Film/DVD

DVD-VHS: March 2004

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Camp

Captivating and moving performances steal the show in the “funny, touching, and vital” (Rolling Stone) musical comedy Camp. Featuring a young cast who were selected from a nationwide talent search, Camp was shot at the real-life drama camp Stagedoor Manor, whose alumni include Natalie Portman, Mandy Moore, and Robert Downey Jr. Nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival, this exuberant and hilarious film follows the unique interactions of young aspiring performers at the well-known drama camp. The New York Times said, “A delirious musical-comedy romp. You have to love it!” • The Camp DVD features deleted and extended scenes, “The Making of Camp” featurette, a live cast performance of “How Shall I See You Through My Tears,” a soundtrack spot, and the original theatrical trailer. • Available from MGM Home Entertainment (www.mgmhomevideo.com). —Troy Carrington

Blue Gate Crossing

The second film from acclaimed Taiwanese writer and director Chih-Yen Lee (The Lonely Hearts Club), Blue Gate Crossing is the story of the tomboyish and sometimes serious Meng Kerou, whose schoolgirl silliness unleashes itself when she’s with her close girlfriend Lin Yuezhen. Meng, however, has the hots for Zhang Shihao, the sexy boy on the swim team. One evening when Zhang sneaks into the pool to do laps, he confronts Meng who tells him that her friend likes him. He thinks “the friend” is imaginary and that Meng is actually coming on to him. Little does he realize she actually has increasing desires on her own best friend. • “Disarming performances,” wrote the Village Voice. “Discreetly handled,” said the New York Post, while The New York Times noted the film is successful because “it depends on the truthfulness of its performances to carry it.” • Available from Strand Releasing (www.strandreleasing.com). —Suzie Lynde

Gone, but Not Forgotten

When director/producer Michael D. Akers was growing up in the 1980s in rural Pennsylvania, Queer Cinema generally meant an edgy movie about AIDS or coming out. A gay love story during that time usually involved a gay guy falling for a straight guy he could never have. For his first movie, Akers wanted to make something that he would have wanted to see as a kid in Amish country: a squishy gay love story where the boy gets the boy—not to ruin the ending for you. Fourteen film festivals and numerous applauding, sold-out audiences later, it the filmmaker’s reward to know that a lot of gay people feel the same way. • It’s wonderful to know that it doesn’t require Hollywood production values to tell a simple love story. Akers’ credit card-size budget afforded him a first-time cast and crew—six actors, six crew. • Imagine his surprise when in only two months, Gone, but Not Forgotten became one of TLA Video’s top-selling movies of 2003. Akers says, “I hope you enjoy my ‘little move that could’ for all it has to offer: a drama that doesn’t take itself too seriously—a sweet love story about two hot guys who, in this crazy upside-down world, find each other one dark night, on the side of a mountain, in the middle of a rainstorm.” • From TLA Video (www.tlavideo.com). More info: www.gonebutnotforgotten-themovie.com. —TC

Porn Theatre

In Porn Theatre, writer/director Jacques Nolot has created an intimate world of sex and peril, explicitness and heartlessness, and humor and melancholy. The theater attracts men (and a few women) of all kinds, of varying races, ages, and appearance—all on the lookout for hopeful cruising and brief encounters, though any sort of human interaction is usually welcomed. The audience includes transvestites, gay men, and straight men, all of whom can free their frustrations and their impulses. There are also lonely and older people with their own fantasies. The ensemble drama that is Porn Theatre shrewdly and boldly shows how the patrons and employees interact, through both conversation and sex. An illuminating and nonjudgmental quest for affection and anonymous sex, Porn Theatre is a fascinating peek at the sexual comings and goings at an adult movie house in Paris. • The film was named by the Los Angeles Times, News-Times newspapers, the New York Press, and the New York Blade as one the best films of 2003. • From Strand Releasing Home Video (www.strandreleasing.com). —TC

Somewhere in the City

Somewhere in the City deftly threads the overlapping stories of six eccentric residents of a funky Lower Eastside building in New York City. These cramped apartments can barely contain the big dreams of their inhabitants: Betty (Sandra Bernhard) is a self-absorbed and self-appointed “food therapist,” desperately seeking the right guy. Yet she acts as romantic coach to Lu Lu (Bai Ling), a young Chinese exchange student looking for a green-card marriage. Betty undertakes the transformation of Lu Lu from studious scholar to urban club kid. There’s also Marta (Ornella Muti), who endures the twice-daily caresses of the overweight super of the tenement-like apartments, but dreams of running away with Frankie (Robert John Burke), the dashing but incompetent crook who lives upstairs. Down the hall is poor Graham (Peter Stormare), the gifted Shakespearean actor who also dreams of finding Mr. Right and his big break while subsisting on demeaning commercial work. Of course, all these hopes and dreams will prove irrelevant if the revolution being planned in the basement by Che (Paul Anthony Stewart) succeeds. Che endures calls from his Park Avenue mom, and succumbs to the seduction of Lu Lu, all while plotting to kidnap former Mayor Ed Koch (played by “Hizzoner” himself). • From First Run Features (www.firstrunfeatures.com). —SL

Unshackled

Unshackled is based on the best-selling novel Twice Pardoned by Harold Morris. It’s the real-life story of Morris (Burgess Jenkins, Remember the Titans), a white sharecropper’s son from South Carolina, and Marcus “Doc” Odomes (James Black, Love and a Bullet, Godzilla), a black man raised by his mother in the inner city of New York. Both were poisoned by racism and sentenced to life in the Georgia State Penitentiary. Their lives collide when the prison is forced to integrate under federal mandate . . . it was the last prison in America to do so. After a violent riot, the warden threw Morris and Odomes into an eight-by-ten cell, and the door was slammed shut. • The film was written by Morris and stars Stacey Keach and Morgan Fairchild. • From MTI Home Video (www.mtivideo.com). —TC

Other Voices, Other Rooms

Thirteen-year-old Joel Sansom has been summoned to the deep South to meet the father he has not seen since he was a baby. Upon his arrival in town, he meets a variety of eccentrics including Amy Scully, the mistress of the house, and Randolph, her debauched and unpredictable cousin, but Joel’s father is nowhere to be found. It is not until he discovers a man lying paralyzed in the forgotten attic of the crumbling mansion that Joel begins to unravel the mysterious secrets that surround him. • Other Voices, Other Rooms is based on the semi-autobiographical novel by Truman Capote. • From Culture Q Connection (www.cultureqconnection.com). —SL

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