Nothing But the Fest

By PW Staff
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Jul. 7, 2011

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Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same
The film tries to be pessimistic and optimistic, humorous and serious, ironic and earnest, a gay film straight audiences could appreciate. In other words: a surefire cinematic disaster. But with an ear for dialogue as sharp as her aliens looking for love in all the wrong spaces, director Madeleine Olneck hits the mark with this send-up of lesbian dating culture (alienation, get it?) packaged as a B-movie spoof. The premise: with feelings of love threatening to destroy the eco-system, space alien lesbians are sent to Earth to have their hearts broken. From there the film follows the trajectory of alien Zoinx, who strikes up a flirtation with Jane, a borderline desperate card shop employee played to the perfect note by the adorable Lisa Haas. While on Earth, the couple’s trailed by “men in black.” Luckily, one of said men is played by Dennis Davis, an actor with Steve Martin-level comic timing that needs to star in his own film, stat. This film should cross the line that segregates most “gay movies” from the rest, because it’s worlds, nay, galaxies are superior to the vast nothingness of most mainstream films. (Tara Murtha)
Grade: A   Thurs., July 7, 7:15pm, Ritz East; Mon., July 11, 5pm, Ritz at the Bourse

 


Birthright
Screening as part of Danger After Dark—the sidebar of genre films programmed by the great Travis Crawford—Naoki Hashimoto’s chilly psychodrama charts the kidnapping of a cute teenage girl by a mysterious 20-something.The twist: the kidnapper never speaks or intervenes, content to simply wait for her victim to slowly die. Hashimoto proves as committed as the protagonist: the pacing is glacial and patient, the lighting a couple watts shy of pitch black. If this sounds like the Cinema of Endurance, then don’t worry: both filmmaker and antihero eventually cry uncle, albeit in a way that avoids smacking of a cop-out. (Matt Prigge)
Grade: B   Tues., July 12, 9:30pm, Ritz at the Bourse

 


Blackmail Boys

After falling for Midwestern “activist” Aaron (Taylor Reed), hustler Sam (Nathan Adloff) discovers one of his tricks is a Ted Haggard-type (“Mumblecore” auteur Joe Swanberg) who campaigns against gay rights even as he gets hand jobs while high. Swanberg (Hannah Takes the Stairs, etc.) inspired the film’s loose structure, inelegant camerawork and hardcore sex, but filmmakers Bernard and Richard Shumanski possess none of his wit or insight, leading to a ludicrous blackmail plot that pusses out as soon as it begins. Only half of Swanberg’s own film experiments work; imagine how his imitators fare. (M.P.)
Grade: C-   Fri., July 8, 7:15pm, Ritz at the Bourse. Sun., July 10, 9:30pm, Ritz East

My Mama Said Yo Mama’s A Dyke

Wade is embarrassed to come home every day to find his mother screaming at her lesbian lover so loud the whole neighborhood can hear. Aaron and Ashley are furious that their mother is divorcing their father, a church pastor, for her new lover, Miss Cleo. Chuck is horrified when he waits on a table where his mom is making out with his ex-girlfriend, Tyra. What are these Chicago teens to do? Scrounge up $500 and have their mothers drugged, kidnapped and hauled to Camp Dyke-No-More to be “de-lesbianized,” of course. There’s plenty of farce in this low-budget urban mockumentary, especially at Camp Dyke-No-More when the moms undergo “gay exorcism therapy” and take classes like “How to Bond With a Female Without Getting Wet and Wanting to Fuck Her.” But at its heart it’s a drama about how some children truly struggle with having gay parents. In its more feel-good moments the film shows how LGBT parents and their children can come to mutual understanding. But the film doesn’t shy away from depicting the very real pain of gay parents who are forced to sacrifice their own sexual identity for the sake of keeping their families intact. (Michael Alan Goldberg)
Grade: B-   Mon., July 11, 7:15pm, Ritz at the Bourse; Tues., July 12, 5:15pm, Ritz at the Bourse

 


I Am
Not to be confused with Tom Shadyac’s fuzzy New Age doc (as if that was a problem), Sonali Gulati’s confessional uses its maker’s own failure to come out to her deceased mother as an excuse to examine the rise of LBGT rights in India. Shuffling through 21 families, Gulati finds a society unprepared for alternative lifestyles, in part because sex ranks low on its priorities. Still, her findings are mostly optimistic: Traditional parents largely find themselves hesitantly, some even enthusiastically, embracing their gay spawn, ranging from outspoken teens to an out member of the royal family. Gulati’s focus is more wide than deep, but for a film so reliant on dialogue she finds a hypnotic visual style that’s striking. (M.P.)
Grade: B   Sat., July 9, 12:30pm, Ritz at the Bourse


Three

No stranger to pumping up asinine material, Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run, Perfume) tells of a couple (Sophie Rois and Sebastian Schipper) who, unaware, each begin relations with a bisexual metrosexual Devid Striesow—this, in a city the size of Berlin. No matter, because Tykwer overloads his inane farce with shiny distractions, from the painfully neurotic thoughts of his characters to a fiendish sense of humor to his typically exacting direction, which assures this is the best looking film about urban professionals since Manhattan. Three builds to a simple paean to progressive lifestyles, but that’s all that’s simple about it. (M.P.)
Grade: B-   Fri., July 8, 5pm, Ritz East. Sun., July 10, 7:15pm, Ritz at the Bourse

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