How I Broke, and Botched, the Brandon Teena Story


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The story that inspired “Boys don’t cry”.

For years, I have wanted to apologize for what I now understand, with some shame, was the article’s implicit anti-trans framing. Without spelling it out, the article cast Brandon as a lesbian who hated “her” body because of prior experiences of childhood sexual abuse and rape. (One of Brandon’s acquaintances had told me he’d said he was “disgusted by lesbians,” and several friends said Brandon had said, “I can’t be with a woman as a woman. That’s gross.”) I saw this youngster’s decision to lead a life as a straight man as incredibly bold — but also assumed it was a choice made in fear, motivated by internalized homophobia.

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Donna Minkowitz — The Village Voice

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SHIA LABEOUF IS READY TO TALK ABOUT IT


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The unpredictable Shia LaBeouf.

Yes, LaBeouf is the guy who was handed a golden ticket and promptly lit it on fire. But too often we forget that everyone screws up on their path toward becoming an adult; and that few do so under the gaze of the public eye; and that by embracing the kind of capital-A Acting LaBeouf aims to do, we nourish the same spark from which his bad behavior stems. Tom Hardy, who worked with LaBeouf on 2012’s Lawless, points to the paradox central to their work. “A performer is asked to do two things,” he tells me. “To be disciplined and accountable, communicative and a pleasure to work with. And then, within a split second, they’re asked to be a psychopath. Authentically. It takes a very strong human being to sustain a genuine sense of well-being through that baptism of fire.” Then: “Drama is not known to attract stable types.”

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Eric Sullivan — Esquire

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On an Isle Of Dogs, Wes Anderson uses stop-motion to construct one of his most wondrous worlds


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Unfolding across multiple chapters and flashbacks, Isle Of Dogs doubles down on Anderson’s affinity for literary devices and anecdotal detours. Is there a working filmmaker who finds more inspired ways to deliver plot information? He can make a priceless punchline out of a mere location stamp. The film’s cosmetic invention extends to its fluidly shifting visual vocabulary, as Anderson employs manga-style still frames during the expository prologue, anime-style 2-D animation whenever his characters appear on a television screen, and lush, painted tableau for backstory. One could argue that Anderson’s Japan is pure outsider kitsch, not unlike the exoticized tourist’s vision of India he offered in The Darjeeling Limited. But Isle Of Dogs doesn’t skimp on the cultural nods, offhandedly working in sumo wrestling, Kabuki theater, sushi preparation, samurai folklore, the woodblock work of Hiroshige and Hokusai, Akira Kurosawa’s chanbara and modern city films, kaiju-flick audio cues, and—through a typically propulsive, enchanting score by Alexandre Desplat—taiko drumming. If this is a superficial tribute, it’s also an affectionately dense one. Most accurately, what we’re seeing is an Andersonian alternate universe: a Japan as old and new, real and unreal, steeped in pastiche and invented from scratch as the brownstone New York of The Royal Tenenbaums.

Roger Ebert’s review of THE RIVER (LE FLEUVE)


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Films have grown so aggressive and jittery that it takes patience to calm down into one like “The River.” Its most dramatic moment takes place offscreen. Renoir is not interested in emotional manipulation but in regarding lives as they are lived. Not everyone we like need be successful, and not everyone we dislike need fail. All will be sorted out in the end — or perhaps not, which is also the way time passes and lives resolve themselves.

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Roger Ebert

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Mandy, review: Horrible and ludicrous, this is an all-time-great Nicolas Cage wig-out


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Nicholas Cage is an interesting actor. When you least expect of him, he comes up with a winner.

Equal parts supernatural splatter horror and hypnotic gallery installation, Mandy unfolds in a doom-laden narcosis that is not quite like anything else around, although there are cinematic reference points everywhere, including musky top notes of Lars von Trier’s Antichrist, Nicolas Winding Refn’s Valhalla Rising, Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead trilogy, and the fluorescing giallo horror of Dario Argento. It often looks like an Iron Maiden album cover cartoon come to life – and there are three brief animated dream sequences which owe a stylistic debt to Heavy Metal, the science fiction magazine.

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Robbie Collin — The Telegraph

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No Sympathy for the Devil: ‘The Exorcist’ Director William Friedkin Looks Back


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Those stairs – and steps in general – are a defining metaphor in both The Exorcist and Friedkin’s latest film. When we walked through Georgetown, Friedkin kept pointing out stairways he shot – one in Healy Hall that Jason Miller’s character ascends to ask for the extension, one out front where Burstyn’s character led a student protest, another in a courtyard that led to the Jesuit residence, another outside where two priests discuss obtaining the Roman ritual of exorcism and then two minutes away those famous 75 steps that ended in a pool of blood. In The Devil and Father Amorth, Friedkin explains that the priest used to perform his exorcisms in the Scala Sancta atop a staircase – the Holy Stairs that lead to the praetorium of Pontius Pilate – that can only be climbed on one’s knees.

“It all represented the idea of ascension,” Friedkin says.

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Kory Grow — Rolling Stone

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‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Box Office: What Fueled the Movie’s Record Opening


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How does Disney do it so often?

For rival Hollywood studios, the debut of Avengers: Infinity War is another reminder of Disney’s domination and marketing prowess. The film studio, led by Alan Horn, now has bragging rights to nine of the 10 biggest domestic openings, not adjusted for inflation. The list is led by Infinity WarForce Awakens and The Last Jedi, and also includes Black Panther, the first two Avengers movies, Captain America: Civil WarBeauty and the Beast and Iron Man 3. The lone non-Disney title is Universal’s Jurassic World (No. 4).

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Pamela McClintock — The Hollywood Reporter

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