Reviews written by registered user
|285 reviews in total|
I don't know how to say how horrible this movie is. It's as if Sally
Field (whom I've loved--and I do mean loved--ever since Sybil) forgot
all the wonderful work she's done in the past 40+ years and returned to
her moronic Gidget and Flying Nun sit-com roots. The problem is that
she's hit 70 now, and behaving like an empty-headed, lovestruck tween
is grossly out of place. She makes being an old woman seem extremely
If this movie had not been so badly written and directed, her performance might have pulled it out of the gutter, but she just played along with the astonishing dumbness and let the movie slog through the scum it was spawned in.
I'm going to try really hard to forget I ever saw this movie; if I can, maybe my appreciation of Sally Field will return. I wish I hadn't rented it, but I believed the gushing reviews, which must have been written by other septuagenarian Gidgets like Doris who are grateful finally to have a role model in Hollywood.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is NOT an inspiring story of gay love that endures through the
years, despite what online descriptions and reviews say. It is the
story of a greedy, grasping, manipulative, totally unscrupulous and
cold-hearted little "businessman" who latched onto a young, highly
gifted but pathologically shy and depressed fashion designer. He drove
that damaged kid into a life so full of stress that he sought relief in
drugs and then finally burned out before he got old and spent his last
couple of decades in tortured isolation. It's a heartbreaking and
Although they had broken up as a couple decades earlier, in order to make doubly sure that he ended up with all the loot, the huckster married the designer just a few days before he died of brain cancer, hardly in any condition to make reasonable choices. As soon as the funeral was over, he shifted into high gear to maximize his profit from selling the designer's lovingly assembled art collection, which put another half-billion dollars in his already overstuffed pockets.
What a horrible, horrible man. Forget what he "did" for the shallow, spurious world of high fashion--he's a self-serving monster who has earned every horror that will come to him eventually.
If you saw every gay movie made since 1950, you'd never see one as good
as Akron. It's not only the best gay movie made so far, it's one of the
best movies period. You have to look at the very best ever--movies like
Gone with the Wind and The Godfather--to find any that are better than
Benny and Christopher meet as college freshmen. They get very close very fast. They're both extremely comfortable being gay, loved and fully supported by their friends and families, and they freely demonstrate their affection everywhere they go. It's marvelous to see.
There is no homophobia anywhere in this movie, thank God. No bullies, no bashing, no parental disapproval, no coming-out angst. No hiding. No HIV. None of the other "curses" that most gay dramas wallow in. Critics may say Akron is unrealistic, but it's no less real than the negative crap we've already seen plenty of in gay movies.
Akron shows a beautifully healthy and positive side of the gay experience that has been completely neglected in movies until now. There ARE families like this--lots of them--we just haven't seen them on screen before. There also is no melodrama in Akron, which is even more remarkable. Nobody overacts or over-reacts. Nobody ever does anything that doesn't feel completely genuine and true and natural and normal.
There IS drama, but it's not centered on being gay. It turns out that the two families' paths had crossed in a terrible tragedy many years earlier, and when they discover that connection everything blows apart. The last half of the movie shows how each person in the two families (not just the lovers) deals with the newly-awakened pain.
Small, unpretentious movies like this, about human beings relating to each other, don't win awards or sell tickets any more, but they're the only movies worth seeing. If you love blockbusters, you'll hate Akron; but if you love movies, you'll love this one. It's as nearly perfect in every way as a movie can be.
This movie is only half an hour long, but it seems like hours, or days.
It reminds me of when I had measles for about two weeks as a child
(before there was a vaccine), with a persistent, very high fever.
Time stopped, all senses were intensified so much they hurt, colors were hyper-saturated, and everything looked shimmery like it was baking in a desert. Nothing seemed real, and it was horrifying. It was like living in a nightmare that would never end, but the fever was so high I couldn't sleep. That was 60 years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday.
That's what watching this movie is like. The strange cinematography even LOOKS feverish, like nothing is real, everything is unnatural, colors are too intense, the look is always either way too sharp or way too fuzzy, and there's something bad wrong with your eyes and brain.
The good people (which includes the gay couple only) are SO good they're cloying, suffocating, nearly as creepy as the overwhelmingly more numerous bad people (everybody else). The bad people are really, REALLY bad, like monsters disguised as humans. All of them are extremely, unvaryingly vicious and hateful.
Nothing anybody says sounds like human beings talking, but like demons, like beings that can say human words but have nothing human inside to give life to the words. The actors all look like dead people, stiffly animated through some sort of jerky special effects.
I don't like horror movies at all, but I'd rather watch a marathon of all the Exorcist movies and all their spin-offs than sit through this horrible movie again.
