Thursday, December 25, 2008

Right on the BUTTON

There's a fantastic sweeping epic that will figure prominently in the upcoming awards season. Sorry Baz Luhrmann but the film is not named after a continent.

THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON, loosely based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is by far the most ambitious cinematic undertaking this year. Brad Pitt stars as Benjamin Button, a man afflicted with a rare condition -- born in 1918 New Orleans with the physical attributes and disabilities of a very old man, his body ages in reverse while everyone else around him grows older the conventional way. Abandoned as a wrinkly E.T.-like baby at the steps of a, quite fittingly, home for the aged, he grows up under the care of a loving black woman named Queenie (Taraji P. Henson in an award-worthy performance). The film follows this simple everyday man (ignore the aging issue and the matinee idol looks) in his adventures learning about love and war, life and death. Take the annoying parts of FORREST GUMP out and sprinkle it with a hefty amount of TWILIGHT ZONE and you get BENJAMIN BUTTON. That's really about it.

BENJAMIN BUTTON is a film of magnificent contradictions. It is about life but is littered with deaths. It highlights simplicity and yet every frame is perfected with technical wizardry. It is a visually stunning film that, after almost three hours of complications, twists and turns, comes to its expected, imminent, and quiet conclusion. In the end, it's really about nothing. But it is a nothing that moves me deeply because it reflects my own experience -- my life should really be very simple but I make it much more complicated than it has to be.

The film boasts an accomplished acting job from its ensemble that includes Henson, Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton. But there is no denying that Brad Pitt makes this film look incredible with his subtle and understated acting. It doesn't hurt that the man looks gorgeous at any age! However, this may be a tough sell even for avid Brad Pitt fans. But those who connect to the story will find it truly amazing.
~Michael Gamilla
This film opens in Rochester on Christmas Day.

Note: The poster mock-up with Queenie and Baby Button was downloaded from

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

GRAN TORINO: A Mixed Bag of Goodies

Clint Eastwood's latest directing/acting effort GRAN TORINO is a mishmash of sitcom humor and emotionally charged drama. Eastwood plays Walt Kowalski, a disgruntled Korean War veteran who, after his wife's death, finds himself living alone in a Detroit neighborhood that has been slowly taken over by Hmong** immigrants. A bitter and bigoted old man who never really connected with his own sons, Kowalski suddenly finds himself mentoring a young Hmong neighbor but ends up learning more about life and relationships himself.

In possibly one of Eastwood's funniest screen portrayal, Kowalski is what you would imagine Dirty Harry would grow old to be -- constantly wearing a grimace, snarling all over the place and quick to point a finger gun at people. Ethnic slurs and racial epithets probably make up for 50% of his dialogues but he does them in a fun way. I'm asian and I was definitely not offended by them. I never laughed so hard watching a drama before. But when the film does get serious, the themes of religious faith, racism, regret, and redemption clearly surface. This is the film that SEVEN POUNDS so desperately wants to be.

Honestly, GRAN TORINO is a very flawed movie suffering from an almost mediocre script and poor acting from its supporting characters across the board, especially those playing the Hmong roles. But I LOVED it! I came to the screening not knowing much about the film and I was pleasantly surprised. It has a lot of heart and I was totally sold on it. Eastwood is so endearing so I won't be surprised if he (and the film) becomes the dark horse in the Academy Awards come February. The "Gran Torino" theme song by Eastwood himself is also my favorite this year.

I'm probably most excited about people's reaction to this film than any other. So let me know what your thoughts are.

**Hmong is an Asian ethnic group in the mountainous regions of Southeast Asia that includes Northern Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar (Burma).
~Michael Gamilla
This film comes to Rochester in January 2009.

The Mucus Factor

Tony Award winning actress Viola Davis is getting rave reviews and even winning some awards for her excellent and rich portrayal of Mrs. Miller, a mother who must choose between two unpleasant and unfortunate paths for her son, in DOUBT. The amazing thing is she appears in only one scene that lasts about 10 minutes or so. It is indeed a pivotal role and Davis' powerful performance drives home the moral struggle that the film tackles. But who's to say that it deserves more recognition than equally strong performances from Rosemarie DeWitt (RACHEL GETTING MARRIED), Marisa Tomei (THE WRESTLER), or Taraji P. Henson (THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON) who would likely be displaced by a Davis nomination in the Supporting Actress category? Come visit us again here and discuss after you've seen the film.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Confidently Acted DOUBT

DOUBT tells the story of a straight-laced school principal who suspects the parish priest of sexually molesting one of the young male students. All four of the film's principal characters received acting nominations from both the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors' Guild in the last week. Frankly, along with MILK and THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON, it is one of the finely acted films this year. Having said that, DOUBT is more of an actor's film than anything else.

I saw John Patrick Shanley's Pulitzer Prize winning play on Broadway back in 2005, the night before it won the Tony Award for Best Play. I knew even then it was taking home the top prize. The production was simply powerful and I just thought both Cherry Jones and Brian F. O'Byrne were phenomenal. So imagine my skepticism when they announced a couple of years later that a film adaptation was in the works with Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman tapped to co-star. I was mildly disappointed that out lesbian actress Jones would not be recreating her role as Sr. Aloysius but also excited to see what Streep was going to do with the character. On the other hand, I thought PSH was possibly miscast and wished O'Byrne would reprise his role as the handsome, charismatic and magnetic Fr. Flynn. I think he would have been more believable and more effectively cast a doubt as to the character's guilt.

The film's transition from the stage to the big screen isn't as successful as I wanted it to be. Somehow, moving most of the action away from the principal's office diminishes the intimacy of the characters' interactions and the immediacy of the molestation issue. It is also more effective when the audiences are not privy to what happens in the classrooms or behind the altar. Then we feel the struggle of the nuns just as much and makes it difficult for us to have any kind of certainty ourselves.

