By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com January 29 2010 2:00 PM ET
Off and Running (limited release) - Avery is an African-American girl adopted by a lesbian Jewish couple in Brooklyn, along with her other non-white siblings. When she decided to contact her birth mother, Avery goes on a quest to learn more about her own race and identity. Unable to focus on life as she's known it, the budding track star is thrown off course before she gains the strength to recover. This coming of age documentary is captivating.
When in Rome - A young, ambitious, go-getting female unlucky in love?! No way! The ever-charming Kristen Bell stars as Beth, who take a trip to Rome and ends up stealing coins from some sort of magic love fountain. Apparently that kind of embezzlement causes the original owners of the coins (Danny DeVito, Jon Heder, Dax Shepard, and Will Arnett) to pursue her for love -- conveniently, none of the coin's owners were women. Oh, and Josh Duhamel is in it — not that his and Bell's chemistry is all that great, but he's worth mentioning.
Edge of Darkness - We're not big fans of racial-epithet-spewing Mel Gibson —pissed off, avenging Mel Gibson, on the other hand, is awesome. There's a lot going on in this film. Gibson plays a Boston detective whose adult daughter is shot and killed right in front of his home. But her death is part of a greater conspiracy. He goes after the killer, and we get to watch him bash some bad guys.
Concrete Jungle by Nneka. This 28-year-old Nigerian musician sounds like M.I.A., but she's more political than quirky. Beloved by critics, Nneka is set to become a critical darling with Concrete Jungle, her first American release. Filled with catchy African beats, the album is great driving or treadmill music that manages to still have a message (the evils of capitalism and poverty, mostly). Out Tuesday.
Recollection by k.d. lang - The Canadian chanteuse releases her first-ever career retrospective; a three-CD collection that includes music videos and live performance footage. With songs like "The Consequences of Falling," "Hallejuah," and "Miss Chatelaine," who needs convincing?
topgaysongs.com - Music buffs will enjoy this new site that breaks down the gay essentials for you. There's also a lesbian list currently being compiled through reader votes.
Amelia - OK, this Mira Nair-directed biopic on the female flying ace has been referred to as a "dud" by critics, but it's required viewing for any Hilary Swank or Richard Gere fan. Hey, they exist.
Zombieland - Despite the fact that they're scrambling to survive after a zombie takeover, Emma Stone remains gorgeous and ass-kicking in Zombieland. No wonder Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson fall for her and her sister's (played by Abigail Breslin) devices on several occasions. Is it just us, or is Eisenberg a more interesting version of Michael Cera? Just saying.
Queer Icon: The Cult of Bette Davis - While this documentary touches on Davis’s colorful off-camera life, it primarily incorporates film clips and interviews to examine her lingering appeal to legions of gay followers. A number of gay historians, biographers, drag performers, and career-long Davis impersonator Matthew Martin offer insight into the link between the great star and the gay community.
This Is It -A concert film without a real concert, this backstage pass-glimpse into the rehearsal process of what might have been the late Michael Jackson’s triumphant return to performing still demonstrates the gloved one’s masterful ability to thrill audiences. Assembled from rehearsal footage of the planned series of concerts in London, This Is It offers a provocative glimpse of what might have been. Exclusive featurettes offer director Kenny Ortega and Jackson’s crew sharing personal stories about working with the superstar.
Edge of Darkness – We can blame this BBC serial for Mel Gibson’s sudden return to the spotlight after seven glorious years of near silence. Director Martin Campbell remakes his BBC series starring Gibson, out in theatres today, but the far superior original from 1985 (out on DVD since late last year) tells a riveting tale of a policeman (Bob Peck) driven to the brink searching for the man who killed his daughter (a pre Val Kilmer Joanne Whalley). There’s not a lot that’s gay here (OK, nothing really), but by going with the original instead of the remake, think of it this way – you avoid supporting the allegedly antigay.
Boogie Nights on Blu-Ray – Everything that was profound about the film when it hit theatres in 1997 (making huge stars out of Mark Wahlberg and an already rising Julianne Moore) is intensified here. Paul Thomas Anderson’s porn industry diatribe holds up well over time, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s performance as the gay sound guy who is in love with Dirk still steals the film. The Blu-ray includes commentary from Anderson and eight scenes cut from the original film.