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Tag Archive | "Hollywood Reporter"

‘Story of a Girl’: Film Review | LAFF 2017

Ryann Shane and Kevin Bacon co-star in Kyra Sedgwick’s directorial debut, scheduled for broadcast on the Lifetime channel.

Online indiscretions can represent defining moments for ordinary people just as much as for politicians and celebrities brought down by their own hubris, as sympathetically demonstrated in Story of a Girl. A cautionary coming-of-age drama with an emphasis on the healing power of […]

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‘Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A Bad Boy Story’: Film Review

Daniel Kaufman’s documentary profiles Sean Combs, telling the story of his history-making record label.

To say that the new documentary about Sean Combs and the record label he founded isn’t revealing would be unfair. After all, by the time Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A Bad Boy Story reaches its conclusion, viewers will know that the rapper/businessman wears Calvin Klein boxer briefs. […]

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‘Strange Daughter’ (‘Fremde Tochter’): Film Review | Munich 2017

Elisa Schlott, Hassan Akkouch and ‘Love Actually’s’ Heike Makatsch headline this sophomore feature from German director Stephan Lacant.

A 17-year-old German girl working part-time as an office cleaner has a love-hate rapport with one of the Muslim employees in Strange Daughter (Fremde Tochter), the sophomore feature from filmmaker Stephan Lacant. As in his previous film, the queer policemen romance Free Fall, […]

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‘Hired Gun’: Film Review

Fran Strine’s doc listens to the unknown sidemen who make some of the world’s biggest hits.

Docs like 20 Feet From Stardom have shown us how delightful it can be for music fans to hang out with the unsung performers who back up famous musicians. The best of these usually zero in on a certain scene — à la Muscle Shoals or […]

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‘In Pursuit of Silence’: Film Review

Patrick Shen’s documentary explores the beneficial effects of silence on our lives.

You’ll feel compelled to turn up the volume during Patrick Shen’s documentary about the beneficial effects of silence. For one thing, your hearing has probably already been affected by the pernicious noise levels afflicting our everyday lives. For another, every commentator in the film speaks in the sort of […]

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‘St. Elmo’s Fire’: THR’s 1985 Review

On June 28, 1985, Columbia unveiled St. Elmo’s Fire, an angsty, R-rated post-college drama, in theaters nationwide The Hollywood Reporter’s original review is below: 
The freshman year of life — the first year out of college — is often tougher than any course or crisis in sheltered college life. St. Elmo’s Fire should touch some nerves among the recently graduated or […]

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‘Napoli, Brooklyn’: Theater Review

Meghan Kennedy’s drama concerns the lives of an Italian family struggling to deal with their abusive patriarch, played by Michael Rispoli.

Tolstoy certainly made things difficult for theatergoers by declaring in his opening line of Anna Karenina that “every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” It feels like we’ve been deluged with tales of dysfunctional families ever since, the […]

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‘Ink’: Theater Review

Playwright James Graham and director Rupert Goold revisit the wild early days of Rupert Murdoch’s reign on Fleet Street, as he and The Sun editor Larry Lamb reshaped British tabloid journalism.

James Graham has long seemed like the David Hare of his generation, that is the early Hare, a political playwright with an urgent gift for dissecting Britain’s institutions. Both have […]

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‘My Brother Simple’ (‘Simpel’): Film Review | Shanghai 2017

David Kross (‘The Reader’) plays a developmentally handicapped young man in the latest mainstream confection from German director Markus Goller (‘Friendship!’).

A young man takes his mentally handicapped brother to Hamburg to search for their father in the comedy-drama My Brother Simple (Simpel). Directed with mainstream efficiency but not a lot of originality by Munich-born Markus Goller, whose Friendship! (2010) and […]

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‘K.O.’: Film Review

This second feature film from ‘Les Revenants’ creator Fabrice Gobert stars Laurent Lafitte and Chiara Mastroianni in a twisted tale of corporate greed and alternate realities.

