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The KAOS Brief

Essential Opinion: The KAOS Brief

What begins as a hactivist message quickly diverges into a clever found footage film shot with phones, security cameras, and a few DJI quadcopter drones. Drew Lipson plays Skyler, a social media-obsessed vlogger who broadcasts his daily life to his thousands of subscribers on his YouTube channel. Skyler and his partner Corey decide to kick off their spring break on a brief camping excursion with Skyler’s twin sister Dakota and her boyfriend Tren, setting up the perfect opportunity for a variety of new vlog entries, as well as a relaxing and fun getaway.

A Very Sordid Wedding

Essential Opinion: A Very Sordid Wedding

Taking place in a small Texas town, A Very Sordid Wedding is set less than a month after marriage equality becomes the law of the land across the USA. As the small town church prepares to hold an anti-equality rally, Latrell (Bonnie Bedelia), the mother of a recently married gay son, takes it in to her own hands to protest this backward event.

Matthew Shepard

Matthew Shepard Let Us Not Be Afraid

In 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, with Matthew’s mother, Judy Shepard, at his side. The legislation was an expansion on the existing hate crimes law, granting added protection from crimes against a person on the basis of his or her gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The law was signed almost exactly 11 years after Matthew Shepard died. 3 Presidential terms, 6 Congresses, and 11 long years.

Rift

Rift, Gay Essential Talks To Erlingur Thoroddsen

“I’ve been a fan of horror since I was very young,” recalls Erlinger Óttar Thoroddsen, director of the Icelandic horror film, Rift. “I remember being six or seven years old, being at the video store and browsing the horror section. I wasn’t allowed to rent those movies, so I’d make up stories in my mind of what they were about based on the cover art.”

B&B

Essential Opinion: B&B

There’s countless LGBT horror flicks out there, but few of them can really master the subtleties and sublime terror you find in a Hitchcock classic. B&B is part of these playful, but fierce exceptions. Poking fun at some of our most beloved thriller tropes, writer and director Joe Ahearne has crafted a half-satire, half-horror film brimming with suspense, humor and unforgettable plot twists. Fair warning: although B&B isn’t for the uninitiated, you shouldn’t go into it as a horror connoisseur, but rather as a movie buff looking for a thrill.

Heartstone

Essential Opinion: Heartstone (Hjartasteinn)

With remarkable simplicity, but also depth and sensibility, Heartstone is an impeccably executed debut feature from the talented Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson and a must-see for anyone, gay or straight, that has ever known or experienced intolerance and the struggle of riotous adolescent years.

Beach Rats

Essential Opinion: Beach Rats

Being in the closet, struggling with self acceptance and worrying about what those close to you will think, is an emotional nightmare for anybody who has been through it. In Beach Rats director Eliza Hittman’s sophomore feature deals with coming out in a stylish, hyper masculine way that lays bare all the vulnerabilities of a character putting on a tough front to hide what he believes are temporary demons.

Jesus

Essential Opinion: Jesús

Jésus is a lower middle-class teenager from the suburbs of Santiago del Chile going through a lot of changes while growing into a man. He maintains a tense and reticent relationship with his father, Hector who he sees only a few times a month. After Jésus’s mother dies, both father and son seem to struggle to get along. They begin reshaping a relationship whose foundation was never really solid.

Play The Devil

Essential Opinion: Play The Devil

Depicting a not-so-typical love affair in a provincial setting, Maria Govan tackles the more obscure aspects of relationships and homosexuality in her violent and riveting motion picture, Play The Devil. Offering us a rare glimpse into the rowdy and fascinating culture of one of the largest islands in the Southern Caribbean.

Hooked

Essential Opinion: Hooked

Writer/director Max Emerson, a model and Instagram personality with a huge following, has crowdsourced the funds for his debut feature – with the aim of giving 50% of all proceeds to sponsored charities (The Albert Kennedy Trust, The Ali Forney Center, Los Angeles LGBT Centre and Lost n Found) that help homeless LGBTQ youth across America.

A Very Sordid Wedding

A Very Sordid Wedding, Gay Essential Talks To Del Shores

After 17 years, Del Shores returns to the sordid lives of Latrelle, LaVonda, Aunt Sissy and Brother Boy with A Very Sordid Wedding – which was triggered by a simple question from a fan about what happened to these characters after the 2000 original. “It was a bit challenging to figure out how to go back to these characters and make the story fresh,” the engaging Shores recalls in a lively phone interview with Gay Essential about the sequel to his classic film.

Opening Night

Essential Opinion: Opening Night

Set backstage on the opening night of a new Broadway musical about one hit wonders, Opening Night stars Topher Grace as Nick, the miserable production manager of the show, just about managing to hide his disdain for the production and many of the people involved with it. As the show nears stage time, he struggles with the ego of his leading man, N*Sync’s JC Chasez who he finds out has also slept with his former girlfriend – who just happens to be the understudy to the leading actress.

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