03rd Dec2017

Beach Rats (Film)

by timbaros

02-BEACH-RATS-–-Frankie-Harris-Dickinson-and-his-crew-in-Eliza-Hittmans-BEACH-RATS-courtesy-of-NEONA young man plays it very cool with his friends while he hides his true sexuality in the new film ‘Beach Rats.’

19-year old Frankie (Harris Dickinson) lives with his mother and dying father in Brooklyn, New York. His mother constantly nags him to get a job but he spends his days doing drugs and hanging out with his gang of homeboys. They are all very macho and straight and while away the hours hanging out on the boardwalk and chatting up local girls. But what they don’t know about Frankie is that he secretly spends his time on gay hookup sites and meets other men at a local cruising spot for sex. There is one girl, however, from the neighborhood (Madeline Weinstein) who he hooks up with – he really likes her and she really likes him, but expectedly it doesn’t go anywhere. And when he gets involved in an incident with his friends that involves a gay man his life suddenly takes a turn.

UK born Dickinson is very good as Frankie. He nails down the accent and the attitude almost perfectly. With no previous film credits, he’s a natural and very compelling to watch on the big screen (and boy is he sexy)! Director Eliza Hittman gets almost everything right in this film, with the exception of the last 20 minutes that gets a bit too unbelievable. But it’s Dickinson you’ll remember when the screen credits go up. He’s on to bigger and better things.

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13th Nov2017

The Killing of a Sacred Deer (Film)

by timbaros
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It’s a dark, disturbing and dysfunctional world that Dr. Murphy lives in in the new film ‘The Killing of a Sacred Deer.’

Dr. Steven Murphy, played by Colin Farrell, is a surgeon in a nameless U.S. city. He’s got, at least it seems, a picture perfect life. He’s married to the beautiful Anna (Nicole Kidman), who plays dead to satisfy his sexual desires, and two amazing children – teenage Kim (Raffey Cassidy) and younger son Bob (Sunny Suljic). But one day a young man by the name of Martin (played to perfection by Barry Keoghan) starts showing up at Steven’s hospital. Martin takes an interest in his work, but then starts showing up even when Steven isn’t there. One day Steven invites Martin over to his home for dinner, where Kim is immediately smitten with him and Bob wants to be his best friend. Barry is that easy to get along with, very friendly, wouldn’t hurt a fly, or so it seems. But Barry has other intentions, not good ones, that will grossly effect Steven’s family. It turns out that Barry’s father died on the operating table at the hands of Dr. Murphy, so he wants to get revenge. He does something to Kim and Bob to make them deathly sick (frustratingly it’s not clear exactly what he does to them), but Bob and Kim wind up in the same room at Steven’s hospital, and test after test after test doesn’t reveal the true cause of their illness. Dr. Murphy starts getting desperate and kidnaps Barry to try to get him to confess to what he did, but it might be too late as Steven’s perfect family and his good reputation as an excellent doctor could all come crashing down, not to mention he could potentially lose his children.

’The Killing of a Sacred Deer’ is all very dark and disturbing and moves at a snails pace along with the tension and drama, all to amazing dramatic effect. Directed by Yorges Lanthimos, who brought us the dark ’The Lobster,’ is able to keep the viewer on the edge of their seat as the tension keeps getting ramped up higher and higher. Farrell is at the top of his game here as the tormented father who can only stand back and watch his two children slowly get sicker and sicker. Kidman is good as the mother who is helpless, but Keoghan tops them both as a sinister kid with only one thing on his mind – revenge. ’The Killing of a Sacred Deer’ is a must see.

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12th Nov2017

The Florida Project (Film)

by timbaros

The_Florida_ProjectIt was always going to be for filmmaker Sean Baker to top 2015’s critically acclaimed film ‘Tangerine.’ But now he’s back with ‘The Florida Project,’ and it’s a winner!

