Archive for the ‘Gay’ Category

Love, Simon (trailer)

December 4, 2017

Have you read Becky Albertalli’s novel Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda? Check out my review on Goodreads,

Loved Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda! Easy, feel good YA novel about a 16 year-old boy in the suburbs of Atlanta coming out as gay. These stories warm my heart and make me happy LGBT teens today can find a voice in literature. Great writing and strong characters make Simon stand out in the crowd. The formulaic plot doesn’t hinder – instead makes it easy to breeze through this beautiful book. Becky Albertalli makes Simon 3-dimensional while balancing a light and fun read.

So they’ve adapted the book into a film called, Love, Simon. The first trailer is out and it looks lovely. Check it out.

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4th Man Out

December 2, 2017

4th Man Out continues a new, positive gay coming out film sub-genre. Instead of the family and friends struggling, hating, or being horrified, they do what real people do (or should do) and support their friend. 4th Man Out centers around a group of four adult men in their 20’s who’ve been besties forever. One of them finally comes out. At first there’s awkwardness, then the comedy begins. And so we usher in the Gay Dude Buddy genre. Gude? He’s just a regular guy. He’s a mechanic. He farts when he eats nachos. He just so happens to be gay. I like the genre. I like the film. We need more of these films. His buds support him, his parents support him. His mother chastises him for not sharing all of his life with her for the past 10 years. That’s the only thing she’s upset about after his coming out. 4th Man Out‘s sweet, it’s endearing. It’s feel-good, Friday date night, easy peasy fun. 3.5 out of 5.

(BPM) Beats Per Minute (trailer)

December 1, 2017

I couldn’t let World AIDS Day 2017 go by without mentioning the brand-new French film, (BPM) Beats Per Minute. It’s the film I’m most excited about seeing this year.

Indiewire calls it “the Most Authentically Queer Film of the Awards Season.”
France selected it as their entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards this year.
Glenn Kenny at Roger Ebert’s site said, “Even if you consider yourself reasonably well-versed in the history, “BPM” is a kind of wake-up call, a cinematic alarm against complacency.”
Rotten Tomatoes gives Beats Per Minute (BPM) a 98% rating.
Check out BPM’s official site.
Watch the BPM trailer on YouTube. 
BPM screens this Sunday, December 3, 2017 in Hartford, CT, a co-presentation with REAL ART WAYS and Out Film CT.

Me Him Her

November 29, 2017

Me Him Her looked like a potentially cute gay male with straight best friend film. Watching the first half reduced my enthusiasm to a sigh. Filmed in 2015, the film relied on too many worn out tropes – the famous actor who can’t quite figure out how to come out of the closet, the goofy straight best friend who ventures out to save the day, the rebounding lesbian who ends up sleeping with said goofy straight best friend even though he doesn’t even remotely resemble a woman. Parts of it tried hard, parts were cringe-worthy. The bathroom fantasy club scene in particular rang homophobic to me. To be honest, I couldn’t finish it. There was something there – a kernel of potential, maybe even more. It simple never came together. 2 out of 5 for Me Him Her. Next.

The Collection: Season 1

November 11, 2017

Spoiler alerts: Amazon Studios produced the UK/French production of The Collection, a romance drama set in post-WWII Paris centered around the mystery and intrigue of a young couture house and its founder Paul Sabine. I watched two episodes. The first didn’t sway me but I wanted to give it a second chance, so I watched episode 2. The production design and acting are first-rate – a mix of British, French, and American actors. The story lags however despite the best efforts of the cast and design crew. Characters feel more like caricatures than real people. They lack depth. The gay character only attracts men prone to violence and when it becomes clear in a later episode who the father of the child given up for adoption by the young, innocent seamstress is, of course it’s the gay brother. Hello paging Dynasty, your icky stereotype is ready for a redux. 2.5 out of 5 for The Collection. Next.

