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 2021-09-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Knight at the Movies: The Hobbit; The Babadook; film notes
by Richard Knight, Jr., for Windy City Times
2014-12-17

This article shared 5728 times since Wed Dec 17, 2014
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Here at the end of The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, the third and final film in the trilogy—and the sixth cinematic visit to Middle Earth—there's inevitably the feeling of having survived a very, very long journey. It's been magical and visually dazzling, to be sure, but some of it admittedly has felt like an endurance test as well. That's not unexpected. By the time the credits roll we will have spent close to 16 hours in Peter Jackson's adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy world. That's a lot of time in Hobbitville.

"Fiddle dee dee. War war war. This talk of war is spoiling every party," Scarlett O'Hara groused at the outset of Gone with the Wind, and one might make the same complaint about this final Hobbit installment. Even at a crisp 144 minutes ( the shortest in the entire series ) this last outing is mostly taken up with the mega-war over the treasure buried within the dwarves' Lonely Mountain lair. Having already been through the war to end all wars in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, a feeling of battle fatigue and déjà vu was probably unavoidable.

After the fire-breathing dragon Smaug ( voiced by an electronically altered Benedict Cumberbatch ) battles Lake Town hero Bard ( Luke Evans ) at the top of the film, pretty much everything focuses on those advancing five armies ( orcs, men, elves, etc. ) all laying claim to the vast fortune. Thorin ( Richard Armitage )—the king of the dwarves who is holed up inside the mountain fortress with the rest of his ragtag group—is affected by dragon fever ( aka lust for gold ) and isn't about to take any council from Gandalf, Bilbo or his dwarf compatriots, and he isn't about to let a bit of the treasure out of his grasp.

There are some nice diversions ( a forbidden romance between Evangeline Lilly, as a fierce elf warrior, and Aidan Turner as her equally fierce dwarf love interest; anytime Orlando Bloom, Cate Blanchett or Ian McKellen is on screen; some Lord of the Rings backstory; some nice reflective scenes with Martin Freeman as Bilbo, etc. ). And there are some unwelcome distractions, too ( a series of low comedy scenes with Ryan Gage as Alfrid, a cowardly henchman from Lake Town; too much focus on Thorin's greed, etc. ). But mostly it's all about those armies—advancing, preparing to fight, fighting, regrouping, fighting again with loyalties changing as allegiances are formed and frayed. Bilbo, natch, will play a big part in setting things to right as the action draws to its foregone conclusion.

Peter Jackson and his team once again provide moments both beautiful and thrilling, and action junkies are going to love the movie. I wasn't as enamored of this last edition as I have been of others in the series. ( It's like a blown up version of The Two Towers, my least favorite Hobbit film. ) But, that said, the movie does remind us once again how far Peter Jackson's Hobbit series has advanced the fantasy/action genre on the screen ( for my money, a lot further than the Marvel Universe—but that's an argument for another day ) and, ultimately, anyone with a taste for fantasy is going to want to see The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies on the big screen ( but skip the 3-D format unless you're a diehard ).

Finally, did I mention that the gay subtext is as thick as the smoke from Gandalf's pipe? Take a look at that cast again—Ian McKellen, Luke Evans, Lee Pace, Richard Armitage, Stephen Fry, et al, and I think you'll catch my drift.

I can't let the most frightening film of the year go by without at least a mention. With the Australian film The Babadook, writer-director Jennifer Kent makes a stunning feature debut that eschews the typical horror movie tropes and goes the much scarier psychological route.

Amelia, a young widow ( a sensational Essie Davis, who was equally memorable in Girl with a Pearl Earring several years back ) is at her wit's end with her ( very ) strange kid Samuel ( Noah Wiseman ), who is fixated on magic, the death of his father in a car accident just as he was being born, and the idea that a monster is coming to kill them both.

