Please let the steady, serene gaze of Meryl Streep leave you on an introspective note this 2015. Or just enjoy gazing at her all-around awesomeness. Either way, not a bad way to close out another 365.
Thursday, December 31, 2015
Please let the steady, serene gaze of Meryl Streep leave you on an introspective note this 2015. Or just enjoy gazing at her all-around awesomeness. Either way, not a bad way to close out another 365.
Wednesday, December 30, 2015
Things I can say for certain having seen “Star Wars” twice now.
[Warning: SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOIIIIILERS]
1) Rey just gets better with each viewing.
2) Captain Phasma was tragically underused.
3) Lupita Nyong'o is wonderful as Maz Kanata, but dammit, it would have been incredibly nice to actually see her face.
Tuesday, December 29, 2015
And with one tweet, Rachael Taylor confirmed the portmanteau for all Jessica/Trish shippers out there. Trishica Jones it is! Clearly, they’re already advanced level shipping each other, because Trish is now just outright stealing Jessica’s clothes. Also, be sure to check out my continuing recaps of “Jessica Jones” on AfterEllen.
Monday, December 28, 2015
Chemistry, we are told, is the study of matter and the way it interacts. How the composition of one thing can combine with another thing to form something altogether new. In short, it’s the science of change.
Yet no microscope has yet been invented that can truly understand the chemical reaction that is falling in love. The elusive biology of the human heart, the hungry physics of desire – these remain as inexplicable to us today as they were at the beginning of time. Yet, time and time again, we find ourselves engulfed in the sweet and far too often cruel mystery of our emotions.
But where science fails us, art steps in. And, in those most rare and most special instances, it helps us understand what no equation, no formula, no theorem ever could. “Carol” is one of those moments.
You see this is a film all about chemistry. But not the kind that bubbles up in beakers. Instead it’s a study of the spark of attraction, the smolder of longing, the sear of passion. “Carol” is perhaps the most beautiful ache you will ever experience in the cinema.
Director Todd Haynes and screenwriter Phyllis Nagy (who are both, it should be noted, out artists), have adapted the 1952 lesbian classic “The Price of Salt” by author Patricia Highsmith into something altogether extraordinary. When paired with the exquisite performances by Cate Blanchett (as housewife Carol Aird) and Rooney Mara (as shopgirl Therese Belivet), it becomes something truly transcendent.
This is, quite simply, the lesbian movie we’ve been waiting for.
“Carol” is at once set in a very specific period, early 1950s New York, yet also able to break free from the petty restrictions of space and time. It is Christmas in fastidiously recreated Manhattan and Carol breezes into a department store where Therese is working behind the doll counter.
Carol is impossibly sophisticated in her glamorous mink coat and Therese is dewy with youth in her store-mandated Santa hat. Yet from the moment their eyes meet across the crowded store floor, it’s there – chemistry.
That mutual magnetism drives “Carol” in a way few films allow us to see women in love. While it would be easy to understand why someone, anyone with eyes really, would swoon over the allure of Blanchett’s Carol (her low, measured tone alone is the very definition of ravishing), the story also allows us to see clearly what Carol sees in Therese. It would be too cheap to say it is just the bloom of youth.
In Therese we see a curiosity about the world and a dissatisfaction with the prescribed order of things. Where Blanchett has been made to look like an iconic, cool blond goddess of the silver screen, Mara recalls an unadorned Audrey Hepburn – but with a yearning behind her inquisitive eyes that belies her age.
When Carol absentmindedly, or on purpose, leaves her gloves on Therese’s counter, it sets in motion a slow burn that will consume both women. But fire – with its penchant to destroy – also brings about rebirth. What rises from it is often more magnificent in its resilience and strength.
As the women embark on a road trip together out west over the holiday break, their unspoken courtship continues at a measured – almost unbearable – pace. Carol’s big Packard probably never breaks 50 mph, yet at times your heart will pound as if they’re racing together in a grand prix. Such is the power of the tension, the delicious anticipation, Haynes and company have built between these two.