DOUBT is still a finely crafted film. The great acting is already worth the price of admission. And I have to admit that PSH was a good choice. Any less actor would have been swallowed whole by the bravura performance of Streep.
~Michael Gamilla
DOUBT opens in Rochester on Christmas Day.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

SEVEN POUNDS of Heavy Drama

Will Smith's latest emotional drama is heavy handed and almost manipulative. In SEVEN POUNDS, Smith plays a man who is on a quest for redemption and about to change the lives of seven people forever. The teaser says it all: Seven Names. Seven Strangers. One Secret. A secret that is so transparent you can tell where the movie is going after the first 10 minutes. Ugh!

The film suffers from too much reference to the number 7 that some points seem to be labored and forced. I get the spiritual message already!

I like Will Smith as an actor and he also seems to be a genuinely nice person. So I don't really want to say anything bad about him. But his acting in this movie consists of one pained expression all through out, which makes the film even more depressing. Still, he is the one good thing about this film.

You can tell the movie is in trouble when the common reaction of the preview screening audience is to try to identify who the seven strangers are. With the deluge of Oscar-worthy films in the next few weeks, this might be one to skip.
~Michael Gamilla

Seven Pounds opens in Rochester on Dec. 19.

MILK Panel Discussion

The Little is offering a panel discussion featuring Tim Mains and Karen Hagberg after the 6:30pm screening of MILK on Friday, Dec. 19. This would be a perfect time to see the film, if you haven't yet.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Bottom Monologues

Intrigued? Well the fabulous and always energetic Erik Libey has a new exciting project. To learn more about it, visit the official site here.

Do you have a story to share? Post it here.

And spread the word!

Friday, December 12, 2008


So you've probably seen the trailer for the new Tom Cruise project VALKYRIE opening this Christmas. It looks good and grand, although I have issues with the hairstyling of TC's character. But how come no one is talking about the movie. And it's not figuring prominently in the early awards. Have critics even seen it yet?

The even bigger question is: Can you still take Tom Cruise seriously?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Golden Globe 2008 Nominations

Have you seen what the Hollywood Foreign Press chose for their best in film and TV this past year? Some were expected (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, the cast of Doubt). Some were mild surprises (Revolutionary Road, The Reader, the uneven choices for Comedy or Musical categories, lack of Gran Torino and The Dark Knight nominations). But some were downright headscratchers (no love for Milk except for Sean Penn's nomination, no Taraji P. Henson for her supporting role in Benjamin Button, and Tom Cruise in Tropic Thunder over any of the Milk supporting guys).

Do not even start with the TV choices with me.

What do you think?

Check the compete list of nominees.

Note: Stay tuned for my reviews of THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON and DOUBT coming in the next few days.
~ MG


Have you ever experienced a film so vivid you swear you can almost smell it? And yes, I'm pretty sure it wasn't coming from the guy sitting next to me. SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE's vibrant in-your-face cinematography, clever editing, and brilliant choreography put its audiences right in the middle of the action, flooding your senses with the sounds and colors of the streets of India, the taste of poverty, the stench of corruption, and the heartbreak and joy that true love brings.

Essentially a modern day story of undying love and devotion, SM follows 20-year old street boy Jamal Malik's quest to win the ultimate prize of India's version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" while the whole nation cheers him on. Through cleverly devised flashbacks, we learn about Jamal's hard life -- orphaned at a young age, he and older brother Salim grew up surviving the harshest conditions of the slums of Mumbai, narrowly escaping a childhood of torture and slavery from the hands of an unscrupulous child labor syndicate, and hustling their way through their teens. But even with what they have been through together, the brothers went their separate ways because of Latika, the girl with whom Jamal fell in love when they were 6 years old. In fact, tonight, being on the hot seat, isn't about winning the money. Jamal simply hopes that Latika is watching her favorite show so he can reach out to her.

The screenplay isn't perfect but is cleverly written nonetheless. British actor Dev Patel is getting rave reviews for his strong and charming portrayal of Jamal. But I was even more impressed by the young cast playing the threesome of Jamal, Salim and Latika in various ages. These kids will take you into a wild ride of emotions. Danny Boyle's confident direction makes you forget that you are actually watching a very graphic film about police brutality, child abuse, gangster violence, and the cruel realities of India's poorest of the poor. Yet you are guaranteed to cheer on as the movie reaches its Bollywoodesque ending, maybe even shedding some tears of joy.

This is SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE's true success: it offers an escape for all kinds of people. The desperate will find hope that life can be better after all. While the privileged and the lucky ones will be forever thankful that their lives aren't so bad to begin with.

~ Michael Gamilla

Slumdog Millionaire opens in Rochester on Friday, Dec. 12.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Last one. Promise. LOL.

Thursday, Dec. 11 at 7pm
Regal Henrietta

Passes can be picked up at OUTLandish @ the Village Gate.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

MILK: A Short Review

The highly-anticipated film MILK finally comes to Rochester this weekend. I attended a press screening last week and I truly believe that everyone needs to see this film. Yes, not just the LGBT community, but everyone. And I can't wait for my friends, if they truly are my friends, to agree with me.

The film details the inspiring story of Harvey Milk, the San Francisco politician who was also known as the Mayor of Castro Street -- from his life-changing decision to move from NYC to SF to his eventual assassination by fellow City Supervisor Dan White. Its timing could not be any more perfect with LGBT issues getting their fair share of national headlines nowadays. But this is also the reason why many people would consider the film too political and will easily find detractors as it opens in more theaters nationwide in the following weeks.

ImageOut audiences are fortunate to have had the opportunity to see the documentary THE TIMES OF HARVEY MILK on the big screen during our October festival. Director Gus Van Sant masterfully weaves many historical and archival footage seen in the documentary with new scenes to capture the essence, wildness, chaos, freedom, desperation, and hope of the LGBT community in the 70s. While the film depicts one man's slow and difficult rise in the SF political arena, it also unfolds the birth of gay social activism and the emergence of the Castro District as a gay mecca. What makes these stories come to life is the work of an amazing ensemble cast led by Sean Penn's unforgettable turn as Milk, proving once again that he is one of the best thespians of his generation. He simply gets lost in the character and almost convinces the viewers that they are indeed watching Milk himself. He will definitely be a leading contender for acting honors in the coming awards season.

