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.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Skam: Season 3 (TV Series) (Norwegian)

Thanks to one of my blog followers lina, I finally managed to watch the third  season of the show ‘Skam’ which apparently translates to ‘Shame’. My initial thoughts, (a) Why didn’t I watch this series sooner (b) How do I now find time to watch the first two seasons.? For those unaware of the show, like I was till a few days back, this is a hit Norwegian show, a cross between TV/online/web series that focusses on lives on teenagers studying in a high school. Each season focusses on a different character and tackles various issues. The main theme of season 3 is the gay storyline and this is how I came to know about the show in the first place. Its 10 episodes with each episode being 20-25 minutes each.

Since I haven’t seen the show’s first 2 seasons, my review will be based on this season as an individual. The main character of this season is Isak, who hangs out with his close group of 3 other male friends. He flirts with one of the popular girls Emma, but very soon we realize that he has his eyes on a really hot guy Evan. He steals glances on him at various occasions. They both finally meet each other at one of the school group parties and become friends. They share this inherent chemistry and a friendship soon blossoms. When Isak realizes that Evan has a girlfriend, he forces himself to like Emma more but things don’t go as planned. Finally, the two boys just give in and they hook up in a very passionate love affair. Just when everything was going perfect for Isak, he gets a message from Evan that things are moving too fast and that he needs a break. He is devastated and has no one to talk to. When constantly quizzed by his friends, he finally tells them all the truth and all his friends are very supportive. Evan apologizes to Isak and soon things are back on track till another blow strikes Isak. Soon it is revealed that Evan is bipolar. Initially Isak freaks out but on some coaching by one of his friends Magnus, who’s mother is also bipolar, he decides to give it a go and take care of Evan. Slowly things start coming back to normal and they love between the two guys rekindle and reaffirm their faith in closeness. The season ends with a Christmas party and Evan recovering good in proper care of Isak and his friends.

The above is the main storyline but of course we have so many other characters who add beautifully to the story We have Isak’s pals, especially Jonas, who is the first one whom Isak comes out to. Then there is Sana, the Muslim girl, who slowly becomes Isak’s study partner and consecutively a friend and confidant. We have girlfriends for both Isak and Emma and other school students and then finally Isak’s gay room mate, who gives him comfort in his own way. There are way too much good things about the show. First thing is the acting by every character and a unique identity that is given to each of them. You feel for Isak, who cannot stop himself from looking at Evan at every given opportunity while struggling with questioning his sexuality. I absolutely loved that how no one cared a shit about Isak being gay when he comes out. His friends are as supportive (maybe even more) when he comes out and they even help him get back with Evan. The storyline, actors and dialogues and so real and believable that you feel you are a part of the group. It was refreshing to see the forward approach by Evan to make Isak feel comfortable. Their first kiss underwater was so special and wonderful. I struggled initially on why Evan wanted things to slow down but that is clarified later. We find out that Isak’s background has something to do with his parents broken marriage, especially his mother’s mental issues, so when you see the supporting text messages from his parents, you cheer and cry alongwith Isak. I, for some reason, felt the pain that Isak was going through in each of these phases that he was going through. First to accept his sexuality, then finding love in life with subsequent heartbreak, the true friends he has in his life with whom he can talk about religion and sexuality and finally when the whole bipolar incident happens. I mean, if a young 17 year old teenage has to go through so much, I can only imagine. Everything has been handled with a mature, yet natural way, that nothing feels over the top. The chemistry between the boys is great. They way they look at each other with their piercing eyes, you feel the love between them and you also feel the heartbreak that Isak has ben through. You cheer for their love, you want them to get together and stay together for ever and ever.

I had the same mixed feelings of happy and sad when I finished the series, like I had for some other shows in the past. Sad that is over, but really happy that I still have faith there people will continue to come up with innovative ways of good TV/cinema focusing on LGBT community and present issues in a more realistic manner. Bring it on. (8.5/10)

Friday, February 10, 2017

Gay Short Films : 52

Entre Amigos (Mexico) [Between Friends]
A quick short film of two teenage friends. One of them is in hospital and THE other one has secret crush on his friend. When the sick guy asks his friend to jerk- him off since he is his friend, things may take a different turn when the other guy will try to go beyonD just jerking off his friend. He has now accepted his sexuality. What will his friend do? The boys were cute and the film is kept at a perfect short length of just abut 5 minutes.

1992 (France)
It's 1992. Martin is 17 and he films his daily life with his Hi8 camera. He films anything and everything around him. One day he meets Dominique, 23 and works as a student monitor at Martin's high school. Soon an affair begin between the two. Its also the time when Martin is trying to figure out why his relationship with his father is so strained. Maybe filming him also would help.

Bed Buddies (USA)
An interesting take on what happens when three gay friends take their relationship into unknown territory. Three best friends wake up one morning only to realize that they slept with each other. Intense conversations begin on what this will do to their friendship. Should they stop immediately but what if they all enjoyed it, and they all actually like each other. Fantastic film. I loved the concept and I also liked how every possibility was explored without giving us a conclusion.