The emotionally needy Samuel is driving Amelia up the wall. One night, Samuel badgers his frazzled mother into reading him a bedtime story from a pop-up book about a supernatural monster called The Babadook. Once someone becomes aware of The Babadook, the story reveals, it torments that person … forever. There's no killing it or sending it away or bargaining. Amelia, worn-out by Samuel's increasingly bizarre behavior, becomes convinced The Babadook is trying to invade their home. And suddenly, perhaps, the creature is.

Relying on in-camera special effects that date back to the dawn of film ( as Coppola did in Bram Stoker's Dracula ), Kent and cinematographer Radek Ladczuk ( who shoots the movie in monochromatic colors ) create a world of menace within the confines of Amelia and Noah's cramped house. As the film progresses and both Amelia and Noah struggle with reality, the sense of claustrophobia is palpable. There is nothing so frightening, Kent vividly shows us, as a mother at war with her own dueling emotions when it comes to a difficult child. She has made a movie that is both thought-provoking and scary. The Babadook opens Friday, Dec. 19, at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave. http://www.musicboxtheatre.com/features/babadook

Film notes:

—I Am Woman, Love My Body: Women make up less than 5 percent of film directors and while it's becoming increasingly common to see movies told from the feminine perspective, those helming the stories are still overwhelmingly men.

The female viewpoint is one of the reasons The Babadook and why actor-writer-director Cathryn Michon's comedy Muffin Top: A Love Story are such refreshing finds. Michon, a Northwestern University graduate and Second City improv alum, stars as Suzanne, a cultural-studies professor desperately trying to get pregnant with the help of fertility drugs ( which have given her a dreaded "muffin top," or stomach bulge ). Her anxiety already in high gear, Suzanne finds out on her birthday that her TV executive husband has impregnated his co-worker ( who, naturally, is younger and thinner ) and wants a divorce.

As Suzanne slowly begins to recover, the first order of business is feeling good about all of herself—including the fact that she's supposedly a tad bit overweight. Then, there are tentative steps into the dating pool in image-conscious L.A. Michon's delightful, truly funny rom com ( with its cute tagline, "Love hurts, cake helps" ) is helped by a strong supporting cast of laugh-getters: Dot Marie Jones ( of "Glee" ), who plays a transgender hairstylist and one of Suzanne's closest gal pals, "Hairspray's" Marissa Janet Winkour, the late Marcia Wallace and David Arquette, among them. Michon will be in town for a one-night screening of the film Thursday, Dec. 18, at 7:30 p.m. at the Kerasotes Showplace Icon, 1011 S. Delano St.—off Roosevelt Rd. For those who can't make the screening, the movie is also available via online through various streaming sites. http://www.muffintopmovie.com/

—Tis the season: The Chicago Public Library presents a final free holiday screening of Scrooge & Marley ( which I co-wrote and which was Executive Produced by Windy City Times publisher Tracy Baim ) on Monday, Dec. 22, at the Bezazian branch, 1226 W. Ainslie St. The screening will be at 6 p.m. Members of the film's creative team will attend and Scrooge & Marley merchandise will be available.

Now available: The Best of Knight at the Movies: 2004-2014—a compilation book of more than 150 of my film reviews from a queer perspective for Windy City Times—is now available and makes for a great holiday gift! www.knightatthemovies.com .


This article shared 5728 times since Wed Dec 17, 2014
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

SPORTS Chicago Fall Tennis Classic in gear with pro women players
2021-09-27
The Chicago Fall Tennis Classic, a part of the WTA (Women's Tennis Association) tour, is in town through Oct. 3. Just a few of the players in the first round, or round of 64, are top seed and Ukrainian player Elena ...


Gay News

SPORTS Chicago Sky score another playoff win, beating Minnesota
2021-09-27
The sixth-seeded Chicago Sky (2-0) defeated the third-seeded Minnesota Lynx (0-1) 89-76 at the Target Center in Minneapolis in round two of the 2021 WNBA playoffs on Sept. 26. With the win, the franchise moves on ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Transgender Talent, celebrity deaths, film festival, Whitney Houston
2021-09-26
Transgender Talent—the trans-owned and operated management and production company—is looking to help Hollywood get better at portraying transgender and non-binary characters on screen with the launch of a new consulting ...


