'My Life With James Dean' DVD: Charming MUST-SEE French Film on Indie Flicks and Gay Boy Coming-of-Age
Breaking Glass Pictures impressively outdoes itself regarding the August 28, 2018 DVD release of the 2017 French dramedy "My Life as James Dean." The only criticism is that Breaking does not make this beautifully shot film with a solid soundtrack available on Blu-ray.
The best way to think about this one is that it retains all the style and humor of a classic French film while adding a splash of a Michael Chabon or John Irving novel. We get outrageously comical characters going to extremes to pursue overlapping passions.
The mention regarding accolades this time is that the lack of them is astonishing; one cannot imagine festivals passing this one over.
It is not surprising that relatively new indie filmmaker Dominque Choisy knows of what she speaks regarding the film screening aspects of "Life." It is surprising that a woman has the depicted insight regarding regarding young gay love.
The metaness of "Life" begins with this film having the same name as the fictional film of 20-something first-time director Geraud Champreux around whom the Choisy film is centered. Personal metaness relates to frustrating efforts to arrange screenings of an exceptional indie film of a 20-something righteous dude.
The opening scenes are of Champreux riding a bus to a small Normandy town to host a screening of his film about a man who believes that he is Dean. The comic misadventures begin with losing a modern lifeline when he arrives at his destination.
The audience next gets a glimpse at the life of a first-time indie filmmaker when no one is there to greet Geraud. His subsequent encounter with locals at a bar is the first of many "Northern Exposure" style incidents that reflect the personalities of quirky small-town folk.
Our man temporarily without a country manages to find the theater where his film is to be shown only to be told that his appearance is a surprise and that no screening is scheduled. This discussion includes commentary on the overall sad state of modern cinema in which commerce typically trumps art.
The next stop it the hotel that is the best guess regarding where the woman behind the invitation is putting up Geraud. This brings him in contact with disaffected Jill-of-all-trades hotel employee Gladys,. Her amusing lazy dismissive approach to her job is very familiar to frequent travelers.
The penultimate piece of the puzzle comes when Geraud meets box-office worker/projectionist Balthazar. This canard odd can be considered the very late-in-life brother of mop-topped tall and lanky slacker-type character actor Hamish Linklater.
Another meta moment occurs when the first moments of the fictional film mesmerize Balthazar to the extent that transference results in his falling in love with an unresponsive Geraud. This innocent small-town boy also most likely never having felt the touch of another man is another factor.
The final piece of the puzzle comes when booker Sylvia van den Rood belatedly shows up and subsequently ensnares Geraud in her personal drama that is responsible for neglecting him. This coincides with a sweet declaration of love by Balthazar.
Balthazar outdoes himself in putting himself on the line by showing up uninvited for a booty call. Being given the boot not deterring him is another notably sweet moment in the film. This is relatable to the perk of being a gay man in the form of sometimes being the pursued one in a relationship. We all desire to feel wanted and loved.
The subsequent screenings set the stage as our core group of three and various hangers-on travel through the area.
The biggest surprise comes when casual conversation with the parents of Balthazar leads to a surprise reveal that is a potential game changer. The subsequent developments reinforce that the French are amazingly much more casual about sex and nudity than Americans.
Choisy keeps the fun going to the end as Geraud helps two fugitives as he figuratively rides off into the sunset. The final scenes fully seal the deal regarding the quirky charm of "Dean."
The Breaking Glass Pictures July 17, 2018 DVD release of the 2017 character study "Moss" is a perfect example of the indie films that Breaking helps bring to the massses. This shot-on-location film about how the titular North Carolina redneck (Calvin Klein model Mitchell Slaggert) spends his 18th birthday provides fascinating insight into the lives of such folks who exist day-by-day.
The following YouTube clip of a "Moss" trailer highlights the Southern Gothic vibe of this rapidly coming-of-age story. This includes a taste of the inner monologues that comprise a great deal of the film and of the aforementioned location shooting.
The aforementioned narrative technique quickly provides the exposition that the mother of Moss dies giving birth to him and that his father claims to be philosophical regarding that loss. We further get a variation of shooting fish in a barrel.
The special day next involves Dad not diverting much attention from making the driftwood sculptures that keep Spam on the table to acknowledge either the special day of Moss or his offer of breakfast. Dad ordering a resistant Little Red Riding Hoodie to deliver a basket of prescription drugs to his grandmother causes further tension.
Moss first taking a detour to visit his meth-head buddy Blaze to get high and eat a Redneck Special for breakfast while watching VHS tapes of nature films fully gets his big adventure underway. We also learn of the extent to which some people will sell (and buy) anything at a yard sale.
Moss gets his first real present in the form of spying 30 year-old camper Mary on the banks of the river. Although he uses one of the worst-ever pick-up lines, Mary lets him inside her tent. This leads to a From Here to Mayberry moment in which these new lovers embrace on the sand as waves roll over them.