Women He’s Undressed

November 5, 2017

Documentary on three-time Oscar winning costumer Orry-Kelly who came from Australia and made it big in the movies during the 1930’s forward. Women He’s Undressed has an odd way of using actors to illustrate Kelly’s voice. Not reenactments, but sort of short skits to move the story along. Once you get used to this, Orry’s life proves fascinating. Kelly managed to live as an openly gay man his entire life. Two of his male contemporaries both married women. Kelly had a long-term relationship with Cary Grant which is covered in detail by the film maker. I knew a bit of Grant’s gay life, but this illuminated a sadness in me that he and Randolph Scott never could live the life they were meant to live because of the times and the homophobic Hollywood system. Kelly’s story is also punctuated by a long working relationship with Bette Davis, bouts of alcoholism, and not one but two marvelous comebacks. He dressed some of the most glamorous women in Hollywood. The film gives the viewer a meaty glimpse into the life of an artist who made a grand life for himself and figured out how to survive and thrive in a world that didn’t have much respect for him. 3.5 out of 5 for Orry-Kelly’s tale, Women He’s Undressed.

Kevin Keller’s Nuanced Life on Riverdale

November 1, 2017

Riverdale‘s episode last week finally featured a prominent Kevin Keller plot. Keller (played by Casey Cott) is Riverdale’s resident out and proud gay teen. The idea of a high school student going to a public cruising park at night, alone might scare many parents. Kevin’s story reinforces the isolation many modern out gay kids find themselves in as they navigate life with their straight counterparts while trying to find appropriate romantic and sexual partners. The fact that Betty wants Kevin to be just like her and the rest of the gang – searching for love in their school proves impossible and ridiculous since Kevin is the only out gay kid at Riverdale High. Yes, he had an interrupted hook-up with Moose and a brief down low affair with Joaquin last season. Still, Kevin deserves to figure out a good life for himself on his own terms. While not perfect, the episode proves there are many facets to young LGBT sexuality in the midst of their hetero peers. And Kevin owned his sexuality without apology which felt right. The ending with a hug from Keller’s Sheriff Dad (Martin Cummins) also felt good. I hope the writers continue to give Kevin more complicated stories to help him be more than just window dressing for the four main characters. Riverdale serves fun, edgy, and must-see comfort food.

Series Novels That Would Make Great TV & Film Adaptations

October 23, 2017

I’ve read a number of series novels over the past few years I know would make great television. I got to thinking of that recently after hearing Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City is being picked up by Netflix for at least a ten-part installment of more than likely one or all of the final three Tales novels since Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis are on board to reprise their Mary Ann and Anna roles respectively. Three of Richard Stephenson’s Donald Strachey Mysteries were adapted for HereTV about 10 years ago. And of course Barbara Wilson’s first Cassandra Reilly novel, Gaudi Afternoon turned into a Susan Seidelman spectacular romp through Barcelona. And we could sure use a sequel with an equally outstanding director and cast.

All of this got me thinking. If I had the power of the green light, which series would I produce? Here is my incomplete list of some of my literary favorites:

Michael Nava’s Henry Rios’ Mysteries’ produced perhaps the most sophisticated gay male sleuth ever. Henry’s actually a lawyer and a drunk and then in recovery. The seven books take us through the worse of the AIDS crisis in the 1980’s to the final installment in 2001. Can’t say enough about this essential must-read series which would make for some outstanding television.

My second choice without a doubt goes to Greg Herren’s Scotty Bradley Mysteries. Herren’s lead character is adventurous, goofy, humpy, lives through Katrina in New Orleans, boasts a set of pot-smoking parents and not one but two emotionally monogamous boyfriends – a thrupple. Scotty is a former go-go boy who solves crimes with his retired FBI agent primary partner Frank and their mysterious international gun for hire third, Colin.

An even dozen novels comprise Laura Lippman’s Tess Monaghan Mysteries. Lippman’s books revolve around a former newspaper reporter who turns private eye. Many lists mention Tess Monaghan if you’re a fan of The Wire and crave more gritty Baltimore drama. Lippman delivers.

Years ago, I served grand jury duty in NYC. This was pre-smart phones, pre-ereaders. I found the first three Wraeththu books in one volume. Plopped the bible-sized book in my lap and proceeded to devour Storm Constantine’s magical world. Wraeththu are another species superior in many ways to humans with mostly male characteristics, but intersexed so they can reproduce. Fascinating reading especially in today’s world of transgender visibility. These books would make for a magically sexy adaptation. Think a Sense8 goes sci-fi pagan/wiccan sort of mystical reality.

If vampire movies ever come back in vogue again, and you know they will, Jourdan Lane’s Soul Mates series would make for some kick ass sexy gay male entertainment. Peter and Lucien would be the perfect other worldly follow-up to Queer as Folk‘s Justin and Brian.

