Thursday, January 29, 2009

THE PINK PANTHER 2 Preview Screening

Steve Martin's Inspector Jacques Clouseau returns to the big screen with THE PINK PANTHER 2. The film will have a preview screening on Thursday, Feb. 5 at 7pm at Regal Henrietta. Passes, courtesy of ImageOut, are available for pick up at Outlandish at the Village Gate beginning on Friday afternoon, Jan. 30.

First come, first served.

Please be advised to arrive at the theater early. A pass does not guarantee admittance.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Tight Oscar Race

So the nominations for the upcoming Academy Awards were just announced this morning and THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON was the big winner with 13 nods. While there were a few surprises and some glaring snubs, it's pretty clear that this year's battle for the trophies is going to be very competitive. Except probably for the late Heath Ledger, there are no obvious front runners in the major categories. Of course, I'm still in denial that SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, with its 10 nominations, might just win it all. Great movie but isn't 2008's best in my opinion. And just as I thought (and hoped), except for Mickey Rourke and Heath Ledger, the acting winners at the Golden Globe are not going to be factors in the Oscar ballot (Winslet's winning performance in THE READER is in a different category).

  • I love that the Academy ignored the industry campaign for a supporting actress nomination for Kate Winslet in THE READER when, clearly, she is the lead actress. Her "promotion" meant an extra spot in that category with either Amy Adams (DOUBT) or Marisa Tomei (THE WRESTLER) getting a lucky break. But just as surprising is Winslet's non-nomination for REVOLUTIONARY ROAD where she gave a better performance. Does this pave the way for a Hathaway-Streep showdown for the lead actress award?
  • A very solid lineup of acting nominees which almost mirrors the SAG Awards list with the exception of Marisa Tomei in THE WRESTLER and the wonderful Michael Shannon in REVOLUTIONARY ROAD.
  • Supporting nods for Taraji P. Henson (BENJAMIN BUTTON) and Michael Shannon (REVOLUTIONARY ROAD). Yey!
  • Lead acting nods for Richard Jenkins (THE VISITOR) and Melissa Leo (FROZEN RIVER). Double yey!
  • Cutting down the Best Song nominees to three and giving two of those spots to SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE.
  • The last minute ascent of THE READER into front runner status, scoring nominations in the Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Actress categories.
  • Zero nominations for Clint Eastwood and GRAN TORINO. Not even a Best Song nod? Seriously?
  • No major nominations for both THE DARK KNIGHT and REVOLUTIONARY ROAD.
  • No Leo DiCaprio for Best Actor but it could have also paved the way for Richard Jenkins. So it's all good.
  • Some amazing Foreign Language films that did not make the cut in that category.
  • Some people were hoping for an acting nomination for Dev Patel for SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE. I wasn't.
  • No nomination for critics' darling Sally Hawkins (HAPPY-GO-LUCKY) for lead actress.
  • Where are the songs of Beyonce, Miley Cyrus, Bruce Springsteen and Clint Eastwood?
So what do you think of the nominations? Will BUTTON, with the most nominations, go home without a single win as it did at the Broadcast Critics' Awards and the Golden Globe? And just how many trophies will SLUMDOG win?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Gay Sundance

Although programming for ImageOut 2009 practically started as soon as the 2008 lineup went to print (attending film screenings at the Toronto International Film Festival in Sept and the Montreal LGBT Film Festival in Nov), January officially ushers in the first batch of 2009 titles to consider (and hunt screeners for!). From the lineups of international film festivals like Palm Springs (concluding today, Jan. 19) and Sundance (opened last Thursday, Jan. 15), this is going to be another interesting year for LGBT film lovers.
One of the films I'm most excited about is the feature-length version of the ImageOut 2005 short film favorite DARE by Director Adam Salky. Who could forget that sexy well-lit swimming pool scene? And my heart just skipped a beat when I found out that Zach Gilford (tv's FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS) stars as the confused rich boy character, Johnny. Oh my stars! The film premieres at Sundance tonight (Monday, Jan. 19).

Palms Springs landed premieres of some European titles that I've been looking for since early last year including Sweden's PATRIK, AGE 1.5 about a gay couple who requested to adopt an 18-month old baby but ended up with a 15-year old homophobe. Early feedback suggests a heart-warming comedy that is just as charming as last year's BREAKFAST WITH SCOT.

