Cinema Pride Collection Review

When studios put out themed DVD collections for whatever occasion, the final result rarely does the subject in question justice. When they seek to honor independent flicks they typically just go for the most popular ones and not the best. For foreign films they’ll select the few that actually made ripples and not the underdog that had to fight for every theater screen. However, when MGM compiled its Cinema Pride Collection in honor of June being Gay Pride month they hit the nail on the head – and they hit it dead on. The collection not only features some of the favorites within the gay community but it features a few highly acclaimed heavy hitters as well. This may just be one of the best box sets a studio has ever released that isn’t based on one actor or director’s filmography. It has variety and it has quality in spades.

The Children’s Hour (1961)

Directed by William Wyler; Written by Lillian Hellman; Starring Audrey Hepburn, Shirley MacLaine, James Garner, Veronica Cartwright

The two supervisors of a private school for girls are accused of having a lesbian relationship by one of the more misbehaved children. This is easily one of the more interesting roles Hepburn ever took on and her performance is only strengthened by those of her co-stars MacLaine and Garner. It’s a spectacular film and it’s great to see it being dusted off for this set.

La Cage Aux Folles (1978)

Directed by Edouard Molinaro; Written by Jean Poiret (play) and Francis Veber (screenplay); Starring Ugo Tognazzi, Michel Serrault, Claire Maurier, Remi Laurent

Preference for this version of the story or the 1996 one with Williams and Lane depends entirely on personal opinion, as both have large camps within the gay community. It’s the same classic story about the impossibility of denying who you are, even when you’re doing it out of love. Great performances and the classic story makes this film an instant classic for the set.

Boys Don’t Cry (1999)

Directed by Kimberly Peirce; Written by Kimberly Peirce & Andy Bienen; Starring Hilary Swank, Chloe Sevigny, Peter Sarsgaard

The Oscar-winning performance of Hilary Swank here was well-deserved. She plays Brandon Teena, the newcomer to a small sleepy Nebraskan town who quickly gains popularity with the guys and girls alike. Brandon’s life seems to be sailing along smoothly until the truth that he was born a female is revealed, and quickly his friends turn their backs…or worse.

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)

Directed by Stephan Elliot; Written by Stephan Elliot; Starring Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce, Terence Stamp

This is quite simply a gay film culture icon. The way a lot of film geeks treat The Rocky Horror Picture Show is mirrored by the gay community for this film. With excellent, albeit surprising performances by the likes of Weaving, Pearce, and Stamp it’s an entertaining film that will change the way you look at those actors forever.

Bent (1997)

Directed by Sean Mathias; Written by Martin Sherman; Starring Ian McKellen, Clive Owen, Mick Jagger, Lothaire Bluteau, Jude Law

The plot for Bent gives an interesting twist on gay pride by putting it in an unexpected context: the holocaust. Max is hauled off to a concentration camp for being gay, but upon arriving denies his sexuality and gets stuck with the traditional brand labeling him a Jew. While in the camp he falls in love with a fellow gay prisoner who teaches him about being proud of who you are.

Kissing Jessica Stein (2001)

Directed by Charles Herman-Wurmfeld; Written by Heather Juergensen & Jennifer Westfeldt; Starring Jennifer Westfeldt, Tova Feldshuh, David Aaron Baker

Kissing Jessica Stein is a candid and very accurate portrayal of relationships and all their nitty-gritty details and for that we ought to applaud. The truths passed onto the general public through Kissing remind us that relationships are a universal factor of human life no matter what road you walk down. No matter what your lifestyle the fact of the matter is Kissing Jessica Stein will in some way mirror some of the emotions or thoughts that occur to all in love. (For a more in-depth review of this title, go to our full review here.)