Less of a K.O. than a WTF, writer-director Fabrice Gobert’s second feature stars French pretty boy Laurent Lafitte (Elle) as a TV executive caught in a Mobius strip-style plot that has him dying, resurrecting, falling […]

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‘WALL-E’: THR’s 2008 Review

On June 27, 2008, Pixar unveiled WALL-E, a sci-fi adventure that would become a summer hit with critics and audiences. The Hollywood Reporter’s original review is below: 
This is getting to sound like a broken record: Pixar Animation Studios has just topped itself. Again.
In WALL-E, following the sublime culinary slapstick of Ratatouille, Pixar and director-writer Andrew Stanton — officially the studio’s ninth employee […]

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‘A Loner’ (‘Da Xue Dong Zhi’): Film Review | Shanghai 2017

More than five decades after her stellar turn as a model soldier in ‘The Red Detachment of Women,’ Chinese actress Zhu Xijuan returns in Xing Xiao’s film about a pensioner’s solitary existence in Beijing.

The lead in A Loner is played by the 79-year-old, Los Angeles-based Zhu Xijuan, who went from being a revolutionary screen icon in the 1960s with her […]

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‘Flower and Sword’ (‘Hana Ikusa’): Film Review | Shanghai 2017

Director Tetsuo Shinohara (‘Stakeout,’ ‘Terminal’) champions art and nature over despotism in a 16th century Japanese tale of monks and shoguns.

Judging from the poster and trailer that came out in Japan last month, Tetsuo Shinohara’s Flower and Sword (Hana Ikusa) should be some kind of bright-colored slapstick comedy. Nothing could be more misrepresentative of this gentle historical-philosophical rumination on the […]

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‘Flower and Sword’ (‘Hana Ikusa’): Film Review | Shanghai 2017

Director Tetsuo Shinohara (‘Stakeout,’ ‘Terminal’) champions art and nature over despotism in a 16th century Japanese tale of monks and shoguns.

Judging from the poster and trailer that came out in Japan last month, Tetsuo Shinohara’s Flower and Sword (Hana Ikusa) should be some kind of bright-colored slapstick comedy. Nothing could be more misrepresentative of this gentle historical-philosophical rumination on the […]

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‘No Bed of Roses’ (‘Doob’): Film Review | Shanghai 2017

Irrfan Khan brings the story of a family break-up to life in director Mostofa Sarwar Farooki’s Indian-Bangladeshi coproduction.

It takes an actor of Irrfan Khan’s stature and magnetism to turn an intimate separation drama into something special, and a writer-director like Bangladesh’s happy maverick Mostofa Sarwar Farooki to layer on subtleties and shades of meaning with realistic detachment that never slips […]

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‘Nitehawk Shorts Festival Selects’: Film Review

Cosplay prostitutes, gay cowboys and dry humor fill this Brooklyn-curated shorts program.

For five years now, Brooklyn’s indie exhibitor Nitehawk Cinema has been host to an annual short-film fest, with last fall’s event running a whopping six days. This year, just in time for the deadline for 2017 submissions, they’ve assembled their first program for theatrical distribution outside of Williamsburg: Nitehawk […]

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‘The Thomas Crown Affair’: THR’s 1968 Review

On June 26, 1968, Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway’s heist film The Thomas Crown Affair hit theaters, touting itself with a tagline of “A thrill-a-minute deal for a million dollars!” The Hollywood Reporter’s original review is below:
Like Richard Lester and Tex Avery, Norman Jewison continues to prove himself among the most facile and appropriative of the two dimensional directors, paring […]

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‘War for the Planet of the Apes’: Film Review

Andy Serkis returns as reluctant rebel leader Caesar, facing a threatened homeland and a new human challenge fronted by Woody Harrelson in Fox’s third entry in the blockbuster sci-fi reboot.

Almost as rare as winning the Triple Crown in horse racing is to make a film trilogy that clicks from beginning to end, but Fox has pretty much pulled it off […]

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‘Tubelight’: Film Review

Salman Khan stars as a simple-minded villager who calls on the power of faith to bring back his MIA soldier brother during the India-China war of 1962.

There are some things that actor Salman Khan does very well — like barreling through action scenes, romancing women, and dancing to Bollywood songs, with or without a shirt.
Delivering a nuanced performance in the […]

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‘Submission’: Film Review | LAFF 2017

Stanley Tucci plays a professor who gets entangled with a seductive student in an adaptation of Francine Prose’s acclaimed novel about sexual politics on campus, ‘Blue Angel.’

