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 2019-07-10
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Knight at the Movies: 127 Hours; Room in Rome
by Richard Knight, Jr.

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

That bizarre macho disease—the inability of guys ( straight and gay, if anecdotal evidence serves ) to ask for directions, take advice, listen to common wisdom and, worse, learn to ask for help—finds its zenith in director Danny Boyle's 127 Hours, the stunning true story of Aron Ralston.

In 2003, Ralston set out on his own, trekking over rough terrain and through canyons in Utah and found himself stuck—literally—between a rock and a hard place for the aforesaid, jaw-dropping amount of time. ( That's well over five days. )

Before Aron ( who is played by James Franco ) falls into the deep crevice and the boulder traps his right arm, director Boyle, following up on his Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire, gives us a good sense of Aron's irresistibility, his upstanding character and his independence, which, unfortunately, is mixed with a healthy dose of pride. Setting out for the weekend, Aron doesn't tell anyone where he's going or bother to take along a cell phone ( though he's well stocked in about every other area ) . During the weekend Aron meets up with two smitten female hikers and he and the ladies go for a swim ( a fun, diverting montage ) . When the trio goes their separate ways he agrees to show up at a party the ladies are throwing later that weekend but soon after, Aron's accident occurs.

At first, the audience takes stock of Aron's situation along with him. He looks over his provisions, calculates how much food and water he's got, etc.—and though his arm has been crushed, he doesn't panic. Small triumphs—the retrieval of a pocket knife dropped just out of reach, for example—become palpable. But slowly, his strength ebbing, the gravity of Aron's situation, which has been terrifyingly clear to us, finally seems to dawn on him.

At this point Boyle's creative sensibilities—aided by the road map provided by Ralston's page turner of a memoir, adapted by Boyle and his co-screenwriter Simon Beaufoy—come into play. Aron's memories and fantasies ( playful and draconian ) trigger a whole panorama of Aron's emotions as he looks back on his life are ingeniously enacted by Boyle. Ironically, as the trapped, stationary Aron's situation becomes increasingly desperate, the more fanciful and filled with movement Boyle's camera becomes. Despite Aron's life-threatening circumstances, there's a lightness and buoyancy here that lifts it far beyond the usual "man vs. the elements" movie. ( Sunlight also plays a big part in elevating the mood of the movie. )

But without a compelling screen presence—an obvious necessity for such a story—Boyle's creative solutions would be for naught and with Franco, who continues the creative winning streak he began this year in the artsy Howl, he's got just the right combination of actor and personality for the tricky role—a "regular guy" who must somehow mesmerize an audience while pinned to a rock. James "I'm not gay/I just like playing gay characters" Franco—with his high wattage, confident smile, smoky eyes, take-charge attitude and irresistible vulnerability when he realizes his foolishness—makes Aron ( who is straight ) , most importantly, someone whose fate becomes a matter of concern to the viewer.

That's the small but very real triumph of 127 Hours. We know the beginning and the end of the story going in ( and, yes, be prepared for some gore when Aron makes his Big Decision ) but working in tandem, a wonderfully inventive writer-director and his star have interested us in what happened in between.

"Would you like to see me naked?" the gorgeous blonde Natasha asks the dark-haired Alba with a teasing smile. "I would love to!" comes the horny reply. Less than 10 minutes in and the sexy stuff is on in Room In Rome, writer-director Julio Medem's artistic homage to the one-night stand, lesbian style, which is playing an exclusive engagement ( in its Chicago premiere ) at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State.

On their last night in Rome, strangers Alba ( Elena Anaya ) and Natasha ( Natasha Yarovenko ) meet in a lesbian bar and the temptress Alba brings Natasha back to her room. Learning that Natasha hasn't been with a woman before doesn't deter Alba and, soon, the two are locked in a passionate embrace. Between bouts of lovemaking ( and there are copious amounts of it throughout the movie—in the double bed of Alba's hotel room, in the tub, against the wall, etc. ) , Alba and Natasha, after baring it all ( both Anaya and Yarovenko are naked throughout pretty much the entire film ) go through their personal histories, exposing their vulnerabilities, becoming more intensely emotional as the night progresses. As dawn and check-out time approaches, the question is not whether these two beauties are simply infatuated or have fallen in love, but whether they will dare to risk continuing what they've shared together in the Real World once the one night stand is over.

