Tom Daley
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The Advocate's 27 Favorite Films of Outfest 2014

The Advocate's 27 Favorite Films of Outfest 2014

Friday, July 11, 7 p.m. at Harmony Gold


No relationship is perfect. Especially when one is faking that relationship to attend an all-expense-paid couples retreat, as in the case of Kat (Tara Karsian) and Samantha (Andrea Grano). After letting chance decide their destiny by flipping a coin, the pair of longtime friends, who both can’t seem to make a relationship with a man last, pretend to be a longtime lesbian couple in order to get some relaxation and relationship tips at a New Age therapeutic weekend. And it doesn’t hurt that the real-life partners who are venting their problems, both gay and straight, can provide some comic relief. But as they go through exercises like communicating via animal noises, cooperative obstacle courses, and mandatory massage sessions, both Kat and Samantha begin to wonder if their fake affection for each other might have some truth in it after all. Written by its leads, BFFs is both humorous and thoughtful in its exploration of the vicissitudes of the heart. For better or worse, it also refreshingly places gay and straight couples on the same playing field in the game of love.


Sunday, July 13, 6:30 p.m. at DGA 1


A tale of a middle-aged man’s sexual awaking unfolds in director Dito Montiel’s Boulevard. Robin Williams stars as Nolan Mack, a man who has played it safe his entire life by working in the same bank branch for decades and is comfortable living in the same house with his wife, Joy (Kathy Baker), in separate bedrooms.  However, Mack soon finds his world is shaken to its core when he enters into an unsettling relationship with Leo, a young hustler.


Club King
Monday, July 14, 9:30 p.m. at DGA 1


From New York to Los Angeles, Mario Diaz has left an indelible mark on gay nightlife. Founder of the notorious East Village bar The Cock, Diaz also started some of the most-talked about parties on the scene, including BFD at Fubar. Club King is a behind-the-scenes look at, well, the scene, providing candid interviews with bon vivants like Jackie Beat, Justin Vivian Bond, and the go-go boys who keep patrons coming back for more. Come early to the screening for a reception, and venture over to Fubar afterward for Diaz’s birthday celebration, where one can get a taste of what it means to be club royalty.


Sunday, July 13, 4 p.m., DGA 1


Eytan Fox, who directed the somber war drama Yossi & Jagger, performs a 180-degree directorial turn in his most recent project, Cupcakes. The Israeli film is a joyous musical comedy that begins when five women and a gay man become accidental contestants in a Eurovision-like competition after a video of one of their impromptu performances goes viral. It’s a candy-colored confection, drawing its exuberance from the spirit of old-school musicals mixed with modern sass a la Pitch Perfect. There’s not much concern for complexity or character development, but for those looking for an escapist romp in a feel-good flick, Cupcakes is the perfect treat.


Dior and I
Friday, July 11, 7 p.m. at DGA 1


Fans of fashion will fall head over designer heels for Dior and I, a behind-the-seams look into the storied brand. Documentarian Frédéric Tcheng (Valentino: The Last Emperor) trains his lens on the drama following the ascension of designer Raf Simons to the position of Christian Dior’s creative director. In a flurry akin to a high-stakes Project Runway challenge, Simons has only eight weeks to roll out his first fashion line, and he and his staff, including right-hand man Pieter Mulier, are tasked with realizing his creative vision while also keeping in mind the brand and the business. Weaved into the film is archival footage of Christian Dior articulating the divide in his life between his identity as a man and an icon, and Tcheng layers this struggle on Simons in his present-day role. Will the critics still adore Dior at Simons’s runway show? Is Simons a worthy heir? Fashion aficionados may already know, and the rest will enjoy the ride of seeing an haute couture line come together, one stitch at a time. And don’t miss the after-party at the Abbey.

