NewNowNext spotlights the latest (and queerest) movies, TV shows, webseries, and other LGBTQ shit for your viewing pleasure in our weekly watch list. Grab your popcorn, squirrel friends!
The discovery of two male skeletons holding hands in the woods of modern-day Oregon kicks off director Kelly Reichardt’s loose adaptation of Jonathan Raymond’s 2004 novel The Half-Life. Flashing back two centuries, the film focuses on frontiersman cook for hire “Cookie” (John Magaro) and Chinese immigrant King-Lu (Orion Lee), who first meet while the latter is hiding naked in the woods. Pursuing their fortunes together in a scheme involving the titular animal, the pair develop a deep, tender friendship, and while it’s not quite Brokeback Cow, Reichardt paints a moving, rare portrait of men in love. (Opens March 6, A24)
After she accidentally gets pregnant and has an abortion, rudderless and self-involved Bridget (Kelly O’Sullivan, also the screenwriter) becomes a nanny for a pair of lesbian moms, looking after their rambunctious 6-year-old, Frances (Ramona Edith-Williams), while they focus on a newborn. Life changes and revelations follow in this brave, funny, touching film that calls to mind prime Amy Schumer if she went indie. (Opens March 6, Oscilloscope Laboratories)
DVD and VOD
Known for his idiosyncratic, often queer work, director Todd Haynes (Carol, Far From Heaven) tries his hand at a relatively straightforward corporate conspiracy docudrama in the vein of Erin Brockovich and Silkwood. Based on a 2016 New York Times article titled “The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare,” the film follows lawyer Robert Bilott (Mark Ruffalo) as he takes up a David versus Goliath–style case involving a West Virginia farmer (Bill Camp) who discovers that corporate giant DuPont is poisoning his community with a toxic chemical. (Available now on DVD, Focus Features)
El Salvadoran actor René Mena co-wrote and stars in director James Helsing’s drama about a deeply closeted, recently unemployed lawyer, Isaac (Mena), whose struggle with his sexuality finally comes to a head when he gets a hot new roomie, Mark (Mike C. Manning). The thirst is real, y’all! (Available now on DVD, Indican Pictures)
TV and Streaming
Lena Waithe has delivered 2020’s first must-see LGBTQ TV series, and it’s a breath of smart, inclusive, groundbreaking, hysterical fresh air in the vein of Donald Glover’s Atlanta, Aziz Ansari’s Master of None (for which Waithe won a writing Emmy in 2017), and Cheryl Dunye’s 1996 New Queer Cinema gem, The Watermelon Woman. First conceived when Waithe was navigating her early career under directors Ava DuVernay and Gina Prince-Bythewood, it trails a recently evicted, 24-year-old butch queer would-be writer, Hattie (Jonica “JoJo” T. Gibbs), who lands an assistant gig on a TV show from powerful black writer and producer Ida B. (Sophina Brown). While learning the ins and outs of Hollywood office politics, Hattie and her besties Nia (Gabrielle Graham) and Marie (Christina Elmore) wrestle with relationships and L.A. living. Once you witness them break into Salt-N-Pepa’s “Shoop” while riding in a car in the pilot, you’ll become an instant stan. (Premieres March 4 on BET)
The twisty U.K. series about Dr. Jim Hogan (Adrian Dunbar), whose career and reputation are destroyed in the wake of his wife’s mysterious death, also focuses on his adult gay son, Michael (Diarmuid Noyes). Bonus: Season 2 promises a spoiler-ific LGBTQ twist involving another member of the Hogan clan that kicks off in the second episode (which streams the same day as its first). (Premieres March 9 on Acorn TV)
Main image: René Mena in Prescience.