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 2022-03-16
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Knight at the Movies: The Road; film notes
by Richard Knight, Jr.
2009-11-25

This article shared 4087 times since Wed Nov 25, 2009
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


When the world goes boom, I want Viggo Mortensen to be my dad. Who's better to keep your spirits up in the hideous post-apocalyptic afterlife, as pictured in John Hillcoat's The Road, the adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy epic-length tome? Mortensen, as always, brings grave dimension and inner grace to an Everyman part he's mastered. This is perhaps the greatest of those roles. ( He's simply identified as The Father. ) Mortensen—who, in playing heroes light and dark, has effortlessly come to embody the best of Us—is soft spoken, loyal to a fault, brainy, literate, artistic, hunky, sensual, athletic and strong; he's the ultimate ideal of what a male heterosexual should be. The ladies and the gay men love him and pretty much everyone else does, too. I bet the guy even turns off his cell phone in movie theaters.

In The Road, Viggo's character the Father has one goal—to deliver his son ( newcomer Kodi Smit-McPhee ) and himself to the seashore and, presumably, safety. Along the way, in this road movie that's really an anti-road movie, the duo will be tested by the dregs of humanity ( Cannibals! Murderers! Thieves! ) ; diminished by their quest for survival ( no medicine, little food ) ; and, for the Father, the haunted memories of life before the Big Boom with gorgeous, piano-playing Mother ( a terse Charlize Theron playing the realist to Mortensen's dream talker ) who is no longer on the scene.

Looking like a homeless pair, wandering through the ashes of the post-industrial world ( the film's eye-popping visuals are stunning but depressing ) , the Father does his best to instill hope and courage in the Son. "Keep carrying the fire inside you" he urges.

The film roams from episode to episode but never really seems to get anywhere. Part of this is because the kid—all big, wet eyes; pouty lower lip; and skittishness—doesn't seem to have learned much about survival, and the Father's overprotectiveness and anxiety become overwhelming. ( Plus, he starts getting sick. ) When the pair are reduced to putting their belongings in a cart, the kid can't even help pull it along.

So there's Mortensen, bearded and dressed in rags, pulling that damn cart—literally becoming Father Courage—a vivid anti-war symbol as surely as Brecht's famous heroine. The quest for spiritual fulfillment, inherent in the material and the lessons in the simplistic homilies imparted from Father to Son, the urge to apply metaphor to the miserable wasteland all fall into place for the audience with this image. Momentarily, one is moved but then you think, "Why can't the kid help him a little? Why is he whining!?!"

As the pair near their destination, the Father has worn himself out emotionally and physically, and the audience has been guided to transfer their identity from him to the kid, who has taken the dad's innate morality to heart. It's a noble effort on the part of the writer, as is the end, which, to put it kindly, is way too pat but underlines the father's "carry the fire" mantra.

With all that bleakness in that post-apocalyptic nightmare, you gotta give us hope and a chance at redemption, the audience insists—and, phony as that message might be ( or not, depending on your own inner mantra ) , The Road delivers on that promise.

Film notes:

—Hannah Free is back by popular demand Nov. 27-Dec. 3 at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State. One of the exceedingly rare lesbian-themed movies to get a feature release, Hannah Free, based on Claudia Allen's award-winning play and starring Sharon Gless in a commanding performance, the movie was shot in Chicago ( primarily at the home of Windy City Times Publisher Tracy Baim, who also executive-produced ) by a mostly female cast and crew. This is yet another opportunity to see Gless give a bravura performance in this moving personal lesbian romantic drama. See www.siskelfilmcenter.org or www.HannahFree.com .

—Get out your nun's habits, girls! It's time for the Music Box's annual Thanksgiving weekend treat—the return of Sing-A-Long Sound of Music. For the fifth year audiences will have the fun of watching the Rogers & Hammerstein musical classic ( 1965's Best Picture Oscar winner ) with Julie Andrews as Maria, the kindly singing nun-turned-nanny-turned-Baroness Von Trapp who flees the Nazis along with her chirping stepkids and stern but loving husband, Christopher Plummer as the baron. Costumes—including those made out of chintz drapes—are encouraged ( and, yes, there will be a costume contest and goodie bags for audience members as well ) . It plays Nov. 27-29, and advance tickets are available; see www.musicboxtheatre.com .

—Queer writer-director Todd Haynes, who helped kick start the new queer cinema movement with his controversial film Poison, has gone to create one fascinating genre-based movie after another. I think that Far From Heaven, his 2002 homage to Douglas Sirk's 1950s melodrama All That Heaven Allows, is his best work and should have gotten Julianne Moore a Best Actress Oscar. Moore plays the strapped in, upper-crust suburban wife of advertising executive Dennis Quaid, who is struggling with his homosexual urges. Enter a handsome African-American gardener ( played with great subtlety by Dennis Haysbert ) into this tale of stifled life in the burbs, '50s style, along with a host of wonderful supporting actors headed by the miraculous Patricia Clarkson—and you've got the elements of what I think are a genuine American classic; it's certainly in the queer top 10. The film's authentically recreated period sets and costumes, Edward Lachman's gorgeous cinematography and Elmer Bernstein's pitch-perfect final score ( dripping with pathos and heavy on the strings ) add to the powerful spell of this movie. An archival print will be shown. It creens Tuesday, Dec. 1, at 6 p.m. at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State; see www.siskelfilmcenter.org .

