Movie Reviews: Birdman, Nighcrawler & Dear White People
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Writers: Alejandro González Iñárritu (screenplay), Nicolás Giacobone (screenplay)
Stars: Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton
Michael Keaton plays an actor who’s struggling to mount his Broadway debut. In addition to the challenges of the show and confrontations with his family, he’s in constant conflict with the shadow of the superhero that made him a star. As expected, Keaton is outstanding, but the rest of the cast turns in rich and nuanced performances (Emma Stone is a revelation). What makes this film so brilliant is director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s inspired vision. It’s shot as one continuous take, which is not only a tech challenge, but creates a sense of fluid time and continuous stress. A slightly surreal, constantly compelling and richly realized combination of personal drama and theatrical send-up.
GAY ANGLE: Set in the world of New York theater and not one obviously gay character.
Director: Dan Gilroy
Writer: Dan Gilroy
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton
The title refers to camera crews who troll the dark hours, listening for police calls and rushing to bloody crime scenes in hopes of selling their footage to TV stations. Jake Gyllenhaal plays a fast-talking, self-confident new entrant into the field, who’s determination for success crosses the line between objective observer and dangerous participant. His character is a smart, but not saavy charmer without a conscience and Gyllenhaal makes him fascinating with masterful skill. The film is disturbing and ultimately, suspenseful as we watch him get deeper into success.
GAY ANGLE: His cute assistant (Riz Ahmed) admits to turning tricks before getting his current job.
Dear White People
Director: Justin Simien
Writer: Justin Simien (screenplay)
Stars: Tyler James Williams, Tessa Thompson, Kyle Gallner
The trailer for this film (click on the link below) looks like a sassy sendup on stereotypes. As happens sometimes, those are the only 2 1/2 minutes of comedy in the film. The rest takes a satirical, but serious look at racial dynamics, college politics and personal relationships. It’s set at a fictional college where residential hall rivalries cause conflict. Surprisingly, in all the cultural discussion, there’s a positive subplot about gay issues. The performances are genuine, but writer/director Justin Simien holds too tightly to his messages, which gives the dialogue too much didactic weight. Young people might enjoy the MTV-tinged drama, but don’t go expecting lots of laffs.
GAY ANGLE: Not only is a main character gay, he gets two on-screen kisses (and nobody in the audience groaned when I saw the film).
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.
One of Franco’s serious roles & if you want online thrills, stick to gay dating sitesApril 21, 2015
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