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Out on Screen

Out on Screen

Film and Television

Over the past few years, we’ve seen movies based on toys and games, most notably the Transformers and Battleship movies. There are movies in the works based on the classic board games Monopoly and Candyland as well. Just in time for Halloween, the newest game-to-movie production debuts as Ouija comes to the big screen.

Depending on your personal beliefs, the Ouija board is either just a game or a tool of the Devil used to open a portal to a demonic world. The movie capitalizes on these beliefs that playing with a Ouija board will only lead to bad things.

Recall the film and musical Billy Elliot, the delightful heart-warming story of a young ballet dancer trying to fulfill his dreams with Great Britain’s arduous miners’ strike as the backdrop. That strike, 30 years later, is thrust to the forefront in another sweet movie that also shines a spotlight on courage, humanity, warmth, friendship, and triumph. Pride, a BBC-produced film directed by Matthew Warchus and written by Stephen Beresford, was screened as part of the Directors’ Fortnight section of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival at which it received a standing ovation. The venerable Charles Theatre, situated in Baltimore’s Station North arts and entertainment district, is presenting this treasure of a film, whereby audiences – gay or straight – should eat it up like an English crumpet.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Screen Savor: Mysterious Stranger

The ten-year anniversary blu-ray edition reissue of Mysterious Skin (Strand) opens with a new two minute intro by queer filmmaker Gregg Araki that neither adds nor detracts from the film. Mysterious Skin was the indie movie version of a perfect storm. The best film of Araki’s directing career, it was his first time adapting a novel, Scott Heim’s acclaimed first book of fiction, for the big screen. The film also contained Harold Budd and Robin Guthrie’s haunting score. But the real coup, for a low-budget indie, was the amazing cast.

Family dynamics are a crazy thing. Most families get along, or at least pretend to get along during holidays and special gatherings, and others just can’t be in the same room together without some unfortunate event taking place. The Altman family, from the new comedy-drama This is Where I Leave You, falls squarely into that second category. Oldest son Paul (Cory Stoll) feels like the “responsible” son who took control of the family business while his younger brothers fled their hometown. Middle son Judd (Jason Bateman) seems to have a successful career and marriage... on the surface, and youngest son Phillip (Adam Driver) is seen as the irresponsible one who is now dating a much older woman. Then there’s sister Wendy (Tina Fey) who seems more like a mother to them all than their actual mother.

Friday, September 19, 2014

(Un)American Horror

Only Lovers Left Alive (Sony Pictures Classics) looks and sounds like what you’d expect a contemporary Jim Jarmusch vampire movie to look and sound like; lots of interesting music and artfully shot scenes. If only it wasn’t so sluggish and overly long.

Cleverly named ageless British vampires Adam (Tom Huddleston) and Eve (Tilda Swinton) have been married forever. There’s a photo of them, from their third wedding in 1868, which Eve admires. Like some long-married couples (see Dolly Parton and Carl Dean), Adam and Eve live in separate quarters in separate countries. Fittingly, he’s living in a ghost town called Detroit populated by young humans he refers to as zombies. She’s living in Tangier where she hangs out with Christopher Marlowe (John Hurt). Yes, that Christopher Marlowe.

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