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Entries in LGBT (416)

Thursday
Oct062016

NYFF: Uncle Howard & Brillo Box (3 ¢ off)

Here's Jason reporting from NYFF on two docs that deal with a younger generation being affected and influenced by the art dealings of their elders.

It seems like every other gay person that I meet has a gay aunt or uncle who informed their childhood in some way - I never did; the closest I got was a friend of my mother's who was whispered about as a weird bachelor type, but he was out of her life before I was born. But you remember such things, small weird whispers as they are, when they're your singular life-line to a big world actually existing out there where you can figure your own stuff out. 

I don't know or care if director Aaron Brookner is gay himself but you get the same sensation from watching Uncle Howard, his new documentary on his uncle, a film-maker who died at the age of 34 from AIDS - the thirst to eat up all he can about this fabulous person who lived a fabulous life in the margins of his own, and what that was like for him... 

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Sunday
Oct022016

Feeling the "Effects" (One Mississippi, Episode 2)

by Stephen Fenton

When a loved one dies, there’s a flurry of activity; all manner of tasks to be done and arrangements to be made. It’s those first few days after the funeral that are the hardest, when reality starts to kick in, and you realize you to make sense of this new normal. And that’s where we find Tig and family in the second episode of One Mississippi.  

“How was your stay at the hospital? Were you satisfied? Or did things not go so well?...Because you died.”

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Sunday
Oct022016

NYFF: Mysteries of "The Ornithologist"

Nathaniel R reporting from the New York Film Festival 

Would it help if I could speak Portuguese? Perhaps an intimate knowledge of Portugal's history and politics or a Catholic education would do the trick? What is it exactly about films from Portugal that make them so impenetrable? The latest confusion-maker from the Iberian peninsula, on the heels of last year's confounding but intermittently wondrous Arabian Nights, is The Ornithologist by Joao Pedro Rodrigues.

The film begins, literally enough, with a long sequence in which our protagonist Fernando (Paul Hamy, a fine Tom Hardy-like specimen) watches birds for hours in an idyllic lake. He also takes a swim, has cel phone trouble when he tries to take a call, and kayaks further into nature to see rarer birds. The opening act, part nature documentary, part contemplative reverie is superb. Both the cinematography and its subjects are beautiful and irresistibly unknowable. One intuitively right and sustained visual motif is frequent shots from the birds point of view where Fernando looks just as alien to them.

This peaceful wonder gives way soon enough to abrupt danger. From that point forward the film becomes stranger and stranger with each new, well, stranger that Fernando meets in his travels: Chinese tourists, Amazonian hunters, mute shepherds, and more. While clearly allegorical in the telling, the meanings escaped me. 

LGBT cinephiles might know the director Joao Pedro Rodrigues from his disturbing and sexually charged debut O Fantasma (2000) or the trans drama To Die Like a Man which was Portugal's Oscar submission in 2010.  The Ornithologist is similarly suffused with queer eroticism -- Fernando is tied up like Saint Sebastian in his tighty whities in one memorable sequence, and has sex with a shepherd named Jesus in another. The Ornithologist is thankfully not quite as nihilistic as the director's earlier work and even ends on an incongruously giddy (tongue-in-cheek?) note, but it remains a head scratcher despite that inarguably hypnotic pull. 

Previous Reviews from NYFF:
Graduation (from the director of 4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days)
The Unknown Girl (from Belgium's Dardenne brothers)
Staying Vertical (from the director of Stranger by the Lake)
Paterson (Directed by Jim Jarmusch starring Adam Driver)
Abacus (Documentary from Steve James of Hoop Dreams fame)
I, Daniel Blake (this year's Palme D'or Champ)
Hermia & Helena (Directed by Matías Piñeiro)

Saturday
Oct012016

Transparent Season 3. Part One 

TV’s best comedy/drama/tragedy, Transparent, is back for Season 3 in all of its sexual/pansexual/transsexual glory as creator Jill Soloway brings us back into the tumultuous lives of the fallible Pfefferman family.  Here’s a look at Episodes 1-3…


Episode One:  Elizah
It’s a bummer that the first show out of the gate is probably the weakest episode of Transparent we’ve seen.  While the show starts promisingly with Rabbi Raquel (the magical Kathryn Hahn, promoted to full-time cast member this season) jogging through misty woods to a soundtrack of Jacques Brel’s “Ne Me Quitte Pas”…this episode is devoted almost entirely to one storyline.  While Maura (Jeffrey Tambor) works one of her first shifts at the LGBT community center hotline, she receives a call from a confused young trans girl named Elizah.  When Elizah hangs up on her, Maura is so moved and involved that she spends the day tracking her down...  

