The Golden Girls: Ageless

February 3, 2023

Reelz Originals presents a new documentary, The Golden Girls: Ageless on the continuing love for Dorothy, Sofia, Blanche, and Rose. Under an hour, the show talks about the reasons we still worship this perennial favorite and all the ways fans share their love these days including a Golden Girls cruise, a new book, new merch, and even a significant place at the Comic Cons table. And not so surprising – 3 of the talking heads are gay men. So much fun realizing I’m not the only stan in the house. Narrated by Valerie Bertinelli who starred with Betty White in Hot in Cleveland, I give The Golden Girls: Ageless a 3 out of 5.

Watch The Golden Girls: Ageless on Tubi.TV for free.

 

No Straight Lines

February 1, 2023

Outstanding documentary No Straight Lines from PBS’s Independent Lens profiles the past 40 years of Queer Comics from underground to mainstream. Directed by out lesbian filmmaker Vivian Kleinman and based on the book by producer/writer/professor Justin Hall. From PBS,

When Alison Bechdel received a coveted MacArthur Award for her best-selling graphic memoir Fun Home, it heralded the acceptance of LGBTQ+ comics in American culture. From DIY underground comix scene to mainstream acceptance, meet five smart and funny queer comic book artists whose uncensored commentary left no topic untouched and explored art as a tool for social change. Featuring Alison Bechdel, Jennifer Camper, Howard Cruse, Rupert Kinnard, Mary Wings, and other queer comics artists.

The Filmmakers
Vivian Kleiman
Director/Producer Vivian Kleiman is a Peabody Award-winning filmmaker and a Fleishhacker Eureka Fellowship artist. She was the story editor for Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men, and her work with landmark filmmaker Marlon Riggs includes Tongues Untied, among others. She taught at Stanford University’s Graduate Program in Documentary Film.

Justin Hall
Producer Justin Hall edited the Lambda Award-winning, Eisner-nominated No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics and created the comics True Travel Tales, Hard to Swallow. Hall is chair of the MFA in Comics Program at California College of the Arts, the first Fulbright Scholar of comics, and has curated international exhibitions of comics art.

Really worth watching. When you worry that we haven’t made progress over the past 50 years, this puts it all into perspective. Yes, we’re facing book bans and all the horror of “Don’t Say Gay” in Florida and other ignorant states, but we will not be shoved back in the closet. These artists remind us all to use the tools at our disposal to fight back and demand a place at the table. Hey DeSantis – Joe McCarthy died over 60 years ago. Your hatred and bigotry are the last gasps of the patriarchy. Watch No Straight Lines and feel the power. 5 out of 5.

No Straight Lines currently streams on PBS.
Listen to Vivian Kleinman interview on Brad Shreve’s Queer We Are podcast.

7 Women and a Murder (7 donne e un mistero)

January 31, 2023

Italian locked room murder mystery and comedy, 7 Women and a Murder is a remake of the 2002 film 8 Women by François Ozon, and the play Huit femmes by Robert Thomas. Kooky, campy, silly and lots of fun, this film is a perfect antidote to a long week at work or a difficult time navigating the news. 7 Women boasts an impressive international cast including Margherita Buy (His Secret Life), Diana Del Bufalo, Sabrina Impacciatore, Benedetta Porcaroli, Micaela Ramazzotti, Luisa Ranieri and Ornella Vanoni. Full disclosure, I fell asleep during the ending (that’s happening more and more lately) and couldn’t figure out who the murderer was. So I will be rewinding some early evening this week to find out whodunnit. Meanwhile the rest of the film I was awake for was charming, silly, and made me laugh out loud in places. And it all takes place during Christmas! 3.5 out of 5 which means it’s may not be perfect, but it’s worth a try if the details interest you.

7 Women and a Murder currently streams on Netflix.
By the way, have you noticed the outstanding international content Netflix is purchasing? I’m very happy to see that.

Urbania

January 29, 2023

Caught the gritty, gay indie Urbania from filmmakers Jon Matthews and Philippe Denham about a man who loses his boyfriend to a hate crime and seeks revenge. Based on the play, Urban Folk Tales by Daniel Reitz, the film takes its shape from all sorts of people telling urban legend stories throughout the piece as the protagonist Charlie reveals more and more about that fateful night.  The couple’s played by Dan Futterman and Matt Keeslar. In 2000, gay parts were still being given to straight actors. They both do a good job. It’s just unfortunate that actor’s like Alan Cumming had to be relegated to a tiny part. The first half of the film drags in parts. I remembered loving it 20+ years ago when it was released. In 2023, it meandered a bit until the last act. It’s a good ending from an ok film. I was still so hungry for gay indies even back in 2000, I am sure I rated this higher. Looking at it today, it’s a 3.5. Definitely worth consideration. Hard to believe 2000 looks so long ago especially the fashion and the scenes of NYC.

