Started in 2007 to keep a track of gay films that I watched, this blog has come much further than I had planned. There are tons of movies that I need to watch and review here. Through this blog, I want to give you genuine, my personal heart-felt review of the films that I see. These are my personal thoughts and opinions about the films and I would love to hear your thoughts on these films as well. I always reply to comments in a day or two. Please help me make my blog more popular by becoming a member, following it and by recommending it to your friends. As far as I know this is one of the very very few gay movie review blogs where reviews are not linked or copy-paste imdb summary. Enjoy and do keep writing your feedback.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Como la Espuma (Spanish) [Like Foam]

This is not a typical queer film as such. This is more about exploring one's sexuality. But given since our central character was gay, it does make sense to have it reviewed in my blog here. The film is essentially about orgy. Yes, that's correct, but by no means this is a porn film. The orgy serves as the setting through which we see about 10-15 characters besides the main leads and how they are deprived of affection.

Milo is paraplegic and gay. On his birthday he returns to his huge big old mansion with pool with his best friend Gus who was just trying for Milo to have a good time. To make his birthday memorable, Gus texts his sassy transgender friend to throw him a birthday party at the mansion–more specifically, an orgy pool party. And this is where it all starts. We meet all kinds of random strangers and slowly we see a few stories start to develop. A straight couple are going through boredom in their relationship. An older woman, looking for someone, is constantly hit on by a younger guy. A horny man into drugs in drooling over the trans girl who helped throw the party. We also meet a shy girl who recently broke up wanting to explore her wild side and she meets the orgy expert Jorge. And more. In this crowd we also meet Mario, who was apparently Milo's boyfriend from years ago. As Mario and Milo try to re-connect; Gus is still busy making sure Milo smiles and he arranges for a foam cannon because apparently that was one of Milo's favorite thing on his 18th birthday. Gus helps Milo learn to forgive Mario and give him another chance because life is too short to hold grudges.

It was a simple film that never took itself too seriously. It never got too deep into exploring the issues of these people that we get to meet and interestingly they all are given a happy ending. It was mostly an intriguing story of a long bizarre day in the life of a group of strangers. Being a person who is not at all into clubs and parties, this film was a fun, non-nonsense entertainer for me. I don't think the makers were trying to give a message or anything. The purpose was to entertain and to look at life a little more positively. And to this, each character seemed to became a little more sex-positive and free. All actors have done a great job. I just wish that Gus and Milo's friendship was explored a little more because somewhere I felt that maybe Gus had feelings for Milo but he just learnt to be happy with the way things are.

A simple and enjoyable, light-hearted and flamboyant film that is likely to be a feast for the eyes and keep a smile on your face. (6/10)

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Golpe de Sol (Portuguese) [Sunburn]

I would call this film more of an arthouse film in the LGBT genre. The film doesn't judge you for your sexuality, in fact it keeps it fluid, without asking or providing for labels. The film is more about friendship, love and issues that we all have in our lives and the past we can't bury and the future we wanna get.

Four friends are spending a relaxed weekend in a summer house: Francisco owns the villa and is supposedly straight (or bi), who is with Joanna. Joanna is best friends with Simao, a screen writer, secretly writing his next film on the lives of himself and his friends and finally Vasco, a romantic at heart who doesn't believe in hook-ups and has been in an online relationship with  married man, who hasn't met him yet. In morning, they are all surprised to individually have received a call from an old friend David, who is in town and wants to visit them all. We gradually learn about their reasons for being excited and/or scared by his announced visit. David seems to have let each of the four down in a uniquely personal way. And for all the damage that he has previously wrought, each of them secretly hopes that David is coming for them. Francisco and David were lovers when they were teen and decided to take a break, David and Simao brokeup because David wanted a family and kids. He also had a brief relationship with Vasco. The interactions between the four of them change from fun, to whispers to fights to apologies waiting for David who takes almost a full day to come (for a distance that was only supposedly 2 hours).

The film is visually beautiful. Good looking actors who can also act quite well, gorgeous house and pool and a neutral luxury and warmth. Sadly, the character buildup of all these individuals is very little and all we know about is their mutual relationships which also for no reason keeps going up and down. It is hard to relate to the intensity of the issues that they are going through because they all seemed to be hurt by David in some way, but what is it about David, that even after 10 years it a subject of sore discussion and why cant they all forget him even after 10 years. Keeping the sexuality aside, even the whole treatment of the film is very artsy where a whole lot is left to the audience to interpret. I didnt understand why Francisco and Vasco fought, why did Vasco have a random hook-up, why did Joanna get in a fight with Francisco or most importantly why suddenly Simao feels suicidal. I have a lot of questions unanswered.

The film is pretty and stretches too much in its long duration with silences and pool. This film is gonna need a lot of patience but ends up being frustrating because it just keeps going in circles. (4.5/10)

Friday, November 8, 2019

Gay Short Films : 67

Thomas14 (Short Webseries) (Denmark)
14-year-old Thomas has just moved to new school. In his new class, he meets Mads and Emma. Mads thinks Thomas's drawings are cool, Emma is more interested in Thomas himself but Thomas feels huge surge for his sexuality thanks fto mads and Emma's hot brother.

Portret Izgubljenim [Lost Souls of Tommorow]
In this Slovenian film, Tom and Noah discuss their friendship on the last sunset before Tom leaves. What they wanna avoid is to talk about that one drunk night.

Never Again (Thailand)
Nhai keeps switching boyfriends who never last more than a month. When he meets Tae, things are not the same. He feels different. He worries that Tae will dump him because his karma will get back to him especially since Tae happens to be friends with one of Nhai's ex. At 40 minutes long, this film addresses that love can happen more than once, you just have to look. Thing work out eventually.

De Vuelta (Spain) [Back Again]
The story of two childhood friends, Alex and Jordi who meet after two years to celebrate the Night of San Juan. When the storm kicks in, they will have to take refuge in an old mansion, where their feelings will come together reminiscing the old times.

The Feast of Stephen (USA)
A boy gets bullied by boys for being gay. But our man secretly likes it.

The Best Men (USA)
Moments before his best friend's wedding, Peter gets one last chance to rekindle mutual feelings long suppressed, but not abandoned. Sometimes the perfect reminder of first love's passion is but a simple kiss from the best man.

Boundaries (USA)
Jared takes drastic measures in order to gain the attentions of his ex-boyfriend.

Papercut (Australia)
Two closeted actors on their way to their first high profile awards ceremony fight both expectation and each other, as intimacy and insecurity collide in the back seat of a car. It really does show the struggle public LGBTQ people face and it leaves you thinking.

For Better: “Jimmy and Aaron” (USA)
Aaron and Jimmy’s relationship insecurities are brought to the surface on the drive home after dinner with their friends who recently moved to the suburbs.

Lavender (USA)
A raw and realistic portrayal of a young gay man as he grows increasingly entangled in the marriage of an older couple. What started off as a casual hookup becomes a heartbreak for young Andy. A beautiful film with a tender, poignant look at an unconventional relationship as it blossoms.

A Prayer In January (Israel)
On one warm Saturday, a young man is forced to choose between his gay lover and submission to his religious identity. Nice and warm film.

Reforma (Brazil) [Renovation]
Francisco, a plus size gay man recounts his recent sexual encounters with various partners to his female friend in an attempt to improve his own body positivity. Interesting take on insecurity but whats the point when he is not willing to do something about it.

American Male (USA)
A gritty look at rigid gender norms, and how they shape us. Scary sad but true.

Bliss Point
Two boys row silently through a Dutch water landscape. They dock on a remote island where the rest of the world does not seem to exist. A place where a tender love emerges in all vulnerability. They take the time to come closer together until the inevitable takes place.

