Wednesday - December 24, 2008

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Richard Reese
Co-Chair of the 2008 HGLCF Rainbow Film Festival

I>as told to Kerry Miller

Where and with whom did you see the movie?

I went to the premiere screening, which was a benefit for the Honolulu Gay and Lesbian Cultural Foundation. It was practically full; they had it in Consolidated Kahala.

Overall, what did you think?

I think it’s a phenomenal movie, and I don’t use that word lightly. I see a lot of films both at home as well as in the theater. I think it’s one of the best films I’ve seen - the point of view of the story as well as the acting, the direction and a very literate script. It’s going to cross over beyond the genre audience.

What about the acting, who stood out the most to you?

Sean Penn is just terrific as Harvey Milk; this is one of the best things he’s done. It’s just so different from a lot of the other characters.He has a passing resemblance to Milk. James Franco’s character, Steve Smith, is probably who you would consider the big romance of Milk’s life, even though they separated later on - Harvey’s biggest love was politics. James Franco is quite a good actor. Emile Hirsch plays one of his cohorts. His campaign manager is played by a gal who is quite good. Emile Hirsch, he’s very good and totally disappears into a role. Josh Brolin is quite good - he’s kind of the villain, but he’s very good in it. He’s done some interesting work lately. When you have a bunch of first-rate actors working together, they kind of bring out the best in each other. This is kind of the “A team” in American film acting.

This is based on a true story. Did you feel the story was accurately depicted in the film?

I lived in San Francisco prior to moving to Honolulu in 1975, so the events in the movie ... I knew Harvey Milk, I was a customer at his camera store. Most of the events take place after I left for Honolulu. I’ve seen a lot of documentaries about him - there was a documentary about him a few years back on PBS. While the events are true, it plays more like a standard narrative feature, even if you didn’t know anything about the person it would still be a wonderful story. It’s moving, funny.

Was there a song in the movie’s soundtrack that you particularly liked?

It’s got a great musical score by Danny

Elfman. Danny Elfman’s work is always interesting.

On a scale of one to four stars, what would you rate this movie?


To whom would you recommend this movie?

The story line is kind of adult. It’s not a Christmas family film, but it’s not edgy either. The language is very PG, actually.There’s a little bit of sexual footage - not very explicit, not very much. Anybody who has a huge problem with gay and lesbian lifestyle is not going to have a problem with it.There were a lot of people at the premiere - we only bought half the house, the other half of the house was people who bought tickets at the theater. It was not a stereotypical audience.

What’s new?

In January, the Honolulu Gay and Lesbian Cultural Foundation is screening Breakfast With Scot, I think it’s Jan. 9. It’s a comedy. The Honolulu Academy of Arts is opening a film,Chris and Don, a love story. Friends of mine who’ve seen it say it’s really, really good.

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