Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-03-03
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Knight at the Movies: John Carter; film notes
by Richard Knight, Jr., for Windy City Times
2012-03-07

This article shared 8061 times since Wed Mar 7, 2012
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


In John Carter—Disney's latest big-budget attempt at creating an action franchise—former Friday Night Lights television heartthrob Taylor Kitsch makes the first of two high-profile tries for movie hunkdom as we inch our way into blockbuster season. (Batttleship, based on the decades-old board game, follows this summer.) Based on Kitsch's physical attributes, which are noticeably on display throughout the movie's two-hour-plus running time as he skitters about shirtless in a man skirt and engraved breastplate, John Carter is sure to help build the actor's gay fan base tenfold. The movie itself? Not "meh" but not exactly "yeah," either.

The fault is not with Kitsch's acting—which falls under the standard-issue "brooding leading man with smoldering good looks" category—nor is it with Andrew Stanton's direction, making his live-action debut after having spectacular results in the animated realm with Finding Nemo and Wall-E. Stanton's script, co-written with Mark Andrews and Michael Chabon, is a nicely paced adventure story that hits all the marks while honoring its source material. And the fault certainly isn't with Kitsch's co-starring cast, which includes Lynn Collins as a fetching, fiery princess, Dominic West, Willem Dafoe, Thomas Haden Church, Mark Strong, etc., etc.—all speaking in precisely clipped British accents (natch). Lastly, Disney has laid out a sumptuous budget, more than sufficient for Stanton's assembled creative team to construct various fiefdoms on the desert planet of Mars (where most of the action takes place) as well as on Earth.

The problem is one of familiarity or, more to the point, creative cannibalism. A generation of filmmakers—consciously or not—have helped themselves, piecemeal, to sections of Edgar Rice Burroughs' series of adventure novels (dating all the way back to 1912). John Carter is the story of a former Civil War captain mysteriously transported to exotic Mars (called Barsoom in the film) who lands in the middle of a war and finds himself the unwitting secret weapon that every side of the conflict wants to put to use.

It's easy to pick out elements of other movies residing in that basic plot outline—with the entire Star Wars saga to Stargate, Cowboys & Aliens and Avatar being the most prominent—and the actual movie offers dozens more, to an almost embarrassing degree. It's not Stanton's fault that his source material has been picked over so thoroughly and for so long. (Film versions have been attempted going back to the 1930s but this is the first one to make it into theaters.) And this movie déjà vu, as I've noted in reviews of other film blockbusters which have suffered from varying degrees of this creative dilemma, is often a source of comfort for a filmgoer—and to marketers—who bank on familiarity when buying tickets (and to sell their expensive products to their fidgety, easily distracted customers).

But it's not the kind of thing that sets a film critic's heart afire and, though the picture is certainly entertaining enough in the moment (there's more than enough sweeping adventure to satisfy action junkies) and will surely be adored by 13 year-old boys (and I would assume, plenty of action-minded 13-year-old girls), John Carter is—for good or bad—one of those big-screen enterprises that doesn't leave much residue (not to mention pleasure) once its moved on to conquer its next audience. Being in 3-D adds nothing to the picture's plus column.

Of related interest: Both Immortals and The Three Musketeers, two other big-budget action movies with franchise hopes are arriving this week on DVD/Blu-ray. The former, a mythical action fantasy with tenuous links to Greek mythology, relies heavily on CGI effects (almost entirely) while the latter, perhaps the tenth filming of the classic Alexander Dumas novel, leans on expensive sets, costumes and a flashier cast. As a duo, these expensive films each have their merits (and their respective releases are packed with special features) and are worth taking in for action enthusiasts. For gay fans, the former might have an edge—it shows a lot more male flesh, thanks to its skimpy costumes. Both movies include out handsome British actor Luke Evans in their casts.

Film notes:

—Cinema Q II—the free, LGBT-themed, weekly mini film series—returns for the second year on Wednesdays in March at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St., with screenings at 6:30 p.m. in the Claudia Cassidy Theater.

This year's series, focusing on queer youth, kicks off March 7 with a screening of lesbian director Jamie Babbit's hilarious 1999 black comedy But I'm a Cheerleader, about a notorious "ex-gay" camp for teenagers. It stars Natasha Lyonne, Clea DuVall, Cathy Moriarty, RuPaul, Melanie Lynskey and Michelle Williams. The March 14 installment is 2003's Blue Citrus Hearts, a gritty, coming-of-age/coming-out tale. Windy City Times is one of the series' media sponsors. www.queerfilmsociety.org

—Chicago Filmmakers' popular Dyke Delicious film series, curated by Sharon Zurek and co-sponsored by the Reeling Film Festival and Black Cat Productions, returns Saturday, March 10, with Ferron: Girl on a Road. This 2009 documentary from filmmaker Gerry Rogers (My Left Breast) focuses on the groundbreaking lesbian singer/songwriter and her long-awaited return to music, along with an emotional reunion with her band. As always with this series, a social hour (beginning at 7 p.m.) precedes the 8 p.m. screening at Chicago Filmmakers, 5243 N. Clark, second floor. www.chicagofilmmakers.org

Check out my archived reviews at www.windycitymediagroup.com or www.knightatthemovies.com . Readers can leave feedback at the latter website.