Three Days & Two Nights (Philippines)
When a millennial gay tourist comes to a an island, the tour guide boy's life changes. Will he be able to accept the changes brought in by the openly gay tourist?

Call Me By Your Maid (USA)
The Perlman's maid has strong reactions when an exchange student comes to stay with the family. This is a hilarious spoof on the film from the maid's pov. Especially the scene when the 2 boys get confused on whom to call by what name.

Bortom (Sweden) [Distances]
A complicated mother-son relationship. Son is deaf and gay and mother had moved back to her birth country. Time has created a weird distance between them.

The Dare Project (USA)
Dare has been my all time favorite short and I have seen it multiple times. This short shows us the same story but also takes the journey forward. Its been 15 years since the swimming pool incident, The 2 boys are grown up and meet at a pool party since high school. The are uncomfortable yet a sense of familiarity and connection they had. Their interactions, playfulness and everything surrounding it is just so real and heart warming that I can't find a fault in it. And the kiss finally happens. MUST SEE !!


Sunday, November 3, 2019

Perdona Bonita, Pero Lucas me Quería a mí (Spanish) [Excuse Me Darling, But Lucas Loved Me]

This was a nice clean fun feel-good film. No over the top comedy, but a funny situation which gets comical with some good acting by its leads and actors. It feels the film was made a on a tight budget but as long as the actors do a good job, who cares! The gags are good, the pace is consistent and a ridiculous but funny plot makes this film quite delightful and enjoyable.

3 gay best friends live together. Carlos is over weight and is conscious of it and struggles to find love, Dani is young and good looking and works as a tourist guide and finally Toni, who works in a karaoke bar. The bar singer Estrella is Toni's friend, married to Miguel whom Toni likes. Threatened by their landlady for not paying rent, they look for 4th guy and in comes Lucas, a hot and handsome muscular guy. The three boys fall head over heels in love with him, and rivalries soon develop. When Lucas is discovered dead one night, panic follows. While the boys decide what to do, their maid Juliana arrives. They call cops pretending to be scriptwriter but a female cop Clara arrives with her sidekick. We soon get to know that Lucas was her ex-boyfriend. One by one the three boys tel their version of the story with Lucas. The maid also has her own version involving her daughter. It turns out the police assistant also knew Lucas and his address. While they are struggling to put pieces together, suddenly Estrella arrives, hinting at her having an affair with Lucas. Eventually since all of them could be potentially a suspect including cops, they decide to get rid of body and move their separate ways. The end of the film gives us the hint of who the real killer is.

There are a lot of funny scenes in the film. Everything involving Clara's assistant clad in mini skirt and learning the ropes of being a cop or anything with the maid were all hilarious. It was funny how each of the 3 boys would make up story of how they and Lucas were in love and how its the other person who could have killed him. The chemistry of the 3 friends is awesome and casting of Lucas was perfect, a man who anyone could fall for, boy or a girl. There are no awkward silences and the movie moves at a fast pace with actors feeding off each other's energy. It never gets really over the top which is always a fear in such a genre. I had a constant smirk and smile on my face while watching the film. The ending does come as a surprise but thats because i wasn't expecting it at all.

A fun filled silly & goofy but enjoyable ride. (7/10)

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

One Of Them!

At less than an hour, this tiny little film came out in 1998. I guess it was made for TV but I could be wrong. Anyway its about two flamboyant gay teenage boys (who totally are in denial about their sexuality) who can't wait to grow up and get out of New Zealand take a trip to Rangitoto Island and recall their friendship.

Jamie and Lemmy meet at school and become fast friends after a rather weird gay bashing teenage incident. They both are rather effeminate, yet neither self identifies as gay yet. They are rather rebellious, often cutting class to go on adventures. Their families find their friendship odd but they really cant do much about it. They are both drawn to homosexuality but then they both always make lewd and horrible comments about gays and how they should not be here and all that. In fact they even go to public restrooms to create troubles. They fight it to the point of doing some horribly obnoxious things to those they suspect are gay. However, when they start examining their own desires, what they find is most disconcerting, and their struggle becomes one of self acceptance.

Although the film is about self discovery of the teenage gays, I am not sure was it really necessary to make the characters so darn annoying and obnoxious. It prevents to empathize with them as an audience and when they actually accept they are gay, you don't really feel much for them. Sure the argument could be that rather than internalizing their demons and struggles, they took it out on others but it doesn't justify IMO.  The acting is okay. Both boys turn in believable performances, and do a decent job with the material they are given. The ending of the film, where both boys admit to being "one of them" is sudden but done well. I mean its not clear what made one of them finally admit to being gay.

Its not the worst thing in the world but nothing great to write home about. Watch this if you really have nothing else to do and are really looking for something quick and easy no brainer short-ish film. (3.5/10)

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Sweet Boy (Thai)

Of most of the Thai LGBT stuff I have seen, they have few things in common. Cast usually has a lot of really cute boys and also they take forever to come to the point. Additionally, they also have plenty of side storylines that don't do much justice to the overall story line in progress. This little film is a very cute feel good love story with its share of ups and downs. It focuses mostly on love and friendship and how it evolves overtime.

Nack is a 17 year old boy living with his single mother. His focus is solely studying so he can get in a nice university. He has close friends but he still feels quite lonely. And now also feels pressure of studies. An openly gay boy in his class for some reason bullies him indirectly. As time passes, Nack starts to understand the feeling of sex and love. Especially when one of the cute guys (supposedly straight) makes a move on Nack in swimming, but that goes nowhere. Enter Toy, the class Maths topper who take a fascination for Nack and slowly they start getting together really close. They dont have sex or anything but clearly its so much more than friendship where Toy comes as a friend, moral support and everything for Nack. But Nack's mother sees this as a digression from Nack's focus and also worries if her Christian son is now gay, asks Toy to stay away. Sudden rude behaviour of Toy breaks Nack's heart but with the support of his friends he gets over it and eventually after a gap of one year and focusing in studies enters university and gets back with Toy.

Some things in the film are good like silent eyes talking. When Toy and Nack give each other lobe glances, or hugs and cuddles and also when they give gifts to each other with. a very well thought meaning behind it, they all make sense. It shows human touches make a lot of difference. The interactions between Nack and Toy are also adorable and sincere as you see them get to know each other and go on cute dates. The conflict if the film is very predictive and you know whats exactly going to happen which makes it not so much fun. It also left me confused as to the motivations of Toy's character and whether his character was trying to be friendly or romantic. It's this confusion that creates a conflict of it's own between the two main characters and it just doesn't make much sense. The cast was good , acted well and was cute but i am still not sure what the actual relationship of the boys was. Slightly better storyline and direction could have easily taken this film to the next level.

I'd say this movie makes a good one time watch, without you having to think too much. It is strictly ok IMO. (5.5/10)

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Flyover Country

I am not sure why this film is being targeted as a romantic comedy drama about coming out. It is actually neither of these things. No comedy or romance as such and definitely not coming-out. If anything, its a story about friendship between a gay and a straight man and where does life and situations take them through over a period of a year of their friendship.

Todd and Russ are in the same literature class and soon become friends. Actually Todd is gay and has a crush on Russ and secretly hopes that Russ is gay too. But thats not to be the case. They bond over their common interest of foreign films and jazz music. Things go south slightly when Russ realizes that Todd is openly gay and that he has crush on him. Todd tries to explain but the friendship gets sour only soon to be mended around when Russ' grandfather passes away. None of Russ' friends and family approves of Todd as a friend and in fact even Todd's sister and her family don't approve. But they stick true to their friendship and by now Todd realizes that he can never have Russ as a boyfriend. A couple of times Todd meets possible suitors and boyfriends and they all get jeopardized because everyone thinks Todd is still obsessed with Russ. A misunderstanding soon follows and their is a big falling out between them. Todd finds a boyfriend and moves to California. A year later when he visits, they apologize to each other and revisit their good old days.

