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Spring LGBT movie preview
by Richard Knight, Jr., for Windy City Times

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Spring is here—well, officially, anyway even if the warm weather hasn't quite arrived yet—and for the next two months as the studios ramp up for summer. Here's a batch of queer-tinged movies and local screening events for avid filmgoers.


A Woman's World: The Defining Era of Women in Film—TCM kicks off a new Friday-night series April 5 with a slate of 17 movies handpicked by Cher, who co-hosts the series along with TCM's Robert Osborne. The line-up starts with a bang with the grandmother of all mother-daughter movies—1945's Mildred Pierce starring Oscar winner Joan Crawford and Ann Blyth. Stella Dallas, Penny Serenade and Bachelor Mother are on the bill the first night. Highlights of subsequent weeks include Since You Went Away, His Girl Friday, The Great Lie and, of course, The Women. April 5, 12, 19, 26

Codebreaker—Alan Turing, the British mathematician who cracked the Nazi Enigma code during WWII and the "father of computer science," is the subject of this 2011 docudrama that highlights Turing's incredible achievements and his tragic downfall (and early death)—attributed to the public disgrace he suffered after his homosexuality was revealed. The 7:30 p.m., one-night screening at AMC River East 21 (322 E. Illinois), a Chicago premiere, will benefit the Legacy Project (Turing's Legacy Walk plaque on Halsted Street in Boystown is the only public acknowledgement of his being openly gay), the Queer Film Society and Reeling. Advance tickets are at . April 9

Un Chant D'Amour/The Continuing Story of Carel and Ferd—The Gene Siskel Film Center (164 N. State St.) is programming Jean Genet's homoerotic 1950 silent classic and the little-seen 1975 underground documentary that features Ferd Eggan, co-founder of ACT-UP Chicago, in the years before the late AIDS activist lived in Chicago. See . April 12, 16

William Friedkin Q&A—The Oscar-winning director of The French Connection, The Boys in the Band, Cruising, The Exorcist, Sorcerer and the recent Killer Joe appears at the Harold Washington Library in the Cindy Pritzker Auditorium (400 S. State St.) in support of his forthcoming memoir, The Friedkin Connection. The event is free and begins at 6 p.m. See . April 16

Chicago International Movies and Music Fest—The annual fest returns with a host of music-themed movies, including three with a decided queer bent: Peaches Does Herself (a trans rock musical), the lesbian-flavored And You Belong and Asphalt (a 1929 German silent movie) with live scoring by Yael Archer. Check for venue and ticket information. April 19, 20

The Big Wedding—Diane Keaton and Robert DeNiro star as a long-divorced couple forced to pretend they're still married in this romantic comedy that co-stars hunky Topher Grace, queer audience fave Amanda Seyfried, Katherine Heigl, Susan Sarandon, Robin Williams and, my favorite, Christine Ebersole—playing a character named Muffin O'Connor. April 26

Pain & Gain—Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson play bodybuilders. It's based on a true story but that's really all you need to know, isn't it? April 26


Iron Man 3—The summer blockbuster season officially starts with this latest installment in this Marvel Studios superhero franchise. Robert Downey Jr., the key reason for the success of the previous films, returns as Tony Stark, the billionaire inventor of the Iron Man suit who finds himself starting from scratch when a terrorist (Ben Kingsley) wreaks havoc. Gwyneth Paltrow is also back as Pepper Potts. New cast members include Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall and Paul Bettany. May 3

The Great Gatsby—Strictly Ballroom/Moulin Rouge director Baz Luhrmann ventures back into cinemas for the first time in five years (the epic financial flop Australia) with this new adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald Roaring Twenties classic. Leonardo DiCaprio takes the title role, the lovelorn mega rich Jay Gatsby infatuated with the mysterious Daisy (Carey Mulligan). Tobey Maguire, Isla Fisher and Joel Edgerton costar. Pushed back from its holiday 2012 release date, expect lavish combined with Serious (with a capital "S") romance. May 8

Mommie Dearest for Mother's Day—Dick O'Day, the alter ego of yours truly, returns to the Music Box (3733 N. Southport Ave.) to host the fifth annual matinee screening of the 1981 camp classic, abetted by David Cerda and Ed Jones of Hell in a Handbag. Pre-screening costume contest, photos with Joan and Christina, interactive screening and a brunch option before the 2 p.m. event are part of the fun. May 12

Star Trek Into Darkness—It's been four long years since J.J. Abrams successfully rebooted this beloved sci-fi franchise for the big screen but Captain Kirk (in the personage of dreamy Chris Pine) and company (headed by out actor Zachary Quinto as Kirk's No. 2 Spock) are finally back in perhaps summer's most anticipated blockbuster. The veddy British Benedict Cumberpatch (who sports my new favorite showbiz name) is the villain in this installment. May 17

Fast & Furious 6—Yes, there really have been six of these fast-car/hot-guy/revved-up engine movies—which means that audiences must be responding to something much deeper than the endless muscle-car chase sequences in this franchise. Perhaps—just a guess here—it's the subconscious homoerotic connection between Vin Diesel and Paul Walker (both returning for this installment)? To up the musculature even higher, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson rejoins the cast. May 24

Behind the Candelabra—HBO has become the go-to network for a host of terrific, actor-driven biopics that, in the pre-comic-book movie era, would have debuted in theaters instead. Joining past winners like Grey Gardens, Normal, The Laramie Project and many others comes this much-talked-about, behind-the-scenes look at the relationship between glitzy Vegas entertainer Liberace and his paramour, Scott Thorson. Michael Douglas tinkles the keys as the uber-prissy pianist while Matt Damon portrays his much younger lover. Director Steven Soderbergh tried to get studio interest in the picture (which apparently features plenty of no-holds-barred love scenes between Douglas and Damon) to no avail, ending the project at HBO—where it rightly belongs. Rob Lowe, Dan Aykroyd and the unsinkable Debbie Reynolds (as Liberace's mother) are also in the cast. Debuts May 26

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