ABOVE: Dark and lovely.
ABOVE: Dark and lovely.
Leaving Neverland — the documentary about allegations that Michael Jackson sexually abused two of his most famous-to-fans young playmates — is controversial only because of Jackson's undeniable talent and inescapable fame.
Directed by Dan Reed and set to be presented March 3 and 4 on HBO, it methodically attempts to create an exhaustive record of the claims of James Safechuck, 37, and Wade Robson, 41, exploring along the way how Jackson allegedly groomed them, how he managed their families, how he was able to basically date male children right out in the open, what these arrangements did to the kids' relationships going forward, and why both young men testified, under oath, on Jackson's behalf when he was closest to facing justice for his actions.
ABOVE: (Very) Happy Boxing Day!
I've got a full review of The Last Resort — a gripping doc about the photography of Andy Sweet and Gary Monroe — over at Gr8erDays, and I encourage you to read it and seek out the film. Sweet, who was murdered in 1982, was probably gay, and whether or not he was, along with shooting indelible images of the aging Jewish culture of Miami Beach in the '70s, he also shot incredible images of drag gatherings.
Keep reading for a peek at his work with LGBTQ people ...
With Widows, opening Friday, director Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave, Shame) and writer Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl) have delivered a rare animal — an Oscar-baiting thriller that offers all the action of a heist movie as well as organically interwoven ocial commentary. It's a blast.
"I'm dark, I'm 53, I'm in my natural hair – I'm in bed with Liam Neeson. And he's not my slave owner. I'm not a prostitute. We simply are a couple in love. I've never seen it before." pic.twitter.com/0vtaUM8338— Diversity School (@DiverseSchool) November 10, 2018
Viola Davis is Veronica, a Chicago schools union rep married to a career criminal (Liam Neeson) who finds her cushy lifestyle — and her life — threatened when her man and his crew are immolated in a shoot-out at the end of a job gone wrong. He's gone, but so are the millions they had just stolen, and that means she will have to pay back the money's unrightful owner, a mobster running for alderman named Jamal Manning (Brian Tyree Henry). Her only choice is to contact the other overnight widows whose men were killed along with hers and lean on them to help her pull off a heist of their own.
The plan is to steal a cache of stolen public funds that Veronica's dead husband detailed in a notebook he left behind.
I'm becoming disenchanted.
I have a soft spot for the horror genre, but increasingly, it feels as if horror films that horror fans praise as brilliant are really just unapologetically of the genre; they're not necessariIy good films overall.
Case in point: Suspiria, which has generated enthusiasm among the crowd that had previously been wary of Luca Guadagnino remaking the 1977 Dario Argento classic. Yes, it's a serious entry in the genre, yes it is exquisitely well-shot and is taken as seriously as death by its talented cast, but it's also maddeningly dry, pretentious, nonsensical and relentlessly nihlistic. Like the far more over-praised Hereditary, it's claustrophobic claptrap. Unlike Hereditary, it's also embarrassingly self-indulgent filmmaking that proves the impossible — that too much of Tilda Swinton can be a bad thing.
Boy Erased, based on Garrard Conley's 2016 memoir about his time in conversion therapy at the insistence of his religious parents, has been brought to the screen by producer, director, writer and actor Joel Edgerton, who has given the book an empathetic, sobering, unimaginative yet affecting adaptation that rises above its shortcomings to pack an emotional punch.
Coming after the release of the gutsier The Miseducation of Cameron Post, whose protagonist and director are female, Boy Erased can't help but feel decidedly more conventional, focusing on the story of an attractive white male who endures a stint at Love in Action just long enough to discover it's a harmful fraud, and who is immediately delivered from its clutches — the end.