First things first, acting is pretty awful by all characters. Main actors as well as every single character that comes in and out is horrible. Everyone has to extreme reactions to everything that it gets painful to watch. There are so many random things that happen in this film. How come, Todd's sister only finds out after a decade that Todd is gay! Why does everyone think that Russ is gay, just because he hangs out with Todd. His grandfather, friends, colleagues, classmates, everyone hates the idea of homosexuality and after a while its a joke to hear them giving a lecture about Jesus and christianity combined with the really bad acting. It was also weird (making me roll my eyes), that how every guy who would approach Todd would talk just about foreign films and jazz music and as if these were the 2 most important things that one needs to be interested in for a meaningful relationship. It was very odd. The movie set in Omaha was super low budget and a terrible one all thanks to a poor screenplay, direction and acting. Thankfully it wasn't as bad as some of the recent ones I have seen but it is still pretty lame.

I would recommend watching it ONLY if you have nothing better to do in life other than look for ways to waste 2 hours of your life. The similar premise with an able director has a potential to give us a decent movie to watch. (3.5/10)

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Memorias de lo que no fue (Spanish) [Boy Undone]

This is one of those films thats stretched beyond reason and the story could easily have been told in a short story format. In this film I can easily snip off almost 60m minutes worth of scenes and as an audience you will not miss a single thing about the film. Long minutes of silences , awkward advances and just random memory flashbacks. I guess I am not going through a good time of watching decent films.

A young man finds himself waking up to no memory. He is at Miguel's house and he doesn't remember a thing about who he is, where he is from and how did he get there. He starts to panic but after being calmed down he decides to stay in the apartment as he attempts to piece his memories back together. Almost an hour into the film and 3-4 days later is when the young man asks Miguel on how he got there. Miguel tells him that they met at a nightclub and he come home with him , had sex and slept but the young man remembers none of it. Flashbacks to sexual encounters and violent confrontations begin to surface and Fernando begins to put the pieces back together with the help of Fernando. It turns out that some of his so called friends are responsible for this state who suspected that he was closeted gay.

I am trying really hard to think about anything positive about the film. IN fact at almost 2 hours the film was stretched beyond imagination . The acting by the leads was strictly ok and had absolutely no chemistry. There were so many sex scenes, almost soft-pornish thrown in every now and then which was very uncomfortable to watch. Then there is a scene when Miguel goes to meet a creepy old man who for no reason goes on and on for almost 10 minutes on Mexico's existential crisis, which had absolutely no relevance to the film. The director tried to make a homoerotic thriller but this was far from it. The idea had potential had it been done right.

Bad direction, ok acting, endlessly stretching storyline and moments of silences. This movie is without a doubt a miss. (2/10)

Monday, October 14, 2019

Thirty Years of Adonis (Mandarin/Cantonese)

I understand when film makers think they know every thing about art and they wanna use a new medium to show us what their version if art is, ultimately becomes very exhaustive for audiences. And when you take a gay theme subject on top of that, the line between soft-core porn and pompous art-house cinema grows ever finer. This film is nothing but a sensational film making.

The story is pretty thin. An aspiring gay actor Adonis has blind trust in his agent. He has an ailing mother and he is also supposed to take care of her. Keeping faith in agent, he agrees to work as a nude model a few gay art films which ultimately gets sold as porn films. He eventually joins porn and prostitution as well since he has to make money. We see various "artistic" scenes including Adonis getting raped by some 30 odd men for a film. Once his mother dies, he opens a bar with his agent to serve gay clientele and he also meets a caucasian man and falls in love. A tragic end awaits for Adonis when he is mercilessly murdered right about when he is thinking of leaving the country for good.

I really am in loss of words to write down how bad the film was made in the name of art. There was a LOT of nudity which wasn't needed. There were sex scenes, cum scenes and full on erection. There were scenes shot in artistic manner to somehow show link between life and karma and religion and faith and what not. I just did not understand the point of the whole thing. And why was Adonis so blindly trusting of his agent given that he got him in so many troubles. He would just give in to whatever he says. It was bizarre. The only saving grace was Adonis was quite good looking and acted quite good. Mr Scud or whatever you are called, please stop giving us your artistic BS.

Don't waste your time on this piece of garbage in the name of art. (2/10)

Friday, October 11, 2019

The Gay Bed and Breakfast of Terror

From the very first dance number, I knew this film was going to be bad. But I wasn't sure how bad it will be. It was very over the top as you would expect from a movie of this genre and a poster like this. I wonder if this was supposed to be a trashy spoof comedy, because it would have been so much better. Sadly, I had to bear the ungodly story, acting and the overall premise for almost an hour and 45 minutes.

The mother-daughter duo of Helen and Luella run a gay bed and breakfast far away form the center of the town. Its the weekend of the biggest party in town and we meet 5 gay/lesbian couples who are forced to stay in this BnB because they did not make prior arrangements. We have all stereotypes covered. A leather daddy and his boyfriend who happens to be the drag queen, a twink with a richer and older troll, an upscale gay couple with their annoying fag hag, an entrepreneurial lesbian couple and finally a singer and a tomboy lesbian couple. Luella also likes girls but Helen wants to use this opportunity to find a nice gay man and convert him to marry luella. We keep hearing about Manfred, who it turns out is the son/monster of Helen with 100 other men in an orgy. Slowly couples are cheating and we see murders start happening in this place. Secrets are revealed about why Helen is doing what she is doing, why Luella is the way she is. Murders continue and the film ends weirdly with everyone dead except the drag queen and tomboy girl who decide to take over the Bed and Breakfast place.

This film is very much aware of its B grade movie status. It tries to be a mish mash of comedy, terror, spoof, religious and christian bickering etc. Trying to be too much at once, it fails to keep any single focus and fails miserably in my opinion. All the gay couples cater to some sort of gay stereotype and are obnoxious not just to each other but others as well. This is a typical gay camp film which probably I would have tolerated 10 years ago but not anymore. Its my fault that I am watching the film more than 0 years after it came but still! I heard people say that its offensive but I really doubt it. I mean when the story and concept itself is so silly, who in their right minds would get offended by any of this, be it religious people, homosexuals or republicans.

My advice would be to strictly stay away form this, unless campy movies are something that excite you or you are drunk with 5 other friends and want to watch a non-brainer. The acting is horrible and every every scene lingers on way too long. (2.5/10)

Thursday, October 10, 2019

New Queer Visions - Men from the Boys

A compilation of short films exploring first love, revenge, new beginnings and more are unwrapped in this exciting collection from first-time directors from Portugal, Taiwan, Belgium, the UK and the USA. This collection, as expected is a very mixed bag of short films. None of the films really stood out for me.

CIGANO (Portugal): Wealthy young Sebastian finds out he has a flat tyre and ends up accepting help from a Gypsy passer-by. When Sebastian offers to give him a ride home, their expected destination is not what it seems. I am not sure what was the gay connection here.

TALKING TO MY MOTHER (USA): A young Asian man is trapped in a culture clash where traditions stunt his quest for personal happiness. He has a boyfriend but is expected to marry a girl who also is a close friend. The film shows the struggle to open up to his mother with the truth but maybe its too late now.

DAWN (USA): On an evening commute, Tye detects racism from another passenger's glance. In revenge, he decides to follow and confront the man. But things will clash when Tye will find a connection with his assaultee.

