‘Working Girls’ makes ’80s-era hooking seem almost quaint. Plus many DVD shorts, including a Halloween roundup.
The 1990 feature film, Pretty Woman, with the pristine Julia Roberts in the lead, gave us the Cinderella side of it. Later, Hollywood Madam-turned-underpants-hawker, Heidi Fleiss, provided a bit more grit with tales of Charlie Sheen et al ‘s exploits in 1993. More recently, Deborah Jeane Palfrey, aka the DC Madam, got political early this
year when she revealed several clients’ names, like Republican senator and “family values” proponent, David Vitter of Louisiana. Oops.
All were preceded by Working Girls, Borden’s look at hooking and the women who do it. In it, four Manhattan women, including one partnered-with-a-child lesbian, struggle to make ends meet at a small brothel antiseptically referred to as, “a nice place where nice people meet each other.” Those nice people include clients who are there to celebrate successful business deals, become more comfortable with relating to the opposite sex, or just generally work out a few kinks.
Borden garnered Sundance Film Festival’s Special Jury Prize for the then-critically lauded, reality-based film; she, director of photography Julie Irola, and star Amanda Goodwin provide commentary on the DVD release, which also contains Borden’s biography and other special features.
Slightly comedic yet simultaneously a little creepy (especially the ’80s-era hairstyles), Working Girls reminds us there is honor in all work, especially when you use a condom.
From First Run Features. Details: www.firstrunfeatures.com.
Sexual Comedy of Errors
Mistaken identity on a ‘Coffee Date’
Todd (Jonathan Bray) is set up on a blind date. His brother (Jonathan Silverman) fixes him up with Kelly (Wilson Cruz), someone he found “on the Internet,” as a practical joke, but Todd hasn’t gotten around to exchanging jpegs. Having established online that they have a lot in common, Todd agrees to meet Kelly for coffee. When he shows up, no girl. And only one table remaining. But another guy wants the table as well. Both are waiting for a date yet to arrive. They talk while they wait. They have a lot in common. They hit it off. They find out they’re each other’s blind date. Surprise!
Movie buffs, the two decide to foil the brother’s joke and join each other to a film. They become friends. Word gets out Todd is close with a gay man. Soon, everybody thinks Todd is gay. Instead of alienating him, or at least hearing his insistent pleas that he’s straight, his friends and family push him toward gay romance. What’s a breeder to do?
2006. Written and directed by Stewart Wade. FYI: Wade shot this previously in 2001 with a less stellar cast.
From Picture This! Entertainment (www.picturethisent.com). — Preview: E.D.
You Kill Me
In this dark comedy, Frank (Ben Kingsley) is a hit-man about to booze his way out of a job. His boss sends him to San Fran. There he attempts to sober up with the help of his gay 12-step sponsor, Tom (Luke Wilson). Other 12-steppers include Laurel (Téa Leoni) and Dave (Bill Pullman). • 2007. Directed by John Dahl. • From Genius Products, Inc. (www.geniusproducts.com). — Preview: Eric A.T. Dieckman
Troy: Director’s Cut
The new two-disc “Director’s Cut” of Wolfgang Petersen’s Troy, starring Brad Pitt as a more or less heterosexual Achilles (who nevertheless dotes on Patroclus, his pretty little male cousin), features 30 extra minutes not seen in the 2004 theatrical release. If you liked Petersen’s previous adaptation of Homer’s Iliad, you’ll no doubt consider this new “unrated” version to be an essential addition to your film library. The extra footage provides a more coherent story line and even more awesome battle scenes, but, more importantly, it provides a couple of fine shots of Pitt’s gluteus maximus. For this we give the film two tongues up. — Review: Jack Varsi
Set in Manila, Iliac, a 20-year-old masseur, works in a gay massage parlor where no rubdown is a good rubdown unless it ends with sex. His father’s death calls him home. In preparing for his father’s funeral, Iliac must reconcile his life as a sex worker and as a son and brother. The nude and sex scenes are shot with an artful touch. • 2005. Directed by Brillante Mendoza. Tagalog and Pampango with English, Spanish, and French subtitles. • From Picture This! Entertainment (www.picturethisent.com). — Preview: E.D.
Whole New Thing
Everyone has a first crush. For Emerson, a home-schooled 13-year-old who has just enrolled in junior high, it’s Don, his English teacher, a promiscuous gay 42-year-old who still indulges in anonymous sex in the restroom of a local park. Once the precocious Emerson has his eyes — and heart — set on Don, there’s no stopping him. • 2005. Co-written and directed by Amnon Buchbinder. • From Picture This! Entertainment (www.picturethisent.com). — Preview: E.D.