Why Does God Hate Me (USA)
A coming-of-age comedy about Matthew, a 14-year-old boy living in a very religious town, whose best friend Ester tries to ‘cure’ him of being gay, every time he sees a hot guys in either school or outside. But a trip to San Francisco shows Matthew that he might not be the one who needs curing. It’s comedy, yet a very emotional story of how we all need to be more tolerant to everyone and that its not some sort of disease, or something that can be cured. I like how Matthew decides to be on his own and take control of his own life.

South Park S19E06 - Craig x Tweek (USA)
Interestingly done episode. Introduced by the Japanese art of Yaoi, school students are horrified to find that Tweek & Craig are part of the homoerotic and homosexual paintings done by this art students. Neither is gay but soon they may have to pretend to be one because that’s the only way they will be able to get out of it. In my opinion, the episode was just Meh!

You Are Beautiful (Bulgaria)
A very interesting film. We see a young teenage boy chatting on a gay chat website planning to meet a man. Our young friend also has some communication issues with his mother, who finds out about his son's adventures online. As it turns out the young boy was talking to his father and they are both shocked to see each other. With everyone in family knowing a secret, the dynamics suddenly change at dinner table where everyone is now an adult.

Alex y Fabio Ya No Están (Puerto Rico) [Alex And Fabio Are No Longer Here]
Alex and Fabio’s intricate relationship is examined through a series of flashbacks, highlighting their initial insatiable desire for one another to the inopportune turn of events that led to the dismantling of their relationship. What results is not only an examination of a broken relationship, but an honest portrayal of modern love and its oftentimes fleeting nature. A very fine and warm film.

The Curse of the Un-Kissable Kid (USA)
Josh spends his days dodging bullies and snarky school principals. To make his problems disappear, he drinks a gypsy’s magic potion… if only he’d read the fine print! Life is going to change for him now.

La Collana (Italy) [The Necklace]
Marco is a shy courier instructed to deliver some jewels in a photo studio. Here he meets Giorgio, the photographer: handsome, gay, cheeky who comes on to Marco.

The Tormentors (Australia)
This film deals with the subject of homophobia in a family run motor mechanics business. The father has always been hard on the two sons. The elder son is supposed to take over the business but the younger son is hiding something. With the arrival of an intern at the premise, things may change for him, who can’t take it anymore and comes out of closet but it might be too late by then.  Informal discrimination is a prevailing problem, despite dramatic cultural and legal improvements in recent years.

Gorjetas (Brazil) [Tips]
Mario is broke & is unable to pay bills. In order to earn money to pay them he takes radical measures as he starts as a webcam boy on a famous porn site. To keep and increase the attention of his viewers he goes to extreme lengths, when an intruder walks in to his room to rob him. He uses the event as an opportunity to make more money for himself. A very interesting take on what lengths people will go to satisfy their urges.

Mañana Todo Será Mejor (Spain) [Tomorrow Everything Will Be Better]
A couple though living together has strains. The guy is not sure of what he is doing. Next day he meets another guy at the pool and the two start to flirt but cant do anything. Our man is in for a surprise when he goes back to his girl’s house only to realise that the other guy is her brother.

The Confession (UK)
A lovers quarrel, when one of them asks his partner to be open about his love rather than being conscious about his image, especially when he is leaving for a voyage and wont be back for months.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Hurricane Bianca

A campy film, I wasn’t expecting much from it to be honest but it wasn’t bad at all. Broadly divided into two halves, the first part is actually a bit of drag (no pun intended) but the film gets a lot funnier, quirky and exactly what you hoped for once we have our main character in drag. Which one us doesn’t like the offensive and insulting one-liners specially from drag queens. This film definitely delivered on that front but how I wished there was more of it.

The plot is simple. Richard has been in New York for a while and soon moves to a small town in Texas to teach in a school in the middle of nowhere, as part of the Teaching Ambassador Program. But the stint lasts only a couple of days till the Vice Principal realises he is gay and gets him kicked out. He meets an RJ at an empty bar who soon makes Richard realise that he may have some hidden talents. Richard soon transforms in drag as Bianca Del Rio and applies for a job back at school. The cat and mouse fun games begin now with hilarious incidents with school kids, the vice-principal, the principal and most importantly with the very good looking gym coach. She cuts down the students who try to mess with her to gain their respect and protects the kids who get teased. The film ends with people in the school coming around, being accepted and Bianca winning the teacher of the year award.

As mentioned, the first 30 minutes of the movie was a a little slow but provided the groundwork for the plot. As soon as we got the Bianca transformation, the movie was full of sarcasm, wit, and more insults. Her equation with Vice-principal was hilarious. As an actor Bianca was fabulous. No doubt. But as Richard, he fails completely. I could not have empathy at all. I mean, I agree this is supposed to be over the top, camp, quirky style movie but still a lot was missing. Things just feel into place a little too conveniently including the affair with the coach and the family acceptance by the RJ who has a hidden past. Some other LGBT related topics were highlighted but not addressed, which is fine with me, since the film is a bit superficial anyway. The fact that they were brought up itself was a good gesture. had the film focussed a lot more on Bianca’s wit and humour, that would have received an other plus one from me.

