Screen Queen: Pink, Elm Street Legacy, Blue Is the Warmest Color

By |2014-03-27T09:00:00-04:00March 27th, 2014|Entertainment|

Pink: The Truth About Love Tour: Live from Melbourne
There she goes, that Pink, raising the bar all the way up to the ceiling of a sports arena. “The Truth About Love Tour,” named after her sixth studio album, doesn’t just impress with exhilarating ingenuity – it makes her competition look darn right lazy. With a Cirque du Soleil level of grandeur, it’s clear no one currently performing in her circle works that stage harder than Pink, and the home release of this heralded spectacle – shot in Australia last year – demonstrates a pop veteran at the top of her game. Literally, too, as she shoots out of the stage for “Raise Your Glass,” spins unharnessed on a whirling dome during “Sober” and then encores a masterful, career-spanning set – sung live, so take that – by blasting across the stadium. And for this cutting-edge concert film, the camera’s along for the ride. When Pink’s swooping through the air, you’re right there with her. The bonus behind-the-scenes feature is a fun peek into her life on the road, but what’s really special is seeing Pink do a rare performance of “Time After Time.”

Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy
One, two, Freddy’s coming for you – gay or not. The second installment of the dream killer’s mayhem wasn’t without plenty of queer subtext, and when the 1985 sequel to Wes Craven’s “Nightmare on Elm Street” was released, that wasn’t lost on its filmmakers. In fact, it was intentional. Over 100 “Elm Street” collaborators – including Craven, Robert Englund and Heather Langenkamp, along with peripheral victims who likely had nothing better to do – dig deep into the mythology and homoeroticism of a horror icon. Discussed during the extensive four-hour Blu-ray doc is a Divine cameo that never happened, Kelly Rowland’s tasteless “faggot” ad-lib during a confrontation with the villain and all the queer camp of “Freddy’s Revenge,” including its gay lead Jesse Walsh (out actor Mark Patton and screenwriter David Chaskin reflect on what’s referred to as the “Top Gun” of the series). With surprising frankness, the insightful brilliance of “Never Sleep Again” opens that boiler room door and lets you in on the evolution, drama, secrets and just plain horror of your worst nightmare.

Blue Is the Warmest Color
Thanks to seven minutes of news-making lesbian sex, the wonderful and wistful coming-of-age indie from French filmmaker Abdellatif Kechiche, “Blue Is the Warmest Color,” got mad buzz after its Cannes Film Festival premiere. And sure, there’s absolutely nothing subtle about how Kechiche portrays his two young ladies in bed, and perhaps, like many have debated, it’s superfluous, but this is about self-discovery – sex is a rite of passage. Based on a graphic novel, Kechiche’s arty and deeply resonate work about the onset of adolescent desire, and the confusion and fragility of the human heart, begins with Adele (the tremendously affecting Adele Exarchopoulos) succumbing to bullying woes and being distinctly unsure of herself – especially around men. Then she meets Emma (Lea Seydoux), a sexually secure artist who turns her world upside down. Over three hours, and many, many movie years, “Blue Is the Warmest Color” exposes all the complexities of their relationship as they discover and rediscover themselves. Even if it’s stingy on special features, the film itself – released via Criterion – is a thing of staggering beauty.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
As Katniss Everdeen, Jennifer Lawrence’s love-torn, anxiety-fueled emotions in “Catching Fire” are served with such realness she’ll make a mess out of you. And who can blame her? The rare better-than-the-first second entry in the “Hunger Games” saga goes deeper and darker than its predecessor, rendering an almost-hopeless dystopia where champs Katniss and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) unwillingly fake their way through some PR and then compete once more, to their surprise, during this survival of the fittest. Fear, war and drag-queeny wigs – they’re facing it all over again. But “Catching Fire” bites down harder on the very media hysteria it vilifies. Its teeth are bigger, sharper and scarier. And with palpable ambivalence, alternating heroic fierceness and total despair with nothing but ease, Lawrence is more than just Katniss – she’s all of us. Extras include deleted scenes, a filmmaker commentary and a thorough nine-part doc that’s as long as the film.

Also Out

About Time
Nobody’s perfect, but what if they could be? Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) gives it a shot when he inherits his father’s ability to time travel and change his past. Now, suddenly, he’s a Casanova – no screw-ups, no awkwardness. He turns the charm on when he meets Mary (Rachel McAdams), and they both expect to see each other again. But the consequence to changing the past is that it also changes the future. Enriching and thought-provoking, the wonderfully sincere “About Time” is mushy and sweet and life-affirming – and duh: Rachel McAdams stars and “Love, Actually” filmmaker Richard Curtis directs. Bonus features include a cast/crew commentary, bloopers and a music video for Ellie Goulding’s featured song.

Can you imagine if this new “Carrie,” from “Boys Don’t Cry” director Kimberly Peirce, was a vehicle addressing this sickening trend in queer-targeted bullying? I mean, can you? No? OK, good. Because you wouldn’t wanna have your hopes dashed by this unnecessary repeat of the 38-year-old Sissy Spacek classic in which a young girl, ostracized by her peers and condemned to hell by her god-crazy mother, is so soul-depleted she unleashes the monster inside her. As Carrie, Chloe Moretz gets it right, relishing every messy moment of the prom massacre, but Julianne Moore’s exaggerated religious lunacy verges on parody. “Carrie,” the comedy? Anything but this. A Peirce commentary and an alternate ending are among the extras.

Fantastic Mr. Fox
Of course Wes Anderson would make a film about foxes. Because, uh, why wouldn’t he? Adapted in 2009 from a children’s novel about a fox family on the run after a chicken heist, the fable’s right out of left field. And it’s marvelous. It’s got the fantastically weird familial charm of every Anderson picture, the voices of Meryl Streep and George Clooney, and indelible characters (teenage outcast Ash is a huggable hoot), but it’s also easy on the eyes. There’s some seriously impressive animation going on here. Just look at that hair. And now look at it in glorious hi-def, a detailed Criterion Collection transfer that’s aesthetically foxy but also remarkably thorough in contextual supplements.

The Spectacular Now
Aimee Finicky is the virtuous virgin you bring home to mom. But Sutter Keely? Not so much. Still, the two high schoolers, despite differences and the opposite roads they’re on, meet at a crossroad. They dote, they have sex. It’s clear something is brewing between them, but there are walls and there are exes and there is alcoholism. What they experience is the kind of moment you remember more fondly with age, when you realize what it meant then and what it means now. And this drama, from the writers of “500 Days of Summer,” epitomizes that – spectacularly. A director commentary and a short making-of round out the set.

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.