6 posts categorized "LGBT"

March 16, 2018

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME

Call_me_by_your_nameEasily the most unintentionally camp movie of 2017, director Luca Guadagnio’s goofy gay romance drama betrays its oh-so-earnest attempts at being a European art film at every turn. If only this movie had half the ebullient joy of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” then perhaps there would be something for its audience to savor.

Without regard to its blatant pedophiliac underpinnings, “Call Me By Your Name” sets up a hopelessly phony and lightweight romance between Armie Hammer’s Oliver and Elio (Timothée Chalamet), a precocious 16-year-old classical pianist who likes to transgress the demands of the classical cannon.

So daring.

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Never mind that a 32-year-old Hammer plays the 24-year-old Jewish American graduate student spending a summer in 1983 Italy with an archaeology professor (Michael Stuhlbarg) who sure knows how to set a Euro-styled lunch table. Elio’s bookish dad may as well be pimping his son out to Oliver in order to vicariously experience a clandestine homosexual connection he was never brave enough to execute when he was younger. Mr. Perlman’s movie-closing monologue is a thing of guffaw-inducing grandeur. You want creepy dialogue, you've got it. 

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Even if the whole [overwrought] “call me by your name” thing doesn’t hit your funny bone, the eating-a-peach-filled-with-semen will. You’ll laugh at the wrong moments and you’ll wince at the whole wrongheadedness of this petite disaster. If only the actors and filmmakers had been in on the joke.    

Rated R. 132 mins. 

2 Stars

COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

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August 01, 2016

SUMMERTIME

COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a lot pal! Your generosity helps keep the reviews coming!

Cole Smithey on Patreon

Summertime Poster“Summertime’s” French title “ColeSmithey.com” (“The Beautiful Season”) is more apropos for this beautiful film. French Cinema continues to reliably deliver dramatic pictures with serious social relevance and emotional resonance.

Emotionally honest, “Summertime” captures a blossoming lesbian romance struggling to survive against familial and societal factors in '60s era rural France after traveling from Paris.

Summertime

Izïa Higelin gives a riveting performance as Delphine, a tough farm girl visiting Paris. Higelin’s solid build, and low center of gravity give her character an earthy, sensual physicality. Her endearing overbite is reminiscent of Adele Exarchopoulos in “Blue is the Warmest Color.”

The visibly gay Delphine is through with running the family farm with her provincially minded parents. They think their daughter should already be married, to a boy of course. “Loneliness is a terrible thing.” Delphine’s parents don’t know that she recently broke up with her childhood girlfriend. Her lover is switching teams, to get married.

Summertime2

The adventurous twentysomething Delphine finds her romantic soul-mate-apparent in the guise of Women’s Lib activist Carole (Cécile De France). Cecile De France has come a long way from the bat-wielding chic in Alexandre Aja’s “High Tension” (2003). Here, her maturity both as a woman and as an actress, gives the film a lusty feminist vision of liberation.

Co-screenwriter/director Catherine Corsini crafts a fine romantic period drama filled with organic feminine passion, and political energy. Jeanne Lapoirie’s unfussy cinematography is never less than intimate. American audiences looking for female-led dramas that are authentic by design need only seek out this impressive film.

Rated R. 105 mins. 

4 Stars

December 10, 2015

THE DANISH GIRL

COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a lot pal! Your generosity keeps the reviews coming!

Cole Smithey on Patreon

THE DANISH GIRL This year’s big mainstream addition to LGBT cinema finds the ever-reliable Eddie Redmayne turning in a solid portrayal as Einar Wegener, the (historically factual) first man to undergo a sex-change operation.

With the aid and approval of his loving wife Gerda (played by a terribly miscast Alicia Vikander), Einar makes the transition into his inner-ego Lili Elbe. It helps that both are independently minded painters.

Although scribe (Lucinda Coxon) and director (Tom Hooper) conspire to downplay the film’s would-be unbearably intense dramatic scope, “The Danish Girl” has the potential to pay off handsomely to audiences who empathize fully with Gerda’s generosity of spirit, as matched by Einar’s daring nature. They are at one the perfect couple, and the wrong couple. This may be LGBT-lite, but the effort is there, however embellished with a distinctly British stiff upper lip.

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“The Danish Girl” is a terrific showcase for Eddie Redmayne’s dauntless abilities as an actor of Broadway and film. His pensive sense of confidence and commitment to Einar’s and Lili’s complex inner emotional life is as pure an interpretation as you could ever imagine. The actor’s porcelain features work perfectly in the context of David Ebershoff’s novel, as adapted by the same filmmaker responsible for “The Damned United” and “The King’s Speech”).

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Alicia Vikander is five years too young for her role, but this flaw could easily slip past audiences won over by the film’s lush production design and tasteful use of music.

To Vikader’s credit, it is not her fault that she was miscast. She gave an excellent performance in “Ex Machina,” and will go on to do many more roles more suited for her. The problem here is that Gerda is an accomplished artist in her own right before she shows her maturity by helping her troubled husband follow his dream to transform into the woman trapped in his body.

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The film drags in places. It also resides inside a melodramatic bubble of theatricality that dares not show too much emotion. The movie has a soap opera vibe. 

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The Danish Girl” pales against Todd Haynes’s “Carol.” Still, there is much to admire in Eddie Redmayne’s daring performance. It’s the main reason to see this film.

Rated R. 120 mins.

Cozy Cole

Cole Smithey on Patreon

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