You can enjoy this film only if you like over-the-top camp sensibilities and total sassiness. (5/10)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Theo & Hugo (French)

You will never be able to forget the opening of the film. An explicit sex scene is a dungeon of the club is not something many movies start with, but I think this film wanted to make a statement and it sure did. Thankfully the 15ish minute scene, although very graphic (with actual penetration scenes), is never meant to arouse the audience, rather wen the film progresses, you realize why the whole build up. More on that later.

Starting in a sex club in Paris, curly haired Theo has his eyes set on Hugo, who is engaged in a passionate sex act with a random boy. You can tell that Theo is so mesmerised with him that he wants him at all cost and eventually he manoeuvres his way through to him in that orgy of the sex club. The two have crazy instant chemistry, physically and passionately (and the scene that depicts this is absolutely fantastic). They both leave club and still can’t get enough of each other. Remembering their passionate sexual act, they soon realise that they had unprotected sex, which is even more of a problem, given that Hugo is HIV positive. Even though Theo was active and Theo has undetectable viral load, he is still at risk now. Hugo forces Theo to go to the emergency room and even stays with him throughout as his support. As expected Theo is going through all sorts of emotions of anger, love and confusion. To be honest nothing much significant happens after this. The two walk around the city for sometime, getting to know each other better and still feeling that warm fuzzy feeling for each other which only happens when you really are falling in love for someone. Neither of them wants to leave each other’s side but they are also both aware that they should not appear too pushy. The film just ends with them wishing to spend more time together till they do their follow up appointment with the hospital and then take it from there.

I have mentioned a lot already about the beautifully directed sex scene in the beginning of the film, so I am gonna move on from there and talk about other things. After the couple comes out of the club, this is where the real flirtation begins. I loved the way Theo still keeps looking into Hugo’s eyes because he is still under the same spell of his charm as he was inside the dungeon. Yes, things change when he discovers what a blunder they have made by having unprotected sex and this causes for more extreme confused feelings. We also witness Hugo falling in for Theo. He can’t stop raving about how much of a good time he had and how he thinks that “they actually made love and contributed to world peace!” Their conversations move from physical to emotional and intimate. A chance to really get to know each other. Hugo is more experienced and somehow more mature among the two and stands up every minute with Theo to support him. First half of this film till about the point they leave the hospital is amazing. It has light hearted scenes and breezy mushy moments that I absolutely loved. Personally for me the film went into a no-zone when they just randomly explore Paris looking for food to eat and are just walking around talking stuff. Its important to build their relationship but as a viewer I started to get a bit bored by how heavily dominated the dialogues were in this section. Even the chemistry was not so passionate as it was in the first half of the film. Anyway, the two actors in the film were brilliant and shared an unbelievable great chemistry. And since the sex scenes were explicit and we saw everything, their penises were also damn beautiful :)

The film set in about a time interval of 2 hours is totally believable. Yes towards the last 30 minutes (and hence a bit of low rating), I lost touch; but i completely got a warm fuzzy feeling when two strangers meet, feel an instant connection and how they continue to talk about random things just to get to know each other while unable to keep their hands off each other. The HIV scare just gives another edge to the whole situation. (7/10)

Monday, January 30, 2017

Shared Rooms

This film clearly falls in the low budget, not much thought to the story, just make a gay-film for the heck of it kinda category; which I have reviewed many a times on my blog before. Thankfully it is not that terrible, well, maybe barring a few actors but at least the movie moves along a decent pace and finishes before you realise that you are starting to get bored.

The film follows three parallel tracks set between Christmas day and New Years. We have a married couple Cal & Laslo. They live happily for many years and cannot fathom the fact that all their friends are going the family way adopting kids. Imagine their surprise when Cal’s nephew shows up unannounced at their doorstep after he gets kicked out from his home by his mother for being gay. Even though unprepared, they very sportingly take on their new responsibility of caregivers and family to their nephew. Second story is about room mates Julian and Dylan. Since Julian travels a lot for work, Dylan has been secretly renting out his room to make extra cash. On Christmas, Julian comes back early and is horrified to find the truth. They are both forced to share Dylan’s room and bed which soon becomes odd because Julian has had a crush on his room mate for past 2 years and is now forced to face his demons. And finally we have Sid, who hooks up with Gray as a random sex hookup for Christmas day but they find a lot in common with each other over the holiday period. There is instant connection, & chemistry between them. They share each other’s secrets and spend the holidays together naked. All these people come together as a family to celebrate new years where a happy ending follows for everyone.

Although the prime directive of the film is to show that families are important for gay men and how we make our own family; that doesn’t come out very clearly. The only connecting factor among the three stories in the end is when they all attend the same party, so the whole idea feels a bit hollow. Having said that, the film is funny in bits and parts especially when the nephew shows up and the whole interaction between the trio is funny and somewhat natural. All the other actors sadly are not good performers. Dylan, especially, is really bad. he so called surprises and twists just happen suddenly. There is no build-up or a satisfactory conclusion. IS the film supposed to be comedy or a romantic comedy or a film with twists; you will never know. As mentioned before, the short length of the film is definitely a saving grace.

