Thursday, February 28, 2013

Reverend’s Reviews: Blu-ray Cabaret & More

Musicals, animals, murderous male prostitutes, Tom Cruise and James Bond; there’s something for everyone among new DVD and Blu-ray releases!

Cabaret 40th Anniversary Blu-ray
From Warner Home Video
Bob Fosse’s film adaptation of the powerful Kander & Ebb musical about life in Germany as the Nazis rise to power continues to infuriate devotees of the stage version due to Fosse’s major re-working of the original book and score.  On the plus side, the musical numbers that remain as well as a few new ones are impressively staged and sung by Oscar winners Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey, and Michael York is affecting as a young writer (based on author Christopher Isherwood, who wrote the Berlin Stories upon which the musical was based) coming to terms with his bisexuality.  This 1972 classic won eight Academy Awards, more than its main contender The Godfather, although the gangster drama beat Cabaret for Best Picture.
Reverend’s Rating: B+

From Zeitgeist Films
Animal lovers abound in the LGBT community, and they will be especially interested in this unusual documentary by Canadian auteur Denis Cote.  Cote spent a year getting up close and personal with the inhabitants of Quebec’s Parc Safari zoo, which include monkeys, ostriches, giraffes, lions, tigers and bears (oh my!) plus an elephant or two.  The resulting film contains no dialogue and struck me as tedious at times (and I could have done without the taxidermy demonstration), but the intimacy with and sympathy for our four-legged friends that Cote achieves can’t be denied.
Reverend’s Rating: B

Our Paradise
From Breaking Glass Pictures/QC Cinema
When older-but-still-hot hustler Vassili (Stephane Rideau, star of past gay-themed dramas Wild Reeds and Come Undone) rescues a young, gay-bashed newcomer (played by cute screen newcomer Dimitri Durdaine), love quickly blossoms.  Vassili, however, has learned to survive by robbing and killing his tricks.  To his credit, he doesn’t keep this from his new bf and Vassili’s protégé fortunately/unfortunately becomes his accomplice.  The pair ultimately set out from Paris to find their special, safe place in the world.  While such a dark storyline may not be for everyone, the film is beautifully directed by veteran Gael Morel and the performances, especially Rideau’s, are excellent.  My only gripe is the movie’s sudden, perfunctory ending.  Beatrice Dalle, who some may remember in the title role of 1986’s sexually provocative Betty Blue, has a pivotal part.
Reverend’s Rating: B

Top Gun 3D
From Paramount Home Video
Quentin Tarantino famously riffed on this 1986 Navy-set saga that made Tom Cruise a star as the gayest movie ever made.  Even though Cruise’s character, a hotshot pilot named Maverick, has a romance with a female professor played by Kelly McGillis (who later came out as a lesbian), homoerotic tension abounds between Maverick and his bronzed, often shirtless and constantly sweaty mates played by such then-up-and-comers as Val Kilmer, Tim Robbins and Rick Rossovich.  Meg Ryan also makes a pre-stardom appearance.  Digitally re-mastered and even in 3D on Blu-ray, the movie holds up well as pure, beautifully-shot melodrama with a great 80’s song score.
Reverend’s Rating: B

From 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Javier Bardem’s revenge-bent Silva may not be the gayest villain James Bond has ever had to face
(that honor would go to the creepy-smiley duo of Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint in Diamonds Are
Forever) but Silva sure comes close.  His virtual molestation of a bound Daniel Craig is
one of this film’s several standout scenes. Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes brought new
life and vitality to the 50-year old series, and this entry became the highest-grossing Bond epic
to date as well as one of the best films of 2012.  Adele’s title song is a winner too, including of the Oscar.
Have no fear: James Bond will return to continue thrilling gay and straight fans alike.
Reverend’s Rating: A-

Reviews by Rev. Chris Carpenter, resident film critic of Movie Dearest, Rage Monthly Magazine and Echo Magazine.

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