Marshall Thorton’s Boystown series take place in 1980’s Chicago. The ten novels (as of 2017) are classic private eye with a twist. Nick Nowak is gay and unapologetic about it. He’s a man’s man character finding his way in a post-Stonewall world where his biological family has rejected him because of his sexuality. He is forced off the police force – a family business but refuses to leave Chicago. Nick becomes a private eye and solves cases like the best of them.

Jordan Castillo Price’s Mnevermind series follows Daniel Schroeder in the near future as he tinkers around as a memory specialist stalled in life until he meets the mysterious Elijah, a young man living on the spectrum. Outstanding romance future tech mash-up with great fleshed out characters. Price has an extremely popular 8-part PsyCop series, which I also enjoy but Mnevermind continues to be her series I return to with a smile.

‘Nathan Burgoine’s Triad Blood series involves “a vampire, wizard, and demon (who) form a bond in Ottawa, Canada that leaves them both a part of—and apart from—those in power in the supernatural world around them.” Burgoine’s addictive stories are begging to be adapted for the screen. Casting Anders the arrogant, sexy, demon would be the most fun.

So far I’ve only read the first book of Aleksandr Voinov’s Witches of London seriesLars which I absolutely adored. Voinov’s books are pagan romance stories which fascinate me to no end. “Lars Kendall is a solitary pagan on the Northern Path, loyal to the gods of the Norse pantheon.”
Rhys Turner hires Lars to renovate his house. Magic of all sorts ensue. Witches of London could easily be a very modern, sophisticated, more realistic Bewitched romance for the early 2020’s. Makes me imagine my own life taking off in an earth religion direction.

Also only read the first book of Charlie Cochet’s THIRDS series, a (so far) 10-part novel series based in the future where humans and therians live side-by-side. THIRDS would make an outstanding LGBTQ super hero futuristic action film franchise which could easily turn the tired Hollywood super hero trope on its head. Fun, action, and a bit of romance.

And finally I vote for making the graphic novel Wuvable Oaf into a feature film or a bizarre, niche television series. Everyone I know who reads this novel falls in love with its crazy cast of characters. “Oaf is a large, hirsute, scary-looking ex-wrestler who lives in San Francisco with his adorable kitties and listens to a lot of Morrissey. The book follows Oaf’s search for love in the big city, especially his pursuit of Eiffel, the lead singer of the black metal/queercore/ progressive disco grindcore band Ejaculoid.”

I’m sure there’s more series out there. What would you like to see turned into a television show or film?

French Aids drama BPM shows Hollywood how to capture gay history (Guardian)

October 21, 2017

Really looking forward to French writer-director Robin Campillo’s BPM (Beats Per Minute). From The Guardian,

The biggest breakthrough of the lot, however, might be French writer-director Robin Campillo’s BPM (Beats Per Minute), which opens in US cinemas on Friday. Outwardly, Campillo’s sprawling, impassioned reflection on the formative years of Aids activist group Act-Up Paris doesn’t appear especially subversive. Meshing fact and fiction with formal grace, conscientious historical detail and a fascination with the to and fro of human debate – it’s not hard to tell that Campillo co-wrote Laurent Cantet’s thrillingly argument-driven The Class – it’s an A-grade prestige film that has met with acceptance and acclaim. Pedro Almodóvar’s jury handed it the Grand Prix award at Cannes, while France has selected it as their entry in this year’s foreign-language Oscar race, where it’s the strong favourite to win.

What’s new, you ask? We’ve seen Aids dramas before: they’ve been winning prizes since Tom Hanks accepted an Oscar in lachrymose fashion for Philadelphia in 1994. BPM, however, has about as much in common with Philadelphia as The Danish Girl does with Hedwig and the Angry Inch: Campillo’s film isn’t just a gay film, but an explicitly, ebulliently queer one, shot through not just with righteous political anger and equal-opportunity compassion, but joyous, unabashed carnality.

Read the full article at The Guardian.

The Fosters: Season 5

October 19, 2017

The Fosters keeps getting better. Hard to believe the kids are so grown up after only five years. Stef and Lena continue to navigate parenting with a home full of teenagers. Each child has their own life, friends, loves, hopes, dreams. Side stories with the legal parents, birth parents, foster parents. It can seem like a lot, but it’s life and love and creators Peter Paige and Bradley Bredeweg do such a great job. I look forward to a new season each year. 4 out of 5 for this heartwarming family drama from Free Form.


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