Archive for the ‘Romance’ Category

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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Call Me By Your Name: Straight Man

October 17, 2017

It’s not even been released yet (November 24, 2017), and already Luca Guadagnino’s adaptation of the André Aciman novel, Call Me By Your Name has buzz of a sequel thanks to the film’s director. I personally hated the book. The straight male writer has been quoted as saying he doesn’t believe in “…straight, bi, gay—I don’t believe in any of that. We’re just a mess.” That’s one opinion. Definitely not mine. Aciman’s married to a woman with three children, so he must believe in something. I thought the book was a complete cop-out. As soon as I found out it was written by a straight man, it all made sense. Of course neither character would end up gay. Post-gay hetero superiority strikes again. When the film was completed, gay director Guadagnino announced there were no out actors and no explicit sex scenes in the film. And Guadagnino has decided he wants to create a sequel which follows the ending of the book “with Oliver now married with a wife and children. Guadagnino says unlike the book, Elio’s character won’t necessarily turn out to be gay: “I don’t think Elio is necessarily going to become a gay man. He hasn’t found his place yet. I can tell you that I believe that he would start an intense relationship with Marzia [Esther Garrel’s character] again.” I disagree with Guadagnino. I never felt Elio ended up gay in the book. Just the opposite. Both characters retreated into conventional lives and straight relationships. We have so few adaptations of great gay novels, I shudder to think so much attention is being handed to this project. I enjoyed Guadagnino’s I am Love. I never saw his follow-up, A Bigger Splash. I realize not every film released has to have my big gay seal of approval. I simply worry the green light and pre-release accolades once again prove it’s a straight man’s world. I’m not planning on watching the adaptation. Feel free to send me your thoughts if you do.

OutFilmCT: Desert Hearts; 10/12/17 – Hartford, CT

October 7, 2017

OutFilmCT is hosting a 30th anniversary screening of the classic lesbian drama, Desert Hearts in Hartford, CT Thursday, October 12, 2017.

DESERT HEARTS – Thursday, OCTOBER 12 @ 7:30 PM – Cinestudio
The fall is here, and we are bringing you back all-time lesbian classics! Watch it again, 30 years later, or discover one of the first masterpieces of queer cinema if you haven’t seen it before.

For October we’re celebrating the first widely released film to feature a positive lesbian relationship on-screen: no one is self-destructive, drinks to excess, or morosely pines for straight girls! Directed by Donna Deitch (who is planning a sequel), this breakthrough movie is set in 1959, as a Columbia University literature professor (Helen Shayer) arrives in Reno to divorce her husband. Staying at a local ‘divorce ranch’ in the Nevada desert, she meets a free-spirited casino worker and potter (Patricia Charbonneau), who opens her heart to self-acceptance, sensual exploration, and love.
Directed by Donna Deitch, 1986, USA, 97 min.

Cast: Helen Shayer, Patricia Charbonneau, Audra Lindley.

Desert Hearts (1985)

 

The Little Foxes

October 4, 2017

Every so often, I watch a classic film for the first time and get blown away. Such was the case with The Little Foxes. Talent lives in every inch of this movie. The remarkable cast includes Bette Davis, Teresa Wright, Herbert Marshall, Richard Carlson, Dan Duryea, and Patricia Collinge (two years away from reuniting with Teresa Wright in Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt). Directed by the luminous William Wyler (The Best Years of Our LivesThe Heiress, Funny Girl), screenplay by Lillian Hellman with additional scenes and dialogue written by Arthur Kober, Dorothy Parker, and Alan Campbell, and music by Meredith Willson, with costume design by Orry-Kelly. But honestly it’s the writing and delivery which makes this film so strong, so lasting. Nearly every minute captivated me. Not an easy task for a 75-year-old work. The Little Foxes does that and more. It rises above melodrama and Southern stereotypes to become that illusive perfect classic film. 5 out of 5 for the Bette Davis masterpiece.

Tom of Finland trailer

September 23, 2017

Very excited to see the new release, Tom of Finland. The film is Finland’s official choice for submission in the Oscars’ “Best Foreign Language Film” category. From Kino Lorber,

Known to the world as Tom of Finland, the proudly erotic drawings of artist Touko Laaksonen shaped the fantasies of a generation of gay men, influencing art and fashion before crossing over into the wider cultural consciousness. But who was the man behind the leather? Dome Karukoski’s stirring biopic follows his life from the trenches of WWII and repressive Finnish society of the 1950s through his struggle to get his work published in California, where he and his art were finally embraced amid the sexual revolution of the 1970s. Tom’s story is one of love, courage and perseverance, mirroring the gay liberation movement for which his leather-clad studs served as a defiant emblem.

Tom of Finland opens 10/13 in New York and 10/20 in San Francisco and Los Angeles before expanding to select cities.

Watch the trailer on YouTube.

Three Husbands

September 22, 2017

Sometimes I really get into classic films and sometimes I just don’t. Guess that is simply the test of time. What lasts and what wanes. I was looking forward to seeing Eve Arden and Ruth Warwick in Three Husbands. After 21 minutes, they hadn’t even introduced Arden yet. I fast-forwarded to her first scene, but even that didn’t hold my interest. 2 out of 5. Next.