SPILT MILK (UK): An unconventional and highly moving love story between two teens leading up to the night of their prom as they begin to understand the differences and similarities of love, sex and gender and sexuality.

DINNER CONFESSION (Taiwan): In the hilarious and sweet 'Dinner Confession', Che is having dinner with his mom, but all of a sudden, she takes out Che's secret magazine and starts to question him about it. However, she is interrupted by the unexpected visit of Che's close friend, Chun-Hao, who is actually his lover.

PITTSBURGH (USA): An intimate, emotionally turbulent yet occasionally light-hearted look at a young deaf man's relationship with his boyfriend, who isn't quite ready to come out of the closet. Wonderful!

KISS ME SOFTLY (Belgium): 17-year-old Jasper lives in a small town. Jasper finds it hard to come to terms with his father’s career and also struggles with the problems of adolescence, but eventually he musters up the courage to be true to himself and those around him in this heartwarming coming of age tale.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Seat In Shadow (UK)

Don't let the poster or dvd cover of the film fool you. This is a very unconventional film. Sadly, not a very good one. It is very artistic with less focus on story but more on the unusual treatment given to it. Its a case of style over substance, disguised with wordy dialogue and random narrative turns. It was really hard to keep your interest intact during the narrative.

Albert is an ageing and eccentric painter who lives by himself in a very old and dirty house. He is visited by his friend who asks him to help her troubled grandson because he seems very sad all the time. I guess Albert is also a psychiatrist. When Ben visits Albert, we find that he had a boyfriend Adam, who dumped him and thats why he is sad, lonely and depressed. Albert tries to help but also at some stage is afraid of being alone himself. He knows he is growing old and through Ben, he tries to hold on to his youth. Using unconventional methods, he tries to cheer Ben and actually make a friendship. Albert even forces himself to go with Ben to a nightclub to meet Adam. Its not very clear if Albert is interested in Ben sexually or he is using him to relive his youth. The ending is bit weird where a few guys from the club come back to Albert's place. They have an orgy while Albert watches in awe and then he tries to give Ben a chance of an Australian experience.

If the summary sounded weird, its because the film actually was. Only some of the banter between Albert and Ben is ok, but most of the times, it just made no sense at all. Its not very clear whey Ben is depressed and sad. It can't be just because of Adam. There has to be more reasons which I wish were explored. Similarly, its not really clear who Albert actually is and why does he keep doing those random long momologues. The two characters are an odd match and to be honest it’s baffling why Ben’s grandmother would even entertain the idea of getting Albert to help her grandson as he hardly seems capable of looking after himself.

The film is very artsy with a wafer thin plot and its films like these where I struggle to understand what's the kind of audience who like these kind of films. (3/10)

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Hwanjeolgi (Korean) [In Between Seasons]

Though I have seen a similar themed film in the past and reviewed it here, this film does work on its own merit and sensibilities. This is a very sensitive film, that some may find slow, but its a beautifully directed and scripted drama without going over board at any stage. A beautiful setup of two main characters who come close to each other but then there is an invisible gap that comes between them and how it is handled.

The film starts with an accident, in which Soo-hyun goes into coma. His friend Yoon-hoji survives and then we go into flashback. Soo-hyun lives with his mother whose husband left her and it was 4 years ago that Soo-hyun introduced Yoon-hoji to his mother as his friend. As the friendship grows, Soo-hyun's mother soon finds herself to be a motherly figure for Yoon-hoji also. Time progresses during which individually both the boys spend time in college and then Soo-hyun goes to mandatory military service, but during these times, Yoon-hoji makes a point to meet the mother and also both Soo-hyun and Yoon-hoji make sure to spend some time with each other. Only slowly we realize. that the two boys are actually romantically involved as well and it was during one of their romantic weekend trips that this accident happens. When the mother accidentally sees the boys together on camera after the accident, she understandably shows a restraint and distance from Yoon-hoji and asks him to not meet her son Soo-hyun who is still in coma. At one point, she flatly asks him not to come to see her and her son again, and she subsequently moves her son to a facility located in some remote rural area. Few weeks later Yoon-hoji finds out where the 2 shifted and he decides to show up despite the mother's refusal. By this time the mother is also tired taking care of her son all by herself and reluctantly becomes a little more relieved than before as Yoon-hoji willingly helps her taking care of her son. The distance soon transcends between the mother and Yoon-hoji. She wants to know more about her son's relationship. Soo-hyun eventually opens his eyes and soon strats recuperating with love and support from his love and his mother.

As mentioned above, this film could easily have been your average over the top melodrama, but the movie wisely goes for quiet intimate drama instead of resorting to sappy sentimentalism or overwrought melodrama. And this is what I loved the most about the film. Not even a single instance is shown uberly dramatic. There is only one scene where the mother gets frustrated and lets out anger but even then the film continues to engage us with small nuanced moments to observe. The pace of the film is consistent and not all cards are laid out in front of us. We find out slowly the details which also helps us understand better where everyone is coming from. The story is not new but the treatment and sensitivity is fresh. I liked the non-linear narrative and acting by all the actors, primarily Yoon-hoji and the mother was really good. Yoon-hoji's co-worker's track was completely unnecessary and that could have helped trim the film a little. I got a warm feeling seeing the love between the two men and how they both also balanced their love and respect for the mother and not putting themselves in her face all the time. Both Yoon-hoji and the mother have their own emotional journeys as a lover and a mother, but its their interaction with each other which makes this film very endearing.

This film shows us how complex human relationships can get especially when they have someone common binding them. Be patient and this film can actually surprise you with the maturity with which the subject has been handled and delivered. (7/10)

Friday, September 20, 2019

B&B (UK)

There are very few gay thrillers out there which are even half decent. The few that I have reviewed were years ago. And of late, the ones I have seen in last couple of years have been horrible. So, I had my reservations while watching this film. Thankfully, it was not terrible as I had begin to expect from movies of this genre, but it wasn't also super exciting that I would go back and watch it again.

Marc and Fred are a married gay couple returning to a bed-and-breakfast after they won a court battle exactly a year ago against Josh, the owner of the establishment who is too religious to accept queers. There is an obvious tension when they check in and do not get a very warm welcome. Josh's teenage son Paul confides in Fred that he is gay and he has to deal with lot of issues because of his homophobic father. Tensions get higher when a mysterious Russian comes to B&B. Marc thinks he is gay but Fred believes that Josh has invited him for gay bashing. Meanwhile somehow Paul and the Russian decide to go out for the night at gay cruising park and now Fred is worried about the boys safety. In moments of heat, its not very clear if Russian was going to attack or not, but an argument leads to Paul killing the man. Now a cat and mouse game start where Paul tries to put the blame on Fred and the coupe try their best to get out of the mess. Some contrived scenes follow and eventually Josh takes the blame of killing the man and goes to jail. A year later the gay couple return to find Paul now running the B&B and now supposedly in a straight relationship with a woman because his father showed him the path of righteousness.

Its still not very clear to me whether the Russian was actually someone who harmed people or someone who was just a voyeur. The second half of the film felt very complicated and I was unable to comprehend a lot of scenes. Whatever be the case, the other big problem I had t he film was I wasn't able to connect to any of the characters. Be it Marc and Fred, who wanted their right to stay in a B&B, but clearly Marc was a dickhead who wasn't even bothered about the safety of his husband. All he cared of was being right and having the last word. He was so annoying that I couldn't understand why a reasonable man like Fred would be with him. Then , its difficult to understand how did Paul and the Russian make a plan to meet when he didn't even speak english. It was so random. And then finally when Josh was so against the gay couple, why would he hand himself over to the police for his son's crime instead of maybe accusing the gay couple. A lot of actions didn't make much sense to me in the film. The one thing I got from the film was how it was all about Marc's ego. Maybe he wanted to fight for his rights but there are ways to do it without being a dickhead, but then thats my personal opinion. All the actors thankfully did a good job at acting. You can tell they are good actors but lack of character development constrained my liking for any of them.