Powerful. Poignant. Relevant. Amazing. Fabulous. Choose any of these adjectives to describe the film. But the one certain thing you would walk away with after watching it is, just as it was then, there is a necessity and urgency for change -- change that may not be easily achieved. And we need everyday heroes to rise to the occasion and champion us in our fight for this change.

~ Michael Gamilla

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Bitch Slap- The Movie

Has anyone else heard about this coming attraction? This entertaining article about this B-movie meets 2008 on pretty much says it all.
I will be asking Santa for two things this Christmas:
1. Full marriage equality
2. This movie to come out NOW!

official movie website

CIAO in Theatres

ImageOut favorite CIAO opens in New York City this weekend. In the coming weeks, it will be screening in San Francisco, Boston, Denver, Los Angeles, Fort Lauderdale, San Diego, Portland, Philadelphia, and Atlanta.

The film recently won a Special Jury Prize and the Audience Award from Image+Nation, Montreal's LGBT Film Festival.

Friday, December 5, 2008


If you missed the preview screening of SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE last Wednesday, here's another chance for you to see this sure-fire sleeper hit of the season.

Pittsford Plaza
Tuesday, Dec. 9 at 7pm

Limited number of passes are available. Each pass admits TWO people. You need to be there by 6:15pm. The last preview screening was packed and some pass holders were turned away by 6:45pm. A pass does not guarantee admittance.

Stop by OUTLandish at the Village Gate to pick up a pass.

I highly recommend the film.

~ Michael

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Little Ashes Clips & A New Poster

As Michael mentioned in a previous post, Twilight's hottie of the moment Robert Pattinson is playing gay for his next film, Little Ashes, which documents the intimate relationship between Salvador Dali (played by Pattinson) and poet Frederico Garcia Lorca (Javier Beltran). A few new clips from the film have been released, and they're wonderfully chock full of longing looks and tasteful innuendo. While I haven't seen Twilight (nor have I read the books), Pattinson will always be Cedric Diggory to me. Still, color me intrigued.

Monday, December 1, 2008


This Wednesday (Dec. 3) at 7pm, there will be a word of mouth screening of the indie sensation SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE at the Little. I have limited passes (each one admits 2) to share with you. Those who are in the Rochester area and are interested in the passes, give me your name and I will set aside a pass for you at the door. You need to be at the theatre by 6:20pm to make sure you could get in.

** Post your request in the comments so I get them in the right order. I will meet you at the theater lobby with your pass.

Montreal etc.

Traveled to Montreal over the Thanksgiving Holiday to attend the last half of Image+Nation, their LGBT Film Festival. Thanks to my good friends Charlie and Katharine for giving me an all-access pass on the fly. They were very accommodating. There were a couple of French films in their lineup that I have not seen anywhere and they were both wonderful! I'll have to see how they hold up for next year's ImageOut planning. But also saw a lot of shorts and a few films that I wanted to see play on the big screen and with an audience. The trip was definitely worth it.

Heard that MILK did really well over the weekend in its limited release. Miami was the only place where it did not do as great compared to SF, LA, and NYC. What were those Southern boys (and belles) thinking? Was it too nice outside? =) Can't wait to see it on Thursday when I sit in for the Rochester press screening.

But first, I'll get to see THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON tomorrow. Just another busy week at the cinema for me.

P.S. Thanks to my good (pinoy) friend Emmanuel for being a fabulous host in Montreal. See you and Rejean soon!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

MILK Opens this Weekend

Unfortunately, MILK does not open in Rochester until Dec. 12 at the Little. But for those of you traveling this holiday weekend, check out the theater listings in your destinations and try to watch the film to bolster its first weekend returns. It's the biggest gay film to get a wide release since BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN.

I'll be in Montreal to catch the last few days of Image+Nation, their LGBT Film Festival. I'll check if they already have the film there. Otherwise, I'll be seeing it on Dec. 4 and I will let you know how fabulous the film is.


Monday, November 24, 2008

TWILIGHT shows fangs

So I went to see TWILIGHT this weekend along with millions of teen girls. While I think the movie is cute and will probably delight the fan base of the internationally popular books, I don't think it's a cinematic gem by any means. It's just okay -- sweet and entertaining. But then again, I never really read the books. So I was not as excited as those who knew the literary characters. The film, at it's very core, is no different than any other teen romance flicks. But without any amazing big special effects and not enough focus on the vampire lore, the story quickly becomes another rehash of the girl-falls-for-guy-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks thread. I also have a problem with the writing -- the dialogues seem directly lifted from the Hallmark collection filed under i-can't-live-without-you cards. Don't get me wrong. I'm still glad I saw it.

But really, a vampire movie without any homoerotic overtones? Unreal. Must be because Stephenie Meyers is of Mormon faith? Discuss.

And while Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson perfecting the brooding vampire look) is making a lot of girls faint, the gay boys also have their eyes on the exotic Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner who looks much better in the peacock network's now-cancelled MY OWN WORST ENEMY), the dangerous bad boy James (Cam Gigandet), the hunky Emmett Cullen (Kellan Lutz), and even the handsome daddy Dr. Carlisle Cullen (Peter Facinelli). Yum yum.

~ Michael Gamilla

Tidbit: Robert Pattinson plays the great artist Salvador Dali in 2009's (scheduled) LITTLE ASHES about the early loves and lives of Dali, Federico Garcia Lorca and Luis Bunuel. Yes, it's gay. How gay? Don't know yet. He does have a love scene with his male co-star. And it was picked up for US distribution by ImageOut sponsor Regent Releasing/here! Networks. I tried to see it while I was in Berlin last February but it was still in post-production then. Looking forward to the screener.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Benefits of Membership

Some of our most popular blog posts during the festival were about Michael's outrageous and fabulous wardrobe. No need to confine that conversation to 10 days in October! The fashionable Mr. Gamilla dazzled us with this winter number at the Volunteer and Member Picnic on Saturday. If you become a member today, you could be at the next event to see what unfolds!

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Did you hear about the story of Anthony Morley, a sous chef and a former Mr. Gay UK winner (1993), being convicted of murdering his lover and cooking and eating some of his flesh? Terrible news but sounds like good material for an ImageOut There! film. Read more here.

