Windy City Media Group Frontpage News Home
CELEBRATING 28+ YEARS OF Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender NEWS

Search Gay News Articles
Advanced Search
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2014-07-23
Download Issue
  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime

THE AMAZON TRAIL Nancy Garden: Lesbian hero THE AMAZON TRAIL Nancy Garden: Lesbian hero
People all over the world were heartbroken to hear of Nancy Garden's ...

Browse Gay News Index   Browse Gay News Archives
  Windy City Times

Richard Knight, Jr., for Windy City Times Knight at the Movies: Captain America: The First Avenger; film notes
by Richard Knight, Jr., for Windy City Times
2011-07-27

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email
Hugo Weaving as the Red Skull in Captain America: The First Avenger. Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures


Is it me or has this been the summer of Imitation of Blockbusters rather than the cinematic thrill rides I'd been hoping for? The spectacular box office for this year's crop of summer tentpole movies couldn't disagree with me more but, to my mind, none of them has offered anything remotely fresh or particularly invigorating to merit the large numbers. (Even Harry Potter 8, which I enjoyed, is really only for those familiar or in love with the series.) They haven't been bad pictures—just not particularly thrilling or inventive ones. (I am not including the X Men prequel here as I haven't seen it.)

I'd hoped that Super 8, the summer's one original entry, would break the mold and, as intended, it emulated the Spielberg look and feel to an almost embarrassing degree but it scrimped on heart, leaving one entertained but not particularly invested in its characters or its action set pieces. The same can be said for Captain America: The First Avenger, the summer's most promising big-budget action fest, which looks great and hits all the right notes but ,again, never truly puts the pedal to the medal.

The movie is yet another adaptation from a Marvel comic-book series, the genre that has all but overtaken the high-end movie business. However, unlike many of these movies—which have begun to blur in my mind—the action is set in the WWII time period in which the comic first appeared. This logical idea proves to be inspired for multiple reasons. One, it immediately gives the picture a fantastic retro look and a sense of real adventure and fun and, two, it frees the writers from having to update the character and situations into a modern setting—avoiding the problems inherent in many of these other clunky editions. The vintage time period also gives our hero—Steve Rogers aka Captain America (played by Chris Evans)—his compatriots and the audience easily discerned enemies (Nazis and their rogue offspring).

Rogers is a tough guy from Brooklyn whose innate courage keeps getting stymied by his 90-pound weakling frame. (The special effects department does an amazing job dialing down the hunky Evans' size.) It's 1943 and he can't get into the Army. By chance, a mysterious Dr. Erskine (Stanley Tucci) happens upon Rogers as he is making yet another attempt to sign up and he becomes the first and, it turns out, only candidate for Erskine's experimental "super soldier" program. (Not surprisingly, the sequence in which Erskine the mad scientist turns Rogers from the skinny Minnie into the spectacularly muscular Frankenstein-type creation will have gay men salivating.)

Rogers, now redubbed Captain America (complete with patriotic outfit and tights) wants to get into the action but is instead assigned a war-bond tour to boost morale. When he finally gets overseas the troops diss him with taunts of "Hey Tinkerbell" and other homophobic cracks. (The grizzled Tommy Lee Jones, as the commanding officer, dismisses him as a "chorus girl.") However, Rogers soon proves himself and catches the eye of the tart-talking British lady officer (Hayley Atwell, a variation on a role often played by Kate Beckinsale) and Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark, the father of Tony Stark, the eccentric inventor played by Robert Downey Jr. in the Iron Man film series; Cooper does an apt but not particularly memorable job.

Everyone lines up to help Rogers take on Red Skull (Hugo Weaving), the resident baddie (who gets a nifty underground lair) and his evil minions, and the movie ends with an abrupt set-up for a sequel. Evans, who has successfully spread his wings in a variety of movie genres before stepping into one of these gigantic franchise wannabes (though he has yet to play a gay character), is a great, solid choice for the earnest Rogers but the script doesn't give his character much shading.

Captain America: The First Avenger is a typical addition to director Joe Johnston's resume (Congo, Jurassic Park III, The Werewolf, etc.). He's a serviceable director whose movies are put together by the numbers—they are likeable but forgettable. Even with the incredibly hot beefcake Evans in the title role the movie doesn't sizzle nearly as much as its promising set-up suggests.

Film notes:

—Two queer-themed documentaries infused with fashion and art are back for encore screenings in Chicago. Both 2010's Bill Cunningham New York and L'Amour Fou are on the schedule at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State, beginning Friday, July 29. The former, from director Richard Press, is a lively, entertaining portrait of the ubiquitous New York Times fashion photographer and society columnist of the title. The latter is Pierre Thoretton's fascinating but dour look at the late fashion icon Yves St. Laurent as his lover and business partner of 50 years, Pierre Berge, prepares to dispose of the couple's breathtaking art collection. http://www.siskelfilmcenter.org

—Audience-participation screenings are one of my favorite cinema experiences. I'm talking about the type that encourage interaction for everyone in the audience—not regular screenings with the annoying schlub texting, talking or fidgeting, ruining the film for everyone in the jerk's vicinity. The historic Music Box, 3733 N. Southport, is hosting two such events in the next couple of weeks. Grease Sing-A-Long, back by popular demand, is the first. It screens this weekend (July 29-31) with a pre-show costume contest followed by the 1978 John Travolta-Olivia Newton John musical from gay director Randal Kleiser and flamboyant gay producer Allan Carr. The movie, a gigantic financial hit, is thin but lively, with its cast and some songs giving it a lift.

