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What did you see this weekend?

"Summer 1993. Just beautiful." - Sarah

"I saw Hereditary and honestly thought it was a masterpiece. Fun that it's so divisive." - Philip H

"The best movie I saw this weekend was on PBS' Man with the Orange Shirt a great romantic gay film" - Jaragon

 

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Monday
May062013

Happy Gabby Day

JA from MNPP here, wishing a very happy birthday to Gabourey Sidibe, who's turning 30 years old today. In the four years since she popped on the scene, seemingly out of nowhere, in Lee Daniels' film Precious, Sidibe's proven that she's nothing like the sullen abused girl that brought her stardom - every awards show and every red carpet that year didn't come alive until she showed up, a star right out of the box. I don't watch The Big C so I can't speak to what she's done there but I was elated when she got cast in the upcoming third season of American Horror Story - I can't wait to see what Ryan Murphy does with her. What do you hope the future holds for Gabby?
Sunday
May052013

Review: Iron Man Three*

This review was originally posted in my column @ Towleroad

When last we saw Tony Stark he was eating shawarma in New York City with his fellow superheroes in the stinger of Marvel's The Avengers (reviewed). When we last saw Iron Man, minutes before that, he was plummeting from a cosmic wormhole to his near-death having just saved the world from an alien apocalypse. (S.H.I.E.L.D's workman's comp insurance must be pricey.) I mention Tony Stark and Iron Man separately because the franchise's new writer/director Shane Black, who previously worked with Robert Downey Jr on the underappreciated comedy Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, seems more interested in Stark than Iron Man. This is a good sign, especially for a third picture. Time to flip this tin can around.

IRON MAN THREE takes great pains to make a distinction between the impenetrable suit and the man inside it. Tony Stark's first attempt to suit up is a comic misfire since he's engineered an Iron Man suit that comes right to him when he calls. He hasn't quite worked out the speed of his flying wardrobe -imagine a metal codpiece flying 60 mph right at your Andrew Christians. The second time we see Iron Man, if I'm remembering the sequence of events correctly, Tony Stark isn't in the suit at all. He's engaging in some prankster remote control business for girlfriend Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow, wonderful in this role but haters gonna hate). MORE AFTER THE JUMP

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Sunday
May052013

Hot Docs: LGBT Films

Amir here, reporting from the Hot Docs documentary festival in Toronto. There are a few films at the festival this year that deal with LGBT issues. Paolo has already reviewed one of them – though I’m using the term “issue” very loosely with regards to that one - but on a more serious note, here are three more documentaries about the gay community.

First up is Valentine Road, which explores the story of a 15 year old student, named Larry King, in Oxnard, California who was fatally shot by a classmate, Brandon McInerney, during school hours for confessing his love for him in front of a group of friends. Larry, a biracial boy who had always shown female tendencies, had begun to dress in girls’ clothing and put on heels and make-up to school. On the face of it, the crime is one born of hatred, homophobia and racism, but director Marta Cunningham isn’t satisfied with such reductive explanations. Her film is a wild ride that smacks the audience right out of their conclusions every time one is apparently reached, digging layer after layer of evidence to uncover the complexity of the case.

Valentine Road spends its entire running time exploring the grey areas of human psyche. It’s a gut-wrenching film that patiently and intelligently unravels the background to the dark events of that fateful February 2008 day [more...]

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Sunday
May052013

May Flowers on their way

Gatsby's waiting on them. 

 

Have you – got everything you need?”

 

Perhaps some more flowers…”

 

Do you think it’s too much?”

Well, we hope not. I asked Nathaniel to renew May Flowers for another year since it's one of the first things I knew the blog from (Sentiment and flowers go well together, yes?). May flowers are coming at you most afternoons. Any requests?

