Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Writer: Nicolas Winding Refn
Stars: Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, Vithaya Pansringarm
Ryan Gosling plays a crook Bangkok. When his brother is killed, his mother (Kristin Scott Thomas) arrives to demand revenge. This was directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, who worked with Gosling in “Drive.” I pretty much hated that movie too, but at least it had some velocity. The pacing here is glacial (with the long pauses eliminated, it would be 20 minutes long). It’s painfully pretentious and intensely serious. What little brutality from the villain is almost always off-screen. The saturated, stylized look references Chinese director Kar Wai Wong, so while it looks cool, it’s just tedious. The only thing to recommend it is the amazing chameleon performance by Scott Thomas.
GAY ANGLE: Gosling at his most intense, but fully dressed.
The To Do List
Director: Maggie Carey
Writer: Maggie Carey (screenplay)
Stars: Aubrey Plaza, Johnny Simmons, Bill Hader
Aubrey Plaza plays an over-achieving HS senior, who sets out to learn all about sex during the summer before college. If this sounds familiar, it’s been done many times with guys, so the unoriginal twist is girls! There’s every effort to be as verbally crude (sex talk) and visually gross (bodily fluids) as possible, but none of it’s very funny. Bill Hader provides the only true comic sensibility, while everyone else is just there (and about 10 years too old for their roles). The early 90s references are enjoyable, but so are a few noticeable anachronisms. There’s a good-spirited energy that keeps it from being too dull, but nothing about the writing or performances is especially original or amusing.
GAY ANGLE: Scott Porter plays the bland hunk lust object with lots of time in jams.
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.