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 2022-06-08
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Knight at the Movies: The Paperboy; About Cherry; film note
by Richard Knight, Jr., for Windy City Times
2012-10-03

This article shared 6421 times since Wed Oct 3, 2012
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


It's sexy times in movie theaters this week with both the provocative The Paperboy and the erotically charged About Cherry opening this Friday in Chicago.

The former is a lopsided, deep-fried piece of Southern gothic that never finds its center yet gives us Nicole Kidman going for broke as a white-trash tart and copious shots of hunky Zac Efron in tighty whities. The latter, which follows the young blonde stunner of the title as she descends into the world of S&M porn, certainly doesn't skimp on the salaciousness—not to mention a nice turn by Heather Graham playing lesbian. Although neither film—which both have queer directors at the helm (Lee Daniels, following up his 2009 Oscar-nominated drama Precious, and Stephen Elliott making his feature debut, respectively)—quite lives up to its steamy plotlines, each has its own merits.

Lee Daniels is noted for his oddball casting, and he goes the same route in The Paperboy, which is based on Pete Dexter's novel. In addition to Kidman as a slutty sexpot whose passions can barely be contained within her capri pants and Efron as her ardent and openly horny admirer (hence the white underwear), Daniels casts Matthew McConaughey as Efron's older brother, Scott Glenn as their father, Macy Gray as the family maid (who narrates and is, to be kind, out of her element) and John Cusack, wildly over the top, as an incarcerated murderer. Set in the Florida bayou in the 1960s, the plot, such as it is, hinges on McConaughey as a journalist who, along with his Black partner (David Oyelowo), sets out to prove that Cusack was wrongly convicted years earlier of murdering the local sheriff. Kidman plays Cusack's hot-to-trot prison pen pal who arrives on the scene determined to help get her man out of prison.

Part lurid murder mystery, part civil-rights commentary, part tale of sibling rivalry between the two brothers and full-on melodrama, the movie is a misshapen mess in which none of the undeniably entertaining pieces seems to fit. Yet, between Kidman's trashy sexpot with her single-minded determination, series of peek-a-boo outfits, her teased blonde hair, spider eyelashes and white eye makeup; Efron dancing around his room, mostly out of his clothes; Cusack's wild-eyed, backwoods menace; and Roberto Schafer's spot-on cinematography (the movie looks like it was made to be shown at small-town drive-ins circa 1966), The Paperboy—with its mixture of noir and campish nods to Tennessee Williams—is one very diverting hybrid.

The film also has its share of thrill-seeking violence a la Quentin Tarantino (including a bizarre episode in which McConaughey's character is revealed to be a closeted homosexual with a taste for really, really rough, interracial sex) mixed with domestic scenes in which all the characters talk over one another (in the Altman tradition) that have an improvisatory feel and the whole thing is overlaid with that sultry overtone.

All of this, however, is overshadowed by the jaw-dropping scene (that has already become infamous) in which Efron's character, stung by jellyfish during a visit to the beach, is saved by Kidman, who straddles the unconscious Efron and urinates on him. The scene adds nothing to the picture beyond queasy titillation but again offers proof of an ability that Daniels has shown in the past: getting his actors—especially his female ones—to throw emotional caution to the wind and take a leap of faith for him. Kidman's leap especially works, and it's not just the twisted logic of her character that holds you but the bravery of the actress as well. Not unlike Mo'Nique's work in Precious, Kidman's willingness to plumb the depths for her director elevates The Paperboy into something much more thrilling than the torrid settings from which it springs.

Surprisingly much less lurid is Elliott's About Cherry, which follows Ashley Hinshaw as the title character, a pretty blonde with a great figure who—quickly and without an ounce of guilt—moves into a prosperous career in the porn industry when opportunity comes a-knockin'. Cherry, all of 18, lives with her drunken mother (Lili Taylor, playing with her usual finesse), a younger sister (that one instinctively feels will end up in porn as well) and mom's latest violent paramour.

Working at a dead end job in a laundry, it doesn't take much of a push for Cherry to talk her good friend, Andrew (Dev Patel), into moving to San Francisco with her. A waitress job at a strip club leads to nudie pictures and porn, where Cherry is soon the rising star. Dilemma comes in the form of a tug of war—between Cherry's stockbroker, drug-addled boyfriend (James Franco in a nothing role) and the obvious interest of her porn director (Heather Graham), who's about to break up with her girlfriend of eight years thanks to her infatuation with Cherry.

Elliott, an acclaimed author and onetime sex worker himself, wrote the screenplay with Lorelei Lee, a porn vet, and one would think with all this on-the-job expertise that the movie would have something fresh to show us about the world of porn and its effect—good and/or bad—on those who make their living within its environs. But Elliott—who shows real ability in his pacing—has better luck with the earlier sequences before the typical drug/sex/liquor-slicked road-to-ruin scenes kick in. Hinshaw has, naturally enough, a sensational body but the porn sex scenes are almost laughably unsexy (perhaps that was Elliott's point) while a bout of rough sex between Graham and her soon-to-be-jealous ex fares better. (Its combo of violence and desire is ably captured.) Observing Cherry and her mom and sister and their humdrum lives is where Elliott's real abilities lie.

