By Romeo San Vicente
Zach Braff wishes on star Jim Parsons
“Wish I Was Here” is the name of that movie Zach Braff turned to Kickstarter to fund, a move that turned the entire project into a referendum on what well-to-do celebrities should do when they want to find alternative sources of funding for their film projects (hint: break the unwritten rules and use your own damn money). And the snarky controversy has overshadowed the fact that the film has a talented ensemble cast, including gay actor Jim Parsons (“The Big Bang Theory”), Donald Faison, Kate Hudson, Mandy Patinkin, “Pitch Perfect”‘s Anna Kendrick and Braff himself. The plot is an odd one considering the whole Kickstarter dustup, but it involves Braff’s lead character – described in a synopsis as a man struggling financially – turning to home-schooling his children when private school money dries up. Of course, they have these things called public schools that are … shhh … free, but whatever. It’ll be funny to see what financial hardship means to a rich sitcom actor, won’t it?
‘Blue’ lesbians to warm up America’s big screens
Filmmaker Abdellatif Kechiche’s three-hour lesbian romance, “Blue Is the Warmest Color,” is coming to America, thanks to distributor IFC. The controversial film (called a
“voyeuristic exercise” by New York Times film critic Manohla Dargis) stars young actresses Lea Seydoux and Adele Exarchopoulos as they come of age and fall in love, and it recently won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival, the Palme d’Or. The intense love story, complete with lengthy sex scenes (reports are that the non-pornographic art film leaves nothing to the imagination, prompting New York magazine’s Vulture website to cheekily praise its “impressive scissoring”) found itself in the unique position of receiving the highest praise from the most prestigious film festival in the world at the same time that France was legalizing same-sex marriage equality and anti-gay protestors were busy taking to the streets in Paris to be angry about it all. Sounds almost like what would happen here, frankly. And this fall American art-house audiences will get their own chance to evaluate the merits of the 179-minute “Blue,” probably while another U.S. state tackles its own marriage equality legislation and One Million Moms goes ballistic about Target’s same-sex wedding registry. Vive le cinema!
‘Do I Sound Gay?’ asks new documentary
Hey gay dude, worried that your voice “sounds gay”? Well, you’ve never been alone on that one. Worse, you’ve probably been made to feel bad about it, especially from other gay people. And documentary filmmaker David Thorpe knows what you’re going through. In fact, he made a movie about it. The director’s “Do I Sound Gay?” has been selected for the Independent Filmmaker Project’s 2013 Documentary Lab mentorship program, which will help shepherd the film to completion. Still in production, it’s a long-overdue, humorous exploration of the origins of “gay voice” as well as the stigma attached to having that voice. It features interviews with and the contributions of Margaret Cho, Tim Gunn, Dan Savage, David Sedaris and George Takei, none of whom plan to change the way they speak any time soon. We’re here, we sound queer, get used to it.
‘SheZow’ premieres without sun collapsing into the earth
The crazies of the world love to use the word “transgender” to instigate fake outrage over anyone who doesn’t conform to gender roles, so when the latest children’s cartoon series “SheZow” premiered recently on The Hub, a kids cable channel, they went ballistic. That’s why it’s so nice to report that “SheZow,” the creation of Obie Scott Wade, is nothing more than a fun, colorful, superhero show that also just happens to be about a young boy who takes on his late aunt’s superhero persona whenever crime needs to be vanquished. He transforms into her character – including the wig and shirt – and becomes SheZow, the crime fighter. Then he returns, happily, to being a boy. Technically that makes him a situational transvestite in the service of law and order and, clearly, young audiences are already understanding that it no more makes the character transgender (a word most of them have probably never encountered) than the Batman costume turns Bruce Wayne into an actual flying mammal of the order Chiroptera. Carry on, cartoons. We’ll keep waiting for the first great animated trans superhero TV show.