I have seen much worse, low production crap gay cinema. This is still much better than the rest but compared to some good cinema out there, the film will still rank quite low in my ratings. Not a disaster but nothing to rave about either. (3.5/10)

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Spa Night (Korean/English)

I struggled a bit with the film for two reasons: One, whether this film truly belongs the LGBT genre and second, related to the first is what is the point and message that is being tried to made. I am not by any means saying that its  abad or a confused film. I feel, for viewer like me who wants (or rather prefers) a clear distinction between queer cinema and otherwise gets confused when served with something like this. This film may be promoted as a film about a Korean teenager discovering his sexuality but it is actually a broader story of being a first-generation Korean- American, sense of tradition and responsibility for the family and everything that come with it.

We meet a Korean family based in LA. David, a young 18-ish boy uses most of his time helping out his mom and dad running their restaurant. The parents have dreams of him studying hard and making something more successful out of himself but clearly David is not very good at studies. The times are tough and the family is forced to give up the restaurant and this is where all the troubles begin. The parents force him to take tutorial classes to prepare for SAT while the relation between the mom-dad is deteriorating. The mother find a a job of a waitress but the father is too busy drinking himself and feeling sorry for being a failure for himself and his family. In the process we also see that David has been trying to find an identity for himself. So far he had the comfort of his parents and the restaurant but now he needs to look out for himself. David find s a job at a Korean spa to help his family but the spa has more to offer than David imagined. He witnesses a sensual world of naked men and also sometimes men trying different things with each other sexually. He notices glances and feels some sort of sexual pleasure by just watching but too careful to not ever indulge in any of those activities. David struggles with his own sexuality a few times in the spa and its hard for him to manage the ‘upstairs’ room and keep a check on it because ‘gay makeout sessions’ happen there time to time. With the family relationship deteriorating and him questioning and coming to terms with his own sexual identity, David has to figure out a way to accommodate his orientation and his position as the only child of Korean immigrants in US.

The biggest problem for me was the super slow pace of the film. As much as I can appreciate the build up and subtle nuances of the dynamics of a Korean immigrant family, the film is not an easy watch watch. It is one of those films that is generally enjoyed for cinema lovers who are looking for something different. There are hints of various things and events and many things are never clearly explained, which personally made it hard for me to fully connect all the dots. I fully empathised with David’s struggle to find a balance between doing the right for the family but also finding an identity for himself and letting himself free. He has Korean values but will he be able to give the up to adopt a more American approach to life? The film raises all of these issues but sadly never resolves any of the. We really don’t know what will happen with David and it seems that he is just going to let life happen. And hence despite excellent performances by all 3 lead characters, it does make for a little bit of unsatisfying movie experience.

Maybe the film was touted as being that special something, but trying to keep everything subtle and refraining themselves; the film makers leave this film as a bit of disappointment for most of us. (4.5/10)

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Closet Monster (Canada)

At the outset, the film may seem like another coming-of-age story but the treatment of the film is quite different. Bit of style and a bit of fantasy intermixed with the normal storytelling methods makes this film an exciting watch. The way the treatment of the film was done, reminded me constantly of Xavier Dolan’s film. The film may not be everyone’s cup of tea but you will surely be impressed by the novelty of the treatment of the subject.

Oscar is really young when his mother decides to leave them & the parents separate. We find out later  the reasons but we see that the once loving father slowly becomes aloof an distant. He is probably gay even as a kid and he witnesses a hate crime happen to one of his schoolmates. On asking his father why did that happen, his father mentions that probably because the guy was gay and this makes Oscar further hides his sexuality. He starts dealing with internalised homophobia, specially also given the fact of what his father has always been telling him.. His only close friend is his classmate Gemma, on who he experiments with his artistry about makeup and she is probably the only one who knows the truth about Oscar. He also has had a hamster Buffy since he was kid, who talks to Oscar and they are each other’s confidant. Buffy is suppose to be his ‘spirit animal’, someone who is supposed to represent the true spirit of Oscar. When Oscar gets a job at a local store, he meets a young, attractive and mysterious man Wilber. Oscar finds himself having a crush on him. He starts feeling emotions, reactions of love so surreal that his real world starts merging with his fantasy world that he has had lived with ever since childhood. He cant love because the memories from childhood are so strong that psychologically he can’t get rid of them. When Wilber invites him to a costume party, his father stops him (by now realising that his son might be gay) but Oscar kicks him and still goes. He gets attention from guys including a kiss from Wilber but Oscar’s internal fears don’t let him deal with it. He decides to leave his father’s home because of whom , Oscar became what he is and decides to go live with his mother and get his life back in order.