‘Tangerine,’ which was shot on iPhones, told the story of two transvestite hookers surviving by any means possible in Hollywood. ‘The Florida Project,’ shot on 35mm, has a similar trajectory involving a single mother and her adorable 6-year old daughter surviving by any means and barely eking out a living in a rundown motel on the tacky fringes of DisneyWorld in Orlando, Florida. It’s an area filled with cheap motels (with tacky names such as Futureland Inn) and even cheaper and tackier gift shops and fast food restaurants (Orange World). And like in ‘Tangerine,’ Baker uses non-professional actors in this film.

Bria Vinaite is excellent as Hailey, a single young mother who struggles to find money to pay the weekly rent and to care for her very adorable six-year-old daughter Moonee (an excellent and natural Brooklynn Prince). Moonee has made friends with all of the little children at their motel complex (appropriately called The Magic Castle) in an area where Disney did not sprinkle magic dust on. The children spend their days getting up to no good, causing mayhem whereever they go, much to the annoyance of the motel manager Bobby (Willem Dafoe – in an award worthy performance). Hailey’s downstairs neighbor Ashley (Mela Murder) works at the nearby Waffle House and gives them free food, but after an incident that involves her son and Moonee, she forbids her son to hang out with Moonee, and severs her friendship with Hailey. One thing leads to another and slowly the magic seeps out of The Magic Castle.

‘The Florida Project’ is just fantastic. While it doesn’t quite come close to ‘Tangerine’ with it’s sarcastic and biting humor, it nonetheless is a cute and charming movie of childhood through a little girl’s eyes and the hard truths that reality will eventually rear it’s ugly head. And the cast are just superb. Baker, who co-wrote the script with Chris Bergoch, has another winner on his hands.

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12th Nov2017

Body Electric (Film)

by timbaros

BodyElectric_EC1069_AdditionalImage2Life is one big party for the characters in the new film ‘Body Electric.’

Elias (a sexy Keiner Macedo) is the assistant manager in a factory somewhere in Brazil. He’s only 23 and quit young to hold such a responsible job, but his female boss, who is always jetsetting from here to there on business, trusts Elias completely to run the factory while she’s gone. It’s a factory that makes clothes, and Elias sees his fellow employees not just as co-workers but as friends, and they all spend lots of time hanging out with each other after work and on weekends, They’re all friends, very close friends. And when a new employee starts work at the factory, a West African man called Fernando (Welket Bungue), Elias welcomes him into the fold and nothing much changes for these happy-go-lucky group of people who work hard and play much much harder.

And play is just what Elias likes to do. He’s openly gay at work and in his personal life, and there appears to be no issue with his colleagues when he takes up with fellow young feminine co-worker Wellington (Lucas Andrade). Wellington introduces Elias to a gaggle of drag queens with a queen bee who wonders out loud where all the fabric Wellington and Elias brought to them comes from. But it doesn’t matter for these folks, life is one big party, and with that comes alcohol and sex. In ‘Body Electric,’ director Marcelo Caetano relies on lots of lingering shots to portray his cast in ways that make them look and feel so real it’s at times make you feel like you’re eavesdropping on their lives, and loves. But ‘Body Electric’ is all about Elias and how happy he is, and how happy his co-workers are who toil away at the factory day in and day out, and we are very happy for all of them.

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30th Oct2017

Call Me By Your Name (Film)

by timbaros
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There is a gay-themed film that has just been released that is getting rave and five star reviews. And while it is very good, it’s also a bit creepy.

