Monday, July 18, 2011

One of The Best Gay Film Shorts of the Year Thus Far, from a surprising source

One of the funniest gay films of the year, care of Funny or Die. Starring Tori Spelling, an Academy Award winner, 276 gays and a few cocks.

It screened before CHO DEPENDENT at Outfest this past week.

I laughed out loud at least 3 times, and almost fell off my chair at the ending.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

LA Audiences Preview this Year's Best in LGBT Film at Outfest: The LA LGBT Film Festival

I'm here to tell you that when your local LGBT Film Festival happens in your town, don't buy a festival pass. It's absolutely astounding the jump in quality in this year's new crop of LGBT film faire.

This past month or so marks the annual informal launching of the queer film festival circuit with movies premiering at Frameline in San Fran, Newfest in NY, PhillyFest in Penn and Outfest in Los Angeles.
(pictured, The Ford Theatre at Outfest, photo care of Krauss in the House)

First, I'll share with you the prize winners at Outfest, then highlight a few "favorites" from myself and my associates.

The Grand Jury Prize for both Best Feature and Best Screenwriting went to Stephen Cone's The Wise Kids.

My friend who recommended I see this was right, the characters WRECK YOU (but in a good way!)

(pictured right, Sadieh Rifai in The Wise Kids.  As with most thesps in this film, accomplished in the slow teared close up that you could set entire sonatas to)

The film unfolds one summer at a Youth Ministry in somewhere-in-the-middle, USA and mingles human growth with Christian teachings and the stirrings of gay. It's an engaging, understated film that draws you in with outstanding performances and a quiet urgency. It also rings with authenticity and doesn't always take the predictable route.  Outfest was the world premiere of The Wise Kids.

Andrew Haigh's Weekend won the Grand Jury Award on the International Best Feature end of things. As with The Wise Kids, this feature brings you a fresh, new film making talent in LGBT film. Welcome, and please make more movies for us, seriously, like I'm begging you.

(pictured right, Weekend)

Unlike The Wise Kids which dwells in the silent moments and stirring static shots of characters in emotional conflict and curiosity, Weekend's characters talk it out, with kinetic cinematography that puts you right there on the bed in the room with the two men. Weekend unfolds over 48 hours after a one-night-stand between two men. What starts with raw sex, continues with raw conversation making the audience not only wonder "will they end up together" but also "will they grow?".

Nikohl Boosheri won Outstanding Actress Award for her role in CIRCUMSTANCE, a 100% audience favorite. Not surprising since it also won the Audience Award for Best Feature at the highly competitive and lauded Sundance Film Festival this past January.

The film is set against the political and social issues in contemporary Iran, but what will grab you is the highly accomplished film making that pulls you into this story of two teenage girls from either side of the track.

The entire cast of Private Romeo won Outstanding Acting in a feature film. Let me put on my big surprised face since the two leads in this are currently - ahem, slumming - on Broadway in Warhorse (soon to be a major xmas release feature film from Steven Spielberg).

I'm going to get you gay men to put this on your "must see" list just by telling you the plot: it's about an all boy military academy studying Romeo & Juliet. One weekend, the play overcomes the school and the characters.  (pictured above Private Romeo, Circumstance)

Another sure fire YOU WILL LOVE movie was Chely Wright's WISH ME AWAY.  100% audience favorite.  Also on that list add WE WERE HERE, also a documentary.

There were so many beloved films from every imaginable genre, they can't all fit in this post, so I'll leave the rest to another day.

Get the flash player here:

And here's a few funny little interviews with some of the film makers:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

DOT429 Has LGBT Mixer in Los Angeles - Wild Time Was Had By All

Well, some of my friends and associates and I were on the host committee for DOT429's latest Los Angeles LGBT Brunch, and having not been to one of these yet (they host them around the country) I thought, well, what the hell.

Holy cow, I had beyond a blast and I have to say, I'm really starting to enjoy The Andaz on the Sunset Strip.

I met some lovely people, had some incredible conversations and I'm hoping that woman that said she'd email the link to those fashionable vegan shoes remembers to do so.

We discussed things as wide and varied as the history of the lgbt rights movement in America, the current state of lgbt representations in television, the best business cards ideas (no, it was not like the scene in American Psycho.  The winning business card idea for these things was "People usually bore me, but I find you moderately interesting, let's stay in touch."  I'm making 500 today).

I also met people in as wide and varied fields as marketing, modeling and non profit assistance in third world countries.

