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.