Film Hub




Weekend Movie: The Miraculous 'Birdman'

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Washed Up Actor vs. Difficult Thespian Round 1 in the hilarious, awesome "Birdman"  

BY NATHANIEL ROGERS 

A card in the bottom right hand of the star's mirror reads:

"A thing is a thing, not what is said of that thing."
-Susan Sontag

Which immediately complicates or maybe simplifies celebrity and art, two major themes (among a handful) of Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu's one of a kind new film experience. It's destined for major Oscar nominations and you should see it immediately. The movie has the simple and then complicated title of BIRDMAN, Or (THE UNEXPECTED VIRTUE OF IGNORANCE) which fits its two-faced nature perfectly. This quote is never addressed in the film but it's always stubbornly lodged there in that mirror, defying or playfully encouraging conversation about what this movie actually is. And what are reviews or after-movie conversation other than attempts to interpret and define?

Critics are often treated with petulant hostility in movies about show business, as if the filmmakers have an axe to grind and need to do that with grindstone in hand while their critical avatar/puppet hangs there limply, waiting to be struck with the sharpened blade. Birdman is no exception, immediately insulting its formidable theater critic Tabitha (Lindsay Duncan) as having a face that 'looks like she just licked a homeless man's ass,' before she's even spoken a line. But Tabitha is a slippery mark, portrayed as a voice of integrity in one scene and then a vicious unprofessional monster in another. This calls into question the reality of her scenes altogether.

Is each scene in the movie meant to be taken at face value or are plenty of them partially or fully projections of the actors, warped by their egos and neurosis. Birdman is filled with these kind of mindf*** questions while also being completely hilarious and emotionally compelling. The story revolves around a has-been movie star named Riggan Thomson who used to be very famous for playing a superhero. In the movies all-around genius casting he is played by has-been movie star Michael Keaton who used to be very famous for playing a superhero.

MORE, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Executive Producer Of Film About LGBT Kenyans Arrested: VIDEO

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"Stuff can go wrong, but we love our country. I am not afraid to go back home...I want to go back home." When George Gachara said these words, he was convinced that he was doing the right thing by documenting the lives of LGBT Kenyans in the film Stories Of Our Lives. The movie, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, is banned in Kenya based on the Films and Stage Plays Act, which Gachara was arrested for violating. Surely we can agree that the film tells an important story of an underrepresented group in the east African nation; the governing body apparently disagrees.

Daily Xtra reports:

Gachara was in Toronto recently for the film’s world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. He and others involved in its making and promotion, who until then had been anonymous, made the daring decision to reveal their names at TIFF, in a show of solidarity with the Kenyan LGBT community...

On Oct 14, Daily Xtra talked via Skype to Jim Chuchu, the director of Stories of our Lives and a co-founder of NEST, about the ban on the film. Hours later, Gachara was arrested.

According to Nest’s Facebook site, Gachara has been released on bail pending a hearing on Oct 17.

Gachara, and the filmmakers' brave actions, are in our thoughts. Most recently, the Kenyan Republican Liberty Party drafted a "stone the gays" bill in connection with "aggravated homosexuality," a continuation of anti-gay legislation already in effect there. Hopefully Gachara and the other filmmakers will not face condemnation for the movie, which was critically-acclaimed by news outlets like Indiewire:

Thankfully, this isn’t a movie about “Africa’s homophobia problem” that we’ve seen before. This is a beautiful little film about love, about humanity, about one of the many facets of what it means to be African.

Watch an interview with Gachara, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Executive Producer Of Film About LGBT Kenyans Arrested: VIDEO" »


Out Queer Actor Ezra Miller To Play 'The Flash' In Warner Bros. Franchise

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Ezra Miller (The Perks of Being A Wallflower, We Need To Talk About Kevin) will play comics character The Flash in Warner Brothers/DC Comics' superhero franchise that will include a solo feature coming in 2018. BuzzFeed reports:

Miller will star in a stand-alone movie of The Flash in 2018, after presumably appearing in Justice League Part One in 2017 from director by Zack Snyder, who is also helming 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. (This is not to be confused with The CW’s television series The Flash, which stars Grant Gustin and exists in a separate fictional universe.)

Warner Bros. also announced a full slate of feature films based on DC Comics, including a 2020 stand-alone film for Cyborg, starring Broadway actor Ray Fisher. In the current ecosystem of officially announced superhero movies, it would be the first time a black actor has headlined his own superhero movie based on a comic book since 2004’s Blade: Trinity. (To be fair, Michael B. Jordan is part of the ensemble in 20th Century Fox’s reboot of The Fantastic Four, but Fisher would be his film’s ostensible solo star.)

Miller came out as queer back in 2012 to Out Magazine, saying

“I’m queer. I have a lot of really wonderful friends who are of very different sexes and genders. I am very much in love with no one in particular. I’ve been trying to figure out relationships, you know? I don’t know if it’s responsible for kids of my age to be so aggressively pursuing monogamous binds, because I don’t think we’re ready for them. The romanticism within our culture dictates that that’s what you’re supposed to be looking for. Then [when] we find what we think is love -- even if it is love -- we do not yet have the tools. I do feel that it’s possible to be at this age unintentionally hurtful, just by being irresponsible -- which is fine. I’m super down with being irresponsible. I’m just trying to make sure my lack of responsibility no longer hurts people. That’s where I’m at in the boyfriend/girlfriend/zefriend type of question.”

The CW's iteration of The Flash is currently in its first season and stars Grant Gustin as the eponymous hero (formerly the promiscuous gay warbler on Glee).


