Pictured From Camp.
Limited runs and special events:
@ Big Wig, 1551 W. Division, (773) 235-9100: Babylonian Carnival – benefit for the 23rd Annual Women in the Director's Chair International Film & Video Festival - Feb. 29
@ Chicago Filmmakers, 5243 N. Clark, (773) 293-1447: Star Spangled To Death – Feb. 21, 22, 28 & 29, Mar. 6, 7; Third Party: Political Alternatives in the Age of Duopoly - Mar. 13; Speaking Of...: Recent Video by Jacqueline Goss (Jacqueline Goss in person) – Mar. 27
@ Gerber/Hart Library, 1127 W. Granville, (773) 381-8030: Queersploitation - monthly film series viewing and examining the treatment of homosexuality in some exploitation films of the '70s and '80s. Satan's Children – Mar. 11; Nightmare on ElmStreet 2 – Apr. 8; City in Panic – May 13; Cinema Lesbiana - Feature TBA – Feb. 27
@ Northwestern University Block Cinema, 40 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, (847) 491-4000: Dersu Uzala – Feb. 20; Laugh, Clown, Laugh – Feb. 21; Kagemusha – Feb. 27; Yi Yi – Mar. 3; Night and the City – Mar. 4; Ran – Mar. 5; What Time Is It There? – Mar. 10; Salt of the Earth – Mar. 11; Dreams – Mar. 12
@ University of Chicago/Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th St., (773) 702-5271: Brother Outsider: the Life of Bayard Rustin: According to one of the voiceovers at the beginning of Nancy Kates and Bennet Singer's documentary about the late Bayard Rustin, 'Bayard liked to cause trouble. He caused trouble in very banal and everyday ways.' Another voiceover declares that the 'modern civil-rights movement wouldn't have won half its victories without Bayard Rustin.' Born in 1912 in West Chester, PA, Rustin went on to become not only a force in civil rights but also in the realm of the gay and lesbian rights movement, and this excellent documentary presents a much-needed visual record of Rustin's life and achievements. Loaded with interviews and period footage, tracing Rustin's beginnings as a singer in late 1930s Harlem through his fearless work as a non-violent pacifist and war objector through his interactions with male partners including Davis Platt and Walter Naegle, and ultimately his involvement with Dr. Martin Luther King's causes, and, of course, the historic March on Washington. Brother Outsider allows the viewer to feel like an insider until the credits roll. - Feb. 21
Welcome To Mooseport (20th Century Fox) – Ray Romano and Gene Hackman play two men running for the position of Mayor of Mooseport, Maine.
The Dreamers (Fox Searchlight): Set against the backdrop of the political and social unrest of the late 1960s, Bernardo Bertolucci's latest tango in Paris involves a ménage a trois between American student and film fanatic Matthew (Michael Pitt) and unnaturally close brother and sister Isabelle (Eva Green) and Theo (Louis Garrel). The trio's bond extends beyond the cinematheque to the apartment where the siblings live with their British mother (Anna Chancellor) and French poet father (Robin Renucci). Matthew is invited to be a guest while their parents are away on holiday, and as you might expect, all sorts of sexual situations present themselves. The Dreamers more than earns its NC-17 rating with scenes of graphic sexuality and nudity, as well as brazen suggestions of incest. There are even homoerotic elements, including a scene in which Matthew and Theo share a bath. However, there is more to The Dreamers than Bertolucci's predilection for unusual sexuality (see 1979's Luna). The film's secondary love affair is with the cinema, and Bertolucci weaves multiple references to and clips of classic films into the feature. He also offers a nod to the revolutionary spirit of the country and the time. (B+)
Camp (IFC Films/MGM) - What Fame did for performing arts high schools, Camp is destined to do for performing arts summer camps. A crew of mostly lovable theater jocks board a bus and are whisked off to Camp Ovation, a land where they can sing show tunes and be themselves. Among the campers you will find 'honest to god straight' but flirty OCD stud Vlad (Daniel Letterle), virginal but ready Ellen (Joanna Chilcoat), high school drag queen Michael (the openly bisexual Robin de Jesus), big-boned belter Jenna (Tiffany Taylor), deserving diva Dee (Sasha Allen), camp tramp Jill (Alana Allen), and borderline All About Eve psycho Fritzie (Anna Kendrick), among others. While at Camp Ovation, in between classes, auditions, rehearsals and productions, crushes happen, hearts are broken and spirits are trampled, then lifted. Even an adult, such as once-successful playwright Bert Hanley (singer/songwriter and record producer Don Dixon), who now drowns his failure in alcohol, can be transformed at Camp Ovation. Sweet as s'mores and warm as a campfire, Camp can occasionally be as annoying as a mosquito (the unrequited sexual tension between Michael and Vlad), but on the whole it is very entertaining. Watch for musical theater legend Stephen Sondheim's appearance. The DVD's special features include a live cast performance of the song 'How Shall I See You Through My Tears' from the closing night of the 2003 Los Angeles Film Festival, deleted scenes and a brief documentary about the making of Camp featuring interviews with writer/producer/director Todd Graff and cast members, among others. (B+)