The time with Mary takes up much of the day, which ends up Moas back at Che Blaze, who has family drama of his own in the interim. The gist of the childhood of both boys provides understanding regarding why they are not college-bound.
Meanwhile, Dad is showing that he does care about his son even after learning how Moss perverts a special gesture. One message here is that not much is expected from anyone literally from that neck of the woods.
The rude awakenings the next day include Moss finding himself on a floor other than his own and discovering the degree to which he does not deserve his grandmother. The response of Dad to all this is equally surprising to those of us in more urban areas.
The message of "Moss" goes beyond seeing how the lower-income half lives. We see how any kid can fall through the cracks and the extent to which that requires them to be self-reliant and pursue any form of happiness and/or escape.
Breaking does its usual excellent job with DVD features. Writer-director Daniel Peddle hosts an amusing 25-minute "making of" documentary that shows the kismet regarding the production and how it largely is kept in the family.
The Breaking Glass Pictures DVD release of the 2017 French drama "Hidden Kisses" awesomely puts the Breaking edge on an otherwise light story of two high school boys in love. "Kisses" being a TV-Movie both explains the slight "After School Special" vibe oand further proves that the French are much more progressive and cool than Americans.
The 21st-century centric drama begins when "new boy in town" 15 year-old everyteen Nate meets a mystery boy for the titular buss in a dark greenhouse during a large party. An unknown person takes and uploads a photo in which only Nate is identifiable. The picture going viral among students, parents, and faculty simultaneously forces Nate out of the closet into a hostile environment and triggers speculation regarding the identity of the other boy.
The fallout extends to straining the previously close relationship between Nate and his widowed police chief father Stephane. Stephane still loves the sinner but is not fond of the sin and has difficulty accepting his new normal.
Meanwhile, Nate is subject to increasingly vicious bullying at school and is experiencing the heartbreak of his secret boyfriend ignoring him. This culminates in a brutal beating with an equally horrific emotional element. The latter reflects the same insecurities behind real-life gay boys and men yelling "fag" om the mere sight of an effeminate man and throwing the first punch in a dark alley behind a gay bar.
The next round of drama occurs when the rookie mistake of not clearing a browsing history results in identifying the other boy in the photo. This both forces him to come to terms with his sexuality and to contend with his enraged father, who believes both that he literally can beat the gay out of his son and that conversion therapy is effective. The related emotional abuse is equally painful to watch.
The film not being a product of Hollywood (or Logo) and this not being the '90s allow for "Kisses" to not conclude with a fairy tale (no pun intended) ending with our princes slow dancing at the prom while their smiling peers, teachers, and parents circle around them. However, both boys survive the traumatic aftermath of being outed and get a quantum of solace; they additionally get one adorable scene that provides some hope for greater societal enlightenment.
"Kisses" addresses the good news regarding this issue; boys coming to terms with liking other boys should be spared the scorn and torture of the generation before them. The bad news is that the reality is that coming out as a teen (and often as an adult) still likely comes at least with the price of nasty looks and comments behind your back.
breaking glass pictures takes an extreme vacation from releasing gay-themed art house films, grisly horror films, and other edgy fare to make the adorable Disney Channel style family "In the Doghouse" available on DVD. It is adequately cute and has enough fart jokes to entertain tweens and is not too sickly sweet for adult consumption.
The following YouTube clip of the SPOILER-HEAVY "Doghouse" trailer reflects the kids v. adults themes of the movie and provides a good sense of the humor of the film.
One of the most amusing (and breaking appropriate moments) in "Doghouse" comes early in the film. A scene in which recently divorced 35 year-old mom Wendy, her roughly 13 year-old daughter Amanda, and roughly 11 year-old son Nate are wrapping up a visit with dad. The quasi-flamboyant persona of dad indicates the reason for the breakup. This character butching it up a little in subsequent scenes suggest both that the opening scene is one of the first shot and that the director makes the same observation as your not-so-humble reviewer.
Wendy soon bringing amusingly named geeky grocery store manager Dom Massey home to meet the kids only to discover that this dork is allergic to family dog Irving inspires Amanda and Nate to sabotage all future dating attempts. This scheme is relatable to any child of a divorced mother; the sad truth is that many tweens who consider the loser whom Mom brings home to be an unbearable idiot discovers on entering his or her 40s that said train wreck may represent the pick of the litter.
The kids make a surprisingly good team for siblings. Further, the candidness of Nate regarding peeing outside, being flatulent, and other disgusting matters make him a nice change of pace from more traditional sitcom-style tweens.
High school stud boyfriend Dave arriving on the scene presents the kids with dual serious challenges in the forms of the history of Dave and Wendy and the motivation of Dave extending beyond wanting to start over with the one who got away. Poor Irving becomes a pawn in this game.
The climax this time comes in the form of a mad dash that also involves Dad. The truth comes out and everyone (including Irving) achieves the apt degree of happiness.
