Gay-Friendly Blu-rays

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Mark Walker, Sep 3, 2012.

  1. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Cinematographer
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    Will do, Jason! (It will probably be a couple of weeks, since I still have to finish Mad Men and it is "clogging up" my Netflix queue at the moment.)

    Speaking of finishing things, I spent a bit of time this weekend deleting things off of my DVR and in a few cases finally watching the programs. One three-part BBC series really impressed me: In the Flesh.
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    Let me start by saying zombie-themed stories are probably the last thing I ever want to watch. I have a decided absence of interest in zombie films, save for Shaun of the Dead, though I did rent Warm Bodies and found it enjoyable enough.

    I DVR'd In The Flesh when it aired on BBC America a few months ago and now it is coming to DVD on October 8th. (Here is the Amazon link.) It features Luke Newberry as a sufferer of PDS (Partially Deceased Syndrome) who is in a medically supervised treatment program and is returning to his family.
    Based on the promos, I thought this would be a comedy akin to Warm Bodies.

    What it turned out to be is a sweet, sometimes funny, sometimes tragic, often moving gay-friendly program.
    Here is a synopsis:
    After an event known as "The Rising," where everybody who died in the year 2015 has risen from the dead, an inevitable Zombie war breaks out as the human race battles to rid the planet of brain eating Zombies. When the war is eventually won by the living with heavy losses on both sides, the remaining undead are headed up and put in a holding center where Norfolk, now ravaged and destroyed by war, used to be. Scientists then discover a chemical compound which subdues the Zombie craving for brains and the government subsequently decides to release these Partially Deceased Syndrome (PDS) sufferers back into the community they had recently tried to destroy. here is where the story begins as we follow Keiren Walker, a young PDS sufferer, as he is returned back to his parents in a sleepy village.

    I do *not* think the DVD cover represents the series well; the images below are more accurate to the tone and look of the show.

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    And this promo image
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    This program is a not-too-subtle allegory for reintegrating any group of discriminated-against folks back into their families and into the larger society.
    While it does not seem like much of a spoiler to me, the reason this series is gay-friendly is because
    the lead character is gay
    .

    Keiran's back-story is revealed while the events that originally led to his death start happening again; it makes for some incredible moments that I am still thinking about three days later.

    Reviews were very positive, including this review from The New York Times:
    If you’ve avoided vampire/zombie television until now because you think it’s either dumb sci-fi or drippy romance aimed at teenagers,“In the Flesh,”[color=rgb(0,0,0);font-family:georgia, 'times new roman', times, serif;font-size:15px;] a three-part mini-series that begins Thursday on BBC America, gives you a chance to find out just how well written and layered some of these shows are...[/color]

    ...To watch “In the Flesh” is to be dismayed by how many real-world precedents the tale has. The list of people who have been reviled and labeled, explicitly or subtly, as something less than human is long: blacks, Jews, foreigners, people with AIDS, people with disabilities. Zombies notwithstanding, this appealing series, created and written by Dominic Mitchell, works this territory as credibly as any more conventional drama.
    -NEIL GENZLINGER for The New York Times

    I had no idea a zombie-themed program would make me feel so much.
    I guess it is time I give The Walking Dead a chance, eh?

    BTW, a second series in the works.

    The DVD does not have any specs listed other than an AR of 1.78:1.
    I am hoping for a commentary track, as I think it has the potential to be incredible.
     
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  2. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Thanks for alerting us to this series which, I must admit, I'd never heard of.
     
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  3. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    While not available on Blu-ray, it is available in HD on Amazon instant and iTunes (though for rental only)
    Does anyone remember My Beautiful Laundrette?
    51X13ZA5YHL.jpg
    Daniel Day-Lewis played a gay punk rocker who went into business with a young Pakistani man played by Gordon Warnecke, who inherited a laundrette from his rich uncle. In addition to brilliantly depicting what it is like to live closeted in the 1980s, it also deals with race relations in England at the time.
    my-beautiful-laundrette_large.png
    And I will never forget the lovemaking scene between Day-Lewis and Warnecke where they shared the wine. I had never seen anything so intimate before!
    beautifullaundrette1.jpg
    Whatever became of that Daniel Day-Lewis guy?
     
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  4. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    If I'm not mistaken, My Beautiful Laundrette opened theatrically the same day as A Room With A View.
     
  5. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    I reviewed My Beautiful Launderette as part of the Cinema Pride Collection on DVD a couple of years ago.
     
