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Friday, August 8, 2014

See a Groovy Gay Movie during Chicago's Reeling Film Festival September 18 - 25

It's almost that time of the year again when we all come together to watch groovy movies at the second longest-running LGBT film festival in the world. Running September 18 to 25, Reeling 2014: The Chicago LGBT International Film Festival is celebrating its 32nd anniversary this year with a diverse slate of movies that run the gamut from edgy to adorable, raunchy to contemplative, disturbing to endearing, and heartbreaking to heartwarming. Below I've highlighted some of the films in the festival's line-up that caught my eye at Reeling's Kick Off Party this week, and I will be posting my reviews next month.

Reeling returns to the Music Box Theatre (3733 N. Southport) for its Opening Night Gala presentation of Eric Shaeffer's Boy Meets Girl on Thursday, September 18. The festival then moves on to its main venue, Landmark's Century Centre Cinema (2828 N. Clark), from September 19 to 25. The fest's home base, Chicago Filmmakers (5243 N. Clark), will also host select screenings.

A complete schedule of films will be available mid-August at Tickets may be purchased online or in person at Chicago Filmmakers beginning August 25. And you can get the latest festival news by following Reeling on Twitter and Facebook.

Alec Mapa: Baby Daddy
Actor and comedian Alec Mapa (Ugly Betty) veers from filthy to moving in this award-winning one-man show about how his life has changed since he and his husband adopted a child through foster care. No topic is off limits in this raunchy yet moving film of his award-winning oneman show: hosting gay porn award shows, a midlife crisis, musical theatre, reality television, bodily functions, married sex life, stage moms vs. baseball dads, and the joys, challenges, and unexpected surprises of fatherhood.

Best friends Katherine and Samantha pretend to be in a relationship in order to attend a free couples weekend retreat, only to discover there may be more to their friendship than either had imagined. The two stars co-wrote the film, and their banter and onscreen chemistry, along with the top notch supporting cast, makes BFFs an incredibly charming buddy comedy and satire of New Age-y relationship seminars.

Closing Night selection
Randy (newcomer Julian Walker) is a good-natured boy with a gorgeous voice and a whole host of problems to deal with: the disappearance of his baby sister, the separation of his parents (played spectacularly by Academy Award-winner Mo’Nique and Isaiah Washington), disturbing visions, a crisis of faith, and most distractingly, unwanted feelings for his handsome friend Todd, in this striking coming-of-age drama from Patrik Ian-Polk (Punks, Noah’s Arc).

Boy Meets Girl
Opening Night selection
This charming indie comedy poignantly explores the difficulty of growing up in a small town, following your dreams, finding love, finding yourself, and figuring out your sexuality — all attempted with urbane wit by Ricky, played by trans actress and newcomer to watch out for, Michelle Hendley.

Crazy Bitches
Festival favorites Guinevere Turner (The L Word, Go Fish), Cathy DeBuono (And Then Came Lola), and Candis Cayne (Stonewall) star in this comedy/horror film from Jane Clark (Meth Head). A cadre of bickering former sorority sisters spend a harrowing weekend away on a remote ranch where one-by-one, they are killed by their own vanity.

In this delightful parody of the Eurovision song contest, a group of friends in Tel Aviv spontaneously record their own number on a mobile phone while watching “Universong” and wind up becoming the next official Israeli entry—an opportunity not all of the friends, nor a closeted boyfriend, welcome at first. Cupcakes is a colorful, stylish musical that features an irresistible soundtrack by Babydaddy from the Scissor Sisters.

Eat With Me
When Emma shows up on the doorstep of her estranged gay son, Elliot, they must set aside their issues to save his failing Chinese restaurant and heal their strained relationship with the best medicine: dumplings. George Takei offers a touching cameo and Nicole Sullivan (MADtv, King of Queens) stars as the nosy neighbor who pulls Emma out of her shell in this charming food-centric comedy.

The Foxy Merkins
Two lesbian prostitutes struggle to find their way through a world of bargain-hunting housewives and double dealing Republican women in this re-imagining of landmark male hustler films from Madeleine Olnek, the director and writer of Co-Dependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same.

It’s Thelma and Louise meets Harold and Maude when Lake, a boy with a predilection for the elderly who has fallen in love with 81-year-old Mr. Peabody, decides to break Mr. Peabody out of the nursing home so he can see the ocean one last time in this moody, quirky drama by Bruce La Bruce (The Raspberry Reich, Hustler White).

In this touching meditation on love, language, and cultural isolation, Richard (Ben Whishaw, Skyfall, Cloud Atlas) forges a tentative relationship with Junn, the Cambodian mother of his deceased lover of four years, despite their language barrier and his lover not coming out to her.

Peter de Rome: Grandfather of Gay Porn
Pioneering erotic filmmaker Peter de Rome tells his astonishing life story with humor and charm in this surprising and heart-warming documentary which charts his journey from cinematic outlaw to celebrated film icon with contributions from collaborators and some of those he has influenced.

Queens & Cowboys: A Straight Year on the Gay Rodeo
Queens & Cowboys chronicles a complete season of the International Gay Rodeo Association, following several impassioned LGBT cowboys and cowgirls around the circuit and delving into the history of the IGRA and how homosexuality is viewed in the rodeo community.

Saugatuck Cures
Maggie runs a bed and breakfast in Saugatuck, Michigan, and has just come down with a second bout of cancer, which she can’t possibly afford to treat. Her gay son Drew (Max Adler, Glee) and his eccentric best friend decide to pose as ex-gay ministers and cure homosexuals in churches around the Midwest to raise money for her treatment.

Skanks follows a community theatre in Birmingham, Alabama, and its attempt to produce an original drag musical, Skanks in a One Horse Town. Despite a football and religion-obsessed city that can be unwelcoming at times, the cast of twenty-two bonds to form a family of sorts, proving that even in such a conservative environment, people from all walks of life can find joy no matter what the obstacle and build a community around a shared love of musical theatre.

The 10 Year Plan
Myles and Brody are two best friends who have made a pact to be together in 10 years if neither finds love by then. It’s two months shy of their deadline and both friends set off to do whatever it takes to avoid ending up as each other’s last resort.

Tiger Orange
In a small town in central California, two estranged gay brothers struggle to reconnect after the recent death of their father. Chet and Todd are both gay, but that’s about all they have in common. Tiger Orange is a touching and often humorous drama about brotherly love, forgiveness, and whether to fit in and hide, or stand out and be proud.

Tom at the Farm
In this haunting thriller by acclaimed director Xavier Dolan (I Killed My Mother), Tom attends the funeral of his closeted lover in rural Quebec and enters into a disturbing relationship with his lover’s older brother, who holds him hostage at the family farm.

Waiting in the Wings: The Musical
Tony, a New York stripper, and Anthony, a naïve musical theatre enthusiast from Montana, are mixed up in the casting office for two very different productions in this heartwarming homage to Broadway.


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for keeping us informed about gay movies.

Marc Harshbarger said...

Thank YOU, Anonymous, for reading DEEP DISH! :)