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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22nd Oct2017

Norman (DVD)

by timbaros

NormanRichard Gere is excellent as always as a man who is desperate to do a deal but can’t seem to get a break in the new film Norman.

Gere is Norman Oppenheimer, a New York hustler who appears to be living a life of lies – he doesn’t appear to have a place to live, he spends most of his time at a church that could possibly be a homeless shelter and talks about a daughter who may or may not exist. But he sees his fortunes possibly change upon a chance encounter with an up and coming politician. Then One day, after attending a conference, he sees Israeli politician Eshel (Lior Ashkenazi), Norman ingratiates himself with him by buying him an expensive pair of shoes, shoes that Norman probably can’t afford to pay for, but he does (though luckily for him Eshel refuses to get a suit as well). Three years later, as Norman still struggles to get one of his deals done, Eshel becomes the Israeli Prime Minister, so Norman realises that this could be his big chance to get into the big leagues. But what turns out to be a friendly relationship between Norman and the Prime Minister turns into nothing as Eshel sees Norman’s desperate attempts to be close to him a liability, which leaves Norman basically back to where he began – a fixer with nothing to fix.

Gere does a nice turn as the ageing New York Norman who never quite seemed to have been much of a success in life. He plays Norman with such believability, desperateness, and a bit of wit that it’s hard not to fall for him a bit. The film’s subtitle – The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer – pretty sums up this film – but it’s Gere, who was excellent as a homeless man in 2014’s Time Out of Mind – who shines and makes this film worth a watch. And he’s as handsome as ever.

 



Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer [DVD] [2017] (DVD)

Director: Joseph Cedar
Starring: Richard Gere, Lior Ashkenazi, Michael Sheen, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Dan Stevens
Rating: Suitable for 15 years and over

New From: £6.72 GBP In Stock
Used from: £5.91 GBP In Stock
Release date October 16, 2017.
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22nd Oct2017

Hair (Theatre)

by timbaros

e3f465_1b89f804d4bc4479b321eedfe4969b4d~mv2_d_6000_4000_s_4_2‘Hair’, the original naked musical, is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary in a new production at The Vaults in London. Is the message that it sent in the hippie lovin’ 60’s still relevant today? You betcha.

When ‘Hair’ was originally produced off Broadway in New York City in 1967, it’s message of anti-establishment and free love, anti-war, and it’s display of full frontal nudity shocked audiences back then, leading to more publicity and packed houses. Now that we have Donald Trump in the most powerful office in the world, and with the UK ready to break off from the EU, and not to mention the political and socioeconomic changes happening around the world, ‘Hair’s’ message is perhaps more relevant than ever before. But is it actually a good show?

In the tiny, cozy and very hot theatre that is The Vaults under Waterloo station, 14 actors playing hippies sing and dance and sway their young lithe bodies all over the dirt floor that is the stage, and for one brief moment at the very end of the first half, they all get naked. And before and after in the second half, we are sung and spoken to by these youngsters as they tell their anti-war tales and burn their draft cards and the unlucky ones who are sent to fight in a war but come back with limbs, and emotions, gone.

Yet all the favorite songs are here, songs that include ‘Aquarius,’ ‘Good Morning Starshine,’ and ‘Let the Sunshine In,’ songs that make this show famous, more so than the script. So if you’ve never actually seen ‘Hair’ performed, go and see it now as this might be your last opportunity, but don’t expect to be wowed and awed in this production, though it might help if you take some stimulants to get you through the evening as this show is as mellow as can be.

For tickets, please click here:

https://www.thevaults.london/hair-the-musical

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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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08th Oct2017

The Toxic Avenger (Theatre)

by timbaros

THE TOXIC AVENGER THE MUSICAL 1 Mark Anderson as Toxie Phorto Irina Chira

There’s a monster loose at The Arts Theatre in London; it’s toxic, it smells, and it’s completely hilarious!

It’s “The Toxic Avenger,” the show that was originally a movie (circa 1984) and just last year played at The Southwark Playhouse to rave reviews. Well, “The Toxic Avenger” is getting revenge by coming back to a much larger theatre, with a superb cast!

In a nutshell, the show takes place in New Jersey. You know the place, people only pass through there to get to the bright lights and big city of New York. Well, New Jersey is where the denizens of Manhattan dispose of all of it’s waste – not just garbage but everything and anything that they don’t want, New Jersey, unfortunately, gets.

But in a town called Tromaville, New Jersey, which gets the worst of the wasted, there is nerd and aspiring earth scientist Melvin Ferd the Third (Mark Anderson), his mom Ma Ferd (Natalie Hope), Sarah the blind librarian (Emma Salvo), and host of other characters played by Ché Francis and Oscar Conlon-Morray, named appropriately as black dude and white dude. But when Melvin decides to find out who is responsible for the vats of toxic waste in Tromaville, he plans to put a stop to it. His investigation leads to the Mayor (Hope again), but when she finds out Melvin is on her case, she gets her two goons to get rid of Melvin, and they throw him into a vat of toxic sludge. But Melvin does not get killed, he comes back bigger and better than ever – he’s been transformed into “The Toxic Avenger” (a/k/a Toxie)!

Toxie attempts to get his revenge, but in the meantime blind librarian Sarah has a thing for him because she thinks he’s French (though when Toxie was Melvin he had a huge crush on her but she rebuffed him). Meanwhile the Mayor is still up to no good and vows to kill Toxie no matter what it takes. But hilarity (and lots of physical comedy) ensue; lots of running on and off the stage by the cast, Sarah doing everything she can to get with Toxie, and the brilliant Hope has a scene with herself as both the Mayor and Ms. Ferd – and one time she’s on stage as both characters! It’s a tour de force performance! Will Sarah and Toxie find love with each other? Will the corrupt Mayor have her way and turn Tromaville into more of a toxic waste dump? Will the front row of the audience escape unscathed? You will have to find out and buy tickets to this must-see show. And did I mention that it’s a musical? Everything you want and more is this show! And the cast are brilliant! It’s hard to single out any one performer, but I’m going to. Of course Hope gets the most exercise (and laughs) as both the Mayor and Melvin’s mother, but it’s Salvo’s performance that is most memorable because she’s playing a bind woman, and it’s so believable! And she’s so funny! Kudos to the cast, and production team, including director Benji Sperring, for bringing us a show that’s one not too miss. It’s got everything a musical should have; escapism, fantasy, great story, amazing performances, and some rocking songs. Buy tickets for this show now!

From Joe DiPietro and David Bryan (original founding member and keyboardist/vocalist for Bon Jovi), the Tony Award-winning team behind the hit West End musical ‘Memphis,“ “The Toxic Avenger The Musical” is now playing at The Arts Theatre in London until December 3, 2017.
https://artstheatrewestend.co.uk/whats-on/the-toxic-avenger/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIyPyZ8Jzd1gIVB5UbCh3pcQKkEAAYAiAAEgL_GPD_BwE

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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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