7 hottest guys in upcoming movies

7. Adam Brody, Lovelace. Brody is best known the nebbish Seth Cohen on The O.C., but he grows up — substantially — in the new biopic Lovelace playing notoriously well-hung porn actor Harry Reames.

Summer’s almost over, but there are still some things worth seeing at the theater. We don’t mean the movies themselves, but the hot actor and/or characters they play. Here’s our rundown of the seven hottest guys in some upcoming movies.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

REVIEW: ‘Behind the Candelabra’

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Douglas, left, as Lee Liberace, and Matt Damon as Scott Thorson.

That fact has been largely forgotten in the 25 years since he died — still closeted! — of complications from AIDS. By the end (hell, decades before it), he had become a caricature, but the image of the facelifted, lisping Vegas showboy has obscured his humanity.

So its especially impressive that a bunch of straight guys — director Steven Soderbergh, screenwriter Richard LaGravanese, and actors Matt Damon and Michael Douglas — have done do an astonishing job of capturing the truth of gay men in the pre-AIDS, barely-post-Stonewall decade of the 1970s with Behind the Candelabra, the HBO biopic debuting Sunday at 9. They could have soft-pedaled the sex; they could have idealized and mystified the era; they could have taken any number of “safer” routes. Instead, they told a story with such a savvy understanding of gay culture, you might think you’re watching a documentary.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Steven Soderbergh: The gay interview

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Steven Soderbergh, director of ‘Behind the Candelabra’

The new HBO film about Liberace’s relationship with Scott Thorson, Behind the Candelabra, debuts on HBO Sunday; next Friday, I’ll have a review of it. Until then, enjoy Chris Azzopardi’s interview with the film’s director, Steven Soderbergh … who, following this, Side Effects and Magic Mike must be considered the patron saint of gay Hollywood.

By Chris Azzopardi

Steven Soderbergh knows who’s significantly responsible for the major success of his male-stripper romp Magic Mike: gay men eager to ogle the barely-covered bits of Channing Tatum and his hunky posse. The Oscar-winning director’s upcoming feature will obviously court the same audience — and not just because Matt Damon lets it all hang out, too.

Behind the Candelabra the biopic about Liberace, is so gay that major Hollywood studios would have nothing to do with it. HBO took it up, though, and it debuts Sunday. The revealing story stars Michael Douglas as the shiny showman who died of AIDS complications at age 67 and Damon as his much younger beau, Scott Thorson.

In our interview, Soderbergh spoke in depth about their real-life relationship, the “flamboyancy scale” used to guide the actors’ gayness onset, diversity in film and why Damon wanted to flaunt the junk in his trunk.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Liberace biopic ‘too gay’ for theaters

The multiplexes’ loss is HBO’s gain. Steven Soderbergh — he of the Oscar for best director, he who turned a cheesy idea into Magic Mike, the Citizen Kane of male stripper movies — apparently doesn’t have the juice in Hollywood to make gay people seem commercial.

When it was announced a few years ago that Michael Douglas would be starring in Behind the Candelabra, a biopic about flamboyant pianist Liberace (with Matt Damon as his lover), it seemed like Oscar bait, but turns out it’ll have to be Emmy bait: No studios wanted to touch the film.

Keep in mind: It has been seven years since Brokeback Mountain, which, among the five films nominated for best picture that year, was the one with the highest box office gross. This is three years after The Kids Are All Right, another Oscar nominee for best picture, about a lesbian relationship. And after, for that matter, repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” passage of same-sex marriage laws in a fifth of U.S. states and the presence of gay people all throughout our culture.

The reason no studio would touch it? “Too gay,” according to Soderbergh.

Uh-huh.

Imagine a studio saying a movie starring two Oscar winners, and directed by a third, was “too Jewish” or “too black.” (I can guarantee you, no one has ever said a movie idea was “too stupid” or “too white.”) But that’s what Soderbergh said in an interview with the New York Post. “The studios didn’t know how to sell it. They were scared.”

Instead, the movie will air later this spring on HBO. Sounds like a good time to sign up for HBO if you haven’t already.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

News about the Liberace biopic… or is it?

I received a press release today that said “Steven Soderbergh … and Jerry Weintraub … will bring the film Behind the Candelabra, starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon… to HBO Films, it was announced today.” The thing is, I’m not quite sure how this is news.

It’s been known for quite a while that Douglas and Damon were starring and Soderbergh directing; I reported about it last May here, and it was already well known by that time. So what exactly is the news? Is it that Jerry Weintraub is producing? That it will appear on HBO? I’m not sure.

