The Hot Sheet
BY Advocate.com Editors
September 17 2010 6:15 AM ET
Easy A — Clean-cut high-schooler Olive Penderghast (Emma Stone) shakes up her reputation when she is overheard — by a strict Christian classmate (Amanda Bynes) — insinuating that she lost her virginity over the weekend. Olive takes it a step further when she pretends to sleep with her gay best friend (Dan Byrd) so his schoolmates will stop taunting him. Partially inspired by The Scarlet Letter, this film features a star-making performance by Stone, who (like talented redheads Debra Messing and Lucille Ball before her) is a born comedian. Add to it solid support by Bynes, Lisa Kudrow, Patricia Clarkson, Stanley Tucci, and more, and you have the best teen comedy since Mean Girls.
Never Let Me Go — Think Merchant-Ivory with a bit of a sci-fi twist. Without giving too much away, Kathy (Carey Mulligan), Tommy (Andrew Garfield), and Ruth (Keira Knightley) grow up at a boarding school that never allows them off the premises, rarely allows visitors, and regularly probes them with medical tests and psychological examinations. Use your imagination from there. Knightley gives her most grown-up performance to date, and Mulligan, as she did in An Education, continues to channel Cate Blanchett — and expands her promising career.
Fruit Fly — Bethesda, a Filipina performance artist looking for a network of friends to support her artistic interests, finds a home among the gays in an artist commune before coming to the realization she’s a fag hag. Written and directed by H.P. Mendoza, whose Colma: The Musical opened to raves in 2007, Fruit Fly is another musical that has played the festival circuit — this one so bursting with energy and color, you can’t help but wish life were like an Mendoza musical.
The Town — Ben Affleck is a solid actor, but he’s a superb director, and here he’s doing both jobs. For his first film behind the lens since 2007’s Gone Baby Gone, he has assembled an all-star cast (Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Rebecca Hall, Blake Lively) for what might be an even better movie. The Boston-set story focuses on a bank robber who falls for the executive he took hostage. Well acted and paced, The Town is not for the faint of heart — but it’s the first film of the fall with a real shot at being an Oscar contender.
Strapped — A cynical hustler looking to get off and move on to the next client finds his night turned upside down when he bonds with a beefy, newly out man — then can’t seem to find his way out of his apartment building. On its surface, Strapped looks like 100 gay films that have been done before, but Ben Bonenfant makes a likable, handsome lead, and the twist is just unusual enough to keep you watching.