The film wasn't terrible but wasn't anything much to talk about. If you are looking for something that is not stereotypical gay, go for this film. It does offer something new. Sadly, the new is not that good. (4/10)

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Love @ First Night: Season 1 & 2 (Web Series)

I found this web series while randomly browsing on Youtube and I am surprised not many people know about its existence. I have to admit that. initially it took me a while to warm up to the characters and the over-the-top acting by its characters, but slowly I got sucked into the lives of the characters and must say I thought it was quite decent. There are few shows that show show queer African American community the way this show does.

Our main actors are Spencer and Jayden. They meet one night at Spencer's roommate Alex's birthday party and hook up. Its only the next day they realize that Spencer was actually the blind date that Alex had invited over. Alex is a player and just sleeps around but after this incident doesn't leave any chance to make Spencer guilty of stealing his potential love. Jayden and Spencer meanwhile are getting close and quite like each other. We also meet Jayden's sister, who is very supportive but is also dealing with own personal men issues. Alex and Jayden are slowly growing apart because of Alex' bitchy nature and also mainly due to his other friend Gary, who keeps giving all wrong advice to Alex. Gary hatches a plan to bring into picture Orlando, who is Jayden's ex partner who uses to physically abuse him. Exactly a year later on Alex's next birthday, he presents Orlando as a surprise pretending to not know who he is fully intending to take revenge and hoping Spencer and Jayden would break up. Season 2 starts with Jayden and Spencer dealing with Orlando's sudden arrival in their lives. Meanwhile Alex is slowly falling for Orlando, who clearly wants to sleep around and want to have an open relationship. This season we see more of Jayden's family background including his sister's issues. With the arrival of Spencer's mother, whom Spencer hasn't come out to, and with Spencer's co-worker hitting on him, the two of them go through their ups and downs but still managing to communicate. The season ends with Gary's true face being exposed but also with a question mark of what else is Jayden hiding from Spencer.

As I said before, my first reactions were, Oh ! My God! why are the characters so loud and over the top but after a few episodes, I got used to it. I have to say most controlled acting was by Jayden followed by Orlando. Jayden's sister was the most annoying and so was Alex. I think there could have been a decent balance of a loud character v/s showing him just a bitchy queen who has not grown up. Coming to Spencer, he was all over the place, sometimes he was too good and other times just random facial reactions and expressions would totally catch you off-guard. On a brighter side, no stereotypes are made of the fact that characters are African-American or the fact that they are gay. Its a regular story where no bones about both of the things are done and thats a very welcome change. Also the scenarios that have been shown could be happening in our everyday lives so connecting to them is easier (minus the loud reactions to everything). A few changes I would recommend is that it was only Jayden's apartment that looked like someone actually lived in .rest all other locations are so minimal furnished and used, its clear that they are being used just for shooting. I know its a trivial thing but the sets does make a difference.

Apparently Season 3 is in works and I for one would look forward to what's happening next. This is no great shakes by any means but its not bad either. Just get used to the theatrical Over the top acting style and you will be good. (6/10)

Friday, September 13, 2019

Soft Lad (UK)

At its heart, this film seems like a coming-of-age family drama centered around a love triangle. On paper this is a good story with a lot of drama and opportunities for conflicts, but good actors and direction makes all the difference. This is not a bad film at all, but needed a more mature film maker who could have done complete justice to the story.

David is a young 22 year old dancer who has just been accepted to a dance company of his dreams. He wants to go but is hesitant because he has feelings for Jules, who is a married man that David has been having an affair with. It turns out that Jules is actually married to David's sister Jane. Slowly David starts to understand that Jules cannot reciprocate the love that he expects of him and as a rebound hooks up with a guy Sam in a club. They both get along well and as David is starting to get serious with Sam, Jules misses him and wants to do something about it. He becomes irritable and picks fights with Jane all the time. Jane can't understand what's going on. Meanwhile, Sam and David want to get serious and they decide to go for HIV test. Turns out that David is positive and Sam is fine. David is heartbroken and confronts Jules on why he gave him the virus. This is when truth comes out that secretly Jules has slept with some other guys. David forces Jules to come clean to Jane, which of course puts a split between relationship that David has with his sister and family. Sam, initially can't understand how David could do that to his sister, but ultimately decides to give all the support that he can to David for him to continue a happy healthy life.

I am not sure why different characters keep addressing David as "soft lad". It was a bit annoying. Also, despite the fact that David's and Jules' affair started with a few drunken nights, David should have known better. Thankfully Sam is the only one who asks him towards the end on how could he ever do this to his sister. No one can ever get so blinded by love and lust. You can understand that Jules is a douche bag but why would David get mad for Jules not leaving his wife for him. Thats just being selfish. Because this clearly doesn't prove that David loves and cares for his sister. The acting and direction felt more theatrical than a film setup. and things just happened very conveniently. How can a young man like David have slept with only Jules or Sam; how does Sam and Jules fall so much in love with each other so quick and suddenly the husband goes from thinking he is straight to being gay. Overall, the makers were missing the point. Were they trying to educate the people about affects of HIV or is it love or is it something else? It was hard to say. By the way, it may sound weird but the accent was getting to me after a while, especially Jane. I wanted to feel bad for her, because in all this, she is the one who gets hurt the most but I just failed to connect with her character.

The film did little to develop its characters and towards the second half I would skip the film so I could just move along. Good scope from a subject point of view but an average direction fails to lift the movie to anything that you would remember the film for. (4.5/10)

Monday, September 9, 2019

The Male Gaze: First Kiss

I just reviewed the second in the series of the Male gaze recently, so I went and looked for part one to watch and review it here. This collection of short stories brings together five shorts that are based around men experiencing romantic and/or sexual interaction with other men for the first time. From regret to introspection to fighting back and all-out laughter, a confection of emotions await.

Naked (Sweden)
Straight friends Erik and Anthony sleep together after a night of drinking. In the aftermath Erik continues his relationship with his unsuspecting girlfriend while Anthony starts to consider that he may not be the person he’d always thought he was. Its time to confront his true feelings and likings.

Pria (Indonesia)
This is reviewed earlier here.

Walk With Me (USA)
While walking his dog, Eric bumps into the confident and carefree Ryan. Taking a nervous leap, Eric accepts Ryan’s invitation to walk through the city en route to a concert. In the next six blocks, the two men discover that intimacy through anonymity also exposes one another’s flaws and insecurities. Will they make it to the concert in one piece?

One Night Only (Australia)
A young confident man Tyler crashes a party with best friend Erika to check on a guy. BUt once dejected by him for putting on makeup, Tyler has to decide, how to get hold of his self esteem and  move on.

Tapette (France) [Mousetrap]
A builder Michel finds himself aroused by co-worker Thierry, which doesn’t go down very well with his long-suffering and totally unconvinced girlfriend, Charlotte. Nevertheless, Michel goes out into the night to a gay club to explore his new desire.

This set of shorts were actually pretty good and interesting and I had fun watching them. I would definitely recommend. (6/10)

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Steam Room Stories - The Movie

Its films like these that reaffirm what most people think: most gay films are trash. Apparently this is one of the most popular LGBTQ web series on youtube (surprising I have never heard of it before), but not every webseries can translate into a good film. Making a spoof is not an easy job.

