Never mind the tea and the yoga: ‘Father of the Bride’ remains comfortably conservative

Forget the sops to liberal audiences: every version of Father of the Bride gleams with a confident conservatism. Vincente Minnelli’s beloved 1950 original, saved by Spencer Tracy’s wryness and the luminosity of Elizabeth Taylor, unfolds like a ponderous dinner party with sherry to start, lamb course with mint jelly and potatoes, brandy afterwards. The yuks-a-minuteContinue reading “Never mind the tea and the yoga: ‘Father of the Bride’ remains comfortably conservative”

‘Official Competition’ a decent sendup of actorly vanity

Moviemakers love movies about movies because it reassures the public that they don’t mind taking the piss out of themselves. Sherlock Jr., Sunset Boulevard, Day For Night, Living in Oblivion — these films revel in the veniality of stars and the arrogance of directors. Official Competition would like to join their company. It doesn’t. StarringContinue reading “‘Official Competition’ a decent sendup of actorly vanity”

‘Fire Island’ as likable and trivial as the material on which it comments

Functional, blessed with a good beat, and ephemeral, Fire Island is the equivalent of a white label remix blasted at a circuit party. Director Andrew Ahn and screenwriter-star Joel Kim Booster may embrace the descriptions. This loose adaptation of Pride and Prejudice rewrites Jane Austen’s beloved novel into a story about a group of gayContinue reading “‘Fire Island’ as likable and trivial as the material on which it comments”

‘Crimes of the Future’ imagines a techno-queer landscape much like our own

Writing his first original script since eXistenZ (1999), David Cronenberg returns to his obsessions: does the human body exist to be blemished? Is it sex when the penetrated holes change? Are we still human when our bodies metamorphose beyond recognition?

Bold, sensual ‘Benediction’ works as a history of gay Brit wit

How can they use such names and be not humble? I have sat silent; angry at what they uttered. The dead bequeathed them life; the dead have said What these can only memorize and mumble. No working director’s filmography depends on queer yearning and exquisite self-disgust like Terence Davies, and should you find another one,Continue reading “Bold, sensual ‘Benediction’ works as a history of gay Brit wit”

Something of a paradox: On Tom Cruise

With Top Gun: Maverick‘s canny exploitation of nostalgia for a pre-COVID world resulting in impressive if expected revenues, Robert Farley examines Tom Cruise’s willingness to look ridiculous as his best talent, seen best in movies like Eyes Wide Shut where better actors like Sydney Pollack take advantage of the space he leaves them. Farley: TheseContinue reading “Something of a paradox: On Tom Cruise”

Well-acted ‘Montana Story’ investigates ancient hurts

This yarn about thwarted love and open hate — they are as ever synonymous — won me over when in its first thirty minutes it upended decades of clichés about scientists. Civil engineer Cal (Owen Teague), home in this coldest and cruelest of states to watch the slow death of his bedridden father, distracts himselfContinue reading “Well-acted ‘Montana Story’ investigates ancient hurts”

Ray Liotta — RIP

A obit referred to him as ruggedly handsome as if they had never seen photos of feral rats. That bland parapluie participle “striking” is a better fit. Blessed with piercing blue eyes, a jaw flaunted like a knife in a street brawl, and the sort of nicotine-stained voice that earned him Chantix sponsorships a fewContinue reading “Ray Liotta — RIP”

Pleasure is worth dying for: ‘Happening’

Our political culture — nationally and globally — is so fucked that I can imagine Happening moving an anti-abortion audience. Destroying them maybe. Set in the early 1960s when le nouvelle vague of Godard and Truffaut did not generate a corresponding liberalization of France’s brutal abortion regime, Happening follows Anne (Anamaria Vartolomei), a literature studentContinue reading “Pleasure is worth dying for: ‘Happening’”

Stories for boys: ‘The Northman’

To watch a Robert Eggers film is to toss verbs like “interrogate” like croutons in a salad, as in, “Eggers’ films interrogate masculinity,” but it’s the audience that feels interrogated, if not quite tortured. Released three years after The Lighthouse, which turned into a surprise cult hit during lockdown (more than a couple students haveContinue reading “Stories for boys: ‘The Northman’”