The Last of Us: Season 1, Episodes 1-3

January 27, 2023

Post-apocalyptic television series, The Last of Us boasts the largest television production in Canadian history, as well as the first HBO series based on a video game. I heard a bit of hype and decided to watch. It’s a zombie show for sure. I like post-apocalyptic stories, and I watched a few seasons of The Walking Dead and loved it until they killed my favorite character. Unfortunately, The Last of Us feels like more of the same. It’s extremely high quality so if any of this description peaks your interest, definitely check it out. For me, I am happy to let it go. 3 out of 5. Next.

2/2023: I did watch episodes 2 & 3, mainly to get to episode 3 which my dear friend Mark told me to watch. So happy to see the entire hour devoted to Bill and Frank’s relationship. As Mark said, it was great seeing a gay male couple of a certain age be celebrated. Such an amazing departure. Still not going to continue the show, but the showrunners should be commended for including this story into the mix. Outstanding.

1899

January 25, 2023

The German producers behind Dark bring us yet another television series, this one titled 1899, full of taking chances, heady intelligent scripts, and a story that’s hard to follow – in a good way. 1899 takes place on a steamship traveling from London to New York City just before – you guessed it – the turn of the 20th Century. Lots of immigrants on board, so the setting is money vs. poverty until a second vessel is discovered abandoned at sea. That’s all I will say. The complexity to the story along with great acting kept me coming back. Once a few major plotlines were revealed later in the season, I wondered if I loved it or was just watching to see how the showrunners would explain their way out of this
Sci-Fi/Suspense soup. Some of it seemed silly. Some of it was awe-inspiring. As with their previous show, the idea was to run 1899 for three seasons. Unfortunately Netflix pulled the plug and so no ending. Frustrating and unfortunately because I can’t rate subsequent series for closure, I give this season a 3.5 out of 5.

1899‘s one and only season currently streams on Netflix.

Oscar Nominations: 2023

January 24, 2023

The Oscar nominations were announced this morning. For the first time in a long time (ever?), my favorite film of the year, Everything Everywhere All at Once (EEAAO) was nominated for eleven awards, the most for any film. Yay!

I have a lot of catching up to do. Aside from EEAAO, I have only seen Elvis and Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris. I am shocked Nope received zero nominations. That’s just ridiculous. Meanwhile a beautiful moment from EEAAO. They so deserved the noms.

The Assignment with Audie Cornish

January 23, 2023

NPR’s Audie Cornish hosts a CNN weekly podcast. I came to hear about long COVID and stayed for the OnlyFans piece. Both were very informative. The 30-minute format works well for Cornish. From CNN,

Fiery Twitter threads and endless news notifications never capture the full story. Each week on The Assignment, host Audie Cornish pulls listeners out of their digital echo chambers to hear from the people who live the headlines. From the sex work economy to the battle over what’s taught in classrooms, no topic is off the table. Listen to The Assignment every Thursday.

4 out of 5.
Listen now on CNN, or find the show on your favorite podcast platform.

Welcome to Chippendales

January 21, 2023

What started out as a romp, ended up pretty lackluster. Welcome to Chippendales is a limited series on Hulu which follows the real life story of founder and owner Steve Banerjee who gets greedy and doesn’t want to share any of his fortune with others who work hard to create the Chippendales brand. That specifically includes choreographer Nick De Noia. The two characters are played by Kumail Nanjiani and Murray Bartlett. Both men bring a lot of experience to the roles. They tried, but in the end, the story unravels into a melodramatic mess. The showrunners really should have scrapped the desire to create a heavy drama and leaned in more to the camp fest Chippendales truly is. Featured actors Juliette Lewis, Andrew Rannells, Robin de Jesus and Annaleigh Ashford try hard, but also fall short. This felt more like a 1970s TV movie of the week than a high end streaming limited series from 2023. 2 out of 5. Next.

Welcome to Chippendales currently stream on Hulu.
Despite all the murder and mayhem, Chippendales is still going strong in Las Vegas.

Nope

January 19, 2023

I loved the Close Encounters vibe of Nope. Jordan Peele does a great job creating a film with nods to the classic Sci-Fi films of the 1970’s, while putting his own signature on this well worn genre. Is it me, or do we just not see enough siblings in movies? I loved Emerald and OJ. They perfectly complimented each other as brothers and sisters often do. Nope is part of a series of films Peele’s done with elements of horror in them – 2017’s Get Out and 2019’s Us. Loved the first, haven’t seen the second. Nope has amazing special effects, a strong script, and great performances from Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer. The film hurls the two characters into an unbelievable situation. I won’t say much more other than how they confront their peril, it’s a stroke of genius. 4 out of 5 for Nope.


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