France's BABY LOVE is another gay fatherhood film that will probably be a hit in the LGBT film festival circuit. But fear not as there are other LGBT storylines covered such as the stressful and frantic life of a gay chef in the Spanish comedy CHEF'S SPECIAL and a history lesson on French social activism in the fab epic BORN IN 68 (one of the film's I saw in Montreal last Nov).

Sundance landed premieres of what would probably be mainstream theatrical releases with LGBT themes/sub-themes including I LOVE YOU PHILLIP MORRIS with Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor (what's with the hair!), THE INFORMERS based on the novel of the same title by Bret Easton Ellis, and LA MISSION with Benjamin Bratt dealing with his son's secret life. Of course there are other titles that suggest LGBT themes including HUMPDAY about two best buddies who decide to do amateur porn together . . . with each other . . . just to take their competitive natures to the next level. Who knows if it would even be appealing to the LGBT audiences or if it's even gay enough.

In a few days, Berlin will be releasing its own film lineup and I cannot wait. Already announced to premiere at the festival's Panorama section is the new film from Argentine filmmaker Lucía Puenzo, THE FISH CHILD (El Niño Pez), based on her first novel, which will reunite her with young actress Ines Efron (XXY).

So things are looking up. Lots of movies to look out for. Basically there goes my spring and summer social schedule.

Feel free to contact us if you want us to look into any LGBT films that you've heard about. Let's make this another grand year at ImageOut!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Holocaust Overload?

DEFIANCE. VALKYRIE. THE READER. THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS. Four holocaust movies released within weeks of each other. The timing just makes you wonder: Is Hollywood using all these tragic, inspiring, and emotionally-charged stories as Oscar bait? And how will this over saturation affect audience reactions and attitudes towards the subject matter?

I think it's amazing that there are more holocaust stories (especially those based on true events) that have not been told and stories that we can still definitely learn a lot from. I just wish I didn't have to process them all in the same month. One can also argue that while the four storylines are very distinct, the underlying theme still remains the same -- the resilience of the Jewish people against the tyranny of some really evil men.

THE READER is the strongest of the four and the one garnering more attention among the award-giving bodies. I thought Kate Winslet is sensational. I just hate think it's tacky that all the actors in the film are submitted for supporting acting categories to maximize their chances at a nomination or, in Winslet's case, a win. (Her handlers don't want her competing against herself and possibly canceling her chances against her other 2008 entry, REVOLUTIONARY ROAD. But they'll have to face that at the BAFTA anyway.) This is not an ensemble piece without any leads! The delicious and uncut talented young actor David Kross is also unjustifiably being ignored in the awards. His performance rivals that of Winslet's as the emotional center of the film. On a side note, it is good to see Florian Bartholomäi (from ImageOut 2008's FASHION VICTIMS) as the Berg character's brother.

Of course, DEFIANCE, with both Daniel Craig and Jamie Bell (BILLY ELLIOT), already looks very tasty good on paper. But while I thought the film could have been better handled by a more able director, at least it does not dwell on sentimentality. The story of the Bielski brothers is definitely worth celebrating.

I still have yet to trek to the multiplexes to see VALKYRIE. But I've only heard surprisingly favorable comments from those who have seen it. And did I mention I just recently saw Tom Cruise while I was in NYC for the holidays? He was going to see Katie in ALL MY SONS on Broadway. He even looks much better now than when he was younger. He carries maturity really well.

Of the four films, THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS has the weakest message, I thought. I'm sure some people would disagree. But I could not get over all the German characters speaking with an English accent and an ending you could see a mile away. And frankly, I still don't know what the message of the film is. That during the holocaust, sometimes the wrong people get gassed? Well, duh!

Anyway, how many of these films have you seen? What do you think? Are you starting to get mental fatigue on the topic? Share your thoughts here.
~Michael Gamilla

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Want to see Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio reunite on screen? REVOLUTIONARY ROAD will have a preview screening on Wednesday, January 21 at 7pm at the Little Theater. ImageOut has a limited number of passes to give away.

Please signup in the comments section if you want a pass. You can either pick up the pass at the ImageOut office or I can meet you at the theatre lobby prior to the screening.

