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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 7, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 19
Movie Reviews
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Blood, sweat, and candy: The stars of Lost Coast
by Gary M. Kramer - SGN Contributing Writer

Bisexual writer/director Gabriel Fleming's The Lost Coast, now out on DVD, is an excellent independent drama.

Jasper (Ian Scott McGregor) is a straight young man who, while engaged to be married, spends Halloween in San Francisco's Castro district with his Gay best friend Mark (Lucas Alifano). Mark's ex-girlfriend Lily (Lindsay Benner) and Mark's Gay pal Caleb (Chris Yule) are also along for the crazy night. When Lily reveals to Caleb that Jasper and Mark "fooled around" back in high school, the dynamics among the friends change.

Where there is an ease between Jasper and Mark - Jasper walks with his eyes closed, trusting Mark to watch out for him - these guys later fight and wrestle, proving just who holds the power in their relationship. Of course, things climax (literally and figuratively) with the release of some pent-up sexual tension.

The Lost Coast is an incredibly assured film, buoyed by an impressive and atmospheric soundtrack, beautiful handheld cinematography, and a quietly powerful ending. The cast is terrific and the themes of love and trust and truth echo.

Fleming and Alifano talked about their experiences making The Lost Coast, which was fraught with difficulties.

"For me, the craziest night was shooting in the Castro because we were surrounded by thousands of drunken people," recalls Alifano. "We were in the middle of shooting and this random guy, glittery, all covered in crushed hard candy - licorice and candy canes, stuck all over his body - started yelling at me. He had a bottle of this syrup and asked if I wanted some. He squirted my hand with a glob of this stuff and then took his face and buried it in my hands and started tonguing me."

Fleming adds, "Yeah, we tried to get a release from [him] and it came back all covered in candy." Suffice to say, that episode did not make it into the film.

But other scenes of Mark and Jasper wrestling or swimming in a pond did, and these were equally grueling to film.

"That particular day was freezing! And I had to jump off the cliff into the pond eight times," boasts Alifano.

"It was four times," corrects Fleming.

"It felt like eight," the actor continues. "Then I had to go walk back to [the top of the cliff] in tighty-whiteys and I was deep into hypothermia. Ian [his co-star] and I were freezing our nuts off. Ian asked if I was OK at one point, because my face was purple!"

Fleming relents. "Yeah, I had to tell him to stop shivering while the cameras were on. By the way, I was in a full wetsuit. I was warm and fine."

The banter between these guys is also in evidence when they talk about a prop that plays a notable part in the film - the dildo Mark uses to augment his "flasher" costume for Halloween.

Alifano laughs at the question of who got to keep the dildo. "I just asked that to Gabe in the theatre here in San Francisco!"

Fleming clarifies, "He asked if I still have it. I think he wants it."

"I am attached to it. That dildo was a lot of fun," retorts the actor.

"I have it," Fleming admits. "We had to get two of them. I have every costume element in case we had to reshoot. I guess I can throw it all out now."

The filmmaker may be displaying a sense of caution in regard to his preparation for the shoot, but the actual filming was fraught with drama. Fleming remembers - and not fondly - making the film in the rainiest month in San Francisco. "Everything was wet and cold and muddy. The worst night was on top of the hill. We didn't have permits, and the cops came, but one of the cops got this emergency call and sped off. Lucas had a 102-degree temperature, and he had to wrestle in the cold mud for an hour and a half at two in the morning."

Nevertheless, the cast and crew's efforts are worthwhile. The Lost Coast is a real find - an incredibly assured film, buoyed by an impressive and atmospheric "shoegaze" soundtrack, beautiful handheld cinematography and a quietly powerful ending. Check it out.

© 2010 Gary M. Kramer


Iron Man 2 driven by pure star power
by Scott Rice - SGN Contributing Writer

Iron Man 2
Opening May 7


Tony Stark is an obsessive/compulsive narcissist with abandonment issues and a penchant for reckless rock-star showmanship. He's also handsome, charming, and filthy rich, with a vulnerable streak that runs smack through the middle of his palladium-powered artificial heart. Mmm, I never realized all I lacked was a pile of money and a cool red suit that flies and shoots pulse bolts and I could be a superhero, too.

