Well, more bad news for moviegoers this week.

In an announcement on Monday, Cineworld, the parent company of Regal Cinemas, confirmed they would once again be suspending operations at all Regal theaters at close of business on Thursday, October 8 until further notice.

Presumably this closure includes all OKC metro locations like the Regal Spotlight in Norman, and the Warren in Moore, though as of writing the Warren is still listing showtimes for this upcoming weekend on their website.

This news comes immediately following MGM and Universal’s announcement to once again delay the release of the latest James Bond film “No Time to Die” from November 20 all the way to next April.

As of right now, both Cinemark and AMC have stated they plan to continue remaining open during the pandemic.

In an interview with Deadline, Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger said their decision primarily came down to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s “inflexibility” in allowing cinemas to reopen, though it seems the delay of the latest Bond movie made the matter more urgent for the theater conglomerate.

As for Governor Cuomo, his office argues that keeping movie theaters shuttered is essential to ensuring that his state doesn’t experience another surge in infections. 

Or as Richard Azzopardi, Cuomo’s senior advisor bluntly puts it, “We understand some people are unhappy, but you know what? Better unhappy than sick or worse.”

Personally, I agree with Cuomo on this issue.

I love movies. I love going to the theater. Before this pandemic, I used to go to the movies every single weekend. But right now it’s just not worth it.

Beyond a brief and shallow dip in August, the number of active cases of COVID-19 has only gone higher in Oklahoma.

Hanging out with a bunch of other people is a very bad idea, regardless of the activity.

You aren’t even safe if you’re partying outside, as shown by the White House gathering celebrating Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, which likely resulted in the infection of at least eight attendees, including the President himself.

And I can’t believe I have to keep saying this after over six months, but if you must be out and about, please social distance and please wear a dang mask.

You aren’t being “muzzled,” you aren’t being a rebel and sticking it to “the man” by not wearing one. You’re endangering the lives of everyone you come across, including your family, friends, and coworkers, along with aiding the spread of a disease which has killed over 1,000 Oklahomans and 210,000 Americans.

Stop being selfish. Stop only thinking of yourself. Avoid unnecessary outings, social distance, and wear a mask.

Seriously, it’s not that hard.

Anyway, I guess that’s enough soapboxing out of me for one week. There’s still plenty of new movies being released straight to streaming platforms to talk about, so without further ado let’s get right to it.

***

The Glorias

First up is “The Glorias.”

This film tells the true story of political activist and feminist icon, Gloria Steinem (Julianne Moore, Alicia Vikander, Lulu Wilson, Ryan Kiera Armstrong) from her childhood in 1940s Ohio to her leading role in the women’s liberation movement.

I must admit, while I know I’ve heard the name Gloria Steinem mentioned in passing, before this film I was largely ignorant of who she is or even what she’s known for.

So for that alone, I am glad I saw this movie. In its fairly hefty 139 minute runtime, this film covers quite a bit of ground.

So much ground in fact, that the movie had to cast four different actresses just to cover it all.

There’s Ryan Kiera Armstrong for Gloria as a girl. Her portion of the film mainly focuses on Gloria’s relationship with her father, and how his roaming nature instilled a love of traveling in her.

Then there’s Lulu Wilson, a young actress I’ve previously praised her performances in horror movies like “Ouija: Origin of Evil” and “Annabelle: Creation.”

Sadly, Wilson isn’t given quite as much to work with here. In this film she portrays Gloria as a young teenager. This point in Gloria’s life mostly revolves around her experience with her mentally ill mother (Enid Graham). Also, some brief barber shop tap dancing.

Then we move onto Alicia Vikander, best known for her role as a humanoid A.I. in “Ex Machina” and for being cast as Lara Croft in the latest “Tomb Raider” film. She probably gets the most screen time out of all the Glorias.

Unfortunately, Vikander also seems to be the weakest out of the four actresses who portray the famous feminist icon.

It’s odd. I know I’ve seen Alicia knock it out of the park in other films, especially “Ex Machina.” Heck, she practically carried the last “Tomb Raider” movie on her back with her quick wit and the seemingly effortless charisma she brought to the character.

Sadly, Vikander just seems a little off in the film. It’s like she’s a little too reserved and a little flat when it comes to delivering dialogue. There’s very little of the passion I’d expect from the portrayal of a woman like Gloria Steinem, even when the scene calls for it.

It’s a shame.

Luckily Julianne Moore felt like an absolute natural playing the eldest version of Gloria.

Moore’s Gloria Steinem is a woman who finally seems comfortable in her own skin. A woman confident with her place in the feminist movement and fearless enough to face anyone who would stand in the way of equality.

From beginning to end, the film covers pretty much what you’d expect a standard biopic to touch on.

A childhood which shaped Gloria’s perspective on the world. Then Gloria’s experiences as a young adult, which challenged her and gave her a driving purpose to help change the world for the better, and made her the leader she is today.