Here were some of my favorite quotes of the afternoon:

"A lesbian is explaining musical theatre to a gay man!? Bar the door, shutter the windows, stock up on water and buy a rifle... it's the end of the world!!!"

"How's your gay divorce going?" "Oh, you know, it gets better."

From a gay man: "God, I wish I could drink the way my mother used to."

From a butch lesbian: "Yeah, some men are scared of lesbians so we have to be extra nice. I don't understand this. It's always a STRAIGHT woman that cuts off a penis and puts in the garbage disposal not a lesbian!"

Needless to say, I laughed the entire time and met some stunning lgbt folks. Good times, good times for sure.

If you want to hear about upcoming events in Los Angeles for the lgbt community, head over and LIKE my events page:

Get the flash player here:

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Hot New LGBT Films Hit the Circuit, Hard

Well, I survived the second day of Outfest:  The Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, thanks in part to sponsor Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf who have fabulous little instant espresso machines at the Director's Guild for self serve espresso!

Here are the photos from yesterday including the reception for SHE MONKEY, and the red carpets for JAMIE AND JESSE ARE NOT TOGETHER and LONGHORNS.

See all ya'll today and tomorrow as the gay film fun continues....there are tons of INCREDIBLE films this weekend for all tastes. Check out my post from yesterday to see my picks and watch trailers.

Get the flash player here:

Friday, July 8, 2011

JD's Picks: Outfest 2011 - The First Weekend

Hello kitty cats.

Well you've all been bugging, and finally I'm compiling my list of MUST SEES for Outfest. I had to confer with a few other filmphiles to make sure to recommend the best.

I'll cover this weekend and get to the rest by Monday. Promise.

Tonight, Friday July 8th, you will find me at the DGA Atrium for happy hour, then I"ll be at the screenings of LONGHORNS and JAMIE AND JESSE ARE NOT TOGETHER at the Sunset 5.

LONGHORNS is set in 1982 Texas and boasts Beers, Steers and a couple of Queers.

Trailer looks fun until all the male nudity, so I may bring a copy of Vanity Fair to read during those gay boy sex scenes.

LONGHORNS is from TLA Video and the director of the award winning Redwoods. It co stars the hunky Dylan Vox from here! tv's The Lair (who is the only porn star I know who got a law degree from Pepperdine). The after party will be at ELEVEN in WeHo.

If you've never seen TODD HAYNE's film Poison - it's playing at the Director's Guild tonight as part of a retro screening series. This film blew me away when it first came out. I bet it's still a provocative movie experience today, so I recommend it if you haven't seen it.

Then onto Saturday, July 9th.

THE WISE KIDS from director Stephen Cone is at the DGA at 1:45 pm.

THE WISE KIDS Trailer from Stephen Cone on Vimeo.

Then you must... I repeat MUST GO SEE.... We Were Here at 4:15 pm at the DGA.

This film was a big hit at The Sundance Film Festival as well as at Berlin.

If you enjoyed the popular and award winning Fat Girls, writer/director Ash Christian is back with the quirky comedy MANGUS costarring Heather Matarazzo (Welcome to the Dollhouse), Leslie Jordan and Jennifer Coolidge.

Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now? Remember when Verizon spokesman Paul Marcarelli came out as gay?

Well now the former cell phone spokesman has written and produced a gay film, THE GREEN, and it stars Cheyenne Jackson, Julia Ormond, Illeana Douglas and it's GOOD. Check it out Saturday night at the DGA.

Then, if you like quirky indies, you have to check out another hit from The Sundance Film Festival, HAPPY HAPPY at the DGA at 9:30.

This is a dark, interesting comedy that pushes the boundaries of political correctness. It was a audience favorite in Utah last January, where it received the Grand Jury Prize for World Cinema. Yeah, that's BIG.

Then at 9:45 at the DGA, Casper Andreas's new film GOING DOWN IN LALA LAND.

Andreas is certainly prolific, his previous films being Violet Tendencies, A Four Letter Word, The Big Gay Musical, and Slutty Summer.

His oft collaborator, hotty Jesse Archer costars.

Then, more great faire on Sunday.

Starting with the sparse, yet compelling grief/regret tone poem WITHOUT at the Sunset 5 at 2:30.

If you like sweeping BBC lesbian flicks like Tipping the Velvet, Fingersmith, and The Diary of Miss Anne Lister, then you'll enjoy THE NIGHT WATCH, playing at 4:45 at the DGA.

The film takes place post WWII in England and involves several seemingly disparate people all recovering from the wounds of war. If you enjoy Sarah Waters, you'll love this latest adaptation.