About Cherry plays exclusively in Chicago at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave. Elliott will be present Friday, Oct. 5 (opening night) for an 8:30 p.m. book-signing and after the 9:20 p.m. screening for a Q&A with New City film critic Ray Pride. www.musicboxtheatre.com

Film note:

—On Friday, Oct. 5, Chicago Filmmakers presents Expressions of Self: New Films by Doug Ischar. The evening, which kicks off at 7:30 p.m. in Hokin Hall at Columbia College, 623 S. Wabash Ave., will feature four short experimental films by the openly gay Ischar, an artist and photographer who teaches photography at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Ischar's photographs usually center on the male figure, often photographed within gay culture social settings while his films are assemblages that combine vintage footage, graphics and recordings. His work focuses on gay identity, desire and loss. The line-up for the evening includes the world premiere of Ischar's latest work, Tristes Tarzan. Ischar will be present. 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 6421 times since Wed Oct 3, 2012
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Elliot Page, NPH, Madonna, Chita Rivera, Jennifer Lopez 2022-06-26
- Elliot Page talked with talk-show host Seth Meyers about how her Netflix show The Umbrella Academy incorporated the actor's own personal transition into season three of the series, Deadline noted. "With Steve Blackman, the showrunner of ...


Gay News

Writers Theatre's 2022-23 season to include 'Tiger Style!,' 'Once' and other productions 2022-06-21
-- From a press release - Glencoe, IL—Writers Theatre Executive Director Kathryn M. Lipuma and Interim Artistic Director Bobby Kennedy announce the company's 2022/23 four-play season, to include Mike Lew's Tiger Style!, directed by Brian Balcom; ...


Gay News

Goodman Theatre running musical 'Life After' through July 17 2022-06-20
- Goodman Theatre is running the musical Life After through Sunday, July 17. With humor and wit, this "luminous new musical…lush, poetic and surprisingly funny" (The San Diego Union-Tribune) explores how people move through and live with ...


Gay News

Billy Masters 2022-06-20
- "u don't know my alphabet."—Sexy Lukas Gage (from The White Lotus; Love, Victor; and the rebooted Queer as Folk) tweets his response to criticism that Hollywood shouldn't hire him to play LGBTQIA+ roles. When asked to ...


Gay News

WORLD Pride disruption, trans journalists, Tunisian play, marriage bills 2022-06-19
- Turkish police officers carrying clear-plastic riot shields, wielding batons and deploying pepper powder balls as well as tear gas violently broke up a Pride parade that Middle East Technical University students organized in the capital of ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Lightyear,' celebrity event, LGBT runner, Mariah Carey 2022-06-19
Video below - Pixar's latest film Lightyear is hitting theaters, and it has a special moment for gay fans—a same-sex kiss between the character Hawthorne (voiced by Uzo Aduba) and her female partner—that almost didn't happen, Out Magazine note ...


Gay News

Steep Theatre's race-centered 'Paris' running June 17-July 23 2022-06-17
- Steep Theatre, 1044 W. Berwyn Ave., will run the Eboni Booth work Paris on June 17-July 23. Jonathan Berry will direct. Returning home to the small town of Paris, Vermont, Emmie tries to make ends meet ...


Gay News

PERFORMANCE 'Moonset Sunrise' at Navy Pier on June 16 and 18 2022-06-15
- Collaboraction announced that Moonset Sunrise, its 25th-anniversary production, with live performances on June 16 and 18 at 7:30 p.m. at Beat Kitchen's new Bar Sol on Navy Pier, 700 E. Grand Ave. Through healing ritual, storytelling, ...


Gay News

Queer-themed plays win Tonys; Hudson reaches EGOT status 2022-06-13
- On June 12, the 75th annual Tony Awards were held to honor the top performances from the theater industry. The event—hosted by LGBTQ+ Oscar winner/Tony nominee Ariana DeBose at New York City's Radio City Music Hall—followed ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Jodie Comer, 'Queer As Folk,' trans film, Tom of Finland photos 2022-06-12
- Jodie Comer—the Emmy- and BAFTA-winning actress perhaps best known for playing LGBTQ+ assassin Villanelle on BBC America's Killing Eve—will make her Broadway debut next spring in Prima Facie, a new play by Suzie Miller, Deadline noted. ...


Gay News

Theo Ubique marks 25th-anniversary season with four musicals 2022-06-11
-- From a press release - CHICAGO (JUNE 10, 2022) Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre's Artistic Director Fred Anzevino and Managing/Casting Director Christopher Pazdernik announced the 25th Anniversary season today with four musicals including a Midwest Premiere ...


Gay News

Strawdog Theatre announces new managing director and production manager 2022-06-10
- Strawdog Theatre Company announced the appointments of Paul Cook (he/him) as its new managing director and Donna "Dante" Gary (they/them) as its new production manager. Cook has been the production manager at Strawdog since 2019 and ...


Gay News

TRAVEL Chicago theater blooms outside and out of town 2022-06-08
- Chicago Shakespeare Theater is keeping its show docked at its Navy Pier facility and Oak Brook's First Folio Theatre is taking the summer off before re-commencing in the fall, but playgoers eager to swap the urban ...


Gay News

Drama Desk Awards to be presented June 14 in NYC 2022-06-08
-- From a press release - Winners for the 66th Annual Drama Desk Awards were announced today. This year's Drama Desk Awards will take place at Sardi's Restaurant (234 W 44th Street) on Tuesday, June 14, 3-6 p.m. The full list of ...


Gay News

Theater Wit to run 'Hurricane Diane' starting June 17 2022-06-03
- Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., will run Hurricane Diane on June 17-July 31. Hurricane Diane is described as "a hilarious whirlwind of a play about a butch lesbian gardener who just might be the Greek ...


 



Copyright © 2022 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
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
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     
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.