A Wong Time Ago

First the bad news. Almost 25 years after its theatrical release, To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar (Universal / Shout Select), newly reissued on Blu-ray, doesn’t hold up so well. While the concept for the screenplay by Douglas Carter Beane supposedly predates the superior The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, To Wong Foo suffers by comparison. That said, there are still plenty of reasons to take this life-changing cross-country journey with Vida (the late Patrick Swayze), Noxeema (Wesley Snipes), and Chi-Chi (John Leguizamo). One reason alone happens in the first few minutes of To Wong Foo, […]

Every Day is Halloween

Forty years after John Carpenter redefined the slasher film with the original “Halloween,” that movie’s lead character Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) returns to take care of some unfinished business in the 2018 version of Halloween(Universal / Blumhouse), the 11th in the series, now available on Blu-ray / DVD / Digital. Under the care of Dr. Sartain (Haluk Bilginer), in a locked ward at Smith’s Grove rehab facility, “pure evil” notorious masked killer Michael Myers, who hasn’t uttered a word in 40 years, is about to be transferred to a different facility. Taking full advantage of the interest of investigative podcasters […]

Bohemian Rhapsodic

Rest assured that from the first moment we see Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek with prosthetic teeth) onscreen in the Oscar-nominated Bohemian Rhapsody, on the morning of Queen’s 1985 Live Aid reunion performance, he is undeniably gay. This was during Mercury’s clone-look era, complete with mustache, short and neat haircut, studded leather armband and tight, faded jeans. Gay, gay, gay. Anything you might have heard about Mercury’s gayness being whitewashed is bollocks. While there are certain charming elements that indicate how committed the filmmakers were to make this movie – the Queen-style guitar used in the 20th Century Fox intro, for […]

Better Together: Poulenc Concerto for Two Pianos

The best things come in pairs on November 9th to 11th with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Lead by conductor Kwamé Ryan, the BSO will perform two Mendelssohn symphonies and have the pleasure of performing with Christina and Michelle Naughton, twins and duo-pianists, on Poulenc’s Concerto for Two Pianos. “Given the fact that we are doing not one but two Mendelssohn symphonies, this concert is obviously going to be a treat for fans of his music,” says conductor Ryan. “I would imagine that even those familiar with his Symphony No. 5 (“Reformation”) will likely never have heard his String Symphony No. […]

BSO: ‘I Love a Piano’: A Night with Tony DeSare

For award-winning composer, Tony DeSare, partnering with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) for his upcoming concert “I Love a Piano” is a walk down memory lane. “The show is made up of the songs, artists, and styles that I loved when I was ten years old and just beginning to learn the piano,” says DeSare. “It was artists like Billy Joel, Elton John, and Ray Charles that kept me motivated to keep practicing and playing until I could play the song like they did.” Fans of DeSare and the BSO will enjoy an evening of music honoring pop music’s greatest […]

Oh, the Horror!

You know how somethings improve with age? Well, Exorcist II: The Heretic (Scream Factory), now available in a collector’s edition Blu-ray, isn’t one of them. An incoherent mess when it was first released, the catastrophic 1977 sequel to The Exorcist, directed by John Boorman (Deliverance and Hope and Glory), features an intoxicated Richard Burton at his scenery-chomping worst. Even the few returning cast members, including Linda Blair, Kitty Winn, and Max Von Sydow, couldn’t give this doomed production the credibility that it needed. Father Lamont (a bumbling Burton) calls on the spirit of the late Father Merrin (Von Sydow) to […]

What’s So Funny?

Great comedians make you laugh and think. Great comedy stays with you long after the laughs have subsided. If you’ve seen Hannah Gadsby’s Netflix comedy special “Nanette,” you’ll understand what this means. Gadsby singlehandedly raises the bar for comedy, putting it out of reach for many other stand-up comics. “Out On Stage” (Fathom Events / Comedy Dynamics), which is being shown in theaters for one night only on July 24th, shortly after “Nanette” began airing, will suffer by comparison. True, it features a multitude of comics, not just one. But the main similarity is that “Out On Stage” touches on […]

Not So Simple Simon

At first glance, you might not think that gay director Greg Berlanti’s 2018 gay rom-com(ing out movie) Love, Simon (Fox 2000) has much in common with the Oscar-nominated 2017 gay rom-dram Call Me By Your Name, but you’d be wrong. First of all, both films are based on novels. Love, Simon is based on Becky Albertalli’s 2015 YA novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda while Call Me By Your Name is based on the 2007 novel by André Aciman. Additionally, both novelists are, as it turns out, straight. Just wait, there’s more. Simon and Elio, the lead characters in […]

Hello Again and Again

Filmmaker Tom Gustafson and his frequent screenwriting collaborator Cory Krueckeberg (2008’s Were the World Mine and others) definitely had their work cut out for them with their ambitious, but flawed, film adaptation of John Michael LaChiusa’s non-traditional off-Broadway musical Hello Again (The Orchard / Speak), now available on DVD. Based on Arthur Schnitzler’s 1897 play La Ronde, LaChiusa is not the first playwright to have his way, so to speak, with the original play’s overt themes of uninhibited sexuality. Opening in what looks like the near future, Hello Again begins with Ruth (Martha Plimpton) in a cozy peepshow setting where […]

Swipe Out

Living, as we do, in a post-Love, Simon (and post-Call Me By Your Name) world, gay movies with younger male lead characters may forever be judged differently. That can be both good and bad. In the case of writer/director Mike Roma’s Dating My Mother (Gravitas Ventures), it falls squarely in the middle. Twenty-three-year-old Danny (Patrick Reilly, making his feature film debut), who has ambitions of being a screenwriter, has returned to New Jersey after living in California after graduation. He’s temporarily moved in with his widowed, hairdresser mother Joan (Steppenwolf and Law & Order actress Kathryn Erbe) while supposedly working […]