What I am sure is that production doesn’t even begin until next summer, for a 2013 release. So whatever this “news” is, well, I’m passing it along…

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: Michael Douglas on kissing Matt Damon

Michael Douglas is gong from playing oversexed straight men in movies like Fatal Attraction and Basic Instinct to, for his next role, an oversexed gay man playing the title role in Steven Soderbergh’s film, Liberace. Douglas stars opposite Matt Damon as Liberace’s lover, Scott Thorson.

Douglas appeared this week on The View and talked about kissing a man.

The film is due in 2013.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Movie Monday: ‘The Adjustment Bureau’ in wide release

‘Adjustment Bureau’ portrays God as bureaucrat. That’s its best quality

At the risk of being accused of picking nits, the first thing among the many that bothers me about The Adjustment Bureau is that a key plot point involves a former congressman and current Wall Street big-wig traveling through New York City by bus. Now, in a movie that deals with angels, fate and magic doors, the details of transportation may seem miniscule, but that’s the problem: If you want me to buy the big stuff, you have to convince me in the details. There’s a reason monkeys pick nits out of their fur: They are annoying.

So is, ultimately, The Adjustment Bureau. As a movie, it’s neither fish nor fowl: Does it want to be a chick flick, about how a romance between an ambitious politician (Matt Damon) and a free-spirited dancer (Emily Blunt) can overcome fate itself? Or is it a sci-fi action film with Matrix-like ambitions to reveal the One Big Secret: That what we think of as free will is actually an intense heavenly bureaucracy of angels wearing fedoras and God as a CEO who meddles in individual lives?

The script, based on a Phillip K. Dick story, is too gadabout for its own good. There are echoes of Men in Black, but not the humor. (The joke of MiB is that the agents look like clichés of spies; apparently, the best angels can do to disguise themselves in 2011 America is dress like 1950s G-Men, or extras who wondered off the set of Mad Men.)

Read the entire review here.

 

—  Rich Lopez

Screen Review: Men in bleccch!

ANGELS IN AMERICA | An adjuster (John Slattery, left) tries to keep a politician (Matt Damon) on course with his fate in this silly but never quite ridiculously fun time-waster.

‘Adjustment Bureau’ portrays God as bureaucrat. That’s its best quality

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

At the risk of being accused of picking nits, the first thing among the many that bothers me about The Adjustment Bureau is that a key plot point involves a former congressman and current Wall Street big-wig traveling through New York City by bus. Now, in a movie that deals with angels, fate and magic doors, the details of transportation may seem miniscule, but that’s the problem: If you want me to buy the big stuff, you have to convince me in the details. There’s a reason monkeys pick nits out of their fur: They are annoying.

So is, ultimately, The Adjustment Bureau. As a movie, it’s neither fish nor fowl: Does it want to be a chick flick, about how a romance between an ambitious politician (Matt Damon) and a free-spirited dancer (Emily Blunt) can overcome fate itself? Or is it a sci-fi action film with Matrix-like ambitions to reveal the One Big Secret: That what we think of as free will is actually an intense heavenly bureaucracy of angels wearing fedoras and God as a CEO who meddles in individual lives?

The script, based on a Phillip K. Dick story, is too gadabout for its own good. There are echoes of Men in Black, but not the humor. (The joke of MiB is that the agents look like clichés of spies; apparently, the best angels can do to disguise themselves in 2011 America is dress like 1950s G-Men, or extras who wondered off the set of Mad Men.)

This is a poor man’s Inception, and even though it makes marginally more sense, its style and its premises just don’t fly. Damon’s character wants to find Blunt’s but can’t — how could he possibly track her down? What, he’s never heard of Missed Connections on Craigslist? How about he goes on TV and mentions it — he is a damn national hero, after all. (If I worried about every profile on Grindr that fell off my radar, I’d never get any work done.) It’s also been done before, better, as the “City on the Edge of Forever” episode of the original Star Trek. Harlan Ellison should consider legal action.

Maybe if there was any romantic chemistry between Blunt and Damon it could work (there isn’t; a passionate kiss near the end looks like a painful prostate exam for both of them; Blunt seems far sexier when she’s dancing with the men of the Cedar Lake Ballet company, which gets the best P.R. since E.T. ate Reece’s Pieces). Or maybe we’d care if the climax didn’t hinge on weird rules, like Heaven having worse security safeguards than Los Alamos, water making angels ineffectual (on a planet covered three-fourths in oceans) and a sleepy operative allowing destiny to go off course. I’m not exaggerating at all. Perhaps if I were, it might actually entertain you, instead of drain you. If this is the destiny of movies, I say we all go off the map.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 4, 2011.

—  John Wright