movie reviews

  • Screen Savor: Call me maybe

    “Call Me by Your Name” (Sony Pictures Classics), gay director Luca Guadagnino’s movie adaptation of Andre Aciman’s 2007 novel of the same name, with a screenplay by gay filmmaker James Ivory, couldn’t have come at a more complicated time. There’s no way to avoid the fact that the film’s central story – a sexual and romantic relationship between two young men, ages 17 and 24, is the kind of thing that keeps evangelicals up at night.

  • Screen Savor: Count to three

    In writer/director Martin McDonagh’s Golden Globe-winning, Oscar-nominated “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” (Fox Searchlight), grieving, coveralls-wearing mother Mildred (Francis McDormand) will do almost anything to find the person who abducted, raped and murdered her daughter Angela (Kathryn Newton) seven months earlier. Renting three weathered billboards, on a foggy stretch of road, that haven’t been updated since1986 becomes her latest attention-grabbing plan.

  • Screen Savor: Crazy about it

    Intentional or not, Steven Soderbergh’s psychological horror film “Unsane” (Bleecker Street), shot on an iPhone 7, comes across as an homage to Brian DePalma, complete with the casting of Amy Irving (who starred in DePalma’s “Carrie” and “The Fury”). Think about “Dressed to Kill”’s commentary on psychiatry. The way “Blow Out” manipulated perceptions and versions of the truth. The obsessive behavior in, you guessed it, “Obsession.”

  • Screen Savor: Dog is love

    Wes Anderson takes the stop-motion animation light and magic of the Oscar-nominated “Fantastic Mr. Fox” to a whole new level with his visually captivating new movie “Isle of Dogs” (Fox Searchlight/Indian Paintbrush). Set 20 years in the future in the Japanese archipelago of Megasaki City, where corrupt, wealthy, domineering and cat-loving mayor Kobayashi (voiced by Kunichi Nomura) – think Putin + Trump – plans to entirely eliminate the canine population.

  • 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: Move to this

    The best way to describe Jennifer Reeder’s multicultural lesbian rom-com “Signature Move” (Newcity) is to call it a delight. Sweet as a mango lassi but with a kick like hot salsa. From the opening shot of the street sign at the intersection of W. Devon Avenue and N. Oakley Avenue, it’s clear that we are in the section of Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood where all the East Indian and Pakistani restaurants and stores are located.

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  • Screen Savor: Not so simple Simon

    At first glance, you might not think that gay director Greg Berlanti’s 2018 gay rom-com(ing out movie) “Love, Simon” (Fox 2000) has much in common with the Oscar-nominated 2017 gay rom-dram “Call Me By Your Name”, but you’d be wrong. First of all, both films are based on novels. “Love, Simon” is based on Becky Albertalli’s 2015 Y/A novel "Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” while “Call Me By Your Name” is based on the 2007 novel by André Aciman. Additionally, both novelists are, as it turns out, straight.

  • Screen Savor: Not the greatest

    If “La La Land” was a modern tribute and love letter to vintage Hollywood movie musicals, then “The Greatest Showman” (20th Century Fox), with songs by Oscar-winning “La La Land” songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, is an unabashed and unwatchable homage to the faux musicals of Baz Luhrman. If any good comes of this fiasco, perhaps it will be a rush to bring cinematic versions of movie-worthy Broadway musicals such as “Kinky Boots”, “The Secret Garden” and “Hamilton” (and countless others) into production.