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34 • JUNE 01, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM

FILM

A month of movies, just in time for Pride New movies we recommend for June viewing By JOHN PAUL KING

‘Discreet,’ ‘The Fabulous Alan Carr’ and ‘Hearts Beat Loud”’ are your best bets for LGBT film viewing. Photos Courtesy Travis Mathews, Jeffrey Schwarz and Brett Haley

Pride month in LA is all about the festival and parade, of course, but it’s also an exciting time for LGBT movie lovers as it’s also now a tradition that several new queercentric film releases come our way in June, this year starting with a trio of titles coming out this week. “Discreet” (opening June 1) – From writer/director Travis Mathews comes this brooding thriller about a drifter named Alex (Jonny Mars), who copes with the trauma of his childhood sexual abuse through online-guided meditation – and by finding furtive, anonymous hookups with closeted men in the adult stores and seedy motels of rural Texas. When he discovers that his abuser (Bob Swaffar) is still alive, he enlists an unsuspecting local teen (Jordan Elsass) to aid him in a sinister plan for revenge. A meditation on the deadly consequences of internalized homophobia, Mathews’ film is a look into a closeted lifestyle in which the most meaningful encounters must always be “discreet.” Constructed in fragmented scenes, it eschews detailed depiction in favor of an impressionistic approach which only gives us glimpses of the ugly secrets at its core. It leaves much to the imagination – too much, perhaps, for viewers who prefer more concrete narratives – but this is by design; it’s more of a mood piece, meant to envelop the viewer in the disconnected darkness of its deeply damaged central character and evoke the jarring rhythms of his isolated existence. Though it manages to disturb without relying on graphic horror, the film is more successful at generating chills through political allegory – much of its unsettling tone is derived almost subliminally from the right-wing radio show that plays whenever Alex is in his van. This undercurrent of extremist hatred seems to connect directly to the grim events of the story, turning “Discreet” into a disturbing portrait of “alt-right” America and the mentality that gave rise to the Age of Trump. “The Fabulous Alan Carr” (VOD, June 5) – Jeffrey Schwarz, who has given us profiles of such gay icons as Vito Russo, Tab Hunter, and Divine – returns with a documentary about the self-made impresario and producer who rose from midwestern obscurity to glamorous Hollywood success before falling spectacularly from grace. Relying on the usual mixture of archival footage and on-camera interviews with friends and associates, it presents us with a portrait of a man whose love for the escapist fantasy of Hollywood combined with his life-of-the-party personality to propel him to the heights of professional success. Particularly interesting are the talk show clips revealing the ‘70s scenester at his flamboyant best, and the lengthy segment detailing his failure as producer of the Academy Awards – highlighting that notorious opening number that paired Snow White with Rob Lowe for a song-and-dance tribute to Old Hollywood. However, though Schwarz manages to generate some empathy for Carr, he can never quite overcome the inescapable shallowness of his subject’s persona. A showman who built his career on glitz and glamour, and seemed incapable of understanding why “Can’t Stop The Music” wasn’t as big a hit as “Grease,” Carr was the epitome of style over substance – and as result, the movie leaves the same inconsequential impression as the man himself. Still, it’s a fun trip down memory lane; full of the sights and sounds of the hedonistic‘70s scene of which Carr made sure he was an integral part, and deepdiving into the campy delights of the work he produced, the documentary is still a crowd-pleaser. Schwarz is a master of blending information with entertainment, and his approach is a perfect complement to the story he is telling here. “The Fabulous Alan Carr” may not be the director’s most satisfying work, but it’s definitely worth an evening spent watching on your couch. “Hearts Beat Loud” (opening June 8): In the Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook, Frank Fisher (Nick Offerman) – a middle-aged widower whose once-successful record store is failing – has music in his blood. It’s a love he shares with his soon-to-be-collegebound daughter, Sam (Kiersey Clemons), and hoping to cement his connection to her before her eminent departure, he coaxes her to record a song during their weekly “jam” session and secretly uploads it to Spotify. When it unexpectedly develops a following, Frank sees it as a chance to finally realize his lifelong dreams of musical success; but Sam, despite a blossoming relationship with her new girlfriend (Sasha Lane), is anxious to leave Brooklyn and pursue her own dreams – which do not involve being in a band with her father. Continues at losangelesblade.com

Profile for Los Angeles Blade

Losangelesblade.com, Volume 2, Issue 13, June 1, 2018  

Losangelesblade.com, Volume 2, Issue 13, June 1, 2018

Losangelesblade.com, Volume 2, Issue 13, June 1, 2018  

Losangelesblade.com, Volume 2, Issue 13, June 1, 2018

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