Gay Murder-Mystery, 'Kiss Me, Kill Me,' Starring 'Queer As Folk' Hunk Gale Harold Seeks Crowd Funding: VIDEO

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Ever confronted your cheating boyfriend, blacked out, and realized he's been murdered? No? Good, let's leave that to the movies. Luckily, director Casper Andreas (below left) and writer David Michael Barrett (below right) are in the process of bringing "Kiss Me, Kill Me," an Agatha Christie-Alfred Hitchcock-inspired thriller to the silver screen.

Starring "Queer as Folk" stud Gale Harold and "As the World Turns'" Van Hansis, the film, set in West Hollywood, will explore the investigation of a murder, with themes of infidelity in the mix for good fun. Who did it? Will the perpetrator be caught? We may never know, if the project doesn't meet its funding goal.

KissMeKillMe2From the "Kiss Me, Kill Me" Kickstarter page:

This movie is a passion project. Every single person both before and behind the camera is involved because we believe in it. We are a small group, with a small film, and we want to make this movie for a small amount of money.

Our risks and challenges will be enormous. Even though that is true of every film production, at every budget, the smaller the budget the greater the challenges. Actors can drop out, locations can become unavailable. Pretty much anything that can go wrong in life can go wrong while making a small movie. But our team has a lot of experience in film production and overcoming the various obstacles that will inevitably arise.

In the Kickstarter promo video, Andreas makes the good point that Hollywood studios are not interested in backing this sort of LGBTQ project, therefore the cast and crew are relying on gay cinephiles around the world for support. Check out the crowd-funding page and the rest of the sure-to-be-fun cast, including "Rupaul's Drag Race" alum Willam!

And watch the promo video, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Gay Murder-Mystery, 'Kiss Me, Kill Me,' Starring 'Queer As Folk' Hunk Gale Harold Seeks Crowd Funding: VIDEO" »


Take A Look Inside 'Wonderkid,' A Short Film Aimed At Tackling Homophobia In Sport: VIDEO

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"Wonderkid," a short film in the works from director Rhys Chapman and co-writers Chapman and Terence Corless aims to tackle a substantial and pressing global issue: homophobia in professional sports. The focus of their film is football (as in soccer) and one unnamed player struggling with his sexual identity and other issues, on and off the field. Chapman has already received a great deal of support in the U.K., and Ian McKellen even did the voice-over work for the film's Kickstarter campaign video, but they need more help in order to produce a worthwhile film product.

Their Kickstarter page reads:

We want to challenge the way people think about homophobia, not only in football, but in their everyday lives. Director Rhys Chapman co-wrote the script with writer Terence Corless, producing a story tackling a subject matter that has sorely lacked widespread attention. WONDERKID provides an insight into the trauma caused by homophobia, and challenges preconceptions about what it is to be ‘masculine’. 

At the heart of this project is the desire to change people’s minds about what is and what is not acceptable behaviour towards fellow human beings. It is about the basic human right for everyone to love and pursue a relationship, regardless of gender, race, creed or anything else. Most importantly, it is a story about wanting to be happy with who you are, which is something we can all relate to.

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In his director's video, Chapman expresses an interest in tackling the issue of homophobia through film: "I feel that film is the ultimate artistic expression. You can create an entire reality that, for all intents and purposes, is real to anyone watching." Although film does offer this advantage, anyone would be hard-pressed to deny the reality of homophobia as a rampant issue in sports. Chapman is dealing with that reality by partnering with Galop, an anti-violence and hate crime charity, to spread the word on the film and its importance.

Football is an institution in British society, and as such as it is imperative to challenge the anti-LGBT attitudes prevalent in this sport and its fanbase. Together, Galop and WONDERKID will work towards stamping out homophobia in football.” Galop Press Release

This is a film with great aspirations and, working with Galop, we intend to use it as an educational tool; holding screenings of the film to start the conversation with young people who have, or may come to, experience the issues dealt with in WONDERKID.

Chapman, Corless, and crew are seeking £25,000 in funding to cover equipment, production, editing, and distribution costs, and many more details can be found at their Kickstarter campaign page. This is an important project that has the potential to impact people in a big way. Congratulations to the whole team for the support they have received, and good luck in taking the film even further!

Watch the "Wonderkid" promo video, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Take A Look Inside 'Wonderkid,' A Short Film Aimed At Tackling Homophobia In Sport: VIDEO" »


A Closer, Gayer Look at Oscar's Foreign Film Race

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French stars Louis Garrell and Gaspard Ulliel have a dangerous liaison in "Saint Laurent"  

BY NATHANIEL ROGERS 

As you may have heard last night AMPAS (The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) announced that a record 83 films will compete for favor in this year's BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM showdown. This Oscar category has long been a specialty of mine and a couple of years back I even had the opportunity to speak about it on CNNi. The number of competing films and the media interest seem to grow each year. A dozen or so years ago when Oscar blogging first began to flourish, I was the only writer giving it a lot of attention and now virtually every movie outlet covers it, at least in list or press release format. The growing interest is somewhat odd since it becomes harder and harder for subtitled pictures to find audiences or get decent theatrical releases in the States. 

Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 6.14.05 PMSome movies with early heat in this category include Poland's Ida, an amazing black and white drama about a nun discovering her family history is a must see (it's available on DVD), Argentina's Wild Tales, a raucuous crowd-pleasing collection of outre comedic stories that's produced (but not directed) by Pedro Almodovar which is due in US theaters early next year, Belgium's Two Days One Night, a socioeconomic drama starring Marion Cotillard in yet another incredible performance which opens on December 24th. And.... No, no. We're getting sidetracked. Let's stop there.

There are so many movies worth loving.

For now let's look at movies (and their trailers) with something specific for LGBT audiences 
AFTER THE JUMP...

Xavier-cannesscroll
Xavier Dolan, the Queer Canadian prodigy, at Cannes with "Mommy" 

Continue reading "A Closer, Gayer Look at Oscar's Foreign Film Race" »


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