‘Call Me By Your Name’ tells the story about an adult who has an affair with a younger man. The adult in question is the actor Armie Hammer (who in real life happens to be 31, but looks older, and in this film he is playing a 24-year old – not very believable) is Oliver. The young man in question is Elio, played by Timothée Chalamet (who happens to 21 in real life but plays a 17-year old in the film but looks a lot younger, like 14). The story, based on the 2007 book of the same name by André Aciman, is about a very sexual relationship between Oliver and Elio. Oliver, you see, has been hired by Elio’s parents, wealthy couple the Perlmans (Michael Stuhlbarg and Amira Casar), to help Mr. Perlman with his archeological work, but what happens is that the closed Elio (who is wooed by the local girls who vie for his attention), becomes enamoured with, and by, Oliver. Oliver, who is a man’s man, with a chest full of hair, very confident who can practically have anyone he wants, enters into a relationship with Elio. It’s really hard to believe that a man like Oliver could be sexually attracted to Elio. While Elio is a goodlooking boy (I use the word boy here because Elio looks like a boy), his body has no visible body hair, he’s very trim and smooth, and he’s pasty while, and obviously not fully developed as a man. So to me it’s a bit inappropriate for a man like Oliver to be sexually attracted, and to sexually satisfy Elio, in various locations, including having interludes in the Perlman family home where they conveniently have adjoining rooms which allow for lots of loving glances, and sometimes leaning towards Kevin Spacey-like pervert behaviour. But it becomes all very icky when Elio’s parents turn a blind eye to the relationship. This makes ‘Call Me By Your Name’ more than a bit icky in it’s theme of man-boy love (remember the organisation called NAMBLA – The North American Man/Boy Love Association? Well, ‘Call Me By Your Name’ could be a two hour advertisement for this illegal, and disgusting, organization).

But ‘Call Me By Your Name’ is a beautiful and lush film, directed with care by Italian director Luca Guadagnino. It lovingly highlights the Italian countryside and the small cityscapes of Lombardy; the film has beautiful camerawork and acting by all involved is top notch. Chalamet is a real find – his Elio commands the screen. Chalamet looks very very comfortable in front of the camera, clothes on or off (there is absolutely no full frontal nudity in this film – which is a good thing, though some of the sex scenes look all too inappropriately real). Hammer is also very good in this role – a role that is not a typical role for him to play. But from the outset it’s just an inappropriate relationship, whether make believe or not. And there is scene, which you must have heard about by now, about a peach. Yes, a peach, involving Elio and to a larger degree Oliver, that was a bit, for me, uncomfortable to watch. But it’s the scene where the credits roll up at the end of the film where you can’t leave your seat or avert your eyes – it’s these few minutes where Chamalet as Elio will mesmerize, and seduce you. So it’s at this point that you think that perhaps you can’t blame Oliver for falling for him because you will do the same as well.

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29th Oct2017

Breathe (Film)

by timbaros

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Actor Andy Serkis and his producing partner Jonathan Cavendish set up Imaginarium Productions to make their own films. They were looking for stories and realized that right under their noses was a remarkable and true story that was original and heartfelt. It was the story of Cavendish’s parents.

Cavendish’s father, Robin, was paralyzed from the neck down by polio at the age of 28. And his wife, Diana, took it upon herself to take care of him for the rest of his life. And from this we get the movie ‘Breathe.’ Directed by Serkis with a script written by William Nicholson, it was in 1956 when Robin (played by Andrew Garfield) met and married Diana (Claire Foy). But two years later Robin was struck down by polio, right in the prime of his life. A successful tea-broking businessman, his diagnosis, which included an inability to breathe on his own, was only three months. It was a diagnosis that would, of course, dramatically change his and his wife’s life.

Bed bound in the hospital, hooked up to a breathing machine, Diana had the choice to leave him there for the rest of his expected short life, or to take him home and care for him there. She took him home. So ‘Breathe’ is the story of the love and care that Diana had for Robin, through their many years of life, happily as a couple, which produced a son (Jonathan, in 1959). ‘Breathe’ also highlights Robin’s tenacity and ambitiousness to invent, along with Teddy Hall (Hugh Bonneville), a wheelchair with a built-in respirator that would be used for other people in his condition as well.

