France’s selection for Best Foreign film didn’t win an Oscar, but swept the Cesar Awards (France’s Oscars) this year including Best Picture. BPM (Beats Per Minute) chronicles the AIDS epidemic in the early 1990’s right before the drugs were released which would save millions of lives worldwide. With a 99% critics rating from Rotten Tomatoes,
In Paris in the early 1990s, a group of activists goes to battle for those stricken with HIV/AIDS, taking on sluggish government agencies and major pharmaceutical companies in bold, invasive actions. The organization is ACT UP, and its members, many of them gay and HIV-positive, embrace their mission with a literal life-or-death urgency. Amid rallies, protests, fierce debates and ecstatic dance parties, the newcomer Nathan falls in love with Sean, the group’s radical firebrand, and their passion sparks against the shadow of mortality as the activists fight for a breakthrough.
Robin Williams final film has been released on DVD. Boulevardis a small indie filmed in Nashville, although the city is never named. Williams portrays a closeted gay man who has been married to a woman for his entire life. They have companionship and predictability if not passion. But Williams character Nolan feels like something is missing. One day he encounters a young hustler and pays him to only talk. Nolan obviously wants intimacy. The boy wants money. Williams plays Nolan with a delicate sadness that makes you wonder how much he was able to mask him own personal depression during the filming. Boulevard co-stars Kathy Bates as Nolan’s wife ironically named Joy and Bob Odenkirk as Nolan’s seize the day, mid-life crisis loving best friend Winston. Boulevard isn’t a big blockbuster film. It’s not going to be remembered as Robin’s best work. But it stays with you in a quiet way and ends on an upbeat note. Boulevard is a calm, reverent swan song to a gigantic talent.
Before Claire Danes starred in the outstanding Homeland. Before Jared Leto won the Oscar last year for Dallas Buyers Club, there was My So-Called Life. The series debuted in 1994. It lasted only one season. 20 years later it’s considered a modern classic paving the way for more realistic portrayals of teenagers in television. From Wikipedia,
It was the first teen drama that didn’t feel like an after-school special. No one ever learned a very important lesson or uttered the phrase ‘I love you, Dad.’ Angela acted like a real 15-year-old, with all the crying jags and Buffalo Tom concerts that implies. What’s even more impressive is that anyone who watched the show back in the ’90s, when angst and Manic Panic felt totally of the moment, can now enjoy it on a very different level. Suddenly, Angela’s parents are relatable.
Ira Sachs’ love story stars John Lithgow and Alfred Molina as long-term partners who finally get married in New York City after the state recognizes marriage equality. Love is Strangewon rave reviews boasting a 94% average critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes,
After nearly four decades together, Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina) finally tie the knot in an idyllic wedding ceremony in lower Manhattan. But when George loses his job soon after, the couple must sell their apartment and – victims of the relentless New York City real estate market – temporarily live apart until they can find an affordable new home. While George moves in with two cops (Cheyenne Jackson and Manny Perez) who live down stairs, Ben lands in Brooklyn with his nephew (Darren Burrows), his wife (Marisa Tomei), and their temperamental teenage son (Charlie Tahan), with whom Ben shares a bedroom. While struggling with the pain of separation, Ben and George are further challenged by the intergenerational tensions and capricious family dynamics of their new living arrangements.
Ryan Murphy’s (Glee, American Horror Story) HBO mini-series The Normal Heart gets released on DVD today. The Normal Heart is based on a 1985 play by AIDS activist Larry Kramer. A bit of trivia – Kramer’s husband’s brother and sister in-law live here in Fairfield. The story revolves around the very earliest years of the AIDS crisis before there was even a language to discuss the disease. Starring Mark Ruffalo as Ned Weeks (the Kramer character), Jim Parsons, Matt Bomer, and Julia Roberts – The Normal Heart acts as a history lesson for those too young to remember the horror of the 1980’s and early 90’s and a stark reminder to everyone else who lived through it. The film has a 94% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes. We’ve got copies at both locations for you to check out.
June is Gay Pride Month around the country celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality. Locally Norwalk has a wonderful event Pride in the Park sponsored by the Triangle Community Center Saturday, June 14, 2014 from 12-5pm in Mathews Park. 75 minutes away by Metro North come celebrate where it all began 45 years ago in 1969 at the Stonewall Inn, Greenwich Village, New York City for Heritage of Pride’s March on Sunday, June 29, 2014.
Great LGBT movies come in all shapes and sizes. We decided to highlight one for each letter of the acronym:
L: The Kids Are All Right – Lisa Cholodenko’s movie about two lesbian Moms raising teenage kids broke all kinds of barriers and box office records. Annette Benning and Julianne Moore star.
G: I Do – David W. Ross’s indie script digs deep into the issues of transnational same-sex relationships and immigration. Glen Gaylord directs this heart-felt, feel good love story.
B: Kissing Jessica Stein (2002) – A woman searching for the perfect man instead discovers the perfect woman in this romantic comedy written by Heather Juergensen, Jennifer Westfeldt and directed by Charles Herman-Wurmfeld.
T: Boys Don’t Cry (1999) – Hillary Swank won the Oscar. Kimberly Peirce directs. Based on the true story of transgendered youth Brandon Teena who convinces himself he can survive amongst bigoted, small-minded people after transitioning from female to male.
And if you’d like to do some reading may we suggest the seminal work on LGBT characters in film, Vito Russo’s The Celluloid Closet available in the upper stacks of the main library.
Orange is the New Black has been a tremendous success for us. It will end the year as our most watched original series ever and, as with each of our other previously launched originals, enjoys an audience comparable with successful shows on cable and broadcast TV.
OITNB follows the life of a privileged young white woman who after laundering drug money gets sent to federal prison for a year. Mixing intense drama with hysterical comedy and revolving the show almost completely around a female cast (refreshingly for once the male characters are either vehicles, fluff or eye candy), Orange raises the stakes for binge watching television. We warn you once you start, you may need to cancel what you’re doing for the next few hours. One episode of this wonderful show is just not enough.
Great new indie film just out on DVD, Kill Your Darlings focuses on the Beat poets as they meet in and around Columbia University in the early 1940’s. The film focuses on Lucien Carr who introduced William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac to each other and eventually the world. Carr was arrested in 1944 for the killing of David Kammerer. Kill Your Darlings takes place during the time right before the killing. Daniel Radcliffe permanently sheds his Harry Potter persona as a young and impressionable Ginsberg and Ben Foster has his best role to date as a perfect embodiment of Burroughs. Kill Your Darlings is fun, entertaining and serves a glimpse into the early lives of the Beats.
In honor of the release of Armistead Maupin’s 9th book in the Tales of the City series today The Days of Anna Madrigal, we’ve got the re-release of his ground-breaking PBS adaptation of the first novel on DVD for you to watch. This sweet story about San Francisco in the 1970’s was banned on several TV stations in the South. 20 years later that idea seems more quaint than shocking. Maupin’s group of friends at 28 Barbary Lane join together and create their logical family (his phrase for the family we choose). For Hitchcock fans, there’s definitely more than a few nods in the mini-series. As the cover suggests, this is truly one of the best mini-series ever made.