20 items from 2014
“Orange Is the New Black” star Natasha Lyonne will host the 10th Annual Legacy Awards, benefiting the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project. “Natasha Lyonne is a force – she has been unafraid to push the boundaries of gender and sexuality in roles ranging from the hilariously campy to the downright brazen,” said Kirsten Schaffer, executive director of Outfest, in a statement. “She has also been a vibrant part of the Outfest community, having starred in numerous films that are housed in the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project archive, including ‘But I'm A Cheerleader,’ ‘G.B.F.,’ and ‘Party Monster.'” See photos: ‘Orange Is the New. »
- Linda Ge
Bron Studios will produce the psychological drama, Meadowland, starring Olivia Wilde, Luke Wilson, Elisabeth Moss and Natasha Lyonne, it was announced today by Aaron L. Gilbert, Bron's Managing Director.
The film marks the feature directorial debut of award-winning cinematographer Reed Morano, with a screenplay by Chris Rossi. Morano's credits include The Skeleton Twins, Kill Your Darlings, HBO's Looking and Frozen River. She is a member of the A.S.C.
Meadowland is a Bron Studios production in association with Creative Wealth Media Finance; Matt Tauber and Olivia Wilde are producing, alongside Bron's Aaron L. Gilbert and Margot Hand. Jennifer Levine and Jason Cloth serve as executive producers. Richard Hicks C.S.A. is the casting director.
The film will begin production in New York City in mid-August.
In Meadowland a couple, Sarah (Wilde) and David (Wilson) deal with the unthinkable in the wake of their son's disappearance. David, a New York City policeman, »
'It's an obnoxiously camp DayGlo assault of a movie, every second of its runtime deep-fried in double entendre'
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Studios are often criticised for intentionally misrepresenting their films in an attempt to reach a wider audience than they might do otherwise. It's a fair complaint: millions of people might have been spared Marley & Me had its poster not shied away from depicting the onslaught of postnatal depression and canine euthanasia that made up the film's final act. But ever so often, a film comes along for which misrepresentation is a crucial part of the package. Jawbreaker director Darren Stein goes back to school in Gbf, the story of a newly outed high school senior who finds himself stalked by a trio of would-be prom queens, each of them desperate to secure their own socially appropriate "gay best friend". From the off, it's an »
- Charlie Lyne
Following on from a triumphant showing at the recent BFI Flare festival in London, Darren Stein’s (Jawbreaker) high-school comedy G.B.F. (Gay Best Friend) now makes its way to Blu-ray and DVD, and we had the pleasure of sitting down with the filmmaker, alongside the lead star himself, Michael J. Willet, to discuss the project.
The pair discuss the difficulties in getting a film with a gay protagonist financed in Hollywood, finding an intimacy in such grandiose surroundings, the striking visual experience of the picture – and how being an outsider in real life has helped them both when creating this piece of cinema.
Darren it’s been 14 years since your last feature film. What was it about this particular story that lured you back in?
Darren Stein: It was the script. I’m not interested in making specifically teen films, but this one was so smart and relevant and »
- Stefan Pape
To mark the release of G.B.F. on 14th April, we’ve been given a signed copy of the Blu-ray and a signed quad poster to give away to one winner, with two runner ups receiving a copy of the Blu-ray.
Meet Tanner and Brent. They are two gay best friends. Brent longs for the spotlight and believes that coming out will make him instantly popular as North Gateway High’s very first G.B.F. (or Gay Best Friend). Tanner on the other hand, would rather fly under the radar and finish high school without ever being noticed.
When things don’t go according to plan and Tanner is outed instead of Brent, the two boys go from B.F.Fs to instant frenemies. Enter the three most popular girls in school — queen-of-mean bombshell Fawcett, drama club diva Caprice, and sweet, Mormon good-girl ‘Shley, who launch an all-out social war to win Tanner’s friendship. »
Chicago – In November of 2013, the 31st annual Chicago Lgbt International Film Festival, also known as “Reeling31,” provided a week long showcase for gay filmmakers. There were many new voices in the mix, and they were on the Red Carpet on opening night of the Fest.
