Nathaniel Rogers Hub




Gay Cinema Touchstones: Suddenly Last Summer

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Suddenly Last Summer... "The one they're all talking about!"

BY NATHANIEL ROGERS 

Have you seen the classic queer cinema documentary The Celluloid Closet recently? Whenever I see an older film with gay content I find myself reflexively referencing that documentary. Did they cover it? If they didn’t could it fit easily into the historical narrative they mapped out there? I know that Suddenly Last Summer (1959) is referenced, but I can’t begin to recall in what context or which clip was shown. The film has a dark stickiness to it that is hard to shake for days afterwards and I’ve just rewatched it last week so I’m still in its swampy hot presence.

In high school English I became totally smitten with the Tennessee Williams classics. This worried my mother because she picked up on everything gay long before I did though she was too religious to ever name that unspeakable concern. (She gave me the same look when I fell hard for Cabaret though the most she would say by way of explanation was that it was “disgusting”). Hollywood as an industry is perhaps a little more akin to a frightened parent than their gay child; Showbiz loved, nurtured and produced endless gaybies but always had issues with their gayness!

MORE AFTER THE JUMP...

Suddenlylast-blondes
Liz dreams of beautiful men "Blondes were next on the menu"

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NewFest Films: 'Futuro Beach' and 'Gerontophilia'

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Bruce LaBruce's newest provocation is intergenerational romance

BY NATHANIEL ROGERS 

Help, he’s drowning! In good movies so don’t rush to the rescue. Both the opening and closing night films of this week’s satisfying NewFest (July 24th-29th), NYC's annual LGBT film festival in partnership with OutFest, begin with a drowning. Both drownings become romantic catalysts for the lifeguard, but the films couldn’t be more different in tone or purpose so it’s surely a coincidence. NewFest got the order right, opening with the dramatic punch and ending with a sweet drive into the sunset.

In the Brazilian/German film FUTURO BEACH, which opens the annual LGBT film festival tomorrow, two tourists are hit by violent waves. Lifeguards rush in to save them but only one survives. Donato (Wagner Moura) shaken up by losing his first swimmer, seeks out the survivor's friend, a sporty motorbike enthusiast named Konrad (Clemens Schick) to explain the process for dealing with the body. Soon they're angrily rutting, caught up in the disorienting and wrenching drama. Their hookup appears destined to burn bright and die quick due to its emotionally disconnected start and its rapid and frank visual presentation -- English language cinema still lags far behind European cinema in its depictions of sex; the full frontal here is presented as if it’s no big deal.

MORE ON BOTH FILMS AFTER THE JUMP...

FUTURO-arms

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14 Hottest Movie Characters of 2014 (Thus Far)

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Wolverine drowns his sorrows, no longer eligible due to repetitive hotness

BY NATHANIEL ROGERS 

It’s my duty as a film critic to warn you that you’ll really be missing out if you skip the movies this week. After that dire 4th of July weekend, there’s suddenly a handful of excellent pictures expanding or opening: Boyhood is a one of a kind curio from Richard Linklater (of the Before... series fame) where you watch the actors age 12 years in one go since the film was shot for one week each year; Begin Again is a sweet and relaxed romance where the romance isn’t with people but with music and second chances; Land Ho! is an endearing comedy about two elderly men impulsively heading to Iceland that will immediately make you want to book a trip (I’ve been twice, to the country not the movie, and it is that special; and two dystopian sci-fi action films (Snowpiercer & Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) that may be thinly disguised agitprop on destructive economic disparity and our refusal to deal with our gun addiction, respectively, but those are worthy enough messages and the films are totally exciting with memorable acting and visuals. Support great movies!

PairDuty done, I must admit that if you stay inside in air-conditioned dark theaters you miss all that aggressive and welcome exhibitionism happening outdoors. So let’s combine the best of both worlds with this extremely scientific ranking of MOVIE HOTNESS IN 2014.

TWO DISCLAIMERS BEFORE WE BEGIN 

1) This list is dedicated to “The Full Metal Bitch” and “The Black Widow” because Emily Blunt (Edge of Tomorrow) and Scarlett Johansson (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) are perfect specimens and all the best moviegoers are polysexual when it comes to big screen beauty. But in order to narrow it down we’ll stick to the men.