As mentioned above, its the treatment and the direction that makes this film special. Oscar is suffocating with his father and his own homophobia and is longing to go to New York, which sadly also doesn’t happen. Its just the father and son staying together. It is interesting to see how the father-son relationship gets more and more distant over a period of time and only later you realise the reason is primarily because Oscar is afraid what his father may do of he knew the truth. The film, in a very interesting way, shows a hidden side of broken families and the inner turmoil of coming to terms with ones sexuality because of that. Oscar acted really well in the role of the confused teenager and the sexuality in the film is done in a very tasteful way. A simple screenplay but very well written, and the directing really impressive visually and thematically; especially from a first time film-maker.

This may not be a path-breaking cinema but definitely deserves to be seen. Coming out is never easy for anyone and when there are psychological reasons behind it; that makes it even more painful. (7/10)

Friday, January 13, 2017

Seed Money: The Chuck Holmes Story (Documentary)

I had heard about Falcon studios but never knew the history of it. Most of us probably have seen porn, especially gay porn and quite enjoy it as well but I, for once, never thought of the history behind, how this industry came about. Who started, why, under what circumstances and all that jazz. This documentary primarily focuses on Chuck Holmes, fonder of Falcom Productions, a pioneer of gay porn industry. It provides a decent insight into how . when and why did this all start and end.

Told through various interviews of his friends, colleagues and actors, we learn that in 1971, Chuck Holmes moved to San Francisco to sell real estate. That was the time when the sexual revolution was in full swing and the city was known as the 'Smut Capital of the United States.' Soon his real estate business turned into VHS producing films with mailing list of interested customers, who would pay him all cash money to get their hands of the porn films that he would produce, maybe only twice a year. After a few years, the mailing list had become a studio, Falcon which would soon become a became a revolution. In an era of homophobia, legal loopholes, laws and fear of prosecution for producing and distributing obscenity, Chuck took a hobbyists' industry and modernised it. The way he initially presented his actors and gay men slowly changed from hairy to complete all white American clean male after Calvin Klein came up with their brand. Needless to say that the industry made him a multi-millionaire. The money helped Chuck become a political force both in San Francisco and nationally. He was one of the founders of Human Rights Campaign, and a fundraiser for Democratic politicians, only to find that while his money was always welcome, he often wasn't.

The documentary doesn’t show any footage of Chuck Holmes speaking or interacting besides just one instance where he accepts an award. Rest everything is either shown through porn movie clippings that may have sometimes mimicked his life or through pictures. I felt that was missing a bit. I was glad to see that they did address the AIDS epidemic and how the studio failed to address the issue immediately till they finally gave in to the demand of actors and started using condoms. Interestingly, the documentary glorifies Chuck Holmes way too much, and in the process doesn’t even acknowledge the contributions that the actors or technicians would have had in the success of his business. having said all this, a film still deserves a decent mention to know a bit more of the history about the man who started and revolutionalised the gay porn industry.

Story of Chuck Holmes and his movement from a pornographer to philanthropist to political force. (5.5/10)

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Gay Short Films : 51

Hazel (Switzerland)
An obsessive mother, on the verge of a nervous breakdown, attempts everything to scare the gay away from her precious child.. A father, carefully blotted out from all the family photos and a dreadful child psychiatrist with unconventional methods. Its a colourful film with OTT characters.

A Gay Hike (US)
2 friends make their third friend, who is in closet, come out to them comfortably in the magic of nature. Short and sweet.

Slap (UK)
A teenage boxer finds expressing himself with make-up and female clothes more natural to him. But in the society where we have gender-defining conditions and expectations, our protagonist confronts the standards of masculinity in sports with keeping your identity intact.

Hora (Israel)
This animated short documentary investigates what it means being intimate by holding hands in public in various countries.

Golden (Germany)
A tale of being different and growing up. It talks about how gay people find their safe space in the world and naturally gravitate towards each other’s comfort space, because thats what is normal to them.

How Tasty Was My Little Cafuçu (Brazil) 
Two friends just talking about the various parties that they have been a part of. Talks about dreams, fun, pleasure and nothing else.

Closet (UK)
A forbidden love in a brutal comprehensive school. A closet guy bullies his companion while the story unfurls around a wardrobe that appears on a desolate beach.

Place (Israel)
Yair takes care of his sick mother, who develops dependence upon him while his boyfriend asks him to move in. He loves his boyfriend very much and chooses his boyfriend by making his mother realise the importance of him in his life. Very cute guys.

Man In The Mirror (US)
Jason, a Puerto Rican from New York City, has to deal with rumors that he is gay. With his identity questioned, Jason pushes himself to understand who he is and how far he will go to prove that he's just one of the boys. Loved it!!

Love Without Limits (Portugal) 
Young people and the party. A short scene from the movie "O que há de novo no amor”.

Agua (Mexico)
The life of an introvert teenager takes a turn with the arrival of his new swimming partner. His extrovert nature makes him question his own personality and sexuality.

Une Voiture Rouge [A Red Car] (France)
Time seems suspended in the gas station lost in the middle of nowhere. The arrival of a red car is going to stir things up.

La Donna (Argentina)
A guessing game between 3 characters (a couple and a man). The characters start to drink and loosen up, this results in less innocence and more seduction. The guest kisses the wife and then the husband, which sparks questions in the mind of the couple. Not really gay themed.

