(Mirror) A trip to the local cineplex can provide a welcome diversion from hectic holiday preparations and dreary winter afternoons.
Here are some of our favorite films from the LGBT festival circuit and commercial release worth checking out. Consult local listings for theaters and show times and don’t forget on demand video services, also.
‘Boy Erased,’ ‘Mapplethorpe,’ and ‘Transmilitary’ are three must see LGBT films this season
“A Star is Born”
Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper star in the latest remake of this classic show business story about an up-and-coming singer and the fading star who guides her career. Lady Gaga raises the bar set by both Judy Garland and, more recently, Barbra Streisand. Cooper makes his directorial debut.
Mirror: If you haven’t already seen this film, you should be forced to surrender your gay card! Fortunately, “A Star is Born” is a compelling film accented with a tuneful soundtrack and will be in theaters for several weeks to come. Don’t wait for video or on demand.
“Anna and the Apocalypse”
A zombie apocalypse threatens the sleepy town of Little Haven—at Christmas—forcing Anna (Ella Hunt) and her friends to fight, slash and sing their way to survival, facing the undead in a desperate race to reach their loved ones.
Mirror: What can you say about a zombie apocalypse Christmas musical with a lesbian character? If the stress of the holidays gets you down, this film has all the elements for a fun holiday diversion at the local Cineplex.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” is the biographical film about the British rock band Queen, focusing on flamboyant, bisexual lead singer Freddie Mercury's life leading up to Queen's Live Aid performance at Wembley Stadium in 1985. The film, which stars Emmy Award-sinner Rami Malek as Mercury, gets its title from the iconic 1975 Queen song of the same name.
Mirror: While Bryan Singer is credited with direction (he disappeared suddenly during filming), this film is no superhero action flick, but a surprisingly conventional and formulaic biopic. That said, the concert performances are riveting and the history important.
“Boy Erased” tells the story of Jared (Lucas Hedges), the teenaged son of a Baptist pastor in a small town, who is outed to his parents (Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe). Jared is faced with an ultimatum to attend gay conversion therapy or be permanently exiled and shunned by his family.
Mirror: This film, based on Garrard Conley’s 2016 memoir, offers a searing reminder that many of our brothers and sisters still face abhorrent treatment in our own country by the “Christian Taliban.” After a run on the festival circuit, the film is now in wide release.
Perhaps the most controversial photographer in American history, Robert Mapplethorpe celebrated a range of subjects—from flowers to S&M—in his striking images. He electrified the contemporary art world and immortalized a generation ravaged by AIDS. Matt Smith (“The Crown,” “Doctor Who”) stars.
Mirror: Matt Smith is arguably one of the finest dramatic actors on screens today and he once again completely assumes his role, this time the gay photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. There have been documentaries, but it’s fascinating to see Mapplethorpe’s life portrayed in a biopic.
“Mary, Queen of Scots”
Saorise Ronan stars as the charismatic and ambitious queen of Scotland and Margot Robbie portrays Elizabeth, the competitive cousin who would imprison her in the Tower of London and eventually order her execution. Beau Wilimon (“House of Cards”) wrote this award season contender.
Mirror: We love period pieces, expecially films that feature sumptuous costumes. Even without powerful performances, Academy Award-winner Alexandra Byrne’s costumes make this movie a must see this winter.
In this period drama, Tom (Tennessee) Williams (Jacob Loeb), an aspiring writer in his 20s, lives with a negligent father. He attempts to maintain peace in the family while also dealing with his depressed and anti-social sister. Struggling against the societal pressures and expectations of him, Tennessee is determined to find his voice as a playwright.
Mirror: James Franco is a brilliant writer, director and actor, but so often his work seems either flighty or overly conceptual. Yes, we’re talking about “The Disaster Artist” and his ill-conceived dramatic documentary “Interior. Leather Bar.” This film is different.
Studio 54 was the epicenter of ‘70s hedonism—a place that redefined what a nightclub could be, but also the symbol of an entire era. Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell came out of nowhere to preside over a new kind of New York society. With unprecedented access to Schrager, director Matt Tyrnauer tells the whole unvarnished story for the first time.
Mirror: While the whole story is fascinating and the tone of the documentary is nostalgic, the viewer is unavoidably reminded of Mike Myers’ uncanny portrayal of Rubell in the wistful 1998 feature “54.”
The new documentary “Transmilitary” chronicles the lives of four young trans patriots defending their country’s freedom while fighting for their own. They put their careers on the line by coming out as transgender to top brass officials in the Pentagon in hopes of attaining the equal right to serve.
Mirror: This powerful documentary about four determined men willing to die for their country premiered recently on Logo and is available on demand. Unfortunately, the struggle to serve with dignity will continue, at least for the next two years.
This story was published in the November issue of SFGN's high glossy magazine, The Mirror – on stands now. Click here to see the online PDF.
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