By Hans Pedersen, October 2016 Issue.
In theaters Sept. 23 | R | 96 minutes
Nick Jonas and James Franco star in this movie that’s devoid of gay content, but simply bristling with homoeroticism. The movie follows 19-year-old Brad (Ben Schnetzer), who’s enrolling in the same college that his brother, Brett (Jonas), is a fraternity member. Brad is recovering from a beating after a random attack, but pledges his brother’s frat in the hopes of getting protection and popularity. Soon Brett must watch his younger brother getting subjected to an increasingly brutal series of graphic hazing rituals, until tragedy strikes at the frat house. Expect plenty of booze, bare-chested male bonding and even the use of food to simulate fellatio with blindfolded frat pledges.
Author: The JT LeRoy Story
In theaters Sept. 23 | R | 210 minutes
This award-winning documentary, directed by Jeff Feuerzeig, shares the true, stranger-than-fiction story of Laura Albert, a woman who decided to invent a male persona, JT LeRoy, to advance her writing career. But her creation transforms into flesh-and-blood when she asks a friend to wear a hat in order to play the role of LeRoy in public appearances. Soon LeRoy is the toast of the town, nurturing friendships with celebrities like Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan, yet nobody seems to suspect the persona is a manufactured one until the ruse snowballs out of control. This gender-bending story is filled with archival footage and candid interviews with the writer who invented a pen name and wound up creating a person.
Available on DVD/iTunes/Vimeo OnDemand Oct. 4
Inspired by coming-out videos on YouTube, New York City-based filmmaker Alden Peters chronicles his own experience of revealing his gay identity to loved ones in this documentary released by Wolfe Video. Explaining that he could never find any feature-length documentaries about the coming out process, the young director fills that void with this film, giving viewers a chance to watch the humorous and sometimes inelegant moments as friends and family react when he declares his own sexual orientation. Inspirational videos from people around the world give us a notion of the staggering scope of our global community that’s out and proud. This film also features interviews with activist Janet Mock.
Birth of a Nation
In theaters Oct. 7 | R | 120 minutes
Directed by, and starring Nate Parker, the film is a response to the racist 1915 D.W. Griffith film of the same title. Set in the antebellum South, it focuses on an enslaved preacher who agrees to pacify a group of slaves until a string of abuses inspires him to lead an uprising. This movie about how American slaves battled for freedom in the 1831 Nat Turner rebellion earned the Audience Award, Grand Jury Prize and a standing ovation at the Sundance Film Festival. Some say the director’s acquittal in a 1999 rape case could impact the movie’s success and Oscar chances; suffice it to say it has earned lots of acclaim and depicts moments in history not represented enough in cinema. Stars Mark Boone Junior, Penelope Ann Miller, Gabrielle Union and Jackie Earle Haley.