Coming of Age

[5.5] Gary Grimes and Jerry Houser reprise their roles from the emotionally charged Summer of ’42 in this lackluster, somewhat pointless follow-up. Whereas Summer of ’42 was very much about a young man’s sexual awakening with an older woman, Class of ’44 is more of a slice-of-life movie with no overarching narrative goal. It sees Grimes and Houser’s characters off to college while their friend …

[7.0] Ben Silverstone and Brad Gorton star as closeted gay teens at a British high school. One is a journalism nerd and the other is a star athlete. They discover each other though an anonymous encounter in a public restroom and develop a secret romance. But while Silverstone’s character becomes more confident in his identity and comes out in a scandalous school paper article, Gorton’s …

[7.5] Nineteen year-old Tom Cruise made his star-making turn alongside Rebecca DeMornay in writer/director Paul Brickman’s directorial debut, Risky Business. Cruise plays a college-bound teen who’s forced to turn his parents’ upper class home into a brothel for one illustrious night in order to pay for accidentally destroying his father’s Porsche. DeMornay plays a call girl who proposes the whole endeavor. Along the way, they …

[7.0] Mickey Rooney headlines this slice-of-life picture about a New York town maintaining the home front during WWII. Rooney plays a highschooler working as a telegram delivery boy to help provide for his family while his older brother is in service. James Craig (The Devil and Daniel Webster) plays Rooney’s employer, who is also a surrogate father to Rooney’s character. (Rooney’s deceased father actually narrates …

[6.5] Writer/director Ryan Murphy (Nip/Tuck, Glee) brings Augusten Burroughs’ memoir to the big screen. Joseph Cross plays young Burroughs, a thirteen-year-old whose emotionally unstable mother hands him off to her therapist. Running with Scissors is primarily about Burroughs trying to fit in at the therapist’s bizarre household while learning to accept that his mother will never be what he needs her to be. Annette Bening …

[7.0] Angelina Jolie stars as a transient teen who helps four other young ladies defend themselves against a predatory high school teacher. They form a bond, get expelled from school together, and take up residence in an abandoned home together. Their ‘gang’ gets a reputation and inspires other young women to stand up for themselves, but their rebellious recreational activities end up getting them in …

[8.5] Paul Verhoeven (Soldier of Orange, RoboCop) brings his devil-may-care attitude toward sex and morality to this slice-of-life story about three young Dutch boys who dream of escaping their restrained provincial lives by winning motor cross competitions. One of the boys, Rien (Hans van Tongeren), has a real chance of unseating the current champion (Rutger Hauer), while Eef (Toon Agterberg) struggles with his sexual identity in dark ways, and …

[6.0] Carey Mulligan gives an outstanding performance in this adaptation of Lynn Barber’s memoir. Mulligan plays a sixteen-year-old in 1960s London, pushed by her father to study hard so she can get into Oxford. When she falls in love with a charming man nearly twice her age, she decides to let her education slide. But Prince Charming isn’t all he’s cracked up to be and …

[8.5] Joel Edgerton (The Gift) brings Garrard Conley’s true story of dangerous, misguided gay conversion therapy to the big screen with the help of Oscar winners Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe. Oscar nominee Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea) plays Conley in the film, a young teen who is pressured to confess his homosexuality to his baptist preacher father (Crowe) and loving mother (Kidman). With …

[7.5] A young German man (an award-worthy David Kross) has an affair with an older woman (Kate Winslet), only to discover many years after the affair ends that she was a guard at the Auschwitz concentration camp. After she is found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison, the man (later played by Ralph Fiennes) still can’t get her out of his mind. …

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