I Want Your Love
Jesse Metzger, Brontez Purnell, Ben Jasper
A few months before his James Franco collaboration Interior. Leather Bar. gets a UK release, writer-director Travis Mathews - chronicler of gay intimacy - lands first with his arresting narrative debut. I Want Your Love is a San Francisco-set mumblecore drama in which the sex is - unsurprisingly - explicit and unsimulated; but the narrative - which focuses on thirtysomething performance artist Jesse (Metzger) throwing a goodbye party before he moves back to the Midwest - is more than mere filler between all the blow jobs and rimming. For one thing, Jesse’s story is relatable and bittersweet: he’s compromising his dreams because he can no longer afford to live in San Fran, and he’s still in love with his ex (Ben Jasper). Mathews has filled his cast with actors who look and behave like real people, rather than buffed images of gay adonishood, and the sex – of which there’s plenty – is used to develop and reveal his characters, whatever the Australian censors may say (they’ve banned Love from showing at film festivals).
The Bling Ring
Emma Watson, Katie Chang, Taissa Farmiga
My, hasn’t Hermione grown up. Harry Potter’s resident swot is now pole-dancing in Paris Hilton’s house and robbing bling from C-listers (Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Megan Fox) in director Sofia Coppola’s true-life account of a band of LA high-schoolers-turned- criminals. There’s fun to be had in this air-headed quintet’s celebrity-targeting crime spree but Coppola’s take can feel as vacuous as her characters. As for Watson: all that Hogwarts schooling and this is how she turns out. Tsk-tsk.
This Is The End
James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill
Any film that spends vast tracts of time at James Franco’s house wins our vote. Or half our vote, since this apocalyptic comedy is a schizophrenic beast. The first stretch sees Rogen et al playing parodic versions of themselves at Franco’s house party and is a smash riot of insider teasing with Michael Cera stealing it as a degenerate asshole. The second half has CGI demons and is barely worth bothering with, although Channing Tatum’s cameo is an eye-opener.
All those French folk bleating against their country’s gay marriage law should be forced to watch Sebastien Lifshitz’s dignified, moving documentary in which elderly gays and lesbians speak frankly about living openly in France at a time when society rejected them outright. But the film is a mirror, too: ageing and gay culture don’t mix, so kudos to Lifshitz for airing the stories of these pioneers, who remind us of the value of accepting ourselves, as well as being accepted by others.
We Steal Secrets: The Story Of Wikileaks
Julian Assange, Adrian Lamo, Bradley Manning
From Enron to Mea Maxima Culpa, Alex Gibney is a smart, incendiary documentary maker. His portrait of Wikileaks and founder Julian Assange is a disappointment though. Gibney makes the story more about the gender-identity issues of Bradley Manning, the US soldier behind the leak, than exposing injustice. Without any access to Assange, this feels like an unsavoury hatchet job.