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Reviews: Out Takes 2010 opening night

Fri 28 May 2010 In: Movies View at Wayback View at NDHA

From the opening night of the Out Takes film festival, which kicked off in Auckland last night and starts in Wellington on June 3rd, Jay Bennie and Jacqui Stanford review An Englishman in New York, Gayby, And Then Came Lola, and The Sheep and The Ranch Hand. An Englishman in New York Starring John Hurt, Swoozie Kurtz and Cynthia Nixon Dir: Richard Laxton UK, 2009, 74mins. John Hurt in An Englishman in New York Rule one for movie making, too often ignored, is: don't make a sequel unless you can at least reach the heights of the first movie. The Naked Civil Servant thirty five years ago - also starring Hurt, in a bravura performance that came to define his career - had heaps to tell us about social mores, history, eccentricity, individualism and what it is to be a minority within a minority. Despite an immaculate performance by John Hurt as the unique Quentin Crisp this sequel feels like an epilogue, and a slim one at that. An Englishman In New York covers the ageing Crisp's later, languorous life. His fashionable eccentricity, and subsequent unfashionable stances on HIV and gay liberation, are all there and yet somehow the viewer is left unmoved. The proclamations are many and varied but the bon mots are few and far between and there is an emotional void the heart of An Englishman and its characters. Most of the problem is the uninspired script which does little more than show us Crisp getting old and introspective before he dies. Part of the problem is Hurt's performance. Immaculate yes, but somehow strangely unmoving. Rather like watching a slightly battered old Morris Minor slowly running out of oomph and sputtering off to the scrap heap. The recreations of seedy 1970s New York are nicely done but An Englishman in New York lacks heart, passion, message, entertainment and, unforgivably, connection with its audience. - Jay Bennie Gayby Starring: Jenn Harris, Matthew Wilkas Dir: Jonathan Lisecki USA, 2008, 12mins. Jenn Harris Oh and of course there's also the incredibly sexy, buff Italian ex-girlfriend who is trying to woo her lady over dinner under the guise of landing her a major business deal. In Run Lola Run style, Lola has multiple attempts to get across the city.  Each new time she speeds up and learns a little bit more about the way to really get to her girlfriend's heart. I can't help but wish I had three chances to get it right in my last relationship. That aside, what works incredibly well are montages of the characters on a therapist's couch, which is are where some of the best lines such as 'you said you were immune to lesbian bed death', are delivered. It's funny. It's cute. There are hot women and there is hot action. However, And Then Came Lola lives up to its marketing as a 'lesbian hit comedy', or 'sexy lesbian romp' – that's all there really is to it.  Take your girlfriends along for a laugh and a look at some eye candy; just don't expect to think too much. - Jacqui Stanford   The Sheep and The Ranch Hand Starring: Dyan McBride Dir: Loretta Hintz USA, 2009, 12 mins Dyan McBride as Baaaaarbara From the opening shot of a woman, Baaaaarbara, lying on the couch surrounded by pizza boxes and masturbating while flicking her TV over to a sheep documentary, The Sheep and The Ranch Hand is a 12 minute bundle of stunning weirdness. The woman then falls asleep and has a fantastical dream that she is part-woman part-sheep and in the care of a randy ranch hand.  You'll laugh as much as you'll cringe. - Jacqui Stanford Jay Bennie and Jacqui Stanford - 28th May 2010    

Credit: Jay Bennie and Jacqui Stanford

First published: Friday, 28th May 2010 - 1:18am

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