Wonder Woman 1984 is more grody than gnarly

I loved the first Wonder Woman movie. The original really, finally put the DC Comics movie universe in a good place. It was set in a bygone era, it had a terrific script, a great cast, a great director and most of all it had heart. And from the looks of things, it seemed that Wonder Woman 1984 would follow suit, and again be compared to how Marvel took the World War II-set Captain America: The First Avenger and dropped him into some present day but 1970s-style intrigue in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. So far, Diana Prince and company […]

Best LGBTQ+ movies of 2020

Let’s be honest. The moviegoing experience has lost its luster in recent years. Stadium seating is a good idea, but the pressure of having to choose seats in advance takes the fun out of the hunt. People still talk during the movie; to each other, to themselves, to the characters on the screen. Texting during movies is at an all-time high, and Apple watches illuminating throughout the theater are a distraction.   Then came the COVID-19 pandemic. Movie theater chains shuttered. While the idea of sitting in close proximity to other audience members caused us to shudder. Not that they […]

Bombing the Prom

For a while there, 21st century movie adaptations of Broadway musicals were being given the Rob Marshall treatment. Oscar-winner Chicago got the ball rolling. Then it was followed by the dismal Nine and disastrous Into The Woods. Marshall’s next project? The live-action The Little Mermaid. Now Ryan Murphy, who shares Marshall’s initials, as well as his taste for bombast and Meryl Streep, is entering the fray with his big screen version of the Tony-nominated 2018 musical The Prom (Netflix). Murphy’s love of musicals and theatrics can be traced back to his inexplicably popular network TV series Glee. His Emmy-winning 2014 movie adaptation of Larry Kramer’s dramatic play The Normal Heart proved he […]

With friends like these

Halloween 2020 is behind us. However, for some people, especially LGBTQ+ folks, Thanksgiving can be much scarier. Friendsgiving (Saban Films), written and directed by Nicol Paone, renowned for her Elaine Stritch impression  on “The Big Gay Sketch Show” (where she costarred alongside Kate McKinnon), is the latest addition to the turkey day trauma tradition.   Queer Abby (Kat Dennings) and straight Molly (Malin Åkerman) are longtime besties with something in common. Each one is still reeling from a painful breakup. Due to their fragile states, they agreed to have a more intimate Thanksgiving – just the two of them and Molly’s infant […]

Haute House

It could be said that “Unzipped,” Douglas Keeves’ popular documentary about fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi, started a trend. Since that time, docs detailing the rise of influential couturiers, including Alexander McQueen (2018’s “McQueen”), Halston (2010’s “Ultrasuede” and 2019’s “Halston”), Valentino (2008’s “Valentino: The Last Emperor”), Yves Saint Lauren (2010’s “L’amour fou”) and Vivienne Westwood (“Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist”), have been the rage. David Ebersole and Todd Hughes’ “House of Cardin” (Altered Innocence/Utopia), now available on DVD, about fashion legend Pierre Cardin, ranks among the best on (or off) the rack. What makes this indisputable is that Cardin, who turned 98 […]

Playing it straight

James Sweeney’s queer rom-com Straight Up (Strand), now available on DVD, has more in common with Woody Allen’s Annie Hall than you might expect. Like Allen did for Annie Hall, Sweeney wrote, directed and stars in Straight Up. Like Allen’s Annie Hall character Alvy, Sweeney’s Todd is a nerdy, obsessive compulsive, in therapy, who is in search of companionship. Similarities between the two probably end there. In Straight Up, gay millennial Todd is undergoing a severe sexual identity crisis, or so he tells friends Ryder (James Scully) and Meg (Dana Drori) in an L.A. diner. He believes he could statistically […]

The end of innocence

The late gay filmmaker Luchino Visconti (Death in Venice, The Damned) went out with a bang, so to speak, with his over-the-top final feature, 1976’s L’Innocente (Film Movement), now available on Blu-ray. Based on the 1892 novel by Gabriele D’Annunzio, L’Innocente gave Visconti plenty of opportunity to exercise his operatic excesses. Tullio (Giancarlo Giannini), a despicable chauvinist and charmer, is the kind of unfaithful husband who shows up at a piano recital with his devoted wife Giuliana (Laura Antonelli) and is openly flirtatious with his mistress, the widowed Teresa (Jennifer O’Neil). If that’s not bad enough, Tullia basically insults Giuliana […]

Two to Avoid

If we’ve learned anything during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that time is precious. There isn’t that much of it and as the numbers of the dead increase at an alarming rate, we are reminded of how important it is not to waste what little we have. One recommended way of not being wasteful is by avoiding movies that don’t deserve to sap your hours and minutes. Kevin Bacon, still hot to the touch in his early 60s, has a longstanding relationship with the horror genre. From his memorable appearance in a Speedo in the first Friday the 13th (1980) to […]

As “Perfect” as Trump

Nannies get a bad rap. As portrayed by Julie Andrews, Mary Poppins may have made nannies safe for moviegoers in 1964, but a year later, Bette Davis changed all that in 1965’s The Nanny. As you might have guessed from the title, The Perfect Nanny (Icarus/Distrib), which shares its title with a song from Mary Poppins, and is based on the bestselling novel by Leila Slimani, is about a nanny who is anything but.   Paul (Antoine Reinartz from the incredible 2017 gay film BPM) and Myriam (Leïla Bekhti) are a young married Parisian couple, the parents of five-year-old Mila (Assya Da Silva) and toddler […]

Bold ‘Wives’ Tale

“Inspired by the true stories of the women who started the first military wives choir,” director Peter Cattaneo’s Military Wives (Bleecker Street), and its on-the-nose title, comes from a long tradition of movies that also includes Cattaneo’s full-length feature debut The Full Monty. In the same category, you will also find Calendar Girls, Kinky Boots, Brassed Off, Pride, and even Sister Act. Have you figured out where this is going? That’s right, an unlikely and often motley crew comes together during an extremely challenging time to lift each other’s spirits and leave the audience in tears. Kate (Kristin Scott Thomas) […]