Movie Reviews: The Lazarus Effect, McFarland USA, & Timbuktu
The Lazarus Effect
Director: David Gelb
Writers: Luke Dawson, Jeremy Slater
Stars: Olivia Wilde, Mark Duplass, Evan Peters
Mark Duplass and Olivia Wilde play a couple of scientists who have discovered a serum that does what the title suggests. But unlike the grateful Bible character, the revived creature has all manner of unexplained dark powers. Just like the experiment, the film starts promisingly, but after the evil erupts the movie becomes predictable and dumb (black pupils, really?). Nothing makes much sense and the evil deeds aren’t scary or inventive. On the positive side, the cinematography is attractive.
GAY ANGLE: Duplass isn’t sexy, but cut Evan Peters (best known for “American Horror Story”) adds his lovely locks.
Director: Niki Caro
Writers: Christopher Cleveland (story), Christopher Cleveland (as Chris Cleveland) , 4 more credits »
Stars: Kevin Costner, Maria Bello, Ramiro Rodriguez
There have been many movies about a misfit team of underdogs and this one is so firmly fixed in the formula that almost every plot point is predictable. Kevin Costner plays a coach, who’s made so many mistakes that the only job he can find is in the titular town that’s dominated by Mexican farm workers. When he discovers how tough and fast the students are, he forms a cross country track team. Usually, each team member has a personality, but this one only revolves around 2. It’s also missing any humor, which would have added warmth. The only thing that sets this one apart is the focus on the Latino culture. Even though it is earnest (and based on a true story), it hits all of the clichés.
GAY ANGLE: Carlos Pratts (as the star runner) is a cute, up-and-comer.
Director: Abderrahmane Sissako
Writers: Abderrahmane Sissako (screenplay), Kessen Tall (screenplay)
Stars: Ibrahim Ahmed, Abel Jafri, Toulou Kiki
When religious fundamentalists occupy a village in West Africa, they impose their beliefs and bans on the citizens. This leads to oppression and resistance. One man lives peacefully with his wife and child in a remote tent until an accident brings the occupants’ laws to their reality. Not only does this film reveal the irrational tyranny and tragedy brought by the Jihadists, it provides glimpses into the small town life in this part of the world. The story isn’t structured in a traditional sense, but is rich with cultural observations. The pace is leisurely, the emotion is underplayed and the narrative takes a back seat to the way of life, but it’s still a interesting examination. In subtitles. (Criterion Cinema only)
GAY ANGLE: This village is dominated by religious fundamentalists, so don’t even think gay thoughts.
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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