The film GRIMM LOVE, about the notorious case of the Cannibal of Rohtenburg, was a surprise hit among those who saw it at the Festival in October. Most people, while totally repulsed by the crime, saw the deep emotional connection between the two lost souls.

NY Times Article on MILK

November 22, 2008

Activists Seek to Tie ‘Milk’ to a Campaign for Gay Rights
By Michael Cieply

LOS ANGELES — When the movie “Milk” comes next month to Claremont, a college town about 30 miles from here, Patrick Milliner intends to greet it with a candlelight vigil protesting the newly passed state prohibition of gay marriage.

Before this month’s election, Mr. Milliner organized unsuccessful opposition to California’s same-sex marriage ban, Proposition 8. Now he expects the movie, about Harvey Milk, the murdered gay-rights crusader and San Francisco supervisor, to ignite his “Shame on 8” campaign.

“It fits perfectly with the plan,” Mr. Milliner said.

That may be good for the movement. Whether it is also good for the movie is less clear.

The convergence of “Milk,” which portrays gay-rights battles of 30 years ago, and a looming new culture war over homosexual marriage and other issues, has raised unusual expectations around Focus Features’ plan to release the film. It will be shown in a widening group of theaters, beginning with some in New York, Los Angeles and about a dozen other cities on Wednesday.

Proposition 8-related vigils have already occurred outside prerelease screenings in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Amy Balliett, a founder of, a clearing house for gay rights information, said on Friday that her site would urge its network of supporters to see the film on Dec. 5 at one of a list of “gay-friendly” theaters.

“Our goal is to make this movie one of the top three-grossing movies of the weekend,” Ms. Balliett said in an e-mail message.

Yet the unforeseen alignment between “Milk” and the gay-marriage ban — there was no Proposition 8 on any ballot when the director Gus Van Sant began shooting the film in January — also creates a conundrum for those Focus executives. How do they honor their movie hero’s feisty brand of confrontational politics without being consumed by them?

To join the fight could turn off some of the viewers Focus needs to make “Milk” a broad-based hit. But to sidestep it might disappoint a core audience that has begun to see the film as a rallying point.

Mr. Milk, played in the movie by Sean Penn, was not one to pull punches. “If this thing passes, fight the hell back!” Mr. Penn says at a pivotal point in the film, as his allies ponder the likely passage of Proposition 6, a 1978 ballot initiative aimed at curbing gay rights in California. (It failed.)

But Focus has been stepping carefully of late.

In a particularly ticklish exercise, the studio continues to plan showings of “Milk” in theaters owned by the Cinemark chain, whose chief executive, Alan Stock, donated to the campaign for Proposition 8.

Taking a cue from Milk — who made his political breakthrough by supporting a union boycott of Coors beer — opponents of the marriage ban have begun their own boycott through a Web site,

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Cinemark, one of the country’s largest theater chains, said its decision to proceed with plans to show the movie also reflected a principle: “It would be inappropriate to influence our employees’ position on personal issues outside the work environment, especially on political, social or religious activities.”

On Thursday James Schamus, the chief executive of Focus, struck a diplomatic note. “I know there’s a lot of anger out there,” said Mr. Schamus, who noted that Cinemark three years ago was among the first chains to embrace the studio’s gay-themed “Brokeback Mountain.”

“I hope that gets settled,” he said of the boycott call.

With similar delicacy, Dustin Lance Black, the film’s writer, and Cleve Jones — a Milk associate who is portrayed by Emile Hirsch in the movie, and served as its historical consultant — published a manifesto in The San Francisco Chronicle last week calling on President-elect Barack Obama, who has opposed same-sex marriage, to support comprehensive federal legislation guaranteeing gay rights, including the right to marry.

But the pair did not identify the manifesto with “Milk,” despite the film’s strong call for exactly such equality.

“I don’t know that it would be appropriate,” Mr. Jones said of any effort to align the movie with the campaign against marriage bans in California and other states. The danger, he said, was that conscious campaigning might seem to exploit, rather than support, Mr. Milk and his legacy.

Even so, Mr. Jones, over the last few weeks, has conducted politically robust discussions keyed to Focus-sponsored college screenings of “Milk” in a number of cities, including Boston and Washington.

Speaking separately, Mr. Black said he viewed the movie itself as a contribution to the movement it portrays. And the manifesto, with its call for broad federal action, he added, was directly inspired by Mr. Milk’s critical stance toward gay contemporaries who demanded too little.

“They weren’t asking for what they wanted,” said Mr. Black, who spoke from Salt Lake City, where he was planning to screen the film on Friday. “They were asking for crumbs.”

In the same spirit, Daniel Nicoletta — another Milk associate, who is portrayed in the film by Lucas Grabeel of “High School Musical”— said last week that he believed the opposition to Proposition 8 would inevitably fade, but that he hoped for a boost from the movie’s release. “We need that excitement,” he said, speaking of actions like the one planned by Mr. Milliner.

In Mr. Schamus’s view, the filmmakers and others are free to politick as they please.

But, he said, to identify “Milk” directly with a position — even one popular enough among Oscar voters to enhance the film’s prospects in a heated awards race — is to misunderstand how the cinema really effects change.

“The way movies work is not by pushing toward or appealing to a specific electoral position, but by changing the climate of opinion,” Mr. Schamus said.

And to push too hard, he cautioned, risks losing sight of what he sees as the main point of “Milk”: “There is actually a great, old-fashioned American narrative movie here.”

Click here for the actual NY Times article.

