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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R


 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

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Entries in Drag Queens (38)

Saturday
Sep132014

TIFF: The New Girlfriend

Nathaniel's adventures at TIFF continued

 François Ozon remains one of France's most prolific directors. Like most prolific auteurs this means an uneven filmography. Even the very good films can feel ever-so-slightly underrealized. Is it the rush or just the nature of the artistry of the prolific, all first draft energies, favorite or borrowed styles structures and themes, and just warming-up ideas with the occasional lightning-strike perfections?

Like many fans I'm still waiting for another of those lightning strike perfections like certain moments in Under the Sand or 8 Women in full but his not-quite-there efforts can still be highly appealing: Potiche anyone?

The New Girlfriend turns out to be all of the above with grand moments, messy ones, energetic diversions, familiar tropes and half formed ideas... which as it turns out is just fine for a movie about embryonic searches for new identities. It begins with a funereal yet beautiful opening sequence that recalls an Almodóvarian trance, and quickly moves into an Up-like backstory prelude detailing the very intimate friendship of Laura and Claire (Anaïs Demoustier) from childhood to Laura's early death. When we begin our actual story Claire and her husband Gilles (Raphael Personnaez, who also starred in The Gate at this festival) along with Laura's widowed husband David (Romain Duris) and his infant daughter Lucie are all still reeling from Laura's demise. One day on a guilty whim, Laura jogs to David's house to check in on Lucie only to make a startling discovery when no one answers the door and she lets herself in: there's David, in full drag, tenderly feeding Lucie with a bottle like a good mother. Claire can't believe what she's seeing and to cover her tracks for where she was that day with her husband she says she was with "Virginia... a girlfriend, someone you don't know." And thus begins our subject matter with the title taking on multiple meanings. Is David more Virginia than David? Which of them is Claire befriending? How desperate are both of them to recreate Laura in her vacuum? And what kind of a girlfriend can Virginia even be since she has a visible penis? 

The rest of the film is largely devoted to both farcical and dramatic consequences of this new secret in Claire's life with delightfully surprising beats amply peppered across the character arcs. Demoustier proves rather masterful in delineating Claire's internal confusions and hypocrisies, especially and most amusingly her illicit hypocritial thrills in having a new girlfriend at all (the prelude makes amply obvious that Laura and Claire were so devoted and happy together that they didn't cultivate other friendships). But full warning: the film is way too comically provocative and politically incorrect to please the easily offended which many in the LGBT community seem to be of late. Claire for example thinks 'gays are fine, trannys are not!' in one joke that goes over well in context but will surely offend out of it and calls David "sick" while still encouraging him to do it. David isn't as certain of what his gender fluidity means to be a role model for any political agenda. And Gilles ignores ambiguities and is convinced that David is just gay, always has been.

Though Romain Duris has long since proved his worth as a leading man, his screen attraction is entirely masculine, so I'll admit that it was easy to wonder what the film would have been like had the more beautiful Personnaez considered his inner woman instead. Would it have dulled the surprise or the comedy or made Claire's confusing situation between the two men in her life and this new girlfriend more believable?  Who can say? The time jumped epilogue leaves things both tied neatly up and slightly ambiguous as to what went down between the climax and the credits roll but by that time we know the characters well enough to draw our own conclusions. B

previously at TIFF


Tuesday
Aug262014

Stage Door: "Sweeney Todd" & "My Old Lady"

In Stage Door, our semi-weekly live performance column, we cover theater news that's directly or merely ever-so-slightly connected to film and television... mostly because theater is heaven. If you can manage to see it.

Photos from Sweeney Todd the movie ought not to be read as an endorsement of actors who can't sing starring in musicals.

It is this blog's policy never to endorse Kickstarter projects because if you start, where do you stop? But since this one is about to be fully funded, I have to share my excitement. The Tooting Arts Club, a site specific theater company in London had a brilliant idea. They're staging a full production (with Stephen Sondheim's blessing) of Sweeney Todd in an actual old pie shop with help from the barber shop across the street in October. There are only 32 seats in the shop so tickets will be hard to come by. I'm tempted to buy a plane ticket just to see how they pull this off.  

Drag queens and old ladies after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jun232014

Alan Cumming & James Franco @ Broadway Bares

I'm getting a late start this morning after the midnight show of Broadway Bares. For those who aren't aware it's a one night only charity event each year in Manhattan where Broadway dancers striptease en masse in huge often silly choreographed themed spectacle numbers. This year's theme was "Rock Hard" so there was rock heavy versions of pop songs as well as classic rock numbers. Throughout the night there are little interlude skits with celebrity guest stars. In this case they were all trying to get past a doorwoman when their names weren't on the list. Alan Cumming, adorable with his hair in zulu knots, sailed right in with two boytoys in his hands whose names he kept getting comically mixed up. So he had to take matters (literally) into his hand to figure out who was who. But Broadway's Rocky (Andy Karl) didn't have it as easy.