Stories of teacher-student sex and sexual harassment on college campuses are not new. Francine Prose wrote her acclaimed novel on the subject, Blue Angel, 17 years ago. But with increasing debates about the issue […]

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‘Sun Dogs’: Film Review | LAFF 2017

Michael Angarano toplines a cast that includes Melissa Benoist, Xzibit, Allison Janney and Ed O’Neill, playing a well-meaning but deluded oddball in Jennifer Morrison’s directing debut.

Jennifer Morrison, star of the ABC series Once Upon a Time, segues confidently to the director’s chair with Sun Dogs, a comic drama that deftly navigates a tricky line. The story of a mentally challenged […]

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‘Anatomy of a Male Ballet Dancer’: Film Review | Provincetown 2017

Documentary team David Barba and James Pellerito accompany Brazilian ballet star Marcelo Gomes as he crosses the career landmark of his 20th anniversary with American Ballet Theatre.

We’re accustomed to thinking of great ballet stars as dazzling soloists. But Anatomy of a Male Ballet Dancer, an intimate study of longtime American Ballet Theatre principal Marcelo Gomes, made over a period of […]

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‘After Louie’: Film Review | Provincetown 2017

Alan Cumming stars as a New York veteran of the AIDS wars feeling left behind by the evolution of the gay community in Vincent Gagliostro’s intergenerational drama.

For gay men who marched on the frontlines in the battle for civil rights, acceptance and survival through the AIDS crisis, the seeming indifference of younger generations to those sacrifices and struggles can be […]

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‘Spaceballs’: THR’s 1987 Review

On June 24, 1987, Mel Brooks launched Spaceballs in theaters. The Star Wars spoof, starred Bill Pullman, John Candy, Rick Moranis and Daphne Zuniga, became infamous in its own right. The Hollywood Reporter’s original review is below.  
Space films are Mel Brooks’ latest target in this Star Wars parody that might be appropriately titled “Schtick Wars.”
You don’t have to be Jewish to be […]

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‘Living on Soul’: Film Review | LAFF 2017

This doc chronicles a concert at Harlem’s legendary Apollo Theater featuring Sharon Jones and other top soul, funk and gospel performers.

In December 2014 a group of soul, funk and gospel singers associated with Daptone Records presented a three-night concert at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem that almost literally raised the roof. Now documentary filmmakers Jeff Broadway and Cory Bailey have […]

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‘The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin’: Film Review | Provincetown 2017

Jennifer M. Kroot’s affectionate portrait traces the author’s evolution from proud son of Southern conservatives to chronicler of alternative San Francisco through the 1970s and ’80s.

The key paradox to emerge from Jennifer M. Kroot’s The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin is that the counterculture-era Dickens of San Francisco’s LGBT community was the son of an unapologetic white supremacist, whose connections […]

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‘Preacher’ Season 2: TV Review

AMC’s adaptation of ‘Preacher’ returns with a second season that’s clearer and better structured, but still nearly as crazy as the first.

I’m not always a fan of TV shows or movies in which the main plot objective or theme can be repeated like a mantra, but in the case of the second season of AMC’s Preacher, clarity brings with it […]

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‘The Bachelors’: Film Review | LAFF 2017

J.K. Simmons stars as a grieving widower alongside Julie Delpy and Josh Wiggins in Kurt Voelker’s tightly focused drama.

Overcoming a death in the family is never an easy transition for survivors, but for the two men at the center of Kurt Voelker’s family drama, adjusting to their loss becomes literally a matter of survival. Treating the issues of grief and […]

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‘Prime Suspect: Tennison’: TV Review

This prequel to the classic Helen Mirren-led original succeeds by playing a long game — the difficult evolution of Jane Tennison.

In an American television landscape that has so many standout cop series, from network fare like Homicide; Life on the Street and NYPD Blue to cable legends like The Shield and The Wire, it’s easy to forget that the Brits […]

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‘Blood Road’: Film Review

Endurance athletes Rebecca Rusch and Huyen Nguyen bike the Ho Chi Minh trail in Nicholas Schrunk’s doc.

