Reviews

Tom of Finland
A tame Tom of Finland

I can’t remember the first time I saw one of the drawings by Touko Laaksonen, better known as Tom of Finland. It’s as if they were already in my head, iconic of gayness and man-ness, when I came out in 1992. I’d been titillated by some of the drawings of…

Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson
An essential document for our collective queer history

After Roland Emmerich’s Stonewall was rightly lambasted two years ago for focusing its story on a fictional middle-class white boy, I expressed hope that the film that would eventually become The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson would help correct the record. I think it does, becoming an essential document for our collective queer history.

Battle of the Sexes
The match that became a circus

When I was coming out and learning about the various LGBT people who came before me, one of the images I saw repeated the most was the last shot of the absurdist tennis match called the Battle of the Sexes, when then-closeted Billie Jean King backhanded the ball past chauvinist…

Top of the Lake
Jane Campion gets weird(er)

I could watch Elisabeth Moss do anything. A few years ago, at the height of her fame as proto-feminist Peggy on Mad Men, Excedrin started rerunning an old commercial she did for them, and it’s utterly unlike anything else you might see on TV selling something; she could be doing…

Wind River
A modern western thriller with a conscience

Taylor Sheridan writes modern western thrillers with something like consciences. In Sicario, drug war on the U..S Mexico border corrupted the best of intentions. One of last year’s Best Picture nominees Hell and High Water was about two brothers who robbed a scurrilous bank that had cheated their mother out…

Zoe Kazan and Kumail Nanjiani in The Big Sick
A romantic comedy that’s both fresh and familiar

Kumail meets Emily when she sort-of-heckles his standup comedy performance that is centered on his immigration experience. He asks if anyone else is from Pakistan, and Emily, a young blonde woman from North Carolina, woops in response. He joshingly admonishes her, she wittily snaps back, and he hits on her…

Beatriz at Dinner
A most salient portrait of evil

When Miguel Arteta and Mike White started filming Beatriz at Dinner last August, I doubt they could have predicted how salient the film would be when it was released ten months later. The biting, mostly comic commentary on class, race and manners is particularly unsettling because Trump won, because what…

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