(Fine. This picture made me want to watch the movie. ph. InsideOut)
Despite what the movie’s presenter said, yes you are. I’m protective of queer cinema. Director J.C. Calciano aims to set the movie’s protagonist Blaine (Nicholas) as a romantic in sex crazed Los Angeles, making both look like caricatures. Fine, the movie shows the internet as a locus where a gay man can find a kindred spirit as he does with Texan lonestarwhatever, or Xander (David Loren). It also shows Blaine adamantly refusing to play the hookup game and I guess that’s admirable. Can he at least lighten up while he’s in the bar setting? The movie comes off as slightly contemptuous of the gay scene, but I guess he’s allowed to do that. If the presentation wasn’t so clunky, the acting so perfunctory and the script written by a child, it wouldn’t take me four hours to concede that there is some good in this film.
This wasn’t a movie, it was more of a session about film by critic Ingrid Randoja. For half an hour, Randoja shattered my Catholic 90’s upbringing as I learned that “Fried Green Tomatoes” was a lesbian film although straight critics are helplessly oblivious to this knowledge, that Kate Winslet had a face of a 40-year-old at 18 and that’s a poorly worded compliment about maturity that showed within a teenager, that “Chasing Amy” sucks because it wanted Amy to be with the Ben Affleck character. The depiction of lesbians has a circular time line since it went from predatory to positive (“Fucking Amal”) and back to predatory (“Monster”). But there’s also linear progression, as the films go from showing young lesbians to lesbian mothers (the up and coming “The Kids are All Right”). And she talked about TV too (“Cagney and Lacey”).
Not mentioned was the Oscar nominated Mulholland Drive, a movie I’ll plug until my death. I mentioned this omission and Randoja assessed the David Lynch film as lesbianism under a straight male lens, and I guess she has a point. I guess I’ll do a second official entry for Mulholland Drive if it catches me again, but the movie, especially the sex scene, was more romantic than it was erotic. At least it wasn’t as erotic as the scene in “Bound.” However anyone interprets it, the relationship between Betty Elms and Rita is either a real thing in some alternate universe or an ideal. Yes, Rita is a bit leachy and Betty asserts herself as Rita’s saviour, but straight relationships are imperfect too. Would the film have been different if say, Lisa Chodolenko directed it?
So I decided to mix things around by seeing a non-festival thing, although “Rumble in the Bronx was part of the opening weekend for the Underground.
I don’t know why I always compare martial arts movie stars to their earlier dancing counterparts. It’s been said before, and if anything Jackie Chan’s the danci-est, most flamboyant, boyish martial arts guy. The most fascinating parts of his performance in “Rumble in the Bronx,” just like any post-classical work of any genre, has the spirit of being showy and the performer’s ambition to outdo himself.
“Rumble”shows all of physical challenges the same way later Fred Astaire numbers would. There’s a constrained space between him and his opponents that Keung (Jackie Chan) has to work with, an aspect that will be diminished later on. In the first fight scene, he and the urban motorcycle gang hit each other while tugging at each other’s clothes and bags. Sometimes the enemy gets too close. It’s interesting to watch how he survives while being surrounded, and claustrophobic circumstances make way for really precise moves. There’s also the feeling like that of any first fight, when relative peace exists and the protagonist doesn’t wanna leave a mess yet.
Later on he passes through small hallways and spaces between walls and trucks, little interludes between him leaping and flipping all over big parking lots where another fight happens. And of course, the playing field gets larger. I really like the detailed and mise-en-scene, with alleyways, random playground rails, refrigerators and even grocery carts. The whole movie is slightly reminiscent of the Technicolor faux urban stage of 1950’s musicals. Or, a comparison more fitting because of the claustrophobia in some scenes, a grungy, more colourful yet less trippy version of the Bruce Lee hall of mirrors. Every space and object is an opportunity to escape and attack.
This despite the super dated pop culture references. This came out in China in 1995 and it might as well have been out half a decade earlier. I’m a forgiving person.
(The last waltz. ph. insideout)
“Children of God” is an island of clichés. The progressive white gay guy, the closet case Uncle Tom, the female preacher infected by her homophobic closeted husband. It’s also a cautionary tale for smarter young gays and gay filmmakers. If you’re gonna let a man inside your rented home after knowing them for a day, do not let them sleep over because he will steal from you or kill you (this doesn’t happen in the movie). Do not pretend ‘allergies’ is an excuse. Do not give bedroom eyes to another guy only to shut him down while your beard pours her drink at his face. Fight homophobia through activism instead of making some ’empowering’ speech only four people will hear.
“I Am Love” has aspects of the perfect art-snob film: style, deconstructing the rich and a baffling ending. Set in Milan, the film profiles the Recchis. Edo invites to dinner his middle class girlfriend Eva. His sister Betta reveals her lesbianism to him and to their mother Emma (Tilda Swinton), who’s bound to show her wild side soon. The film has a sensory feel to it and is capable of tragedy – the latter making us wonder how the family’s rebels are going to carry on. The audience laughed at the ending. I liked the movie, but the worst thing I can say about it is that it’s partly a movie about food that’s never made me feel hungry. Who eats flowers? What is wrong with rich people?
Apparently, they do this series every year. Some of the shorts in 2010’s round of the “Hogtown Homos” program show queerness in its raw stages, experienced in an individual’s youth as he or she experiences confusion but more in a funny way and less distressing. Well if you count a spoiler accident witnessed by the three twinks in the Bunuel-inspired “After,” putting a damper on fantasizing about the young man playing football in front of them. Or Tony, Aaron’s missing playmate in “The Armoire,” the latter having an imagination he can’t yet articulate. There’s awkwardness and a bit of sadism in some of these shorts, but I left the theatre with a chuckle or eight.