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 2017-12-13
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Knight at the Movies: Hereafter; DVD round-up; film note
by Richard Knight, Jr.

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

Clint Eastwood's movies have become ubiquitous entries in the annual year-end Oscar derby. And the weighty Hereafter—with its serious subject matter ( communing with the dead Over There ) ; serious leading actor ( Matt Damon ) ; and serious, large-scale approach—is his latest contender. But the result, from a convoluted script by Peter Morgan ( The Queen, Frost/Nixon ) and directed by Eastwood in his signature, stultifying pace, is a leaden mess. Filled with promising elements, wonderful actors and occasional bright spots, Hereafter is ultimately nebulous and mundane—so empty-headed and pretentious that it collapses under its own "prestigious" weight.

The movie's best sequence comes right out of the gate: Marie, a gorgeous French TV journalist ( Cecile De France ) and Didier, her equally gorgeous French hottie boyfriend/producer ( Thierry Neuvic ) , are caught in a devastating tsunami ( captured by Eastwood in true Irwin Allen disaster style ) . Marie momentarily drowns, glimpsing the hereafter; upon her return to France, she begins to experience flashbacks of what she encountered. Meanwhile, in the United States, a renowned psychic named George Lonegan ( Damon ) has renounced his abilities to hear messages from the dead and is trying to make a new life for himself. But his brother ( Jay Mohr ) only sees dollar signs and won't let him. Finally, one of a pair of cockney English twins is tragically killed in an accident and his surviving brother, Marcus ( Frankie McLaren ) , won't rest until he connects with his brother "on the other side."

Eventually, of course, all three of these stories will connect, but Morgan's script and Eastwood's glacial pacing won't find that happening until long after the 100-minute mark—long after any interest in these characters who are haunted by their connection to the "other side" has evaporated like so much ectoplasm.

The bulk of the blame goes to Morgan's script, which promises a lot more than it delivers. Weld that to Eastwood's bland direction and the result is a movie consciously reaching for "greatness" and falling far off the mark. This "we're all connected under the skin" stuff worked wondrously in a movie like Babel but Eastwood's flinty, no-nonsense approach has none of the lyricism that director Alejandro González Iñárritu unforgettably displayed in that marvelous film. Eastwood resorts to visual metaphors ( claps of thunder arrive on cue each time something momentous is about to happen ) , lets scenes run on too long and, worst, persists in writing yet another of his wooden, signature music scores ( single notes plucked out on piano or guitar ) for a movie that desperately needs a film composer with musical versatility and passion. ( Rarely has a score irritated me as much as this one has. )

In the end, Hereafter is just so much smoke and mirrors, and has the same effect as an encounter with a phony physic—it keeps delivering just enough to tantalize you, never has a real payoff and eventually makes you realize with sadness and/or anger that you've been conned. What a lot of hooey.

DVD round-up:

Two of my favorite films this year—the sumptuous I Am Love, a collaboration between star/producer Tilda Swinton and director/co-screenwriter Luca Guadagnino, and the thrilling sci-fi horror movie Splice, which stars Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley—are out on DVD and will be of interest to queer movie fans. The first, a masterpiece of sensuality set in Italy, features a lesbian character and plenty of homoerotic subtext—both integral to the tragic, melodramatic outcome of the film. In the second, Brody, Polley and Delphine Chanéac ( as Dren, the hybrid human-animal creation ) pull off a gender-bending high-wire act under the inspired direction of Vincenzo Natali ( who co-wrote the script ) that has to be seen ( and reveled in ) to be believed. Both films signal the arrival of bold, enthralling filmmaking talents to be reckoned with.

For fans of classics, the Warner Archives' DVD on Demand service is giving us the long-requested A Stolen Life. This 1946 plot-boiler features Bette Davis as twins ( one saintly, one nasty as hell ) and handsome young Glenn Ford for them to fight over. Consistently over the top, the movie's an entertaining women's picture that marked the first and last time Davis took a hand in producing her own films. The Warner Archive has also released the 1971 black-comedy murder mystery Pretty Maids All In A Row, starring the late gay movie star Rock Hudson as a married high school athletic coach who has flings with several of his comely, female students and resorts to murder when his wanton ways become threatened. Angie Dickinson plays a substitute teacher who has a fling of her own; the Osmonds sing the theme song; Telly Savalas plays a detective; and James Doohan ( "Star Trek's" Scotty ) and Roddy McDowall are in the supporting cast. Only in the '70s! ( Get those orders in quickly to for a copy autographed by Dickinson. )

Prince of Persia, one of last summer's semi-successful action blockbusters, is out on DVD and Blu-ray. Though it's not as entertaining as its Arabian Nights movie forebears, there's enough diverting action and special effects—not to mention the sight of the buffed-up Jake Gyllenhaal, sporting plenty of muscle along with a pretty good British accent—to make this okay action movie worth seeing.