Sally Fay's cosmetic business is not doing well and she spends all her money to find out the eternal fountain of youth. Unfortunately that sits under the steam room of a local gym. The steam room has a group of hot hunky men (straight and gay) who discuss random things. Sally sends her assistant to find dirt on the gym and soon the boys realize that they need to collect 25k USD to save the gym and hence the steam room. The film just goes downhill with the trashy ideas (and even worse execution) to collect the money. The assistant falls in love with one of the men and does right by the group by supporting them in raising the money. As expected the money is raised, Sally bears the brunt and loses the cosmetics company to the board and the boys are happy to be back in steam room.

The film is supposed to be funny but it is neither funny nor entertaining in any way shape or form. The only thing going for the film is the 6 pack abs of all the 5-6 men sitting in the steam room. They are easy of eyes and don't shy away from exposing but as an audience we need something more to keep ourselves entertained. It's a complete and utter waste of time, money and space. The only decent acting was done by Sally's assistant. Rest every character was forgettable.

The writing sucks, the acting sucks, the directing sucks. Watch one of your earlier favorite films on repeat rather than wasting time on this. (2.5/10)

Thursday, September 5, 2019

The Male Gaze: The Heat of the Night

When darkness falls, temperatures rise in these six stories about late night confessions, intimacy for sale, high speed hookups and full moon frissons.. This is a collection of short films from various countries.

Thirst (UK)
A young man delivers a stream of monologue with his wish list of the urban gay hook up life and dreams of his ideal future with the man of his dreams. Can gay men really overcome their internalized shame, when what they want is different from what they pretend!

According To Mateo (Spain)
This is a dark depiction of deep sexual desires, although its a bit unclear at times. Mateo and his boyfriend bring home a guy but Mateo leaves them both to go with another guy on street to have a more darker and harder sexual encounter which he is not getting at home.

Hardcore (Israel)
An encounter between two Israeli men and a German tourist, where they find themselves way above their head as he asks them to engage in extreme fetishes with him. Partly funny yet dark, snappy and definitely not sexy, this is a sarcastic exposé of dark sexual desires.

Beast (Sweden)
A young reclusive man meets someone he falls in love with, but as they become closer, the more scared he is for his secret to be revealed: why he has to live alone. A subtle-fantasy horror, where we sort of only know what may happen because of the title of the film.

Petit Ami (Belgium)
An encounter between a young sex worker and an enigmatic older man at a seedy motel but they connect at some level. This story of a fleeting connection between two men is a moving reminder that we can find solace and human intimacy in the most unusual of circumstances.

Skai Blue (Belgium)
Story about a man who meets an asylum seeker from Cameroon, we see the difficulty of gaining asylum in Europe for LGBT people through the eyes of a Belgian man who just wants his lover to stay.

The films are dark as the title suggests and none of them is boring. They make for a decent watch.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Tatuagem (Portuguese) [Tattoo]

This film was good and I wanted to like it, but I feel that some where this film will connect more with the Brazilians more than the international audience. There are multiple reasons for it IMO, a lot has to do with the political situation in 1970s in Brazil and how theatre in Recife specifically was perceived at that point. Sure the film gives us an idea and I admired it but I believe I would have been able to appreciate a lot more, if I was aware of the political and the cultural sub-context of the country at that point. Surely this is a gay love story but the surroundings and situations are all so contextual that it helps. Also, this film weirdly reminded me of the documentary "Cockettes" that I had recently seen; I guess more an anarchist theatre point of view and all the colorful characters we get to see.

Brazil is still under dictatorship. We meet Clecio, who runs an alternate theatre group that shows sexuality, nudity, political issues, in all campy but entertaining. The star is Paulette, an immature and young transvestite who couldn't care less about things. Clecio is a teenage son with a girl form his earlier days and both of them occasionally hang out with Clecio and his group. We then meet Finhina, an 18 year old young soldier, who is seeing Paulette's sister and happens to visit the theatre group and instant sparks fly between him and Clecio. Finhina is also struggling in military because of constant gay bashing by one of his sergeants, who himself may have sexual issues of his own. Paulette doesn't take this very well but eventually her and Clecio sort things out. A torrid affair begins between Clecio and Finhina starts gradually with some misunderstandings. But theor love is genuine and Finhina even gets a tattoo to show his love but rest of the team is worried that Finhina may be military spy. Things are clarified, The theatre group gets banned from performing by the government and Finhina is expelled from the military. The ending is where the two men are on their own individual paths hoping that one day they can reconnect.

The film is filled with at least 3-4 instances of full on lengthy shows themselves. It is good that they celebrate the diversity, and spirit of those times but for non Brazil folks, this becomes an overkill. Subtitles can never do justice to such elaborate sequences and after a while you want movement to happen in the story. Double standards of Brazilian society during those times are exposed while carefully reminding us that no one is completely gay or straight. We are fluid and it all depends on who we fall in love with. The way the first interaction between Clecio and Finhina is filmed and showed is so pure and true that I loved it. You see nervousness in both of them , with excitement of what may come and feelings of that first dance, first kiss and first sex. It was awesome. Somewhere in between it got confusing in terms of what kind of relationship they had since we see Finhina sleeping with other man but also struggling with his military days. But ultimately in the end things start getting clearer that the love they share is for each other but at the sam time neither of them owns the other person. They have a genuine chemistry and the graphical scenes be it the sex or the shows is a proof to the liberation spirit of what people expected.

A very colorful film that needs to be seen and appreciated. Unfortunately the very local subcontext hampers people like me to fully appreciate the film to the extent that it deserves. (5/10)

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

J'ai 2 Amours (French) (Mini Series) [I Have 2 Loves]

I absolutely loved this 3 part mini series. This series really had everything going for it. Love, romance, drama, light moments, emotions, uncertainties, fuck-ups, friendship, families and overall how we all do mistakes as humans. This is definitely one of the better series that deals with interesting aspects of bisexuality and love. This doesn't mean that the series was flawless. It did have loose ends and made me question logic at certain places but then sometimes you just have to sit back and get entertained, which this series did plenty of.

Hector is a doctor in emergency room and has been in a very happy and committed relationship with his boyfriend Jérémie for 5 years. Together they are trying to have a baby with their best friend Anna. Enter, Louise, who apparently was Hector's first love in school/college days. Sparks fly again and hector finds himself getting attracted to her charm again and he starts having an affair with her. Anna's trial to get pregnant with Hector's sperm fails twice and but succeeds when on a drunk night Jérémie and Anna have sex. Meanwhile Louise also gets pregnant. Hector tries to unsuccessfully juggle both his lives but is getting tired. Jérémie feels there is something odd but cannot put a finger to it. He feels guilty of not spending enough time with Hector and having lied to him about having sex with Anna. When he tells Hector the truth, now Hector goes in guilt and decides to introduce Louise and Jérémie to each other. The meeting doesn't go very well and as expected, they both don't wanna have anything to do with Hector because they both feel cheated by him. Both babies are born and its been 3 months and Hector has not seen babies yet, Jérémie and Louise both miss him. Eventually, they get to talk and at least start getting civil with each other where Hector gets to see and spend time with babies. The movie ends on a positive note where it seems hector, Jérémie and Luise will be able to work something out between them.

