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Entries in LGBT (227)

Tuesday
Jul012014

Tuesday Top Ten: Unconventional Fourth of July Movie Selections

Glenn here with this week's Tuesday Top Ten. Wikipedia tells this Australian that the Fourth of July, Independence Day, is a day usually celebrated with “fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions and political speeches and ceremonies.” Curious that they don’t include movies since, at least since 1991 when James Cameron’s Terminator 2: Judgement Day premiered to one of the then biggest opening weekends of all time, the big July 4th blockbuster is an annual trend with the likes of Independence Day, the Transformers franchise, Superman Returns and seemingly anything starring Will Smith.

With the holiday this Friday, most lists of movies to watch over the long holiday weekend will feature masculine, almost brutish titles that celebrate America’s achievements in war and rah-rah bravura (The Patriot, Saving Private Ryan, Top Gun) or the coming of age of a nation and its people in almost gooey fashion (Field of Dreams, Forrest Gump, The Grapes of Wrath). So let's have fun and mix it up. Some of these titles are a bit off of the beaten path and others are outright bonkers, but I think they perform a somewhat patriotic service in one way or another.

TEN UNCONVENTIONAL 4TH OF JULY RECOMMENDATIONS

10. Mulholland Drive
David Lynch loves America. If we all lived in his world then people in small towns would never have to dream of moving to New York or Los Angeles because they’d all be just as interesting as each other. In Lynch’s world – predominantly the (overlapping?) universes of Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet, Lost Highway and this, arguably his magnum opus – America is full of weird people doing weird things and he wouldn’t change a thing. Mulholland Drive is the film of a director who loves his home and wants everyone to be as entranced by it as he. In Lynch’s world, the magic of the American dream is alive and well, and even if it doesn’t work out (as, let’s face it, it rarely does) then he’s going to portray it with as much dreamy, sensual beauty as possible.

9 more after the jump...

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Sunday
Jun292014

Happy Pride! Complete the Sentence...

Today is the big day here in NYC! 

Play safe and have fun.  And if you're staying in, watch a great movie. And complete this sentence:

My favorite LGBT movie is _______ because  _________ but the one I've seen the most is _________ .

Friday
Jun272014

Pride on Pride: LGBT Documentaries Shine Light on the Courts and Theater

The month of June is a good time to be gay. With an entire month devoted to LGBT pride, the community is at its most visible in media and whether it’s Laverne Cox appearing on the cover of Time Magazine and inciting a much-needed conversation about trans issues, or Broadway Bares raising money for AIDS research on the back of, well, Broadway’s bare, broad shoulders, there’s a lot to be proud of. Cinema itself hasn’t quite caught up, for despite a much larger number of LGBT films reaching the marketplace in some form (theatrical, VOD, home entertainment) they never seem to take full advantage of the surge of interest in gay topics that pride month, coupled with New York City’s Pride March, provide.

This time of the year is also a great moment to look back at the many advances made in the rights movement for LGBT community. Narrative filmmakers Ryan Murphy and Chris Mason Johnson have this year looked at the onset of the AIDS crisis in The Normal Heart and Test (which Nathaniel was far more forgiving to than I was when I reviewed it here last here), but one of the year’s most high profile documentaries zips forward in time to what is arguably the biggest moment in the gay rights movement in decades. Ben Cotner and Ryan White won the audience choice and jury prizes at this year’s Sundance for The Case Against 8, and it’s easy to see how audiences could get swept up in its matter of fact telling of the court case that brought about an end to the ban on same-sex marriages in California and the subsequent domino effect it put into motion.

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Thursday
Jun262014

Linking Time

Coming Soon Denzel Washington does the mandatory back to camera pose required of all teaser posters now for The Equalizer
Dazed Michel Gondry shares films he can't forget: Modern Times, Groundhog Day, The Phantom of Liberty and more
The Matinee's 'Blind-Spot' series visits the inspirational teacher movie Goodbye Mr Chips (1939)
Empire Tate Taylor will follow Get On Up with In the Event of a Moon Disaster, another period piece. The premise sounds cool but I don't understand how he'll find roles for Viola & Octavia and he's not allowed to work without them. Tis TFE's decree


Pajiba Pajiba turns 10. Happy birthday Pajiba!
Non-Fics on the 10 best documentaries about gay history ever made. Some surprises here. I haven't even heard of a couple of these
Daily Mail good news about Michigan only ever seems to come from Ann Arbor these days: Madonna's daughter Lourdes (aka "Lola") will attend U of M as an MDT major. (MDT programs are a good part of why I object to frequent complaints about the film musical these days. There are many professional actors trained as triple threats. It's just they're rarely asked to use all three skills.)
MNPP who wore it best - zombie boy ripoff edition via Mad Max: Fury Road
The Black Maria revisits the Monroe/Gable/Clift/Wallach classic The Misfits (1961)
Los Angeles Times Academy tightens up campaign rulings in the wake of that Alone (Yet Not Alone) business last season 
Variety 5 themes that might influence Emmy voters - I'm most intrigued by the idea of the last one "Endurance". I've also wondered that.
Vulture funny Jenny Slate (Obvious Child) interview
Awards Daily shortly after that imposing Streep-centric poster The Giver gets its official newly hideous poster utilising all the principles. Hooray?
Playbill interviews Jonathan Groff on his coming out and his subsequent quick rise in TV and film 

Spawn of Meg & Dennis. And you can see both of them so easily in his face!

