I saw a whole bunch of movies over the holidays so here's my first stab at spreading some typically abbreviated thoughts out about a couple of them - specifically the gay two, both of which I recommend you give some of your time over to.
Closet Monster - If I've said it once I have said it a million billion trillion times - every movie needs to have Isabella Rossellini voicing a hamster. And so Closet Monster definitely shoots ahead right out of the gate. But it's more than that - the movie really and truly bucked my expectations at nearly every turn. I went in expecting something more sinister (hell I was maybe a little disappointed it wasn't more sinister) but it makes up for that with its strange brew of sweetness mixed up with piping hot anger; it's got a real irrepressible particularity about it. We've seen gay coming-of-age movies like this before but never quite like this before - Closet Monster shuffles a couple steps off to the side, artfully so.
Will You Dance With Me? - Speaking of expectations rocked I went into this "lost film" of Derek Jarman's expecting little more than found footage from a dance club in 1987 (it was apparently shot as supplemental footage for another project) but I came out with tears staining my face and and my cheeks flushed with embarrassment over having ever low-balled my expectations of what Jarman could conjure. The set-up is exceedingly simple - it really is just Jarman wandering around a dance-club in 1987 observing the patrons.
And that works in the film's favor (and then some) - this might be Jarman's least intellectually challenging film but it's got sweat and sex and charm and just sheer exhilaration to spare. You know the moment in Saint Laurent where Gaspard Ulliel & Louis Garrel scope each other out across the disco dance floor? (Of course you do.) This movie is that scene stretched out to seventy verite minutes but somehow every ounce as exuberant. And I never thought any movie could thieve Frankie Goes To Hollywood's song "Relax (Don't Do It)" from Brain De Palma's Body Double but whenever I hear that song it will be Phillip Williamson's hot-as-sin "pick me up" gaze that I will forever see staring back at me.