We hang on every touch, we luxuriate in each glance, we watch them watch each other through windows – so many windows.
On the home front, both women have impatient men waiting for them – for Carol a husband angered and bewildered by their pending divorce (played by Kyle Chandler, the good guy from “Friday Nigh Lights”), for Therese a boyfriend angered and bewildered by her refusal to run off to Europe with him (played by Jake Lacy, the good guy from “Obvious Child”). Carol also has a true and knowing friend, and former lover, to confide in with Abby (played by the always good Sarah Paulson).
Over the course of quiet lunches and aphoristic visits, we – both us watching and the characters on the screen – come to the understanding that these two women simply cannot stay away from each other.
Of course, there is also the understanding that two women who simply cannot stay away from each other in 1950s America is not a thing people comprehend, let alone accept. Yet this is not a film that strives to retell a hushed history of the love that dare not speak its name in the pre-Eisenhower era. Nor is it the sort of standard-issue coming out story we’ve been accustomed to seeing on the screen. Neither woman is shown struggling against her sexuality. In fact the word “lesbian” isn’t even uttered once.
Still, while this is not a film interested in explicitly showcasing a movement or protesting injustices, this is very much a political film. It has to be. The act of showing two women in love, two women in lust (however restrained and tastefully shot) who refuse to apologize for their feelings remains a fundamentally revolutionary act in this world.
So the seriousness with which this film approaches our love, the reverence which it displays for these women’s attraction, the universality which it reflects in their undeniable chemistry – all that matters. The process of expanding people’s minds, opening their hearts through nothing more than moving pictures projected two-stories high – that’s the true art of change.
Friday, December 25, 2015
I find this Classroom Instruments rendition of “All I Want for Christmas” so incredibly joyful, I hope hearing it again fills you wish the same kind of wonder today. Happy whatever you celebrate today, kittens. May your Christmas be truly merry and bright.
Thursday, December 24, 2015
Let me say – with much hope and a full gay agenda –just because it’s Christmas – and at Christmas you tell the truth – to me, “Love Actually” would have been much more perfect if it had kept its original lesbian subplot. Alas, my wasted heart will pine for it until I go watch “Carol” again and remember we don’t need table scraps from the cutting room floor to sustain us anymore. We have full, glorious, Technicolor stories that luxuriate in our love, not push us aside for the hetero leads. Merry Christmas Eve, lesbians. I hope “Carol” opens so very soon in a theater near you.
p.s. My full review is still coming, I promise.
p.p.s. Is telling the truth at Christmas a U.K. thing? Because Americans certainly do not have any traditions around truthfulness and Christmas – quite the opposite. Oh, yes, Aunt Martha, I loved the socks you knitted me.
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
So this, this is Zoie Palmer riding a mechanical bull. Yep, Christmas came early, lesbians. And *low whistle* was Santa ever good to us.
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Oh, hey. Sorry, the holidays and such. I have family visiting and, well, craziness ensues. But, I was able to get my last Women & Hollywood column for the year. I have picked out the Top 10 Most Memorable TV/Film Moments for Queer Women. Yes, I know, I have probably left your favorite off the list or forgotten something terribly important. I pre-apologize. But please, in the spirit of the season and all of that, enjoy. Or silently seethe at my omission. Whatever makes you feel merry and bright. You can read it here.
Monday, December 21, 2015
Oh, Tina, if only. So My Fake TV/Movie Wife hosted “Saturday Night Live” with her BFF/Imaginary Lesbian Lover over the weekend. And while the show was – as pretty much always – uneven, what was great was these two and their unbreakable chemistry. My favorite skits:
Hillary, Hillary & Sarah:
Tina & Amy’s Dope Squad:
Admittedly, that last recurring skit about terrible acting advice is really dumb. And it was obviously a mini parody of “Carol.” But I will take it because Tina and Amy admit their lesbianism and talk about kissing. Break out the George Jefferson dance, y’all.
Cheers, ladies. Cheers forever.
