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) […]

How high

While watching “The High Note” (Focus), Tracee Ellis Ross’ first major motion picture role as a lead actress, don’t be surprised if you find yourself thinking, “Well, this could have gone either way.” Even in the more than capable hands of lesbian filmmaker Nisha Ganatra (“Late Night” and “Chutney Popcorn”), and without the star power of say, Emma Thompson, “The High Note” could have gone sour. As it is, it can be kind of pitchy. Ross, the daughter of diva Diana Ross, plays Grace Davis, a celebrated recording star with 11 Grammys to her name struggling to stay relevant in an industry […]

The art of love

When gay actor turned writer/director Mike Doyle’s feature-length debut played the festival circuit it went by the terrible title “Sell By”. Opening in theaters this spring, the movie is now called “Almost Love” (Vertical Entertainment), which we can all agree is also very bad. Thankfully, the movie itself is so much better than either of its names. Adam (out actor Scott Evans, younger brother of Chris) is a painter in New York. He (barely) makes a living (by NYC standards) producing paintings for famous artist Ravella Brewer (Patricia Clarkson) whose signature at the bottom of each piece brings in an […]

Three (cock)ring circus

Queer filmmaker/performance artist Rachel Mason gets personal with her new documentary “Circus of Books” (Netflix/Future Clown), debuting on Netflix in late April 2020. The daughter of Karen and Barry Mason, the straight, married couple who owned and operated the titular legendary XXX adult emporium in WeHo (shuttered in early 2018) and a short-lived Silverlake location, Rachel has crafted a revelatory, warts and all family portrait, that is equally emotional and informative. Journalist Karen and movie special effects designer/inventor (and UCLA classmate of Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek) Barry, the unlikely proprietors of Circus of Books, didn’t set out to become […]

Doing the bunny hop

Screenwriter/director/actor Taika Waititi (Marvel box office blockbuster “Thor: Ragnarok”) won an Oscar for his adapted screenplay for “Jojo Rabbit” (Fox Searchlight/20th Century Fox Home Entertainment), based on the novel “Caging Skies” by Christine Leunens. In its exaggerated irreverence, Waititi’s mind-bending film, about a Nazi youth’s imaginary friendship with Hitler, is both anti-hate and pro-peace. It’s an unabashed tribute to classic comedy geniuses that came before, including Mel Brooks (remember “Springtime For Hitler”?) and Monty Python. “Jojo Rabbit” arrived in theaters, and now on home video, as neo-Nazism is on the rise worldwide. It’s a sharp poke in the ribs, alternately […]

A girl can get burned

The early 19th century novels of Jane Austen, including “Sense and Sensibility” and “Pride and Prejudice”, have never gone out of print. If movie studios, both domestic and foreign, have their way, film adaptations of her titles will also continue to be a part of our consciousness. Even if they’ve been made before. But do we really need two mini-series and one theatrical release version of “Sense and Sensibility”? Additionally, not only were there feature-length and mini-series versions of “Pride & Prejudice”, but also a zom-com remake. Austen’s “Emma” has suffered a similar fate, including a mini-series, a Hollywood edition […]

Big gulp

According to Wikipedia, pica is categorized as “a psychological disorder characterized by an appetite for substances that are largely non-nutritive, such as ice (pagophagia); hair (trichophagia); paper (xylophagia); drywall or paint; sharp objects (acuphagia); metal (metallophagia); stones (lithophagia) or soil (geophagia); glass (hyalophagia); feces (coprophagia); and chalk”. In “Swallow” (IFC Films), the feature length debut by gender-fluid writer/director Carlo Mirabella-Davis, Hunter (Haley Bennett, who has a Jennifer Lawrence quality) and Richie (the striking Austin Stowell) are young newlyweds, enjoying their incredible new home, purchased for them by Richie’s affluent parents Michael (David Rasche) and Katherine (Elizabeth Marvel). Richie, who works […]


Here is a trigger warning  this review contains possible spoilers! Obsessive auteur Quentin Tarantino, who won a 2020 Golden Globe for his screenplay, takes his longstanding cinematic love affair with Hollywood to new and exhilarating heights in Once Upon A Time  In Hollywood (Sony / Columbia). Drawing on his own oeuvre as well as the vast entertainments from mid-20th century movies and television, the sprawling (nearly three hours!) epic is Tarantinos most ambitious patchwork quilt film; alternately comforting and gripping. Bordering on being washed-up, actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo Di Caprio) is at a career crossroads in early 1969. After his […]

Christmas in February

If you missed kooky / tearjerky rom-com Last Christmas (Universal) during its brief run in multiplexes in December, fear not. It’s arriving on digital disk just in time for watching or giving as a gift on Valentine’s Day on February 14th.. When Kate (Emilia Clarke) was a young girl she got solos in the church choir. While still chasing her dream of becoming a singer and actress, she works dressed as an elf in a Christmas shop run by a woman who goes by the name Santa (Michelle Yeoh). As if the costume and constant disparaging remarks from Santa aren’t […]

All the Way

Have you ever watched a movie or a TV show set in or near where you live or socialize? There’s a kind of thrill of recognition that takes place when you do. It’s fun to see streets, bars, restaurants, and other businesses, even people you recognize, on screen in an area that you frequent. The 2019 doc, All Male, All Nude: Johnsons (Breaking Glass), filmed in and around Wilton Manors, is a follow-up to director / writer / actor Gerald McCullouch’s All Male, All Nude, a 2017 doc which focused on the notorious Swinging Richards male strip club in Atlanta. […]