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  6. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Cinematographer
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    It seems like that collection may be the most cost effective way to purchase the DVD at this point. MBL is priced at ~$39.00 for the stand alone DVD at Amazon in that "it's out of print" sort of vibe.

    I have the DVD, and Stephen Fears did a great job directing that film. The cross-cultural & cross-generational issues are played out so well.
     
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  7. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    I had the single DVD, too, before that collection was issued. In some cases, the discs in that collection are the ones that were issued singly (Launderette was one of those). In the case of some like Priscilla, however, MGM bundled in the package the old non-anamorphic release rather than the more recent anamorphic remasters.

    My Beautiful Launderette was the best film in that collection, I felt.
     
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  8. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Cinematographer
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    Matt's review of the new Criterion Blu-ray of La Cage aux Folles is posted.

    See here.

    Thanks again, Matt!
     
  9. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Thanks for linking it, Mark.
     
  10. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Cinematographer
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    Cameron Yee's Blu-ray review of Behind The Candelabra has been posted.

    It can be found here.

    In this case, I am just happy to get the film on Blu-ray.
    It's going to be a good few weeks for Damon at the Walker household, with TTMR arriving soon, too. :)
     
  11. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    I just watched A Portrait of James Dean: Joshua Tree 1951, which is available on streaming in HD through Netflix. There is no Blu-ray as of yet, but the HD through Netflix was good enough to showcase the beautiful black & white photography with what looked like Kodachrome color inserts. For the movie itself I was disappointed and am glad I hadn't purchased it. The actor playing James Dean looked enough like him, but really didn't capture his essence, either in speech or mannerisms. And that's too bad because the quintessential movie about James Dean has yet to be made. Was James Dean actually bisexual? I don't know, but they decided to capitalize on the speculation and make a decidedly gay movie about James Dean.
     
  12. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Cinematographer
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    That new HBO series I mentioned several pages ago now has a title: Looking

    It stars Jonathan Groff, Murrary Bartlett, Scott Backula, Frankie J Alvarez and Russell Tovey.
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    It is filming now and will be on HBO in 2014.

    The pilot was filmed by the director of Weekend, Andrew Haigh, who is also co-producing, which is great news!
    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/russell-tovey-joins-gay-themed-617683

    Also, based on this post
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/17/jonathan-groff-gay-hbo-series_n_3611515.html
    it sounds like the show is set in current times in SF and will be about these guys making their way in the world.

    Personally, I am trilled with all of the casting (Tovey was great in Being Human.). I am hopeful that this program is more in line with Weekend than Queer As Folk, which, at least for the US version, seemed a lot more interested in being shocking than being good.
     
  13. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    Weekend was a great movie. I'd love to see more from Andrew Haigh, so I'm in!
     
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  14. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Cinematographer
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    The Marks agree! :)

    ...

    On a differet subject, I recently saw a beautiful modern dance video done to a REALLY leisurely version of "I Want to Dance With Somebody," (Yes, the song Whitney Houston did as a perky pop song early in her career.) Scott Matthew's version sounds more like it was on loan from Nina Simone than Whitney Houston.