Then it's Sophie's Choice - as with all years - Sunday night with two big hits playing against each other at the DGA.

One is the bio-doc BECOMING CHAZ, which was bought at Sundance this year by the Queen of the Universe Oprah for her new channel. The film chronicles Chastity Bono through his transition to Chaz.

The other is Eldar Rappaport's AUGUST. Both popular and well reviewed movies.

Outfest Kicks Off Downtown last night with Their Opening Night Gala

Hot damn and here we go, Outfest has officially begun in SoCal and once again it's time for all the lgbt's to clear their schedules for the next ten days of films, panels, parties and the overall general fabulousness that is the gay cultural event of the year.

I'm always excited to see the new crop of lgbt films, just to see what is germinating in the hearts and minds of homos these days. There's generally some clunkers, a few "nice tries", many "wow-that-was-alot-of-nudity"s, yet ultimately some incredibly moving and entertaining faire that speaks to our community.

The official LGBT film season really kicks off at Frameline: The San Francisco International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival in June, concurring with Pride Month. Then the next two top queer festivals continue the charge with Outfest in Los Angeles, and The Philadelphia Gay & Lesbian Film Festival in July, then these films will be touring the country (and the world) for up to a year, so check your local LGBT film festival schedules.

(TLA Video's Elliot London with actor Drew Doedge, Outfest Executive Director Kirsten Schaffer, Damiana interviews writer/actress Guin Turner (Go Fish, American Psycho)

Last night Outfest kicked-off with the Opening Night Gala at the historic downtown Orpheum Theatre, which included a VIP pre party where you could spot a few celebs including Tori Spelling, Neil Patrick Harris and - don't gasp - Monica Lewinski. I know, I know, how random.

Then they presented the Outfest Achievement Award to Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey from World of Wonder (Rupaul's Drag Race, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, 101 Rent Boys and Party Monster) The film was the Sundance hit GUN HILL ROAD, then the afterparty was down the street in the fashion district.

Get the flash player here:

Monday, June 6, 2011

POINT Foundation Announces 2011 Scholars and Hosts Fundraiser in Los Angeles

The Point Foundation announced this year's selection of Point Scholars on their web site today. Click here to see the list of the new scholars.

This year, a few of the institutions Point will be sending scholars to include MIT, UCLA, Duke, Harvard, NYU, Wellesley, Johns Hopkins Medical School and Stanford Law School.

Point Foundation awards scholarships to LGBT students of merit across the country in diverse fields of study. The financial support they receive also comes with a mentor in their field and unending support in a multitude of ways through-out their academic careers. Point is committed in nurturing the LGBT leaders of tomorrow, and providing the opportunity for higher learning to those who otherwise could not afford it.

Special consideration is given to applicants who have been marginalized or disowned by their family of origin, yet continue to excel academically and/or in the field of advocacy.

The Point Foundation is supported across the country by the best and the brightest in the LGBT community. These individuals make up the organization's Board of Directors, Donors and Mentors.

(pictured, Executive Director Jorge Valencia, center)

Through-out the year, Point hosts events for donors and supporters of POINT, and recently one was held here in Southern California in Hancock Park.

Here are a few photos of the event, provided by photographer Brian Putnam.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Top Ten Most Romantic Films of All Time - Sweet and Dysfunctional Versions

Snuggle up with your favorite honey and your rescue animals on the couch and spend the evening entrenched with these tales of enduring and true love.

Here's my personal top ten best romantic movies. By the way, I only picked movies where the leads end up together; where neither one of them is a prostitute; where Tom Cruise isn't in it (because he's annoying); and the overall theme of the film is the love story, not, you know, like running from the Nazi's in the Austrian Alps.

10. The African Queen
Hard to imagine a romantic love story being effective between a crotchety old Humphrey Bogart, and a haggard Kate Hepburn playing a splinster, but this film will draw you in.

Is there a better backdrop than fighting Germans for two souls to find true love? As they battle each other, WWI German boats and mosquitoes, the two form an unlikely attraction that grows into something deeper.

Set in 1914, Hepburn plays a British missionary who gets stuck in a German occupied African jungle when her brother is killed by soldiers. To her reluctant rescue, comes a crusty boat Captain left to helm his own ship, The African Queen, when his crew deserts after hearing WWI was started.

The two hate each other, of course, but have to bond together to make the perilous journey up the river. So this doubles as a road trip movie!

Great chemistry that will have you routing for them.