Friday, November 21, 2008

WERE THE WORLD MINE in Limited Release

ImageOut opening night film WERE THE WORLD MINE opens in NYC, San Francisco, and Berkeley this weekend. Check out Stephen Holden's review in NY Times.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cinemark Boycott

Yes, but it is apparently a dirty seat! You might have already received an email regarding the campaign to boycott Cinemark-operated theaters (which locally runs Tinseltown, IMAX, and Movies 10 -- I believe). The emails going around say that Alan Stock, CEO of Cinemark Theaters, donated $9,999 to anti-gay Prop. 8. Bad boy. Might not be easy to stay away from Movies 10 because of the very reasonable. But The Cinema also has reasonable prices. And maybe you can just watch BOLT in a regular theater instead of IMAX and check out other local theaters especially The Little and The Dryden in downtown Rochester. They have better movies anyway. =)

For more information, check out No Milk for Cinemark.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Butch Jamie now on DVD

BUTCH JAMIE was an unexpected hit among those who saw the film at ImageOut 2007. It was sweet, funny, touching, and felt very real. I know a lot of you guys missed our screening then so now is your chance to see it. You can get your DVD copy of the film from Wolfe Video. Remember any purchase from this site using this ImageOut link sends a small donation our way. =)

Brad Rowe on TV

SHELTER (ImageOut 2007) hottie Brad Rowe (above, in red hoodie) has been gracing the small screen lately with guest appearances in COLD CASE (aired last Sunday, 11/16) and THE MENTALIST (aired last night, 11/18). Great to see him get more acting work!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Holiday Movies

There is going to be a barrage of holiday films in the next few weeks. And a lot of them are high profile projects and are likely to be Oscar contenders. Aside from MILK (which I hope to attend a preview screening for in a couple of weeks since it will not open in Rochester until mid-December), I don't really see a lot the films with significant LGBT content. Or am I missing something? Of course, there are still a lot of films that I'm excited for including TWILIGHT (only three more days!), THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON, REVOLUTIONARY ROAD, AUSTRALIA, DOUBT, THE WRESTLER, and SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE (still not here in Rochester) and more.

What films are you most looking forward to?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Quantum of Solace

Super hottie Daniel Craig is back as Agent 007. Be one of the first to see QUANTUM OF SOLACE (whatever that means!) here in Rochester! There will be a sneak preview of the film on Thursday, Nov. 13 at 7pm, Regal Henrietta. I will leave passes at the fabulous Equal=Grounds starting Friday, Nov. 7 . First come first served. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Frost/Nixon at Geva

I think it's interesting that FROST/NIXON (the play) is currently being staged at Geva. Perfect timing for the film adaptation to get free publicity here in the Rochester area. I heard it's a good stage production. I'm just a bit of a snob since I saw it in NYC a couple of years ago with the original Broadway cast (Frank Langella and Michael Sheen). So I'll save my money and skip the show. Hehe.

It's a great play but I'm not sure how well it will translate onto the big screen. It's a bit too talky and is perfect for stage. I'd be interested in seeing how that works. I'm sure Langella is just as fabulous as he was in his Tony-winning performance on stage. But of course, I'm rooting for Sean Penn for MILK. It will be an interesting 3-way fight for the Best Actor trophy (including Mickey Rourke for THE WRESTLER).

Watch the MILK trailer here.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Let the Right One In

I just had a fabulous Halloween weekend in Toronto. A group of friends and I dressed up as Carnival revelers and splashed Church St. with much needed color. We were a hit! Of course, what is Halloween without a trek to the multiplex for a horror flick? Luckily, I wasn't limited to the latest installment of the SAW franchise (ugh!) . . . one of the beauties of traveling is getting so much more cinematic options! For months, I have been wanting to see LET THE RIGHT ONE IN just based on its trailer (see below). I was very fortunate that it was on a limited engagement in Toronto last weekend.

With TRUE BLOOD on HBO and the supernatural teen love story TWILIGHT coming to theaters in a couple of weeks, vampires are back in the limelight. But the Swedish film LET THE RIGHT ONE IN just may be one of the best in its genre yet. I won't spoil it by giving away too much in the synopsis. Basically, the film is about 12-year old Oskar who is constantly bullied in school . . . and he never fights back. Everything changes when he befriends Eli, the new girl who moves next door, and she encourages him to hit back. Hard. A rather strange advice from another 12-year old. And a girl! Then again, nothing is really normal with Eli. She is a vampire trapped in a 12-year old girl's body for eternity. Indeed, imagine Anne Rice penning a story about puppy love.

This beautifully shot film, which is at once touching, heartbreaking, terrifying and rewarding, is nothing like any horror movie you've seen. At its core is a sweet coming-of-age story with a dark sense of humor. I love that it breaks away from all vampire film stereotypes -- no effects-laden transformation scenes, no homoerotic undertones (sad but ultimately understandable), no victorian setting, no endless dark and brooding sceneries, and no fangs! And yet it is also based on traditional vampire lore about needing human blood for sustenance, extreme sensitivity to sunlight, and the notion that vampires cannot enter a house unless invited in. What we get is a bloodsucker film with great substance that is more focused on keeping its audiences glued to their seats rather than making them jump out of them. But worry not my fellow horror freaks -- it's still packed with bloody scenes and some gory surprises.

There is so much to love about this film. The cinematography is flawless -- replacing traditional dark vampire locales with a wintry Stockholm setting. The acting is phenomenal. Kudos to the rich performances of all the child actors. The story is just utterly original. I truly highly recommend this film for you adventurous moviegoers. (At 114 minutes, this might be too much for some people especially those who do not enjoy subtitles.)

Unfortunately, I don't believe it will be shown in Rochester nor in much of the US for that matter (it opened in NY and CA last 10/24 and expanding to a few more in the coming weeks). I already heard that it is slated for a DVD release in March 2009. And (gasp!) there are already plans of filming a Hollywood remake. I doubt it will ever be the same or as effective. After all, it features children as both killer and victims. How will Hollywood deal with that? So watch the original whenever and however you can.

Gay-meter: Zero. But Oskar's father does remind me of Keanu Reeves. And I never did understand that scene with the father's male friend stopping by for drinks. I seriously had my fingers crossed for a gay moment. But that was probably too much of a birthday wish. =)

~ Michael Gamilla
This film opens in Rochester in January 2009.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

ImageOut Films on DVD

People are always asking me about the DVD availability of some of the films shown at our recent Festival. I'll try to post DVD release dates here when I can.

So far, I know these films are now available on DVD:
FOUR MINUTES (I highly recommend it to those who missed it!)
SAVAGE GRACE (Canadian market)
BREAKFAST WITH SCOT (Canadian market)
ANTONIO'S SECRET (Asian market)

Available on pre-order:
SAVE ME (Jan 20)

In limited theatrical release (unfortunately not in Rochester, NY):
CIAO (Dec 5)
SEX POSITIVE (Winter 2009)

As usual, feel free to check Wolfe for DVDs -- your purchase using this link helps ImageOut.

