Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2016-10-19
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Knight at the Movies: Conviction; Red; film notes
by Richard Knight, Jr.

facebook twitter pin it stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

With Conviction, the fact-based story of a working mother who becomes a lawyer to free her brother from a murder charge, Hilary Swank gives the kind of performance that has won her two Oscars and might get her a third. Much of that has to do with Swank's innate ability to connect with underdog characters. There's something in these sad-eyed women who grin through adversity that audiences respond to, big-time. And Betty Anne Waters—tough as a bar of iron, taciturn and determined to a fault—is every bit as memorable as Swank's Brandon Teena in Boys Don't Cry and Maggie Fitzgerald in Million Dollar Baby, the two other characters that netted Swank Oscar gold. These underdogs share the silent resolve to rise above the horrible hand that life has dealt them, and something in Swank instinctively knows how to put these battle-scarred characters across.

In Conviction, only the third feature from actor-director Tony Goldwyn ( who doesn't appear in the film, but should ) , Swank shines in a David-vs.-Goliath legal drama that is a great human-interest story a la Erin Brockovich or Flash of Genius. The film moves back and forth between the hardscrabble childhood of Betty Anne and her brother, Kenny, and their lives as adults just before and during Kenny's arrest and conviction for murder. Set in working-class Massachusetts, the film has the added bonus of listening to actors relish spouting out their dialogue with a "Bass-ton" accent.

Goldwyn, working from a script by Pamela Gray, knows that he's got a good, meaty story, and sensibly keeps things focused on his star and her supporting players. Sam Rockwell, who matches up nicely with Swank, crackles with energy playing the wildcat brother whose time in jail begins to grind him down emotionally. Clea DuVall plays the trashy mother of his child; Juliette Lewis is marvelous as his even trashier girlfriend; and Minnie Driver is Swank's funny, no-nonsense, sexpot best friend. Other marvelous actors—Melissa Leo, Karen Young, Peter Gallagher, Loren Dean, etc.—make impressions in small but key roles.

In its way, Conviction is every bit as old-fashioned as Swank's last starring picture, Amelia, the flop biopic of the sunny but doomed aviatrix Amelia Earhart. But where that misguided production mistakenly reduced Earhart's thrilling career and life as a feminist pioneer ( and lesbian icon ) down to a soggy romance, Goldwyn's film makes sure to provide Swank with a winning character arc that she rides for all its worth. As Betty Anne, Swank soars back to the acting heights audiences have loved her for and her commitment to the character gives the title of the movie a double meaning.

Helen Mirren, another gay audience fave, is back in theatres this week in the action thriller Red, the first foray into the genre by Summit Entertainment—the production company responsible for the mega-successful Twilight franchise. Bruce Willis stars in the Grand Hotel-sized conspiracy thriller in which a group of former black ops CIA assassins ( Willis, Mirren and Morgan Freeman ) is forced to come out of retirement when the members' identities are compromised ( hence the title, which stands for Retired-Extremely-Dangerous ) . The movie, based on a series of graphic novels by Warren Ellis, is typical action-blockbuster stuff—entertaining and mindless—that is elevated by the high-wattage cast ( which also includes Mary-Louise Parker, Richard Dreyfuss and Ernest Borgnine, who gets a meaty little part ) and the sight of a no-nonsense Mirren toting an automatic weapon and taking out enemy minions left and right with obvious gusto. The movie's biggest misstep is having the character played by the ageless, shamelessly sensual Mirren punished by ending up with crusty old Brian Cox ( perhaps the least sexy man in movies ) , who is cast as her old flame, a former Russian agent. Overlook that error in judgment by director Robert Schwentke ( The Time Traveler's Wife, Flightplan ) , and Red makes for great Saturday night date fare.

