Media Update 6/20/19


Rocketman

I went on Saturday of Pride Weekend (in Baltimore) to see Rocketman and it was the perfect day to go. I have always enjoyed the music of Elton John. I like the upbeat tunes more than the slow ballads but a lot of it is really great. He has also aged into a very funny, cool guy. This movie is about the most difficult period in his life, mostly from when he first started getting famous and to the point where he hit rock bottom. The movie covers his problems with being accepted for being gay, cocaine, prescription drugs, alcohol, and basically being an asshole. It is a raw, dirty trip through the psyche of Reginald Dwight and how he became Elton John. The movie pulls few punches and really dives into the psychological problems caused by a dysfunctional upbringing, fame, substance abuse, and negative thinking. The acting is so, so good. Taron Egerton is so good in the role, partly because he had already befriended Elton through Sing! and Kingsman: The Golden Circle. He also can sing the songs beautifully. Jamie Bell is great at the more even-keeled Bernie Taupin, Elton John’s creative partner for decades. Bryce Dallas Howard is great as the emotionally distant mother who had plenty of problems of her own. Richard Madden is the perfect villain as the manipulative John Reid. The songs of Elton John (and a few others) are used in a traditional musical style where they stop a lot of the action but they allow us a great window into the emotions of the scene. My only complaint is that the movie was not longer. I wholeheartedly recommend it.


Kiss of the Spider Woman

This is a history-making movie that I have definitely had on my list for a long time because I am a big Raul Julia fan and also because this movie is on the 1001 Movies to See Before You Die list. The movie is the first independent film to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture. It is also the first film with an openly trans character whose actor (William Hurt) was nominated for and won an Oscar for Best Actor. Hurt is captivating as a very theatrical and charismatic man who dresses often in drag who loves to tell a good story. Raul Julia plays a more cynical, rough-around-the-edges leftist political prisoner who sees through all of the bullshit in life. The two are cellmates and unlikely friends and maybe more. Sonia Braga plays the titular character, a role in the style of classic female movie stars like Greta Garbo, Judy Garland, and Hedy Lamarr. The chemistry between Julia and Hurt is so good that it is easy to believe that the two became fast friends in real life. This was an experience that could only bond two performers together. The movie also has an interesting production history since it is a Brazilian-American production and there were language problems between the director and Hurt. The movie is a great look at gender identity and also what it is like to live under fascism. It is also about redemption for those who may have done wrong in their life. I definitely recommend it.


Gentleman Jack

Gentleman Jack is a BBC series about a woman who defies gender stereotypes in the mid-1800s. She lives in Halifax in England after living in Paris. She finds that she is attracted to women and so sets out to find a wife for herself. However, it is also about a woman trying to set the business she inherited back in the black while also navigating a difficult relationship with her family. Suranne Jones plays the lead (Anne Lister) and she is instantly charismatic and likable but also blunt and confident so I can see why other characters find her offputting. Sophie Rundle plays the object of her affections and their courtship is depicted as physically and socially dangerous. Still, Lister is a courageous woman who soldiers on even though she has been hurt before. She keeps her deepest secrets hidden while everybody just thinks she is ‘odd’. The show is very BBC in that it is a dry period drama but the acting really sets it apart from other stuff that I have seen in that vein. The character of Lister is so complex and interesting that I was instantly fascinated. I also like the depiction of lesbian culture in a period drama since many seem to think it did not exist back then. I recommend the show.

Music of the Week:
Ashley O – On a Roll

Janelle Monáe – Tightrope

Pabllo Vittar – Problema Seu

Quay Dash – Decline Him

Life Of Agony – This Time

 

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Pride 2019”
– I watched more Game of Thrones Season 3
– I watched more Arrow Season 7
– I watched more Charmed Season 1
– I watched more Legends of Tomorrow Season 4
– I watched more Santa Clarita Diet Season 3
– I watched more Riverdale Season 3
– I watched more The Flash Season 5
– I finished Star Trek: Voyager Season 2

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