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The Fog of Desire

The Fog of Desire

BY GARY M. KRAMER | “Spa Night” is a complex, quietly powerful drama about ethnicity and gay identity, written and directed by Andrew Ahn. David (Joe Seo) is a shy, closeted young man who lives in LA’s Koreatown with his father Jin (Youn Ho Cho), and his mother Soyoung (Haerry Kim). When Jin loses the family […]

A Mother’s Voice Eclipsed

A Mother’s Voice Eclipsed

BY STEVE ERICKSON | For her first feature, actor/ writer/ director Natalie Portman took on a very ambitious project. Working in Israel, she adapted the childhood memoir of Amos Oz, an author often seen as the conscience of liberal Zionism. While Portman takes a large acting role in “A Tale of Love and Darkness,” playing Amos’ […]

A Stale Immigrant Narrative

A Stale Immigrant Narrative

BY STEVE ERICKSON | In the “Musings” blog, critic Ryan Wu recently pondered why there have been so many films about the white immigrant experience and so few about Latino or Asian immigrants. He came to the conclusion that a film like “The Namesake” is expected to speak for all Asian immigrants, while “The Immigrant,” despite […]

The Last Picture Show

The Last Picture Show

BY STEVE ERICKSON | The appeal of Kurt Vincent’s documentary “The  Lost Arcade,” a eulogy for Manhattan’s video arcade Chinatown Fair, might seem limited to gamers and people who grew up in the ‘80s. However, Vincent manages to speak to the ways New York has changed thanks to gentrification — and not for the better. […]

Finding Ourselves in Another

Finding Ourselves in Another

BY GARY M. KRAMER | In writer/ director Ray Yeung’s fabulous “Front Cover,” Ryan (the charming Jake Choi) is an American-born Chinese fashion stylist who is proud of being gay, but feels ashamed about being Asian. He is assigned to work with Ning (the sexy James Chen), a proud Chinese actor promoting his new film in […]

Finding Something Close to Adulthood

Finding Something Close to Adulthood

BY MICHAEL SHIREY | “So, is it good to be back?” That’s the very self-aware opening line of HBO’s “Looking: The Movie,” addressed as much to the audience as it is to the show’s main character, Patrick (Jonathan Groff). “Looking: The Movie” is the final installment of HBO’s troubled series about three gay men living in […]

Boys’ Life

Boys’ Life

BY GARY M. KRAMER | “Little Men” is out gay filmmaker Ira Sachs’ sly, gentle comedy of manners. Not unlike his last film, “Love Is Strange,” this new drama deals with New York real estate, and like his first film, “The Delta,” it depicts the bonds that develop between two very different young men. Brian (Greg […]

When Home Is No Sanctuary

When Home Is No Sanctuary

BY GARY M. KRAMER | Lesbian writer and director Patricia Rozema’s “Into the Forest” is an intense apocalyptic drama adapted from Jean Hegland’s celebrated novel. In the near future, two sisters, Nell (Ellen Page) and Eva (Evan Rachel Wood), are forced to survive during a lengthy power outage while holed up in their family home […]

When Feelin’ Good Was Easy

When Feelin’ Good Was Easy

BY STEVE ERICKSON | Even the best films about lesbians directed by men, such as Robert Aldrich’s “The Killing of Sister George” and David Lynch’s “Mulholland Drive,” tend to end unhappily, if not tragically. A new French film directed by a lesbian, Catherine Corsini’s “Summertime,” both follows this pattern and subverts it. It might be the […]

Nature Under Surveillance

Nature Under Surveillance

BY STEVE ERICKSON | For far too long, the uncanny has been missing from American independent cinema. It has a long and venerable tradition in our literature, from Edgar Allan Poe and H. P. Lovecraft to Thomas Ligotti and lesbian transgender author Caitlin Kiernan. But while indie horror films continue to be made, something as weird […]

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