That App (USA)
Film showing the heart-breaks, deceptions and games people play using gay apps. you talk, you fall in love, get heart broken. You don’t learn your lesson and start all over.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Cruising

This film features in pretty much everyone’s ‘Must see Gay Films of all times’; so I finally decided to stop procrastinating and give this film a chance. I think I was just worried that because the film was a while ago, I just assumed that I may be disappointed and was just trying to delay that as much as possible. But boy, was I wrong! It may be old, but the situation, scenes, landscape and scenarios are as relevant today as they were yesterday.

New York city in 1980, some murder victims are found and it is suspected that it is a work of a serial killer. The targets are all gay men (similar age and looks) hanging around in West Village bars. The head of the detective department picks Al Pacino to go undercover, since he resembles the victims. He gets an apartment there, and moves out of his girlfriends home. Unfortunately the assignment takes a toll on their relationship since he cannot tell her the details. He starts frequenting the S&M bars in the area and MeatPacking district and makes friends with his neighbour Ted. After days of going in and out in the bars, he suspects on of the guys as a potential killer that they have been looking for. The cops force and traumatise the guy, which leaves our man disturbed by the hole sequence of events including police brutality on a poor unsuspecting man just because he is gay. Following a new lead, Al Pacino starts following a music student closely. When he sneaks into his house, he finds the leather outfits and some letters and is convinced that he is the killer. He lures him into a cruising park and brings that guy into custody. While the police department thinks that the case is solved, murdered body of Ted is found which the police dismisses the murder as a lover's quarrel turned violent. The end of the film is a bit open ended when Al Pacino returns to his girlfriends home and his girlfriend inspects his clothes that look very similar to the outfit that the killer wore.

The film is interesting but apparently it went through a lot of controversy when it was released way back when. The bar scenes and murder scenes seem to be shot at real locations. Some of us still dont realise this but some aspects of our world could be filled with danger especially when temptation seems to be everywhere. It was fascinating for me to see what NYC was probably like in 1980s. One thing that I personally felt that the murderer in ever scene looked similar but a different person. I wonder if this is my imagination or does it mean that they may be one killer on the prowl. I mean given the fact that Ted’s body is found after the killer is behind bars could support this theory. The ending is what makes the film special. During the film we see how his relationship with his girlfriend is deteriorating and they have even stopped having sex. Also he says t his boss that the assignment is personally affecting him a lot. Does that mean, that he was cared to come to terms with the possibility that he may be gay, or at least, feels attracted to the idea!! When the cops catch the first guy, why was Al Pacino tied up in bed. Clearly, he wanted to try things out and experience. Otherwise won’t he have tied that man instead? I also think that maybe there was a hint that may he himself was the killer. If not the original one, then maybe became one in the process.

An interesting, intense and dark thriller with good performance and open-ended interpretation. Although now that I write this review, I wonder if the film was really supposed to be a thriller or was the main focus to actually show the character graph and development of Al Pacino’s character and his possible involvement in the 1980s gay S&M sub-culture. We may never find answers to some these questions. (7/10)

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Familie Verpflichtet (German) [Family Commitments]

Some movies are just meant to be fun. You must watch them, don’t think about it too much, stay in the moment and just have a good time. Don’t try to find logic behind things that are happening and try to question “How is this possible?”. You will only hurt yourself whereas your friends will be laughing their asses off. This is one such film. Nothing but a comedy farce. It doesn’t promise to change your world, rather it just wants to make you smile with silliness and it works !

David and Khaled are much in love couple who live together. David is Jewish, flamboyant and openly out gay man. Khaled on the other hand is arabic origin and is in closet because of fear of his father who is homophobic & runs a restaurant. David runs an art gallery and Khaled is a quiet gym teacher, who must pass his final exam before becoming certified. David’s possessive controlling Jewish mother always interferes in their life and David can not do anything about it. Enter Sarah, a barely 19 year old girl who shows up unannounced with news of her pregnancy. David is the father from a drunk hookup o a previous year party. Initially shocked, David’s mother takes up on her to make sure she wants to have the grandchild. Even Khaled wants the child but David is reluctant. Confusions continue and in the process Khaled decides that he must tell his father the truth. But instead, what the father understands is that Khaled has a girlfriend Sarah who is pregnant with his grandchild. Khaled lies and says that he has come out to his father. More comedy of errors follow. When Khaled’s father shows up a their home to meet Sarah, David’s mom blurts out the truth which devastates the father. The boys are both heartbroken because the other person has not been truthful but then its time for Sarah’s delivery. When the baby is born, things all fall in place. David and Khaled both realise that hey are meant for each other and they force their individual parent to sort out their difference and they use the grandchild as blackmail, which unsurprisingly works for both. All’s well that ends well.

