At long last, Black Panther — the first black superhero in mainstream comics — has made a leap to the big screen. Directed by Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Creed), Black Panther stars Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa, the king the fictional African nation of Wakanda, who is also its superheroic protector. Marvel's first film to center on black characters also stars Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and more, in a star-studded production that has received rave reviews and anticipates record numbers at the box office. See it this weekend in theaters.
Frank Ocean, "Moon River"
Who knew Frank Ocean was an Audrey Hepburn fan? The R&B artist released his cover of Hepburn's "Moon River" — written by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer — on Valentine's Day. It's not an exact replica; there are distorted voices, synth sounds, and an absence of the word "Huckleberry." Regardless, it's Ocean at his romantic best, pining sadly for some lost love. Is a covers album on its way?
Acclaimed feminist filmmaker Sally Potter (Orlando) is back with The Party, a chamber piece she wrote and directed that boasts a stellar cast of heavy hitters drinking, sniping, parrying and thrusting over the course of an evening at a London flat when everyone appears to have some sort of “news” to celebrate or denounce. Cherry Jones and Emily Mortimer play a lesbian couple who announce they’re expecting triplets, while Kristin Scott Thomas has just taken a position in the British government. Patricia Clarkson, Cillian Murphy, Timothy Spall, and Bruno Ganz round out the cast.
Tipping the Velvet
The 2002 miniseries Tipping the Velvet, based on Sarah Waters’s first novel and telling the story of a young provincial woman’s love affair with a female music hall entertainer in 1890s London, is now available on BritBox, the digital streaming service from BBC Worldwide and ITV. Rachael Stirling and Keeley Hawes star; other cast members include Anna Chancellor, Jodhi May, Alexei Sale, John Bowe, and stars in the making Sally Hawkins and Benedict Cumberbatch. Andrew Davies wrote the screenplay, and Geoffrey Sax directed. “I loved — and still love — the fact that the series stays true to the upbeat lesbian rompiness of the novel,” Waters recently told The Advocate. “It’s fun, it’s sexy, it’s romantic — and it puts lesbians center stage the entire time.” BritBox this week also added a couple of gay men’s love stories to its selections: Christopher and His Kind and Against the Law. Find all of BritBox’s offerings here..
France’s modern master of psychological suspense, out director François Ozon (Swimming Pool, The New Girlfriend, In the House), just keeps churning out fascinating subject matter. This time he pays homage to Alfred Hitchcock protégés Brian DePalma and David Cronenberg with Double Lover, a twisted psychosexual tale loaded with doppelgängers and twinning. The wild opening shot of the movie has shocked audiences at film festivals worldwide, but following the initial “eye-opener” the film turns to the story of 25-year-old Chloe (Marine Vacth), who has more than just a little transference with her therapist Paul (Jérémie Renier). In a development reminiscent of Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers, of course, Paul has a twin brother who’s also a therapist. And that’s where things get interesting.
The mass shooting in Florida has left many feeling helpless, as mounting fatalaties from gun violence fail to persuade Congress to impose sensible gun control time after time. So there's only one practical way forward. Kick out the members of Congress who are in the pocket of the National Rifle Association. Everytown for Gun Safety has devised an action plan, Throw Them Out, that educates the public on gun-beholden legislators and galvanizes folks to vote against them. There's even an initiative that encourages "gun sense champtons" to run for office. Learn more at Everytown.org.
Steven Universe: The Complete First Season
Fans of Cartoon Network’s amazingly queer and gender-fluid Emmy-nominated animated series, Steven Universe, were in for a double treat recently at Universal CityWalk in Los Angeles. To celebrate the release of Steven Universe: The Complete First Season on DVD, the show’s cast served adorable series-themed pastries by Voodoo Doughnuts. The new Steven Universe set features all 52 episodes of the first season, with bonus features and never-before-seen conversations with the creator (New York Times best-selling author Rebecca Sugar) — and everything is packaged in a special collectible disc cover. And if you’ve never seen one of the queerest kids’ shows ever, now’s the time to check it out, regardless of your age.