9. The Way We Were
The Communist Jew and the goyish blue-eyed frat-boy - she's got a lot to say, him...not so much, but holy Jesus, the sparks fly when they get together. I didn't want to include a movie where the two leads don't end up together, but this is too much of a classic not to mention just for the sheer melodrama/romance of it all.

"But you must'nt be too serious." Redford seduces Streisand

Set against the backdrop of the Hollywood Blacklist, Sydney Pollack took this otherwise pedestrian, swirly-letter romance and managed to elevate it - no offense to gay author Arthur Laurents, who said he based it on a girl he knew in college (he also penned West Side Story, another classic love story). Pollock admits he had to coerce Redford into playing the rather shallow lead because he knew he could give more to the character.

If you've ever loved someone so much, yet it just will never make sense, you'll get this movie and cry along with great lines like, "You expect so much, Katie," "Yes, but look at what I've got."

Cue Marvin Hamlish score.....See ya, Hubbell.

8. An Officer and a Gentleman

A classic romance, with a gritty undertones, that manages to show the darker, vulnerable side of the characters, while still retaining a silver screen romance standard (Love indeed lifts them up where they belong!).

A Navy cadet (Richard Gere) with "nowhere else to go" gets wooed by a local factory girl (original crazy-bad-girl, precursor to Lindsay Lohan, Debra Winger) looking to snag an officer, and in the middle of struggles, tragedy and a bucket of white trash atmosphere, find real, true love.

Great secondary love story - Gere and drill Sergeant Louis Gossett Jr.

7. Bound

Before helming The Matrix films, the Wachowski brothers pulled-off this fantastic noir homage with a lesbian twist.

The chemistry between bad girl butch Gina Gershon and mobster honey Jennifer Tilly (aptly named Violet) is top notch, and the film takes place in the confines of one apartment building in a few days.

Do yourself a big favor, if you haven't done this already - watch it with the director's track ON. It is like a whole other form of entertainment as the directors describe technical things whilst Suzy Bright explains all the sexual parts with blunt detail ("Ya see, a woman's hands are her dick") and Joe Pantoliano keeps offering to drop his pants. HYSTERICAL!

6. Random Harvest
This was one of my favorite movies as a kid (I was a big Ronald Coleman fan - I know, go figure. The other kids liked Shaun Cassidy and Robby Benson) and this is a BIG TIME MELODRAMATIC LOVE STORY (hence the all caps).

Ronald Coleman and Greer Garson

Even just looking at some of the stills from this film now made me practically break out weeping. I don't know whether it's the impossible journey these two have to undertake to be together, or the incredible vulnerability, charm and all around hotness of Greer Garson.

Set against the backdrop of war-torn Britain post WWI, Coleman plays a soldier who has suffered complete amnesia and wanders into the loving and accepting arms of Garson in the country side. The two fall in love, get married and proceed to be sickeningly perfect and fabulous together. UNTIL... cue hokey drama music... one day in town, Coleman regains his memory, only to forget all of his recent history!

He returns to his previous life in the big city, being a successful businessman from a rich family but he can't seem to get out of his mind that he's forgetting something important. After her husband goes missing, Garson's character finally finds him then - get this - takes a job as his secretary in hopes that they'll either fall in love again or he'll finally remember.

Then this goes on FOR YEARS. Ending is brilliant and touching.

It's from the same author that brought us Lost Horizons, Goodbye, Mr. Chips and the screen adaptation of Mrs. Miniver. MUST RENT, although a warning (I know, NOW a warning?)... no straight man in history has ever been able to sit through this one!

5. White Palace

What a surprise this sleeper little romance ditty was back in 1990.

Mexican Director Luis Mandoki took this low budget romance novel and cooked it up into a surprisingly touching and sexy film, with help from mutlilayered performances by heavyweight thesps James Spader and Susan Sarandon, and a screen adaptation from Alvin Sargent (Ordinary People, Spiderman 3, Julia).

Spader plays a 27 year old persnickety yuppy who has a one-night-stand with 43 year-old, burger joint counter girl, Susan Surandon. Two different tax brackets, two different age groups, yet somehow they find themselves wanting to make a go of it.

You start to learn they do have something in common, though. Both have suffered immeasurable and crippling losses which have seriously affected their ability to connect through love, or even to allow themselves to feel happiness.

It is a little dated in the time period (I can't forgive the 1980's for that hair, the shoulderpads and that insipid soundtrack!), but this film will also just suck you in. Supporting actors include the always fantastic Eileen Brennen and Kathy Bates.

4. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

The chemistry quotient between the crusty old sea captain and the sweet, young widow is just outstanding. This meets all my standards of a good romance because you just know these two have to be together and it's a joy to watch the bond grow as two opposites form a mutual respect and deeper love for each other. And technically, if you've seen this film, they do end up together!

Cranky, old sea captain Daniel Craigg (Rex Harrison) continues to haunt his old house from the afterlife and tries his best to get rid of the new tenants - a sweet yet unusually independent widow (Gene Tierney) and her daughter (Natalie Wood).

After he's unsuccessful (because she's awfully plucky) he ends up helping her keep the house when financial crisis strikes by dictating to her his stories from sea, which she publishes as fiction. What follows is sacrifice, sadness and eventually... well, you'll just have to see it. To boot, the film is very witty with some clever and sometimes naughty one liners.

3. The Goodbye Girl
From the moment Richard Dreyfus states, "You don't keep the panties hanging on the shower", I fell in love with this classic 1970's style rom com about a down-and-out actor who rents a room from an unemployed single mom.

Written by Neil Simon (and starring his then wife Marsha Mason), the film depicts love in NYC between a broke and broken romantic and a struggling actor.

It also introduced the world to the too-clever-for-her-age little girl character which no one ever got just as right as Quinn Cummings (sorry Jodie Foster). And that catchy emo '70's theme song, "All your life you've waited, for love to come and stay...."

2. The Notebook

Okay, I'm only human!

You can not avoid the allure of Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdam's sizzling and simmering chemistry in Nick Cassavetes' deeply romantic film that somehow rides the line between schmaltzy and engaging.

The tale is a love story that could not be more cliched - poor boy falls for rich girl, rich girl's parents forbid it and whisk her away.

Set against the backdrop of the 1940's, the story is narrated in present day by Jim Rockford himself - James Garner - to his nursing home buddy (played the director's mother, Gena Rowlands). Great use of the split time storytelling outside of LOST.

The by-the-book romance gets some slight indie street cred with supporting actor turns by Sam Shepard and Joan Allen.

A modern day classic!

1. Say Anything
Not since Romeo appeared below Juliet's window has there been such an iconic declaration of boyhood love as when John Cusack held up his boom box outside Ione Sky's window and "In Your Eyes" played.

Lloyd is a dork, and the object of his high school affection is the seemingly unattainable good girl, Diane Court. The film is riddled with common cliches from other films of the period (mainly John Hughes originated) including the sassy best girlfriends who coach Lloyd, and the caring father (played by John Mahoney).

Then this film takes a few surprising turns to hit an indelible mark with bits like the dinner table scene, "I don't want to sell anything, buy anything or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed...." and the infamous, "He gave me a pen" line/metaphor.

Lloyd doesn't know what he wants to do post high school, and that isn't going to work for the overprotected Diane, whose father keeps a strict fence around her with high expectations. But true love is definitely the thing that wins out in this film, directed by Cameron Crowe (Jerry McGuire and Almost Famous).


Okay, let's face facts. Hollywood romances are the reason we have such ridiculous expectations of love and marriage in this country, and in real life, none of this shit really happens.

And for those of you looking for the unhappy ending, there's always the brilliant Casablanca (unless you were routing for Louie), Dr. Zhivago and The English Patient.

The best romances where they don't end up together: 500 Days of Summer and Truly Madly Deeply.

I thought I'd better balance that saccharine with a strong dose of celluloid reality. Now, the underbelly of the love story. A place full of desperation, mental illness, shame, guilt and sexual perversion. Basically, all the things we probably recognize in our own lives more than what is depicted in any of the films I mentioned yesterday.

So curl up this February 14th with that person who refuses to commit to you; cheats on you; and/or the person that annoys you the most but is wonderful in bed.... with a strong cup of rot gut, a little passive/aggressiveness and Happy Valentine's Day!

10. Donnie Darko

God, I just love this film! It takes you on what you think will be a predictable route, but instead pulls you on a journey through the meaning of love and some of Einstein's more popular theories.
Plus it's one of the most effective tales of modern white boy teenage angst ever depicted.
AND it's the best use of an imaginary rabbit since Harvey.
Jake Gyllenhaal is a troubled teen on meds (Ordinary People like) and he lives in the kind of cookie-cutter neighborhood that ET and Poltergeist made famous. One night he's contacted by a voice that tells him to do things. Bad things.

