Queen of the Deuce (2023) [Make Believe Film Festival 2024]

There’s nothing better than a great documentary and “Queen of the Deuce” manages to be one of the best I’ve seen this year. Valerie Kontakos’ biography about NYC figure Chelly Wilson is one of the more excellent documentaries I’ve seen that covers an array of topics from family, LGBTQ politics, and the ever lasting effects of the holocaust. More so it’s a brilliant time capsule of the Deuce, 42nd Street in New York which, at one time, was considered a virtual breeding ground of violence, sex, drugs and all other kinds of depravity.

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Love Lies Bleeding (2024)

Now in Wider Release Exclusively in Theaters.

Rose Glass’s crime thriller is a rotten and often grotesque neo-noir that kept me glued to the screen from beginning to end. Like more neo-noir’s, Glass’s film centers on morally gray protagonists doing battle with amoral characters, all of whom are couped up in such a small town. Corruption and violence is never too far away and “Loves Lies Bleeding” centers on Lou and Jackie, both of whom are desperate to escape their confines. More and more their lives feel like prisons, with their whole source of misery pointed toward domestic dysfunction.

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Mean Girls: The Musical (2024)

Now Available on Digital Streaming.

Despite the flack that it received this year from a lot of anti-musical individuals that transformed “Mean Girls: The Musical” in to a tik tok meme, at the end of it all Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr’s film ended up being much ado about nothing. It can’t be that narratives can’t translate in to musicals since “Hairspray” was excellent. But when all was said and done “Mean Girls: The Musical” ended up being an okay movie. It wasn’t what I’d call awful, but it’s by no means in the upper echelons of musicals like “Grease” or even “Teen Beach Movie.”

It’s a just fine, pretty okay movie that just made me want to rewatch the original classic.

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Geographies of Public Sex [LA&M Film Fetish Forum]

Playing at the LA&M Film Fetish Forum Saturday, March 16th at 7pm EST; It Will Be Co-Presented by Henry Hanson of Full Spectrum Features.

“Geographies of Public Sex” is a series of eight short films curated by Henry Hanson, most of which revolve around the Gay experience and accounts of the gay lifestyle. It’s a mixed bag, admittedly, but an interesting gallery of shorts, nevertheless. 2021’s “Trade Center” from Adam Baran is the best of the bunch; it’s a fascinating documentary about cruising in the seventies and eighties, and the amount of sites in New York City where men could have sex with one another any time of the day.

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Ricky Stanicky (2024)

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Peter Farrelly’s latest comedy has multiple screenwriters to its credits, and boy, it watches like it. “Ricky Stanicky” starts out as a silly comedy that snowballs in to a painfully unfunny, overlong, and confused mess that is only saved by John Cena. Even though Cena isn’t funny either, he at least looks half awake most of the time as folks like Zac Efron and William H. Macy basically phone in this mess of a movie. There are so many sub-plots and comedic bits that are abandoned mid-way during the movie where it felt like the writers were trying to squeeze out as much from this goofy one note premise as possible.

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Drive-Away Dolls (2024)

The big draw for “Drive-Away Dolls” will be the director Ethan Coen for film buffs, and I say that because Ethan Coen spends an inordinate amount of time directing a movie that feels very Coen brothers lite. It has this flavor of a misplaced dark comedy from 2000 that might have paired on basic cable with “Nurse Betty.” It has all the hallmarks of a Coen Brothers movie after all. There are the quirky dysfunctional heroes, the quirky albeit vicious villains, some kind of spiritual journey or awakening, and a premise that devolves into immense chaos.

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Trauma Bond (2022)

Director-Writer Jaina Cipriano’s dark drama is a wonderful master class not only in character study but in acting across the board. Cipriano really brings the best out of her small cast, all of whom help to enhance what is a very mesmerizing experience in explorations in trauma, hive minds, and the power of suggestion.

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