With a much-anticipated musical drama about a legendary gay performer on the way as well as some compelling indies, this spring and summer should suitably satisfy LGBTQ viewers.
All eyes will be on May’s “Rocketman,” a musical fantasy about Elton John and his breakout year as a performer. The film stars Taron Egerton as the singer, who still lives part-time in Atlanta. It’s directed by Dexter Fletcher, who replaced Bryan Singer when Singer was “fired” from the set of last year’s Freddie Mercury/Queen drama “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Buzz has been very strong so far based on footage people have seen. Paramount would certainly love to duplicate the success of “Rhapsody,’ which — despite its director scandal and mixed reviews — was a box office smash and won four Academy Awards, including one for actor Rami Malek.
“Wild Nights With Emily” has won Molly Shannon a slew of awards the last year as well. It’s the latest from Madeleine Olnek, known for her lesbian-themed films “Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same” and “The Foxy Merkins.” Here, Shannon plays Emily Dickinson, who, in the mid-19th century, is hard at work writing but is also involved with another woman — her friend and sister-in-law Susan. Director Olnek has a swell concept and engaging cast. Even when the film feels a bit like a one-trick pony, it succeeds. The film also does a dandy job of showing a new side of the poet, someone who is far from the spinster she has been previously portrayed as, and well as a writer whose professional journey was determined mostly by men.
Bound to be one of the best LGBTQ films of the year, “Sauvage (Wild)” stars Felix Maritaud as a 22-year-old man who sells his body for cash — and seems to waver between whether he likes the work or wants to find love. It’s bold and sexually graphic — some audience members at Cannes last year walked out on a threeway scene — but is excellently directed by Camille Vidal-Maquet and features another superb performance from Maritaud.
Two films opening in New York and Los Angeles may or may not see the inside of an Atlanta theater. “Halston” is an acclaimed documentary looking at the fashion icon and his legacy – and how it all changed under the Wall Street era. The likes of Liza Minnelli and Marisa Berenson and more are among those interviewed. “The Third Wife” takes place in 19th century Vietnam, where a 14-year-old finds herself about to be married to a wealthy landowner. As she prepares for her new role, she meets the landowner’s former wife and makes some discoveries about herself.
Atlanta Pride and Out On Film are teaming for a free series of films this spring and summer to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, with films from every decade since. The series, which began last week, contains the lesbian classic “Desert Hearts,” “Living with Pride: Ruth Ellis @ 100,” “The Watermelon Woman,” “ Save Me,” “Brother to Brother,” “Shelter,” “Saturday Church,” the Kenya lesbian romance “Rafiki” and “Pride.”
Finally, there’s nothing LGBTQ about them, but the likes of “Avengers: Endgame,” “X-Men: Dark Phoenix” and “Toy Story 4” will draw in the masses, while the comedy/drama “The Farewell” (with gay favorite Awkwafina) is likely to get some of the best reviews of the summer.
“Wild Nights With Emily”
Opens April 26
Midtown Art Cinema
Opens May 3
Plaza Atlanta Theatre
7 pm, May 9 at Rush Center Annex
Opens May 31
Various area theaters
“The Third Wife”