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Someone slipped Pedro Almodóvar a Valium back in 2006. Yes, the delectable high-pitched frenzy of his then recent films such as Talk to Her (2002), Bad Education (2004), and Live Flesh (1997) with their trademark super-Almodóvar stylizations and quirks suffusing nearly every frame, was put aside for the moment.

Yes, in Volver, there are no gigantic vaginas confronting miniature men, no stories within stories within stories highlighting the travails of sexually-abused, pre-op transsexuals, and no frenetic heterosexual copulations committed as acts of revenge.

Instead, what we have here is an at-times plaintive love letter to women: a paean to their humor, their loyalty, and especially their ability to survive their encounters with cheating, lying fornicators who employ their penises as weapons of submission. In fact, the ladies chronicled here often prosper after their men’s demise, even if these mujeres are personally responsible for their hombres’ rather violent and premature expirations. …

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Imagine a child picking up a copy of Grimms’ Fairy Tales only to discover that the last several pages of each story have been torn out. Are Hansel and Gretel turned into mincemeat by the evil witch? Is Snow White rented out by her height-challenged pals to Sealy for their mattress ads? Does Rapunzel yell, “Fuck it all!” and get a pixie cut?

That’s how I felt about Amy Seimetz’s She Dies Tomorrow, one of the more acclaimed films of the month. At a “pivotal” moment, Tomorrow’s oft-annoying heroine, Amy (Kate Lyn Sheil), who you might well wish would kick the bucket today, looks out at a barren landscape, gazing this way and that, with smudged eyeliner. …

For quite a while, Tiresias was the only being who’d experienced sex both as a man and a woman. If you recall, for killing two copulating snakes, he was transformed into a female for seven years by the goddess Hera. (Having a vagina was a punishment back then.) Not satisfied, Hera later blinded the gent, which seemed rather harsh, although it did gain him a major speaking part in Oedipus Rex.

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Tiresias learns it’s not nice to slaughter two copulating snakes.

Now, 2449 years later, Revry, the self-proclaimed “queer virtual cable TV network,” is showcasing a New-Zealand-based, 8-part situation comedy, Life is Easy, that explores what it’s like to suddenly have a non-surgically transformed crotch. Although we’re not quite sure where J.K. Rowling stands on this concept, we’ve found the end result, while not quite on the same laugh level as Schitt$ Creek and Little Britain, often quite amusing with a genuine knee-slapper now and then. …


Brandon Judell

Brandon Judell has published in The Village Voice, The Advocate, and 50 or so other outlets. He is currently a lecturer at The City College of New York.

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