Reports on the Death of the Romantic Comedy are Greatly Exaggerated

For years, romantic comedies (rom coms) have been few and far between, and those that were released were often small budget indie films that were a hit with critics but did little at the box office. Then a little movie called Crazy Rich Asians came along…is it the beginning of a rom com renaissance?

While they weren’t blockbusters, there have been several rom coms over the past few years that have pleased both audiences and critics. While you wait for Crazy Rich Asians to come out on DVD,check out these three rom coms with diverse casts and storylines.

The Big Sick
Pakistani stand-up comic Kumail Nanjiani and grad student Zoe Kazan fall in love, but their relationship is complicated by Kumail’s Muslim parents and Zoe’s sudden illness. More romantic than funny, the film earned accolades for its realism and warmth, and the cross-cultural themes that added new dimensions to the rom com formula.

Continue reading “Reports on the Death of the Romantic Comedy are Greatly Exaggerated”

Pride Month: Queer Cinema by Queer Directors

“There have never been lesbians or gay men in Hollywood. Only homosexuals.” With this final despairing statement, gay film historian and activist Vito Russo ends The Celluloid Closet, his landmark study of representations of LGBTQ people in film.

When Russo first published The Celluloid Closet in 1981, he could not imagine that over a decade later LGBTQ directors would make movies that depicted the complex and varied experiences of LGBTQ people with respect and pride, and that Hollywood would begin to finance and distribute these films. Nor could he foresee that 35 years later, Barry Jenkins, a black gay director, would win the Best Picture Academy Award for Moonlight, a sensitive, nuanced, and beautifully filmed story of a young gay black man’s coming of age.

Sadly, Russo died of AIDS-related complications in 1990 and did not live long enough to see the blossoming queer cinema that began to emerge shortly thereafter. In 2013, GLAAD created the Vito Russo Test in his honor. Mainstream Hollywood filmmakers still have a way to go in terms of positive portrayals of LGBTQIA characters, but queer filmmakers around the world have been producing excellent films that pass the Vito Russo Test and then some for decades. Here are a few of my favorites: Continue reading “Pride Month: Queer Cinema by Queer Directors”

Books to Movies: 2017 and Beyond

Want to catch up on must-reads books before they become movies? Are you excited to see – or dreading to watch – your favorite characters come to life? Here are some of the most anticipated adaptations coming to a screen near you. Check out the books now, while there’s still time! Continue reading “Books to Movies: 2017 and Beyond”

Beyond the Screen: Free Angela and All Political Prisoners

As a part of the African American Film Series this year, librarians have created some amazing resource lists that can help you take your understanding of the people, places, times and themes these films bring to life beyond the screen. For Douglass-Truth’s upcoming screening of the documentary Free Angela and All Political Prisoners, on Sunday, May 8th at 2 p.m., here are a few books to deepen your experience:

Angela Davis: An AutobiographyFree Angela and All Political Prisoners by Angela Y. Davis
UCLA professor, political activist, former fugitive, communist, and Black Panther Party member Angela Davis describes her remarkable early journey as she became a major American figure in the fight for human rights. Continue reading “Beyond the Screen: Free Angela and All Political Prisoners”

2016 African American Film Series

Tomorrow begins our 2016 African American Film Series, celebrating black actors, directors and films depicting the rich and varied African American experience. This year we’re showing 28 movies in 14 library locations across the city through June. See the full calendar for further details!