Fags and dykes lay down sizzling raps, a young girl loses her grip on reality and movies that will cleanse your palate from the summertime crap on the big screen—all new on DVD this week.
Read on for more!
After making the rounds of film festivals all over the world, Alex Hinton’s acclaimed homo-hip-hop documentary Pick Up the Mic at long last makes its DVD debut. Featuring solo artists (including DeadLee, Tori Fixx and Aggracyst), duos (God-des and She) and groups (Deep Dickollective, Rainbow Flava) that span the full range of the GLBT experience, the film compellingly captures a musical subculture that often flies under the radar. Even if you’re not a fan of hip-hop, you’ll be riveted by these artists and their experiences.
Gay director Daniel Barnz made one of this year’s most captivating feature debuts with Phoebe in Wonderland, a compelling drama about a young girl (Elle Fanning) who gets cast as Alice in the school play and finds herself plummeting down her own personal rabbit hole—is life imitating art, or are there other things going on in her mind? Fanning’s terrific, as are supporting players Felicity Huffman, Patricia Clarkson, Bill Pullman and (as a gay kid who insists on playing the Red Queen in the play) Ian Coletti. (Barnz’s husband Ben Barnz produced—you gotta love a gay married filmmaking team, especially when they take the same last name.)
Finally, after watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, my brain needed a jump-start. If you find yourself with synapse shut-down, don’t hook yourself to a car battery—try one of these new releases instead. Criterion Collection favors us with two of the talkiest movies ever made, but they’re both fascinating in different ways: My Dinner with André famously captures the mealtime conversation of theater director André Gregory and playwright-actor Wallace Shawn (both playing "themselves") as they discuss life, the universe and everything. This surprise art-house hit made stars of both of them, and it’s a conversation you’ll be glad to have been a part of.
Alain Resnais’ Last Year at Marienbad features beautiful people wandering around a French resort and exchanging maddeningly cryptic dialogue, but if you’re in the right mood, it’s a fun puzzle to try solving.
One of last year’s best films, the Oscar-nominated Waltz with Bashir combined two genres that don’t usually march in lock-step—animation and documentary—to tell the story of the lingering effects of war on Israelis who fought in Lebanon. And finally, there’s Mike Leigh’s hilarious High Hopes, one of several films he’s made about class warfare and day-to-day perseverance. The Thatcher-Reagan ’80s never looked quite so garish.