-But you let Alan Cumming in!"
-Win a Tony and we'll talk"

The final interlude skit was James Franco. He bragged to the doorwoman 'But I take shirtless selfies. I have 2 million followers.' Enter Bianca Del Rio (to thunderous non-stop applause) who proceeded to insult him. The mini-skit ended with Bianca rubber-gloving her hand...

You can guess what happened next [NSFW]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jun032014

Links: Feat. the Totally Awesome 80s

Movie Mezzanine 'History of Film: Best of the Sixties.' They polled lots and lots of film critics including me. And you can see our individual lists. I appear to be the only person who listed West Side Story but some of my other choices are appropriately snooty if you need that.
THR most tweeted tv shows and events. Naturally the Oscars are #1 for specials (Golden Globes in #3 behind the Grammys).  
VF Hollywood celebrates the 25th anniversary of Dead Poets Society (1989) by getting all up in preppy nostalgia

/Film Whaaaaa? The War of the Roses (1989) is getting a sequel. Pity that we can't have Kathleen Turner back but that would be impossible. Unless it's also a supernatural sequel
Serious Film how many of these Eternal Sunshine details have you noticed on your multiple views? 
/bent blog Kyle Turner looks at the roles of mothers in the films of Xavier Dolan
Hero Complex Sigourney Weaver reminisces about her time as Lt. Ellen Ripley in the Aliens franchise
Michigan Live Detroit gets its official RoboCop bronze statue today and RoboCop will also throw the first ball at the Detroit Tigers game tonight.  He's come a long way since his 1987 debut.
Variety The next Woody Allen film (with Joaquin Phoenix - who is really getting around with the auteurs! - and Emma Stone) starts shooting in a couple of months. In Rhode Island. More cast tba very soon.

Stage Door
Can you believe the Tonys are on this weekend? So fast. 
Adam Shankman announces his cast for Hair at the Hollywood Bowl in August. Given the names (Kristen Bell, Benjamin Walker -- yaasss, and various TV stars) I'm guessing they don't do the big 'entire cast gets naked for one song' thing that most productions do.
Boy Culture Crazy story about an audience heckler at a California production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof unfortunately leads to actors departing the show and bad blood with producers. As a regular theatergoer, I would have applauded the actor who left the stage to handle this. An unruly audience member can really ruin a play.

Today's Watch
And this is unexpected but delightful. Bianca Del Rio, the Queen of Mean, wants to star in a feature film comedy about a teacher who is fired for being gay. For revenge he returns to the school as a mean "lady" and gets hired again. Shades of Tootsie only without the you know, Oscarworthy acting or depth.

But still! As a huge fan of Bianca, I approve of this becoming a movie though in truth I was hoping for a sitcom. I guess I should've dreamed bigger. 

Wednesday
May212014

Sashay Away? Bianca, Adore, Courtney

Another May, another round of goodbyes to RuPaul's Drag Race finalists. Bianca Del Rio, one of the best and certainly funniest contestants in the history of RPDR took the crown on Monday night and the onehundredthou$anddolla. Now all three will sashay away...

Or will they?

Click to read more ...

Friday
May162014

We Exist

Always up for movie stars headlining music videos. Here's Andrew Garfield in Arcade Fire's "We Exist"

 

Wednesday
May072014

Drag Race: "What a Way To Go!"

There's so much to say which is perhaps why I never say it.  And why I'll let you say it instead since I gave up trying to write up my thoughts each week (too many thoughts!) COMMENT PARTY! You're invited. Bring your own comments.

Ben's farewell at the Glitter BallAnd the predicted winner is... Adore (love that bitch) though my true heart belongs to Bianca

Ben de la Creme at least understood filling the entire workroom mirror with lipstick brain vomit when he departed last week leaving only four... and then three Monday night (Adore, Bianca, and Courtney) to compete for the crown tiara of America's Next Drag Superstar.  

But what a way to go... and Ben even referenced What a Way To Go! (1964) at one point (though I regret to inform that I couldn't find it to prove it in screencap form) before sashaying away. Which made her exit all the more painful since a queen who can reference old movies and has a grasp of cultural history to draw from beyond current reality tv and Beyoncé (the only two things the lesser queens seem to "get" each season) is always a better queen for it. I still cringe thinking of that old episode where even drag queens didn't know what Grey Gardens (1975) was -- and this was even after the Emmy & Globe winning Jessica Lange and Drew Barry more version in 2009 -- and chastised Jinkx for choosing an "obscure" celebrity to riff on. RuPaul didn't dress them down for it but justice in the end because guess who won the whole season. 

My point is two-fold and as yet unexpressed. See how I can't focus with this show?

1) The last couple of episodes have been curiously muted and I hope the show finds a way to put a little pep back into its step when it goes away again at the finale and

2) there are surely few better films to draw inspiration from if you're a man in a dress than What a Way To Go!. Consider Miss Shirley Maclaine in the Oscar nominated costumes by Moss Mabry and Edith Head in gif form after the jump... if you dare...

 

Click to read more ...