This article shared 8061 times since Wed Mar 7, 2012
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Music Box to run Pedro Almodovar films starting March 12
2021-03-04
On Friday, March 12, Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave., and Sony Pictures Classics will present Pedro Almodovar's critically acclaimed English-language debut, the short film The Human Voice, starring Tilda Swinton and freely based on ...


Gay News

Sisters in Cinema brings back Learn & Earn Program: Sisters in Cinema Newsroom
2021-03-02
--From a press release - CHICAGO, IL- Sisters in Cinema, a Chicago-based 501 (c)3 recently in the news for breaking ground on their new Media Arts Center, is proud to announce the return of their Sisters in Cinema Newsroom Program, and ...


Gay News

Awards season kicks off with 2021 Golden Globes
2021-03-01
The 78th Annual Golden Globes Awards were distributed Feb. 28 in a quasi-virtual event hosted by performers Tina Fey at the Rainbow Room in New York City and Amy Poehler at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly ...


Gay News

MOVIES Director Ali LeRoi on his LGBT time-loop film 'The Obituary of Tunde Johnson'
2021-02-28
The Obituary of Tunde Johnson is a movie with some familiar elements—but they're used to make a novel film. The movie uses the time-loop element that's probably most popular in the film Groundhog Day. However, director ...


Gay News

MOVIES Dutch journalist talks about making 'My Friend, the Mayor'
2021-02-17
In the Amazon Prime Video documentary My Friend, the Mayor: Small-town Democracy in the Age of Trump, Dutch journalist Max Westerman profiles friend Sean Strub, an openly gay activist, activist, long-term AIDS survivor and POZ magazine ...


Gay News

New dance film features 46 dancers from 20 countries
2021-02-17
Films.Dance—a global film series produced by and under the creative direction of LA-based Jacob Jonas The Company—continues with Match, the single most expansive collaboration in the 15-film series. Match features ...


Gay News

Showbiz: Jodie Foster, 'Aretha,' gospel singer, Cody Newman, gay actors
2021-02-14
While promoting her new film The Mauritanian, Jodie Foster said she "was a little scared of" acting alongside Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs, Yahoo! Entertainment noted. Of Silence (which has its 30th anniversary this ...


Gay News

LGBTQ+ film critics group unveils nominations
2021-02-11
The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics (GALECA) revealed the nominations for the 2021 Dorian Film Awards on Feb. 11. Minari leads the way with six nominations, including best film and best foreign-language film; Nomadland scored five ...


Gay News

MOVIES 'Wonder Woman 1984' coming to PVOD, Digital, Blu-Ray
2021-02-10
The movie Wonder Woman 1984—the sequel starring Gal Gadot, with Patty Jenkins as director—is arriving on Premium Video on Demand (PVOD), 4K, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital, according to a press release from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. ...


Gay News

Groundbreaking ceremony held for Sisters in Cinema Media Arts Center
2021-02-09
Sisters in Cinema held a press conference Feb. 8 at the South Shore Cultural Center to commemorate the construction of its new state-of-the-art Media Arts Center that will be at 2310 E. 75th St. The event, ...


Gay News

Sisters in Cinema groundbreaking Ceremony promises access, training in South Shore
2021-02-05
--From a press release - CHICAGO, IL - South Shore will soon have access to a state-of-the art media facility now that a local organization has begun construction on its new brick-and-mortar home. Sisters in Cinema, a 501(c)3 dedicated to celebrating ...


Gay News

Wizard World Chicago moved from June to August
2021-02-05
Wizard Brands, Inc. announced that its scheduled 2021 live event in Chicago has been postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions and in continued accordance with federal, state and local guidelines. Instead of the original dates of June ...


Gay News

SAG nominations announced; Boseman gets four nods
2021-02-04
Nominations for the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards were announced Feb. 4. On the film side, Deadline noted that the late Chadwick Boseman made SAG Awards nomination history by receiving four nominations: for his lead role ...


Gay News

Donald Trump resigns from SAG-AFTRA; group tersely responds
2021-02-04
Former U.S. President Donald Trump resigned from SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) after the organization's national board recently voted overwhelmingly to find probable cause of ...


Gay News

Golden Globe nods announced; LGBTQ shows, characters and actors included
2021-02-03
Nominations for the 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards—which honor the best in television and film—were announced Feb. 3. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will return as hosts of the event for a fourth time. The Golden ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.