Best Movie Ever?: "The Times of Harvey Milk"

National Coming Out Day is this Thursday (October 11), and I can think of no better way to commemorate it than by revisiting The Times of Harvey Milk, the 1984 Academy Award winner for Best Documentary Feature that tells the story of that ebullient and righteous San Francisco Board Supervisor who was responsible for passing a stringent gay rights ordinance, earned the fitting nickname "the Mayor of Castro Street," and didn't mind shaking hands with political adversaries while telling them, "You never know where my hand has been." There's no other way to put it: Harvey Milk ruled. His energy was infectious, his message was raw, and it's impossible not to wonder what else he'd have accomplished if jilted, Twinkie-tweaking Dan White hadn't murdered him (and Mayor George Moscone) on November 27, 1978. Sure, we'll always have Sean Penn's deeply accurate portrayal from Milk to remind us of his power, but The Times of Harvey Milk
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Blu-Ray Review: ‘The Times of Harvey Milk’ Enhanced by Excellent Extras

Chicago – Harvey Milk was the sort of grassroots political hero that would’ve never fit into our modern world of corporately controlled politics. He was a man of his word, and he had many of them. His fundamental belief in equal rights for all citizens provided the fuel for his tireless work ethic, intoxicating exuberance and extraordinary bravery.

In the opening moments of Rob Epstein’s profoundly moving 1984 documentary, “The Times of Harvey Milk,” the titular San Francisco supervisor fearlessly rides atop a car waving to supporters, well aware that he’s an open target. The footage is juxtaposed with a taped will Milk recorded a year before his assassination in November 1978, when he was gunned down by a former colleague, Dan White (the city’s Mayor Moscone was also killed in the bloodbath). Considering Milk’s status as one of the first openly gay politicians elected to public office in America,
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New this Week: ‘Sucker Punch,’ and ‘The Tourist (DVD)’

Hitting movie theaters this weekend:

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick RulesZachary Gordon, Devon Bostick, Robert Capron

Sucker PunchEmily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Carla Gugino, Jon Hamm

Movie of the Week

Sucker Punch

The Stars: Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Carla Gugino, Jon Hamm

The Plot: A young girl (Browning) is institutionalized by her wicked stepfather. Retreating to an alternative reality as a coping strategy, she envisions a plan which will help her escape from the facility.

The Buzz: It’s certainly a great time to be a fifteen-year-old boy, isn’t it? It’s a shame I’m twenty years past my prime – Sucker Punch would have been 100% pure Pavlovian arousal for me back then. The batch of battling bombshells cartwheeling in all their gorgeously rendered video-game glory, coupled with the film’s flawless focus on, and impenetrable belief in, the great escape that can
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This Week On DVD and Blu-ray: March 22, 2011

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The Times of Harvey Milk (Criterion Collection) I am so backed up on Blu-ray reviews at the moment. I'm about midway through my review of Au revoir les enfants and I watched this one just today. It was a first time viewing for me and if anything it gave me an added respect for Gus Van Sant's Milk as not a stone was left unturned and on top of that it's quite obvious Van Sant and Dustin Lance Black didn't embellish much of the story.

It's interesting in fact, on this Blu-ray there's a feature that discusses both The Life and Times of Harvey Milk and Milk and the possible biopics on Harvey Milk that never saw the light of day, one brought up by Anne Kronenberg was Oliver Stone's attempt at the film and she says
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Criterion Collection Announces March Titles

  • Reelartsy
My favorite distributors The Criterion Collection have announced three new titles for Blu-ray/DVD release this coming March! On March 22, the Oscar-winning documentary The Times of Harvey Milk (Robert Epstein, 1984) will come out. Then on March 29, Criterion will release Topsy-Turvy (Mike Leigh, 1999) and The Mikado (Victor Schertzinger, 1939).

The Times of Harvey Milk

Extras include:

Audio commentary featuring director Robert Epstein, coeditor Deborah Hoffmann, and photographer Daniel NicolettaNew interview with documentary filmmaker and Uc Berkeley professor Jon ElseNew program about The Times of Harvey Milk and Gus Van Sant's Milk, featuring Epstein, Van Sant, actor James Franco, and friends Cleve Jones, Anne Kronenberg, and NicolettaPostscript containing interview clips not used in the filmRare collection of audio and video recordings of Harvey MilkInterview excerpts from Epstein's research tapesFootage from the film's Castro Theatre premiere and the 1984 Academy Awards ceremonyPanel discussion on Supervisor Dan White's controversial trialExcerpts from the twenty-fifth anniversary
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'Miracle' on 50th Street

Alison Pill is aware that Annie Sullivan of "The Miracle Worker" is keenly identified with the iconic (and now late) Anne Bancroft. But that was no stumbling block for Pill. To begin with, she had never seen the film. And, now age 24, she was not even born when the play premiered on Broadway in 1959, starring Bancroft and Patty Duke in the role of Helen Keller. Indeed, Pill read the script by William Gibson and approached it as she would any brand-new project. Putting aside any added pressure she might feel in playing a role made famous by another actor, she says, there remains the daunting responsibility that comes with tackling a historical figure—all the more so when that figure is "an incredible woman who overcame extraordinary odds," asserts the very young-looking, yet confident and mature, Toronto-born actor in her Circle in the Square dressing room before a rehearsal. Set mostly in and around Tuscumbia,
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The Lesbian in "Milk": Alison Pill as Anne Kronenberg

Canadian actress Alison Pill didn't know much about Harvey Milk when she auditioned to play his lesbian campaign manager in Gus Van Sant's biopic Milk. Twenty-two years old, she considered herself fairly informed about the history of the gay rights movement, and yet all she knew about Harvey was something vague about the "Twinkie defense."

Today, Pill is one of Harvey's biggest fans. And she belongs to another fan club, too, one a lot of queer women are going to be joining when they get to know Anne Kronenberg, the curly-haired dyke-on-a-bike who ran Harvey's first successful campaign, played by Pill in the film.

At first glance, it's hard to see much similarity between the two women, although Kronenberg was also 22 years old when tapped by Milk to run his third supervisorial campaign.

Strong, confrontational, and passionate, Anne rode a motorcycle and wore leather jackets. She took on the
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Interview: Rob Epstein on "The Times of Harvey Milk"

  • IFC
By Alison Willmore

When "The Times of Harvey Milk," director Rob Epstein's electric, Oscar-winning documentary about the life and tragic death of politician and gay rights activist Harvey Milk, premiered in 1984, Dan White, the man who assassinated the film's subject, had already been released from prison. Milk, the self-proclaimed "Mayor of Castro Street," became the first openly gay man to be elected to a public office when he was named San Francisco city supervisor in 1977. Less than a year later, he and Mayor George Moscone were shot to death in City Hall by White, a former colleague, a shocking act that would later be topped when White got off with a conviction of manslaughter and a seven-year sentence, an outrage that sparked riots.

This week sees both the 30th anniversary of Milk's passing and the release of a highly anticipated and long-in-the-making biopic of the man, Gus Van Sant's "Milk,
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