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 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 LGBT (189)

Wednesday
Apr232014

Tribeca: Gender Punk Love Story

Reporting again from Tribeca, here's Jason on the Tiger-winning Something Must Break from Swedish director Ester Martin Bergsmark.

Xavier Dolan directing a remake of Fassbinder's In a Year of Thirteen Moons is what occurred to me about halfway into the Swedish transgender love-story-of-sorts Something Must Break, although I think I probably do director Ester Martin Bergsmark's film a disservice setting it up against the lofty cinema I excitedly imagine that project could be. (Somebody send Xavier a note, please.) As for what the film really is, while it's spiked with moments of aggression and punk (especially in the terrific final moments) it's more intent to drift on languid pauses, hushed tones, and Instagram filters - think Weekend on smack.

Something Must Break tells the tale of Sebastian turning into Ellie while simultaneously falling in love with Andreas, a boy whose outer Sid Vicious masks a more gooey James Dean trustafarian center. Simultaneously or maybe because of - the push and pull of Andreas' needs (which Andreas can't even seem to comprehend himself) seems to spark Sebastian to action, and the film's at its most interesting when his inner Ellie begins making herself known, most especially in moments of defiance. The film does nearly wring a tear or two out of Andreas' blind self-absorbtion and cruel confusion, and I did dig the way the process of Sebastian's transformation was more just a shift of perspective, as if light began hitting a diamond from a different angle.

But it's the sort of movie that feels like an extended first act - I was more interested in where Ellie was going than where I'd just watched her wander from. I wanted to see that diamond cut glass.

Tuesday
Apr222014

Tribeca: Life Partners With Benefits

Tribeca coverage continues with Jason on Life Partners with Leighton Meester & Gillian Jacobs

When I say that the specter of Frances Ha hangs heavy over Life Partners, you should probably keep in mind that the specter of Frances Ha has been hanging over my entire life for the past year and a half - it nearly immediately became The Movie I Quote Constantly. But that said, Life Partners tells the story of the air-tight bond between two young women that experiences a little leakage when a gentleman caller arrives on the scene, tossing the sudden third wheel into chaos, so you know... it's not just me.

Standing in the shadow of Frances' greatness could squelch the life from anything, but Partners, with its light heart and sitcom tread, is a genial enough 93 minutes that it makes it out alive. It's not the sort of film I'll be demanding be screened for me upon my death bed, the light in Greta's eyes carrying me off into that great nothingness, but I imagine now and then I'll chuckle remembering this or that moment down the line.

One interesting contrast of note between the two films - whereas Frances only seemed a little gay for her bestie Sophie, and that tension was acknowledged and joked about, in Life Partners the Frances-esque character of Sasha (played pleasantly enough by by Leighton Meester) is actually a lesbian, but the topic of any non-platonic love between her and her heterosexual bestie (played pleasantly enough by Gillian Jacobs) is verboten. It seems a conscious decision by the film-makers but it strains towards self-consciousness - one of their friends would joke about it, at least. Life Partners isn't that interested in really difficult complications that linger though. It still has some growing up to do.

Tuesday
Apr222014

Tribeca: Holla for 'Mala Mala'

Our Tribeca Film Festival coverage continues with Glenn on Mala Mala

Christine Vachon is a national treasure. That is a fact. Without her then it’s highly questionable whether queer cinema would even exist in the somewhat minor capacity that it does. Seeing her name appear in the credits of Dan Sickles and Antonio Santini’s Mala Mala was a refreshing surprise because it’s rare to find documentaries with subject matter like this coming from such a major name, and yet also not at all surprising because the film has a beautiful polish to it that comes from having the resources that a name such as Vachon’s allows. It was also the film’s exceptional good fortune to get a connection to RuPaul’s Drag Race, too, giving the film a pop culture connection that can only help its important subject matter reach a wider audience.

Mala Mala is a documentary that looks at the trans and drag communities of Puerto Rico. Focusing on several key members of the island nation’s community, it proves to be a funny, sad, poignant, and ultimately refreshing experience. I certainly wasn’t aware of Puerto Rico’s sizable community and their struggles and for that the film provides a valuable service. Even better, however, was that the filmmakers didn’t shy away from their subjects’ bad sides with some working as sex workers and others having very strong, unflinching thoughts about what it means to be trans. As a film that chronicles the efforts to get government equality for transgender men and women it proves to be a rousing one, but it is these darker corners that give it the power necessary to possibly become something akin to Paris is Burning for a new generation.

