Film, My back pages, Short Cuts

Funny Boy

Cancer bulletin: nothing relives the doldrums of my birth month like a good laugh.  Good luck finding anything resembling that at the movies; sure, it’s air-conditioned but “rom com” beware.  The term alone guarantees the absence of wit, or for that matter, anything resembling human behavior. Which means us humor-mongers must reach back to the…

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Current Affairs, Politics, Short Cuts, Theater

Undoing the Folded Lie

In the powerful revival of Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart, villains abound: there’s institutional homophobia fed by a conformist über-het society; New York’s red-tape bound local government led by a bachelor mayor rumored to be gay (Ed Koch, though never mentioned by name—oh, those pesky libel laws); the gay community adrift in a sexual roundelay…

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Criticals, Short Cuts

Short Cuts: Burlesque

Burlesque (Steven Antin, director and writer).  Disparities (an aspiring showgirl plot whose high suspense turns on air rights!) and derivatives abound in a movie geared to capitalize on the blockbuster glow of a trend spurred by Chicago, and killed by its cousin, Nine.  Burlesque gleefully rips these films off while scavenging every other small-town-girl-searches-for-big-city-fame trope…

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Criticals, Short Cuts

Short Cuts: On Screens Big and Small June 2010

I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale (Richard Shepard, Director, HBO).  His was one of the great cinema faces of all time.  His eyes were key though, registering menace and melancholy, while hinting at unfathomable depths.  All was anchored to a towering, unsung talent: in this documentary Cazale’s family, colleagues and fans–some of whom…

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Criticals, Short Cuts

Short Cut: Roth on the Regress

Philip Roth, Indignation (Houghton Mifflin, 256 pgs).  The moment when you cease to see eye to eye with your folks; the overwhelming shock of college campus life; the initial sexual encounter: Philip Roth turns his unerring eye on Marcus Mesner, a “straight A student” buckling under the constraints of his father, a smotheringly vigilant Newark…

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Criticals, Short Cuts

Short Cuts: Books On My Nightstand/September 2009

The Story of a Marriage, Andrew Sean Greer (Farrar, Straus and Giroux).  An African American woman wrestles with her husband’s mysterious past when a white man shows up on her doorstep—and reveals that he was once the husband’s lover.  Set in 1950’s San Francisco, Greer’s novel is a kind of Sophie’s Choice filtered through the…

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