It starts out like a horror thriller, but then veers into a wonderfully romantic love story between this troubled boy and a girl from school that accepts him the way he is.
The film has fantastic, quirky characters including a Self Help Guru (Patrick Swayze), a liberal teacher (Drew Barrymore who also produced), Grandma Death, Frank the Bunny Rabbit and the curt, clueless shrink (Katherine Ross...hey, it's Sundance's girlfriend!). It's quite fun watching all the storylines weave together into the story to form an acute essay on the absurdity of Americana life and the isolation it tends to breed.
The film has reached cult status which has a lot to do with the main character being depicted as a sociopath, when he is in reality, a hero. Certainly identifiable for any angsty teen boy with a penchant for scifi.
By the time you get to the end, you realize it's one of the most tender love stories in years with a main character that loves his girl unconditionally. Seriously, you'll want to cry!

9. Marnie
This Alfred Hitchcock flick is creepy in more ways than one, as Sean Connery tries to seduce the cold and compulsive Tippi Hedren as the title character.
Casting one of the most attractive leading men of the time was no mistake! One wonders why the psychologically damaged Marnie doesn't seem to fall in love with him, no matter how much he tries.
Marnie is a thief and distrusts men terribly. When she robs Connery's character, instead of turning her in, he blackmails her into marrying him. Obviously this was made years before the song, "I Can't Make You Love Me If You Don't". On their honeymoon, she won't sleep with him so he rapes her, and the next morning she tries to commit suicide. Eventually, they both decide to make the marriage work.
So a great little fucked-up Valentine for you!

8. The Days of Wine and Roses

This is one of the best films about alcoholism ever made.
Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick star as a young couple who get married then slowly start to spiral into alcoholism in this remarkably honest film by director Blake Edwards.
The scene where Lemmon is looking for his hidden bottle is just brutal, as is the scene where he strikes his own baby.
The painful part of the movie is that fact that Lemmon's character introduces his young wife to alcohol, but then has to make an impossible decision - should he abandon her to save himself? Jack Klugman costars as his AA sponsor.

7. Wristcutters: A Love Story
This is a love story that takes place in the afterlife in the way-station for people who have committed suicide.
Dig-ding-ding... we have a totally brilliant fucked up love story setting winner!
I mean - the film takes place in hell, and everyone in it has killed themselves! Yet, this is a stunning and sweet little film with a touching love story at it's core dealing with the usual litany of teen concerns.
Patrick Fugit stars as Zia, who after slitting his wrists, finds himself in a world similar to his own, only without much joy to it. It is hell indeed. He teams up with a group of other souls (some very fun and interesting characters) on a cross country journey to try to figure a way out of this purgatory. On route, he meets a girl, Mikai, who believes there has been some terribly mistake since she didn't kill herself.
This is the third film on my list from The Sundance Film Festival (High Art and Good Dick are the other two). It's certainly the only feel-good film ever made about suicide!

6. High Art

"I have a love issue and drug problem, " Lucy tells her mom and that sums up this $60,000 budgeted little indie gem by lesbian writer/director Lisa Cholodenko.
Sydney has a nice boyfriend, is young and bright-eyed, so naturally she gets attracted to her neighbor - a recluse lesbian photographer (Ally Sheedy) who is addicted to all forms of drugs and alcohol.
The film is fantastic and was the break out role for Patricia Clarkson, who plays the heroine addicted girlfriend.

5. Good Dick
He's a very committed stalker, and she's addicted to porn.
This film is so perverse in it's commitment to telling a sweet, by-the-books romance with two characters that are so damaged and quirky, it's hysterical.
Jason Ritter plays the video store clerk who follows the claustrophobic recluse, played by the film's writer/director Marianna Palka. The two eventually, sort of have a romance.
It's dysfunctional to the nth degree! It's a first time film that I saw at Sundance, and it surprised me how much I laughed. It certainly gets you shouting, "Oh no, they did NOT just do that!"

4. The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane
Behind the veneer of this creepy, psychological horror film, is a surprisingly touching little teen love story!
This has everything a good fucked-up romance should have: a pedophile (Martin Sheen), murder, polio, and the torture of innocent hamsters.
Jodie Foster plays an eerie little girl who lives alone, and has no problem doing the ole arsenic and old lace bit on anyone that jeopardizes that. Along comes neighbor boy (Scott Jacoby) - who is rather sickly and enjoys magic. A friendship develops to the point where she can tell him where the bodies are buried, literally and a strange bond is formed between these two damaged kids.

If you've ever wanted a boyfriend that will help you bury the bodies, this is the film for you!

