• 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: 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: Long Shot in The Dark W/Trailer

    The CV of Jonathan Levine, director of the goofy Seth Rogen/Charlie Theron rom-com “Long Shot” (Lionsgate), speaks for itself, going a long way to explain the casting of Rogen in a romantic lead role. With “Long Shot”, Rogen has been directed by Levine in three movies, including the exceptional buddy dramedy “50/50” (alongside Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and the regrettable holiday flick “The Night Before” (with Gordon-Levitt, again). Obviously, the director and actor have a solid working relationship, and “Long Shot” lands, clumsily, between their two prior collaborations.

  • 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: Murder most foul

    The Kenneth Branagh-directed remake of “Murder on the Orient Express” (20th Century Fox), in which Branagh also stars as Agatha Christie’s Belgian master detective Hercule Poirot, inspires its own set of mysteries. For example, why would anyone remake a perfectly good movie? The 1974 version, directed by Sidney Lumet, was considered to be one of the best movies of that year. Ingrid Bergman won her third career Oscar for her portrayal of missionary Greta.

  • Screen Savor: No Laughing Matter

    Move over, Pennywise. The scariest movie clown of all time has arrived in theaters (and IMAX) and his name is Joker. Actually, his name is Arthur Fleck, and he’s played with frightening precision by methodical method actor Joaquin Phoenix in the ultimate origin story, “Joker” (WB/DC Universe). A bit on the white pancake make-up nose, “Joker” is as serious as a heart attack, which is both good and bad for comic book geeks and novices alike.

  • 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.

  • Screen Savor: Phantom menace

    There’s more than one intricate stitch sewn into the fabric of writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson’s Oscar-nominated “Phantom Thread” (Focus). As the final film of retiring actor Daniel Day-Lewis, it’s not only a high point for the performer who already has three Oscars to his name, but also for the filmmaker and supporting cast members.

  • Screen Savor: Rough Diamond W/Trailer

    You are going to hate Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler), the uncouth, loud-mouthed, unfaithful husband, bad father, lying, cheating, deeply in debt New York jeweler at the rapidly beating heart of the Safdie Brothers’ “Uncut Gems” (A24). But you only have to live with him for the length of the two hour and fifteen-minute movie.

  • Screen Savor: San Francisco Chronicled

    San Francisco’s transformation from hippie enclave to gay mecca to overpriced techie town has been well-chronicled in recent years. The subject is chiefly front and center this summer. It’s viewed through an LGBTQ lens in the new Netflix version of the Armistead Maupin series  “Tales of the City” and through the eyes of the African-American community in the exceptional indie theatrical release “The Last Black Man In San Francisco” (A24).

  • Screen Savor: Slave to Fashion

    The late, gay, groundbreaking fashion designer Halston (born Roy Halston Frowick) is such a fascinating subject that two separate filmmakers have made documentaries about him in this decade. In my 2012 review of Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston, I said, “If you can overlook writer/director Whitney Sudler-Smith’s unnecessary and self-indulgent intrusiveness, his doc…is informative, enjoyable and respectful of its topic.”

  • Screen Savor: The Beirut of the problem

    Ongoing and recent events in Syria are a daily reminder of the fact that the Middle East has been in turmoil for generations. Hopes for peace in the region remain in doubt.

  • Screen Savor: The big O

    Opera begins with the letter O. Orgasm also begins with the letter O. After watching the documentary “Maria by Callas” (Sony Pictures Classics), it’s easy to imagine that many opera fans will find themselves in an orgasmic state. 

  • Screen Savor: The Hassle W/Trailer

    “The Hustle”(MGM/United Artists), a painfully unfunny wreck of a comedy that is a remake of 1964’s “Bedtime Story” and 1988’s “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” with a bit of “Taming of the Shrew” tossed in, raises more questions than it answers.

  • Screen Savor: The Loving Kind

    Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga star in Loving

    Those familiar with the fight for marriage equality know that it is not a new one. Almost 50 years before the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, a mixed-race couple living in rural Virginia made history when their case, Loving v. Virginia, challenged the Commonwealth’s Racial Integrity Act and, with the aid of the American Civil Liberties Union, they triumphed.

  • Screen Savor: The notorious RBG

    As a subject of entertainment, the US Supreme Court has made its way into novels, TV series and movies. With Julie Cohen and Betsy West’s informative Ruth Bader Ginsburg doc, “RBG” (Magnolia), a Supreme Court Justice has become the central focus.

  • Screen Savor: Toying With Our Emotions W/Trailer

    Consider this, it’s been almost 25 years since the first Disney/Pixar “Toy Story” movie crossed our radar. Twenty years since “Toy Story 2” premiered and nine years since the Oscar-winning “Toy Story 3” played in theaters.
  • Screen Savor: Viva the diva en Español

    Anyone who has ever heard the late Spanish-language singer Chavela Vargas, who died at 93 in 2012, knows there’s more going on than meets the eye, or the ear, for that matter. With their respectful and revealing doc “Chavela” (Music Box Films), co-directors Catherine Gund and Dayesha Kyi give the true story of the ranchera diva a long overdue telling. The film seamlessly combines extensive Vargas interview footage from 1991 with vintage performance footage, as well as reverent interviews with gay filmmaking legend Pedro Almodovar, Vargas’ former manager Mariana Gyalui, singers Eugenia Leon, Miguel Bosé and Tania Libertad, cabaret owners Jesusa Rodriguez and Liliana Felipe, composer Marcela Rodriguez, fashion designer Elena Benarroch, photographer Tlany Ortega, former senator Patria Jimenez, and Jose Alfredo Jimenez Jr, son of composer Jose Alfredo,  as well as two of Vargas’ ex-lovers, lesbian author Betty Carol Sellen and human rights lawyer Alicia Perez Duarte, among others.

  • Screen Savor: When The It Hits The Fan W/Trailer

    Prolific author Stephen King doesn’t seem to have much luck when it comes to sequels to movies based on his books. See (or better yet, don’t) The Rage: Carrie 2Pet Sematary II and the Children of the Corn series. Perhaps his fortunes will change with Doctor Sleep, the forthcoming movie sequel to The Shining.

  • Screen Savor: Wrinkled beyond recognition

    Opening in theaters mere days after Disney won its umpteenth Best Animated Feature Oscar (for “Coco”), Ava DuVernay’s catastrophically boring, abysmal and embarrassing film adaptation of Madeline L’Engle’s beloved Y/A novel “A Wrinkle in Time” (Disney) is not the studio’s first attempt at bringing the story to the screen. A mostly-ignored version came and went in 2003. Perhaps someone should have taken that as a sign that L’Engle’s tale of good triumphing over evil might not be meant for a cinematic interpretation. Instead, “A Wrinkle in Time” joins such costly Disney duds as “John Carter,” “Tomorrowland,” “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” and “The Lone Ranger” as one of the worst live-action movies ever released by the studio. At least it’s not a musical (see “Newsies,” or better yet, don’t).