Anyone with comments or questions regarding "Doghouse" is welcome to either email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.
'Handsome Devil' DVD: The Devil is in Details Regarding Price of Being Queer in a Highly Conformist Society
The many reason that the Breaking Glass Pictures June 6, 2017 DVD release of the 2016 Irish coming-of-age dramedy "Handsome Devil" is special is that it reinforces the theory of a highly insightful dude that a boarding school is a jail for kids who are sold the bill of goods that it is good for them. This is from the perspective of the beneficiary of a good education and some awesome friends at the costs of being abandoned by his parents and enduring two years of bullying by a hockey jock. (Hi Dan. I assume that you outgrew the literally nightly "midnight raids" that delighted you so much.)
Related boarding school insight from "Devil" comes in the form of the new kid at school joining that community several years after his peers. The closeness that comes after extended mutual confinement and shared adolescent experiences make it tough for the outsider.
This film further perfectly personifies the Gospel According to Unreal TV regarding Gay Pride. The spirit of that celebration is not provocative acts; it is showing that being yourself is proper and nothing to fear. Although not the "Devil," the hero/narrator to thine own self is true throughout despite the abuse that this prompts. The most blatant symbol of this is Ginger high-school boy/studious lad Ned in a sea of blond and brunette rugby jocks learning on his father and the trophy wife of said sire dumping him for another year his all-male boarding school that he is the only student without a roommate.
Ned sees this as a means to avoid his tormentors; they view this as an opportunity to call him gay and assert that he is being deprived of a roommate to spare a fellow student a "midnight raid" in the form of anal rape. Another way that Ned is not like the other boys is that his appearance is slightly awkward, and virtually every other lad is a candidate for the cover of an Abercrombie and Fitch catalog.
An element of all this is that the popular lads quasi-aptly use the term gay (i.e., queer) as an insult of a misfit and only tangentially as a commentary on sexuality. The manifestation of this includes a rude in both tone and intent noise that the dumb jocks consider subtle.
The accolades for writer/director John Butler handling his subject well include earning the Best Irish Feature awards at the 2017 Dublin Films Critics Awards and Jameson Dublin International Film Festivals. Including the film in mainstream festivals and bestowing those top honors awesomely shows that we've come a long way, Baby.
The aforementioned bliss of Ned is shattered on learning early in the new school year that transfer student with a secret/rugby star Conor is his new cellie. The response of Ned on returning to his sanctuary to see a barechested Conor doing push-ups in the middle of the room is precious; the subsequent reaction of Conor regarding his strange bedfellow is almost as good. Both reflect the oh-so-true fact that even adults typically are less mature than a situation requires.
The amusing solution that Ned devises (and that makes one feel sympathy for the devil) can be considered the Wall of Jericho by classic film fans. Conor portrayor Nick Galitzine (a.k.a. Little Nicky or Beelzebloke) puts his Satanic attractiveness to good use is peering through the barrier as the first step toward dismantling it.
Andrew Scott (arguably best known as Moriarity in "Sherlock") steals the show as a subdued version of the prep school teacher that Robin Williams portrays in the film "Dead Poets Society." Dan Sherry is the youngish English teacher who takes over after the "retirement" of the fossil who is his predecessor. An early moment that establishes Great Scott has him validly embarrassing Ned in front of the class. This act clearly establishes that there is a new sheriff in town.
An intuitive Sherry coercing our lads to jointly prepare an act for an upcoming talent show follows the long reel and real traditions of making teens do what the grown ups know is good for them. This mutual effort predictably enhances the bond between the enemies turned chums.
The conflict that occurs along the way includes Conor paying a proportionally high social cost for his increasing level of closeness with Ned, Conor and Sherry discovering that they each share a secret with potentially devastating consequences, and villainous (and abusive) rugby coach Pascal stirring up trouble by pushing false issues.
As typical in coming-of-age films with a prominent sports theme, much of "Devil" revolves around an upcoming rugby tournament. The head of Conor is no longer so much in the game, and he is feeling increasingly repressed. Meanwhile, Ned is experiencing his own intense teen angst.
Everything comes to a head when the tormenting of Ned brings him to a breaking point. His outburst forces virtually effort in the film and creates the type of turmoil that is the stuff of prep school legend for decades.
It is predictable that the aforementioned rugby tournament is the climax. It is less predictable whether our boys find inner peace, their peers grow up, and the extent to which Sherry can make himself and his charges happier. One spoiler is that the film does not end up with the cast rushing the rugby pitch to groove and make out to a disco standard.
The positive elements of boarding school life require noting that Sherry represents the best aspect of that environment. The lost boys who are sentenced there almost always find a teacher who truly fills the role of in loco parentis while the ones who should be providing that support are literally and/or figuratively far far away. Someone who shows that love because they choose to is very special.
The special features include commentary by Butler and a highly entertaining and insightful Q&A session as Krakow film festival.
Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Devil" is strongly encouraged either to email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.
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