Fury: Somehow, when Brad Pitt stars in a film it takes on a larger, more-important caste. It’s a good thing that David Ayer’s thoughtful WWII picture doesn’t shy away from its own gravitas. Moody, overcast and intense, the film—which follows Pitt as the commanding officer of a tank brigade making its way through bomb-blasted Germany in the last throes of the war—more than earns its stripes. Just a warning, though: It doesn’t spare much on the bloody, gruesome carnage of men killing each other. Rotten Tomatoes Score:76%
Pride: Yet another uplifting, true story. This film is based on the mid-’80s United Mineworkers strike in England. The Mineworkers were joined in their efforts by unlikely comrades: a London-based group of gay and lesbian activists who saw an opportunity for solidarity in the oppressed, beleaguered miners. United by an opposition to ultra-conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the two parties eventually learn to stand together and support one another in their respective struggles. Pride stars Bill Nighy, Dominic West, and the redoubtable Imelda Staunton. Rotten Tomatoes Score:92%
Gone Girl:My shaky endorsement for David Fincher’s hotly anticipated new thriller—based on the bestseller by Gillian Flynn—comes with a veritable wheelbarrow full of caveats. As good as Fincher is as a director and stylist—and visually, dude is in pretty rarefied air in my book—he can’t do much with essentially silly material like this. Gone Girl has an odd tonal register. Half the film plays as a twisty thriller and the rest pokes fun at itself, soaking in its plot-induced miasma. Those expecting something as all-out creepy (and enthralling) as Fincher’s The Game are in for more than a little disappointment. The result is functional, but generally pretty idiotic, and Ben Affleck really does seem like a weirdo. Rotten Tomatoes Score:87%
Wallace Shawn and Lisa Joyce co-star in Jonathan Demme’s “A Master Builder.”
This film adaptation of the Henrik Ibsen play by the same name has only had a teensy theatrical release, despite a serious list of heavy-hitters involved. This version started as a play translated by Wallace Shawn and produced by André Gregory, creative partners best known for the film My Dinner With André. Director Jonathan Demme has taken the play, which the New York Times said Gregory spent 14 years developing, and put it onto film, with Shawn playing the title character–a dying starchitect. Architectural Record characterizes him this way:
The Master Builder, once designed grand churches with impossible towers; now, after personal tragedy and wracked with existential guilt, he’s focused on “homes for people to live in.” A good elevator pitch, but one that ignores his rampaging ego and reptilian machinations that ruined his mentor, Brovik; holds down Brovik’s son, Ragnar; toys with Ragnar’s fiancé (and Solness’ bookkeeper), Kaia; and keeps his wife, Aline, in an emotional prison. Only when the young, mysterious (and possibly divine) Hilde appears at the Solness home does Halvard discover something akin to empathy and humanity.
Ah, yes. The old genius transformed by youth and beauty. A trope in Ibsen’s time and certainly one now.
The biggie on this month’s list of new films to appear on Netflix Instant is the much-much-recommended Bridegroom, an emotional documentary that tells the story of a gay couple whose time together was cut short by tragedy. It’s an eye-opening must-watch for anyone — gay or straight — but it will speak loudest to those LGBTers dealing with intolerant families. (Quick tip: View with a full box of Kleenex.)
Another tear-jerker, Any Day Now, starring the marvelous Alan Cumming, also made its way from DVD to instant streaming. For those who don’t mind waiting, I’ve also included a list of DVD-only rentals Behind the Candelabra and Petunia, and some that should be coming down the pipe any day now.Check below for more info and trailers.
Set in the 1970s, Any Day Now is the story of a drag queen who sets out to adopt a child who’s been neglected in his apartment building. The film is based on true events – and it’s also been wooing audiences at film festivals around the country to thanks to Alan Cumming’s compelling, multi-layered performance. The film opens in theaters this week.
Chris Colfer makes his screenwriting debut with a new film in which he also stars called Struck By Lightening. Fans of Glee will likely appreciate Colfer’s funny new twist on the weird world of high school angst. And yep, that’s Christina Hendricks from Mad Men.
The story of Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarity – a.k.a. Jack Kerouac and Neal Casssady – will be hitting theatres by the end of this year. We wanted to give you a taste of what we can expect from the new film, which stars Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart and many others.
The Walter Salles film tells the story of two young men traveling across country. And while we know from the letters, journals and stories that both Cassady and Kerouac shared a homoerotic brotherhood of sorts, we also catch a few glimpses of gay icons like William S. Burroughs (played by Viggo Mortensen) and the underbelly of sexual liberation long before it was a household name. We can’t wait for this one.