It may seem like a bit of deja vu watching this film as it’s a bit similar in storyline to ‘The Theory of Everything’ – the film that won Eddie Redmayne an Academy Award for portraying Stephen Hawking, who was also (and still is) confined to a wheelchair for most of his adult life. But ‘Beathe’ doesn’t really have a lot more to offer than ‘Theory,’ and while it’s a beautiful and romantic story abut a man who overcame severe health hurdles to live up until the age of 64 (he died in 1994), it’s a bit on the bland and unexciting side. Garfield is very good as Robin, though he doesn’t really have a whole lot to do except to lie down or sit on a wheelchair (Redmayne did it so much better), and Foy, as Diana, is too much of a knight is shining armour whose character comes across as too chirpy and happy and smiling in a role that would make Florence Nightingale blush – it’s a bit hard to believe that she didn’t suffer somewhat from her giving up her life to take care of Robin (and it’s also very noticeable that Foy’s Diana doesn’t age much in the film, could be it be because the real Diana is very much alive and Jonathan didn’t want to portray her as getting older?). The tagline for this film is ‘With her Love he Lived,’ and while this is very true, it’s a film that holds it’s breathe a bit too long and hard.

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15th Oct2017

Young Frankenstein (Theatre)

by timbaros

Cast of Young Frankenstein. Credit Manuel HarlanThe classic comedy ‘Young Frankenstein’ has finally made it’s way to the West End, and it’s just as funny, or perhaps even funnier, than the hit 1974 film.

Mel Brooks, still kicking around at the age of 91, directed and co-wrote (along with Gene Wilder) the Oscar-nominated film. Brooks wrote the music and lyrics of the stage version which had it’s Broadway debut in 2007 to rave reviews and several Tony award nominations. It’s arrival in the West End is welcome because there is a lack of stomach-splitting comedies on offer, and ‘Young Frankenstein’ is not only stomach splitting – it’s laugh out very loud funny!

Scientist Frederick Frankenstein (Hadley Fraser), who insists his last name is pronounced Frankensteen in order to disassociate himself from his grandfather – the mad scientist Dr. Victor von Frankenstein, and which becomes a running joke throughout the show – learns that he has inherited a castle in the town of Transylvania Heights from his grandfather. He decides to check it out and boards the Queen Mary Shelley ship (Shelley is the original author of the book of Frankenstein), says goodbye to his fiancé Elizabeth (Dianne Pilkington) who at the port sings the camp song ‘Please Don’t Touch Me’ in reference to her devotion to Frederick. Once Frederick arrives in the town, he is greeted by Igor (Ross Noble), a man with a hump on his back which keeps on changing sides. Frederick also hires an assistant to help him at the castle, and this assistant is the blond, beautiful, buxomy and German Inga (a wonderful Summer Strallen – who practically steals the show with her looks, and dumbwitnedness). They ride up to the castle on a wagon to the tune of ‘Roll in the Hay’ (because they are literally on hay and during the bumpy ride where Inga practically exposes almost every part of her body – it’s too funny and needs to be seen!) Once in the castle (the production designer cleverly takes up deeper and deeper into the castle through the use of darkness and doors that continually reveal amazing new sets) we meet the fabulous housekeeper Frau Blücher (Lesley Joseph) who has an absolute scene-stealing number with the song ‘He was my Boyfriend’ in reference to Victor Frankenstein. While in the castle, Frederick and Inga find a secret entrance to the laboratory, which inspires Frederick to create a monster in memory of his grandfather. Well, Igor gets a corpse for the experiment, but it’s not exactly what Frederick had in mind, nonetheless, a monster is born, but knocking on the door are the town’s villagers, led by the one-armed and one- legged Inspector Kemp (Patrick Clancy), who says ‘it literally cost him an arm and a leg!’ Tha dump!). He and the townspeople know that something is up in the castle, that many years ago bad things happened there, and they want to find out exactly what is going on. And the rest, as they say, is history.