Film notes:

—Women Labor Activists in the Movies: Nine Depictions of Workplace Organizers, 1954-2005 is a new book of film essays by University of New Hampshire associate professor Jennifer Borda. The book reflects attitudes about the labor and women's movements through assorted films of the period including Salt of the Earth, Pajama Game, Union Maids, Norma Rae, Silkwood, and Live Nude Girls Unite. Borda's book examines the difference between the real story and Hollywood's version of the true events. See

—Celebrity photographer and WCT contributor Steve Starr has released a new coffee table book called Starrlight: Glamorous Latin Movie Stars of Early Hollywood that combines photographs of the stars and period memorabilia, with bios of Maria Montez, Rita Hayworth, Lupe Velez, Carmen Miranda, Delores Del Rio and others. See

Check out my archived reviews at or . Readers can leave feedback at the latter website.

facebook twitter pin it stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


NUNN ON ONE: Trans model Isis King struts out with a new show 2016-10-19
'Love Is All You Need?' showing Oct. 30 2016-10-19
Remastered 'Divine Miss M' out Oct. 21 2016-10-19
Southwest of Salem follows fight of four Latina lesbians for exoneration 2016-10-15
Knight at the Movies: LGBTQ highlights of the Chicago International Film Festival 2016-10-12
MOVIES Anthony Rapp: 'Bwoy' meets world 2016-10-12
MOVIES Blond Ambition dancers strike a new pose 2016-10-12
Remastered 'Divine Miss M' out Oct. 21 2016-10-12
Film story of a straight love in a gay world brings anti-bullying message 2016-10-11
National roundup: YouTube star, Victory Fund, Hurricane Matthew 2016-10-11
Entertainment: Wonder Woman, 'Horror Story,' Samira Wiley, Jared Leto 2016-10-11
Animated film on America's first mass school shooting at Music Box 2016-10-11
Gay series 'Feral' on 2016-10-05
Knight at the Movies: Fall LGBT movie special 2016-09-28
Reeling continues to entertain, enlighten until Sept. 29 2016-09-28
Chicago Int'l Film Fest hosts celebratory event 2016-09-28
Reeling Film Festival opens with Bianca Del Rio 2016-09-28
Entertainment news: Marc Jacobs, Tituss Burgess, 'Hamilton,' 'Will & Grace' 2016-09-27
From This Day Forward, explores family with transgender dad, Oct. 10 2016-09-22
Pride Films and Plays announces five finalists in the 2016 LezPlay Contest 2016-09-21
Mel Platzke memorial Sept. 24 2016-09-21
Spotlight on Tony 'n Tina's Wedding, Critics' Picks 2016-09-21
MOVIES Hugo Weaving: 'Dress'-ed for success 2016-09-21
MOVIES: REELING Hurricane Bianca (Del Rio) blows into the Windy City 2016-09-21
34th Reeling Film Festival makes America gay again 2016-09-21
'From Selma to Stonewall' Sept. 24 2016-09-21
Nick Jonas film in Chicago in Sept. 2016-09-21
David Pevsner releases CD 2016-09-21
Entertainment news: Lady Gaga, Lance Bass, Alexis Arquette, Zayn Malik 2016-09-21
'Transparent,' Paulson among Emmy winners 2016-09-18
Award-winning documentaries highlight diverse trans experiences at REELING 2016-09-15
'From Selma to Stonewall' to screen at ICON Sept. 24 2016-09-14
Maya Angelou film at Siskel Sept. 16-29 2016-09-13
Chicago Filmmakers continues LGBTQ+ Youth Media Project, scholarships 2016-09-12
Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival schedule announced 2016-09-08
Chicago's Fawzia Mirza on her 'Signature Move' 2016-09-07
Knight at the Movies: Akron; Other People; gay classic Hollywood 2016-09-07
Entertainment news: Melissa Etheridge, Matt Bomer, Sam Smith, Dolly Parton 2016-09-06
Upstairs Inferno, New Orleans gay mass murder doc film, at Reeling 2016-08-31
Music Box Theatre to pay tribute to Gene Wilder with a special double feature 2016-08-31

Copyright © 2016 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.
[email protected]  •  [email protected]  •  [email protected]

Website Powered by