The Moviefile - Milk: It Does a Body Good, Mostly

Gus Van Sant has never been my favorite director, but I respect him as a filmmaker and a humanitarian. Case in point: Last Friday, I attended a charity screening in Portland, Oregon (where Van Sant and I both live) of his latest movie, Milk. Tickets ranged from around $30 to $75. The print was donated, though, so all of the money went to Outside In, which helps homeless youths and others in Portland. According to the organization's director, who helped introduce the film, this is the fourth premiere Van Sant has donated to the organization. Pretty generous, and a great cause. This time, not only did Van Sant speak, but he also got James Franco to miss his classes at NYU to attend and speak at the function. It was a very cool event, and well worth the admission price. (Photographic evidence.) But I know what everyone is wondering: How was the movie?

And that brings me back to how I feel about Van Sant as a director. Sort of. With films such as Gerry, he tends to get too existential, and doesn't stick to a narrative. I know this works for some viewers, and that his directing is critically lauded, but it doesn't always make for entertaining cinema. But Milk -- much like Van Sant's My Own Private Idaho and Good Will Hunting -- does stick to a narrative. In that regard it's good. And there are some beautiful shots, and it's an important, relevant film, what with Proposition 8 passing and the fallout from that.

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