The film was just right length. At any point it did not feel unnecessarily being stretched. Yeah, maybe the comedy feels sometime over the top but it somehow works. David and Khaled are both gorgeous looking and act really well. They both have amazing chemistry. All the supporting actors are also too good. My favourite 2 scenes are actually the ones where a lady teacher hits on Khaled in school. They were so funny. Khaled’s aunt is also funny as the strong matriarch of the extended family. We also have the artist who lives in the couple’s attic and just fucks around. The comic scenes were not stretched and were smart, short and witty. The drama never went OTT and felt like you wish it was real. Actress playing David’s possessive Jewish mom was also really good. The whole situation, characters just fit well together.

The film is definitely worth spending an evening of fun-filled good times where you don’t wanna spend energy and just wanna chill and have a good time. You will not be disappointed. (6.5/10)

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

American Crime : Season 2 (TV Show)

I debated for a while whether I should review this on my blog, not really sure why; but finally I decided to do it because it made sense. This series dealt with a lot of things that anyone of us has to bear and go through in life. Yes, the show is more in crime series, but the context and setting is very relevant to my blog, so reviewing it here made perfect sense.

The story is primarily about 2 high schools in mid-west America. One school is a private school and the other one is public. Within first episode, the context is established. Taylor, a young high school kid, gets assaulted and later is revealed that he has , in fact, been raped by one of the other school students. Because he was drugged, he cannot remember who it was. His single desperate mother, gives all her energy and focus in getting her son the justice that he deserves. Eventually, the name of the guy is revealed and is Eric, one of the co-captains of the private school basketball team. This is the basic premise of how people go about solving the case and what happens to everyone involved in and around the case. Another important character is the black guy who is the other captain. The rape happened at the party hosted by him, so he also comes indirectly in the line of fire and we witness stuff that goes around him. And finally we have 2 of the most important characters; the coach of the basketball team and the principal of the private school. At times Taylor is driven to such madness and craziness and torture that he ends up killing one of the school boys as his measure to take revenge and stop being that helpless boy. This just makes everything more complicated. Layer by layer , different pieces of puzzle are solved and eventually everyone gets what they deserve.

I had mixed feelings after I was done watching the show. It was thrilling in the sense that every episode would bring something new. Great details and thought was given to different characters and what happens in their life. One incident (supposedly done for fun) can make so many changes and impact so many people that you would have never thought of! So I would look forward to every new episode. What I found was a bit of uneven pace. Sometimes a lot of detailing would be shown while other times the story moved so fast that you would be like, ‘what just happened’. I also didn’t understand the relevance of the whole story of the public school and the principal there. Was it to just to add and address the racism issues? Because honestly, the essence and core of the primary story could still have been achieved without bringing the public school in the picture at all. Th end episode also felt a bit rushed. A lot of good scenarios were created and points established, but the finale seemed rushed. I guess that the makers had permission just for 10 episodes :) But despite these flaws I still think that 10 episodes of about 40 minutes each, still was successful in addressing issues of rape in men, especially teenagers, the politics behind everything, how kids are still afraid of coming out as gay and what happens in a closed knit community when all these issues surface up.

Definitely give it a god because it is a good mix of story, good acting by pretty much everyone and sensitive issues that need to be discussed. It includes the school board, teachers, students (especially basket ball players), and their families. The series does touch upon the issues of racism alongwith sexuality and homohobia. (7/10)

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Please Like Me: Season 4 (Australia)

Yay!! Season 4 of one of my favourite shows. You have no idea how I have controlled myself not to watch the episodes the day that they were telecast, since I am such a fan. But the fun of binge watching all the six episodes was too much and so I waited till all episodes were aired and first thing I did was watch the whole season All my memories from previous seasons came coming back and I am glad that they did a quick preview of sorts from previous seasons to refresh your memory. That was definitely a good touch. Sadly this season had only 6 episodes.

Josh & Arnold are still together but clearly something is missing. They try threesome but the third doesn’t like Josh as much. A small divide occurs between them and on a trip to celebrate Hannah’s birthday Josh decides to breakup with Arnold. Meanwhile Tom and his girlfriend seem to begetting along well with each other and being very very supportive of Josh. The girlfriend clearly enjoys Josh’s company a lot more, since he is fun. Josh spends time with his father and mom on a lavish dinner where they talk about wonderful things about past, present and future (one of my favourite episodes). Heartbroken Arnold tries to move on and so does Josh and we see him with various different possible dates. Surprisingly Geoffrey, from previous seasons return for some fun times with Josh. It seems Josh is finally growing up. Tom decides to move out of the home with his girlfriend (part of becoming an adult) but things al change when Josh’s mom commits suicide. Suddenly Josh’s life goes topsy turvy, but with support of everyone he is able to get through all this. Both Joh and Tom move out of their home. Josh buys a new place after selling his mother’s home and Tom moves out as well. But in their new space he and his girlfriend realise that they need to breakup since she doesn’t like this new change. The series ends with two best friends together enjoying each other’s silent company with some yummy food.