Gay News

SPORTS Chicago Red Stars edge Portland 2-1
2021-09-26
The Chicago Red Stars, behind goals from Kealia Watt and Rachel Hill, defeated the Portland Thorns 2-1 at home on Sept. 25. In the game's 24th minute, Portland's Christine Sinclair's curling shot from outside the box ...


Gay News

MOVIES 24-hour horror marathon at Music Box on Oct. 23-24
2021-09-24
"The Music Box of Horrors," sponsored by CreepyCo., will return to the Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave., from noon on Saturday, Oct. 23 through noon on Sunday, Oct. 24. The event will include special ...


Gay News

SPORTS Chicago White Sox clinch playoff spot
2021-09-24
For the first time in 13 years, the Chicago White Sox are the American League Central champions. The team defeated Cleveland 7-2 on Sept. 23 as it split a doubleheader that officially eliminated the Guardians (formerly ...


Gay News

SPORTS Chicago Sky win playoff game against Dallas Wings
2021-09-24
In WNBA action, the Chicago Sky defeated the Dallas Wings 81-64 in the first round of the 2021 playoffs, at Wintrust Arena on Sept. 23. Under current head coach and general manager James Wade, the team ...


Gay News

'Firebird' opens Reeling Chicago LGBTQ+ Internat'l Film Fest tonight
2021-09-23
--From a press release - CHICAGO, Illinois — Tonight, the 39th annual Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival invites audiences to enjoy an in-person pre-party and theater screening of 'Firebird' for Opening Night at the Music Box Theater. Director P ...


Gay News

Proceeds from 30th Annual AIDS Run & Walk Chicago to help 26 HIV/AIDS organizations
2021-09-22
--From a press release - CHICAGO — On Saturday, Oct. 2, at 9:30 a.m., more than 1,700 advocates and supporters will gather safely at Soldier Field to participate in the 30th annual AIDS Run & Walk Chicago (ARWC) to support individuals ...


Gay News

RECREATION Metropolitan Club's BigShots Golf Lounge
2021-09-22
BigShots Golf Lounge is part of the Metropolitan Club's rebranding. Despite the perceived exclusivity of the Metropolitan, the lounge—on the 67th floor of Willis Tower, 233 S. Wacker Dr.—is a state-of-the-art area that is accessible to ...


Gay News

REVIEWS: Movies of Reeling 2021
2021-09-22
- Reeling: The 39th Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival will take place Friday, Sept. 23-Thursday, Oct. 7. After a virtual edition in 2020, Reeling returns with in-person screenings this year, kicking off with the Estonian romantic drama ...


Gay News

SOCCER U.S. women win big over Paraguay again
2021-09-22
Five days after Carli Lloyd scored five goals against Paraguay, Alex Morgan scored a hat trick (three goals) as the U.S. women's national soccer team (USWNT) downed the same country 8-0 on Sept. 21 in Cincinnati, ...


Gay News

MOVIES 'Shang-Chi' actor in anti-gay controversy
2021-09-20
Actor Simu Liu—the star of the latest Marvel action movie Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings—is embroiled in controversy over alleged Reddit comments he made about how pedophilia is "no different from being gay," ...


Gay News

FILM REVIEW Chastain mesmerizes in 'Tammy Faye,' but bio offers few surprises
2021-09-20
Televangelists featured in some of the of the most spectacular falls from grace in the '80s. Television preachers who'd spent the better part of the '70s and the '80s insinuating themselves into pocketbooks, not to mention ...


Gay News

SPORTS Sky end regular season with win, get ready for playoffs
2021-09-20
The Chicago Sky ended their regular season on a positive note, beating the Indiana Fever 98-87 at Chicago's Wintrust Arena on Sept. 19. Diamond DeShields tied her career-high point total, scoring 30 while shooting 61.5% from ...


 



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.