3. Sid and Nancy
"I look like fucking Stevie Nicks!" And so goes Nancy (Chloe Webb), on a spiral down with punk boyfriend Sid Vicious (Gary Oldman) in this true biopic that is a tender love story between two British drug addicts.
Sid was the bass player for The Sex Pistols and Nancy was the woman he loved, then killed. Their romance is the definition of a train wreck, and the film is unapologetic in it's tale of two rude, desperate, damaged and heroin addicted people.
The film was based on a book by the real life mom of Nancy.
If you've every loved someone so much you want to stab them, this is the love story for you!

2. The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne

Oh my god, the characters in this are so unbelievably pathetic, it's almost hard to watch at points.
Maggie Smith gives one of the best performances of her career as a Catholic spinster in the 1950's who endeavors to engage a local man (Bob Hoskins) into a romance. It seems all very sweet - love later in life and all, until you find out he's a pervert and she's an alcoholic. On top of that, he's just trying to grift her, and he's such a loser he's not even any good at it.
The film was produced by Beatle George Harrison under his Handmade Films shingle and co stars one of my all time favorite actresses Wendy Hiller.

1. The Night Porter

This controversial erotic flick by female director Liliana Cavini is the tender love story between a Nazi prison guard and the concentration camp victim he rapes. This one is often nearly impossible to watch, so it gets the #1 spot.
Dirk Bogarde and Charlotte Rampling give two stellar and horrifyingly sensitive performances as two damaged people, who have lived through so much horror that they can only find comfort in each other's company. I mean, they are way beyond anything Dr Phil can do to help.
The film takes place thirteen years after the end of WWII, and former concentration camp victim Lucia Atherton is now married to a prominent violin player, and living an affluent lifestyle which includes travel and posh hotels. At one such hotel in Vienna, she spots a familiar face in the Night Porter. He is the Nazi guard that continually raped her when she was in a concentration camp!
Instead of reporting him, the two begin a torrid affair. Maximillian is living a poor, simple life and is still friends out of need with a circle of Nazis-in-hiding. He has insurmountable guilt and shame about his past, and obsessively buries himself in his work.

It's as disturbing as it is sad, and deals with human souls so marred in guilt and pain that defies reconciliation. It's exploitive, deals with sadomasochism and is frequently hard to watch. But I have to admit, by the end of the film, I felt I just wanted these two to end up together, as fucked up as that seems. It's truly a fantastic film, albeit risky, and certainly the saddest most fucked up love story ever!

Those that didn't make the list, but are also fucked-up favorites include: Prick Up Your Ears, Sex, Lies and Videotape and You, Me and Everyone We Know.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Watch Trailer: New Film with Christopher Plummer playing gay: Beginners

Let me know what you think after watching this trailer, but I know I'm dying to see this new flick BEGINNERS starring Christopher Plummer as a dad who comes out to his son (Ewan McGregor) after being married 44 years.

The film premiered to good reviews at The Toronto Film Festival and is from director Mike Mills who had a hit at Sundance with his first feature, Thumbsuckers. He also had a father who came out to him later in life.

I don't know if it's the fact that the dog is subtitled, or the idea that is has to do with life, love, beginnings, sex, healing, nature and magic - but I'll be there opening night.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Golden Globes - The Lesbian Running Commentary

Welcome to my running commentary of the Golden Globes.

So the Golden Globe Awards were on Sunday night. Some call it the precursor to the Oscars, I think of it more like a bunch of rich, white people giving each other awards.

And you'd think being so rich and famous they could take a bit of humorous jibbing from host Ricky Gervais, but no. Not so much. The platform of his humor was roast-ish, with zingers one would usually only read on TMZ or Perez. Celebs were seriously turned off by his comments, as evident from the dearth of laughter (I actually wanted a laugh track, it got so quiet so often).

As opposed to the People's Choice Awards where popular films are given their nods (like Twilight), some criticize the Globes for lauding obscure films that no one has seen. I don't think that's true. I think the films that get nominated are the ones that the distributors decided to spend beaucoup bucks promoting. Because no one's either heard or seen the films, a lot of hoopla is created over the "red carpet" and what everyone is wearing.

My overall takeaway from the Awards was thus: Jesus Christ people, let yourself age! But more on that in a bit.

OPENING: Ricky Gervais gives a clever comedy intro. Zero laughs. Tough crowd.

He calls out the Foreign Press Corp for what they are - a small group of sycophants.

STEVE BUSCEMI WINS for Best Actor - TV Series - Drama. It's nice to see Steve finally growing into his looks. Jon Hamm was robbed in this category. ROBBED!