HollywoodChicago.com was on the scene, which took place at the historic Music Box Theatre in Chicago. The stars of the opening night feature film. “G.B.F,” were there for interviews and photos, plus filmmakers and actors from the films “Burning Blue,” “The Happy Sad’ and “Truth” – which were shown throughout the week – also walked the fabled Red Carpet.
The “Reeling” Festival is currently sponsoring a free film series in Chicago, the fourth annual “Cinema Q.” The last week of the series will present “De-Lovely” (2004) – starring Kevin Kline as Cole Porter – on March 26th, 6:30pm, at Chicago’s Cultural Center, 78 East Washington Street. »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
In with the in crowd.
The story of a teenager for whom being outed as gay means becoming a must-have fashion accessory, G.B.F. was selected as part of this year’s BFI Flare festival (formerly the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival). I caught up with director Darren Stein and star Michael J Willett whilst they were visiting London for the festival, and asked how they felt about being a part of it.
“I’m so excited!” Michael exclaimed. I love London. I love the history, I love the culture. I haven’t been here since I was in high school so to be back here now with my first movie, that feels really good.”
Darren showed similar enthusiasm, praising the festival and the team behind it. I asked him if he’s a longstanding fan of the high school movie genre.
Even popular girls get lonely.
“I am, I really am! »
- Jennie Kermode
Starred Up (18)
We've seen enough prison movies to know the drill, but this is closer to A Prophet than The Great Escape – a bracing mix of brutal thriller, institutional critique and complex character drama. Conviction is key, both in the day-to-day details and the natural performances, particularly O'Connell – a young offender violent enough to be housed with the grown-ups, including his own father. It feels like things could kick off with every scene.
Labor Day (12A)
The Juno director tries nuanced domestic drama – and it doesn't really suit him. Erotic tremors are a given when Brolin's escaped convict shacks up with Winslet's lonely single mum, but you'll need to park your disbelief. »
- Steve Rose
Darren Stein’s sparkling comedy G.B.F. is one of those typical American high-school set productions where every character looks like they’re more likely to be picking up their own children from school, rather than actually study there. Nonetheless, this merely sets the precedence for a picture that requires a suspension of disbelief in order to enjoy, in what is a glitzy and ultimately superficial affair – though that’s not to say it’s not rather good fun.
Michael J. Willet plays Tanner, a young, gay student reluctant to come out of the closet, in spite of his best friend Brent’s (Paul Iacono) best efforts to persuade him otherwise. In a rare lapse of concentration, Tanner is accidentally outed, and though expecting a backlash of sorts, instead he becomes one of the most popular guys in school, as the coolest girls, consisting of the likes of Caprice (Xosha Roquemore »
- Stefan Pape
A closeted teen's popularity goes through the roof when he is outed in this broad, sweet high-school comedy
In this broad comedy, shy, closeted teen Tanner (Michael J Willett) is accidentally outed and then finds his social standing goes stratospheric when the school's most popular girls start vying for his companionship, because a Gbf (gay best friend) is this season's must-have accessory. As the premise might suggest, the story unfolds in a hot-pastel world of fantasy where parents practically cheer when their kids come out, the school (represented by Natasha Lyonne) is super-supportive, and no one gets queer-bashed (Harry Potter's Evanna Lynch is on hand as the token bigot, though). And why not? The result is mostly swishy, sweet fun, although admittedly it might have benefitted from a bit of tweaking to fluff up bigger, better, and bitchier one-liners. Nevertheless, there's something cheering about the fact that in 2014 it's possible »
Every sentence has a story in the smash hit series Orange Is the New Black: Season One arriving on Blu-ray Disc (plus Digital HD UltraViolet), DVD (plus Digital UltraViolet) and Digital HD May 13 from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. Hailed by critics as "magnificent and thoroughly engrossing" (Washington Post), the hugely popular dark comedy from Weeds creator Jenji Kohan broke viewing records for its premiere season. Starring Taylor Schilling (Argo, Stay) in a Golden Globe nominated performance, Orange Is the New Black also won "TV Program Of The Year" from the American Film Institute (AFI).
