136 posts categorized "MOVIE REVIEW"

Apr 29 2022
FIREBIRD Heats Up NYC— Q&A With Star Tom Prior & Director Peeter Rebane Comments (0)

Tom-Prior-Firebird-boyculture-screening-6Leather zaddy (Images by Matthew Rettenmund)

Spent Thursday evening at the NYC premiere screening of Firebird, a Soviet-era gay romantic drama based on the true story of a young soldier's passionate affair with a fighter pilot in an oppressive culture, and an oppressive time in history.

Firebird-boyculture

I'd read some critics felt the film to be heavyhanded or a story we've seen before, but I disagree. Fair enough, it is a straightforward forbidden-love story, but as for originality, isn't the point that love is love? And does a reminder of that need to come with bells and whistles?

Tom-Prior-Firebird-boyculture-His head-to-toe look while awaiting going on

The performances of Prior as Sergey (who first presented his story in book form, and who died in 2017) and Oleg Zagorodnii (in real life a Ukrainian who was absent from the screening because he is defending his country) as Roman are a pleasing study in contrasts — Zagorodnii oozes movie-star charm, allowing the audience to fall for him as Sergey does, while Prior brings a naturally emo quality that makes him sympathetic, a stand-in for any gay man who's ever come of age.

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Mar 21 2022
Gay Dog Dumped + Griner In Russia Till May + BOY CULURE @ BFI Flare + Clarence Thomas Sick + Garfield On Playing Gay + MORE! — 12-PACK Comments (0)

ABOVE: Jonathan Bennett and Jaymes Vaughan are married.

BELOW: Keep reading for a gay dog, a sick puppy, Garfield on playing gay and more ...

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Dec 23 2021
When You Make It Rain, It Pours: A Review Of ZOLA Comments (0)

Zola-taylour-paige-boycultureNo sale (Images via A24)

The electrifying Zola, directed Zola-boycultureby Janicza Bravo from a script she wrote with Jeremy O. Harris, was inspired by a slightly fabulist Twitter thread written by a stripper named Zola who took a road trip to dance and wound up in the midst of a crime-fueled caper.

The film adaptation of that thread winds up as a gutsy work of art that would make Quentin Tarantino blush. Or jealous.

Zola (played with arresting confidence by Taylour Paige) meets fellow stripper Stefani (Riley Keough, whose performance is also a revelation) while serving her during her day job, and is quickly enticed to drive with her, Stefani's boyfriend and Stefani's roommate to Tampa to dance for the night and knock down some extra dollars. Once there, it quickly becomes clear the pitiful strip club is not the true destination — and that Stefani's roommate X (Colman Domingo) is really her cruel pimp. Stefani's cypher of a boyfriend Derrek (Nicholas Braun) is useless to provide any help, and in spite of the bursts of bravado Zola summons, she is frustratingly, and all too convincingly, no more than sullenly submissive when confronted with escalating threats and violence.

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Dec 19 2021
Say, Uncle: A Review Of The Mike Mills Feature C'MON! C'MON! Comments (0)

Cmon-cmon-joaquin-phoenix-johnny-jesse-mike-mills-woody-norman-boycultureI'm not stupid, you're stupid, stupid. (Image via A24)

C'mon! C'mon! from writer-director Mike Mills represents his fourth intensely interesting, uncompromisingly independent feature — after Thumbsucker (2005), Beginners (2010) and 20th Century Women (2016) — as well as being that rarest of films, a small, intellectually interested and interesting, emotional movie about what bonds us as human beings.

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Dec 18 2021
All About My Mother & Father: Capsule Reviews Comments (0)

Parallel-mothers-madres-paralelas-penelope-cruz-almodovar-poster-boycultureThe mother of all movie posters! (Image via Sony Pictures Classics)

A Hero/Ghahreman (Dir. Asghar Farhadi)

Iran's Oscar contender for Best International Feature is Asghar Farhadi's heartfelt fable A Hero/Ghahreman, about Rahim (Amir Jadidi), a man released from debtor's prison for two days on the hope he will be able to persuade his guarantor to drop charges and recommend his freedom. Open-hearted and sufficiently embarrassed by his failure to pay, which cost him his marriage and his pride, Rahim has two special reasons to work extra-hard toward getting out — his son (Saleh Karimai) and his secret fiancée, Farkhondeh (Sahar Goldust). Instead when Farkondeh finds a woman's purse containing 17 gold coins, he is faced with a dilemma — sell the coins in order to pay off some of his debt, or try to return them to their rightful owner. He opts for the latter, which results in a series of unpredictable events that will paint him as both hero and villain, when in reality he is neither. Never less than gripping, this simple story of right vs. wrong has a universal sweep and is anchored by Jadidi's deeply charismatic performance. His virtue gets him into the spot he's in, and could wind up being what keeps him from extricating himself. Superb acting all around, as each supporting player seems to represent a different human quality.

The French Dispatch (dir. Wes Anderson)

Even with its cast of thousands (of famous faces), The French Dispatch is more a collection of exquisite tableaux than it is a narrative feature. In short, it is Wes Anderson Wes Andersoning for the fences. A trippy triptych, it follows three stories as an arty, offbeat Kansas newspaper prepares its last issue in the 1970s. To be sure, there are LOL one-liners, such as when tousle-haired radical Timothée Chalamet asks stern-faced writer Frances McDormand to look away as he bathes because “If feel shy about my new muscles.” There are also plenty of absurdist vignettes, some of them momentarily tantalizing. But these attributes plus committed mini performances from the likes of Benicio de Toro, Tilda Swinton, Willem Dafoe, Jeffrey Wright, Edward Norton, Henry Winkler, Owen Wilson and Bill Murray do not make the film feel any less of an expensive folly, a distraction one has to work at rather than escape into. The French Dispatch is in theaters now.