ANDREW GARFIELD INTRODUCES THE SOCIAL NETWORK CLIP REEL. When Garfield was cast as the new Spiderman, most people went "Andrew who?" If you want to know why Hollywood jumped on this young thesp, do yourself a favor and rent Red Riding: 1974 (He's fantastic as a young journalist trying to get at the root of an unsolved murder that no one wants to revisit. Fucking BRUTAL. Watch the trailer here) or Boy A, a fascinating tale on the legitimacy of redemption, where a recently released murderer tries to assimilate back into society.

The Social Network reel is shown as one of the evening's best feature contenders. I liked this film. I think of it as a film about a guy with Aspergers, written by a guy with Aspergers and starring a guy with Aspergers. Anyone else notice that?

RICKY GERVAIS CONTINUES TO LAUGH AT - AS OPPOSED TO WITH - CELEBS - I'm glad all this talk lately of less violent rhetoric in the media is staying in politics only and has clearly not made it over to the Globes.

ALEX BADLWIN PRESENTS. He has made utterances that he is considering running for political office. I'm cool with that. If the Republicans can have their actor president, Reagan, that I'm good with Baldwin. As long as he talks to the Republicans in congress the way he did on his daughter's answering machine when she missed a visitation.

BEST ANIMATED FILM - Oh, look at all the nice films in this category that have absolutely no chance against Toy Story 3. And yes, Toy Story 3 wins. If you have not seen it yet - run, don't walk. It is by far the best film of the year. Tangled is in this category and it's actually a great little film. I have not seen The Illusionist yet because their previous film, The Triplets of Bellevue, freaked me the fuck out too much.

ROBERT DOWNEY JUNIOR BITES BACK AT HOST GERVAIS - Says the evening has been mean with sinister undertones.

ANNETTE BENING WINS FOR BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL OR COMEDY. She immediately kisses her co star from the lesbian flick The Kids Are All Right, Julliane Moore. To which the director of the Globes thought the best cutaway for that would be the openly lesbian Jane Lynch. Sheesh.

I just saw Bening in my local Whole Foods two days ago. She was lovely. I'll admit, when I started talking to her in the produce section I thought she was a smoking hot older lady, and me being all over 40 and what not, that's my demographic. Then about two sentences in, I just was all like, "You're Annette Bening!". She was beyond charming and lovely and we spoke for quite a bit about the film. She looks so much better in person, trust me on that.

AL PACINO WINS FOR YOU DON'T KNOW JACK - Mr Al has played gay quite a few times - Angels in America, Dog Day Afternoon and Cruising.

JANE LYNCH - As they read off her competition, all I could think was none of you bitches have a chance. And they didn't. She won. As she has every other award during the season. It's great to see such a solid actor who has been otherwise so overlooked until Sue Sylvester finally get her due.

HELEN MIRREN TAKES THE STAGE - and all I can think is this - THIS dear Globe audience - is what 80% of you bitches would look like without hair dye and face work. And damn if it isn't working for her. Stunning. All I can say is most of the actresses at this event need to put down the botox. Mirren is gorgeous and a sex symbol - au natural.

ROBERT DENIRO GETS LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD. Absolutely crappy clip reel - wonderful and outrageously funny acceptance speech.

Colin Firth wins for The King's Speech. He's played gay a few times too - in Mama Mia and A Single Man.

LEA MICHELLE IS NOMINATED - After fellow GLEE castmates Chris Colfer and Jane Lynch got their awards, all I could think was... honey, you ain't gonna get it because you're not gay. She didn't. Matthew Morrison was nominated as well, and of course, didn't win, again because he wasn't gay. I don't know what that's all about, but there it is.

MELISSA LEO FROM THE FIGHTER WINS - She does what a bunch of other folks have done, which is thank her agents, managers, studio execs and lawyers. I like when they do that, even though it's a bit boring, because these are the people that do all the leg work. So many people thanked their agents and studio execs tonight, it actually started to sound like someone was reciting Schindler's list.

SANDRA BULLOCK DENIES AFFAIR WITH RYAN REYNOLDS. I don't know what's worse - that stupid move or her bangs. Girl, let yourself age! We all know when you have you are hiding wrinkles. Meanwhile, she was hot and heavy a while back with best actor nominee Ryan Gosling. Sandra, get on that Ryan Reynolds action, I mean seriously. You deserve it after that Jesse mess.

GLEE wins best comedy show.

Basically The Social Network cleans up at the awards. Still, nowhere near as good as Toy Story 3.

There were a few good films not nominated - check out The Ghost Writer and Monsters. Good flicks.