A ‘Sordid,’ ‘Beast’-ly gay old time at the movies

After the shock win for the gay-themed “Moonlight” as Best Picture at the Academy Awards a few weeks ago, it will be interesting to see what the rest of the year holds for similar, daring projects. Meanwhile, the springtime has some dandies ahead for patrons looking for LGBT or LGBT-friendly fare.

It has a gay director (Bill Condon), gay actors playing Gaston (Luke Evans) and Cogsworth (Ian McKellen), a widely reported gay character and the likes of Emma Thompson, Ewan McGregor and Audra McDonald in its supporting cast. “Beauty and the Beast” is likely to be one of the biggest box office hits of the year. Dan Stevens is the Beast, turned from a prince after he refuses to help a beggar woman, while Emma Watson is the independent Belle. It all follows the traditional storyline, with one tweak – Gaston’s sidekick LeFou (Josh Gad) is clearly gay, although it’s not done in an overt way. It’s a bit bold for Disney and Condon – a drive-in in Alabama already refused to play the film. Purists may prefer the original Oscar-nominated animated classic, and admittedly this one does sag in the middle. Yet with its choice cast, it’s highly entertaining and gorgeous to look at. The crux of the film is the beautiful score assembled by the late, gay playwright and lyricist Howard Ashman and creative partner Alan Menken. This version’s “Be Our Guest” might be the gayest 10 minutes of 2017.

The new “Alien” movie, “Alien: Covenant,” offers a first – a gay couple, played by Demian Bechir and Nathaniel Dean, part of a crew discovering an uncharted paradise. Since these kinds of expeditions never go as planned, expect a high body count. Others in the cast include Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace, openly gay actor Jussie Smollett and James Franco.

The films of gay director Francois Ozon (including “The New Girlfriend” and “Swimming Pool”) are beautiful and impeccably made. His latest is “Frantz,” an elegant story about a young German lady who, in the midst of mourning her late fiancé, meets a Frenchman who brings flowers to said fiance’s grave – and makes her curious about his identity.

“Raw” met with a mixed reception at the 2016 Cannes Film festival, with some people leaving midway through, but others applauding it for its boldness. Sixteen–year-old Justine (Garance Marillier) enters veterinary school and is drawn into a disturbing world she could never imagine. Rabah Nait Oufella plays her sexually active gay roommate. Originally rated NC-17, but later given an R, this one is not for the squeamish, with equal parts style and gore.

Del Shore’s “A Very Sordid Wedding’ is the sequel to his cult classic “Sordid Lives.” Most of the original cast returns this go-around, including Bonnie Bedelia, Leslie Jordan and Ann Walker, with some new faces too, such as Caroline Rhea and Whoopi Goldberg.

Finally, two local premieres – “All Male, All Nude,” a documentary about local strip club Swinging Richards, and “Pushing Dead,’ a comedy starring James Roday as a gay man with HIV/AIDS who loses his health coverage when his bank account surpasses his allowable limit – come to town courtesy of Out On Film.

“Beauty and the Beast”
March 17
Various area theaters

Opens March 24 at Landmark Midtown Art Cinema

Opens March 31 at Landmark Midtown Art Cinema

“All Male, All Nude”
April 1
Midtown Art Cinema

“A Very Sordid Wedding”
April TBD
Plaza Atlanta

“Pushing Dead”
May 1
Midtown Art Cinema

“Alien: Covenant”
May 19
Various area theaters