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Thursday
Sep292016

Some Brain Vomiting About "Finding Prince Charming"

By Nathaniel R

Outside of talent-based competitions like Project Runway and RuPaul's Drag Race, I rarely watch reality television. Sure, I've seen an episode here and there of some of the big ones (mostly due to Emmy races or being around friends who were watching them) but I've never seen an episode of anything from the Housewives subgenre or Kardashians anything and never will. I've also never seen an episode of The Bachelor or Bachelorette.

This avoidance is less about artistic judgement than a lifelong aversion to famous people who are famous for no good reason. Celebrity that comes from talent or a contribution to society is easy to respect even if you don't personally admire that particular celebrity. Nevertheless after becoming obsessed with UNReal last season (have you finished S2?) its brilliant acting, disturbing psychology, and its evisceration of The Bachelor I suddenly had all these curiousities about this particular subgenre. 

Enter Finding Prince Charming on Logo which bills itself as the 'first' all gay dating show and is basically The Bachelor with old school Shakespearean casting; men play all the roles...

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Monday
Sep262016

Tig Rising in "One Mississippi" (Episode 1)

by Steven Fenton

If you’re a comedy fan, or if you’ve listened to any NPR show in the last four years, you know Tig Notaro. For the uninitiated, the comedian rocketed to fame when she turned her lowest point in life into comedy gold. In 2012, Tig Notaro had a pretty shitty year. Her mother passed away, she ended a relationship, and she was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer. Mere days after her diagnosis, Tig delivered an instantly iconic comedy routine where she mined her personal miserie; spoke frankly about the unbelievable circumstances she’d found herself in; and somehow transformed all that profound pain into poignant hilarity.

Notaro’s brilliance and signature laidback charm have launched her into stardom with albums, HBO specials, cameos on Inside Amy Schumer and Transparent, the Netflix documentary Tig, and now her very own Amazon show. In One Mississippi, Notaro channels her dark, deeply felt humor into a beautifully made, sensitive, and rollicking portrait of a grieving family with a talent roster full of Film Experience favorites...

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Saturday
Sep242016

Drag Race All Stars E5: RuVenge is a Dish Best Served With Love...

By Nathaniel R

How is RuPaul's Drag Race doing it this season? Eight years into the RuVerse and despite a trainwreck of a first attempt with All Stars, All Stars Season 2 is arguably earning its rather instant rep as "Best Season Evah, Yaaaas." The first season, an ill considered 'doubles' event was echoed if you will in Episode 5's "Ru-Venge" narrative in which the eliminated queens were brought back and chose comedy partners from the remaining queens. Somehow even this unmistakable reminder of Season 1's slog of watching divas drag basic bitches around like dead weight behind them transcended the concept.

It helps I think that RuPaul is playing with the format more than ever. Usually when stars have nothing left to prove they coast. Ru did win a long deserved Emmy recently and dont you forget it. (Logo won't let you, bless.) But America's favorite Drag Superstar is making fun of coasting itself while pushing her own envelope playfully.

RuPaul scrapbooking instead of working. Hee.

The funniest meta bit in each episode is hearing what RuPaul and the judges will be doing while the competition Queens deliberate who should be sent home (since they've taken over the judging duties) -- this week it was scrapbooking. Ha! It's a delightful inversion of the "work" of a reality show panel with the open secret being that the Queen Mother and her Squirrelfriends have always been having a fucking ball. What is "work"? Oh, yes, you mean "WERQ!" 

awkward hugs, villain edits, and NSFW Alaska after the jump...

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