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Winter LGBT movie preview
by Richard Knight, Jr., for Windy City Times
2014-12-10


With the holidays just around the corner, Hollywood is trotting out both their awards contenders and some of their most anticipated mega-blockbusters. And the winter months promise plenty of diverting film fare as well, with a few queer-friendly movies among them.

Here's a random sampling of what lies ahead cinematically in the coming months with movies both overtly queer or just eagerly anticipated by yours truly. Unless otherwise noted, the opening date listed refers to at least a one week theatrical run or VOD.

December

The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies—Peter Jackson completes his Hobbit trilogy, the prequel saga to the Lord of the Rings saga, with this fantasy action film that includes everybody's favorite wizard, Gandalf ( played by the openly gay Sir Ian McKellen ), along with a bevy of male eye candy: Luke Evans, Lee Pace, Richard Armitage et al, as well as the always luminous Cate Blanchett. Dec. 18

Big Eyes—Tim Burton directs the true story of artist Margaret Keane ( Amy Adams ), who became a mainstream art star during the 1950s and 1960s, when her renowned portraits of big-eyed children became a staple of every home in America. Christoph Waltz plays the overbearing, egotistical husband who takes credit for Margaret's paintings. Dec. 25

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Unbroken—Angelina Jolie directs her latest, the true-life drama of Olympic runner Louis Zamperini ( played by current It guy Jack O'Connell ), who was taken prisoner by the Japanese during WWII. Dec. 25

Into the Woods—Out director Rob Marshall returns to his musical roots with this highly anticipated screen adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine Broadway musical fairytale for adults. Sondheim's sensational score is sung by Anna Kendrick, Emily Blunt, Chris Pine, Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep, who's the witch ( literally ) who gets to sing "Stay with Me" and "Children Will Listen," among others. Tracy Ullman, Christine Baranski, James Corden and soap-opera hunk Billy Magnussen co-star. For showtune queens like myself, this is the movie event of the year. Dec. 25

January

The Way He Looks—This sexy Brazilian gay coming-of-age story was the breakout hit of last year's LGBT film festival circuit and comes to the Music Box for a Chicago theatrical run. Jan. 2

The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death—Forty years after Daniel Radcliffe's Arthur Kipps stirred up the haunting events at the uber-creepy Eel Marsh House, the nasty, unforgiving lady of the mansion is awakened again when a group of children evacuated during the London Blitz in WWII take up residence. Jan. 2

Inherent Vice—Director Paul Thomas Anderson ( There Will Be Blood, The Master ) returns to 1970s/Boogie Nights territory with this L.A. noir that follows Joaquin Phoenix as a stoner private eye trying to solve a missing-persons case and encountering a lot of eccentric folks. It co-stars Maya Rudolph, Martin Short, Josh Brolin, Reese Witherspoon, etc. Jan. 9

Selma—This is a historical drama chronicling the voting-rights marches in 1965. David Oyelowo plays Martin Luther King Jr., Tom Wilkinson is Lyndon Johnson, Tim Roth is George Wallace and Oprah Winfrey ( who also produced along with Brad Pitt ) is also in the large ensemble cast. Jan. 9

Still Alice—The Oscar buzz is building in intensity over Julianne Moore's performance as a brilliant linguistics professor grappling with early onset Alzheimer's disease in this intimate drama based on Lisa Genova's 2007 best-selling novel. The movie is helmed by out writer/directors ( and real life couple ) Richard Glazter and Wash Westmoreland. Kristen Stewart, Alec Baldwin, Hunter Parrish, and Kate Bosworth costar. Jan. 16

The Boy Next Door—J.Lo returns to cinemas as a woman involved with a younger man living next door ( actor/model/Step Up hunk du jour Ryan Guzman ) in this genre thriller that looks like cheesy fun. Kristen Chenoweth co-stars. Jan. 23

February

Jupiter Ascending—The Chicago-based Wachowski siblings, Andy and Lana, follow their critically acclaimed sci-fi extravaganza Cloud Atlas with … another sci-fi extravaganza. Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis and Eddie Redmayne star in this futuristic tale about a villainous Queen of the Galaxy ( no, not Zsa Zsa Gabor ) who has it in for a lowly ( but lovely ) maiden destined for big things ( shades of Snow White ). Feb. 6

Ballet 422—For dance fans, this documentary about the New York City Ballet creating a new work under the direction of young choreographer Justin Peck is going to be nirvana. For those less cultured, there's also the benefit of all those fabulous bodies in motion as the company goes from first rehearsal to its opening-night performance. Feb. 6

Fifty Shades of Grey—The self-publishing phenomenon—the story of an erotic, S&M-based relationship between a literature student and a self-made zillionaire control freak—comes to movie theaters. Once Upon a Time pretty boy Jamie Dornan and lovely Dakota Johnson ( daughter of Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith ) co-star as the sexed-up couple. Feb. 13

The Last 5 Years—Anna Kendrick ( Into the Woods, Pitch Perfect, Up in the Air ) and Smash's Jeremy Jordan co-star in this film adaptation of the stage musical, a romantic comedy-drama that originally debuted here in 2001 at Northlight before heading to off-Broadway. The story details the five-year relationship of a struggling novelist and an actress told from his and her viewpoints ( one in reverse, one in chronological order ). Feb. 13

McFarland, USA—North Country director Niki Caro helms this fact-based sports drama about a Latino high school cross-country team in the 1980s. Kevin Costner plays the team's coach and out actor Maria Bello co-stars. Feb. 20

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