Nathaniel Rogers Hub




Letting Go of 'Looking'

  Looking-7-recap
Dom, Doris and Patrick aren't the only ones feeling funereal

BY NATHANIEL ROGERS 

The first Sunday night without HBO's "Looking" is upon us.  Of course there would have been no "Looking" tonight, even had the show been renewed, since the second much improved season has just wrapped. One of the funniest things I heard after the cancellation was this:

Well, yes. They're almost at an end, too. The autopsy reports have to run their course and so does the mourning process. And if HBO makes good on its promise of a wrap-up movie (believe it when you see it), the cycle starts all over again in miniature even if the end point is still goodbye. Given all this finality, it's strangely apt that the second season's finest episode "Looking for a Plot" took places at a funeral (Doris's father) and sent Dom, Doris and Patrick spinning emotionally, even if they didn't quite realize it at first.

But the mourning is real. At least for those of us who loved the show for what it actually was.

MORE AFTER THE JUMP...

Eddie-agustin

Continue reading "Letting Go of 'Looking'" »


Weekend Movies: Cinderella (2015) - REVIEW

  Cinder-fairygodmother
I know Helena. I was surprised, too. The new Cinderella is pretty great

BY NATHANIEL ROGERS 

PH8E8oRvg6KMbf_2_mThe Game of Thrones Stark family was fond of the imminent warning "Winter is Coming" but their King of North, actor Richard Madden, doesn't need to worry this time. He's due a much happier Royal ending as the latest charming Prince to hit the movie screens. Winter is most definitely never coming to Kenneth Branagh's luxe adaptation of the most beloved of fairy tales, Cinderella. From its opening vista of a well-to-do country estate, filled with warm yellows and verdant greens and one very happy family, a pleasant merchant and his sunny wife (Ben Chaplin & Hayley Atwell) and their kind daughter Ella (Downton Abbey's Lily James), this CINDERELLA screams springtime and summer.

Its timing couldn't be better after this particularly long winter.

Spoilers if you're freshly arrived from another universe: Ella's loving parents are not long for this world and after imparting their wisdom and reinforcing her enchanted goodness (yes, she talks to animals), they take turns dying. Lady Tremaine, the stepmother, is introduced inbetween those deaths in clever multi-tasking voiceover (courtesy of Fairy Godmother Helena Bonham Carter).

Continue reading, AFTER THE JUMP...

Cinderevil

Continue reading "Weekend Movies: Cinderella (2015) - REVIEW" »


It's Oscar Weekend! Here are the Predictions. What Are Yours?

  Neil-patrick-harris
Oscar & Neil. They're always in demand.

BY NATHANIEL ROGERS 

Hollywood's High Holy Night is nearly upon us. We're just two away from all the gold, glamour, grins, grimaces (hidden under aforementioned grins) and gowns. Neil Patrick Harris, who's been steadily ascending the awards show mountain will finally reach its peak to host the 87th Academy Awards this Sunday. To make sure you're prepared for your office pool and your parties, here is a quick rundown of what to expect.

PERFORMANCES
Because NPH is a triple threat and because the producers of the ceremony are also partially to blame for the resurgence of the modern movie musical, expect lots of song & dance. The Best Original Song contenders will be performed by Adam Levine ("Lost Stars" from Begin Again), Rita Ora ("Grateful" from Beyond the Lights), Common and John Legend ("Glory" from Selma), Tim McGraw ("Not Going to Miss You" from Glenn Campbell: I'll Be Me) and Tegan and Sara ("Everything is Awesome" from The LEGO Movie).

Other performers scheduled are Jack Black, Anna Kendrick, and Jennifer Hudson though we don't know what they'll be performing. They always try to keep some secrets but one prevailing rumor is that there will be a tribute to The Sound of Music (1965) which hits its 50th anniversary the week after the Oscars. Presenters include last year's acting quartet Blanchett, Leto, McConaughey, and Nyong'o as well as "sorry we didn't nominate you and we realize you had a good year" people like Chris Pratt and Jennifer Aniston.

PREDICTIONS, AFTER THE JUMP...

Oscarback.0.0-1
do you think Oscar wishes he had more of a bubble butt?

Continue reading "It's Oscar Weekend! Here are the Predictions. What Are Yours?" »


Sundance Double Review: 'I Am Michael' and 'The D Train'

7_michael

BY NATHANIEL ROGERS 

One of the most interesting trends of this year's Sundance Film Festival is confrontational stories about people being pushed out of or willfully stepping away from their sexual comfort zones. THE DIARY OF A TEENAGER GIRL has earned the best reviews and the most press but let's discuss two films with more LGBT appeal.  I AM MICHAEL, a drama about religion and homosexuality, and THE D TRAIN, a comedy about a high school reunion, feature grown men whose lives spiral out of control when they stray from their true selves. 

How many gay kids growing up confused about what they were feeling within religious environments used this Bible verse in ways that would horrify fundamentalists?