This may be the stupidest movie I have ever seen. Its only reason for
existing seems to be (1) to show men running around totally naked and
acting like monkeys--for no plot-required reason--as often as possible,
and (2) to show men urinating on camera as often as possible. There are
at least five instances of the latter in a barely-over-one-hour movie.
It's not even water-sports porn--it's about as erotic (and realistic)
as a Bugs Bunny cartoon.
The plot is extraordinarily flimsy: best friends (straight German and gay Briton, both affluent enough not to have real jobs; the German is a "photographer", the Brit nothing discernible) go on a pointless road trip through obscure northeastern Germany and pick up a Polish hitchhiker. Nothing happens, except for the previously-mentioned naked romping and urinating.
All three characters are either (take your pick) completely unbelievable, even as movie characters, much less as actual human beings, OR (or AND, if you insist) the three most obnoxious characters the writer/director could think up.
The two "best friends" act like they can't stand each other, and if that's supposed to be some sort of erotic tension it misfires completely. The Pole adds nothing but a different body type (short/chunky vs the friends' buttless "swimmer's builds"); a third obnoxious, unbelievable character; and a third language for the subtitle writers to screw up (they completely ignore all English, regardless of how unintelligibly it's being mumbled by non-English speakers).
Three obnoxious characters running around like monkeys and urinating every few minutes--and annoying each other and the audience for 78 minutes. That's this movie.
From other reviews online, I'd gotten the impression that this might
not be just another stale gay dramedy full of stale gay dramedy
clichés... but five minutes in, one lead coyly asks the other, "When's
the last time you got laid? 'cause you're really tense right now!" I
hit eject, put the DVD back in its case, and tossed it in the box with
tired old gay movies from the horrible old days when that's all we had.
With people like Alan Brown, Mark Thiedeman and Joseph Graham making intelligent, NON-clichéd gay movies -- about and for adults, not bitchy, mentally challenged, self-obsessed, cocaine-snorting, thirtysomething (or older) adolescents -- there's no excuse to keep recycling the same old garbage. Besides, one minute earlier the same character had said, "... or something equally as stupid." The writer gets old clichés just right, but writing plain English correctly evidently is beyond him. I almost ejected it then, but when the "got laid" line came fast on its heels, and in the same smug, whiny voice, it sealed this movie's fate for me.
Beautiful Something is a movie about a handful of gay men in
Philadelphia. Each is dealing with a personal crisis (not coming-out
angst or gay bashing, thank God), and their paths intersect
occasionally over the course of a single night. Except for one couple
(Jim and Drew) and one ex-couple (Brian and Dan), none of the men knew
each other previously. The totally safe and comfortable world in which
they live, where everybody is gay and very well adjusted to being gay,
is slightly dream-like, but it's entirely believable.
Brian (whose story this mostly is) is a published poet suffering with both deeply unhappy relationships and writer's block. He is by far the best written and acted character I have ever seen in a gay movie -- in almost any movie. He's complex, mercurial and fascinating; every second he's on the screen I had to remind myself to breathe. I would give several years of my life to see a whole movie about only him. He's an endlessly interesting character played by an amazing actor.
I'd never heard of Brian Sheppard, but I will find every movie he's ever been in and watch it. The scene between him and Dan (the mostly straight man who's the love of his life) is one of the best scenes I have ever seen anywhere. Grant Lancaster, who plays Dan, is the only other actor who can share a scene with Brian Sheppard without disappearing into the wallpaper.
Brian's story begins and ends this movie, and it makes holding on through the really bad stuff in the middle well worthwhile. But when I watch it again (and again, and again), I'll know I can fast-forward through all the crap with Jim and Drew and Bob. Brian has a few scenes in that vast mid-movie wasteland, so I'll catch them on the way through, like oases in a desert.
Those other three characters, and the actors who play them, are like stale leftovers from a BAD gay movie, and I wish Joseph Graham (the writer-director) could have just left them out. They're boring people, and their story is dragged down by overwrought melodrama, pretentious dialog, and completely unbelievable performances. The scenes between Jim and Drew aren't all that bad (except that Jim is in them), but the horrible, endless scene between Jim and Bob in a stretch limousine and a restaurant, and afterwards at Bob's house, is unbearable. It made me want to throw up and pull all my hair out.
Jim is such an obnoxious character that any time he was on I wanted to stop the show. He's as awful as Brian is wonderful. The scene where Jim is trying to read Shakespeare is profoundly embarrassing. When the character is supposed to be an actor, the actor playing him really should be able to act. Graham definitely should have avoided Shakespeare, at least. I never could stand the character Jim, but hadn't noticed how bad Zack Ryan's performance was until that scene.