Based on the best-selling memoir by Piper Kerman, Orange Is the New Black also stars Jason Biggs (American Pie franchise), Laura Prepon (TV's That '70s Show), Kate Mulgrew (TV's Star Trek: Voyager, TV's Ntsf:sd:suv::), Pablo Schreiber (TV's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Showtime's Weeds), Natasha Lyonne (American Pie, G.B.F.), Taryn Manning (TV's Sons of Anarchy), Michael Harney (Showtime's Weeds, »
In the new MTV series, being gay brings popularity and power. But what if you’re Faking It?
Leave it to MTV to bring us another fun series where gay characters are not only present but also en vogue.
In the new series Faking It, teen social outcasts Amy (Rita Volk) and Karma (Katie Stevens) are such close BFFs that when they’re mistaken as a lesbian couple by their peers, they realize the masquerade not only raises their social standing but even gives them a sense of power. How long will they keep up the ruse? And what if one of them starts liking playing gay a little too much?
Created by out producer Carter Covington, the series is set in Austin, Texas at a progressive arts school and also stars Michael J. Willett (recently seen in the gay indie, Gbf) as out and proud Shane and Gregg Sulkin as his straight bestie Liam, »
- Jim Halterman
The BFI have announced this year’s theme (and new name!) to the London Lgbt Film Festival – going with the wonderful new name of BFI Flare. To coincide with the programme reveal, they also announced the opening and closing films of the festival.
The galas were the first big reveal, with the announcement that Hong Khauo’s first feature Lilting, starring Ben Whishaw, will be opening the festival, while the amazing Sundance smash 52 Tuesdays (pictured) will be closing closing. The Accenture Gala film will be the Cuban film The Last Match.
The ones to watch will definitely be the sub-sections of the festival, following the themes of “Heart” “Bodies” and “Minds”. Each section has been specifically picked to showcase the best of Lgbt features, documentaries and shorts highlighting the best talents from around the world.
- Lucy Cave
"Rated R for sexual references" is the typically tone-deaf ruling from the MPAA flywheels on Darren Stein's comedy G.B.F., a film that has far fewer sexual references than the similarly themed Easy A.
But while the PG-13 Easy A was about a straight teenage girl whose social status drops when she's falsely accused of losing her virginity, G.B.F.'s protagonist, Tanner (Michael J. Willett), is a closeted teenage boy whose social status rises when he's accurately outed as gay, reluctantly becoming arm candy for the popular girls to avoid getting bullied by the jocks.
