Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]
February 26, 2007
NEW THIS WEEK AT THE MOVIES
Ambitious FBI man Eric O’Neill (Ryan Phillippe) is transferred by the organization to spy on a veteran agent (Chris Cooper) suspected of selling national security secrets to other countries. O’Neill’s boss (Laura Linney) demands results, while his wife (Caroline Dhavernas) frets about his job’s secretive nature. Meanwhile, the young agent, as he closes in on his target, becomes increasingly disillusioned by the work he’s been assigned. This is a brooding and sometimes blackly comic film, based on a real case. Cooper is especially unnerving as the rogue, guilt-wracked agent. And as the fledgling spy, Phillippe is exactly the kind of blandly handsome actor required to play a man whose job it is not to be noticed, even as he does the most dangerous work of all.
Kinsey Scale: 1 (Cooper’s character is a right-wing homophobe who makes antigay remarks. Phillippe played a gay teen on the daytime soap “One Life to Live.” Linney starred in the series of “Tales of the City” films, “The Laramie Project,” and “Kinsey.” Co-star Bruce Davison also has queer credits.)
Bridge to Terabithia
When Leslie Burke (AnnaSophia Robb) moves in next door to Jesse Aarons (Josh Hutcherson), the dreamy fifth-graders become fast friends. Bullied at school, they create their own kingdom in the woods behind their homes, which they dub Terabithia – a place filled with giants and other fantastic creatures the pair must battle. Based on Katherine Paterson’s 30-year-old, award-winning children’s novel, this family drama celebrates loyalty and friendship, while promoting individuality and creativity among kids. Terabithia and its many monsters come alive through the magic of CGI, but the special effects never distract from the human story. The schoolyard scenes where Leslie and Jesse dodge bullies are truthfully (and painfully) rendered. The two young actors are simply wonderful, bringing warmth, playfulness, and wonder to their roles.
Kinsey Scale: 1 (Co-star Zooey Deschanel appeared in the barely seen, semi-queer comedy “Eulogy.” Director Gabor Csupo used to work on “The Simpsons.”)
Daddy’s Little Girls
Monty (Idris Elba) has the deck stacked against him. His three daughters live with their unfit mother, a woman involved with a violent drug dealer. His only chance to save his children’s lives is to battle her in court for custody. Enter Julia (Gabrielle Union), a highly successful corporate lawyer who takes the case and, over time, falls in love with the blue-collar Monty. Because this is written and directed by populist filmmaker Tyler Perry, the outcome of the exaggerated melodrama is never in doubt. Lacking Perry’s signature drag character, Madea, the movie is allowed to be a sympathy machine without pausing for wacky slapstick violence or Christian proselytizing. In other words, it’s Perry’s most likable movie to date.
Kinsey Scale: 1 (Perry is best-known for creating the female character “Madea,” whom he plays in drag. Union played one of Annette Bening’s lesbian lovers in “Running With Scissors”; co-star Idris Elba made a guest appearance on the British sitcom “Absolutely Fabulous”; and co-star Louis Gossett Jr. once guest-starred on the sitcom “Ellen.”)
Music and Lyrics
Faded ’80s New Wave pop idol Alex Fletcher (Hugh Grant) really needs the gig when current superstar singer Cora Corman (Haley Bennett) asks him to write her a song. Desperate to find a lyricist, he recruits the woman who waters his plants, Sophie Fisher (Drew Barrymore), for the job. Opposite in every way, the new partners are surprised to discover a knack for making beautiful music together. This frothy, fun romantic comedy is brilliant when it comes to spoofing pop music, fashion, and celebrity. The central love story is not nearly as enchanting, thanks to Barrymore’s pallid performance, but Grant’s ditzy, self-deprecating charm makes the whole endeavor worthwhile. He is simply hilarious, and so is Kirsten Johnson as Sophie’s brassy older sister and Alex’s number-one fan.
Kinsey Scale: 1 (The queerest thing about this is the early MTV-style music video that opens the film, though it is hard to tell whether it’s spoofing metrosexuals Duran Duran or George Michael’s Wham! Barrymore is openly bisexual and starred in “Poison Ivy” and “Boys on the Side.” Grant preferred to stay in the closet rather than pursue gay love in “Maurice.” Johnson was in “Strangers with Candy” and did a guest shot on “Sex and the City.” Co-star Campbell Scott played gay men in “Longtime Companion” and “The Dying Gaul.”)