Screen Savor

  • Screen Savor: Doing Baldwin proud

    Oscar-winning filmmaker Barry Jenkins has the golden touch, especially when it comes to film adaptations of literary works. “Moonlight”, Jenkins’ 2016 film adaptations of gay writer Tarell McCraney’s “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue”, earned both men an Academy Award. 
  • Screen Savor: Eighties Revival

    Once in a while you see a movie at an LGBTQ film festival and you know that it is destined for greatness. Such is the case with Yen Tan’s “1985” (Wolfe), now available on DVD and VOD.
  • Screen Savor: Fade to black

    First things first. Fatih Akin’s “In The Fade” (WB/Magnolia) is not the best foreign language film of 2017. “BPM (Beats Per Minute)”, about the birth of ACT UP in Paris in the late 1980s, deserves that honor. Nevertheless, “In The Fade,” which is racking up awards, including a Golden Globe and a Critics Choice, award, among others, certainly qualifies as one of the best foreign films of the year.

  • Screen Savor: Fathers’ days

    In case you missed it, there appears to be a new movie trend in the works this spring. Single dads raising teenagers. First there was gay filmmaker Andrew Haigh’s “Lean On Pete”. The forthcoming “Eighth Grade” features a single dad and his daughter. Presently, we have Brett Haley’s “Hearts Beat Loud” (Gunpowder & Sky).

  • Screen Savor: Feat of Strength

    Stronger (Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions) is the second big-screen Hollywood dramatization of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, following 2016’s Patriots Day. Like that film, Stronger doesn’t shy away from the gruesome details, while also providing a relatable portrait of what it means to be Boston Strong.

  • Screen Savor: Florida rules

    It’s not an exaggeration (or an insult) to say that filmmaker Sean Baker has been obsessed with sex in his last few films. “Starlet,” from 2012, focused on the unlikely friendship between two women, one of whom was a young porn actress, while 2015’s “Tangerine,” shot entirely on an iPhone, centers on a transgender hooker.

  • Screen Savor: Getting read

    Have you ever started reading a book and within the first few pages you figured out everything you need to know about the characters as well as how it will end? That’s a fair description of the predictable and mildly amusing “Book Club” (Paramount). It’s the kind of “women of a certain age” flick that Nancy Meyers writes and direct (“It’s Complicated” and “Something’s Gotta Give”) with some degree of success. In this case, writer and co-director Bill Holderman is out of his league.

  • Screen Savor: Getting Super High on Life

    The world has changed quite a bit since John Hughes’ `80s portrayals of adolescent angst in movies such as “Sixteen Candles” and “The Breakfast Club”. In the interim, we’ve seen the best and worst of that challenging phase of life represented in films such as “Thirteen”, “School of Rock”, “Heavenly Creatures”, “Boyhood”, “Lady Bird” and even Disney/Pixar’s “Inside Out”.

  • Screen Savor: Good golly, Miss Molly

    There’s no denying that Aaron Sorkin is one of the most celebrated and respected writers in Hollywood. His original and adapted screenplays, for films such as “A Few Good Men”, “The American President”, “The Social Network”, “Moneyball” and “Steve Jobs”, are the stuff of legends. Then there are the TV shows he created, including “The West Wing” and “Newroom”, which are considered to be classics.

  • Screen Savor: Heart beats

    One thing you can say about the French, they know how to make a movie about AIDS. Whereas Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau’s 2016 film “Paris 05:59: Théo & Hugo”presented a current look at French gay men dealing with the AIDS epidemic, the informative and devastating “BPM (Beats Per Minute)” (The Orchard), directed and co-written by Robin Campillo (Eastern Boys), takes us back to the early 1990s, and the rise of AIDS activism in Paris.

  • Screen Savor: Holidays Are Hell

    Just when you thought you’d seen everything in terms of Thanksgiving holiday movies, along comes the dark comedy “The Oath” (Roadside Attractions), actor Ike Barinholtz’s feature length debut as writer and director. While it may not be on par with Jodie Foster’s “Home for The Holidays”, it does have its charms and a timely message.

  • Screen Savor: Ice queens

    Each year, there are more and more movies depicting the lives of real people and historical events and 2017 was no exception. From World War II (“Dunkirk” and “The Darkest Hour”) to the 1970s (“The Post”, “All the Money in the World” and “Battle of the Sexes”) and the near-present day (“Molly’s Game”), there was no shortage of material to be dramatized onscreen.

  • Screen Savor: Instant Laughs And Tears

    Some movies, more than others, need to be experienced in a full movie theater. It makes the shared emotions, laughing and crying, take on more significance. “Instant Family”(Paramount) is one such movie.

  • Screen Savor: It Takes the Cake

    As feature film debuts go, writer/director Ophir Raul Grazier’s “The Cakemaker”(Laila Films) ranks among the better ones. The bakery café run by gay baker Tomas (Tim Kalkhof) is always the first stop that Israeli businessman Oren (Roy Miller) makes when he’s in Berlin every month. Oren loves Tomas’ pastries and makes sure to bring a box of his cookies home to his wife Anat (Sarah Adler) and son Itai (Tamir Ben Yehuda).

  • Screen Savor: Lean times

    Since his 2011 breakout movie “Weekend”, gay filmmaker Andrew Haigh has never ceased to surprise us. His acclaimed, albeit short-lived, HBO series “Looking” led to a 2016 movie of the same name that perfectly (and heartbreakingly) tied up any loose ends. In between the “Looking” series and movie, Haigh’s film “45 Years” was released to positive critical reception and earned lead actress Charlotte Rampling an Oscar nomination.

  • Screen Savor: Loco for Coco

    If it struck you as strange that Disney would make not one, but two, animated features set in the Pacific region, then you are probably not alone. While both 2002’s “Lilo & Stitch” and 2016’s “Moana” were Academy Award-nominees, neither took home the trophy. Disney has had a decent run in the 2010s, taking home Oscars in every year but 2011, when Paramount’s “Rango” won.

  • Screen Savor: Love Trumps Hate

    Movie adaptations of Y/A (young adult) novels have been growing in popularity since the early 1980s when books by S.E. Hinton, including “The Outsiders”, “That Was Then…This Is Now” and “Rumblefish”, hit the big screen. In later years, the “Harry Potter” and “Twilight” cinematic franchises took the genre to another level. For a while there, film adaptations of dystopian Y/A fiction, including “The Hunger Games” and “Divergent” series were dominating. But the recent dismal failures of “The Darkest Minds” and “A Wrinkle in Time” indicate that that trend has (thankfully) come to an end. Instead, the dystopian future has been traded for the bleak present.

  • Screen Savor: Mamma Mia — Go or No

    Easily one of the all-time worst movie musicals, 2008s “Mamma Mia!” was flawed on so many levels, including the horrible casting, it’s difficult to know where to begin.

  • Screen Savor: Marshall law

    You have to give Reginald Hudlin, director of "Marshall" (Open Road), credit. The man responsible for such non-classics as House Party (starring Kid’n Play), Boomerang (starring Eddie Murphy) and The Ladies Man (starring Tim Meadows, based on his SNL character), wanted to make a different kind of movie than people were used to seeing from him.

  • Screen Savor: McQueen of the Universe

    One of the many things for which the year 2018 will be remembered is the number of (mostly) good documentaries playing in theaters. “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” and “RBG” are sure to be remembered as “best of” lists are compiled at year’s end. Both films are also shoo-ins for Oscar nominations. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the flawed “Whitney”.