    What I did not know about that gay-friendly music video (Two or three of the hunky male dancers partner with each other rather than the female dancers in the video.) is that it is also something of an aperitif for a new film titled Five Dances, which is on the festival circuit now (October 2013) and will be released on DVD eventually by TLAReleasing.com
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    Here is an excerpts from wo different articles on the film which tells a bit about the plot and lead, who is openly gay:
    When most of us non-dancers observe men and women flinging themselves across a stage it's typically an aspirational experience. We wish our bodies could do that. We wish our bodies looked like that. We wished our bodies felt like that. So when a filmmaker decides to record dance and dancers, it can turn into a problematic situation: how to avoid the simple fetishisism of the human form, the virtuosity of supple movement.
    In Alan Brown's new film, simply titled Five Danceswhose last film, Private Romeo (and introduced us to Seth Numrich and Matt Doyle), subverted the Romeo & Juliet story by placing it in an all-boys' military school—we follow five dancers rehearsing five dances in a Soho loft rehearsal space. The star of the production is Ryan Steele, a young dancer who is currently a magnetic on stage in Disney's Newsies,performing nightly as one of the chorus boys (and is the dance captain). As Brown explains, he had an open casting, looking for professional dancers who could also act. After meeting Steele, he hired him on the spot. "I had never done that before," Brown explains. "Afterward, I went away and started refashioning the script. If we did not have Ryan, it would have been a completely different movie. He became the center of the story."
    The dancers perform the work choreographed by contemporary dance's latest sweetheart, Jonah Bokaer, someone Brown has known since he was a dancer with the Merce Cunningham company.
    Ultimately, however, it is a story of one boy's journey, at 18, who travels from Kansas to New York City, where he tries to find his tribe. Although the film shows the complications of all the dancers with one another—including Kimiye Corwin, Catherine Miller, and Luke Murphy—Steele does have a steamy scene with another of the male dancers, Australian Reed Luplau. It's one of the sexiest gay-male sex scenes that anyone has seen onscreen in some time.
    “I don’t think it’s anything that’ll hurt my career,” Steele says about his very (ahem) physical sex scenes with his onscreen love interest, played by another real-life hoofer, Reed Luplau. “It just might give me a different sort of fan base.” Furthermore, he’s not the bashful type, because, as he puts it, he can’t be. “Dancers have a certain amount of comfort that’s a little weird to normal people,” he says. “We’re physical people. We’re always changing in front of each other. There are no secrets in a dance company.”
    But beyond the physicality of Five Dances is a compelling story of an 18-year-old ballet dancer from Kansas who leaves his family behind in favor of sweat, competition, and a downtown Manhattan affair with another dancer—one that wouldn’t have been conceivable back home. Fortunately, Steele’s transition from the Midwest was less dramatic than that of his character. His parents have always supported his career and his sexuality, though he admits that in his early hometown dance classes, “we did a lot of punches and butched it up.”

    Steele is part of a new generation of rising Broadway demi-stars obsessed over on theater blogs, not least because he and his partner, fellow thesp Matt Doyle (The Book of Mormon), make such a handsome couple. “Once I knew I was in, he bought me a first edition of Matilda for Christmas,” Steele says, referring to the classic children’s book by Roald Dahl that serves as the source material for the show. He insists there’s no competitive tension between the two: “What we’re doing is so different — I’m a dancer on Broadway, and he’s an actor–singer. It gives us something to talk about.”
    [​IMG]
    Here is a link to the trailer for the film:


    Has anyone seen Book of Love or Private Romeo? Both are directed by the same director, Alan Brown. Just wondering.
    (Private Romeo is a retelling of Romeo and Juliet, and I don't want to see any more LGBT folks committing suicide for a while...I imagine that happens if this is true to its Shakespearean origins.)

    Based on the trailer and video alone, I know Five Dances will be a must buy for me when released.

    More can be found out on the film's site: http://www.fivedancesthemovie.com/

    Cheers!
     
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  15. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Thanks for the alert on this. I think I may have vaguely read it about on another site some time ago, but this brings it back into my head.
     
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  16. Jason_V

    Jason_V Producer

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    Me neither, but it'll be in the Netflix queue for some indeterminate time in the future.

    I'll admit: my movie watching (and podcast-listening and Hulu-viewing) has taken a massive hit this month. First, I'm working between 10 and 11 hours per day...not fun. My partner is here (really long story) and he doesn't like to sit through three or four hours of TV/movies a night. And then there's me falling asleep at 8:30 on the couch...yeah, fun times. I'm gonna get back on track soon!!
     
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  17. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Priorities, man! [​IMG]

    :D
     
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  18. Jason_V

    Jason_V Producer

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    HAHA! I'm seeing dollar signs right now more than anything. I'm hoping to pay cash for everything Christmas related this year (travel, rental car, presents, everything), so all the OT is a really good thing.

    And I need some furniture. And a new car. And, well, yeah. I'm not getting THAT much OT!
     
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  19. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    I re-watched Pillow Book(UK release) on a properly functioning BD player.

    Uh yes, it is a must buy. Almost an excuse, by itself, to buy a region free.

    Also even though they "aren't gay"...

    9 Songs has some extra moments that linger over the US DVD/Netflix.
    Shame as well(over the Netflix DVD) has a few extra lingering moments.

    For those of you not strictly gay...(cause we all know the Kinsey chart exists...)
     
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  20. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Cinematographer
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    Update: I saw Bridegroom last night at a screening with Shane Bitney Crone in attendance.
    The film has a new trailer which can be seen here.