Note: A pass, which is good for two people, does not guarantee admittance. Make sure to get to the theater early. ImageOut DOES NOT provide interpreting for non-festival sponsored events like this.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Global Surprises

I'm not sure what those 80+ obscure foreign correspondents were thinking but it seems like either you have to be foreign, dead or Kate Winslet to win a Golden Globe film award this year. I think this is the year that the GG results will drastically differ from the Oscar choices.

In a year with a tough competitive field for female acting awards, it's hard to imagine Kate Winslet winning both Lead and Supporting categories. Love her and she is due for a major award. But the Kate-lovefest was too too much last Sunday.

I also love SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE but I did not foresee the recent landslide of awards it has been getting. I still think the Oscar would take a different route. Is this going to be another SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE?

Hooray for Mickey Rourke! Sean Penn is still #1 in my list but Rourke's win is a welcome surprise. By the way, all the actors in Rourke's category were Americans. I'm sure it would have gone to someone British if there was one among the nominees.

Can't wait for the SAG awards and the Oscar nominations!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

WTWM Soundtrack

Many people have been asking about the availability of the soundtrack for ImageOut Opening Night sensation WERE THE WORLD MINE. Well kids, your prayers have been answered. You can download WTWM clips and music from iTunes.

Monday, January 5, 2009


I was out and about in Manhattan on New Year's eve and my friends decided to start the celebration early. But I opted to spend time with THE WRESTLER instead with a promise to join the Chelsea barhopping crowd later in the evening. It was a wise decision indeed and a great choice for my last film for 2008! You have heard all the great things about this film and Mickey Rourke. My review is not going to be any different.

Randy "The Ram" Robinson (Mickey Rourke) is a washed-up professional wrestler who was at the top of his career 20 years ago. Nowadays, he works at a grocery store during the week and "sits on another dude's face" on weekends carrying out over-rehearsed moves in make-shift venues at some New Jersey high school gymnasium or VA hall to the delight of nostalgic fans. Either that or he joins other wrestling has-beens for a "legends" meet-and-greet session signing autographs and selling memorabilia to a pathetically small crowd. Money is always tight but this is the life that Randy chooses for himself and he seems to be at peace with it.

Then after one particularly intense match involving barbed wires and a staple gun (ouch!), Randy collapses from a heart attack. His doctor warns him that his heart would not be able to survive another wrestling match. But without wrestling, Randy realizes that he has a very lonely existence. In an attempt to redeem what's left of his life, he pursues his long-time infatuation with his favorite lap dancer Cassidy (Marisa Tomei) and tries to reconnect with the (suspected lesbian) teenage daughter (Evan Rachel Wood) he abandoned a long time ago. Oh but the temptation to deliver that one last "Ram Jam" is just too much.

Director Darren Aronofsky abandons his usual bold cinematic techniques (PI, REQUIEM FOR A DREAM, and THE FOUNTAIN) for a gritty and raw look and feel that makes THE WRESTLER even more devastatingly honest and real. It has all the elements that a VH-1 "Where Are They Now?" producer could only dream of. Indeed the parallels between lead actor Rourke's own career and his character's almost make the film a reality-TV segment. But, trust me, it is so much more.

THE WRESTLER has the biggest heart of any films I have seen this year. Thanks for the most part to Rourke's perfect portrayal of the title role. I could never imagine any other actor doing it. He completely captures the essence of Randy when he describes himself as a broken-down slab of meat and blinks tears off his eyes. That scene is guaranteed to melt anyone's heart. His performance reminds me of the understated cool and calm yet piercing sadness that Peter Fonda evokes in 1997's ULEE'S GOLD. I would not be heartbroken if Sean Penn loses the Oscar to Rourke.

The film also confirms the emergence of Marisa Tomei as a very serious actress and proves that she deserves the Oscar trophy on her mantle. Although pretty much snubbed for her impressive supporting work in BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU'RE DEAD last year, Tomei will definitely be a strong contender this awards season.

The acoustic Bruce Springsteen song (another favorite for an award) at the end is the perfect wrap up for this not-to-be-missed haunting film. Randy "The Ram" is a loser by any definition ... a loveable loser. But THE WRESTLER is definitely a winner.
~ Michael Gamilla

THE WRESTLER opens in Rochester on January 16.