March 1, 2012 at 8:41 am EST | by David Placher
Coming attractions

Actor Mark Cirillo as Ryan in ‘The Seminarian.’ It had a limited theatrical run last fall but is out on DVD this month. (Photo courtesy Joshua Lim)

The spring movie calendar packs a wide variety of gay-themed movies but DVD is a good way to catch recent flicks with gay content that only got limited theatrical runs.

Premiered at the Adelaide Bigpond Film Festival, “The Showtown Murders” is the first film to cover the horrific “bodies in the barrels” murders that took place in South Australia. Based on a true story involving Australian serial killer John Bunting, the film follows a 16-year-old who begins a friendship with an older man. Their relationship takes a horrific turn and eventually they start to kill and target groups, including gay men. It’s out March 2 in limited theaters.

Directed by Sundance- and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Lee Hirsch, “Bully” is a character-driven documentary that follows five kids and their families over the course of a school year, with each outcome unpredictable, including the stories of two families who have lost children due to suicide and a mother who anxiously waits to learn the outcome of her 14-year-old daughter who’s incarcerated for possessing a gun. With rare access into a community school system, the film provides a glimpse into school buses, classrooms, cafeterias and even principles’ offices, offering insight into the world of children. It opens March 30 in limited theaters.

Written and directed by James Franco, “The Broken Tower” is a story about Hart Crane, a gay American poet who committed suicide at age 32 in 1932. It premiered last year at Boston College and had a limited theatrical run. In this movie, Crane is a struggling writer who is not understood by his peers, unappreciated for his literary work and unable to allocate time to write because of his financial struggles. Look for it on DVD March 27.

“The Seminarian” is a story about Ryan, a closeted gay religious student who’s struggling with his feelings while completing seminary studies. His school’s hostile views toward homosexuality and his mother’s staunch religious conservative beliefs compound his intrapersonal dilemma about his identity. Ryan needs to complete a solid theological thesis in order to continue doctoral work at the university but is sidetracked when he starts a relationship with a guy he met online, which causes him to question his faith. It’s on DVD March 27.

“American Translation” is about a sexually ambiguous Frenchman who tours the countryside with his female American lover, who’s madly in love with him. From the moment their eyes crossed, brooding Chris and the beautiful Aurore fall passionately and deeply in love. But it’s not long before their overly intense bond is consumed by Chris’s obsession with gay men. This obsession leads Chris and Aurore down a dark and evil journey where the pair embarks on a violent and sexual escapade with seduction and destruction of young gay hustlers. Eye-popping, and jaw dropping, this extremely intense sexy and wildly controversial movie is filled with shocking scenes and graphic displays. It’s on DVD April 17.

Also out April 17 is “Domain,” a movie about a 17-year-old Pierre becoming obsessed with his aunt Nadia, a flamboyant intellectual mathematician whose intelligence collides with her alcoholic dependency and fatalistic view of life, which places her on a path of self-destruction. As Pierre discovers his homosexuality feelings developing within, he attempts to rescue his beloved aunt from herself.

“Jack and Diane,” two teenage girls, meet in New York City and spend the night with their lips locked. Diane’s charming innocence quickly begins to open Jack’s tough-skinned heart. But when Jack discovers that Diane is leaving the country in a week, she tries to push her away. Diane must struggle to keep their love alive while hiding the secret that her newly awakened sexual desire is giving her werewolf-like visions. This movie is scheduled to be released in limited theaters June 1.

Gay themes are still hit or miss in the multiplex but gay storylines may pop up here and there in some of the mainstream releases. Look for “Silent House” and “John Carter” next weekend, “21 Jump Street” on March 16, “The Hunger Games” on March 23, “Wrath of the Titans” on March 30 and “Battleship” on May 18.

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