The series explores homosexuality, bisexuality and poly love all of it in some way or the other. Thankfully the series addresses some fo these issues head on. for example when Hector is accused of choosing to be bisexual, he reminds Jérémie that its not his choice. Its who he is. He did not choose to be attracted to both sexes. Most folks fear that if their partner is bisexual he/she will eventually go for other sex whereas the truth is they are as much of a monogamist as anyone else. Yes Hector doesn't come clean to either of them for fear of losing them but we all know sooner or later that will happen. We do see some good fun moments while Hector is trying to juggle two lives with the support of his colleague. An interesting relationship is also slowly established between Jérémie and Louise because they both 'share' Hector. As actors everyone does a fantastic job on their parts and never once I hoped anything different from the series. You could see Jérémie and Hector love each other so much that neither of them is actually capable to going for another man and you feel their pain after the break-up. For some reason, in al of these I felt most bad for Jérémie but I think at some point every character loses out in one way or the other and sadly that's life.

Strongly recommended. You will not be disappointed, I promise. You may not agree to how Hector deals with situations but you wont be able to deny that we all know someone who has fucked up in a similar-ish situation in life. (8/10)

Monday, September 2, 2019

An American Hate Crime

This movie is a good example of how bad direction can completely spoil a very important message and a good narrative. For this film, I will not really blame the actors, because I do think they had potential but the direction was bad. It was more theatrical and very amateur, because of which a film that should be more widely seen may not really get the audience.

Jake is a troubled teenage frustrated with life because he feels there is nothing going for him. He gets suspended from community college, has a dish washing job. To top it all the company he keeps is nothing to talk about. The 2 of his friends are homophobic and they convince Jake to join them in homophobic attacks on gays. They download a gay dating app and bash a couple of guys. Jake is not totally convinced but he goes along. On the third attempt, they badly end up beating a young 13 year old boy Noah. We then see Noah's story of how he is coming to terms with his sexuality, and also his first love and how his family has been nothing but super supportive of everything. When Noah goes to hospital after the crime, does Jake find out that the guy his group bashed up is actually his younger brother Noah. The guilt is killing him, so he turns himself to police and his friends get arrested too. After few months, Noah gets better and visits Jake in the jail with his boyfriend and forgives him for his actions.

Like I said, the story was very good and something that needs to be told. But in this case, I feel a docu-drama approach would have been better. Or some changes in screenplay with a better director could have changed things drastically around and would have made a much stringer impact. Hate Crimes are real and they still happen in today's time. There are as many people who hate Gays as there are who support. And the haters can sometimes go to any lengths. So to this, I applaud the makers to deal a delicate subject, but unfortunately they didn't do a very good job of it. It would have been nice to understand why Jake is so angry when he had such a supportive family around him. The entire story of Noah and his love was so cute and it would remind everyone of their teenage crush and love. Both those guys were super cute and they did their part very nicely, so did the mother. Jake's friend were quite annoying; not just as characters but also as actors.

I wish someone makes a more gut wrenching, hard-hitting film on this subject because hate crimes are not going anywhere sadly. Sadly, the bus has been missed in this attempt. Its not an American problem, Things are much worse in other parts of the world and the world just needs to be more tolerant and let people love. (3.5/10)

Sunday, September 1, 2019

The Rainbow Bridge Motel

Nothing about this film was good. Too lengthy, flat jokes, over acting, stretching a topic, LGBT stereotypes, mix of jewish humor. This is a classic example of a film-makers over indulgence in a subject that could easily have been a very funny short 20 minute film.

Darren and Dean arrive to Niagara Falls for their wedding. Alas! because of an online blunder, the hotel that they have booked for the occasion is totally rundown and instead of view of Niagara Falls, they are sandwiched between chemical factories. Dean, the diva of the two, demands Darren to fix everything for their wedding before the guests arrive. Sadly, because of a convention going on, no alternate place is available. The motel owner tries his best to convince the duo that things would be fine. While planning for the ceremony, Darren realizes that his ex-wife has not yet signed divorce papers. Which is even more of a shocker since Dean didn't even know that Darren was once married to a woman Maggie. Luckily she doesn't mind driving down to sign the papers. Bigger drama unfolds when Darren's parents come and his overbearing mother wants to control everything including trying to convince Darren to not divorce Maggie. Random misunderstandings follow, supposedly funny moments later, the couple succeeds in getting married with the backdrop of Niagara Falls.

Some of the big problems with this film are that the jokes are overextended, the plot developments frequently forced and the production values poor. This film is sufficiently lacking in passion that one would struggle to believe the central couple love each other if they didn't keep saying so. I mean, how can Dean not know Darren was once married. How can Dean not get involved in any planning whatsoever for he is wedding when he is clearly the more excited one and the passionate for the event. Both Darren and Dean overact but I blame that mostly on the bad and poor direction and of course the script that's stretched beyond limit. Darren's mother comes out as an even annoying character, where the makers probably thought that she would bring the house down with laughter. Also when the motel just hosted a lesbian wedding why was there so much fuss around a gay wedding!

This film is a let down in every aspect. The only redeeming factor could be editing it really short. (2/10)

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Posledice (Slovenian) [Consequences]

I had no idea what to expect out of this film, but I have to say that I was mighty impressed. A difficult subject, and something new to this genre, this film explores masculinity, repressed sexuality, crime and youth angst & anger issues like never before. Keeping sexuality as the core. its more youth who have somehow been living on the edge of social expectations and are  sort of outcasts.

Andrej is an 18 year old, whose life is around alcohol, parties and self-isolation. When his sexuality is challenged by a girl, he gets more violent. His mother has had enough and as a last chance, he is sent to a detention center where he and other delinquent boy-men are boarded during the week. But the environment only encourages Andrej's risk taking acts. He meets Zele and his side kick, the self appointed thug leader whom everyone fears because of his violence streak. When Zele realizes that Andrej is quite strong, he takes him under his wing. This means the trio spend weekends together running amok, robbing people, stealing cars, doing drugs and girls. We slowly start to see that Andrej may have hidden feelings for Zele and one night while partying Andrej and Zele sleep together. Zele realizes Andrej's fascination for him but forces Andrej to collect debts on his behalf. Zele continues to use his charm but soon Andrej realizes that something is off and refuses to budge. This pisses off Zele and he uploads one of the kissing videos of him on facebook and kills his rat, the only thing that Andrej selflessly loves. An angry Andrej gets cooled off only beating the crap out Zele.

The film initially focuses on expectations of masculinity, being part of the gang with the secret world but slowly the makers reveal the sexual exploration, crime, boundaries, power play and rebellion. Andrej has a magical charm about him. He is violent, but that smile and animalistic charisma draws you into him. And this exact quality about Zele is what attracts Andrej to him. I was thinking this will not end well, but I was happy to see that Andrej finally sees the real picture about Zele. That doesn't mean Andrej is going to improve but at least he begins to see the bullshit that Zele has been pulling through. Andrej is just amazing as an actor and so is Zele. He plays the manipulative character to the T. The film is dark and gritty and raw. Only after i saw a short clip of the director, did I realize that homosexuality is still not a widely accepted thing in Slovenia. And then it made sense of why Andrej may want to stay in closet after all.

The film is not afraid to deal head on with the complex issues of a young male also struggling with his sexuality and social acceptance. But is there a message that the makers are trying to show, I don't know. What I know is that the film makes for a very interesting watch. (7/10)

Friday, August 30, 2019

Gay OK Bangkok : Seasons 1 & 2 (Thai)

Wow! Thailand can actually produce some really good content and relatable storyline revolved around gay men. So far, I have always been skeptical of Asian gay films and web series because they are so over the top in acting and story but this has come as a complete surprise packet for me. Not only the story is very relatable and covers various aspects of gay life, but even the acting and direction are fantastic. This should not be missed. I saw both seasons back to back which is pretty much good 8 hours and a lot of time watching the show.