‘Young Frankenstein’ continues with the laughs, and laughs, and laughs, culminating in the rib breaking song ‘Puttin on the Ritz’ sung by The Monster, Frederick, Inga, Igor and company. ‘Young Frankenstein is the funniest show I’ve seen in the West End in a long time (funnier, I think, than ‘The Book of Mormon’). And all the cast are excellent, but Strallen and Joseph are lucky enough to be given show stopping songs to sing, and Noble as Igor is just too good to be true, and let’s not leave out Shuler Hensley who plays, to great effect, The Monster. This show is just about as perfect a comedy can be, and Director and choreographer Susan Stroman has created a masterpiece, while kudos should also go to set designer Beowulf Boritt. It’s a shame that this show is at the small Garrick Theatre – it needs a bigger theatre just so that more people can see and enjoy it, but nonetheless it’s one you definitely don’t want to miss!

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15th Oct2017

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) – Film

by timbaros

MeyerowitzStoriespic1-600x429A dysfunctional family deals with the illness of its patriarch in the new film ‘The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected).’

Including a cast of very famous actors, ‘The Meyerowitz Stories’ is, appropriately enough, about the Meyerowitz family, their lack of cohesiveness and irregularity in ways that gets a bit too much at times. There is constant yelling and a general unlikeability (and lots of continuity errors) in this film that could’ve been made by Woody Allen (it’s written and directed by Noah Baumbach).

Dustin Hoffman is Harold, the patriarch of a family with children who come from different mothers. The children include Adam Sandler, who is very good as Danny. With no place to live due to bad luck, he decamps back at the family home with Harold’s fourth wife Maureen (Emma Thompson). Danny has a daughter who is Eliza (Grace Van Patten), a college student studying film who makes raunchy and disturbing lesbian films, even though she’s straight. Matthew (Ben Stiller) lives in Los Angeles and is a powerful and wealthy businessman with a family of his own. Then there’s the miscast sister Jean (Elizabeth Marvel), whose awkwardness in appearance and behavior alludes to an abnormal upbringing. When Howard falls ill and is sent to the hospital, all hell breaks loose. Matthew flies in to be by his father’s side (with eyes on selling the family home for big bucks), and it’s him and Danny and Jean who practically fall apart and can’t cope, not only because their father is gravely ill, but also because of the mess their relationships, with each other, and with their father are in. Very bad shape doesn’t even come close.

‘The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)’, brought to us by master storyteller Baumbach, is one film that’s a bit hard to sit through. While all the actors are fantastic in their roles, the script is, as mentioned, a bit too much to take, and a bit unbeiveable. There’s also a scene where Sandler completely damages a car in broad daylight, in front of the hospital where his father is, but is not challenged or arrested. And it’s get very overdramatic in the hospital scenes where we know that all is going to be ok in the end. It’s worth a watch for the fine acting but that’s about all.

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15th Oct2017

Double Date (Film)

by timbaros
Double Date film written by Danny Morgan photographed by stills photographer Andrew Ogilvy Photography

Double Date film written by Danny Morgan photographed by stills photographer Andrew Ogilvy Photography

Two men get tricked by two very attractive women and it’s a ‘Double Date’ from hell!

Jim (Danny Morgan) and Alex (Michael Socha) are typical 20-something men. All they want to do is drink and get laid, however, there’s one problem. Jim, fast approaching 30, is a virgin. Yes, he’s never gotten laid. He’s not all that bad. He’s nice and all, but goodlooking Alex gets most of the attention, and the girls. But when two women coincidentally seek out Jim by making an easy play for him, not all is what it seems. You see, these two women Lulu (Georgia Groome) and Kitty (Kelly Wenham), who happen to be sisters, are looking for a male virgin as a sacrificial lamb for their sick father (boy is he sick – and skeletal!), and Jim has stupidly posted his profile on a virgin dating site. It’s not too long before the girls lure the men into their home (a huge mansion) where they reveal their dark and sinister sides, and the boys will definitely not be getting laid on this double date!

