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Public Intellectuals Rolling Around in the Dirt  

Public Intellectuals Rolling Around in the Dirt  

BY GARY M. KRAMER | The entertaining and engaging documentary “Best of Enemies” presents the 10 famous televised debates between Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley, Jr., during the 1968 presidential nominating conventions. Directors Morgan Neville (“20 Feet from Stardom”) and Robert Gordon show how these compulsively watchable arguments “changed television forever.” They provide astute portraits […]

The Inimitable Soph

The Inimitable Soph

BY DAVID NOH | From birth to age 18, a girl needs good parents. From 18 to 35, she needs good looks. From 35 to 55, she needs a good personality. From 55 on, she needs good cash.” There were show biz originals, and then there was Sophie Tucker (1887-1966). Porcine-faced and decidedly stout, Tucker was, […]

It’s More Than Just Power Corrupting 

It’s More Than Just Power Corrupting 

BY GARY M. KRAMER | “The Stanford Prison Experiment” is gay filmmaker Kyle Patrick Alvarez’s take on a 1971 study conducted at the northern California university designed to observe the effects of incarceration on the behavior of both inmates and their keepers. Dr. Philip Zimbardo divided 24 male students into prisoner and guard roles in […]

What Brutality Does Not Crush  

What Brutality Does Not Crush  

BY STEVE ERICKSON | The world of Joshua Oppenheimer’s previous film, “The Act of Killing,” was a moral black hole — and not a safely fictional construct. Oppenheimer invited the murderers of Indonesian “communists” — a blanket term for anyone the government, installed by a 1965 military coup, disliked — to make films dramatizing their experiences, […]

A Peak at India through its Courtrooms  

A Peak at India through its Courtrooms  

BY STEVE ERICKSON | Sometimes, less is more. Earlier this year, the Israeli film “Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem” offered a minimalist look inside that country’s divorce courts, which are governed by conservative Orthodox Jews. It didn’t try to “open up” its story. Indian director Chaitanya Tamhane’s “Court” offers a riveting glimpse inside his country’s […]

Aiming for Realness on LA’s Gritty Streets  

Aiming for Realness on LA’s Gritty Streets  

BY GARY M. KRAMER | Tangerine,” Sean Baker’s funky little comedy — shot entirely on an iPhone — is full of dram-ah as motor-mouthed transgender sex worker Sin-dee (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) finds out from her BFF Alexandra (Mya Taylor) that her boyfriend Chester (James Ransone) has been cheating on her while she’s been in jail. As […]

Well, Do I?

Well, Do I?

BY GARY M. KRAMER | Filmmaker David Thorpe thinks he “sounds gay.” So he made a documentary “Do I Sound Gay?” that chronicles him hiring speech and voice coaches to help him lose his sibilant S, gain confidence, and get rid of what he sees as his vocal effeminateness. His film nimbly chronicles this mission, […]

Ellen’s Back  

Ellen’s Back  

BY DAVID NOH | Real theater comebacks — the kind that incite an electric buzz of anticipation and, when truly triumphant in performance, drive an enslaved audience mad — are rare, indeed. But the long-unseen Ellen Greene, who just recreated her role of Audrey, the hapless but heartbreakingly irresistible heroine of “Little Shop of Horrors,” truly […]

Memories of Madeline  

Memories of Madeline  

BY DAVID NOH | From “Young Frankenstein”: “Penny for your thoughts… Oh… Where you going?… Oh, you men are all alike. Seven or eight quick ones and then you’re out with the boys to boast and brag. YOU BETTER KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT. Oh… I think I love him!” This brief but brilliant monologue, written by […]

A Forgotten Masterful Gay Auteur 

A Forgotten Masterful Gay Auteur 

BY DAVID NOH | For all you lovers of movie musicals, imagine “Meet Me in St. Louis” without the ebullient “ Trolley Song” number, or “Summer Stock,” without Judy Garland’s iconic “Get Happy” celebration. What about “Easter Parade” without the raffishly amusing “We’re a Couple of Swells,” “Gigi” without the effervescent “The Night They Invented Champagne,” […]

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