For your Pride month viewing pleasures, I’ve rounded up all the best new gay movies on Netflix streaming. I see big gay movie marathons in your future, with the release of the entire “Eating Out” series and Orange is the New Black. There’s also Alain Guiraudie’s captivating French thriller Stranger By the Lake, which follows a dangerous tryst between two fellas on the shores of a popular cruising spot. And, while it’s not particularly gay, documentary Unhung Hero deals with a subject I think most gay dudes will find particularly interesting. Check out all 16 selections below.
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Capsule reviews of the weekend’s new movie releases. Should you see it, wait for DVD, or skit it altogether? We lay it out below.
In the sequel to 2012′s “21 Jump Street,” Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) have to infiltrate a college, instead of a high school. Pretty amusing times ensue.
SEE IT NOW!
We Are The Best!: A brilliant, keenly observed Swedish film from Lukas Moodysson (Together) about a trio of 13-year-old girls who form a punk band in early-’80s Stockholm. Equal parts wry and wrenching, Moodysson’s film is a perfectly wrought time-capsule of the age in one’s life when many such improbable ideas can still be fulfilled. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%
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Having survived the long, cold winter scowl, April brings us the beginnings of renewal and rebirth, you know, all that crap. But that doesn’t mean you should drop your home film and TV binging, no sir, not on our watch. Behold some of the glory newly available to you from your Netflix streaming account.
One-sentence Breakdown: A foolishly conceited playwright arrives in Hollywood in the '40s hoping to write for the pictures. Instead he endures a series of ever more disturbing mishaps while staying at a dilapidated hotel.
What's the Rumpus? The Coen brothers much-celebrated fourth feature came about because the brothers were trying like hell to write the script for The Hudsucker Proxy and kept hitting a creative stone wall. Thus, they created Barton (John Turturro), a writer stuck in hell, trying to write a wrestling picture for a studio that is growing ever more despondent with him. The best moment to this particular ink-stained wretch? When Barton, having finally feverishly producing a script he feels is worthy of him, goes out dancing at a local USO to celebrate and announces: "I'm a writer, you monsters! I create! I create for a living! I'm a creator! I am a creator!" And then gets punched to the ground. A more perfect metaphor for the creative process I've yet to find.
One-sentence Breakdown: A well-known French fashion magazine editor has a sudden stroke and, while mentally fully functional, is physically petrified except for being able to blink one eye.
What's the Rumpus? Based on the remarkable memoir by Jean-Dominique Bauby, an editor at the French version of Elle who suffered a stroke and was completely paralyzed except for his eye, which he used (through no small bit of ingenuity by his nurse and therapists) to write the book before he died. The film, by artist Julian Schnabel is remarkably true to its source material, making frequent use of a POV camera that puts one very closely into the kind of claustrophobic world Bauby was forced to inhabit. Strong stuff and remarkably affecting.
One-sentence Breakdown: In a future where genetics fully determines the course of your life, one man attempts to game the system in order to get into the fabled space program.
What's the Rumpus? Writer/Director Andrew Niccol had a way of taking a basic idea — a genetically predetermined future, say, or in The Truman Show, a man unaware that his day-to-day experience is a completely invented TV show — and riding that notion to its logical conclusion. It sounds simplistic, but it can be surprisingly difficult to do, especially if you're not taking the standard writing cheats that many, many Hollywood films employ as standard procedure. Niccol's tale of the irrepressible Vincent (Ethan Hawke), a man so committed to his dream that he risks everything in order to achieve it, remains the director's high-water mark: an intelligent and well-planned sci-fi tale that has a surprisingly emotional core. For the romantic trivia buffs out there, it is also the production where young Hawke met the early love of his life, Uma Thurman, a marriage that eventually ended spectacularly poorly for all concerned.
One-sentence Breakdown: Two sisters with very different personalities contend with love lost and regained in 19th-century England.
What's the Rumpus? Based on one of Jane Austen's most esteemed novels, Ang Lee's 1995 film adaptation is a rich smorgasbord of delights, including brilliant turns from leads Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet (as well as a dashing turn from Mr. Alan Rickman), the sumptuous cinematography of Michael Coulter, and, of course, the gorgeous prose and narrative drive of Austen, who has become a posthumous Hollywood darling for her works. If you are a Downton Abbey acolyte you are in for a rare treat.
One-sentence Breakdown: A P.I. in post-war L.A. stumbles onto a twisty and far-reaching case that has enormous implications for both him and the entire city, which is just starting to boom.
What's the Rumpus? One of the great screenplays ever written, Robert Towne's complex masterpiece is still taught in screenwriting classes as an example of superb narrative drive and refined character work. A classic in every sense of the word, director Roman Polanski's intelligent thriller represented a pinnacle of his career, earning 11 Academy Award nominations in the process (alas, winning but just one). With an outstanding cast (Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway), a meticulously byzantine plot, and an unforgettable series of revelations, it represents some of the best work from the Hollywood studio's true golden era in the '70s.
Looking to see something good in theaters? The Philadelphia Film Society just announced its upcoming mini spring film festival. Find more details and a screening schedule here.
Feb. 25: “Out in the cold with our production designer.”
A few weeks ago we reported that M. Night Shyamalan will re-team with Bruce Willis for the locally set film Labor of Love, but before he starts on that, the Philly director has a “microfilm” to get out of the way first.
Shyamalan’s Twitter feed has been all abuzz with news about a small-budget flick he’s filming in town called Sundowning, which only has a cast and crew of 10. Slashfilm.com suggests that Bruce Willis and Denzel Washington may make an appearance in it, but that’s not confirmed.
He started tweeting about it on Feb. 14, which, if you’ll remember, was in the midst of Winter Storm Pax. Here’s what we know about it so far:
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Here we are: snowstorm No. 9 (10? 11?) and we have another snow day to contend with. To help you while away your cozy day at home, I asked Philly Mag staffers to help me come up with a list of flicks and TV shows you can stream instantly.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly — Joel Mathis
Three reasons to watch The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: 1. It just arrived on Netflix, and you never know how long you’ll get a great classic movie like this available before it disappears again. 2. It’s three hours long, so it’ll fill up most of your snow afternoon. 3. It has one of the greatest scores in all of cinema history, highlighted by a wailing theme you’ll never forget. It’s almost too much awesome for a snow day.
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QFest is getting ready to kick off its 18th edition on July 12 (through the 23rd) with 107 films this year, including 13 documentaries, 52 short films, seven world premieres, two U.S. premieres and 26 Philadelphia premieres.
The LGBT film festival opens with Elliot Loves, the story of Dominican-American Elliot Ayende at two stages of his life: as a nine-year-old who is sidekick and confidant to his struggling single mom, and as a 21-year-old looking for love in New York City. The closer is the comedic follow-up to TLA Releasing’s BearCity - BearCity2: The Proposal. In it, Kathy Najimy plays den mother to the returning cast of bears, boys and cubs, for a Bear Week bachelor party in Provincetown.
Other notable films include:
Cloudburst, which stars Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker as Stella and Dotty, a lesbian couple from Maine who embark on a Thelma and Louise-style road trip to Nova Scotia to get married after Dotty is moved into a nursing home by her daughter.
Check it out:
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