But the endless scene at Bob's house finally DID end (thank God), and Brian rushed down from heaven like an avenging angel to rescue the movie from the bottomless pit of schlocky melodrama it had nearly fallen into. The last ten minutes or so (I was loving it too much to watch the time) are stunningly, breathtakingly, achingly, gloriously beautiful -- beautifully written, beautifully directed and beautifully acted.
So Brian and his story -- and Brian Sheppard, the marvelous actor who plays him -- raise this movie way, way, way above anything else you'll see this year or any year. If he weren't so extraordinarily good, the rest of the movie might seem better. But he IS that good, and he makes it worth doing whatever you have to do to see this movie.
Despite the fact that the scenes without him are so bad they're unwatchable, Brian (the character) and Brian Sheppard are SO GOOD that I'm giving the movie ten stars. I started to average it out and give five, but Brian/Brian are just too spectacularly good to drag down.
For any serious movie lover, Those People demands to be compared to
Whit Stillman's brilliant 1990 movie Metropolitan. Both movies are
about a small, close group of late-adolescent rich kids on New York's
Upper East Side; both cover a limited time period, offering a
slice-of-life look into the isolated dream world the kids live in; and
both were written and directed by men who were born and raised inside
The only superficial difference between the two movies is that Metropolitan has no overtly gay characters. But below the surface the differences are profound, and in every way Metropolitan proves itself the better movie, by far. The only good thing I can say about Those People is that it reawakened my interest in Metropolitan.
The most obvious of Metropolitan's strengths is its point of view. Its main character is a guy named Tom, who is NOT from that world, but gets caught up with them by accident while hailing the same taxi in front of the Plaza Hotel. We see the rich kids' world through his eyes, and it adds depth to both the movie and all of its characters, a depth completely lacking in Those People.
Those People has no similar Everyman character for the audience to identify with, so we see its world and the characters in it from the outside only, and it never feels real. Charlie, the main character in Those People, is an outsider only in being Jewish, which on the Upper East Side makes him not really an outsider at all. Although Charlie gets lots more screen time than Tom has in Metropolitan, he seems much less real, and the audience is left looking AT that world instead of seeing INSIDE it, which is Metropolitan's most astounding achievement.
Although I'm gay, I felt a lot more at home in Metropolitan, with no gay characters, than I did in Those People, in which gays predominate. That's because every character in Metropolitan is a human being, a complex mix of traits that somehow gets conveyed clearly in a very short time. I believed in and I cared about all of the characters in Metropolitan, without even trying to.
In Those People, we have The Gay Jewish Boy Who Doesn't Quite Fit In Even Though He's Rich And Very Cute, and The Languid, Spoiled, Self-Destructive Gay WASP Boy Who Is Everybody's Darling Even Though His Father Is A Crook, and The Exotic Middle-Eastern Gay Concert Pianist Who's Hot as Blazes Even Though He's A Foreigner And Over 30, and several other equally shallow stereotypes. It's very tiresome.
I'd lots rather spend a couple of hours with real straight people than with gay caricatures. Compounding the problem is that none of the gay characters is played by an actor gifted enough to be believable as gay. I'd rather have NO gay characters than characters played by painfully straight actors trying their hardest to act gay.
The fact that Joey Kuhn titled his movie Those People may indicate that he meant to keep the audience at a distance, outside looking in, but nothing else about the movie makes that seem intentional. I think we're supposed to CARE what happens to Charlie, Sebastian, Tim and company; I tried, but I just couldn't. Why would a director want to keep his audience at a distance anyway? I can't think of any good reason.
So if you're thinking about seeing Those People, do yourself a big favor and see Metropolitan first. If then you still want to see Those People, by all means do it. I'll even give you my DVD.
One final but very important note. The most important difference between Metropolitan and Those People is this: Metropolitan is a drama and Those People is a melodrama. For anyone who isn't sure what THAT difference is, here's a quickie: A drama is a mostly serious story in which relatively normal things happen to people who behave pretty much like real people behave. A melodrama is an unrelentingly serious story in which extremely dramatic things happen constantly to people who overreact to everything. Watching a drama is like watching people living their lives. Watching a melodrama is like watching a reality TV program, where every moment is packed full of extreme conflict or crisis or both.
Those of you who have been raised on reality TVie, anyone born after about 1990, since The Real World gave birth to the genre in 1992will be MUCH more at home with Those People. Joey Kuhn's sensibilities and idea of what constitutes entertainment clearly were formed by that "reality". The relentless stream of extreme crisis and highly charged emotional conflict in Those People will seem real to you, and Metropolitan will bore you to death.
