The Silver Screen is Set to Sizzle this Season
By Hans Pedersen – May 21, 2015
If you’ve seen Scarlett Johansson and Chris Hemsworth strut their stuff in Avengers: Age of Ultron and your eardrums are still ringing from Pitch Perfect 2, you’re probably asking yourself, “What else is there to see at the box office this summer?”
Lucky for you, we’re looking forward to a little LGBT-friendly action on the silver screen just as the summer really starts to heat up. Here’s a glimpse of forthcoming blockbusters and independent films that feature LGBT themes, cast or characters.
June 12 | PG-13
Hunky Chris Pratt stars in the fourth installment of this franchise, but it’s a treat when gay actors like B.D. Wong (“Law & Order: SVU”) co-star in big-budget adventure films. In the story, it has been a decade since the once-popular dinosaur amusement park was unveiled, fulfilling Hammond’s original vision. But, in tough economic times, a brand new attraction is launched to bring back the crowds. Of course, the massive dinosaurs seize the chance to get out and about, enjoy some exercise and possibly a snack. Co-starring Judy Greer, who gets a chance to shine in two blockbusters this summer, the film is directed by Colin Trevorrow.
May 22 | PG | 130 minutes
This futuristic, almost transcendent film unveils a utopian secret society that can be unlocked with a magic pin and the right invitation. Britt Robertson is the lovely young miscreant who uncovers this secret and George Clooney is the handsome inventor who was kicked out of the fantastic world that exists in their collective memory. Judy Greer co-stars in this visionary sci-fi fantasy filled with eye candy and directed by Brad Bird.
May 22 | R | 150 minutes
This profile of one of the world’s leading fashion designers, Yves St. Laurent (Gaspard Ulliel), explores his creativity and wild side. Credited with introducing the tuxedo suit for women, the famous designer was among the Paris “jet set.” This biopic roams through leather sex clubs, drug-fueled romps and events with his life partner, Pierre Berge, filtering it all through split screens, tangents and unusual segues.
June 19 | 115 minutes
A standout hit at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Dope focuses on Malcolm (Shameik Moore), a teen who dreams of attending Harvard while facing the pressures of SATs and living in a rough Los Angeles neighborhood in the 1990s. He and his other unpopular pals – including Malcolm’s lesbian best friend Diggy, played by Kiersey Clemons (“Transparent”) – prefer punk music to the hip-hop their schoolmates play. When Malcolm gets caught in the middle of a botched drug deal, he and Diggy work to turn the situation to his advantage. Produced by Forest Whitaker, the movie co-stars Zoe Kravitz, A$AP Rocky and features music with vocals by Clemons.
June 19 | R | 80 minutes
Taylor Schilling (“Orange is the New Black”) stars in this sex comedy as Emily, a gal who just moved with her husband and child to the east side of LA from Seattle. In an attempt to find friendship, they schedule a “play date” with a family. But, when the kids fall asleep after pizza and their new friends open up, the sleepover takes a new turn and the couples go skinny-dipping and explore their bisexual tendencies. Jason Schwartzman co-stars.
What Happened Miss Simone?
June 26 | 101 minutes
Her life was as enigmatic as it was charmed and, in this highly praised Sundance documentary, director Liz Garbus looks at the life of gifted singer Nina Simone – a musical genius and civil-rights activist who grew up under brutal oppression. Chock full of previously unreleased recordings and footage, this film is brimming with stories about eight-hour-a-day piano practice sessions, harrowing domestic violence, her testy words to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and an iconic performance of “Mississippi Goddamn” at Carnegie Hall. Much more unfolds in Garbus’ fascinating work, which premieres on Netflix at the same date it hits select theaters.
June (TBD) | R | 90 minutes
Oscar-winner Mo’Nique (Precious) returns to the screen as the strict mother of Lance, a teenage Baptist choir singer in the South who’s struggling with his sexuality and dealing with the departure of his father (Isaiah Washington). As Lance explores his attraction to men, which unfolds in a steamy sex scene, his religious guilt looms until he is able to come to terms with who he really is.
Do I Sound Gay?
July 10 | 72 minutes
Margaret Cho, Dan Savage, David Sedaris and George Takei are among the stars appearing in this documentary about an unusual topic: the question of whether there is such a thing as a “gay voice.” After a bad breakup, filmmaker David Thorpe explores the question of whether he “sounds” homosexual. Interviewing linguists, voice coaches, friends and family for this curious doc, he looks into the idea of a possible gay vocal sound and its role in society. Slated for summer release by Sundance Selects, which often makes its films available online.
July 24 | 88 minutes
Shot entirely on iPhones across the streets of LA, with help from members of an LGBT youth group, this one’s also buzzworthy. This Sundance indie by Sean Baker focuses on a trans prostitute Sin-Dee (Kiki Kitana Rodriguez) who’s upset with her boyfriend and pimp on Christmas Eve. Characters meander through bus stops, doughnut shops, motel rooms and taquerias as stories of life on the streets gel in this gripping movie about youth on the fringes of society. Daring and loveable, it’s a film with a trans, lesbian and gay cast and a ring of big-city authenticity that’s heartfelt and gritty.
Aug. 28 | 78 minutes
Lily Tomlin has never been more acerbic and fun than she is playing lesbian grandma Elle Reid in this comedy that premiered at Sundance 2015. Julia Garner (“The Americans”) co-stars as Sage, a teenager who turns to grandma when she has a female problem. The two embark on a daylong mission that requires both cash and stamina. Their encounter with characters played by trans actress Laverne Cox, the late Elizabeth Pena (in one of her last roles), Judy Greer (because she’s in everything this summer) and Marcia Gay Harden as Sage’s high-strung mom. Directed by Paul Weitz, the movie is Tomlin’s best performance since her Oscar-nominated appearance in Robert Altman’s Nashville.
Diary of a Teenage Girl
Aug. 7 | 102 minutes
A charming, independent film that doesn’t pass judgment on its characters. Set in 1974 San Francisco, this Sundance hit is a coming-of-age story narrated by Minnie (Bel Powley), a girl who has just lost her virginity. Her mom (Kristin Wiig) is too engrossed in the Patty Hearst saga to keep tabs on her teenage daughter. As it turns out, the teen winds up embarking on an affair with mom’s boyfriend (Alexander Sarsgaard). Minnie’s storytelling voice is so strong in this splendid tale it will likely win you over.
Ten Thousand Saints
Aug. 14 | 113 minutes
This indie, set during gentrification tensions in 1989 over a homeless camp at Tompkins Square Park in NYC’s East Village culminated with a fiery riot. But the movie, starring Ethan Hawke and Asa Butterfield, is really about teenagers struggling to connect with one another, their friends and parents. One of the characters in this movie turns out to be gay, but comes out in such an oblique way that it underscores how much tougher it was to be out of the closet back then. Emile Hirsch co-stars in this film directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini.