Thursday, November 3, 2011

Weekend (Rhoades)

“Weekend” Explores
A New Relationship

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Sometimes my friend Jean Carper invites folks over to screen a new movie at her home theater, with its wall-sized screen and comfortable couches and glass-top tables where she serves a light dinner. I tell her it’s the best dinner theater in town, being it’s the perfect combination of good movie, good friends, good food – and it’s free.
Two recent movies that Jean screened for us were “Weekend” and “The Green.” Both had similar themes: gay relationships and the turmoil that they often face.
“Weekend” told of a closeted young man named Russell (Tom Cullen) who picks up a guy named Glen (Chris New) at a gay club and takes him home for a one-night stand. But what’s expected to be a brief fling has an emotion impact that reverberates beyond this weekend of personal discovery.
On the other hand, “The Green” tells of a young teacher (Jason Butler Harner) falsely accused of misconduct with a student, and the impact these charges have on his personal life, his friends, and his partner (Cheyenne Jackson). A look at a gay relationship under stress. Note a couple of good supporting roles: Julia Ormond plays the teacher’s lawyer, Illeana Douglas is his best friend.
Both films are examinations of the fragility of relationships, which just happen to be gay. But “Weekend” is a straightforward look at a first meeting, while “The Green” examines a partnership under stress.
I liked “Green” better because of this context. But “Weekend” was honest and open, an exploration of loneliness and emotions that rings true.
As it turns out, “Weekend” is currently playing at the Tropic Cinema, so you can see for yourself.
No, this “Weekend” is not the 1967 black comedy by Jon-Luc Goddard. Rather it’s an indie film written and directed by Andrew Haigh. He got his start as an apprentice editor on “Gladiator,” and then as assistant editor on “Black Hawk Down.” Working under editor Pietro Scalia on both films, he learned his craft well.
“Weekend” has won several Best Narrative Feature and Audience Awards at film festivals. I always put more stock on audience awards because that reflects how well a film is received by its viewers, rather than an evaluation by a rarified egghead jury.
While the showing of “Weekend” at the Tropic does not come with one of Jean’s delicious repasts, you can always find something good at the Judith & Stanley Zabar concession stand, which offers more than typical buttered popcorn fare. Think of it as your own “dinner theater.”
[from Solares Hill]

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