Bark Vark (Movie Thoughts: Aardvark)

256570c3fb33de0bbd3330fb5732d8e6I really don’t know why Brian Shoaf named his film ‘Aardvaark.’ It’s based on the animal, I guess, and I know in some cultures this animal is a symbol of strength.  This film, though, is a meandering mess. It stars Zachary Quinto as Josh, a man who goes to therapy. We know he is somewhat mentally challenged, though  for the most part he is a functioning human being. He has a famous brother who is an actor on a defunct cop show,  and played by Jon Hamm. He sees Craig in other people – a homeless woman, a cop. His therapist (Jenny Slate) falls in love with Craig, and there is a lot of things going on here, and nothing seems to be sticking. What comes out is a big bore, and even though Hamm is good (he really is a great screen presence) it’s not enough for me to recommend this.

Who Am I? (Movie Thoughts: I Am Michael)

large_w6xcv8qhkian7w13ossa2hpvz8gCan you be an ex-gay? There seems to be no answer to that question that everyone will agree on. But, in this day and age, ex-gays do exist. Justin Kelly’s ‘I Am Michael’ is partly based on a 2011 New York Times Magazine article about Michael Glatze. he was a very visible gay figure in the early aughts while writing for XY Magazine. He was what one would call a ‘professional gay,’ even being invited on panels discussing gay issues. But in 2007, he did a major turnaround, announcing that he is no longer gay (he wrote ‘I Am Straight’ on his computer screen and never looked back) At first, this seemed to be a reaction from what he perceived to be a life threatening illness, which was disputed by doctor after doctor. Or maybe he is just plain crazy?

Kelly doesn’t take a stand, and goes out of his way to give an even handed account, mostly following Michael all throughout his story. James Franco is great as Michael, and like his character seems to be confused. Whether that is a directorial direction or Franco’s take, it worked. I feel like I knew the character well, but at the same time a lot of Michael seems a mystery. Is he really not gay? Is he suppressing his homosexuality?  After a while, I got frustrated, as the story went ’round and ’round with nowhere to go. When it arrived at the ending, I felt a little short changed. All in all, the movie is still worth a look. It will definitely make you think, about whether gay identity is important, or is it just one small part of one’s personality that doesn’t need emphasizing. But just like his other film “King Cobra,’ it’s lacking something to make the film truly great.