Dune (dir. Denis Villeneuve)

While light years better than David Lynch's 1984 take on Frank Herbert's Dune, Denis Villeneuve is lost in the desert as he tackles the notoriously dense sci-fi book about a royal lineage being tasked with bringing to heel a desert planet and its resourceful inhabitants. Unlike Lynch, whose vision sank into parody, Villeneuve's stews in oppressive profundity. It is never laughable, but is also never a joy. Keeping it from being a waste of two-plus hours, Dune 2021 is exquisitely photographed with so much care it never looks alien, just like an unfamiliar corner of our own world. And that is a plus, since Herbert's story is about things earthlings need to explore — including conservationism. Timothée Chalamet as fated-to-lead Paul Atreides handily carries the picture on his tiny shoulders, with an assist from his expressive eyes, while Oscar Isaac (as Duke Leto Atreides) seems to be the only actor playing Dune as a simple family drama (love to see Scenes from a Marriage centering on Leto and his wife, Paul's mom), a good instinct lost amid the film's other, less grounded performances. Josh Brolin and Jason Momoa feel hopelessly out of place in a stultifyingly serious world, and ultimately, so did I. Dune played, for me, like a disturbingly fanatical, dogmatic even, representation of the kind of sci-fi franchise so much of cinema has become. When it is awed by nature (and especially its mammoth worms), it has real beauty ... but overall, the film has not much to say beyond the all-importance of duty. Dune is in theaters now.

Parallel Mothers/Madres paralelas (dir. Pedro Almodóvar)

One of writer-director Pedro Almodóvar's low-key best, the superfine Parallel Mothers/Madres paralelas is the story of two women — one middle-aged (Penélope Cruz, who deserves an Oscar nomination) and one a teen (Aitana Sánchez-Gijón) — who meet in a hospital as they're giving birth. Janis, in her forties, is happy to be with child, while Teresa is scared to death. Feeding off of each other emotionally, they agree to share information and stay in touch. Little does either woman realize just how deep their bond accidentally will be. While Almodóvar could be said to excel at excess, this time, he reigns himself in, presenting a fine mired in the concepts of twists of fate, ghosts of the past, political upheaval and, as always, motherhood. With queer identity thrown in for good measure. A cerebral soap, nothing is expected or as it seems here, and you will be kept guessing every second of the way. Parallel Mothers/Madres paralelas will be in theaters December 24.

 
Dec 17 2021
Out Of Tune: A Review Of CYRANO Comments (0)

Cyrano-dinklage-boycultureSorry, but I need more. (Image via Universal)

In Joe Wright's Cyrano, a reimagining of, well, y'know, is a conundrum — a pretty, warm-hearted film with a winning performance, a musical peopled by people whose singing is nothing special and who sing not especially winning words.

In the end — maybe even at the outset — one is left wondering: Why did we need this story again? And the only answer I can come to is: to prove, again, that Peter Dinklage can do anything.

Dinklage is the titular lovestruck fellow in this adaptation of the 2018 stage musical by Erica Schmidt, with Haley Bennett as fair Roxanne and Kelvin Harrison Jr. (so great in Luce and Waves) as the object of her affection. Sumptuously filmed and costumed, it hits its falsest note with the weak singing, especially from an autotuned-sounding Dinklage. Yet although his co-stars sound decent, they never sink into their characters the way Dinklage does. To appreciate his deeply felt performance as Cyrano, we are left with having to endure this unnecessary valentine.

Diverse casting does not make the story of Cyrano de Bergerac fresh; only Dinklage as its beating part comes close to accomplishing that.

Cyrano begins a limited, one-week theatrical run today. It is in limited theatrical release from January 21.

 
Whydunit: A Review Of Maggie Gyllenhaal's Psychological Thriller THE LOST DAUGHTER Comments (0)

Olivia-colman-lost-daughter-boyculturePsychological-drama queen (Image via Netflix)

The Lost Daughter is what might've been called a woman's picture in the '40s. But if so, it's a real-woman's picture, one with a remarkably flawed and compelling focal character surrounded by other imperfect women, fragments and reflections of one another.

A compelling psychological profile, it is also a thriller, but only because the character its lead character is a mercurial risk junkie.

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Dec 10 2021
Lush Life: A Review Of THE TENDER BAR — And Its Cinema Society Fête Comments (0)

Amazon-boyculture-The-Tender-Bar-PosterBar flies (Image via Amazon)

Thursday night, I was fortunate to be invited to one of Andrew Saffir's fun Cinema Society screenings — they're always restrained-lavish with a heavy dose of chic and of famous faces, and are designed to call attention to smaller films with good pedigrees.

This time, he was celebrating The Tender Bar, the sixth film from director, as opposed to actor, George Clooney.

The film, adapted by William Monaghan from J.R. Moehringer's 2005 memoir, is about a bright kid (newcomer Daniel Ranieri as young J.R., Tye Sheridan as college-age J.R.) growing up on Long Island with his single mom (Lily Rabe) in her father's (Christopher Lloyd) home, necessitated by his drunken father's (Max Martini) exit from any semblance of parental responsibility. A straight-up coming-of-age film in a blue-collar setting, The Tender Bar — his streetwise, big-hearted uncle (Ben Affleck) owns a watering hole where life lessons flow along with brewskis — covers a lot of ground briskly, rarely digging in.

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