Friday, December 18, 2015
Here.For.It. Ever since the all-female "Ghostbusters" was announced I've been as thrilled as the misogynistic fanboys have been incensed at its existence. Which is to say as pissed and pouty as they are is as excited and overjoyed as I am. Times three. Now come the four badass character posters for Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon in full Ghostbuster gear. Which means we have another chance to luxuriate in a bath of fresh Male Tears. Suck it, dudes. This movie is gonna be awesome and there's nothing you can do about it but cry. Admit it, you'd call those ladies any day, ghosts or no ghosts. Happy weekend, all.
Thursday, December 17, 2015
Two Tina Fey movies in less than three months? Thank you, universe. So My Fake TV Wife is rapidly becoming my Fake Movie Wife and I am OK with that. Her newest is “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot,” the true-life account of foreign war correspondent Kim Barker. It’s based on her book “The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan” about her time embedded with troops in the Middle East. And, if The New York Times is to be believed, Tina was made for the part. Here is an excerpt from the paper’s 2011 review of the book:
It’s not just that Ms. Barker is adept at dramatizing her own adventures as a reporter — though she develops the chops of a veteran foreign correspondent, she depicts herself as a sort of Tina Fey character, who unexpectedly finds herself addicted to the adrenaline rush of war.See, it was meant to be. See you at the movies, honey.
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Turns out, this is the “Star Wars” sequel you’re looking for.
It’s been a pretty prodigious week for me in the seeing awesome movies department. On Monday I went to see “Carol” (FINALLY) and yesterday I attended a screening of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (YAHOO). I want to take my time to truly digest and give you the luxurious “Carol” review you deserve (and since the studio is taking its damn sweet time releasing it to everyone anyway, there is no rush).
So instead let’s discuss that galaxy far, far away. I’ve leave the exuberant pontificating the critics who all posted their finally embargo-free reviews at 12:01 a.m. on the dot this morning. But what we need to talk about is Rey.
You guys, Rey is so important. And Finn is so important. And Poe is so important. This movie feels so fresh and so different, yet still so incredibly familiar. And the reason for that is because instead of continuing to offer us only the narrowly defined white male hero stories, “The Force Awakens” has diversified its cast and its champions to be more reflective of the true world around us. A young woman, a young black man, a young Latino man are all allowed to be our heroes. It seems so simple, yet is often so unattainable by Hollywood standards.
But back to Rey. Here is a “Star Wars” movie that passes the Bechdel Test (though albeit not by a ton). Still I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone, because really this is a movie truly best enjoyed without revealing too many plot points. Still I can’t tell you how pleased I am with Rey and actress Daisy Ridley. I went in without too many expectations and came out wanting an action figure. And that’s part of the joy and hope of this new installment. Because I know I won’t be the only one inspired by her, and the rest of the cast. Little girls, little boys, big girls, big boys, everyone.
Let’s just put it this way, girl, I can’t wait for the next movie.
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Just a friendly neighborhood reminder that I’m currently recapping “Jessica Jones” over at AfterEllen. Fresh and ready recaps go up on Mondays (every now and then Tuesdays, if it has been one of those weekends). You can find this week’s recap here. Also, this is a friendly neighborhood reminder that Orphan Crack continues to be some of the most clever mashups around. Oh, and Tatiana Maslany wuz robbed by the Golden Globes. But then, you knew that already.
Monday, December 14, 2015
Today is the day. Today is the day I am FINALLY going to go see “Carol.” This weekend was the first rollout of the film past its New York and Los Angeles opening cities. According to reports, the expansion will continue ever so slowly, with more locations not being added until Christmas Day. [You can see a list of U.S. city release dates here and international city release dates here.] The Carol website also has a ticket finder, which isn’t terribly helpful right now if you aren’t in NY, LA or SF. But, hopefully, soon. I will freely admit that I do not understand the reason for this agonizingly slow release schedule, unless it’s just to torture gay ladies across the globe. But I can only keep the faith that the wait will be worth the reward. I’ll let you know soon. Until then, please allow “Invite me around” to become your go-to pick-up line.
E.T.A. Yep, it really happened. It really, really happened.