If I missed anything, feel free to share information in the comments section.

~ Michael G

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Roger Ebert Controversy

Now that I have posted our Audience Award winners this year, I was wondering if you guys have read Roger Ebert's controversial review of TRU LOVED. He basically lambasted the film but the kicker is he only watched the first 8 minutes of the film (oh I just noticed that he has since watched the whole film and posted a new review). I think that was a bad call. What do you think? Should Mr. Ebert just retire from being a critic? Did you see the film in our festival? Do you agree with the review? Use the comments section to discuss.

Check this link for more on the issue.

ImageOut Audiences Embrace TRU LOVED

After two years of picking heavy powerful dramas, ImageOut 16 voters opt for something lighter by giving the 2008 Audience Award for Best Independent Feature to the comedic romp TRU LOVED. The film, also one of the Festival's top sellers, manages to squeak by some of the heavy favorites including XXY and SAVE ME, which many voters note are the best films in this year's lineup. But sometimes it only takes a couple of people to have issues with a film to bring its average down.

However, TRU LOVED rates consistently high among the many people turning in their votes. And the film screening also has the most diverse audiences attending. So congratulations to Director Stewart Wade for winning this coveted award.

Here's how you rate our feature films this year:

1. Tru Loved
2. The Secrets
3. Steam
4. Four Minutes
5. Clapham Junction
6. Save Me
7. What Love Means
8. The Sensei
9. XXY
10. Breakfast with Scot
11. Ready? Ok!
12. The New World
13. Mulligans
14. Were the World Mine
15. The World Unseen
16. Antonio's Secret
17. Fashion Victims
18. Ciao
19. Grimm Love
20. Savage Grace
21. Drifting Flowers
22. Boystown
23. Another Gay Sequel: Gays Gone Wild!
24. To Each Her Own
25. Sugar Rush
26. Otto; Or, Up With Dead People
27. The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela
28. Newcastle

Popular PAGEANT Wins the Crown

PAGEANT charms its way to the hearts of ImageOut audiences and captures our 2008 Audience Award for Best Independent Documentary. Our documentary films this year really connect with our audiences with the Top 10 all rating within .30 point of each other. The rest are not too far behind.

Congratulations to filmmakers Ron Davis and Stewart Halpern!

Here's how you rate our documentary films:

1. Pageant
2. The Times of Harvey Milk
3. In Sickness & In Health
4. U People
5. It's Still Elementary
6. The Universe of Keith Haring
7. Equality U
8. Out Late
9. Sex Positive
10. Ask Not
11. Be Like Others
12. Laughing Matters . . . Next Gen
13. Eleven Minutes
14. Bi the Way
15. Searching for Sandeep
16. Ebony Chunky Love: Bitch Can't Get a Date

NO BIKINI wins Best Short Film

Congratulations to Claudia Morgado Escanilla (Vancouver, Canada) for winning ImageOut's Audience Award for Best Short Film for her wonderful and entertaining piece, NO BIKINI! Ironically, this award-winning short is the very first film I booked for our 2008 lineup having first seen it at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival in September of last year (yes, even before ImageOut 15 started!). Claudia, whom I met at TIFF last year and again at Berlin International Film Festival earlier this year, generously agreed to participate in our Youth Project Series because she understands what we are trying to accomplish here at ImageOut -- to reach out to as many LGBT youth as possible through films. Her film narrowly edges out another popular youth film, ODD ONE OUT, VERY NORMAL REALLY.

Here are your Top 25 choices for Best Short:

1. No Bikini (Growing Pains)
2. Odd One Out, Very Normal Really: From Lucas to Luus, From Boy to Girl (Growing Pains)
3. The Postcard (His Dark Secret)
4. Traces (His Dark Secret)
5. Laundromat (screened with In Sickness & In Health)
6. Mano-A-Mano (screened with Another Gay Sequel)
7. Mrs. Kasha Davis: The Life of an International Celebrity Housewife (Flower City Flicks)
8. In-Sight-Out: Mark Groaning (Flower City Flicks)
9. Babysitting Andy (Growing Pains)
10. Ready? Ok! (Growing Pains)
11. Auld Lang Syne (screened with Out Late)
12. Souljah (His Dark Secret)
13. The Crown (Womyn Power is Everywhere)
14. Pages of a Girl (Arts & Crafts)
15. Crafty (Arts & Crafts)
16. A Boy Named Sue (Flower City Flicks)
17. Pitstop (Arts & Crafts)
18. HerzHaft (His Dark Secret)
19. Ready or Not (screened with Searching for Sandeep)
20. Solace (His Dark Secret)
21. The Premiere (Arts & Crafts)
22. Ta (His Dark Secret)
23. Donkey Girl (Growing Pains)
24. Death & Taxes (Flower City Flicks)
25. Buffalo-Bangalore-Buffalo (Flower City Flicks)

ImageOut 17 - Save the Dates!

Did you miss ImageOut 16 because you were on vacation? Or away on business? Well, you missed a lot! And we missed you too! So let's not make that same mistake and plan early for next year. ImageOut 17 will be bringing excitement to Rochester and our LGBT community from October 9 to 18, 2009. We hope to see you then.

ImageOut 16 is His(Hers)tory!

And just like that, another great ImageOut Film Festival is over. What great 10 days we had! Thanks to everyone who made ImageOut 16 another huge success for us -- our Board of Directors, our Grantmakers, Donors, Sponsors, Members and Community Partners, our Volunteers, our Audiences, and the staff at our venues. The films were well-received, the parties were well-attended, and the feedbacks have been great. Of course, we'll just have to make ImageOut 17 even better!

I'm particularly very happy (and proud of our audiences!) that our new ImageOut There! Series was well-received. There were a couple of comments that we might be alienating our audiences with darker subjects but the feedbacks have been overwhelmingly positive. So I think we gained a lot more by having the series.

We will be posting more pictures in the next few days so I hope you continue to visit the blog. And we'll keep you in the loop on what's going for the next year.