Film note:

It's fall in Chicago, which means film festivals—and one of the largest is the Chicago International Children's Film Festival. Kicking off Oct. 22 and running through Oct. 31, this year's lineup is the largest in the fest's history—a whopping 270 movies ( representing 40 countries and including 90 Chicago premieres ) . Don't let that number overwhelm you—many of the entries in the fest are cartoon-length shorts programmed together as in the Friday, Oct. 22, opening-night program at Thorne Auditorium, 375 E. Chicago, that kicks off at 6 p.m. and features seven short films hosted by WTTW's Geoffrey Baer along with entertainment by Radio Disney's Party Patrol.

More than 100 filmmakers will attend the festival, which in addition to screenings will include lots of kid-friendly workshops and activities. Movies for children of all ages ( from 2 through 13+ ) which will screen at a variety of Chicago venues, including the Center on Halsted. Complete festival information is available at 773-281-9075 or

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.


African American poet e. nina jay releases DVD 2017-12-15
'Don't Give Up' is Maggie Szabo's song dedicated to transgender youth 2017-12-15
A #MeToo moment: African American poet e. nina jay releases DVD 2017-12-15
Uganda Police Raid Queer Kampala Film Festival, Blocking LGBT Cultural Event 2017-12-15
NUNN ON ONE MOVIES Michael Stuhlberg, Making his 'Name' known 2017-12-13
MOVIES John Ridley covers L.A. Riots, lesbian officer in 'Let It Fall' 2017-12-13
Showbiz news: Laverne Cox, 'Queer Eye,' Patti LaBelle, Rogers-Berlanti wedding 2017-12-12
NUNN ON ONE: WEB Kit Williamson experiences L.A. in 'EastSiders' 2017-12-06
MOVIES In good 'Shape': Richard Jenkins on his latest film 2017-12-06
NUNN ON ONE MOVIES Lois Smith In her 'Prime' 2017-12-06
Five Worth Finding: Holiday edition 2017-12-05
Showbiz news: Ryan Murphy, Mariah Carey, MIssy Elliott, Armie Hammer 2017-12-05
NUNN ON ONE: MOVIES Stephen Cone and the 'Cyd' effect 2017-11-29
Siskel to show drag-ballet film, plus 'Tom of Finland' 2017-11-29
Showbiz news: Armistead Maupin, Wendy Williams, Taylor Swift, 'House of Cards' 2017-11-28
Pride Films and Plays' offers monthly festival of LGBTQ independent films 2017-11-25
pregnantish magazine hosts 'Vegas Baby' screening, talk 2017-11-20
Showbiz news: Nico Tortorella, Hugh Jackman, Demi Lovato, Shaun T 2017-11-20
Tambor leaving 'Transparent' after accusations 2017-11-19
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo film at Siskel 2017-11-19
Jussie Smollett's film, 90 DAYS commemorates World AIDS Day with Harle event 2017-11-18
'Sound of Music,' AIDS movie at Music Box Theatre 2017-11-18
FILM REVIEW Lady Bird 2017-11-15
Chicago film part of Wayward fest 2017-11-14
Showbiz news: Aguilera, Robbie Rogers, 'Jane the Virgin,' Gal Gadot 2017-11-14
Chicago natives launch LGBTQ web series, 5A-5B 2017-11-12
PASSAGES: Documentary filmmaker, activist Debra Chasnoff dies 2017-11-11
GLAAD: Broadcast TV has many LGBTQ characters, often lacks diversity and complexity 2017-11-09
Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin to premiere on Independent Lens Jan. 1 2017-11-08
Homocore marks 25th anniversary 2017-11-08
Web series 'Brujos' to premiere Nov. 9 2017-11-08
BOOKS A chat with author Kathryn Sermak on Bette Davis, the grande dame of acting 2017-11-08
Showbiz: Andy Cohen, Cyndi Lauper, allegations/fallout, Scissor Sisters 2017-11-07
Seeing stars: Patrick Stewart, Mario Lopez, Alfre Woodard 2017-11-04
Gay mass murder documentary, Upstairs Inferno, on on DVD, blu ray 2017-11-01
Brujos, queer-of-color web series to premiere in Chicago 2017-11-01
Doc looks at trans Tupperware salesperson 2017-11-01
LGBTQ comedy feature, Freelancers Anonymous, filmed in Chicago 2017-11-01
Showbiz news: 'Riverdale,' Ryan Murphy, 'Thor,' Sheryl Crow 2017-10-31
Fed. of Actors calls for an end to sexual harassment 2017-10-26

Copyright © 2017 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      Submit 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.