Castings
VF Hollywood Meg Ryan making her directorial debut. Tom Hanks will cameo but the lead role, a teenager bike messenger, will be played by Jack Quaid (son of Meg & Dennis) whose film debut was in The Hunger Games (2012)
Empire Ben Wheatley's thriller High Rise (based on a JG Ballard) has quite the cast lined up for shooting next month: Elisabeth Moss, Tom Hiddleston, Luke Evans, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, and James Purefoy
Coming Soon Ben Kingsley joins Lupita, Idris, and ScarJo in the voice cast of the new Jungle Book, which mixes live action with animation. He'll play Bagheera 
THR Tilda Swinton and Ralph Fiennes join the Coens comedy Hail Caesar, giving us the Budapest Hotel reunion we were hoping for. Also: Channing Tatum!
Variety untitled heist comedy from Napoleon Dynamite's Jared Hess will star Jason Sudeikis and Kristen Wiig
/Film Rooney Mara to produce and possibly star in kidnapping drama A House in the Sky 

Wednesday
Jun252014

List Mania

Two interesting lists came out in the past couple of days which are worth discussing / poring over / loving deeply / fuming at for various reasons.

Three LGBT Films I'm Always Wishing More People Had Seen. Paris is Burning (#3), Lilies (#64), and Show Me Love (#168)

• The Advocate crowd-sourced the 175 Essential LGBT Movies list which is a mix of non gay movies that gays love and actual queer films. Brokeback Mountain (2005) tops the list and the top ten is really cool and varied though it's obviously skewing toward historically important cinematic breakthroughs (regardless of quality) which I suppose explains the high ranking of Philadelphia (1993) which is not a good movie and so so timid and Making Love (1982), just outside the top ten which is interesting and way less timid than many movies which came after it (how's that for an odd turn of events) but it's also stiffly made. I've seen all but 34 of these pictures but some of the choices are... unfortunate. The foreign classics are shoved toward the back of the list (Almodóvar is present of course but woefully underrepresented and poorly ranked) but basically every popular American gay film from the last 25 years that actually sucks is accounted for; it's a myth that gays have good taste!

P.S. My Beautiful Laundrette, which we were just discussing, comes in at #21. 

 

And now a more mainstream list...

Only 5 live action musicals made the list. No Cabaret (1972)? I weep.

• The Hollywood Reporter surveyed industry types like Oscar winners, studio chiefs, and TV personalities and came up with a list of Hollywood's Favorite 100 Films of All Time. As a very mainstream list that only grazes Old Hollywood with the most iconic pictures (All About Eve, Gone With The Wind, On the Waterfront - that sort of thing) and heavily favors New Hollywood (roughly the 70s forward) it's fun. But you have to know what you're getting into. Most interesting to me is how beloved the year 1994 is with Pulp Fiction, Shawshank Redemption and Forrest Gump all in the top 15 !!! The most recent picture listed is Inception (2010) which... gross. Spielberg, Coppola, Hitchcock and Nolan all have multiple entries. Curiously Hollywood only loves modern animated movies - nothing made earlier than Beauty & The Beast (1991) which comes in at #86. Brokeback Mountain (2005) comes in at #76 (Crash is nowhere to be seen. I think Hollywood was embarrassed about that Best Picture win as soon as the morning after if not as soon as Jack Nicholson read the card).

P.S. Since we were just surveying 2004 I think it's worth noting that Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is the only picture from that year listed... none of the actual Best Picture nominees made the cut, not even Million Dollar Baby

What should we make lists of here at TFE? Summertime is obviously ideal for movie lists since nothing is actually happening at the movies (besides, you know, CG robots, monsters, and explosions) 

 

Tuesday
Jun242014

Filming Dance in "Test"

One of this year's best indies Test is about a young understudy dancer in San Francisco. Though it's only made a teensy bit of money in a microscopic theatrical run (that's happening to more and more indies) at one point it climbed to the top 15 on iTunes' indie chart.

TEST's dance troupe at rehearsal

It's a topic for another time perhaps but I wonder how far we are away from box office reports that include money from On Demand and iTunes now that so many films hit all three venues at once or in quick succession?