2) Men who have been doing the same shtick repeatedly are not eligible no matter their temperature so goodbye to Jackman's claws, Channing undercover, Chris Evans' Captain Fantasy Boyfriend of America (who would be #1, duh) and so forth. We're focusing on the now.

THE 14 HOTTEST ACTOR/MOVIE-CHARACTERS OF 2014 ARE AFTER THE JUMP...

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Holiday Movie: "Tammy"

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Tammy goes gangsta in her funniest scene 

BY NATHANIEL ROGERS 


One of the best developments of movie advertising this past decade is the use of single scenes as teasers. Remember when The Devil Wears Prada just used the opening sequence, fashion magazine peons freaking out about the arrival of Miranda Priestley. It was a perfect hook: Do you want to see more? Yes Ma’am!

TAMMY employed a similar tactic at first giving you a peek at the actual movie instead of a greatest hits montage. The first tease was a single scene of Melissa McCarthy clumsily robbing a fast-food restaurant in a dumb paper bag mask: too large to clear the counter, too blind to lock a storage room door, too sweet to be threatening. “You want some pies? You want pies?” It’s a very funny sequence promising a slapstick filled comedy about a bumbling amateur criminal. Melissa McCarthy is currently on top of Hollywood’s food chain after three consecutive smash hits (Bridesmaids, Identity Thief and The Heat) the first and last of which are top-notch comedies, continually funny, bracingly rude and totally rewatchable.

Unfortunately, the robbery proves to be Tammy’s single best bit and, oops, we’ve already seen the whole thing. MORE AFTER THE JUMP...

Tammy-fired

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Weekend Movie: Clint Eastwood's 'Jersey Boys'

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Erich Bergen, John Lloyd Young, Vincent Piazza, and Michael Lomenda star in "Jersey Boys" 

BY NATHANIEL ROGERS 


‘I’m looking for sky blue and you’re giving me brown,’ a fey producer sighs when the Four Seasons are in the recording booth. They’re just going through the motions rather than livening up their material. He could just have easily been dissing JERSEY BOYS itself, Clint Eastwood’s needlessly dull adaptation of the Broadway smash. In truth the band’s performance in this scene isn’t appreciably worse than their performances elsewhere in the movie. If you can’t readily spot differences in inspiration and creative fire from one performance to the next, maybe there’s none to be found?

“Brown” isn’t quite the color of it, though. Clint Eastwood’s aesthetic favors underlit rooms, heavy blacks and washed out color. You’d think that aesthetic would change for a splashy musical but you’d be wrong. I mean, why shouldn’t a musical about a famous band with a gift for hooky pop gems look as depressing / dead-end as a drama about desperate boxers or a war film about an island massacre?

MORE AFTER THE JUMP...

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Must See Movie: An Interview With the Director of 'Test'

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An amazing dance sequence from "Test" 

BY NATHANIEL ROGERS 


ChrisMasonJohnsonTEST may sound like a generic title but the fine new gay indie by that name is anything but. Chris Mason Johnson’s Test follows Frankie (Scott Marlowe) a young gay dancer in San Francisco in 1985. He's the troupe's new understudy. He’s learning a dance he might never get to perform. The threat of AIDS looms large — a female dancer worries about the sweat from her gay partner and reminders are everywhere (papers, graffiti, whispered dialogue). It’s not just the dance; Frankie’s beginning a life he might never get to live. 

He and his dancer friends are varying degrees of worried about AIDS and the topic of a new test for it keeps peppering the conversations. Will Frankie take it?

As it turns out you can make a 1985-set AIDS movie that doesn’t follow the typical beats. The dance environment gives Test a surprising visual appeal but, as the director (pictured left) reminds when we settle into our interview, it’s also not fully an AIDS movie in the way we think of them.

“Every other AIDS movie has been about death and dying, understandably. I think it’s safe to say that [Test] is about the fear of getting sick, it’s not about being sick. It’s just as much about dance as anything else.”

Queer cinema has seen better days so it’s a thrill to see an indie this fresh again that speaks so personally to the LGBT audience. Test is in the top 25 iTunes indie charts and the early success is well deserved.

Sex scenes, masculinity debates, and dancing AFTER THE JUMP

Test-sex

 

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