2016: Movies provided some glimmers in the darkness of this annus horribilis

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I will repeat what everyone else has said over and over again: 2016 was dreadful, and as I write this, it continues to be wretched, with George Michael and Carrie Fisher dying as Donald Trump provokes a new Cold (or World) War. In times like these, with our waking lives enveloped by evil and despair, […]

A musical love letter to a fairytale version of Los Angeles

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I relatively recently became a Los Angeleno, and among the many lessons I have learned since arriving is that the movies that taught me about L.A. are mostly bold, beautiful lies. I have long known that Hollywood is in the business of pablum, artifice and mythmaking; I’m a film critic, after all. But the extent […]

A masterpiece of the genre

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A few months ago, an acquaintance dismissed an entire swath of acclaimed American films as “sad white people movies.” In the sense that they are about various Caucasians who aren’t happy, sometimes for existential reasons and often for tragic ones; movies like In the Bedroom, The Savages, or Sideways are, yes, about sad white people. […]

Enjoy new wonders reminiscent of Harry Potter’s world

When the final book in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series was published, after the initial excitement of reading the final chapter, fans of the boy wizard and Rowling’s magical world created were also a bit distraught: It was the end. The cynic would have said, “Oh, please. There’s way too much money involved!” Between Warner […]

‘Moonlight’ is a movie that matters

Moonlight is a triptych about growing up black, gay and poor. When he is nine or 10 he is called Little, he was just that, smaller than all of the other kids his age. They pick on him mercilessly, and he is terrified enough to lock himself in a crack house, where he is found […]

King Cobra

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also playing Available on iTunes, Amazon and Google Play Continuing his long string of occasionally artful, but mostly exploitative gay roles, James Franco has given us King Cobra, the tawdry and dopey story of the porn star and San Diego gay celebrity Brent Corrigan, his Svengali director at Cobra Video, and the dumb-as-dirt couple who […]

This dark side of suburbia is somewhat unoriginal

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In novels, I love unreliable narrators. I find the precarity of the truth titillating, even thrilling, especially as I slowly discover that what I’m reading isn’t to be trusted. I become a detective, looking for clues to what is really going on. It’s why I love Nabokov’s Lolita and Pale Fire, Peter Cameron’s Andorra, and, […]

SNL’s Chris Kelly makes a remarkable directorial debut

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The odd distribution plan for the exceptional Other People says a great deal about how film has changed with the advent of streaming services, especially in regards to independent film. In the past, movies with tiny budgets and niche audiences (especially gay ones) could only be found in art houses in large cities before showing […]

The little men steal this show

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Ira Sachs, the director of the acclaimed gay films Keep the Lights On and Love is Strange, is a subtle filmmaker. There’s nothing flashy in his shots or his dialogue, and he doesn’t push his actors to histrionics; his movies are naturalistic portrayals of real people struggling with family duty, class, aging and love. With […]

Meryl Streep makes bad look good

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Florence Foster Jenkins, who lived from 1868 to 1944, was an eccentric heiress who used her considerable financial resources to stage and promote her musical career. She needed to use her own money because, despite having as a child been somewhat of a piano-playing prodigy, she was a terrible singer, probably both tone and beat […]

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