after watching the film. Because of donations like that, now hundreds of kids will be able to go to school.”
As Hilde Back says, “If you do something good, it can spread in circles, like rings on the water.” Watch the trailer after the jump, or learn more about the Hilde Back Foundation and make a donation at ASmallAct.com.
- Susan Pocharski
March 3, 2010 at 10:50 am , by Khalil Hymore
And the cookie goes to…me!
Wow, plain old sugar cookies just got WAY more glamorous. Check out these awesome Oscar cookies from Eleni’s—now an annual tradition for this haute New York bakery. They use edible ink and paper to create adorable (ahem, George Clooney and Colin Firth) caricatures of this year’s best actor, actress, and picture nominees. Order a set and then honestly admit to partying with film icons Sandra Bullock, Morgan Freeman, and Meryl Streep or newcomers Carey Mulligan and Gabourey Sidibe.
Hmm…now the only question is, who do I eat first? I’m looking at you, Helen Mirren.