ANY DAY NOW and THE INVISIBLE WAR




If Any Day Now, the new film starring Alan (The Good Wife) Cumming and Garret (Raising Hope) Dilahunt, were made in the 1930’s or 40’s, it would have starred some movie star couple like Irene Dunne and Cary Grant.  I suppose this means that times have really changed because Any Day Now is about a gay couple in the 1970’s who try to adopt a mentally handicapped teenager.  Can’t get much more Irene Dunne and Cary Grant than that.
The movie is very well made.  It’s been created with a lot of love and care by writer George Arthur Bloom and Travis Fine, who also directed.  You’ll laugh, you’ll cry.  It’s one of those movies that is usually described as working very well on its own terms.    It would be carping to complain. However, though it does work on its own terms, I can’t say it does any more than that. 
Cumming is the female impersonator who gives closeted D.A. Dilahunt a blow job in his car and the next thing you know, they’re moving in together (well, it’s a little more complicated than that, but it is one of the fastest courtships I’ve ever seen—a case of premature engagement, I suppose).  Problems occur when Cumming’s next door neighbor, a drug addicted party girl, gets arrested and leaves her mentally handicapped son at home alone (no Macauley Culkin jokes allowed).  Cumming wants to adopt him and Dilahunt uses his legal expertise to help.  Melodrama and homophobia ensue.
Cumming plays his role as if his career depended on it.  He’s fine, but a tad over the top with a somewhat outrageous accent that is a bit more camp than his Carmen Miranda outfit.  The movie almost feels as if it was written for him since the writers found a way to have him non lip sync a few torch songs in male drag along the way (the same thing was done for James Darren in The Guns of Navarone, but it’s much more convincing here).  Dilahunt, perhaps, is the more effective of the two in the quieter role as the lover who is overwhelmed by his new life.  In the end, when all is said and done, it’s one of those movies where opposites meet and change each other for the better: Cumming helps Dilahunt become a proud gay man and Dilahunt helps Cumming become a proud non-drag queen gay man (i.e., one helps the other become less uptight, the other helps the other become more uptight). 
Though the acting is first rate, I think the true stars are Samantha Kuester as the costume designer and Ayse Arf and Ashley Prikryl as the art and set directors.  The 1970’s were one of the worst periods for male fashion and Kuester is not only not ashamed to be true to it in all its bland glory, she almost revels in the wide lapels and flared bottoms.  Arf and Prikryl give the same attention to detail in the furniture and props.  All in all, a painful, but enjoyable, reminder of ghosts of Christmas past. 
The Invisible War is the new documentary by writer/director Kirby Dick.  It’s about rape in the military and it’s devastating.  No, it’s more than that.  It’s a Kafkaesque nightmare of Charles Dickens proportion.  Women (and men) are raped while serving their country and then find almost no way to prosecute their attackers because their commanding officers don’t have the experience to handle it; they come up against officers who think that the person was asking for it; they find the system is rigged against them; they’re prosecuted themselves and discharged for committing adultery; and/or their commanding officer is the attacker.  The movie consists mainly of a series of passionate and painful interviews of the ones attacked backed up by experts in the field.  Occasionally, the filmmakers venture outside this world and talk to the ones in charge.  These last are a series of tone deaf talking heads who define the word “disconnect” (you see people like this all the time on the news—politicians and lobbyists who never respond to the questions asked, but recite a series of talking points).
There was one somewhat false note.   When the issue of men raping men is raised, the filmmakers are lightning quick to make sure the audience knows this doesn’t say anything about being gay, because the rapist really isn’t gay, he’s just after power over others.  But times have changed.  There are good gay men and bad gay men and it’s time for us to accept that.  I don’t need the kind of protection the filmmakers are offering here and, in fact, I find it a little condescending. 
But beyond that, see this movie. 
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