Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Homo Box Office: 'Midnight in Paris' and 'Children of God'

In addition to seeing the utterly delightful "Hey, Boo: Harper Lee & To Kill a Mockingbird" over the weekend, Michael and I also saw Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris," and newcomer Kareem Mortimer's "Children of God." Woody's latest is getting rave reviews, but I don't supposed I'd have liked it any better even without the hype. Don't take that the wrong way -- it's fine, and certainly better than a lot of the crap he doled out in the 2000s. But as is often the case lately, it's a "fantasy," which kind of defeats the purpose of seeing a Woody Allen movie, as he used to produce the best films about real New Yorkers around. (Couldn't he have quit while he was ahead with "The Purple Rose of Cairo"?) The good news is, Owen Wilson is charmingly restrained in his role as a neurotic writer. Whether it was the director's doing or his proxy's -- more likely the latter, as Allen is famous for not giving directions when he "directs" -- at least we don't have to sit through two hours of someone else "doing" Woody Allen. And Kathy Bates and Cory Stoll are fun as Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway -- he even got to bring his mustache back -- so there are some charming moments where Wilson's character meets his idols and learns that even the Golden Age wasn't as golden as he thought. But ultimately, the film is all meringue and no lemon, and I barely remembered a thing about it by the time I got home. (I actually just added that part about the Golden Age as I just remembered it an hour after posting this!)

"Children of God," which we attended the premiere for at the Quad on Friday night, was far more memorable. Described by the New York Times as a "lush Bahamian romance" about "a skinny white boy from Nassau who falls for a buff black islander" that's "stalked by homophobia and religious hatred," "Children of God" has a important story -- violence against LGBT-ers in the Caribbean is rampant and deadly -- and huge performances by its cast. Johnny Ferro (Jonny), whom I'd describe more as "lean," Stephen T. Williams (Romeo), whose natural charm radiates off the screen, Margaret Laurena Kemp (Lena), who deftly handles the complex role of being the villain (as an anti-gay pastor's wife) as well as the victim (of course her pastor is a closet case, who brings STDs home instead of flowers), and Van Brown as Rev. Ritchie, as an open-minded pastor to whom Lena turns for comfort (you would too if you saw this guy!) take a fairly narrow story, and bring it to life, in a film about a topic that may be well-known for some news junkies, but a real eye-opener for many others. More information HERE.

Ferro & Mortimer -- not a law firm, but the leading man and his director!

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