One of the highlights of this week’s What To Watch – our biweekly guide to LGBT-interest movies, DVDs, VOD/TV/and streaming shows worth catching – sees gay dad Neil Patrick Harris play the abusive child-terrorizing Count Olaf in Netflix’s Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events (above).
For that and much more, scroll down!
In Movie Theaters
(Playing Jan 6-12 at Lammle Royal, Los Angeles)
Following a succession of popular LGBT short films (Barbie Boy, Last Call) writer/director Nick Corporon makes his feature debut with this award-winning road trip movie. After an enigmatic businessman named Jonathan (Desperate Housewives‘ Tuc Watkins) lands in San Francisco, he seeks out and enlists a beguiling male hustler to accompany him on a road trip to the Grand Canyon. While Jonathan makes him a financially compelling offer, in return he expects the hustler to take on the role of a submissive named “Brandon”… and sure enough, there is more to this scenario than initially bargained for. Good news for those who can’t catch this during its weeklong Los Angeles theatrical run: Retake will be released on DVD and VOD January 10th.
($32.99 Blu-ray, $27.99 DVD; Strand)
A coming out, coming of age movie with a twist – and talking hamster – Canadian writer/director Stephen Dunn’s feature debut revolves around a teenager named Oscar Madly. Traumatized after witnessing a violent gay bashing as a child, the special makeup effects-obsessed Oscar is closest to his hamster, Buffy (Isabella Rossellini provides the voice), and wannabe model BFF, Gemma. However, a summer job soon forces Oscar to confront his repressed sexuality thanks to a beguiling Quebecois co-worker, Wilder… and where to begin on the family issues? Extras include an interview with Dunn, deleted scenes, and featurettes.
($39.99 Blu-ray, $29.98 DVD; 20th Century Fox)
A slave and preacher named Nat Turner led a bloody uprising in 1831, the story of which is brought back to life by writer/director/star Nate Parker. A little bit Django Unchained meets 20 Years A Slave, Parker captures the everyday horrors endured by slaves in the south yet delivers some sweet vengeance to a bunch of racists and entitled Southerners (openly gay comedian Jason Stuart, in a small but memorable dramatic turn, portrays one such plantation owner). Ambitious, well-made, and engrossing, despite controversies over Parker’s offscreen life, with some well-directed performances to boot. Extras include a Nat Turner documentary, featurettes, a commentary, deleted scenes, and more.
($39.98 DVD; Fox)
The next-to-final season of this long-running crime procedural rom-com ended with a hell of a cliffhanger – the return of openly gay actor Eric Millegan’s Zack Addy, a former Bones colleague turned jailed serial killer. Is he responsible for a new wave of deaths, or might he actually be a good guy all along? See the episode that led up to January 3rd’s final and 12th season premiere!
The Wizard of Oz is the gift that keeps on giving, with endless movie/musical/comic book/and TV series adaptations and spin-offs. The latest sees visionary director Tarsem Singh (The Cell) bring a darker, modernist take to the source material with this 10-episode first season on NBC. Heck, the Scarecrow’s name is Lucas and Dorothy saves him from a crucifixion, while Vincent D’Onofrio plays the Wizard, who has essentially banned magic from the land. Think a little bit Once Upon A Time meets Game of Thrones meets Charlize Theron’s Snow White movies.
Coming available on Netflix January 6th, this documentary follows the case of a 6-year-old transgender girl, Coy, whose elementary school’s administration attempted to bar her from using the girl’s bathroom and sparked off a civil rights lawsuit and national conversation in 2013. See where this major political issue (hello, NC’s HB2!) started – and get to know this adorable little girl and her awesome pro-transgender family, too!
Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events
(All episodes live on Friday January 13th; Netflix)
Neil Patrick Harris dons creepy prosthetics and a sometimes terrifying demeanor in Netflix’s stunning 8-episode, Tim Burton-esque series based on the first four of author Daniel handler’s famed, darkly humorous books about a trio of orphans – Violet, Klaus, and Sonny Baudelaire – left in the hands of the sometimes terrorizing Count Olaf, who is determined to bilk them of their inheritance (sometimes with the help of a disguise). Fun stuff!!! Keep it coming, Netflix!
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