The following are unused excerpts (edited for length) from my Towleroad interview last week with Chris Mason Johnson the director. I thought they were well suited to you cinephile savvy musical-friendly nuts anyway. It's rare that we get such attentively filmed and beautiful dancing onscreen so I had to ask him about the camerawork and how his history as a dancer played into the movie.

Chris Mason Johnson with his prizes from "OutFest"Nathaniel: Test is your second movie and it feels confident.

CHRIS MASON JOHNSON: Well after The New Twenty (2008) -- making movies is a combination of a hugely difficult set of skills. In the old days all the famous directors we know from the classic era, they apprenticed forever. I think Robert Altman did 11 TV movies before his first feature. In our culture it's this crazy kind of 'come out of the door fully formed and go to Sundance' mythology. It's bullshit. TV is the new Hollywood in a way -  people can learn their craft there.

Why the long break between your two movies?

I tried to get something much more commercial off the ground. It was the classic story of waiting on money. Almost getting going, etcetera. It was such a demoralizing experience because you have no power. At a certain point I said 'Screw it. I know how to make movies and I'm going to do something small and personal.' 

Dance gives the familiar backdrop [the AIDS crisis in the 80s] such a fresh angle. 

It's just as much about dance as it is about anything else. In terms of the dance, I did a fun thing with the dance climax scene where the understudy goes on. That's been the über dance narrative from 42nd street through The Red Shoes through The Turning Point through Black Swan. That's always the story and I wanted to do that again but I wanted to do it how I'd experienced it. I'd gone on multiple times, one time with Barysynikov, one time in New York and you prove yourself and it's amazing. And then you go back to work the next day, the person gets better, and you're watching it again.

It's very different than the Broadway version where you become a star. So I put the dance in the middle of the movie. That's always the climax of those movies but I put it smack in the middle which is a different kind of structure. 

As an aficionado of musicals, I have to tell you that it was hugely refreshing to see a complete dance number that didn't cut every second to a new angle or stay with closeups. That makes me so crazy. You pulled the camera back. Thank you!

It makes me crazy, too. In terms of the overall style we wanted to hit this perfect balance where real dancers would like it and it was real dancing but also just fun for an audience. We knew we wanted to do really exciting contemporary dance. In terms of framing there's this happy medium where you frame the full body and you respect the space but you also cut enough and move the camera enough for dynamics. Otherwise it would be inert. Pina did a genius job of that. I loved that.

For me the moving camera is like a moving body is in choreography so I love playing with that. 

The cinematography is beautiful which surprised me. That's a craft that's hit & miss with indies.

This was $200,000 [budget]. In some sense people really only understand indies on that microbudget level if they look microbudget: down and dirty and gritty. Everyone gets that mode. When you get something that looks really polished and cinematic, it's harder for people to make sense of it on a microbudget. My cinematographer's name is Daniel Marks. It's his first feature out of AFI but I've known him for ten years. He's just super talented. The script was not dialogue based so we planned it as images. I really love an image based cinema and that's not the dominant strain in America.  I'm really happy with the way it looks.

Even though you've said you'd like to move toward TV, I hope you're planning to continue with dance. TV needs more dance that's not reality show competitions.

The question is did Smash ruin the theater for network? From the powers that be point of view 'Oh we tried it, it didn't work!'

Have you seen Test yet, readers? Do you love the trope of the understudy who goes on?

Friday
Jun202014

My Beautiful Laundrette 

[With Gay Pride festivities happening in various cities in June, we'll take a look back at a few gay classics. Here's Matthew Eng (who you'll remember from a couple of American Hustle pieces) on an Oscar nominated 80s classic - Editor]

Initially envisioned as a low-budget, Channel 4 telefilm, My Beautiful Laundrette cheekily challenged the Western moviegoing market upon its U.K. and U.S. releases in, respectively, 1985 and ’86. It became an out-of-nowhere arthouse hit, all while ironically embracing and blending a distinctive, regional-specific grouping of Thatcher-era South Londoners who fall under social categorizations normally left discrete or disregarded in modern-day moviemaking, both then and now. In the film, Omar (Gordon Warnecke), a young, business-minded Pakistani-Brit, sets out to renovate his uncle’s dreary laundrette into a clothes-cleaning arcade, a luxury laundrette “as big as the Ritz.” To do this, Omar recruits Johnny, his white former classmate and one-time lover, resulting in all the charged, complicated power shifts that would inevitably stem from a South Asian British man employing his former skinhead ex-boyfriend in Thatcherite England.

Arguably the film’s greatest claim to fame is that the smirking, blonde-streaked, and neck-licking Johnny is played by an effortlessly charismatic and impossibly hot Daniel Day-Lewis, the only actor in the cast since allowed to top his work here (not to mention the only one still working, period) and whose strong turn in Laundrette—coupled with his amusingly meek snob in the same year’s Merchant-Ivory export A Room with a View—prompted a prize-winning stateside breakout...

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