—Fish Out of Water, Ky Dickens' entertaining and insightful documentary that takes on—and debunks—the seven Biblical passages that have often been interpreted as condemning homosexuality, will screen on Wed., Dec. 2, at Columbia College's Film Row Cinema, 1104 S. Wabash, at 7:30 p.m. Dickens, a local filmmaker who participated in the lively New Queer Cinema panel discussion as part of Reeling, and her crew will be present for a post-screening discussion. Fish Out of Water was Reeling's documentary centerpiece screening, and sold out the Music Box during the fest. This return engagement is a rare opportunity to catch the film on the big screen and—best—it's free! Call 312-369-8829 or visit www.colum.edu/criticalencounters.

Check out my archived reviews at www.windycitytimes.com or www.knightatthemovies.com . Readers can leave feedback at the latter Web site.


This article shared 4087 times since Wed Nov 25, 2009
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

MOVIES 'George Michael: Freedom Uncut' to be released June 22 2022-05-24
- Sony Music Entertainment and Trafalgar Releasing will release the movie George Michael: Freedom Uncut as a global event on Wed., June 22—and it's fitting that the documentary about the late gay singer will air during Pride ...


Gay News

Actor/model David Pevsner challenges age and body stereotypes in recent book 2022-05-24
- When writing his recent book—Damn Shame: Desire, Defiance and Show Tunes—actor/model/filmmaker David Pevsner noticed three themes coming to the fore: body shame, sexuality and ageism. "All three of those are ...


Gay News

Siskel to show 'Judy Garland Summer Centennial Retrospective' 2022-05-23
- This June and July, the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St., will celebrate Judy Garland to mark the 100th anniversary of her birth (June 10, 1922). The Judy Garland Summer Centennial Retrospective will involve ...


Gay News

Five Worth Finding: Chocolate festival, lesbian sci-fi film, 'Smahtguy' 2022-05-16
- —The Long Grove Chocolate Festival: The beloved Chocolate Festival will return to the historic streets and parkways of downtown Long Grove for the first time in three years, May 20-22. Chocolate lovers can experience so much—including ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Queer playwright, LGBTQ+ films, BMI Pop Awards, new superhero 2022-05-15
- Jeremy O. Harris, the queer Tony-nominated author of Slave Play, has been named the presiding playwright for the 2023 Yale Drama Series Prize—one of the theater world's most prestigious playwriting honors, Deadline noted. Harris joins the ...


Gay News

TV Writer Joel Kim Booster, director Andrew Ahn take a trip to 'Fire Island' 2022-05-15
- Based on the classic Jane Austen book Pride and Prejudice, the new Fox Searchlight film Fire Island has an important story to tell LGBTQ+ audiences specifically. In that story, there are plenty of laughs along the ...


Gay News

Peacock to debut horror film 'They/Them' on Aug. 5 2022-05-12
- Peacock announced that its new original film They/Them (pronounced "They-slash-Them), from Blumhouse will premiere Friday, Aug. 5. The LGBTQIA+ horror film, formerly known as Whistler Camp, is a queer empowerment story ...


Gay News

FILM 'The Adventures of Priscilla' to show nationwide on June 2 2022-05-11
- Iconic Events Releasing will kick off Pride Month with a special nationwide rerelease of MGM's classic 1994 Australian film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Screenings will take place in select theaters nationwide on ...


Gay News

COMEDY Netflix holds 'Stand Out: An LGBTQ+ Celebration' 2022-05-09
- On May 7, Billy Eichner hosted Netflix Is A Joke: The Festival's "Stand Out: An LGBTQ+ Celebration" at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. The historic celebration featured LGBTQ+ comedy legends and emerging talent. Highlights included ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Hacks,' 'Love, Victor,' Indy 500, Ariana DeBose, queer singers 2022-05-08
- Queer, non-binary actor Carl Clemons-Hopkins (they/them and he/him) told Out Magazine he is elated with the warm reception received by the show Hacks and his character. "When I started in this years and years ago, there ...


Gay News

Members of the Jane Collective abortion underground to reunite for 'The Janes' screening May 19 2022-05-05
-- From a press release - CHICAGO, Illinois — In the wake of the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion set to overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Doc10 today announced that original Jane Collective members will reunite for the ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Broadway Rising,' Webby Awards, 'Kinky Boots,' Tom Ford 2022-05-01
- The upcoming documentary Broadway Rising will have its world premiere on June 13 at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival, Playbill noted. The documentary follows theater subjects—ranging from stage doorman to actors—on their journeys back to the ...


Gay News

DeGeneres shares message after taping final talk-show episode 2022-04-30
- An era has ended as The Ellen Show has officially wrapped its last episode. According to Variety, Ellen DeGeneres announced on an April 29 Twitter thread that her daytime talk show concluded filming its final episode. ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Lily Tomlin, 'The Color Purple,' Walter Mercado, Janelle Monae, Loki 2022-04-24
Video below - In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, legendary actress/comedian Lily Tomlin discussed a variety of topics, including comedy and the Oscars. About the Academy Awards, she said, "I sometimes think they shouldn't be able to tread ...


Gay News

Billy Masters 2022-04-18
- "I'd never done that before—on camera, at least. … I don't think."—Harry Styles discussed shooting sex scenes for his upcoming movie My Policeman (with both Emma Corrin and David Dawson) and Don't Worry Darling (wit ...


 



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.