(*homocinematically inclined)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Reverend’s Preview: Forecast: A Hot Summer at the Movies

The month of May might be best known in local GLBT circles as the celebratory start to a summer full of Pride celebrations, but it is also the annual beginning of Hollywood’s biggest season. While many of the studios’ offerings will be loud, overblown spectacles geared to kids and teens out of school, there are more than a few more adult-oriented offerings with appeal to GLBT moviegoers.

Based on advance word and my personal survey of several studio and independent films’ public relations reps, the following are films we should consider lining up for between now and the end of August. They are listed in order of their scheduled release dates, but please note these dates are subject to change.

Iron Man 2 (May 7): Robert Downey Jr.’s tongue-in-cheek performance powered the Marvel superhero’s first big-screen adventure to record grosses two years ago. Downey and Gwyneth Paltrow return and face off against Russian baddies played by the lovely Scarlett Johansson and a resurgent Mickey Rourke. While Rourke doesn’t fulfill every gay man’s ideal of physical beauty, the film’s trailer reveals The Wrestler Oscar-nominee sporting nothing more than tighty-whities in one scene.

OSS 117: Lost in Rio (May 7): I’m just going to quote from the press release to describe this one: “France’s top secret agent, a cross between James Bond and Austin Powers, teams up with a beautiful Mosad colonel whose mini skirt and kinky boots disguise dangerously forward-thinking views on women’s lib and world politics.” Mexican wrestlers, a man-eating alligator and risqué sexual humor also figure into the plot. What’s not to like?

Robin Hood (May 14): Although star Russell Crowe is on the record saying neither himself nor his male co-stars wear tights in this new take on the classic hero, Crowe is always worth watching and Cate Blanchett co-stars as Maid Marion. Maybe Crowe will at least have a skinny-dipping scene like Kevin Costner (or, rather, Costner’s butt double) did in 1991’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves!

Sex and the City 2 (May 27): In what may be the summer’s campiest movie, Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) and her BFFs Samantha (Kim Cattrall), Miranda (out actress Cynthia Nixon) and Charlotte (Kristin Davis) return for a globetrotting adventure but don’t lack for high fashion or cocktails! Mario Cantone and Willie Garson are also back as the quartet’s gay pals, with no less than Penélope Cruz, Liza Minnelli and Miley Cyrus (?) making cameos.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (May 28): Jake Gyllenhaal of Brokeback Mountain fame sports long hair, a leather codpiece and buffed-up biceps in this video game-inspired fantasy from mega producer Jerry Bruckheimer (Pirates of the Caribbean). Again, I ask: What’s not to like?

Stonewall Uprising (June 18): A documentary that uses archival film footage to trace events and cultural attitudes that culminated in the infamous police raid on New York’s Stonewall Inn in June 1969. The patrons’ counter-attack marked the birth of the GLBT movement; billed as “the first non-fiction film to tell the story of the Stonewall riots by the participants.”

Toy Story 3 (June 18): Action figures Woody the Cowboy and Buzz Lightyear (again voiced by Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, respectively) resume their CG “bromance,” this time in 3-D. The series’ regulars are joined by Barbie’s boy toy Ken (Michael Keaton), as well as a new character with the unfortunate name “Mr. Pricklepants” (former James Bond, Timothy Dalton).

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (June 30): While teenaged girls are this successful book and film chronicle’s main fans, I know a few gay men smitten by its lovelorn vampire, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), and/or heroine Bella’s werewolf friend, Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner). Dakota Fanning also returns as the mind-controlling Jane, and Bryce Dallas Howard (director Ron Howard’s daughter) assumes the role of Edward’s jilted former lover, the vicious Victoria.

Love Ranch (June 30): A fictional account of Nevada’s brothel industry, starring Oscar-winners Helen Mirren (The Queen) and Joe Pesci (GoodFellas) as the purveyors of one of the state’s first such legal establishments. Problems arise when a South American boxer played by hottie Sergio Peris-Mencheta comes between them. Expect plenty of skin, both female and male.

The Kids Are All Right (July 7): This dramedy focusing on two adult children raised by a lesbian couple (Oscar nominees Julianne Moore and Annette Bening) who decide to seek out their sperm-donor father (Mark Ruffalo) was well received at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Written and directed by lesbian filmmaker Lisa Cholodenko (High Art, Laurel Canyon).

Inception (July 16): From Christopher Nolan, the writer-director of Memento and the last two, super-successful Batman movies, comes a mind-bending science fiction saga about a corporate raider who steals the dreams of business tycoons, played by Leonardo DiCaprio. The film’s great supporting cast includes Joseph Gordon-Levitt (of the gay-themed Latter Days and Mysterious Skin) and Juno star/emerging lesbian favorite Ellen Page.

Dinner for Schmucks (July 23): Cuties Steve Carell and Paul Rudd, so funny together in The 40 Year Old Virgin, co-star as an unsuspecting dork (Carell) recruited by a callous executive (Rudd) as a pawn in a mean-spirited contest. Things don’t quite go as planned, and the two end up as friends rather than adversaries. From director Jay Roach of the Meet the Parents and Austin Powers film series.

Beastly (July 30): A contemporary spin on the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast, starring Vanessa Hudgens of High School Musical fame as Beauty to Alex Pettyfer’s disfigured teenager looking for true love. Out actor and awards show host Neil Patrick Harris is also featured in the cast.

Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (July 30): Bette Midler gives voice to the villainous feline of the subtitle, who is bent on world domination. This sequel to 2001’s Cats & Dogs (which featured the voice of the recently out Sean Hayes) is likely kids’ stuff, but GLBT pet owners may find it somewhat true-to-life.

The Girl Who Played With Fire (July): The second of Stieg Larsson’s international bestsellers involving bisexual computer-hacker Lisbeth Salander (strong and sexy Noomi Rapace) comes to the big screen quickly on the heels of the hit The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. This time around, Salander and journalist Mikael Blomkvist go after the highly-placed leaders of a sex-trafficking ring.

The Extra Man (July): Described as “charming” and “howlingly funny,” this film centers on a young, aspiring writer (Paul Dano of Little Miss Sunshine and There Will Be Blood) who moves to New York City, where he befriends a failed playwright-turned-escort played by Kevin Kline. Think of it as The Great Gatsby crossed with Midnight Cowboy.

Also watch for several GLBT-themed movies that don’t have definite release dates yet: Spring Fever, Hideaway/Le Refuge and Out Late. And if these offerings aren’t enough for you, there will be GLBT movies galore screened as part of both the 9th Annual Dance Camera West and Los Angeles Film Festivals in June and, of course, the 28th annual Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, a.k.a. Outfest.

Preview by Rev. Chris Carpenter, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and the Orange County and Long Beach Blade.

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