Notes from the Manager
Related Strips: #259: Here He Goes Again
You can see the trailer for Milk over at Apple. The film has been in limited release for a couple of weeks, but should in a relatively wide release across North America now.
We’ll be talking about it a bit tonight at 9PM Central on The Triple Feature (as well as a few other movies, including — I think — Doubt and The Day the Earth Stood Still), but the short version of my opinion of the film is that I felt it did a terrific job of balancing the story of the life of Harvey Milk with enough historical context to make it understandable — yet without ever feeling like a history book, either. To the filmmakers’ credit, they also managed to avoid whitewashing Milk as a human and glorifying him to the point of some sort of mythological hero, as well.
The cast is superb and director Gus Van Sant’s use of archival footage throughout the film, rather than just at the end as in many other biopics, really helps to set the film in its time and place (and, presumably, to keep the budget down). Much more than just a cookie-cutter biopic or an “issue” movie, Milk is a fantastic movie: smart, funny, and, of course, heartbreaking, but never too sentimental for its own good.
(If you’re wondering why Chase not knowing who Harvey Milk is is a big deal, I recommend Steven Petrow's recent editorial, “Remembering the Lessons of Harvey Milk: What It Means to Be Gay,” for The Huffington Post.)
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Saturday, October 4, 2014
Written and directed by James Ward Byrkit.
Starring Emily Foxler, Hugo Armstrong, Nicholas Brendon, Elizabeth Gracen, Lauren Maher, Alex Manugian, Lorene Scafaria, and Maury Sterling.
A new Patreon backer at the $50 level opted out of the usual reward of a plug in the “Become a Multiplex Patron” box (above, on the website), asking instead for me to plug the 2013 indie science fiction filmCoherence (with which he is not affiliated). I was happy to oblige, and so “A fan of Coherence” — a.k.a. The Patron, as I’ll refer to him from here out — is, for the duration of his patronage, among Multiplex‘s supporters. (And, yes, I will review just about any movie a $50 backer asks me to.)
What really got my interest in the film (aside from being asked very nicely to see it) was that The Patron compared it to Shane Carruth’s Primer, one of the best no-budget sci-fi movies ever made. I can definitely see the comparison: both are decidedly low-budget films with small casts and a science-fictiony premise. I feel like seeing the film fairly blind is probably the best, so I won’t summarize the plot beyond the premise of eight friends having a dinner party when a comet passes over and Strange Things Happen, but I don’t think I’m quite as enthusiastic as The Patron.
Unfortunately, the “go in as blind as you can” suggestion means I feel like I need to be pretty vague. Some clunky (and largely unnecessary) exposition gets spat out early on, which tried my patience a bit, but it gets fun as the plot gets rolling. And the plot is definitely the star of the film, not the largely forgettable cast of affluent, Southern California white people or the dialogue, which often feels improvised (in that it neither pushes the story forward nor reveals character, as good dialogue ought to).
Despite some genuinely terrifically creepy or suspenseful moments in the film, a handful of contrived plot points hold it back from being much more than a fun genre flick for me, but I found myself wondering what would happen next — almost up to the very end. A late turn in the film got more of an eye-roll from me than the shock that I think it was supposed register. As always, your mileage may vary, but the film’s merits make it well worth a viewing, particularly for science fiction fans suffering from blockbuster fatigue.
Here’s the trailer! If it piques your interest, please do check it out. It’s available for rent from Amazon Instant Video or for purchase from its official website, among other places. (I never recommend reading YouTube comments, but definitely on’t read the comments if you want to stay away from spoilers.)
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