The Birdcage (1996)

Directed by Mike Nichols; Written by Jean Poiret (play), Francis Veber (earlier screenplay), Elaine May (screenplay); Starring Robin Williams, Gene Hackman, Nathan Lane, Dianne Wiest, Dan Futterman, Calista Flockhart, Hank Azaria

Nathan Lane and Robin Williams play gay night club owners in South Beach who discover their son is engaged to the daughter of a highly conservative politician – and they’re all coming for dinner. With the help of a hilarious performance by Hank Azaria, the trio whips together a hair-brained scheme to hide who they really are and win the acceptance of the girl’s father.

Imagine Me & You (2005)

Directed by Ol Parker; Written by Ol Parker; Starring Piper Perabo, Lena Headey, Matthew Goode, Anthony Head

A newly married woman finds herself attracted to a woman she meets at her own wedding and her mind soon wanders away from her nuptials to what life might be like down the road not taken. It’s not a bad film, the performances are decent enough, but there’s little memorable about it. This might be the weakest entry in the set – and that’s downright impressive.

The Object of My Affection (1998)

Directed by Nicholas Hytner; Written by Stephen McCauley (novel), Wendy Wasserstein (screenplay); Starring Paul Rudd, Jennifer Aniston, Allison Janney, Alan Alda, Tim Daly, Hayden Panettiere, Steve Zahn, John Pankow

A mediocre though serviceable dramedy about two friends who come to realize that no matter how badly you might wish it otherwise, you can’t change someone to whom you want them to be. Nina (Aniston) has fallen hard for her seemingly platonic, gay friend George (Rudd). Their relationship evolves as George idles about deciding whether or not he’s gay and who it is exactly he loves, meanwhile he promises Nina that he’ll help raise the child she’s pregnant with. (Fun note: Allison Janney and Alan Alda play husband and wife and would co-star again eight years later in The West Wing.

My Beautiful Laundrette (1985)

Directed by Stephen Frears; Written by Hanif Kureishi; Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Roshan Seth, Saeed Jaffrey

Nasser has led the Hussein family to a new life in London, and in order to achieve the success necessary to keep them thriving in Thatcher-era England, he and his son Omar will do anything to keep them all afloat. Really, anything. After a few different schemes, Omar takes over Nasser’s decrepit laundrette with the help of his longtime friend Johnny. His relationship with Johnny is complex and different sides of it are revealed as the two struggle their business and lives.

It should be noted, this entire set is an Amazon Exclusive, so if you're interested there's only one way to get it. To simplify that process, you can always click the link above.

"Cinema Pride Collection" is on sale June 8, 2010 and is not rated. Comedy, Drama. Directed by Charles Herman Wurmfeld, Edouard Molinaro, Kimberly Peirce, Mike Nichols, Nicholas Hytner, Ol Parker, Sean Mathias, Stephan Elliot, Stephen Frears, William Wyler. Written by Ol Parker, Wendy Wasserstein, Hanif Kureishi, Jean Poiret, Elaine May, Francis Veber, Martin Sherman, Stephan Elliot, Kimberly Peirce, Andy Bienen, Lillian Hellman . Starring Alan Alda, Allison Janney, Anthony Head, Audrey Hepburn, Calista Flockhart, Chloe Sevigny, Claire Maurier, Clive Owen, Daniel Day Lewis, David Aaron Baker, Dianne Wiest, Gene Hackman, Guy Pearce, Hank Azaria, Hayden Panettiere, Hilary Swank, Hugo Weaving, Ian McKellen, James Garner, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Westfeldt, John Pankow, Jude Law, Lena Headey, Lothaire Bluteau, Matthew Goode, Michel Serrault, Nathan Lane, Paul Rudd, Peter Sarsgaard, Piper Perabo, Remi Laurent, Robin Williams, Roshan Seth, Saeed Jaffrey, Shirley MacLaine, Steve Zahn, Terence Stamp, Tim Daly, Tova Feldshuh, Ugo Tognazzi.

Lex Walker • Editor

He's a TV junkie with a penchant for watching the same movie six times in one sitting. If you really want to understand him you need to have grown up on Sgt. Bilko, Alien, Jurassic Park and Five Easy Pieces playing in an infinite loop. Recommend something to him - he'll watch it.


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