I will also be posting the results of your votes for our Audience Awards -- and the competition was very tight!

Don't forget that we welcome and appreciate your comments.

See you soon!
~ Michael G

Monday, October 20, 2008

Today's Steamy Q&A

Photos from today's Q&A session with the beautiful Kate Siegel, star of Steam, and the film's director, Kyle Schickner.

Photos by Matt DeTurck

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Scenes From A Sweet Sexy Sixteen

Thanks to everyone who made our Closing Night Film and Black & Pink Gala Party such a success!

Don't forget, we've still got an entire day's worth of films and special guests today at the Little Theatre, so I hope to see you all there!

Photos By Matt DeTurck

Friday, October 17, 2008

Gearing up for the Weekend

OMG -- how time flies! I can't believe it's our second weekend already. And what an exciting weekend it will be! Now that incestuous lovers, gay cannibals and gay zombies are out of the way, our upcoming films will be focusing on more fun, fun, fun stuff starting tonight! I was just informed that TRU LOVED will only have Rush Tickets available at the box office. But worry not as we have been able to get in everyone who shows up in the Rush Line.

Just a friendly reminder that all our films are screening at The Cinema tonight. Tomorrow, we will have screenings at both The Cinema and The Dryden. And then we are back at The Little before ImageOut 16 bows out.

Closing Night tickets are still available. Make sure to join us for the party of the weekend!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Halfway Point Discussion Topic

Michael G's pants: Friend or Foe?

We all remember his outfit from Opening Night this year, but will he be able to top himself for Closing Night? Anyone want to place bets on color choices? Whether he'll be able to find a pair that glows in the dark?

Talk amongst yourselves, and I'll see you at the movies!

Midpoint Festival Update

I can't believe we're already halfway through ImageOut 2008! This year's festival has been amazing. I'm really proud of our lineup of films and how well they've gone over with audiences. Last night I caught our Archive Night screening of The Life and Times of Harvey Milk, the 1984 Oscar-winning documentary about legendary gay rights activist Harvey Milk, at the Dryden Theatre. Even though I'd seen the film before, seeing it in a theater was a totally new experience.

Shifting gears completely, I then headed over to the Little Theatre to watch Grimm Love, one of my favorite films from this year's festival. There was a decent sized crowd of brave souls who showed up to see what City Newspaper called the "ImageOut There!-iest" film of our ImageOut There! program. I'm so happy that the audience seemed to react very positively to the film, though I did hear a lot of squirming in the seats during the cannibalistic finale.

- - - - - - - - - - -

Just a reminder that tickets are almost gone for Friday night's screening of Tru Loved. Make sure you purchase your tickets ASAP - you won't want to miss this hilarious film!

Photo By Matt DeTurck

Spotlight on D. Lee Inosanto

Actress and filmmaker Diana Lee Inosanto arrived in Rochester from LA late last night in time for the screening of her film THE SENSEI, ImageOut 16's Spotlight Feature Presentation tonight at 7:30pm at Little 1. Diana, a goddaughter of martial arts king Bruce Lee, will be available for a short Q&A after the screening.

Richard Berkowitz in town for SEX POSITIVE

Activist Richard Berkowitz is in town for the screening of the new documentary SEX POSITIVE today at 5:30pm at Little 1. He will be available for a short Q&A after the screening. Afterwards, Berkowitz will be at Spot Coffee House for additional questions and a book reading, hosted by AIDS Rochester.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Flower City Flicks Winner!

The local shorts were a hit this year! Receiving the first-ever Mary Elizabeth Knight Award for Best Local Short last Sunday was Gerry Szymanski for IN-SIGHT-OUT: MARK GROANING. Gerry was genuinely surprised by the win. But he truly deserved it.

Congratulations! Here's to more Flower City shorts in the future.

Drag-tastic Night Indeed!

The fabulous drag stars of Rochester were out in full force as they attended the screening of PAGEANT at ImageOut last night. The super funny Poison Waters set the mood for the film by making the audience members laugh out loud.

And that PAGEANT film got rave reviews from those who attended! I can't wait to see the ballots.

Lonnie Renteria Apologizes

Filmmaker Lonnie Tristan Renteria (EBONY CHUNKY LOVE) extends his apology as he cancels his scheduled appearance in Rochester for the screening of his film at ImageOut this Thursday. ImageOut wishes Lonnie much luck and looks forward to working with him again in the future.

ANTONIO'S SECRET Q&A and upcoming Guest Appearances

We had amazing filmmakers visit us this weekend and ImageOut was very proud to be able to provide talkback sessions to our audiences. But the Q&A following last night's screening of the powerful ANTONIO'S SECRET just blew me away. At one point, Director Jay Altarejos needed to pause as he became clearly (and understandably) emotional while answering a question about gay life and the perceptions of homosexuality in the Philippines. The people who stayed for the Q&A really raised very good questions and it was probably the most intense and meaningful Q&A session we've had in a while at the Festival.

My endless gratitude to both Jay Altarejos and Arvin Viola (Director of Photography) for traveling all the way up to Rochester from the Philippines just to attend the International Premiere of ANTONIO'S SECRET.

Tomorrow, Richard Berkowitz will be attending the screening of his film SEX POSITIVE and will also be a guest at WCMF's The Break Room at 8:30am. Actress and filmmaker Diana Lee Inosanto is also scheduled to attend the screening of THE SENSEI. Hope to see you all there.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Mulligans Screening Ends A Great First Weekend

It's been a wonderful weekend full of loads of great movies, and I can't think of a better way to end it than with the screening of Mulligans that took place Sunday night. Derek James and Charlie David were just as friendly (and cute) in person as I could have hoped. I'm exhausted, however, so just a quick photo post for now, with more updates to come later.

Click photos for full res versions.

Photos by Matt DeTurck

First Weekend is History!

Wow. The weekend flew by quickly! And what a wonderful weekend it was. Great films. Great guests. Great audiences. I know it's too late for me to be blogging since I'm exhausted and still have to wake up early to take Charlie and Derek to the airport. But I just had to share something that I thought was really interesting. For the screening of MULLIGANS on Sunday night, a group of loyal Charlie David followers actually flew into town just to meet Charlie and to see the film. Two women came from Paris (as in France - can you believe it?); one girl flew in from London, UK; one from North Carolina; and another woman and her husband from Long Island. They all stayed at the Clarion Hotel. I think it's great that we can help Rochester tourism!