The Foxy Merkins
Saturday, July 19, 7 p.m. at DGA 1


For the uninitiated, a merkin is pubic wig, which, as one character in The Foxy Merkins points out, first rose to popularity among prostitutes in the olden days as a means of masking venereal diseases and preventing lice. It’s a bizarre yet appropriate symbol for the film, which follows the journey of Margaret (Lisa Haas), a down-on-her-luck lesbian trying to learn how to be a sex worker in modern-day New York. As a bespectacled, bewildered, and Rubenesque character, Margaret is the antithesis of the popular image of a prostitute, a circumstance from which much of the film’s humor is derived. She is shown the ropes by Jo, a sexy and more street savvy streetwalker, who teaches her, for example, how to pick up Republican clients in front of Talbots. Filled with running gags and tongue-in-cheek nods to hustler films like Midnight Cowboy or even last year’s Outfest star Concussion, The Foxy Merkins is a refreshingly new comedic take on the world’s oldest profession.


Girltrash: All Night Long
Saturday, July 19, 4:30 p.m. at Redcat

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The long-awaited, hard-rocking, steamy musical that is Girltrash: All Night Long is available for your viewing pleasure on the big screen. This must-see lesbian rock-and-roll romance, directed by Alex Martinez Kondrake and written by D.E.B.S.screenwriter Angela Robinson, features Kate French, Rose Rollins, Mandy Musgrave, Gabrielle Christian, Clementine Ford, Malay Rivera Drew, Michelle Lombardo, and Lisa Reiffel. The film, brought to you by LGBT film nonprofit Power Up Films, documents one epic night where the ensemble cast goes looking for love, lust, and rock stardom, but finds rival bands, a lovesick babe, a club-swinging badass (The L Word's Rose Rollins), sleazy con artists, and coke-snorting sorority sisters.


Jamie Marks Is Dead
Friday, July 11, 9:30 p.m. at DGA 1


One of the more terrifying entries in this year’s Outfest, Jamie Marks Is Dead is a ghost story that also serves as an allegorical tale of LGBT youth in small-town America. When the body of high school outcast Jamie Marks is discovered near a river, the life of Adam (Cameron Monaghan, Shameless) changes forever, particularly when he spies Jamie’s ghost (Noah Silver, The Borgias), shivering and nearly naked in the distance. Despite warnings from his love interest Gracie (Morgan Saylor, Homeland), Adam closes this corporeal divide, bridging a relationship between the living and the dead that is filled with longing and a love that dare not speak its name. Under Carter Smith’s direction, the film’s dramatic grip is tightened by its bleak and beautiful cinematography and a paper-moon performance by Liv Tyler, who, as Adam’s emotionally and physically crippled mother, embarks on her own curious relationship with a woman who almost kills her, played by Judy Greer.


Kate Bornstein Is a Queer & Pleasant Danger
Saturday, July 12, 7:15 p.m. at Redcat


Directed by Sam Feder, Kate Bornstein Is a Queer & Pleasant Danger is an in-depth portrait of one of the LGBT community’s most captivating trans pioneers, Kate Bornstein. As the author of Gender Outlaw, a groundbreaking manifesto on gender and sexuality, Bornstein has established herself as a leading voice in gender theory. The documentary, based on her memoir of the same name, features Bornstein as she reflects on activism and writing as well as her experiences as a former Scientologist, her battle with cancer, and a lifetime bridging the gender divide.


Life Partners
Thursday, July 10, 8 p.m., Orpheum Theatre (Opening Night Gala)


There's something for audience of all persuasions to love in Partners, a bra-mance comedy that showcases the friendship between two women — one lesbian, the other straight. As best friends since childhood, Paige (Community's Gillian Jacobs) and Sasha (Gossip Girl's Leighton Meester) are navigating adulthood together in a joyful state of prolonged adolesence, drinking cheap wine and watching marathons of America's Next Top Model. However, the arrival of a suitor for Sasha, played by Adam Brody, changes the dynamic of this relationship, and Paige embarks on a series of less successful romantic ventures. Gabourey Sidibe, Abby Elliott, Julie White, and Kate McKinnon in a cameo round out the talented cast of a hilarious film that shows the virtues and vicissitudes of love and friendship.


Tags: film

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