After Thwarted Kidnapping Plans, Whitmer Calls for Unity

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 [...]

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Got ‘Milk’?

By |2018-01-15T21:23:47-05:00March 5th, 2009|Entertainment|
DVD 411

‘Milk’

“Milk” isn’t just a movie. When it was released, during the discouraging passage of California’s Prop. 8, it became an unassuming statement to right-wing bigots. But because the biopic about Harvey Milk, the gunned-down gay activist, dropped in the midst of all the political madness, when protests were being staged across the nation, it became more to LGBT folks than filmmakers had probably intended.
On DVD March 10, “Milk” proves history does indeed repeat itself – then, in the late ’70s, the first out-politician was fighting against Prop. 6, which would banish gay teachers. Two Oscars later (of eight nods), the Gus Van Sant masterpiece is an intimate portrait of a hero, a lively man who knew his fate and kept fighting anyhow. It’s a testament to the change one person can muster.
As Harvey Milk, Sean Penn, who deservedly nabbed Best Actor at the Oscars, might as well be a clone, capturing his fey mannerisms so well – and his vigor for life, for human rights, for the future – that it’s a cinch to embrace him. And so when death looms – threats and an emotional goodbye to his ex (played by James Franco in one of many solid supporting roles) – the intensity of Van Sant’s film swells, letting up only as the credits roll and we’ve been simultaneously saddened and inspired.
The film is so good that skimping on the special features – no commentary? – is a let-down.
With only a few deleted scenes, and three short featurettes – “Remembering Harvey,” “Hollywood Comes to San Francisco” and “Marching for Equality” – that are interesting but essentially all pay respect to the real Harvey Milk, a scene-by-scene commentary would’ve been a very welcome addition. Especially from Dustin Lance Black, who gave a heartfelt, misty-eyed speech about his muse for the film when he accepted his Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Look for a double-dip DVD soon. B+

ALSO OUT

‘Viva’
If “Desperate Housewives” was on HBO, it’s likely the show would be modeled after the satirically laugh-stimulating “Viva,” about a horny L.A. housewife whose sexual appetite whets after her hubby abandons her. Director Anna Biller flatly plays Barbi (a compliment, by the way), who gets tangled in ’70s sexcapades involving orgies, lesbianism and bisexuality. The campy must-see “Viva” authentically heralds back to a time when women just had to worry about being “lovely,” and “macho” meant playing golf, apparently. It’s all very Quentin Tarantino “Grindhouse.” With extra emphasis on the grind.

‘Out at the Wedding’
When a rumor spreads like herpes at a wedding – OMG, she’s a lesbian! – Alex Houston (Andrea Marcellus) decides to play into it to avoid a fuss with her just-married sister. Funny moments erupt, like when a sloshed Alex gives a misinterpreted coming-out speech that only adds fuel to the spreading wildfire. And when Alex and her gay – and also cunning (he tricks his boyfriend into shedding pounds) – pal Jonathan (Charlie Schlatter) try to fool her sis by hiring a dyke-double as her girlfriend, things get weirder. And, yes, that’s Carl Winslow of “Family Matters” (real name: Reginald VelJohnson) with queer-loved Mink Stole of John Waters’ film fame.

‘Zack and Miri Make a Porno’
Too much of a good thing – that’s you, Seth Rogen – is bad news for director Kevin Smith’s only occasionally funny smut comedy with a sweet touch. Seeing Rogen play Zack is like hearing a broken record (is he the only actor suitable for lazy schmucks?), but, in a film that doesn’t easily lend itself to “cute” with its two-friends-making-money-by-doing-porn premise, Elizabeth Banks is adorable. Though Justin Long, as a gay porn star, takes the queen’s crown – and on the two-disc DVD we 20 minutes of improv between him and on-screen BF Brandon Routh. Yep, Superman plays gay.

About the Author:

Chris Azzopardi
As editor of Q Syndicate, the international LGBTQ wire service, Chris Azzopardi has interviewed a multitude of superstars, including Cher, Meryl Streep, Mariah Carey and Beyoncé. His work has also appeared in GQ, Vanity Fair and Billboard. Reach him via Twitter @chrisazzopardi.