Two movies you should see: a buzzy queer indie and a struggling would be blockbuster...
Chris Mason Johnson, a former dancer turned writer/director, really comes into his voice with his second feature. (He previously directed The New Twenty). Test is about a young dancer named Frankie (Scott Marlowe) in San Francisco in 1985 who, like most gay men at the time, fears he might have AIDS. He learns of a new test he could take to find out. The surprise of Test is that it's not really about AIDS despite the setting and time period so much as a slice of life drama about a young man struggling to face his fears and live his dream. Frankie is an understudy learning a dance he might never get to perform. And a young gay man beginning a life he might never get to live. Test is beautifully lensed for a micro-budgeted indie (I was shocked to hear that the cinematographer is a first timer) and though the pacing and subplots are hit and miss the dancer/actors are endearing and the centerpiece performance is just completely electric stuff. B+
P.S. Here's my interview with the director at Towleroad
I'll share excerpts that I didn't use for that piece soon that I think you cinephiles/musical addicts will enjoy. Test is playing in New York and available OnDemand and at iTunes.
EDGE OF TOMORROW
I had planned on avoiding this but the reviews, which I didn't read but gleaned were raves, caught me off guard. If you've also planned to skip, reconsider. I thought a movie that absorbed the very soul and structure of a video game (repeat until your kinetic memory gets every move right) would be highly annoying but I was wrong. It's sharply written, well acted and often exciting even if some of its moves are familiar (Starship Troopers meets Groundhog Day meets Aliens?). Tom Cruise is extremely well cast as a smarmy coward who is all surface and has to actually work his way towards heroics and soul. And Emily Blunt, memorably dubbed "Full Metal Bitch" is approximately 1000% believable as an action heroine, proving yet again that she should be a much bigger star.
I can't say that I necessarily believe this would hold up to repeat viewings and, like every current action movie, there's too much CGI, too much generic dystopian destruction, typical color palette, but it was so entertaining and cleverly structured that I feel too generous towards it to quibble. But... I am not a fan of the ending which makes no damn sense whatsoever, even given the elaborate suspension-of-disbelief conceit. B+