Friday, December 11, 2015
“Scream Queens” was ridiculous, naturally. Though, as a Ryan Murphy production, it was practically perfect because it didn’t have to make sense, follow a cohesive narrative or adhere to the rules of continuity, gravity or physics. But the one revelation was Billie Lourd. The 23-year-old daughter of Carrie Fisher and granddaughter of Debbie Reynolds is third-generation Hollywood royalty.
What I enjoyed about her Chanel #3 was her dry delivery and obvious lesbian tendencies. But, I will admit, the nostalgia and clear homage to her mom – and Princess Leia – with those earmuffs would have endeared me to her, no matter what. And knowing that she’ll be in the new “Star Wars” movie too, with those hair buns once again, fills the “Star Wars” nerd in me with a certain sentimental joy.
Also, I believe this will be the first time I’ve Weekend Crushed both a mother and her daughter. So there’s that. Happy weekend, all.
Thursday, December 10, 2015
Well, having the symbol of America try to attack Donald Trump was sure fun. But, in case you needed another a stronger palate cleanser from the unbridled hatred and unabashed demagoguery that is the Republican presidential candidate campaigns, please enjoy this video from our gal Hillary.
p.s. Yes, yes, it’s fine if you like Bernie. I like Bernie, too. But I just happen to like Hillary more. Though, clearly, either one would be a vast improvement over any and all of the GOP field.
Wednesday, December 09, 2015
Oh, man. Did I need that. America needed that. So Time released some behind-the-scenes video of Donald Trump trying to pose with a bald eagle. Needless to say, the eagle was having none of it.
This eagle is making America great again.
This eagle is the hero America needs right now.
A grateful nation thanks you for your service, Hero Eagle.
Tuesday, December 08, 2015
Maybe you’re feeling a little down. Maybe you’re tired of the rampant consumerism that has come to typify this so-called season of giving. Maybe you just don’t like the holidays all that much. All of those are perfectly valid ways to feel. So this, this is just a little something to cheer you up. While this is still a commercial and therefore related to our consumerism, it’s also pretty awesome. It comes from the people at GoldieBlox, who have made a name for themselves entertaining and empowering girls. You might remember them from their kick-ass Super Bowl ad last year. Hey, if you’re gonna spend your money for the holidays already on your nieces (or – or, if you more than just a cool lesbian aunt like me – your own kids, or your grandkids, or your friends’ kids, etc.), might as well be with folks like them.
Monday, December 07, 2015
Please, you knew this post was coming. Heck, the moment I knew My Fake TV Wife and Her BFF would be in another movie together, I started writing this post in my head. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, together again in “Sisters.” There is a God and she likes funny, smart, feminist women. And then I started getting excited about the onslaught of publicity these two would no doubt embark on together as the release of their first new film, their first together in seven years, drew near. Man, did these ladies not disappoint.
First, there’s their Glamour cover story. For the article they, quite literally, draw questions from a hat to pose to each other. One of my favorite exchanges – besides when they riff on how a question could come from Instagram (“You can ask a question now on a site where there’s pictures.”) – was a joke about their accomplishments and legendary closeness.
Tina: I would say that one of your greatest accomplishments, Amy Poehler, is that you have so successfully used your art and comedy as a source of positivity in the world, by creating Smart Girls [an online community for girls, encouraging them to be their authentic selves], by making [Leslie in] Parks and Rec not only a positive feminist character but creating a good-hearted worldview within that program.Then there’s also the New York Times feature on them, which describes them as “like ‘Lean In,’ but funny.” In that article Tina references the Bechdel Test by name and generally say really are their awesome and intelligent selves. But of course, because it’s a Monday and because you need this, I’ll focus on some of the funnier stuff.
Amy: Thank you. Please note that as we talk to each other, we’re holding hands and we’re touching feet. We’re very close.
On Amy playing a nurse in “Sisters”:
Amy: So did I do a couple nurse ride-alongs? No. But did I also sew up some people that got hurt on set? Yes. So my point is, I consider myself a registered nurse. I wrote some prescriptions.On Tina’s physical transformation for the movie:
Tina: You trached a couple people.
