8 items from 2013
‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ sequel could get killed by Paramount (photo: James Stewart and Donna Reed in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’) What would the world be like if any one individual human being had never been born? In most cases, the world would quite possibly be an infinitely better place, but the overwhelming majority of (delusional) humans want to feel good about themselves and their place on our overpopulated, fast-rotting planet. Hence movies such as Frank Capra’s 1946 sentimental fantasy drama It’s a Wonderful Life, released the year after the end of World War II — which reportedly left about 60 million human beings dead (plus countless other non-humans), in addition to millions more maimed, homeless, and/or psychologically destroyed. Starring James Stewart as Small Town America family man George Bailey, who almost kills himself but is prevented from doing so by an angel with way too much time in his hands, »
- Andre Soares
It’s hard to believe there’s anything left to say about Psycho, the most renowned horror movie of all time, but here’s a thought worth revisiting: We are all in it. (Violin shriek.)
Alfred Hitchcock‘s notorious thriller is a methodically paced freakshow that takes its time shifting from one slightly off-kilter protagonist’s point of view to another, then another, and then another. Which character ends up mattering most? The one we’re never allowed to meet, of course. Rebecca flashbacks, anyone?
We begin the film rooting for, yet judging the runaway secretary Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) who has stolen money from her odious boss. Would we do that? Maybe not, but we care about the boss-screwing machinations of 9 to 5 and love Lily Tomlin‘s revenge fantasy (right?!), so the arc feels righteous and valid. After 45 minutes behind Marion’s tense glance, we switch to the perspective »
- Louis Virtel
Friendly Persuasion: Swanberg Hones His Craft
One of the most notable members of the Mumblecore crew, the often factious Joe Swanberg, at long last seems to have outgrown microbudget miasma with his latest, and arguably best directorial effort to date, Drinking Buddies. Oft criticized for his sloppy, rough around the edges, yet impressive amount of cinematic output (directing twelve films in the span of eight years, plus a good amount of acting gigs is nothing to sneer at), Swanberg seemed forever doomed to be on the wrong end of the quality vs. quantity debate. But now, with his latest mostly improvised gem, the union of content and imagery makes this his most visually pleasing glance at complicated adult relationships to date.
Kate (Olivia Wilde) works as an office manager at a Chicago craft brewery. She’s harried, unkempt, and the only female, but seems to have a comfortably playful »
- Nicholas Bell
The Cannes film festival is the single most prestigious film festival in the world. Known for fostering and cultivating cinematic auteurs from every region of the globe, it is a festival that commonly rewards films with high aspirations towards what the art of cinema could and should be. The festival’s highest honor, the Palme d’Or, has been bestowed on such lofty films as Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard, Claude Lelouch’s A Man and a Woman, Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blowup, Lars Van Trier’s Dancer in the Dark, and Cristian Mungui’s 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days.
It may come as no surprise then, given Cannes’ inclination towards high-brow world cinema, that the Oscars and the Croisette don’t often cross paths in terms of which films they consider deserving of awards. In fact, only once has the Academy’s selection for Best Picture coincided with the Palme d’Or winner, »
- Christopher Lominac
Happy birthday to the man I call my Time Machine Husband (Tm), Anthony Perkins. The effete, beautiful actor best known for his astonishing performance as Norman Bates in Psycho would've been 81 today, and without even reading Charles Winecoff's gripping biography Split Image, you can tell in Mr. Perkins' performances that he was enigmatic, complicated, and conflicted. Though Perkins died of AIDS in 1992, his silver screenlegacy endures thanks to his lengthy, strange filmography.
Hollywood wanted Perkins to be the next James Dean, but his vulnerability and (frankly) apparent gayness stood at odds with that demand. As I like to say, we can't rewrite cinematic history to include all the wonderful gay characters we deserve, so we as gay entertainment anthropologists have to find our stories in the nuances, innuendos, and otherwise untold stories hidden right onscreen (perhaps unintentionally), right within all the stated heterosexuality. Though »
Actor who starred as the troubled pupil in Tea and Sympathy on stage and screen
The actor John Kerr, who has died aged 81, won a Tony award in his first starring role on the Broadway stage, as Tom in Tea and Sympathy in 1953, and subsequently appeared in the 1956 film version directed by Vincente Minnelli. Robert Anderson's play, in which a schoolboy "confesses" to his housemaster's wife that he might be homosexual – only to be seduced out of the notion by the sympathetic listener – was considered so controversial that it was restricted to a "members only" theatrical run in London, and Minnelli's film received an X certificate, despite modification, notably in the suggestion that the housemaster was gay.
- Brian Baxter
I interrupt American Idol's streak of fabulous female singers for a special bulletin: A young troubadour named Paul Jolley just became the most valuable singer in the competition thanks to his eerie sweetness and topaz complexion. He has a fine voice too, but that's deeply unimportant right now.
Here's what we should be thinking about: His name is Jolley, which is how my loins feel right now. 2) He sang Rascal Flatts, which means AfterElton readership has to rescue this child. 3) He auditioned while dressed in a turquoise shirt and white pants, as if he were Dinah Shore shopping at Pacific Sunwear. He's like Doris Day in those togs. Suzanne Pleshette on vacay. Elizabeth Montgomery eleganza. 4) You can tell by his constant gesturing and fluttery eyelashes that he really loves... God. Yes. He is one of those.
Cute-as-a-button, self-owned homosexual Sal Mineo would've been 74 today, which is pretty young considering the man garnered the first of his two Oscar nominations 57 years ago. Rebel Without a Cause made him a star, and though the actor's career went through ups and downs until his murder in 1976, he's legendary for his sheer talent and unprecedented openness about his sexual orientation. Mineo came out in the late '60s, and that decision wasn't even popular among some of his homosexual contemporaries. (Looking at you, Roddy McDowall.)
As a gay man who cares about film history, I find myself seeking out homosexual stories in the subtexts and subversive moments of old films because none existed in the foreground. Watch Anthony Perkins as a gunshy soldier in Friendly Persuasion. Watch Farley Granger gulp libidinously next to John Dall in Rope. You can't help but discover shards of gayness in these parts, whether they're intentionally presented or not, »
8 items from 2013
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