One Mississippi: Season 2

September 21, 2017

Spoiler alerts: What I found missing since discovering Tig Notaro’s projects which definitely weave real life with fiction is the idea of naming her sexuality. She certainly doesn’t hide being a lesbian. She just never says the word. It’s a very post-gay, urban stance – to imagine the culture has progressed to the point where it’s unnecessary for labels. We simply show up with a partner and if they are of the same gender, then that is who you are with. It’s a lovely thought for a Star Trek episode. But for the current world we live in, I disagree. For years I have said the world outside of urban gay ghettos doesn’t embrace everyone equally. That idea felt quaint and outdated to many. With the advent of the election last year, everyone’s eyes have been opened to the need to stand up and be counted – as a person of color, as a woman, as an immigrant, as a person of science, and as LGBTQ. So I was thrilled to see Tig name her sexuality. Tig uses the words gay and lesbian strongly during the first two episodes of her sophomore season of One Mississippi. It feels right especially in our post-election reality. However in the middle of all this, the audience is thrown a huge curve when fictional Tig explains to her yet requited love interest Kate (straight Kate as Tig’s brother dubs her) played by Tig’s real life wife, Stephanie Allynne that she’s dated men. No not before she came out, but after. She tells Kate that gender is something that’s specific from a distance, but up close its blurred. Uh what? Why isn’t her character bisexual? I can’t help but think in order for openly gay women and men to be considered reasonable and accepting, we are now expected to embrace having relationships with people of the opposite gender. Just in case anyone might want to label us closed-minded. Tig’s fictional character doesn’t talk about being bisexual. Or being mostly lesbian. She doesn’t talk about being attracted to trans or gender fluid people. She simply drops that bombshell and moves on. It makes absolutely no sense and colored my enjoyment of the series for the rest of the season. I don’t need every queer character to be a gold star gay like me. I know there are all kinds of people in the world. But this kind of posturing rings so politically correct and inauthentic, I’m not buying it. Especially not for Tig’s character.

I realize this argument is my personal argument. I own that. The rest of the season waffles between extremely artful expressions of golden age television and awkward trying too hard moments. I hung in there and will check out Season 3 if it gets renewed. I’m giving One Mississippi: Season 2 a 3 out of 5.

How to be a Slut in America – Part 1

September 19, 2017

Filmmaker Brian Jordan Alvarez is creating some of the most interesting episodic media from a gay man’s perspective. First there was The Gay and Wondrous Life of Caleb Gallo, a preposterous and effervescent look at 20-something life in L.A. Alvarez followed that up creating Stupid Idiots with writing partner Stephanie Koenig. Now he showcases a more serious side with Part 1 of How to be a Slut in America. This is less silly, more honest portrayal of a young man figuring out how he wants to live out his romantic and sexual life. Brian Jordan Alvarez continues to put himself out there and rewards us with outstanding content. 4 out of 5.

Watch How to be a Slut in America, Part 1 on YouTube. (NSFW)

Viceroy’s House

September 17, 2017

Gurinder Chadha’s (What’s Cooking, Bend it Like Beckham) personal film about the Partition of India during the 1940’s might be a bit light on the savagery of history, but it’s gorgeous to watch unfold. Chadha dedicates the film to her grandmother who was separated from her family during the Partition and miraculously found her way back to them. So if the film sometimes veers into Celine Dion crescendos, I give the director a pass since she’s telling the story from her very personal perspective of what the independence did to her own family. Hugh Bonneville and Gillian Anderson play the Viceroy Mountbatten and Lady Mountbatten perfectly. The costuming, sets (how did they manage to recreate the palace?), location shooting, and interiors all picture perfect as we’ve come to expect from U.K. and Indian productions. But the real stars of this film are Huma Qureshi and Manish Dayal as the Shakespearean lovers, Aalia and Jeet. Their story transforms the timeline from cold and political to deeply personal. Mr. Dayal can be difficult to watch at times because he is so alarmingly handsome, you, ok I forget to pay attention to the story. In the end, viewers of harsh, war-torn stories might be a taken aback by the simplicity and niceties of the film. I found the balance between the cruel world and Chadha’s modern lush creation satisfying. 3.5 out of 5.

For a taste of how Gurinder Chadha interprets the American Thanksgiving holiday, check out her Reel Charlie favorite What’s Cooking.

Atypical: Season 1

September 11, 2017

Atypical took me by complete surprise. I guess I wasn’t expecting to love it so much. Kier Gilchrist stars as Sam, an 18 year-old boy living on the Autism spectrum. Gilchrist proved his chops as son Marshall or (nickname) Marshmallow on Toni Collette’s The United States of Tara a few years ago. I just knew he and Brie Larson were destined for a great future. Gilchrist’s Sam is in his last year of high school. He’s beginning to want to break away from the safe world his parents have created for him. Jennifer Jason Leigh and Michael Rapaport play his parents perfectly. Newcomer Brigette Lundy-Paine shines brightly as Sam’s younger sister who looks out for her quirky big brother. Rounding out the cast are Amy Okuda as Sam’s therapist and Nik Dodani as his dorky co-worker who is an unreliable fount of wisdom. Honestly the series focuses on the autism, but ends up being an ensemble piece as each character has their moment or two. Beautifully written, acted, and directed, I can’t recommend this enough. And 30-minute episodes makes this first season an easy four-hour commitment. Speaking of fours, I give Atypical a 4 out of 5.


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