‘Double date’ is an amusing enough movie that doesn’t really take itself too seriously. The cast are all in good, scary and bloody form, and Morgan brings a bit of warmth and cuteness to his role (especially when he takes Kitty to his parents house for a brief birthday party). It’s all in good fun, and properly executed thanks to director Benjamin Barfoot. And while some of the fighting scenes forge on the unbelievable, at 90 minutes it’s not much of an investment in your time. And why yes, it’s the perfect double date movie!

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07th Oct2017

London Film Festival Press Conference for “The Meyerowitz Stories: New and Selected”

by timbaros

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As part of the The 61st BFI London Film Festival, today there was a press conference held at London’s glamorous Corinthia Hotel for the film “The Meyerowitz Stories: New and Selected.” Attending were the film’s stars Dustin Hoffman and Adam Sandler, as well as writer and director Noah Baumbach.

“The Meyerowitz Stories: New and Selected” is the gala for the Laugh strand of the festival. In the film, Dustin Hoffman plays a moody patriarch in a film about a screwed-up New York family. To suggest that sculptor Harold Meyerowitz (Hoffman) is a model father would be pushing it. His adult children, like his artistic career, have not exactly met his expectations, but he has succeeded in selling them a rather delusional version of his own achievements. His eldest son Danny (Adam Sandler) is coasting through life while Harold’s daughter Jean (Elizabeth Marvel) enjoys being in the background. Matthew (Ben Stiller), who live on the West Coast, is very successful. Meanwhile, there is Harold’s drunk bohemian fourth wife Maureen (Emma Thompson). It’s pure dysfunction all the way, more so when Harold winds up in the hospital and everyone has to decide what’s best for Harold, together.

“The Meyerowitz Stories: New and Selected” is out in UK cinemas on October 13, 2017.
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04th Oct2017

London Film Festival Opening Night Film “Breathe”

by timbaros

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The 61st BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express® launched tonight with the Opening Night Gala, the European premiere of “Breathe,” directed by Andy Serkis and starring Claire Foy and Andrew Garfield.

Joining Serkis, Foy and Garfield on the red carpet, and on stage before the screening, included co-starts Tom Hollander and Hugh Bonneville.
“Breathe” is an inspirational love story about a couple who defy the odds and try to live a normal life. When dapper and adventurous Robin Cavendish (Garfield) meets self-assured Diana (Foy) at a cricket match, a whirlwind romance ensues. Soon after their wedding, they set out for Nairobi where Robin works as a tea broker. But their new life together takes an abrupt turn when he contracts polio and is given only weeks to live. Determined that her husband’s life should not be restricted by medical and social prejudice, Diana ignores all advice and breaks him out of the hospital. With the support of her twin brothers (both played by Tom Hollander) and friend Teddy (Hugh Bonneville), an Oxford professor who invents a wheelchair with a respirator attached, Diana creates an environment in which Robin can thrive and he goes on to lead a long and full life. “Breathe” is based on the true story of producer Jonathan Cavendish’s parents. “Breathe” is released nationally in the UK on October 27, 2017.

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“Breathe” Producer John Cavendish, Claire Foy, Andrew Garfield, Director Andy Serkis, Writer William Nicholson and moderator Terri White at today’s press conference before the film premiere

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02nd Oct2017

Raindance Film Festival – Best of LGBT Films

by timbaros

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“There is a Light” (Il Padre d’Italia)

A beautifully written and told and acted story of gay man Paolo who, unusually, encounters a very pretty young pregnant woman – Mia – in a backroom gay sex bar. She’s presumably looking for her boyfriend who ditched her. Paolo befriends her and they leave together and embark on a road trip that turns into something a bit more. Luca Marinellil and Isabella Ragonese are a revelation in the leading roles, and the great soundtrack is an added bonus. Look for this film anyway you can.