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you:
-Matthew 7:7 

It's a lovely sentiment whether you're religious or not. Everyone needs to know themselves and find their own way. Those who've come before us lay down tracks for us to follow but we all still have to choose which to take or construct our own. But Matthew's promise won't work for everyone. What if you don't know what to ask, don't know what you're looking for or, like the protagonists of these movies, are totally unsatisfied with the knowledge you already have about your true character?

CONTINUED, AFTER THE JUMP...

Zachary_Quinto_James_Franco_I_Am_Michael.jpg.CROP.promovar-mediumlarge

Continue reading "Sundance Double Review: 'I Am Michael' and 'The D Train'" »


Holiday Must-See Movie: 'Into the Woods'

  Intothewoods-merylpoints
"Go to the wood!" is Streep's wish your command? 

BY NATHANIEL ROGERS 

Once upon a time Stephen Sondheim wrote a musical classic INTO THE WOODS. The first act brings together classic fairy tale characters into one comic misadventure and the second act debunks the “happily ever after” myth and transforms the whole play into a masterpiece about virtually all the Big Stuff: growing up, parenting, marriage, death, rebuilding after great loss.

Itw_CinderellaWhen it comes to lines we can repurpose to talk about the prospects of a film version, Little Red said it best:

It made me feel excited. well, excited and scared.

Isn’t that how devotees of the movie musical feel each time a new one arrives? A bit of background to justify the high-anxiety. The live-action movie musical died alongside Bob Fosse's alter ego in All That Jazz (1979). The genre was six feet under for two full decades despite intermittent attempts at excavating its exquisite corpse (Annie, Little Shop of Horrors, Newsies). The Disney animation renaissance of the 1990s renewed interest and the genre was successfully reborn at the turn of the century by the one-two-three-four punch of Dancer in the Dark, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Moulin Rouge! and Chicago. That's a four consecutive high quality film run that this ancient-newborn genre has yet to match since. And why is that exactly? Some people blame the lack of strong directors who are skilled in the form, others the resistance to new blood (nearly all modern musicals are adaptations). Still more culprits are Hollywood’s frequent miscasting since musical skill is considered optional.

But The Witch (Meryl Streep) would like us to stop bitching and get on with this review.

No, of course what really matters is the blame
Somebody to blame.
Fine, if that's the thing you enjoy, Placing the blame,
If that's the aim, Give me the blame-

So back to Into the Woods . Does it survive the transfer? With so much baggage brought into the movie theater I’ll admit that a traditional review has been tough to write. So herewith a ranked list of the musical numbers (in their current form) as a sneaky way to coax out all those thorny blinding feelings.

Intowoods-redenters

The list, from worst to best, is AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Holiday Must-See Movie: 'Into the Woods'" »


Interview: Cheyenne Jackson 'Gets On With It' in Two Memorable Gay Films

  Cheyenne-gena
Cheyenne with his legendary co-star at a recent Academy screening of "Six Dance Lessons..."

BY NATHANIEL ROGERS 

Cheyenne Jackson's gone Hollywood. Though the 39 year old actor and self proclaimed "Broadway Baby" came to fame via musicals like "All Shook Up" (Theater World Award, 2005) and "Xanadu" (Drama Desk nomination 2008) and promises to return, TV and film came calling soon thereafter and appear to have stuck. His most notable early filmed roles were as a heroic passenger in the Oscar-nominated true story United 93 (2006) and a recurring gig on Emmy favorite 30 Rock as Danny Baker, a singing actor with a voice so beautiful he gave Jenna Maroney "rage strokes."

Loveisstrange-policemen

That first flush of mainstream success seemed to have been briefly eclipsed in the media by upheavals in his personal life, a divorce from his first husband and sobering up. But Cheyenne is eager to move on from that topic which he feels was overblown by the media. "Definitely with the gay press, it was rough there for a bit. Things were never not together; I think that's the misconception," he explains. Was it a rough patch? "I guess other people can think of it that way but to me it was just the next chapter. Time to clean up." 

And the next chapter is moving along well. After his brief note-perfect cameo in the Liberace movie Behind the Candelabra (2013) he's filmed several more roles including a small part as half of a gay cop couple affectionately referred to as 'The Policewomen' in one of this year's very best films LOVE IS STRANGE (2014, reviewed here). Ira Sachs moving drama recently won a handful of Spirit Award nominations.

As a longtime fan of Cheyenne Jackson, I confess to an atypical case of the nerves during our phone interview from separate coasts. Cheyenne helpfully tells me to imagine him in his underwear, and we both laugh immediately realizing that is not going to help. 'No wait. Maybe not. Maybe not'.

 

NR: Things seems to be on a real uptick in terms of your movie career!

CHEYENNE JACKSON: I’ve really kind of thrown myself into film and it’s been great. Some make their way to theaters, some go video on demand, some get nominated for things. I live out here now so it’s easier.

NR: Your new film SIX DANCES IN SIX WEEKS just opened this weekend. We don't see Gena Rowlands in lead roles much these days but she's one of the most influential actors of all time. How did your casting happen and how nerve wracking was is to work with her?

   Sixdance-tango

MORE AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Interview: Cheyenne Jackson 'Gets On With It' in Two Memorable Gay Films" »


Trending



Towleroad - Blogged