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Out on Screen

Out on Screen

Movie reviews, Cinema and DVD

Friday, January 19, 2018

Screen Savor • No Love Lost

Battle of the Sexes (Fox Searchlight), about the famed 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, is that rare movie that successfully combines biography, sports, and queer subject matter for a thoroughly entertaining and educating experience. First and foremost, credit goes to co-directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (Oscar-winner Little Miss Sunshine). Even though we know the outcome (King walloped male chauvinist pig Riggs), they managed to make it feel fresh and exhilarating.

Friday, January 05, 2018

The Most Entertaining Films of 2017

A bent take on the year in cinema

You’ll hear a lot of different opinions about the movie year of 2017. Some people think it was an absolute crap year for film, some will point out the few truly great films of the year, and some will call it an average year. I’ll call it average. There were quite a few films I enjoyed (and for the record there are a lot of 2017 releases I’ve yet to see), but there were few films that fall into my “I’d watch that again” category. Some films unexpectedly caught me off guard, and others failed to live up to expectations. Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and The Lego Batman Movie were fun, but went for the “let’s throw everything and the kitchen sink in” approach to top their predecessors … and excess does not equal success. Alien: Covenant basically remade the original Alien and tried to justify the existence of Prometheus. Dunkirk was a brilliant exercise in filmmaking, but the disjointed storytelling and lack of any character development left it devoid of emotion. Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler could not generate many laughs with The House, and Matt Damon failed to score with The Great Wall, Suburbicon, or Downsizing. So, there was a lot of disappointment this year, but there were many highlights.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Italian Rhapsody

Call Me By Your Name is a slow burn of longing and desire

A new film is getting a lot of buzz right now not only for its awards possibilities, but for its subject matter as well. Call Me By Your Name, based on the novel by André Aciman, stars Timothée Chalamet (also getting notice for his role in Lady Bird) as Elio, a 17-year-old living in a small town in Northern Italy with his parents. His father (Michael Stuhlbarg) is an antiquities and archeology professor, and each summer for six weeks the family hosts a visiting grad student to help with the professor’s research. This year’s chosen one is Oliver (Armie Hammer), a bit of an “ugly American” who appears grateful to have been chosen but still sets himself apart from the family. Elio is none too pleased to have to give up his bedroom to the guest and his “Later” when departing for town or whatever else he’s doing grates on Elio’s last nerve.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Love Comes in All Forms

Especially in Guillermo del Toros The Shape of Water

After some big, big movies featuring Gothic horror (Crimson Peak) and giant robots battling giant monsters (Pacific Rim), director Guillermo del Toro returns to the smaller, fairy-tale films that first brought him widespread acclaim (think The Devils Backbone and Pans Labyrinth) with The Shape of Water, a very unusual romance film.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Remember in the 1980s when Sting wanted to be a movie star, appearing in films such as Brimstone & Treacle, Dune, The Bride, and even alongside Meryl Streep in Plenty? Heck, even Melanie Griffith wanted to be an actress in the 80s.

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