From science fiction and action adventures to period classics and screen adaptations, 2013 is set to be a big gay year in cinema. Colin Fraser previews the films every queer cinephile should watch.
Christmas has come and gone, you’ve done your Boxing Day must-see film-list and have just crashed from a sugary rush of confections like Wreck-It Ralph and The Hobbit. You want something a little more solid. More meaningful. More gay. Here are a few queer-centric films to keep an eye out for this year.
Canada’s hot-shot director Xavier Dolan (think an overachieving gay Orson Wells, one star short of his personal Citizen Kane) has been busy spruiking his story about the relationship between an MTF transgender and her lover. Laurence Anyways stars French heart-throb Melvil Poupaud and won this year’s Queer Palm at Cannes. The restless writer/director is also busy on his latest film Tom A La Ferme about a grieving man who meets his late lover’s family. Problems arise when they learn their son’s sexual orientation. Both films are due to hit our shores this year.
When The Paperboy played at Cannes in 2012, this scintillating pot boiler by Lee Daniel's (Precious) went largely unnoticed. Surprising, given an all-star cast and the steamy storyline. Perhaps it was the presence of ‘Toxic’ Nicole Kidman, even though as skanky trailer trash she’s seldom been better. Or the subplot involving Matthew McConaughey’s compromised gay journalist? Or Disney boy Zac Efron’s lusty advances on Kidman in his underwear? Who knows, but surely that’s three good reasons to add it to the list.
Period enthusiasts also get a triple treat with the much vaunted Lincoln showing how good men should behave, The Great Gatsby showing how bad men behave and Anna Karenina showing how great women dress. Spielberg and Daniel Day Lewis are odds on for Oscar glory, Baz Lurhmann prepares Joel Edgerton for a fall, while poor Jude Law navigates the treacherous waters of adultery.
Lana and Andy Wachowski, formerly the Wachowski brothers (The Matrix), are back with Cloud Atlas which is as densely layered as anything before it: “An exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution”. Right. And with actors playing seven roles each, good luck working that one out.
Star Trek tragics rejoice when Star Trek 2 boldly goes Into Darkness with Chris Pine, Simon Pegg and everyone’s favourite gay Vulcan, Zachary Quinto. Rumour has it that Khan (from, er, Star Trek 2: Wrath of Khan) returns played by dishy Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock Holmes).
In a year of reappearances, Superman returns to earth with The Tudors super-fit Henry Cavill flying the cape. After Bryan Singer’s dismal Superman Returns, 300’s Zach Snyder has been called in to do a Nolan and reboot the franchise with depth, flair and mighty fine suits. Russell Crowe plays superdaddy, Jor-El.
Snyder then turns writer/producer when 300: Rise of an Empire rolls into town with a legion of über-buff, scantily clad, blood-soaked heroes behind it. Animal Kingdom’s Sullivan Stapelton leads the cast and you might say who? But then 300 has always been more about muscle power than star power.
And speaking of feisty, Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck get over-anxious when running an offshore gambling operation in Runner Runner. Fortunately resolving their issues doesn’t involve ripping their shirts off and slaying one another. Well, maybe the shirt bit...
Ever wondered what happened to the ‘missing’ 40 minutes from Al Pacino’s steamy gay-bar shocker Cruising? No? Well filmmakers Travis Mathews and James Franco have, and used the S&M thriller as a jumping off point for a broader discussion about sexuality and creative freedom. Hitting screens in Berlin and Sundance, it remains to be seen whether Interior: Leather Bar will find a home in cinemas or on TV like Steven Soderbergh’s Behind The Candelabra. This controversial biopic about Liberace and his younger lover was considered ‘too gay’ and unable to find funding until HBO picked up production. Michael Douglas camps it up behind the piano, Matt Damon from behind.
No reflection on queer film would be complete without the Mardi Gras Film Festival. Among this year’s treats, check out the rerun of Australian classic Head On, a portrait of James Dean in the doco Joshua Tree 1951 and the anticipated comedy Struck By Lightening with Rebel Wilson, Christina Hendricks, Allison Janney and Glee’s Chris Coffer. Faaaaaa-a-bulous.
And finally, if you’ve a thing for fetish wear, short or fancy-dressed men, The Hobbit returns with a bounty of such delectables this December. Think of it as an early Christmas present.
[Images] Interior: Leather Bar; The Paperboy; The Great Gatsby