heroes and villains

New On DVD: X-Men: First Class, United 93, Dressed To Kill

Dressed To Kill (Blu Ray)
($24.99, MGM)
With body doubles, atmospheric shots and a startling opening sequence, this 1980 murder mystery from director Brian DePalma borrows heavily from Alfred Hitchcock. It’s also a Celluloid Closet-level exercise in unblinking transphobia that sees a disturbed man in an overcoat and woman’s wig running around slashing people with a straight razor while a prostitute and teen boy try to solve the case.  DTK is one of those films that produces an internal dissonance in LGBT viewers: Can you simultaneously praise DePalma’s stylish filmmaking and shake your head at his disturbing depiction of a trans person? Actually, that’s the only logical reaction.


X-Men: First Class (DVD and Blu Ray)
($24.99, Fox)
Though ostensibly an X-Men origin tale set during the Cold War, First Class is really the unrequited love story of Professor Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender). Dang, those two just need to kiss and get it over with.


United 93 (Blu Ray)
($26.98, Universal)
Director Paul Greengrass delivers an account of the events that may have happened aboard United Flight 93 on September 11, 2001, that is harrowing and well-made. United 93  features a then mostly-unknown Cheyenne Jackson as gay rugby player Mark Bingham, one of the passengers who is believed to have attacked the hijackers and led to the plane’s crash. Universal clearly timed the release of the DVD to coincide with the tenth anniversary of 9/11. Whether or not you can handle watching the film is up to you.


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  • Thomas Maguire

    Michael Fassbender is SO FUCKING HOT. That is all.

  • Neil

    SPOILER ALERT: Not that a 20-year old film needs it.

    ‘Dressed to Kill’ is one of my favorite films from that era, and while I understand why people see transphobia when they watch this film, to me it’s not at all about FEAR of trans people, but fear of oneself, and about how our own guilt about sex can lead to our destruction. Michael Cain’s character isn’t in any way a normal transsexual, but a hypocrite and liar whose medical knowledge and position as a psychiatrist aid in his deadly self-denial of his own true psychotic yearnings to kill. Yes, one could say ‘Bobby’ IS a true transsexual because the character seeks a sex-change operation, but to me it’s just the killer’s fake excuse to allow him to get freaky and slash ladies.

    DePalma plays with cultural anxieties the audience has about sexual deviants to drive home his point about deep psycho-sexual guilt and how it paralyzes our souls. Angie Dickenson’s character is plagued by shame and doubt over her sexual tryst, and there is a clever intersection of this guilt with her series of decisions to go home with this guy, rummage through his things, freak out and leave when she finds out about the VD, and then return to her trick’s apartment for her wedding ring, finally leading to her encounter with Bobby, and her gruesome demise. And then there’s Nancy Allen’s character as a street-wise hooker, the one character who isn’t guilty about sex, in fact is a strong woman because of it, and it is this very strength which helps her to flush out the killer and survive. Great movie.

  • Leigh

    X-Men: First Class extras contains the scene (cut out of the movie) where Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) demonstrates his powers to Angel (Zoe Kravitz) by imagining Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) in a dress.

    “You’ve never looked more beautiful, darling”:

    Someone needs to tell Bryan Singer that at some point, subtext just becomes text.

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