The story is about the lives of six diverse gay men living in Bangkok. The story focuses on their drama. Pom is a successful man but struggling to find love because of his own insecurities about his look & appearance. He lives with best friend Arm, a player, who enjoys being single and sleeping around. Oaf is in a happy long-term relationship with the much younger Big, although Oaf is starting to suspect Big of infidelity. Then we have Satang, who is MTF, bitchy but very loyal friend. When Pom tells Arm about his crush on an old friend Nat, Arm somehow manages to charm him first which causes rift between the two friends. Pom and Nat get into a relationship which doesn't last long and also Oaf throws out his boyfriend Big for cheating. Season 2 shows the story forward, specifically with respect to Nat's HIV status. He is cooking teacher and has a new boyfriend now. Big is back to Oaf and they are trying to work on their relationship. Arm meets an attractive man who is in a relationship and for first time Arm is not rushing to sleep with the man. Pom also finally meets a man but the success, money and insecurities of this guy (who happens to be Arm's ex) come in between them.

As mentioned above, the series tackles so many subjects but at no point it feels unnecessary. I felt as if every possible scenario and conflict in a gay man's life has been tackled in this series. Love, infidelity, throuple, insecurity, party goer, husband snatcher, HIV, safe sex, friendship, older-younger couple, Transsexual, family, loneliness. The show takes a very realistic approach and feels real. All credit goes to the actors, story writers and the direction. It seems the big reason behind the show was to educate audience about gay men's sexual health issues but it is beautifully blended within the screenplay. There's more than enough emotional drama and interest in the story lines.  It's all exciting to fall in love, but it's what you do trying to make the relationship last that counts the most. Personally my favorite was Nat. He has the most interesting storyline and is the cutest guy of all. His smile is so charming. Arm, even though is a selfish guy and cares about himself only even over friends is overall a character, that exists amongst us very much. There are people who think they are the best and can have any guy they ever want. The scene when Big decides to leave Oaf is heart wrenching. Pom's character is another relatable one, insecure and always wondering why are the bad things happening to me. One thing the series could have done better was maybe delve deeper into trans issues but its still commendable that every other aspect has been handled well.

This might actually be the best asian web series that you will ever see in recent times. Very strongly recommended. (8/10)

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Côte d'Azur (Crustacés & Coquillages) (French) [Cockles & Muscles]

I had seen this film way back in early 2000's when I had just been exposed to the queer films and also before I started writing my blog. So, I am glad I got to watch it again, relive how much fun this movie was to watch and how I wish more makers make this sort of light hearted comedy films which don't tale life too seriously. We all deserve to have a good time once in a while, when we can forget our stress and worries and just have a good time.

A Parisian couple, Mac and Beatrix, are enjoying a seaside summer holiday with their teenage son and daughter. While the daughter is off for a biking adventure with her boyfriend, Their son Charly is with them. Charly's best friend Martin also joins them later for vacation. The couple falsely convinces themselves that Charly is gay and that Martin is his boyfriend. Marc is initially uncomfortable with the idea but Beatrix is very happy. But the truth is only Martin is gay. Charly is straight and they both just happen to be the best of friends and Charly enjoys the fact that his parents suspect he is gay. Beatrix's lover from their hometown soon arrives there as well and we see some fun sexcapades between the two. Te lover wants something serious with Beatrix but she is not sure of leaving her family. Martin is teenage and has his hormones flowing and goes to local cruising place where Charly also follows him and meets a plumber Didier. Only later we find out that Didier is in fact an old lover of Marc from his younger days. But Marc wanted a family and kids and convinced himself to be straight. Beatrix and Marc confess their secrets to each other and thankfully there is no melodrama. The film ends a year later where all these couples (this time Charly has a girlfriend) come together in the same home to enjoy the summer.

The film is not path breaking by any means, its light hearted but I think thats precisely the reason it works. I loved the Dutch reference and how they are pretty cool about everything. All the scenes between Charly and Martin are really nice. Though Charly knows about martin's sexuality and that Martin possibly had a crush on him, this fact never comes between their friendship. They fight, they make up, they laugh. Its easy to relate with parents on why they would think the boys are a couple. Initially it is awkward to see why Marc is so uncomfortable with the idea of his son being gay but soon we find out why and it all makes sense. Beatrix and her rendezvous with her lover are all very funny. She clearly doesn't give a rat's ass of what others think and believes that everyone has the right to live their life the way they want to. Its rightly promoted as a sex comedy of errors, which it is and in fact is a lot of fun to watch.

I can't imagine anyone not liking this film. A fun light hearted very "French" film, that takes up topics like sexuality, fidelity, relationships, and youth and create a fun viewing experience for audience that ends up with a smile on your face. (7.5/10)

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Those People

I had mixed feelings while watching this film. At times it feels like this really nice British inspired film trying to be royal, other times it felt like the makers were confused on what they wanted to focus on between friendship and love. Some of the reactions by some characters would come so random, that it would feel a bit out of place. I understand that life and people are not straight forward and its not easy for all of us to make up our minds, but we all surely try.

Our main protagonist is Charlie, an aspiring artist, who has been closest buddies with Sebastian, son of a disgraced Wall Street criminal. Their group has some other close friends but these 2 are closest. Although they are both gay, they are nothing more than friends although its obvious to everyone that Charlie is madly in love with Sebastian. This entire group play nursemaid to Sebastian's drunken bouts of depression and anger because of his father's situation. Things change when Charlie meets Tim, a professional piano player. There is attraction and after a few weeks when Tim confesses his love, Charlie is confused because somewhere deep down he still yearns for Sebastian. He takes a break from Tim and kisses Sebastian & wants to know whey cant they be together. It seems Sebastian's situation is complicated and he feels that once they are together, Charlie will eventually leave him and their friendship will be gone forever. Completely heartbroken, Charlie gets back with Tim trying to leave everything about Sebastian behind. Tim soon gets a full time position in San Francisco which is a dream job and almost convinces Charlie to join him. Around this time, Sebastian's father commits suicide and all the friends get back together. Charlie still has very strong emotions for Sebastian and Tim gets into a fight with Sebastian when he kisses Charlie. Everyone realizes that Carlie can never get over Sebastian and Tim leaves them to sort their issues out. In a sudden turn of events, Tim comes back on Seb's insistence for a cleaner breakup and the Sebastian sells everything to move in some other part of the world. In the end I feel that Charlie is the one who lost both Tim and Sebastian.

The gentle blossoming of flirting leading to attraction and love between Charlie and Tim makes for some good tender moments in the film. Its a good balance to trying to really understand the friendship and bond that Sebastian and Charlie share. Charlie clearly loves him and cares for him more than anything, but why is Sebastian playing around. Agreed he is worried about their friendship, but it still feels like he uses his friends for his own sake. Its all about him, which makes me question his own loyalty towards his friends especially Charlie. The scene when Charlie confronts Sebastian head on for love which leads to a possible threesome is heart wrenching and superbly acted. You feel pain for both the characters and is a very different way the scene is handled. The actors all look very handsome and dress really well. Charlie os a dream. A superbly handsome man with a sensitive side, he brings the character to life. That combined with upper class setting in New York, gives it a very Brit feel. Nonetheless, this film is a very welcome change form all kinds of films out there. Sadly, in an otherwise fine film, the ending is quite disappointing and feels very rushed. Yes, sometimes its hard to truly differentiate and chose between love and friend (whom you also love), but there could have been better ways to end the film. For no fault of his, ultimately Charlie loses out on both and given how sensitive the guy is, it will not be a good sign.

Ultimately the film is about love and longing for a person who doesn't reciprocate your love. Devoid of any gay cliches (Thank God), this touching film will definitely strike a chord with most folks. (7.5/10)