My So-Called Life: The Complete Series
The groundbreaking series that launched the career of Claire Danes, Jared Leto, and openly gay Wilson Cruz introduced the teen angst drama to primetime TV. No subject was too controversial for 15-year-old Angela Chase (Danes), not child abuse, not school violence, not homophobia, nor sexuality. • From Shout! Factory. (www.shoutfactory.com). — Preview: E.D.
Demetri Martin. Person.
Shot at Austin’s Paramount Theater, Martin sings, plays countless instruments, lets some of his drop-down funny drawings speak for themselves, and tells some jokes that tear the room apart. In one song, Martin questions the GLBT community’s appropriation of the rainbow, suggesting we’re hoarding refracted light. “Pretty selfish, gays,” he quips. • From Comedy Central (www.comedycentral.com). — Preview: E.D.
Upright Citizens Brigade: The Complete Second Season
Subversive sketch comedy has never been so odd. In a gym, Amy Poehler (Saturday Night Live) leads a gay exerciser and his resistant straight counterpart through their first session of “Japanoitretching,” Japanese noise-punk combined with peaceful stretching. In another episode, “Eli’s Face Therapy,” a flamboyantly gay Euro-trash salon owner rejuvenates aging women’s looks by slapping them violently with kobe steak. – From Comedy Central (www.comedycentral.com). — Preview: E.D.
DVDS for the Cure
Cher, Reese Witherspoon, Susan Sarandon, more
Fox and MGM have gathered some best-sellers, repackaged them, and are donating 50 cents per copy to Susan G. Komen for the Cure in an effort to fight breast cancer. Just look for pink packaging with the unmistakable pink ribbon. Titles include An Affair to Remember, In Her Shoes, Legally Blonde, Mermaids, Moulin Rouge, Thelma & Louise, and There’s Something About Mary. From Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment (www.foxhome.com) and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (www.mgm.com). — E.D.
Scream a Little Scream … Or laugh yourself to death
Finally, gay vampires in a gay horror series from a gay network. Too bad the writing, acting, and special effects are terrible. The CGI are of the same caliber as Showtime’s late-night softcore porn. Speaking of, hunky hetero porn star Evan Stone (notorious for his hammy acting in the aforementioned programming) plays a stereotypically brutish abusive hubby. There’s plenty of room for the story to improve, but if you’re looking for a bevy of muscular bun shots, you’ll want to sink your fangs into this Dante’s Cove spin-off. • From Liberation Entertainment (www.libent.com). More: www.heretv.com. — Review: E.D.
The Roger Corman Collection and Food of the Gods
American International used to be the last word in schlocky horror and exploitation films, and an incredible number of these low-budget gems were directed by Roger Corman, some of them truly frightening and some so godawful that viewers damn near laughed themselves to death in drive-in movie theaters all across America. So, with this in mind, you might want to consider enjoying our holiday, Halloween that is, with the new Roger Corman Collection, which features eight of the master’s finest (and silliest) films.
The standout of the collection might be 1970’s Bloody Mama, featuring Shelley Winters as a way-over-the-top Ma Barker, and costarring Robert DeNiro and Diane Varsi. One of Ma’s boys, played by Robert Walden, is depicted in a very kinky relationship with a weirdo played by Bruce Dern. (You may remember Walden as the star of Brothers, the landmark gay sitcom which aired on Showtime in the 1980s—he was one of the straight brothers.)
And don’t miss 1967’s The Trip, which is culturally significant not for its Jack Nicholson script about LSD, but rather because it features Peter Fonda walking around butt nekkid. The collection also includes A Bucket of Blood (1959), The Premature Burial (1962), X: The Man With the X-Ray Eyes (1963), The Young Racers (1963), The Wild Angels (1966), and Gas-s-s-s! (1970). Proceed at your own risk….
American International also gave us an ultra-camp adaptation of H.G. Wells’ Food of the Gods, which is out on DVD as a “Midnite Movie.” For some impossible-to-imagine reason this 1976 film was not directed by Roger Corman, despite the fact that the story deals with a crazy farm woman (Ida Lupino) who accidentally raises giant chickens, wasps, and rats after feeding them the mysterious substance mentioned in the title. This one is hilarious and seems particularly geared to those of us who enjoy seeing B-movie icon Ralph Meeker being eaten alive by those giant rats.
Consumer Alert: Be aware that despite the presence of Lupino and Meeker, former child-evangelist Marjoe Gortner is the actual star of this film.
Both from MGM Home Entertainment (www.mgm.com). — Reviews: Jack Varsi