Iron Man 2 is the sequel to the 2008 surprise megahit Iron Man, which cast the unlikely Robert Downey, Jr. as the Marvel Comics superhero. Gwyneth Paltrow and Jon Favreau return as sidekick secretary Pepper Potts and right-hand man chauffeur Happy Hogan (it seems Stan Lee really likes alliterative names).

Terrence Howard is out as Lt. Col. James "Rhodey" Rhodes due to either his enormous ego or the utter lack of an ethical center by Marvel execs, you choose (I figure both are probably true). Don Cheadle signs on to replace him, and we all love Cheadle because he makes it look so easy.

As the film opens, Stark has "come out" as Iron Man only to become a rock star superhero complete with over-produced appearances sporting fireworks and the bikini-clad Iron Man dancers. Meanwhile, in a squalid Siberian flat, a Russian dude dies in the arms of his rather pissed-off son, Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke returns, again). Ivan blames the Stark clan for daddy's demise and a superhero villain is born.

The bad news: Iron Man 2 is not as much fun as the original. The good news: That still leaves room for a terrific summer movie that's driven as much by old-fashioned Hollywood star power as it is by outrageous special effects, furious pacing, and/or an engaging story.

That star power starts with Downey, Jr. in the title role. We all like a good comeback story, and Downey certainly has one (also keep an eye out for Lindsay Lohan in the Robert Rodriguez flick Machete, due out in late summer 2010). Downey's take on Stark is adorable and arrogant and vulnerable and foolish. It's a tough character to make likeable, but somehow he gets it done. They've also backed off the eyeliner this time around, thank goodness.

Paltrow's Pepper Potts is revamped for round two, too, and to good effect. This Pepper is sexy and spicy, more habanero than banana. Paltrow goes toe-to-toe with Downey, and the chemistry that was oddly lacking between them in the 2008 film sizzles in 2010. I'm also convinced that you could put Paltrow in a burlap sack and a bucket hat and she'd make it work.

Iron Man 2's villainy is spun by another comeback kid: Rourke. Rourke stunned in the Aronofsky-helmed The Wrestler in 2008, copping an Oscar nod and losing (in public opinion, at least) only to Heath Ledger. He turns in the most nuanced villain I've ever seen in a blockbuster based on a comic book. Rourke may be a little loony and have terrible taste in accessories - whether we're talking sunglasses or dogs - but he obviously took this role seriously and the result shows it. I wouldn't mind seeing another Oscar nod go his way; that's how good he is.

Sam Rockwell, one of the most interesting actors working today, is Justin Hammer, the smarmy head of Hammer Industries, a main competitor to Stark Industries in the weapons field. Rockwell gesticulates and tantrums his way through as the brat who always comes in second to suave Stark's first.

Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, and Clark Gregg are all along for the ride. Their main function is to introduce their characters for the upcoming onslaught of Marvel Studios films due over the next few years, including movies based on Captain America, Thor, and The Avengers. Also, watch for Garry Shandling, who steals scenes as Senator Stern.

Iron Man 2 isn't as good as the first film, but that doesn't mean it isn't one dope ride, and serious gamers will love Vanko's video-game control of dozens of arc-powered drones chasing Iron Man and Rhodey around Queens while blowing up everything in sight. With a new villain and the Pepper Potts reboot, there's plenty of reason to let Iron Man 2 kick off your summer blockbuster viewing schedule.






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VIDEO - Model Citizen - Andre - from Out.com
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Mr. and Miss Gay Cinco de Mayo pageant at Neighbours Underground
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Blood, sweat, and candy: The stars of Lost Coast
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Iron Man 2 driven by pure star power
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Where It's At: COMING TO SEATTLE - Sedaris, Eagles, Lady Antebellum
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