Then on Sunday, Aug. 7, at 2 p.m., Camp Midnight returns with a brand new edition of the film series that celebrates "the best of the worst"—this time featuring 1962's horror camp fest What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? My alter ego, Dick O'Day, will host along with Hell in a Handbag's David Cerda. The screening, which is in honor of National Sisters Day—yes, it's really a holiday—will feature a pre-show including a matching sisters outfit contest, a sing-a-long at the organ and more. There will then be an interactive screening with commentary by myself and Cerda (trying to outwit our audience). The event will partially benefit both the Queer Film Society and the HIV/AIDS agency Vital Bridges. Advance tickets for both special events are now on sale; see www.musicboxtheatre.com .

Check out my archived reviews at www.windycitymediagroup.com or www.knightatthemovies.com . Readers can leave feedback at the latter website.


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us 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.

Knight at the Movies: And So It Goes; film notes 2014-07-23
The Bijou Chronicles Steven Toushin: Matt Revira 2014-07-23
Dustin Lance Black plane scare; Quinto movie news; NeNe vs. Wendy 2014-07-22
GLAAD's Vito Russo Test: Offensive film content from largest studios 2014-07-22
Film about adoption premieres at Center 2014-07-16
Laverne Cox on 'FREE CECE,' kids and uniting LGBTs 2014-07-16
Lisa Whelchel sets the 'Facts' straight with new movie 2014-07-15
UN music video for gay rights Exceeds One Million Views 2014-07-15
The White Room with Laura Chernicky at Gene Siskel July 16 2014-07-14
NUNN ON ONE Fred Willard returns to Second City 2014-07-14
The White Room film heads to the Gene Siskel Film Center 2014-07-11
Movie festival gives voice, vision to Black LGBTQ filmmakers 2014-07-09
Knight at the Movies: The Nance; film notes 2014-07-08
Truth In Progress launches kickstarter campaign for film 2014-07-07
Film highlights Birth Certificate Access Law 2014-07-03
Pride Films/Plays: LezFest: A One Night Fling July 28 2014-07-03
Burger King unveils film celebrating self-expression 2014-07-02
Knight at the Movies: Tammy; All Night Long; Gore Vidal 2014-07-02
'Normal Heart' DVD out on Aug. 26 2014-07-02
Patrik-Ian Polk's Blackbird screening at local film festival 2014-07-02
George Takei: On Trump, Stern and 'Oh, my!' 2014-07-02
Reeling set for in Sept.; call for entries 2014-07-02
Hollywood luminary talks lesbians, drag and Uma Thurman 2014-07-02
French actor Niney portrays fashion icon Yves Saint Laurent 2014-06-25
Knight at the Movies: Jersey Boys; film notes 2014-06-25
Moorehead among Radio Hall of Fame inductees 2014-06-25
Black Alphabet Film Festival July 2-3 2014-06-25
First Chicago Jewish Film Festival thru June 29 2014-06-25
tello Films documents hip-hop/soul duo God Des & She 2014-06-25
Jose Antonio Vargas on being gay, immigration reform 2014-06-25
MOVIES Jenny Slate: 'Obvious'-ly funny 2014-06-24
Salute to LGBT veterans at Daley Plaza June 30 2014-06-24
Local theaters screen The Nance starring Nathan Lane 2014-06-23
'Jersey Boys' discuss fifth gay 'Season,' aging in movies 2014-06-18
Knight at the Movies: Ten years of KATM; notes 2014-06-18
Plaintiffs, film's director on 'The Case Against 8' 2014-06-17
Jose Antonio Vargas visits Siskel Center 2014-06-16
'Bingo' at Skokie this summer 2014-06-11
Knight at the Movies: The Case Against 8; film notes 2014-06-11
Second annual Black Alphabet Film Festival July 2-3 2014-06-11





Copyright © 2014 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
the 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.

 

 

 



 

John D'Emilio: Renowned professor, historian retires
 
Knight at the Movies: And So It Goes; film notes
 
Chicago Theatre Week expands in 2015
 
The Dinner Party holds Taste of Chicago special
 
Tony Tripoli tag-teams with The Cabaret Project
 
Windy City Times Current DownloadNightspots Current DownloadQueercast Current Download
Windy City Media Group BlogsJoin Our Email List!Donate Now








  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime



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      News Videos      Nightspots Videos      Entertainment Videos      Queercast Videos      Comedy Videos     
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.