“Corruptible Crown”: I review “King Charles III”

at First Things:The most reactionary thing about King Charles III, the modern Shakespeare pastiche playing through March 18 at the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, DC, is that nobody kneels to the king. Charles, written by Mike Bartlett and directed by David Muse, takes place in the near future, between the obsequies for Queen Elizabeth II and the coronation of her successor. Bartlett imagines a Prince of Wales who has been unwittingly training himself for dictatorial self-assertion. His … [Read more...]

Taking the Rough with the Smooch: Movie notes

A couple quick hits before we move to our main event, viz. a trip back in time to Gay 1986.Habit: Do you like artsy bisexual '90s vampire movies, but found Nadja too cold, The Addiction too smart, and everybody too good-looking? Boy do I have a film for you. Habit follows a startlingly disheveled and run-down dropout type (writer/director/star Larry Fessenden) as he meets a cute early-'90s chick at a party and begins to wonder why people are disappearing. The direction is really sharp--the … [Read more...]

I review “I Am Michael,” The James Franco Ex-Gay Biopic

for America: For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s enemies will be those of his household.”As James Franco vehicles go, “I Am Michael” may be the James Franco-iest. Directed by Justin Kelly and based on a true story, “I am Michael” follows a gay activist who finds Jesus and proclaims himself no longer gay. The film dedicates equal time to threesome makeout scenes and chapter-and-verse Bible q … [Read more...]

Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids: Three short horror movie reviews

A little of everything here.Left Bank: Artsy Belgian psychological suspense flick about an injured elite-class runner who starts to doubt her boyfriend's motives. Slowly shifts into a very different horror genre. I often dislike those genre switches--in theory I approve of them but I often end up wishing I could just see the movie I thought this would be--but here I loved it. Spooky and weird, and it commits to its bizarre worldview. Strong sense of place; hints of misogyny-as-horror (aka … [Read more...]

Country Darkness: I read “‘Salem’s Lot”

After I finished Alan Moore's hulking tome Jerusalem (of which more presently) I picked up a pulp classic which turned out to have more in common with Moore's jawbreaker than just the Holy Land reference in the title. I'd actually never read 'Salem's Lot, despite loving Stephen King in general and pre-'9os King specifically. It's a great read, a luscious tribute to vampire tales of yore, with all of King's trademark sadness and determination. Some notes:# King returns to many of the images … [Read more...]

“‘Roe’s’ Missing Stories”: I’m at First Things

playwatching: Roe, the new play from Lisa Loomer about the woman at the heart of the 1973 Supreme Court case legalizing abortion, is much like its main subject: easily distracted, unbalanced, but undeniably compelling. Roe (at Arena Stage in Washington, DC through February 18) at first suggests that it will be a story of two women. The play opens with Norma “Jane Roe” McCorvey (Sara Bruner) and lawyer Sarah Weddington (Sarah Jane Agnew) speaking in unison. We're encouraged to think that their l … [Read more...]

No Horror But the Class Horror: Short movie reviews with an unexpected theme

Compulsion: The other, other Leopold and Loeb flick (after Rope and Swoon, although idk, maybe Swoon is one of those things Only 90s Kids Will Remember) and it's definitely worth watching if that sounds like your bag. Unlike Rope, Compulsion focuses on the social context: Prohibition--the law that everybody was above!--and the Golden Age of the gutter press. The KKK burning a cross outside the Clarence Darrow-analogue's window. The fake surnames in this one are super Jewish, is what I'm … [Read more...]