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Knight at the Movies: Spring LGBT movie preview
by Richard Knight, Jr., for Windy City Times
2016-03-30

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Spring is officially here and that means that the summer blockbuster-movie season ( which now starts in early May ) as well as lots and lots of sequels are also about to arrive. Not one high-profile, queer-themed movie is on the immediate horizon, unfortunately, but no doubt we'll see plenty of those as we head into award season.

April

Born to Be Blue—Ethan Hawke takes on the role of Chet Baker—the essence of the phrase "the beautiful and the damned"—whose combination of matinee-idol looks, somber trumpet playing and sexily whispered crooning made him an overnight poster boy for cool jazz in the 1950s. But Baker's sullen, narcissistic behavior, rampant womanizing and insidious heroin addiction set him on a path of destruction that ended with his early and accidental death. Writer-director Robert Budreau's film uses Baker's life as a leaping off point, focusing on the persona and the milieu, rather than the actual details. It's a risk that pays off artistically. Carmen Ejogo co-stars. April 1.

The Boss—Melissa McCarthy stars in this over-the-top comedy about mega-wealthy trader Michelle Darnell ( a female Trump with better hair ) who never loses—until she's taken down for insider trading and sent to prison. Emerging broke, hated and homeless, Michelle hooks up with her old assistant ( Kristen Bell ) and hatches a new business venture that involves Girl Scout cookies and perhaps a new, kinder outlook on life. April 8

Demolition—Jean-Marc Vallee ( Dallas Buyers Club, C.R.A.Z.Y. ) directs a tearjerker about an investment banker ( Jake Gyllenhaal ) whose life starts to fall apart after the death of his wife ( Heather Lind ). Redemption comes in the form of a sympathetic woman ( Naomi Watts ) and her rebellious son ( Judah Lewis ). John Malkovich, Molly Smith and brothers Thad and Trent Luckinbill co-star. April 8

Hardcore Henry—It's a Russian-American action thriller shot in the first person—a gimmick usually reserved for horror films that finds the audience experiencing everything from the killing maniac's point of view ( Michael Myers in the Halloween series, for example ). This gimmick goes back to 1947's film noir Lady in the Lake and found new life in found footage horror films like The Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield and Paranormal Activity. This variation applies the device to the science-fiction genre and focuses on Henry ( Sharlto Copley ), a cybernetic super-soldier trying to save his kidnapped wife. April 8

Miles Ahead—Don Cheadle's dream project—his first as director—finds him starring as another giant of cool jazz: trumpeter Miles Davis, whose magisterial recordings and elusive stage presence masked a controversial offstage life. April 8

The First Monday in May—The trend in fashion documentaries continues with this insider's look at the Metropolitan Museum Ball—the annual gala co-chaired by Vogue editor Anna Wintour ( the inspiration for The Devil Wears Prada ) that gay fashionista Andre Leon Talley describes as "the Super Bowl of social fashion events." April 15

The Huntsman: Winter's War—Charlize Theron is resurrected as the evil Ravena ( thanks to that magic mirror ) in this prequel/sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman that features her equally rotten sister Freya ( Emily Blunt ), who can freeze those who displease her in ice. This rotten pair ( the evil doppelganger of the sisters in Frozen? ) assemble a seemingly unstoppable army. But they haven't counted on the fighting spirit of the Huntsman ( Chris Hemsworth ), his lady love ( Jessica Chastain ) and their followers. April 22

A Hologram for the King—Tom Tykwer ( Cloud Atlas; Perfume: The Story of a Murderer; Run, Lola Run ) wrote and adapted Dave Eggers' novel, a dramedy about a failed corporate businessman ( Tom Hanks ) who travels to Saudi Arabia to try and secure a large deal to save his fortunes and who ends up falling in love. Sarita Choudhury, Tom Skerritt and out actor Ben Whishaw co-star. April 22

Mother's Day—Garry Marshall ( The Princess Diaries, Valentine's Day, New Year's Eve, Pretty Woman ) is back with another all-star romantic comedy—this one a tale of white sisterhood solidarity, intertwining the lives of a TV host ( Julia Roberts ), a divorcee looking for love ( Jennifer Aniston ) and a woman ( Kate Hudson ) trying to improve her relationship with her mother. Jason Sudeikis, Timothy Olyphant, Jon Lovitz and Margo Martindale costar. April 29

May

Captain America: Civil War—The superheroes are back in this third ( or is it 10th? ) film in the ever-expanding Marvel universe that kicks off the summer blockbuster season. It's a year after the events in Avengers: Age of Ultron and after another international incident in which things don't go exactly as planned, a system of accountability is put into place. Steve Rogers/Captain America ( played by megahunk Chris Evans ) comes into conflict with inventor Tony Stark/Iron Man ( Robert Downey Jr. ) and, soon, fireworks—in the form of lots of special-effects sequences costing millions of dollars—come into play. May 6

Money Monster—Out actor-director Jodie Foster ( Little Man Tate; Home for the Holidays; The Beaver ) helms her fourth film, a dramatic thriller with George Clooney as a TV finance guru taken hostage on-air by a disgruntled viewer ( Jack O'Connell ) after losing his family's money following a tip from Clooney. Julia Roberts plays Clooney's producer. Dominic West, Caitriona Balfe and Giancarlo Esposito co-star. May 13

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising—Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne are back as the Radners, the couple besieged by their party crazed next door neighbors. This time, they're expecting their second child—and instead of uber-stud Zac Efron and his hard-partyin' frat bros, the couple has to contend with a new set of noxious neighbors: sorority gals. This time out, Efron takes the side of the Radners in helping to rid them of their unwanted neighbors. May 20

The Nice Guys—Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe co-star in this black comedy set in Los Angeles in 1977 about a pair of bumbling private investigators joining forces to solve the mystery of a party girl's disappearance and the seemingly unrelated death of a porn star. Shane Black co-wrote and directs. Out actor Matt Bomer, Kim Basinger and Keith David co-star. May 20

X-Men: Apocalypse—The ninth—yes, the ninth—installment of the franchise focused on mutant ( code word for gay ) superheroes and their struggles to coexist with ordinary ( code word for boring ) humans. This time out, Charles Xavier aka the Professor ( James McAvoy ) and Raven/Mystique ( Jennifer Lawrence ) lead a group of up-and-coming mutants and a few of their elders ( including gay-as-a-goose Magneto, played by Michael Fassbender ) as they go against the ancient mutant Apocalypse ( red-hot Oscar Isaac ) and his followers. Out director Bryan Singer is once again at the helm. May 27

Alice Through the Looking Glass—A sequel to Tim Burton 2010's fantasy extravaganza ( this time directed by James Bobin ) is on tap with Mia Wasikowska returning to trippy, eye-popping Wonderland as Alice, Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, Helena Bonham Carter as the big-headed Red Queen, Anne Hathaway as the White Queen and out actor Matt Lucas as Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Sacha Baron Cohen plays Time, a new addition to the cast. May 27


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