That groundbreaking 1990 documentary by Jennie Livingston lingers over the proceedings of Mala Mala like a vogueing ghost. Featuring former Drag Race contestant April Carrion (the reveal of what would have been her “Snatch Game” persona is a hoot) as she jets off to compete, it’s hard not to think of the Houses of Paris is Burning and the massive steps made in pop culture acceptance of not only gay and drag culture, but LGBTIQ people in general. Mala Mala doesn’t reach the stunning, soaring heights of that earlier film, but the two would make an outdragous double feature.

Even when the film falls into standard doc practices like talking heads, Mala Mala stands out from the documentary crowd. Exceptionally lensed with a vibrant use of color and framing as well as frequently hypnotic imagery, this is one of the most gorgeous docs in some time. The sound work, too, is wonderfully done, full of pulsating music that recreates the evocative sounds and beats of Puerto Rican drag life. This is most certainly not another drably assembled work of non-fiction (like, say, other Tribeca doc titles such as The Newburgh Sting and Regarding Susan Sontag), but an exciting fusion that suggests its debut directors have the smarts to potentially go far. Christine Vachon would be wise to take Sickles and Santini up on their shimmering, almost sensual promise as exhibited in Mala Mala, a vital new film in the constantly evolving landscape of queer cinema.

April Carrion (RuPaul's Drag Race) at the Tribeca premiere


Friday
Apr182014

The Linkae

After Ellen "Return of the Lesbian Villain"
/Film Sharon Stone does Mrs Robinson at The Graduate live-read
KCRW Tilda Swinton guest DJ special. She's a fan of Marilyn Manson, Björk & Bowie. We could have guessed as much!
Vanity Fair Daniel Radcliffe does the Proust Questionnaire 

What is your greatest regret? I’m 24! I think it’s a little early for all that

Pajiba Cameron Diaz vs Kiki Dunst in the battle of the vapid remarks
AV Club Tony Kushner working on another Steven Spielberg project The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara. Sounds intriguing but anything that keeps Tony away from writing that Viola Davis as a politician movie is a problem for me
Judgmental Maps NYC by stereotype
Variety a new memoir on Ethel Merman. When is she getting a biopic for chrissakes?
i09 Why were there so many giant insect movies in the 1950s? 
/Film on potential superhero crossover movies. Only when the mega-corporations are out of ideas/money 

Today's Watch
The Normal Heart trailer. Will this be yet another TV movie that we have to wonder how it would have fared at the Oscars had it been released theatrically? At the very least the doctor role would've resulted in a nomination no matter who played it. That's the part once slated for Barbra Streisand decades ago with Julia Roberts taking over for Ellen Barkin who won the Tony on Broadway (why wasn't she asked to reprise it given her connections to Ryan Murphy?) so expect Julia at least to be up for the Emmy.

 

Exit Question: Is it just me or does the type here inadvertently imply or perhaps subliminally predict that Matt Bomer and Taylor Kitsch will one day be Oscar nominated actors?

Wednesday
Apr092014

April Showers: Flirting With Disaster

waterworks each night at 11

How many of you have seen David O. Russell's Flirting With Disaster (1996)? With the exception of the stupidly maligned I ♥ Huckabees, it's his funniest film. One day it will surely be rediscovered given the attention his films regularly win now. The film centers on bickering spouses Mel & Nancy (Ben Stiller & Patricia Arquette) who are searching for Mel's birth parents. In the screwball chaotic final act, they end up sharing the guest rooms in the crowded home of drug-loving hippie conspiracy theorists (Lily Tomlin, Alan Alda, Glen Fitzgerald) with a neurotic adoption agency executive Tina (Tea Leoni) and federal agents partners Paul and Tony (Richard Jenkins and Josh Brolin) who are also lovers. Eyes start to wander: Tina and Mel get flirtatious and Tony just can't stop coming on to Nancy.

While Mel enjoys a very uncomfortable dinner downstairs, upstairs tattooed and pierced Tony walks right into Nancy's bathroom where she's brushing her teeth. She immediately gets nervous and drops a picture frame on the floor and begins babbling about prints she has at home. Should she frame them? Anything to avoid looking at this bisexual hunk in a towel. He interrupts...

Tony: Do you want to take a shower?

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