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 2021-06-09
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Knight at the Movies: Valentino; I Love You, Man; Film note
by Richard Knight, Jr.
2009-03-25

This article shared 6502 times since Wed Mar 25, 2009
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


A peek inside an unimaginably lavish lifestyle, a rare insider's look at the world of haute couture, a thoughtful depiction of a fashion doyenne par excellence, and—overriding everything else—an enduring, endearing portrait of two men entering their fifth decade as business partners and as a couple. That's Valentino: The Last Emperor, the impressive documentary portrait by Vanity Fair special correspondent Matt Tyrnauer, who makes his directorial debut with this marvelously entertaining film.

The openly gay Tyrnauer's movie follows Italian fashion designer Valentino and his longtime business and life partner, Giancarlo Giammetti, as they work in tandem on what turned out to be the designer's last two collections. Given unprecedented access to the elusive Valentino, Tyrnauer and his team capture a genius at work sketching and kvetching ( constantly ) while his partner handles the details of Valentino's business and runway shows. Ensconced in a lavish bubble, traveling by private Lear jet with their six pugs between a chateau in Paris, an Italian villa in Rome, a ski chalet in Gstaad and a luxurious yacht, the sumptuousness of their lifestyle provides the movie with enough visual eye candy for a dozen films. But the settings are simply stage sets for an intimate look at a couple who have longed learned to take the trappings for granted. The focus is on creating a shared vision of something beautiful ( and in Valentino's clothes, beauty becomes tangible ) .

As we follow Valentino through his last two years of designing and Giammetti working behind the scenes—from the spring/summer collection of 2006 to the star-studded 45th-anniversary celebration that capped his career—we get a lovely sense of the dynamics of the relationship between the two ( which dates back to 1960 ) . Valentino, it quickly becomes obvious, is used to having the final say on everything, and these two micromanagers gently disagree on many things. At one point Giammetti mutters to the camera under his breath, "It gets worse every day," but then when Valentino receives the Legion of Honor he finishes his speech with a very moving—and public—tribute to Giammetti. Tyrnauer cuts back and forth between the two men, each in tears and it's not just a very moving moment: It's the emotional peak of the film.

The film then moves on to the opulent July 2007 celebration festivities and focuses on whether Valentino will continue to design. At 75 with his contract expiring, the bottom line has changed—couture is no longer as in demand and few can afford $100,000 hand-stitched dresses. It's the ancillary products, with their lucrative licensing fees, that have long become more important to the bottom line. When Karl Lagerfeld, walking hand in hand with Valentino during the celebration, gazes upon a retrospective of Valentino gowns and comments, "Compared to us, the rest are making rugs," you realize he's right and a sadness momentarily hangs over the celebration.

But unlike the icy Lagerfeld, who didn't give off much in his insider documentary, Lagerfeld Confidential ( a fascinating counterpart to this movie ) , Tyrnauer pulls off the delightful feat of humanizing the designer and his counterpart. Artistic genius and business acumen aside, in bringing the relationship of the two men front and center Valentino: The Last Emperor has given the world—and LGBT audiences in particular—a beautifully observed portrait of a gay power couple that is as entertaining as it is illuminating.

I Love You, Man—the likeable comedy that stars pudgy, sweet-faced Paul Rudd and the easygoing Jason Segel—continues the new, enlightened direction that "guy" movies have been taking as of late. These movies have now passed the "dude don't touch me faggot" phase and have instead taken to heart the importance of male bonding without all the dreary sexual hang-ups. I love that the term "bromance" has entered the lexicon, and here is yet another comedy that says its okay for straight guys to get cozy and intimate with one another. And they won't lose an ounce of testosterone if they admit to liking a hardcore chick flick like Chocolat. That's just one of the funny gags in I Love You, Man, a movie that's sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Everyone in the movie—a batch of crude talkers—is a master/mistress of snark ( especially the ladies, who trash talk like grown-up versions of the Heathers ) . Everyone that is except Rudd, who does his best to be hip but can't quite join the cynical parade of humanity around him. Andy Samberg plays his gay younger brother, a gym trainer with a thing for straight guys and the dad, played by J.K. Simmons, affirms that Andy's his best friend; the gay character is again shown as an example for the straight ones to look up to and emulate ( another trend that's quite heartening to see ) .

The plot revolves around Rudd, who only has women friends, trying to find a best man for his impending nuptials. By chance he meets up with Segel, and the two improbably become best buds. ( Their bonding over the arena-rock group Rush is hilarious. ) With all the characters spewing snark left and right, the movie really brightens considerably when Segel enters the picture. He's a big, shambling guy—one of those guys who's completely comfortable in his own skin; he's so laid-back and cool you can't help but like him.

Though the comedy bits in the movie are rather hit-or-miss ( relying too heavily on Rudd's unfailing ability to get laughs with his nerdish line readings ) , the relationship between the two friends is enough to put I Love You, Man in the plus column.

