Unlike the typical “Star is Born” framework, this film starts as the young singer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) is already tormented by her fame. It’s not a music industry plot at all, but a love drama about her attraction to a young cop (Nate Parker), who was assigned to protect her. Mbatha-Raw (best known as the black beauty in “Belle”) takes on a very different role as this Rhiana-type sexy singer and she’s completely compelling, not to mention she can sing! Parker has plenty of leading man charm (not to mention that body). The story starts with music biz glamour, but the slowly turns into a romance. Luckily, the actors handle it well, even as it deteriorates into predictable mush.
GAY ANGLE: Parker’s superbuff body gets plenty of exposure.
Penguins of Madagascar
Directors: Eric Darnell, Simon J. Smith
Writers: John Aboud (screenplay), John Aboud (story)
Stars: Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, Christopher Knights
The original 2008 film had the same name, but this time they’re crossing the globe to prevent Dr. Octavius Brine from carrying out his evil plans. This is a fun foursome with lots of quick-witted banter. The energy never lags and the snappy one-liners are almost constant. For the grownups there are plenty of pop in jokes. My fave was the villain’s orders that included movie star names, like: “Drew! Barry! More power!” (say it out loud). And it’s true, Benedict Cumberbatch can’t properly pronounce penguin. Stay thru the early credits for one final bit.
GAY ANGLE: Even with all the cultural references, didn’t find any subtle gay stuff.
Jerry Williams reviewed movies for WTVR-TV for 14 years and for Style Weekly for 10 years. When he launched his own website in 1998 at TVJerry.com, he took his reviews to the Internet. Through those hundreds of reviews, Jerry kept his sexual orientation muted. So, he's excited to be adding "gay angles" to his postings for GayRVA.com.