Sunday, May 29, 2005

Quick Hits: Junebug & That Man: Peter Berlin

Phil Morrison, US, 2005)

Based on the description of this film, I was expecting a slice of Southern whimsy, but first-time director Morrison is more ambitious than that. Consequently, "Junebug" feels like two films, a comedy and a drama (in the production notes, he does cite Ozu as an influence). Personally, I preferred the comedy, but that may simply be because I was expecting it and because the two halves don't fit together as well as they could. Still, I would recommend the film for Amy Adams's performance alone. The "Catch Me If You Can" star plays Ashley, an eternally optimistic young pregnant woman, doing her best to make the most out of a bad situation (she lives with her in-laws, the bloom has gone out of her marriage, etc.). Celia Weston and Scott Wilson, who really seems to be on a roll these days, provide strong support as those in-laws.

Uptown: Fri., 6/10, 7:00PM and Harvard Exit: Sun., 6/12, 2:00PM

That Man: Peter Berlin
(Jim Tushinski, US, 2005)

Back in the 1970s, when Peter Berlin was at the height of his fame, I was a big fan of The Book of Lists, so I'm gonna rattle off a list of names and titles. If they peak your interest in the slightest, I would highly recommend checking out this fine film:

1. Tom of Finland
2. Boogie Nights
3. Andy Warhol
4. The Mayor of Castro Street
5. Sal Mineo
6. Wadd
7. Robert Mapplethorpe
8. John Waters
9. Armistead Maupin
10. Klaus Nomi

So there you go. Berlin (That Boy, Nights in Black Leather) was a stunning--and prodigiously gifted--German-born gent who, like the former Klaus Sperber (The Nomi Song), reinvented himself when he hit the States. He spent time in New York, hanging out with Warhol and the gang, before he moved to San Francisco, where he became a cross between a Tom of Finland illustration and Luchino Visconti lover/muse Helmut Berger (The Damned). He modeled and he made movies, but mostly he walked the streets looking fabulous in his incredibly-revealing custom-made outfits (those white pants!). Amazingly, the bottle-blond bombshell is still turning heads at 60+. Berlin, in this film, is many things (here's yet another list): vain, smart, principled, loving, and funny. He's truly a one-of-a-kind and I'm glad I made his acquaintance.

Egyptian: Sun., 6/5, 6:00PM and Tues., 6/7, 4:45PM.

Endnote: This is a Tablet-sponsored event and
Tushinski is scheduled to attend both screenings.

1 comment:

  1. In case you're debating whether or not to see "Junebug," I just wanted to mention that director Phil Morrison and actor Ben McKenzie (yep, Ryan from "The O.C.") will be in attendance. The film may not be completely successful, but it's worth a look. McKenzie is pretty good in an uncharacteristic part and Morrison is a director to keep an eye on (plus, he once directed an episode of "Pete & Pete"!).