“Discreet” – written and directed by Travis Mathews, who collaborated on “Interior Leather Bar” with James Franco, as well as a documentary series of gay men in several cities, brings us a film that is about a gay drifter Alex (Jonny Mars) who takes up residence in his supposed mute grandfather’s house. At the same time he pursues a local young teenage boy and spends time at the local gay cinema with a muscular Italian man. Alex is also hypnotized by some sort of strange sex website run by an oriental woman that seems to help him drive his inner ego. It all makes for a very strange and uncomfortable movie wth an awful narrative, a self-indulgent work on Mathews part. This one is a miss.

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“Anatomy of a Ballet Dancer: Marcelo Gomes”
A documentary about the life and career of one of ballet’s biggest stars, who has been with the American Ballet Theatre for 20 years. This film is not just for ballet fans as we get too see the inner workings of the mind of Gomes, who had talent at a very young age. This film also deals with how he overcame his parents divorce, as well as coming out of the closet in a big way on the cover of a magazine, and how he has become one of ballet’s biggest stars. The documentary shines a light on his relationship with his father, who for some reason does not want to go see Gomes dance on stage in his hometown of NYC. Gomes comes across as such a nice and down to earth guy, and it doesn’t hurt that he parades around in really really tight ballet clothes that leave nothing to the imagination.

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“The Joneses”
Jheri Jones is a fascinating woman, and in this excellent documentary we learn that Jheri is no ordinary woman, she used to be Jerry. But to her four male children, one of whom is gay and comes out in the documentary at the age of 37, Jheri is actually both mom and dad (their actual mother passed away years ago at the age of 59). Including Jheri’s two understanding grandchildren, “The Joneses” show how the family have accepted and embraced Jheri’s transition (which took place years ago). But it’s Jheri who is the star of this documentary- she fascinating, fun, fierce, and fabulous.

“The Misandrists”
Controversial film director Bruce LaBruce is, as always, in unusual form in this strange film about a school for girls and the powering teachers who lead them and who call themselves the Female Liberation Army. But all is not what is seems with the girls, some are hiding secrets, and one of them is hiding a male soldier in the basement dungeon. But it gets to be a bit too much when a penis is surgically cut off which leads to, at the very end, a lesbian orgy that leaves nothing to the imagination. It’s 90 minutes that’s a bit too much to take.

“Mist”
A Mexican film with English subtitles, it’s the story of a young pregnant woman, Martina, who escapes her life in Mexico City to go look for the father she never knew in Berlin. Of course while in Berlin she encounters all sorts of people, including a memorable drag queen played by the fabulous Dieter Rita Scholl. But Martina’s boyfriend comes looking for her in Berlin, and she’s got a strange habit of spontaneously stealing things. “Mist” is worth a watch for the performances.

“Apricot Groves”
Aram (Narbe Varten) has just flown back to Armenia from where he’s living in California to ask the parents of his girlfriend for her hand in marriage. He is squired around town by his confident and worldly brother Vartan (Pedram Ansari). But another purpose of Aram’s trip is for him to undergo surgery, and it’s this revelation at the end of the film (and a bit in the beginning) that makes “Apricot Groves” a real treasure.

“Boys for Sale”
Having never been to Tokyo, I didn’t realize that there was such a huge male escort scene there. In this well done documentary, we get to meet several ‘urisen’ (male sex workers) in Tokyo’s Shinjuku 2-chome gay district, where they all talk to the camera about their lives and what led them to this type of work. It’s a fascinating film by director Itako and Executive Producer Ian Thomas Ash. It also includes very clever and compelling drawings of a sexual nature that depict the urisen’s non-exciting sexual encounters. Try to find this documentary anyway you can.

While not specifically LGBT, two other films at Raindance are recommended because of their great music stores. “Trendy,” about a man who moves to London from up north to escape a bad incident, is shot almost entirely in East London and many scenes take place in Berlin-style underground clubs. “Afterparty” is just what you’d expect. It takes place in a huge nightclub in Belgrade, focusing on one of the bartender’s quest to become famous, and where the music is just as fast and furious and thumping as the main character.