This is a very beautifully written, directed and acted movie about a
carefree, well-to-do (they have a pool in the city and a house at the
beach) young man in Buenos Aires named Ignacio ("Nacho"), 21 years old,
who suddenly loses his parents and much younger brother (around five
years old)apparently in a road accident, although it's never
He is immediately confronted not only with unbearable grief but with financial catastrophe, because his father's prosperous import/export business is being run by an associate (Carlos) who tells him the business (which Nacho apparently now owns) had been failing for a long time and can no longer support him as it had been doing. He will have to get a job for the first time in his life.
One of the challenges in watching this wonderful movie is that nothing is explained, there's no narrator telling us what happened. The movie just starts cold, with Nacho's first meeting with Carlos after the accidentalthough we don't even know yet why the meeting is taking place or why Nacho is such a wreck emotionally. Carlos tells him the business is failing, which Nacho doesn't believe, but he's too devastated by grief to do much about it.
The back story is filled in with occasional flashbacks to Nacho's full and happy life before the accident (hence the movie's title), and the contrast with his present distress is devastating. Nacho doesn't even look like the same person.
Besides Nacho and Carlos, the main characters (both before and after the catastrophe) are Nacho's girlfriend Ana, his very openly gay best friend Tomás, and Tomás's wonderful mother Silvia, on whom Nacho had a huge crush a few years earlier. The various ways those other characters try to help Nacho, and his painfully clumsy, erratic and self-defeating responses to their offers of help, make up most of the "after" story. It's sad, and sometimes I felt like shaking Nacho to wake him out of his grieving fog, but that's how grief is.
What makes such a sad story so wonderful to watch is the amazing skill and talent that went into making it. The screenplay and direction (both by Daniel Gimelberg) are fantastic. All of the flashbacks come at the right times and in the right ways, so they're always helpful, never distracting.
Despite the total lack of explication, the story is easy to follow because it all feels so REAL, like I'm watching real people living through the hardships instead of watching actors in a movie. I wouldn't know every detail about real people, and I don't know everything there is to know about these characters.
And those actors... Wow! Every one of them is amazing; but Nahuel Pérez Biscayart as Tomás and Verónica Llinás as his mother Silvia are especially good, never "acting", just being the characters. However, it's Nahuel Viale as Nacho who really shines and makes the movie work. He's in almost every scene, and he's always perfect. As I said, he doesn't even look like the same person before and after.
I've simplified this movie a lot, maybe too much. It's much more complex than I've made it seem. The lack of explication and even of what would be essential information in a more conventional movie (like, how did Nacho's family die? They're shown driving away for a vacation at their beach house, but we're never told what happened to them) leaves room for almost endless speculation about what is really going on.
And weird bits that seem meaningless (like switching the music cassette in the car's radio) are given so much attention that it creates a dark, almost sinister atmosphere, hinting that Nacho may be suffering more than grief, and that his life may not really have been as perfect "before" as the flashbacks make it seem. Or that Carlos may be more than just a thief (if he really even IS a thief). A lot more is happening in this movie than we will ever know.
I'm amazed that Antes didn't win awards at major film festivals around the world, that it wasn't picked up for release in the US. It's a perfect gemsophisticated, complex, intelligent, and beautifully executed on every level. It's a shame that almost no one has seen it.
I would gladly pay almost any price for a DVD, but, as far as I can discover, none is available. However (thank God) it's available to watch for free online, at Blu-ray (1080p) resolution and with excellent optional English subtitles. The movie flows so beautifully, and the subtitles are so good, that I never felt like I was reading; it was as if I could somehow understand everything they were saying in Spanish. That's how all subtitles ought to be but almost never are.
I can't insert a direct link to the video, but if you search for "antes", "english" and "gimelberg" you'll find it.
According to this extremely offensive movie, sex between two men is
always brutally clumsy and compulsive, never tender or romantic, always
performed with one man fully clothed and on a desk or other piece of
hard furniture, even if there's a bed in the next room. They may talk
about love, but they act like they hate each other.
In this supposedly gay movie, the only graphic sex is heterosexualand there are not one but TWO lushly sensual sex scenes between a man and a woman, both in bedto emphasize, I suppose, how much better hetero sex is than gay sex. Men can only grope and assault each other, but men caress women.
This is shockingly offensive homophobia, it pervades every scene in this horrible movie, and I hate it with every cell in my gay male body.
By the way (as if it could get even worse), the English title ("Men in the Nude") is a lie. You won't see any more male nudity than is on the cover of the DVD. You'll see lots of female breasts, but nothing male below the waist.
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