More posts to come...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Out on the Town

I met up with our guests from To Each Her Own last night for a night out in Rochester. Heather Tobin, director, and Kristen Dealy, actress, joined us for Karaoke at Nasty D's. We had a great time. Both women were so happy to be hear and are very excited to present their film this evening. And let me tell you, not only can Kristen act, but she's a pretty mean Karaoke singer too!

There are still tickets left for the film tonight. You can pick them up at the Little Theater Box office all day today. Come on out and see a great film and chat with the filmmaker and cast!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Jay McCarroll Has Designs On Rochester

I went to the screening of Eleven Minutes today at the Dryden and finally seeing it with an audience was awesome. Everyone there seemed to really enjoy the film. I love the way that the film documents the creative process of putting together a fashion show. As someone who doesn't follow the world of high fashion in the least and, I'll admit it, has never watched a single episode of Project Runway, the film is fascinating! It really gave me an appreciation for how much real work goes into putting a show like that together.

Even better was the Q&A with Jay McCarroll and co-director Rob Tate that followed the film. Starting off with a presentation of celebratory birthday cake to Jay (happy birthday Jay!), the designer offered up lots of gossip on the stars of Project Runway and filled us in on the winding path his career has taken in the two years since putting the show together. Probably the most entertaining post-film Q&A I've ever been to, Jay answered every question with his trademark catty wit and even continued to take questions after poor Michael tried to wrap things up! It was also great to hear Rob talk about creating the film and setting out to make it the "anti-Project Runway" by showing the creative process warts and all, avoiding the simplified techniques of reality TV. All in all, it was a fantastic time and I'm looking forward to many more in the coming week!

Click the photos to see the full-size versions.

Photos by Matt DeTurck

It's a Beautiful Saturday!

We had a good start for our second day. I know it's beautiful out today (which is not good for walk-in ticket sales!) but if you'd prefer to cool off inside the theater, you can still buy same day tickets at the theater boxoffice. And if you are buying tickets for other future shows, there is a separate counter setup for that. Please ask any ImageOut volunteer at the theater.

Getting ready to pickup the ELEVEN MINUTES talents from the airport. It should be another fun day at ImageOut!

Loud Pants and Audio Issues

One day down, nine more to go! Opening Night would have been perfect had we not encountered audio issues on both films. The audiences were very gracious though but I know the experience would have been more delightful if the sound were perfect. But we have addressed the issue so it should be better in the next few days.

And what a fabulous party! Those who were not in attendance really missed a good one.

Anyway, I'm still surprised at how much of a hit my pants were!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Tonight is the Night!

Very excited about Opening Night. With two sold out shows and some people possibly showing up for RUSH tickets, the energy at the Little will be great tonight! I hope to see you all there.

I had a radio guest stint at WCMF earlier today and those guys were a hoot. I hope we were able to reach out to people outside of our usual audiences. It would be great to share all our wonderful films to everyone who loves movies.

I was also on WBER earlier this week and I was surprised at the feedback I got from the many people who listen to Jen V. I'm not a big radio person so I am not familiar with local stations anyway. Again, I'm just glad ImageOut can reach out to more people.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Parking at the Little

Our two Opening Night features are both sold out. Parking will definitely be a challenge. In case you don't know, you can conveniently park at the East End Garage and have a short walk to the theater. It won't be too far from Eros anyway when you have to walk back to your car after the party!

Rush Line

I am thrilled that both opening night films have sold out, and predict that many more will follow in the footsteps of The World Unseen and Were the World Mine.

If you didn't get your tickets early, there's always the rush line! Hang around outside the theater just a few minutes before the show begins (though you may want to get there even earlier to have a better shot) and wait to see how many tickets are available for immediate purchase.

I know I'll be in line right next to you for the first opening night film. In the excitement of getting ready for the festival, I bought one ticket too few myself!

Buying Tickets?

Now that online ticket sales have ended, ImageOut tickets are not available for purchase until Friday, Oct. 10 when the festival begins. The theatre boxoffice will sell tickets for any films screening at that venue on that day. Ticket committee members are available at the theatre lobby to sell tickets for other days.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

CITY Newspaper Features ImageOut

ImageOut is prominently featured in this week's CITY Newspaper hitting the newsstands today. Read the cover story and check out Rochester's fabulous film critic Dayna Papaleo's take on 16 of the film selections.

ImageOut was also on the cover of THE INSIDER last weekend.


WERE THE WORLD MINE tickets are gone . . . for now. Both our Opening Night films have officially sold out as of Tuesday evening. But Rush Only tickets will be available at the Little Theatre on Friday right before the film screenings.

Don't forget that online tickets sales end at 5pm today. Tickets for the festival will be available at the theater venues once the festival starts.

TRU LOVED looks like it's the next one like to sell out so don't miss out on a hilarious family comedy. Get your tickets now!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Program 1 is officially the first show to sell out at ImageOut 16. THE WORLD UNSEEN tickets have been selling briskly in the last few days, even outselling the also popular WERE THE WORLD MINE, although that is not too far behind. So if you haven't bought your tickets yet, you have until Wednesday at 5pm to get them online. Otherwise, all tickets will be available at the theaters when the Festival begins on Friday, Oct. 10.

We do have reserved tickets for all our shows and most of the time, not all of those tickets get used. For sold out shows, we offer them as Rush Tickets right before the film starts. So if you ever want to go to a sold out screening, you should really try our Rush Line as we have never turned people away in the past.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Argentina's XXY

ImageOut 16's Narrative Centerpiece is the incredible drama XXY about a teen hermaphrodite, raised as a female, who begins to question the gender choice made for her by her parents. This award-winning film has been featured in many international film festivals and was Argentina's official entry to the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar competition.

With all the many great choices you have in this year's lineup, I don't want you to miss out on possibly one of the best films we've had in the festival. So if you could squeeze in another program in your busy ImageOut schedule, I would highly recommend XXY.