Except this movie forgoes the standard biopic approach in favor of a nonlinear storytelling.

But that’s not all. Not only does this film tell its story a little out of order with flashbacks and flashforwards, the entire narrative actually centers around all four of our Glorias riding in a Greyhound bus, which seems out of space and time.

Occasionally a couple of the Glorias will interact with each other on this bus, asking the other if they could have done something better, or perhaps opining about something they regret.

In theory, this could have been a very interesting way to tell Gloria’s story and lead to some great moments with all four of our lead actresses interacting with each other.

Sadly, this concept just seems half baked and was very underutilized in the final product.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. The filmmakers loved using the bus as an excuse to skip backwards and forwards freely. But most of the time it feels we’re just going back and forth through time just for the heck of it.

The elements being told out of order don’t necessarily make the story any more impactful, and most of the time it doesn’t even add any context that we might be missing.

In fact, by skipping around, they made the narrative that much harder to follow.

Honestly, I kind of wish the bus with four Glorias played more into the story. Make it central to the entire narrative, not just an odd location for a couple characters to have a brief aside every once in a while.

It’s like the filmmakers wanted to add in these odd, experimental scenes, but couldn’t figure out how to have them serve the story in any meaningful way, making these moments feel strange and out of place in an otherwise standard biographical film.

It’s really a shame, because I think the story of Gloria Steinem is one worth knowing.

As I said at the start of my review, I am glad I saw this movie.

But sadly, this would be a hard film to recommend to most people due to its unnecessary oddities and a narrative structure that seems determined to confuse its audience instead of informing it.

“The Glorias” is rated R and is available to stream on Amazon Prime.

***

The Boys in the Band

The other movie this week is “The Boys in the Band.”

At a birthday party in 1968 New York, a surprise guest (Brian Hutchison) and a drunken game leave seven gay friends (Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Matt Bomer, Andrew Rannells, Robin de Jesús, Michael Benjamin Washington, and Tuc Watkins) reckoning with unspoken feelings and buried truths.

This is definitely an interesting one.

Based on the 1968 off-Broadway play of the same name, this is a movie that has quite a bit of history packed behind it.

Though controversial at the time, the original production is heralded as groundbreaking in its portrayal of gay men.

Honestly, just featuring a cast of homosexual men during that era is pretty bold, but it’s also remarkable that they showcased such a variety of personalities, many of whom don’t fit the sassy, flamboyant caricature that’s still assigned to many gay characters to this day.

That’s not to say some of these men don’t fit the stereotype. Some do. But they’re also individuals, all of whom react to the evening’s events in different ways.

The narrative here largely revolves around Jim Parsons’s character, Michael, the host of this birthday party.

While trying to get ready for the event, an old friend from college, Alan (Brian Hutchison), calls Michael in tears, asking if they can have a drink together.

But since Alan is presumably a straight man, Michael is hesitant to invite him over with all his outwardly gay companions.

Nevertheless, Michael tells Alan to come over for a quick drink due to the desperate nature of his friend’s phone call, and thus our conflict begins.

What follows is an evening that begins cheerful and lively, yet abruptly begins to deteriorate with Alan’s arrival, with tensions continuing to rise as each party guest gets more and more inebriated throughout the evening.

Surprisingly, despite the fact that this film is based on a play from the 1960s, I think this story here holds up quite well.

While the setting of this movie may be a bit dated, the emotions and insecurities these men face in this film are very real. Feelings which I’m sure ring true for many people despite our current, more progressive attitudes towards LGBT people.

But what really shines in this film is the brilliant ensemble cast.

Everyone here is just fantastic. These men have such great chemistry together.

They’re all a blast to be around. At least until things begin to take an uncomfortable turn and Jim Parsons’s character becomes the cruelest drunk imaginable. Frankly though, I’m just happy to see Jim in something that isn’t Sheldon Cooper or “Big Bang Theory” related.

But like I said, the performances here are great. This is the same cast that was brought together for the 50th anniversary Broadway revival of the show, and it’s great that they were able to bring all these actors together again for the film.

All that said, I suppose I should probably give a bit of a content warning before anyone rushes to Netflix to watch this movie with their families.

This is definitely an R-rated film. One that received that rating due to, among other things, graphic nudity.

Since this is a movie starring all gay men, you can probably guess what kind of nudity you’d be subjected to here. It’s nothing that’ll phase most seasoned adult moviegoers, but if full frontal male nudity puts you off for whatever reason, consider yourself warned.

With that out of the way, I have to say I enjoyed this movie quite a bit.

In a way, it almost felt a bit like opening a time capsule from the 1960s.

Like an actual capsule from the past, this film does well in reminding us how far we’ve come in the past 50 years. Yet, more importantly, it also shows us how little some things have actually changed.

“The Boys in the Band” is rated R and is available to stream on Netflix.

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