Film note:

On Saturday, March 27, at 7 p.m., Chicago Filmmakers, 5243 N. Clark, will present the Chicago premiere of State Legislature, the latest film from master documentarian Frederick Wiseman. Wiseman, who has chronicled everything from department stores to high schools—and first came to prominence 40 years ago with his exposure of horrid conditions in a mental hospital in Titicut Follies—presents his often-lengthy films ( this one's three and a half hours ) without narration or comment. ( Think C-SPAN with much more judicious cutting. ) State Legislature sounds like classic Wiseman—a bird's-eye view of Idaho lawmakers at work on a myriad of social issues. www.chicagofilmmakers.org

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 6502 times since Wed Mar 25, 2009
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

Chicago Filmmakers awards $100,000 to local social injustice digital media projects 2021-07-20
--From a press release - (July 20, 2021 — Chicago, IL) Chicago Filmmakers is pleased to announce that the Chicago Digital Media Production Fund (CDMPF) has awarded a total of $100,000 in grants to eight Chicago artists for the production of ...


Gay News

Billy Masters 2021-07-19
- "No excuses—I messed up. I'm a big sports fan. I'm like the guy at the end of the game who misses a free throw or a kick."—Spike Lee explains why he prematurely announced the winner of ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Ben Whishaw, non-binary actor, Cardi B, Obama, 'Grease' prequel 2021-07-18
- Out actor Ben Whishaw stars in the film Surge, which will debut Sept. 24 and On Demand, a press release announced. Whishaw portrays Joseph, who is trapped in a soulless job, living a life devoid of ...


Gay News

GLAAD Studio Responsibility Index shows more LGBTQ character screen time, not so for trans 2021-07-15
--From a press release - Los Angeles, CA - Thursday, July 15, 2021 - GLAAD, the world's largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, today released its ninth annual Studio Responsibility Index (SRI), a study that maps the quantity, quality, and diversity of ...


Gay News

MOVIES 'In the Heights' available as soon as July 30 2021-07-14
- The 2021 musical film In the Heights will arrive on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD on Aug. 31. However, it will arrive for Premium Digital Ownership at home on July 30. The film is directed by Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians) ...


Gay News

Local film about Latinx community and COVID to screen July 22 2021-07-12
- On Thursday, July 22, at 6 p.m., the Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark St., will host a screening of the film Seguimos Aqui. This documentary tells four unique stories of the impact of COVID on ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Pray Away,' film contest, LGBTQ book, musicians, 'Star Trek' 2021-07-11
- The new Netflix Original Documentary Pray Away, from executive producers Ryan Murphy and Jason Blum, will make its global launch on the platform Aug. 3, a press release noted. In the film, former leaders of the ...


Gay News

AIDS ballet movie coming to Chicago on July 16 2021-07-07
- The movie Can You Bring It: Bill T. Jones and D-Man in the Waters will open Friday, July 16, in virtual cinemas in Chicago at Gene Siskel Film Center and Music Box Theatre. "Can You Bring It"—co-directed by Rosalynde LeBlanc and ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Hedwig,' Oscars, Demi Lovato, GLAAD, Stevie Nicks 2021-07-04
- Following 2019's sold-out, three-night engagement at The Town Hall in New York City (and several postponements in 2020), Hedwig and the Angry Inch co-creators John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask are returning with a rock spectacle ...


Gay News

MOVIES 'Truman & Tennessee' opening July 2 at Music Box 2021-06-23
- The film Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation will open Friday, July 2, in physical and virtual theater in Chicago at Music Box Theatre. Actors Zachary Quinto and Jim Parsons make voiceover contributions in the film ...


Gay News

MUSIC 'Miley Cyrus Presents Stand by You' airing June 25 2021-06-18
- Peacock announced that the concert event Miley Cyrus Presents Stand by You will stream Friday, June 25 in celebration of Pride Month. The hour-long concert event, filmed in Nashville, will feature multi-platinum recording artist, songwriter and ...


Gay News

Sisters in Cinema presents Sister Outsider Juneteenth Celebration 2021-06-16
--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 inviting all to participate in their inaugural Sister Outsider: Juneteenth Celebration on Saturday, June ...


Gay News

Music Box showing LGBTQ movie 'Summer of '85' on June 25 2021-06-16
- Music Box Theatre & Music Box Films, 3733 N. Southport Ave., will present out gay writer/director Francois Ozon's French love story Summer of '85, theatrically in 35mm, on Friday, June 25. Adapted by Ozon from Aidan ...


Gay News

Siskel Film Center to reopen Aug. 6 2021-06-16
- After closing its doors March 14, 2020 due to COVID-19, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago's (SAIC) Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St., will reopen for in-person screenings Friday, Aug. 6. With ...


Gay News

Seb throws Carlos a quinceanero on 'High School Musical: The Musical: The Series' 2021-06-10
- High School Musical: The Musical: The Series is a streaming television show on Disney+ inspired by—you guessed it!—the High School Musical film series. It is set in East High School and has a unique storyline with ...


 



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.