    The story is as compelling as ever, and there is much more to these two men and their families than we've seen on YouTube. Of those previously unseen aspects, the trajectory of Tom's mother's relationship with Shane is the one I found the most unresolved, which also speaks to the challenges we continue to face. The prevailing thought was, "If you love us and see how we love each other in the same way you love each other, you would not hate nor discriminate against us." That approach, while effective with many (see Rob Portman's change of heart on gay marriage.), is *not* working with many older, conservative segments of the population, even when those within their own families come out to them. (The documentary makes it clear that Martha Bridegroom had spent time with Tom and Shane in California long before the accident and after she knew they were all-but-married to each other.)

    We learn how these two men both were born and raised in rural America (one in Kalispell, Montana, the other in Knox, Indiana) and how, in many ways, they were opposites; one was a popular kid in school, at ease with most everyone he came in contact with; the other was castigated and shunned by, what seems like, the majority his community and spent the better part of his youth learning to hate himself, ultimately manifesting as an anxiety disorder and multiple calls to 911.

    (The first half of the documentary easily serves as a message about bullying and why the suicide rate remains so high for LGBT youth.)

    Tom moves to LA after attending Carver military school and Vassar to pursue an acting career; Shane moves to LA as quickly as he can after high school and begins work as a production assistant. Shane's move was motivated by self-preservation even though he continued to feel shame about his sexual orientation.

    When Tom met Shane on a blind date their respective BFFs secretly set up, Tom, the confident and strong one, three years older and much more worldly, recognized that he and the too cautious, too timid Shane were a match in the ways that mattered, even if Shane was still very much a little boy lost in the world.

    Tom pursued Shane and their long term, monogamous relationship followed.

    Shane wrote a great letter to Tom as part of his grieving process, saying he couldn't understand why Tom had wanted to be with him.
    My dear Tom,
    I never understood why you chose me. I couldn't understand how you, the athlete, the musician, the popular kid who excelled in everything, wanted to be with me. You were so intelligent, compassionate and funny; everyone loved you. I was an awkward kid from Montana who barely survived high school and moved to L.A. wearing a red fleece vest that I wore even during the summer.
    But you always believed in me. You challenged me to be a better person, and you tried so hard to get me to see the good in myself. You tried to convince me that I was worthy of love -- of your love.

    Because of Shane's reluctance to express their love in even the most modest of PDAs, the couple created a secret way to say "I love you" to each other in public.

    Their six years together seem idyllic; It is hard not to be a little critical of how their relationship is portrayed as the most perfect union of two souls ever, but the film is not about whatever bumps or challenges they had in their relationship; It is about how much they loved each other and how clear it is that they should have had the right to be legally married and obtain the protections that come along with it.

    The rest of the story you already know (though the film does a great job of filling in a lot more details) from the YouTube video.

    Their story is incredibly powerful, but I found the film's construction wanting. The friend I went to the movie with is a filmmaker and he was moved by the story but shared my feeling that the re-enactments and blank backdrops were too often either a bit ham-fisted or under-polished, as was some of the editing...but that did not stop either us from having tears well up during the movie.

    When the film was over, Shane got a much deserved standing ovation. He stayed to answer questions and seemed to be an incredibly humble, quiet person. I was surprised by how shy he was; I had assumed (wrongly) that anyone who recorded themselves on camera as much as he and Tom did would not be reserved. Shane cracked a few self deprecating jokes about how much footage he was able to provide the producers. Other jokes were at the expense of his two grandmothers, who are the brightest things in the film.

    Shane talked about the film and its impact on his family in Montana. He said that as much as things have gotten better there, having his love story shared in the local newspapers could make things difficult for some of his family members. (This was in response to a question wondering if the film is being shown in his hometown.)

    He also responded about Tom Bridegroom's immediate family being as silent and unresponsive as ever. (They were asked to participate in the documentary and various media have attempted to reach them to no avail.) Shane expects that he will never hear from them again.

    I only regret that I did not ask Shane if his best friend from high school had seen the film, as that was the first part of Shane's back story that got my heart all twisted up. (I asked what is next for him and he said he is just going to keep telling this story.)

    Shane seemed to smile the most when folks told him how they had shared his video as part of their efforts to change folks' hearts and minds about marriage equality.

    The film will be on DVD and iTunes in November.
    It will be on Oprah's OWN network on October 27th and on Netflix streaming, the same day.

    He said he wished he could just give the film away to everyone that wanted it.

    This is a must buy DVD for me.

    Cheers!
     
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