The Film Is All Right
Lisa Cholodenko is Hollywood’s top power lesbian in a city full of them—the writer/director is a master of the understated sexual dramedy, from the creepy High Art to the sunbaked Laurel Canyon. But her most recent film, The Kids Are All Right, which opens this weekend and stars Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, and Mark Ruffalo in a completely unexpected love triangle, is certainly her best, and by far her most personal. The story follows a lesbian couple whose teenage children decide to search out the identity of their sperm-donor father. When they discover Ruffalo, a slackerish, drifter kinda guy (but who’s a heap of fun), they decide to develop a relationship with him, sending their mothers into a tailspin that involves re-examining their long partnership and their children’s futures. The film weaves from hilarious cultural softshoe (how do lesbians meet; how do they make love?) to heartrending questions about how the modern American family stays together and defines itself. The Daily Beast’s Gina Piccalo talked to Julianne Moore about her bourgeois lesbian life in the film, from her vowel-mangling California accent to sex scenes with Bening and Ruffalo. Don’t miss this one—critics are calling it Oscar bait.
Join the Real-Life Glee
Summer is all about watching TV in a bottle—short seasons and quick storylines to get you through the heat. To that end, we have the perfect summer reality series to dive into—it’s just highbrow enough to excuse, but compelling enough to DVR constantly: BBC America’s The Choir, which began airing this week and will run for 13 weeks on Wednesday nights. The show follows Gareth Malone, a Brit choir director who decided to create a chorus at a school with no music program and whip the boys into shape for an international competition in China in just nine months. It’s Glee meets Mighty Ducks meets Dead Poet’s Society—like you can resist that.
Girl Pop, Funstyle
Liz Phair has had more incarnations than most pop starlets ever get—she began as an angsty, bedroom-recording, feminist icon, singing about bad men and the perils of casual sex. She then evolved into a mainstream radio staple, with songs like “Why Can’t I” proving inescapable, and her blond hair plastering billboards. Now, she has gone back underground, with a new concept record, Funstyle, which she just released quietly online through her website. At first the record seems like a joke, with the song “Bollywood” actually featuring Phair rapping (Leah Greenblatt of EW wrote, “The Liz Phair we once knew and loved has officially left the building”), but as you listen further, you realize that the troublemaker Phair is back. She blends in catchy new work in between songs mocking her own selling out, which means that she is—and perhaps has always been—in on the joke.