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Tuesday 11 April 2017

Flicks to watch out for

Posted in: Movies
By staff - 29th June 2013

The New Zealand International Film Festival is bringing the much-hyped Behind the Candelabra to New Zealand theatres, as well as four other ‘gay interest’ films, including a Pedro Almodóvar gay mock plane disaster romp!

Behind the Candelabra


“Too much of a good thing is wonderful.” — Liberace

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Year: 2013
Country: USA
Running time: 118 mins

With: Michael Douglas (Liberace), Matt Damon (Scott Thorson), Dan Aykroyd (Seymour Heller), Scott Bakula (Bob Black), Rob Lowe (Dr Jack Startz), Tom Papa (Ray Arnett), Paul Reiser (Scott’s attorney), Bruce Ramsay (Carlucci), Nicky Katt (Mr Y), Cheyenne Jackson (Billy Leatherwood), Debbie Reynolds (Frances Liberace), Mike O’Malley (Tracy Schnelker)

Festivals: Cannes (In Competition) 2013

Michael Douglas becomes a glittering colossus of kitsch as Liberace, the most flamboyantly gay, closeted entertainer in the world, while Matt Damon is achingly right as the hunk, 40 years his junior, who became his lover and companion in the late 70s. The film was reputedly turned down by countless movie executives before being funded by HBO for TV, but Steven Soderbergh clearly intended it to be seen on a giant screen. We are delighted to oblige.

“As fabulous as it should be and not a jot more or less, Behind the Candelabra is a showbiz biopic about, in no particular order, gender, sex, power, professionalism, performance, denial, disavowal, spectatorship, and the closet. Adapted from Scott Thorson’s tell-all book about his affair with Liberace… the movie marries the stringent style and purposeful intelligence of its director/cinematographer/editor with the world of a performer defined by his excess. The result is irresistibly entertaining.” — Amy Taubin, Film Comment

“Behind the Candelabra… earns its place in the Cannes competition roster not just because it’s smart and kitschy and fun and dark, or because it happens to be Steven Soderbergh’s official ‘last’ film before his retirement. It earns its place because the film is an artfully made and creepily moving love story… There’s no denying that Behind the Candelabra emerges from the tabloid-gossip school of celebrity biopic… It’s a voyeur’s delight. But it’s also a disarmingly sincere tribute to Liberace’s high-camp theatrical genius, and to the fact that flawed love is still love.” — Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

I’m So Excited (Los amantes pasajeros)


“Camp, kitsch and deliciously entertaining, cult Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar heads back to his wilder comedy roots.” — Mark Adams, Screendaily

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Year: 2013
Country: Spain
Running time: 90 mins
In Spanish with English subtitles

With: Antonio de la Torre (Álex Acero), Hugo Silva (Benito Morón), Miguel Ángel Silvestre (Novio), Javier Cámara (Joserra), Carlos Areces (Fajas), Raúl Arévalo (Ulloa), Cecilia Roth (Norma Boss), Paz Vega (Alba), Antonio Banderas (León), Penélope Cruz (Jessica)

After a string of elegantly elaborated art-house hits exploring the laws of desire, Pedro Almodóvar regresses gleefully in I’m So Excited, his mock airplane disaster movie. Aerophobics can relax: the worst calamity that might befall anyone on board this flight is that they leave it without having shed their every last sexual inhibition. Satirising Spain’s dire economic situation, Almodóvar has his crippled plane circling the country in search of an airport that isn’t bankrupt and can handle the emergency landing. The world’s three campest airline stewards have drugged economy class into an unconscious stupor, which frees them up to entertain the stellar passengers in business, lip-sync to The Pointer Sisters, and, er, service the studly pair on the flight deck.

“A hugely entertaining, feelgood celebration of human sexuality that unfolds as a cathartic experience for characters, audiences and director alike.” — Jonathan Holland, Variety

Stranger by the Lake (L’inconnu du lac)


“Absorbing and intelligent… this improbable cocktail makes for entrancing viewing.” — Boyd van Hoeij, Variety

Director: Alain Guiraudie
Year: 2013
Country: France
Running time: 97 mins
In French with English subtitles

With: Pierre Deladonchamps (Franck), Christophe Paou (Michel), Patrick D’Assumçao (Henri), Jérôme Chappatte (Inspector Damroder), Mathieu Vervisch (Eric), Gilbert Traina (Tuesday night man), Emmanuel Daumas (Philippe), Sébastian Badachaoui (Eric’s boyfriend)