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24th Sep2017

Borg vs McEnroe

by timbaros

borg-mcenroe-011980 was a massive year in sports. It was the year that the U.S., and other countries, boycotted the Olympic Games held in Russia. It was also the year that an unknown woman by the name of Rosie Ruiz cheated her way to the finishing line to ‘win’ the Boston Marathon. But it was also the year that Swede Bjorn Borg competed against American John McEnroe for the Wimbledon men’s championship, and what a game it was. The new film “Borg vs McEnroe” totally captures this exciting match.

Not only does the film capture, in very good detail, the match to end all matches, it also goes deep into the lives of both men, their upbringing, their careers as the world’s top tennis players, as well as their relationships with others. However, this being a Swedish production, the film mostly focuses on Borg (played by a practical look-a-like in Sverrir Gudnason). McEnroe, played by Shia LaBeouf, is also very good as the bad boy of tennis which almost mirrors LaBeouf’s offscreen behaviour.

We see Bjorg as young man (played by his own son Leo) in the city where he grew up and started playing tennis against a wall near his home; we see him as a successful tennis player, living the life of luxury, high atop a luxurious apartment building in Monaco which he shares with his partner Marianna (Tuva Novotny). She stands by his side, and allows him to stay focused on his games, even if that means him being very obsessed with the preparation of each match, and the torment by his parents who have taught him never to be second best. Borg’s relationship with his coach Lennart (an excellent Stellan Skarsgard) is a volatile one, but it’s also like father and son. Meanwhile, McEnroe has demons of his own – his reputation precedes him, and it’s going to be a dual to the finish at the Wimdledom championships as to who’s going to come out the winner.

“Borg vs McEnroe,” a multilingual film, ends with the play by play of the 1980 men’s championship final. And if you don’t remember who won, it’s a nail-biting 20 minutes that will keep you on the edge of your seat. And it’s this finale that makes “Borg vs McEnroe” one of the best sports films since 2013’s racing car film “Rush.” Danish Director Janus Metz keeps the suspense and drama very much alive while writer Ronnie Sandahl expertly crafts the 110 minute movie to include aspects of both champions lives as well as their tennis successes.

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02nd Sep2017

God’s Own Country (Film)

by timbaros

image.php-138In 2005 there was Brokeback Mountain, and in 2017 there is now “God’s Own Country.”

Being referred to as a West Yorkshire Brokeback Mountain, “God’s Own Country” tells the story of a young farmer who works on the family farm and has casual sex with some of the local boys. But when a Romanian migrant worker shows up to help him out on the farm, their working relationship turns into more than just work, changing both their lives. Shot against the beautiful backdrop that is Yorkshire, “God’s Own Country” is definitely this year’s hottest and most mainstream gay film. Director and writer Francis Lee, in his feature length directorial debut (he has acting credits that go back to 1994), has crafted a gay romance set on a farm, a romance that, when it gets lit, is explosive.

Josh O’Connor is fantastic as Johnny Saxby, a young man who thinks he has only one purpose in life – the farm. He lives in a house on top of a hill with his grandmother (Gemma Jones) and sick father (Ian Hart). But as his father is unable to participate in the hard daily chores, Romanian immigrant, and ruggedly handsome, Gheorghe (Alec Secareanu) arrives, and with his arrival comes the romance that we know is going to happen. I didn’t find “God’s Own Country’ a perfect film, Johnny and Gheorghe’s first stab at having sex, outdoors, right in the middle of the farm, was a bit unbelievable (and it looked cold). And Johnny’s habit of taking presumably straight men into his local pub toilets for sex (that would be every gay man’s fantasy – no?) is far-fetched. But “God’s Own Country” is beautiful, complex and engaging, and it doesn’t hurt that we get to see both O’Connor and Secareanu naked. “God’s Own Country” has already won several awards, including Best Film at both the Berlin and Edinburgh International Film Festivals as well as the World Cinema Directing Award at Sundance. And it’s gotten rave reviews, with some critics calling it “The British Brokeback Mountain,” but better.

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