Moody cinematography; the gorgeous hotel room with its attendant accoutrements; offbeat, original songs by Jocelyn Pook that act as a musical Greek chorus; and, of course, nicely shaded performances from Anaya and Yarovenko add up to an intensely erotic cinema experience. All of which makes Room In Rome nothing less than a seductive tour-de-force. See .

Of related interest: One of the year's most delightful, moving films, The Kids Are All Right, from out director and co-writer Lisa Cholodenko, has just been released on DVD. Annette Bening and Julianne Moore play a lesbian couple who suddenly find themselves in the midst of a relationship crisis when their two teenage children decide that they want to meet their biological father—the sperm donor who inadvertently creates tremendous havoc when he enters their lives. A sharp, insightful script, tremendous performances and Cholodenko's assured direction will see this on many of the year's top 10 lists ( mine included ) . The DVD includes a batch of behind-the-scenes featurettes and a director's commentary.

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.


SHOWBIZ Jennifer Lopez, 'Toy Story 4,' Rosie, Darren Criss, John Waters 2019-07-16
'Hedwig' remaster at Music Box starting July 19 2019-07-13
10 Questions with Felix Maritaud 2019-07-10
'Paris Is Burning' at Music Box in July 2019-07-10
Billy Masters 2019-07-10
PASSAGES Milos Stehlik, leader in the Chicago film industry 2019-07-08
SHOWBIZ 'Orange Is the New Black,' Jake Shears, Bob the Drag Queen, Mika 2019-07-02
'Before Stonewall' at Siskel on July 5-10 2019-06-26
Blood-ties are binding in new LGBT drama 2019-06-26
Scholar/producer to receive new honor, speaks on life goals 2019-06-26
'Lavender Scare' director on very real tragedy 2019-06-26
SHOWBIZ Ryan Murphy, Billy Porter, Boy George, 'Queer Eye' 2019-06-25
MOVIES Jon Favreau honored as Robert Downey Jr. attends event 2019-06-20
Janet Mock signs historic Netflix deal 2019-06-19
MOVIES '5B' revisits first AIDS ward in Calif. hospital 2019-06-19
FILM ANALYSIS Rewatching Stonewall at the movies 2019-06-18
WTTW hosts screening of 'The Lavender Scare' 2019-06-17
Gay Holocaust film being shown June 20 2019-06-17
'Lavender Scare' screening, panel June 15 2019-06-14
Matt Bomer meets Papi Chulo 2019-06-11
SHOWBIZ Celine Dion, GLAAD concert, Marlon Wayans, telenovela plot 2019-06-11
'Dyke Delicious' series ends at Filmmakers 2019-06-09
Final Dyke Delicious screening, Stonewall Uprising, June 8 2019-06-05
Laquan McDonald doc '16 Shots' out June 14 2019-06-05
MOVIES Siskel showing LGBTQ+ movies 2019-06-05
SHOWBIZ Jane Fonda, Lee Daniels, Lady Gaga, 'The Babadook' 2019-06-04
Halston film opens at Music Box on June 7 2019-05-31
SHOWBIZ Cirque du Soleil, 'Downton Abbey' film, Mathew V, Whitney Houston 2019-05-28
Shout! releasing films for Pride Month 2019-05-24
Studio Responsibility Index (SRI) maps quantity, quality, diversity of LGBTQs in films 2019-05-24
Queer actor plays gay character in teen comedy 'Booksmart' 2019-05-23
SHOWBIZ Matt Bomer, Megan Rapinoe, Tom Ford, MTV Awards, EBTG 2019-05-22
SUMMER MOVIE PREVIEW Summertime brings out the big guns, to no one's surprise 2019-05-21
Advocate premieres homelessness doc 2019-05-18
Actress Doris Day dies at 97 2019-05-13
'Moonlight,' 'Wonder Woman' part of summer film series 2019-05-08
Billy Masters 2019-05-08
SHOWBIZ 'Pose,' Julia Roberts, Jonas Brothers, Madonna 2019-05-07
NATIONAL Dustin Lance Black, presidential candidates, Equality Act advances 2019-05-07
Randy Rainbow in town June 1 2019-05-06

Copyright © 2019 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 publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.