For an R-rated movie, there's no sex, nudity, or violence, and the only F-bomb is the contextually appropriate "faggot," so here's to hoping lax multiplex security allows teenagers »
Editor’s Note: Ed Kennedy is taking a much needed vacation, so we’re asking for help crowdsourcing today’s edition! Got a link, hot news item, Instagram pic etc. you think other readers would enjoy? As long as it’s P.G. rated and safe for work, please share in the comments. Here’s a few items to get the ball rolling…
Sweet indie gay film G.B.F. (read our review here) was given an R rating by the MPAA, and director Darren Stein is not happy about that: “I always thought of G.B.F. as a PG-13 movie, but we were given an R “For Sexual References” while not having a single F-bomb, hint of nudity or violence in the film. Perhaps the ratings box should more accurately read ‘For Homosexual References’ or ‘Too Many Scenes of Gay Teens Kissing.’ I look forward to a world where queer teens can »
- Dennis Ayers
Sharp satire cutting through the sweet silliness makes this a refreshing change of pace for teen comedies. I’m “biast” (pro): nothing
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
In a school where the three reigning popular girls — each hoping to become prom queen — are like “warlords” operating under an uneasy truce, the latest, hippest weapon for dominance is the G.B.F.: the gay best friend. Problem is, in North Gate High doesn’t have any “’mo’s”… or does it? When geeky Tanner (Michael J. Willett), who’s not very fabulous (he’s into comic books) is accidentally outed, he becomes a pawn in the games of Fawcett (Sasha Pieterse), ’Shley (Andrea Bowen), and Caprice (Xosha Roquemore: Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire). (Harry Potter’s Evanna Lynch, aka Luna Lovegood, appears here too.) Will he »
- MaryAnn Johanson
Tom Clancy's badass CIA superhero Jack Ryan is back on the big screen this weekend in "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit," the new film from director Kenneth Branagh, whose career has taken an odd turn from magisterial Shakespeare adaptations to big-budget action thrillers. In limited release arrive Hirokazu Kore-eda's trenchant family drama "Like Father, Like Son," Darren Stein's warm teen comedy "G.B.F." and Israeli grindhouse "Big Bad Wolves," Quentin Tarantino's favorite film of 2013. Also premiering on Netflix is the Oscar-nominated doc "The Square," with week-long runs kicking off in select cities, and maritime docu "Maidentrip" hits theaters. Trailers below. Though marred by plot holes galore, "Shadow Recruit" benefits from smart casting and the charisma of stars Chris Pine --successor to Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck before him -- and Keira Knightley and Kevin Costner. It's a perfectly fine mid-January release sure to please thrill-seekers as »
- Ryan Lattanzio
Easy Peasy: Stein Returns to High School Hallways for Sweet Hearted Message Movie
Five years before Mean Girls brought the monstrous high heeled bitch posse back to the forefront of PG-13 blockbuster entertainment, director Darren Stein’s 1999 film Jawbreaker explored the morbid universe of a trio of black hearted murderous maidens in the delightful R tradition of Heathers. In his first feature since then, Stein goes back to the hallways of high school with G.B.F., once again revisiting the formula of the popular female triumvirate, only this time aligning himself with the spirit of John Hughes. Many aspects of high school life may seemingly never change, but Stein’s latest rendering, while extolling a message that seems deliriously obvious to the adult world, cheerfully proposes that even this rigid, socially conditioned environment has had opportunity to grapple with progressive notions of equality.
The three most popular girls in high-school, ‘Shley »
- Nicholas Bell
With its impending release just around the corner, director Darren Stein and writer George Northy's "G.B.F." (Gay Best Friend) has given Indiewire an exclusive new clip, one that features none other than the hilarious Megan Mullally as the awkward mother of a gay teen (Paul Iacono). "G.B.F." follows the comedic escapades of a group of high school girls determined to make Tanner, the recently-outed boy in school, their new gay best friend. In an attempt to climb the lengthy social ladder, Tanner's new makeover at the hands of the clique queens leads him to his popularity, but forces him to re-evaluate his priorities, his friendships and ultimately his identity. Currently on DirecTV, "G.B.F." gets its theatrical release on January 17, 2014. Check out the clip below: »
- Ziyad Saadi
G.B.F., a cunning new comedy from Jawbreaker director Darren Stein, is a minor high-school flick, but also an inherently modern one. It is bolstered by a refreshing premise and a sharp cast who overcome some of the absurdity and clutter in George Northy’s debut script. The acronym of the title stands for “gay best friend,” which leads the viewer to expect a depiction of contemporary high-school drama that could be too hip or condescending. As it turns out though, G.B.F. is neither, instead, it’s merely happy to embrace its gay-positive values and is just smart enough to make us laugh at some of the stereotypes it skewers.
The film’s plot, if anything, depends on the trendsetters. As gay protagonist Tanner (Michael J. Willett) tells the audience, there is something about being first in high school. It turns out that Tanner’s first is, to him, an embarrassing »
- Jordan Adler
20 items from 2014
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