While on the topic of The Great Gatsby, though, are you anxious for the premiere? The film opens Friday. Don't we all feel as nervous as Gatsby at the beginning of the trailer? I want to lean over and ask, "Have you got everything you need, Baz?" Hopefully he does

Sunday
May052013

Early Bird Oscar Predix: The Toons

Last year's Animated Oscar race is going to be a tough act to follow. In what was arguably the most competitive race of all 12 years of Oscar's newest category, there was precious little agreement about who might win and even less about who deserved to; Brave, Frankenweenie, ParaNorman and Wreck-It Ralph all had their loyal camps (Pirates! A Band of Misfits was the only "just happy to be nominated" contestant.) At the very last minute, buzz-wise, it appeared to boil down to Disney vs. Disney/Pixar. Big-fisted Ralph fought big-haired Merida and the Scottish lass won.

But what does 2013 have in store for us? It's looking like a much leaner year, and a least at first glance, a far less animated (heh) one. Monsters University might just be emblematic of what's going on. The prequel to the inaugural loser of this very category (Monsters Inc) is, like all the rest, part of a franchise or would-be-franchise and also a noisy colorful 3D CGI fest for very young children. That's about all there seems to be from The Croods on through Free Birds in which two turkeys (voiced by Owen Wilson & Woody Harrelson) travel back in time to stop the first Thanksgiving. There's less variety both in types of audiences sought and in types of animated styles.

For different styles and tones of animation we'll have to look to foreign films. Pray and pray hard that Hayao Miyazaki's latest The Wind Rises crosses the Ocean in time. I don't know if it's finished since news has been sparse but Ana Y Bruno is a Mexican film about a little girl who meets a goblin (or some such) in the psych ward of her mother's hospitable (?). But even with foreign films they're often just trying to be Hollywood blockbusters. I haven't seen more than a still from South Africa's Khumba! about a half-striped zebra but it looks very much like a Madagascar-spinoff. And one of it's characters is "Bradley, a self-obsessed, flamboyant ostrich." Uhoh. Should we alert GLAAD?

Hayao Miyazaki's "The Wind Rises" is bowing this summer in Japan

The film that I'm most excited about Song of the Sea, a follow up from the team who made the jaw-droppingly gorgeous The Secret of Kells, will not be ready for this year's race. Big sigh. Which is not to say that this year's race will be lacking in previous Oscar players. One interesting possible development, depending on which films achieve eligiblity is the presence of former Best Foreign Film nominees as directors of new animated features. The Argentinian director of Oscar winner The Secret in Their Eyes, Juan José Campanellahas made a toon called Metegol (aka Foosball) about a foosball team come to life and the Mexican director Carlos Carrera whose drama The Crime of Father Amaro was Oscar nominated is behind the aforementioned Ana

We hope that GKids, the new off-the-beaten path animated distributor, brings us something interesting again but for now my crystal ball says it's Disney vs. Disney/Pixar again this year (Round Two). I'm predicting that the final battle will come down to Frozen (based on Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale 'The Snow Queen') vs. Monsters University. Only this time maybe Disney will beat Pixar... forcing Mike and Sulley to remain Oscarless. Oscar voters will continue to live with their greatest shame: preferring Shrek to Monsters, Inc.


In the absence of a Pixar original (I'll stop weeping that they've joined the rest of Hollywood in franchise laziness and just live with it though I reserve the right to spit at Toy Story 4 whenever that rolls around given that its existence would forever tarnish the finality . What other choice do I have?) the film I'm most eager to see is definitely Frozen. I loved Tangled (which went unnominated in a narrower field of three) and I'm hoping that their latest musical fairytale -- this one has Kristen Bell and Broadway musical alumni Idina Menzel, Josh Gad, and Jonathan Groff doing the voicework -- is a worthy follow up.

RELATED: New Animated Feature Oscar Chart

Saturday
May042013

New Oscar Predix! (And What Of Consecutive Nomination Heat?)

As I was constructing the new Best Picture charts -- yes, they're finally up. Have a looksie -- it occurred to me that I was foolishly betting against a lot of regular Oscar players. Why couldn't I find room for, say, George Clooney (Monuments Men), Joel Coen & Ethan Coen (Inside Llewyn Davis), and Martin Scorsese (Wolf of Wall Street), for example? The answer came in three parts.

Silver Linings Playbook + The Fighter ÷ 1970s = American Hustle

 

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