An American athlete decides to bike the Ho Chi Minh trail in Nicholas Schrunk’s doc Blood Road, enlisting a Vietnamese cyclist and a support crew in her attempt to visit the site where, when she was three years old, her father was shot down […]

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‘Good Fortune’: Film Review

Joshua Tickell and Rebecca Harrell Tickel’s documentary recounts the rags-to-riches story of billionaire businessman/philanthropist John Paul DeJoria.

By the time Joshua Tickell and Rebecca Harrell Tickell’s documentary about billionaire businessman/philanthropist John Paul DeJoria is over, you’ll want to know DeJoria. You’ll want to work for DeJoria. Hell, you’ll want to be adopted by DeJoria. The laudatory tone of this well-meaning, inspirational […]

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‘A Beginner’s Guide to Snuff’: Film Review

Two brothers try an unconventional path to filmmaking notoriety in Mitchell Altieri’s semicomic thriller.

Two aspiring filmmakers pick the wrong scream queen in A Beginner’s Guide to Snuff, Mitchell Altieri’s riff on torture porn and hunger for fame. Kidnapping an actress on the theory that her performance in a fabricated snuff flick will be more believable if she thinks it’s real, […]

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‘The Gong Show’: TV Review

The venerable variety-show format gets good judges and talent for its opener, but Mike Myers’ performance-art host, Tommy Maitland, adds nothing.

ABC’s new version of The Gong Show, premiering June 22, is hosted by Tommy Maitland.
Tommy Maitland is a reasonable enough simulacrum of a human.
Tommy Maitland adds almost nothing to the pleasure of watching the Gong Show premiere, which otherwise is […]

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‘Don’t Come Back From the Moon’: Film Review | LAFF 2017

Southern California’s strange and desolate Salton Sea is the setting for Bruce Thierry Cheung’s drama, which features supporting turns from Rashida Jones and James Franco.

Men leave, women adapt and kids grow up quickly in Don’t Come Back from the Moon, a spare tone poem set in a tumbledown corner of the Southern California desert. Adapting a Detroit-set novel by Dean […]

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‘And Then I Go’: Film Review | LAFF 2017

Melanie Lynskey and Justin Long co-star as parents of a troubled teen in Vincent Grashaw’s sophomore feature.

The psychological and emotional hurdles facing teenage boys that are sometimes given only passing notice by parents and teachers form the centerpiece of And Then I Go.  A disturbing drama of teen disaffection, Vincent Grashaw’s feature provides an essential and insightful perspective that will […]

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‘The Mist’: TV Review

Through its pilot, Spike TV’s Stephen King adaptation is full of flat characters and CGI fog, but very little drama or terror.

Like Harry Lime in The Third Man, the title character in Spike’s The Mist spends more of the pilot being discussed than actually wreaking any havoc.
Probably sensing that the premise of a small Maine town terrorized by a malevolent […]

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‘Our Time Will Come’ (‘Ming Yuet Gei Si Yau’): Film Review | Shanghai 2017

Veteran director Ann Hui’s period drama revolves around a schoolteacher’s transformation into an anti-Japanese resistance fighter in Hong Kong during World War II.

Ever since locking the July 1 mainland Chinese release date for Our Time Will Come, producer-distributor Bona Film Group has been actively branding the film as a “celebratory gift” for the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to […]

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‘Minority Report’: THR’s 2002 Review

On June 21, 2002, Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise unveiled the thriller Minority Report in theaters, where it became a summer hit and, later, an enduring sci-fi classic. The Hollywood Reporter’s original review is below: 
All good science fiction is really a speculation about social and political trends. Thus, Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report, a rousing film-noir suspenser set in a world of […]

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‘Hare Krishna! The Mantra, the Movement and the Swami Who Started It All’: Film Review

John Griesser’s documentary recounts the story of the popular spiritual movement and its charismatic founder.

There’s certainly a good film to be made about Srila Prabhupada and the spiritual movement he founded that became an international sensation starting in the mid-1960s. But John Griesser’s documentary isn’t it. Lacking objectivity and the necessary contextual information and commentary that would provide a balanced […]

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‘Snowfall’: TV Review

FX’s sprawling new drama from John Singleton, about the start of the Los Angeles crack epidemic, isn’t compelling or convincing enough in the early going.