Tina: It’s not a biopic. But if I say it is, can I have an Oscar? Did you notice that I had a fake nose the whole movie? It was smaller than my real nose — very uncomfortable to wear. A nose corset.On Amy calling Tina by the nickname “Betty”:
Tina: And I would also like for The Times to call me BettyThat last one is particularly funny if you’re a regular NYT reader. Really, you should read both articles in full because, come on, it’s Tina and Amy. Of course, as a person who owns both this…
Amy: Betty the first time and the second time, Mrs. Betty.
…I may be biased.
p.s. You should also most definitely watch the very funny “Sisters – The Farce Awakens” featurette above. In fact, you should probably just go see the whole movie. #youcanseethemboth #andiplanto
Friday, December 04, 2015
So May-December relationships are nothing new. We’re so used to them these days, especially when it comes to rich and famous men, we barely bat an eye. In fact, it’s almost more shocking when a male celebrity marries someone his own age. Like, does that even happen anymore? Rarely.
Here are just a few May-December examples:
Robert Duvall (84) & Luciana Pedraza (43): age gap 41 yearsYet, of course, when an older woman starts a relationship with a younger man she is a cougar. Look out for those cougars, boys. They’ll eat you alive, those cougars will. Case in point, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, even though their age difference was a mere 16 years.
Patrick Stewart (75) & Sunny Ozell (36): age gap 39 years
Jeff Goldblum (63) & Emilie Livingston (32): age gap 31 years
Alec Baldwin (57) & Hilaria Baldwin (31): age gap 26 years
Steve Martin (70) & Anne Stringfield (44): age gap 26 years
Michael Douglas (71) & Catherine Zeta-Jones (46): age gap 25 years
Donald Trump (69) & Melania Trump (45): age gap 24 years
Harrison Ford (73) & Calista Flockhart (51): age gap 22 years
The thing that annoys me most, besides the obvious sexism of the older men with younger women are studs and older women with younger men are cougars narrative, is the power imbalance. For most of these men, their wives are far less famous/wealthy/powerful than their female counterparts.
Anyway, my point, and I do have one is that when there isn’t such a blaring power imbalance, I have less of a problem with such relationships, regardless of the sex of either party. Which is a long way to go to simply say mazel tov, Sarah Paulson (40) and Holland Taylor (72). The heart wants what it wants. And if the hearts of two supremely talented and all-together awesome ladies want each other together, all the better. Happy weekend, all.
p.s. Their official portmanteau is Hollah, pass it on. And all credit for it goes to the amazing Heather Hogan, of course.
Thursday, December 03, 2015
If dressing beautiful actresses in tailored menswear, taking photos of them for fancy magazines and putting the gender-bending images on the cover is a trend, I want it to never end. First Kate Winslet, now Lena Headey. I’ve never heard of Jocks & Nerds magazine (it’s from the UK, I believe). But I do want to thank them for this lovely photoshoot (with a hat tip for the fine folks at the Imagine Me & You Fansite for bringing it to my attention).
I think we all need this today, no? In fact, I think we deserve this.
Wednesday, December 02, 2015
No one else has turned ambush performance art and/or screaming into a successful career as well as Billy Eichner. His latest accomplice is the always great and frequently gay acting Julianne Moore. Let me tell you, this video is as awkward as it is an impressive display of Julianne’s acting abilities. I mean, she cries on cue for a baffled tourist. Also, man, does she says “fuck” a lot in her movies. Too bad there wasn’t a line from “Freeheld,” too.
Tuesday, December 01, 2015
Just a quick reminder, kittens. I am recapping the new Netflix series “Jessica Jones” over at AfterEllen weekly. The newest recap, for episode 102, will be up today. If you haven’t already, please check out last week’s recap of the premiere episode here. And on the off chance you haven’t checked out the series yet – or if you have and just can’t get enough – here are the show’s very stylized noir opening credits. They’re pretty much perfect, down to the slinky score which builds to an unraveled crescendo and then crash back down simply.