Thursday, December 18, 2014

Boardwalk Empire

Boardwalk EmpireBoardwalk Empire’s final season felt at times slow, but was mostly as good as always.  We say goodbye to several characters, but that is the nature of the show.

Overall, I really enjoyed this show.  The quality was evident in everything, from scripts to acting, from costumes to the production, from photography to direction, so I have very little complaints about it.

If you enjoy gangster stories, then I’d definitely recommend this show.  It has all the greatness of The Sopranos just in a different era and with a different style, but the quality is definitely there, even though The Sopranos feels gutsier.

Grade – Season 5: 8

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Yossi The Gist: A closeted doctor who recently lost his boyfriend is still grieving and doesn’t seem to have much left to hope for.  Then, unexpectedly, he meets someone else.

The Bottom Line: While the premise might have been rehashed a thousand times before, Yossi is so well written and acted that it feels fresh and charmingly new.  Definitely a well developed love story.

Grade: 8


SnowpiercerThe Gist: Foolishly attempting to reverse global warming, scientists have brought about a new glacial era that makes life on the planet impossible.  The sole survivors live their days on a self-sustaining train that never stops circling the globe, but things are about to get bumpy.

The Bottom Line: Snowpiercer is a very nice survival movie with cool twists, well developed characters, and really good acting, especially from the always excellent Tilda Swinton.  While some elements might feel borrowed, I would definitely recommend it.

Grade: 8


godzillaThe Gist: The existence of ancient dinosaur-like monsters who feed on nuclear material is revealed in the aftermath of a nuclear accident in Japan.  The titular monster will show his face on the US west coast, but he won’t be alone.

The Bottom Line: After the disappointing 1998 version, I had pretty much given up caring about this famed monster, but the very positive reviews this new version got convinced me to take a look.  I’m glad I did because the script this time around is much better written and there are twists in the story that are totally unexpected and take it in a whole new direction that hopefully will breathe new life into the monstrous creature from Japan.

Grade: 8


UndertowThe Gist: A soon-to-be father married man has been secretly seeing another man for years.  One day, an unexpected event will change his life forever.

The Bottom Line: This is by far one of the best gay themed movies I’ve ever seen.  The script is original, profound, and well written and the actors are great.  A must-see.

Grade: 9

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Amityville Horror

Amityville horrorThe Gist: A family moves into a home where a series of murders had occurred and soon the new occupants start to feel the influence of the evil forces that had doomed the former tenants.  Will they make it out alive?

The Bottom Line: While the movie does show its age, it still retains a fair share of thrills.  It’s entertaining but does have some weaknesses in its plot.  Looking forward to seeing the remake and how it turned out.

Grade: 7

Before Midnight

before midnightThe Gist: Now together and with two little girls of their own, Jesse and Celine are confronted with the life choices they each made in the past and how they affect their relationship in the present.

The Bottom Line: What are the chances of a third chapter about a simple romance actually turning out to be the best and most interesting of them all?  Richard Linklater does the seemingly impossible and gives us yet another beautiful chapter in the Jesse & Celine Romance.  Unmissable.

Grade: 8

Before Sunset

before sunsetThe Gist: On a publicity tour for his recently published novel about the girl he met by chance on a train ride almost a decade earlier, Jesse sees Celine again and their romance rekindles.

The Bottom Line: This is by far one of the best sequels I’ve ever seen.  While at first the leads seem a bit tentative in their approach, one soon realizes that that’s exactly how people would feel towards each other in real life, and by the end of the second chapter they’ve recaptured the magic that made the first movie so endearing.  Another must see.

Grade: 8

Before Sunrise

before sunriseThe Gist: A chance encounter on a train leads to a day spent walking around Vienna, talking about everything and nothing, and slowly falling in love.

The Bottom Line: This movie had me spellbound from the beginning.  It’s charming and sweet while maintaining its aura of realism and the leads have an incredible chemistry.  Don’t miss it.

Grade: 8

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Ender's Game

enders_game_ver20_xlgThe Gist: After an attempted alien invasion that cost millions of lives, humanity has devised a plan of attack that relies on the highly developed videogame playing skills of younger kids.  One of them, Ender, displays much promise in both tactics and technique.

The Bottom Line: I debated with myself whether I should watch this movie or not because gay organizations called for a boycott due to the highly bigoted views of the book’s author, but ultimately my sci-fi itch prevailed.  Alas, the movie turned out to be pretty weak and has a couple of big holes in the plot.  And while visually it might be interesting, it really doesn’t make the grade.

Grade: 4

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Nymphomaniac: The Extended Director's Cut Volume I & II

nymphomaniac-volume-1-poster          nymphomaniac-volume-2-poster

The Gist: A declared nymphomaniac is found unconscious and rescued by a passerby.  She then proceeds to recount for him the myriad different life experiences that brought her in his presence.

The Bottom Line: Lars von Trier pulls off the amazing feat of making what feels like a totally organic and normal mainstream movie but with very explicit sex scenes.  What’s even more amazing, however, is that the story is actually legitimately interesting and very well acted and the sex is treated as a relevant part of the plot and never feels gratuitous.  I would definitely recommend this movie.

Grade: 8 and 8

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

The Great Expansion

Because of the huge seismic shockwave, I wanted to wait until the waters had settled and the picture was clearer, which it now is.

On October 6th, 2014, the United States Supreme Court denied review of seven cases from three Appellate Courts (Fourth, Seventh, and Tenth) upholding lower Federal District Courts that had struck down anti gay marriage constitutional amendments in five states (Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Indiana, and Wisconsin) under their jurisdictions, thereby letting those judgments stand.

Furthermore, because Appellate Courts judgments apply to all the states in their respective circuits, the list of progressive states didn’t just go up by four but by eleven!!  Although some states more than others were dragged into the club kicking and screaming and not before a flurry of last-minute appeals to the Supreme Court that were quickly rejected.

Following are the new states were gays and lesbians can now legally marry thanks to the Supreme Court “inaction”:

From the Fourth Circuit a warm welcome to:

  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

From the Seventh Circuit a warm welcome to:

  • Indiana
  • Wisconsin

From the Tenth Circuit a warm welcome to:

  • Colorado
  • Kansas
  • Oklahoma
  • Utah
  • Wyoming

But that’s not all!!  The day after the Supreme Court’s decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals released its decision in favor of striking down constitutional amendments banning gay marriage in Idaho and Nevada.  Their ruling, as it were, applies to all the states in the circuit, which happens to be the largest in the nation.

Given that the Ninth Circuit had previously determined (the only one to date) that the use of heightened scrutiny is warranted when dealing with litigation involving gay and lesbian minorities, a positive outcome for our side was widely expected, and the Supreme Courts’ decision a day earlier simply made it that much more likely.

So just like that, five more states, again, some more willingly than others…, joined the list of marriage equality:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Idaho
  • Montana
  • Nevada

We now stand at 35 out of 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, enjoying marriage equality, and while recently the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeal ruled against us, I am more than hopeful that nationwide marriage equality will soon be the law of the land in the land of the free!!

Here’s what the US map looks like right now in regards to marriage equality, courtesy of Freedom to Marry:


More here and here.