Snowfall, the latest drama from FX, is a series that aims to get at “how crack began” and how the drug epidemic shook up Los Angeles — but after four episodes it hadn’t gotten there yet, […]

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‘OtherLife’: Film Review | Sydney 2017

‘Wasted on the Young’ helmer Ben C. Lucas returns with a sci-fi thriller fronted by ‘Underground’ star Jessica De Gouw.

A stylish piece of sci-fi pulp fiction made with a sense of scale that belies its indie budget, the sophomore feature from Aussie filmmaker Ben C. Lucas consolidates the promise he showed in his debut, 2010’s Wasted on the Young. That […]

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‘Don’t Come Back From the Moon’: Film Review | LAFF 2017

Southern California’s strange and desolate Salton Sea is the setting for Bruce Thierry Cheung’s drama, which features supporting turns from Rashida Jones and executive producer James Franco.

Men leave, women adapt, and kids grow up quickly in Don’t Come Back from the Moon, a spare tone poem set in a tumbledown corner of the Southern California desert. Adapting a Detroit-set novel […]

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‘Transformers: The Last Knight’: Film Review

The good and bad robots once again battle it out in this latest installment of the Hasbro toys-inspired franchise.

The good news about the latest Transformers movie is that — spoiler alert! — the world gets saved at the conclusion. The bad news is that it leaves the opportunity for more Transformers movies.
This profitable franchise has not exactly enjoyed critical praise […]

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‘Fulfillment Center’: Theater Review

Frederick Weller and Deirdre O’Connell appear in Abe Kogler’s drama about the intersecting lives of four working-class people in New Mexico.

Playwright Abe Koogler seems to have an affinity for the sort of hard-pressed, working-class Americans who — recent plays like Lynn Nottage’s Sweat notwithstanding — are too rarely the focus of contemporary drama. Such characters are at the heart of […]

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‘Mountain’: Film Review | Sydney 2017

Willem Dafoe narrates this feature doc about the seductive power of mountains from ‘Sherpa’ director Jennifer Peedom.

Those who think heights are better left to the birds might find themselves looking for an early exit in Mountain, a ravishing feat of vertiginous filmmaking set to a score of old and new classical compositions recorded by Richard Tognetti (Master and Commander) and […]

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‘Humor Me’: Film Review | LAFF 2017

Elliott Gould and Jemaine Clement play father and son in this comedy from Sam Hoffman, writer of web series ‘Old Jews Telling Jokes.’

Writer-director Sam Hoffman has had enormous success with Old Jews Telling Jokes, which started out as a web series, then became a best-selling book, as well as a popular play. Now Harris makes his feature directorial debut with […]

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‘My Best Friend’s Wedding’: THR’s 1997 Review

On June 20, 1997, Julia Roberts brought My Best Friend’s Wedding to theaters, where it would become a summer box office smash. The Hollywood Reporter’s original review is below: 
Julia Roberts doesn’t walk down the aisle in My Best Friend’s Wedding, but she’ll sure leave plenty of box office bouquets for Sony in this mainstream romancer. A bittersweet, modern-love morsel, this […]

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‘Annabelle: Creation’: Film Review | LAFF 2017

New Line’s prequel for ‘The Conjuring’ spinoff provides a chilling backstory for the demonic doll.

After a couple of false starts attempting to establish the origins of the demonically possessed doll first introduced in James Wan’s 2013 The Conjuring and featured as the centerpiece of the Annabelle spinoff a year later, Annabelle: Creation finally clarifies her complicated past, initially obscured by […]

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‘Gypsy’: TV Review

Netflix’s Naomi Watts drama has themes of self-deception and obsession that echo ‘Mulholland Drive,’ only everything is really obvious and pretty dull.

A psychological thriller of erotic obsession that doesn’t lack for (pop) psychology or (repetitive) obsession, but only becomes erotic in the last few episodes and thrilling in the last 15 minutes of the final episode, Netflix’s Gypsy is a […]

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‘Anything’: Film Review | LAFF 2017

Matt Bomer plays a trans woman and John Carroll Lynch a man she befriends in Timothy McNeil’s feature debut, premiering at the LA Film Festival.

When it was announced that Matt Bomer would be playing a transgender woman in Anything, tempers in the LGBT community flared. Jared Leto, Eddie Redmayne and other cisgender actors have been there, done that, people said; […]

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