Reel-View Ratings: The Bigger The Beard, The Better The Movie



A young, gay Chinese-American stylist, Ryan, is none too pleased to learn that he was requested — on basis of race! — to plan a photo shoot for homophobic Chinese actor Ning. Two men from two different worlds, of course, soon find that they have a lot more in common than expected … including a smoldering attraction toward one another. The film bravely tackles the twin issues of racial and sexual identity politics, but shies away from making too definitive a stand in either category. That’s disappointing, especially since without that ideological thrust, the film meanders into cliché. Still, a love story between two gay Asian men … you don’t see that one every day.

Opens Sept. 23 at Kahala Theatre




After his mother is diagnosed with a brain tumor, John (John Krasinski, who also directs) heads home to help the family cope before the big surgery. His dad is anxious about a potential life without his mom. His brother is just a straight-up wreck. And John is worried about whether he’s ready to start his own family with his pregnant girlfriend (Anna Kendrick). Yes, it’s another indie movie about White Male Anxiety, with the standard acoustic soundtrack and tidy resolution. Krasinki’s direction is uninspired and tepid; the story is fluffy and unoriginal; and the audience will be bored and indifferent. Skip it, please.

Opens Sept. 23 at Kahala Theatre




A human-interest writer stumbles upon “competitive endurance tickling” (robust young athletes restraining and tickling one another) online and decides to write an article. So he reaches out to producer Jane O’Brien Media for more information and gets attacked with homosexual slurs and lawsuits in response. So naturally, he makes a documentary about his quest. It’s a respectful look at a very specific fetish (fetishized tickling is a thing, yes), but it’s really more about the campaign of control, paranoia and power of one person behind the scenes to keep it all under wraps. It’s fascinating, even a little scary. In a post-Gawker world, it seems a little too ominous what one individual can do to keep a secret.

Plays at 4 p.m. Sept. 25 and Oct. 1, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 27 and 29, and 1 p.m. Sept. 28 at Doris Duke Theatre