Festivals: Cannes (Un Certain Regard) 2013
Best Director (Un Certain Regard), Cannes Film Festival 2013

A sensation at Cannes, and anywhere else it plays we’d imagine, Alain Guiraudie’s film is a seductive blend of beauty, eroticism and suspense in which multifarious desires are played out on a secluded, idyllic gay beach – and adjacent forest. A fresh, unclassifiable genre mix of sly humour, hardcore guy action, psychological thriller and murder mystery, it’s a big screen treat highly unlikely to be playing at any multiplex near you. Guiraudie conjures a luminous, liminal realm, disconnected from any other social reality, where the id can run wild. As our fresh young hero is aware, different visitors there seek different degrees of disconnection, but a new infatuation takes him swimming into dangerous waters indeed.

“Transgressive and transcendent… Our lead is the beautiful, swimmer’s-bod buff Franck, who struts around with genial confidence… Though he strikes up an easy friendship with the lonely, obese Henri, Franck’s eye and libido are more tickled by the 70s porn mustache-sporting Michel (Christophe Paou). The only potential problem? One evening, Franck witnesses Michel drowning one of his conquests, which he discovers does little to negate his attraction…

Go in aware that much of the sex is unsimulated, then revel in the ways Guiraudie uses his rigorous perspective, in addition to an always gorgeously-composed widescreen frame, to normalize behavior that is anathema in polite society… But also go in knowing that there are very real, very potent emotions underlying every action, be it an explicit sex act, a lingering embrace, or a horrible realization that meting out death does not necessarily preclude love.” — Keith Uhlich, Time Out NY

Valentine Road


“Richly detailed, deeply affecting documentary… Its effect is quietly devastating.” — Rob Nelson, Variety

Director: Marta Cunningham
Year: 2013
Country: USA
Running time: 88 mins

With: Dawn Boldrin, Kendra McInerney, James Bing, Jeremy McInerney, Robyn Bramson, Scott Wippert, Maeve Fox, Jeff Kay

Festivals: Sundance 2013

This documentary teases out the clash in community values underpinning the schoolroom shooting of a junior high student in California by a classmate. Was it murder, a hate crime or justifiable self-defence? “First-time filmmaker Marta Cunningham’s remarkable Valentine Road focuses on the headline-grabbing 2008 case of 15-year-old Lawrence ‘Larry’ King, the openly gay junior high student shot and killed by 14-year-old classmate Brandon McInerney… Spending three years on the ground in the racially and economically diverse SoCal bedroom community, Cunningham gained extraordinary access to parties and partisans on all sides, including McInerney’s family, attorneys for the defense and prosecution, the LGBT activists who quickly mobilized into action, and the surprisingly robust constituency (including more than a few teachers and other authority figures) who rally behind McInerney as the real victim here. The result is… an unforgettable, troubling close-up of small-town America at a moral and ethical crossroads.” — Scott Foundas, Village Voice

William Yang: My Generation


“I go out at least five nights a week to events, with a camera in one hand and a glass of champagne in the other.” — William Yang

Director: Martin Fox
Year: 2013
Country: Australia
Running time: 58 mins

With: William Yang

Festivals: Sydney 2013

For 20 years Sydney photographer William Yang, a canny and candid chronicler of his life and times, has been bringing added life to his pictures in a series of affecting slideshow performances. This show from 2010, now filmed by Martin Fox, takes us back to wild days amongst the Sydney bohemia of the 70s and 80s, an era of riotous liberation stopped in its tracks by AIDS.

“It’s quite an eye-opener. The biggest revelation is the fact that Yang was part of the inner circle of Nobel Prize-winning author Patrick White… He was also friendly with major Sydney art figures such as Martin Sharp and the late Brett Whiteley. The Dickensian roll call of characters he knew and photographed also includes Little Nell, Tiny Tim, Margaret Fink, Jenny Kee and Peter Tully. Yang shows images shot at fashion parades, art events, and wild, bohemian parties. Delivering his commentary in a droll, unpretentious tone of voice that is highly engaging, Yang offers a fascinating journey into a vibrant era.” — Nick Dent reviews the original show, Time Out Sydney

For session and ticket details, head here and click on the films you want to see staff - 29th June 2013

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