On_Line (Indican/Wolfe Video) - The web-cam meets the digital camera in Jed Weintrob's explicit, if predictable, tale of love and lust on-line. A year after splitting up with his girlfriend, John (Josh Hamilton of Urbania) and his roommate Moe (Harold Perrineau Jr), are running a successful adult Web site. Among their clients are sex kitten Jordan (Vanessa Ferlito) and gay role player Al (artist John Fleck). In addition to being electronic erotica entrepreneurs, John and Moe find the time to fall in love—John with Jordan, Moe with suicidal bartender Moira (Isabel Gillies)—and change partners for a different dance. The most fascinating internet infatuation occurs between Al and gay college student Ed (played by openly gay actor Eric Millegan), making On_Line a movie worth logging on to. The DVD includes technical and artistic commentaries, 'The Making of On-Line,' and much more. (C)
Thirteen (20th Century Fox/Fox Searchlight) – Thirteen, the writing and directing debut of renowned production designer Catherine Hardwicke, hits like growing pains. Co-written with teenager Nikki Reed, Thirteen follows the fast and furious evolution of Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood) from good girl to aerosol huffing, tongue piercing, back-talking troubled teen, and the impact that her radical transformation has on her family, led by single mom Melanie (Holly Hunter). Four months before meeting Evie (co-screenwriter Nikki Reed), Tracy was a sensitive, naïve, poetry writing adolescent. But when she sees the reactions that Evie gets from the boys at school, including Tracy's brother Mason (Brady Corbett), all of whom agree that she 'grew up over the summer,' Tracy finds herself falling under Evie's spell. Next thing you know, Tracy is shoplifting on Melrose Avenue with Evie and her crew; she's getting high, failing school, and having sex. All of which causes Melanie, who works as a home-hairdresser and is struggling with sobriety herself, no end of worry and grief. However, even Melanie finds herself charmed by the seductive, but pathological Evie, who is sort of an 'Evie Haskell.' Meanwhile, the more Tracy spirals downward and her world unravels, the more it seems to fuel her self-destructive streak, which includes cutting. The ambiguous ending, following Evie's ultimate betrayal of Tracy and the dramatic showdown that ensues, was a little more open-ended than one might expect, but the trio of lead actress (Hunter, Wood and Reed) are so compelling, that it's hard to find too much fault with this film. The DVD includes both widescreen and full-screen versions, as well as deleted scenes, audio commentary and a 'making of' featurette, among other things. (B+)
The Trip (TLA Releasing) – A well-intentioned, but predictable journey through contemporary gay life that unfolds like a well-worn road map, The Trip is redeemed by the endearing performances by the two male leads, Steve Braun (Tommy) and Larry Sullivan (Alan), who give these characters more depth than was provided by the script. Even though the movie veers off in a Gregg Araki-like direction towards the end, you can't help but root for both of these men. Tommy, a young gay-rights activist, and Alan, a naïve young Republican who is researching a book on the 'homosexual lifestyle through the ages,' meet in 1973. Peter (Ray Baker), an older, closeted, but well-connected gay man who is interested in Alan offers to help him find a publisher for his book. Alan's life takes an unexpected turn as he begins a romantic relationship with Tommy, and he soon wants to abandon the book. Fast forward to 1977, when Anita Bryant is leading her anti-gay crusade, and Alan's publisher anonymously publishes the long-shelved manuscript, The Straight Truth. Peter, who is jealous of Tommy and Alan's relationship, sabotages the couple by anonymously alerting the media to Alan's connection to the book. Tommy leaves Alan, sending Alan into Peter's arms for comfort. Fast forward, again, to 1984. Alan, who is making amends to the gay community as an activist, is living with the still-closeted Peter. Tommy, who has AIDS, is living in Mexico. Beverly (Sirena Irwin), Alan's ex-girlfriend who has become a successful fitness guru, teams up with Alan's mother Mary (Jill St. John) to convince him to go to Mexico to see Tommy before he dies, and the road trip begins. The DVD includes, director and cast commentary, deleted scenes, bloopers and the behind the scenes featurette 'Off Their Knees and Out Of The Bushes.' (B-)
Cinemax: Reel Life – Horns And Halos - Celebrity biographer and science-fiction writer J. H. (James) Hatfield set out to write a 'horns and halos' biography of George W. Bush and got much more than he bargained for. Recalled in 1999, shortly after it was first published by St. Martin's Press, Hatfield's contentious book Fortunate Son, which revealed scandalous information about its subject, and featured questionable sources, received a second chance from 'left of center, punk rock' publishing house Soft Skull Press in 2001. By that time, the damage to Hatfield had already been done. Lawsuits and newspaper stories about his felonious past began to take their toll, resulting in Hatfield's suicide in July of that year, leaving behind his wife and young daughter. In addition to Hatfield, Horns And Halos also profiles publisher/musician/janitor Sander Hicks, founder of Soft Skull Press and his political crusade. This controversial and fascinating documentary was co-directed by Michael Galinsky and Suki Hawley. (B) – Feb. 18
Sundance Channel (check local listings for times) – The Crying Game – Feb. 18, 22 & 27; Fire – Feb. 20 & 24; Big Eden – Feb. 20, 25 & 28; The Rainbow – Feb. 21; The Gift – Feb. 22; Hell House – Feb. 23 & 29; My Beautiful Laundrette – Feb. 24 & 28; Aimee & Jaguar – Feb. 25; Don't You Worry, It Will Probably Pass – Feb. 26