One big shift I felt this season was that all characters were a bit mature. Its been a while and they are starting to grow up and become mature. Sure, none of them has any job and you don’t know what they do but at least in all other areas they try to act and be mature. All the goodness in terms of humour, great natural acting, goofiness and reality; all at the same time. It was a perfect recipe for e after a long long tiring day at work. As in previous season, a lot of focus is on food and presentation and I love that and in fact one of the episodes this season is all in a restaurant eating a 15 course meal which looked mouth watering. One of my favourite scenes this season was when Josh is taking his childhood toys back home and sings an entire song while making a teddy bear dance in bus. Hannah’s birthday episode and Josh-Arnold breakup was emotional. I wish everyone had a friendship like Josh-Tom. The way Tom supports Josh after his mother's death was awesome.

I can’t stress enough on how good this show is. This needs to be seen by each and every single individual because this is how a show should be: Fun, cocky, hilarious, slice of life and very very entertaining that always keep a smile on your face. (8.5/10)

Monday, December 5, 2016

Warwick

Oh my god!! What a utter piece of garbage this film was. Yes! I said it ! Unbelievable!! How can someone be so self-absorbed that they have no idea of what they are doing, or someone around them to tell the makers that they should not be doing what they are doing.

The story is straight forward. A young man travels from Ohio to Seattle for an interview. In the hotel, he meets a male prostitute, a young mysterious man, who talk about stuff, have sex and the guy leave sin the morning. Thats it!! Yes, trust me; Thats it!! This 70 min long film could easily be made into a 4 minute short film. How long can one watch the protagonist looking outside his window, or doing stuff on mobile or laptop, or just waiting for the elevator. The talking portions in the movie were barely 15-20 minutes. The rest is long yawning shots of random things. I feel that the makers in their mind thought that they are making a tribute to ‘Weekend’ or something (at least I get that feeling). The direction was sooooo bad. I am sure the film was made using iphone or something as an experimental home video, but no one should have any expectations at all form this film.

What a terrible waste of time for everyone. Do not even attempt to see. Usually in such films the saving grace is a hot sex scene but that also here is sooo boring and nothing to talk about or watch. (0/10)

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

L'Armee du Salut (Arabic / French) [Salvation Army]

I don’t know why but I had many expectations form the film. Something about the poster, the story about an Arab teenage got me all very intrigued but alas as always expectations kill a film. I did not know until very recently that the film was based on the autobiography of the director, which in fact surprises me because then the maker should have taken the best parts of the film.

Film primary focuses on Abdellah, a young teenage boy who lives with his parents and 6 siblings in Casablanca. His father and elder brother have their own room whereas his mother, 5 sisters and younger brother all share one rom which gives him the familiar feel of intimacy and closeness. Abdellah is a quiet kid, slightly bullied by everyone and a boy struggling with his sexuality. He looks upto his elder brother Slimane and has a huge crush on him. But since he cannot do anything with him, he finds sexual release with older men in the neighbourhood. Its not very clear if they use him or he uses them. Slimane once takes Abdellah and his younger brother to a seaside holiday but leaves them one day for another girl which kinds of crushes Abdellah’s love and dreams. Fast forward 10 years and Abdellah is now in a relationship with an older Swiss professor and they are having a good time holidaying. Its not very clear as to how and why they got together but in the third segment we see that Abdellah, now a young man, goes to Geneva for his college but arrives a month earlier than planned and has nowhere to go. The professor sees him and offers him love but Abdellah doesn’t want it. Was he really just using the man for his benefit as his ticket out of Morocco, we won’t know? The film ends with Abdellah finding a shelter with the Salvation Army, where his new room mate joins him and finally he may find a friend.

I have to admit, I was really enjoying the first 30 minutes of the film. The setup, the casting, the family dynamics and everything was spot on. Although it gets a little puzzling as to why Abdellah is the way he is but it still is interesting to watch him going through his daily routine, while meeting random guys on streets who have sex with him in construction sites. I am guessing thats not a very uncommon scenario. Similarly Abdellah’s longing for his brother and his subsequent heartbreak when he leaves them for a girl while on a holiday was interesting. Later when Abdellah is with the Swiss professor, his interaction with the boat guy was also interesting. I think culturally, it was acceptable that the local boy found a rich man to take care of him. Had it been just for pleasure, Abdellah would have been judged by everyone. Still, even after finishing the film, I cant tell whether its the men that were exploiting the young Abdellah or it was just his way to get some acceptance of love. The scene when he hugs an older man on the seaside love makes me believe that all along Abdellah is craving for love and affection from someone and he is not getting it. I feel there is too much left untold or unexplored and there is a scope for a lot more. I wonder now what the book is like!

In summary, this is a film that started with a lot of promise in first act but somehow it lost focus and steam and then we as viewers failed to emotionally connect with the main actor and what he really is going through. (5.5/10)

Monday, November 28, 2016

Baisers Cachés (French) [Hidden Kisses]

A teenage love drama, a story of coming-out and acceptance, a story of bullying etc etc. We have seen them all, heard them all; but the makers keep coming up with more of these films, which I am glad because the situations haven’t changed much in a lot of places and we need to continue to educate people around us regarding these issues. Its important to keep them in focus.

Nathan, a 16 year old, lives with his single father Stephan, who is a cop. They have moved to a new neighbourhood and Nathan is adjusting in his new school. Within a few days, a picture of him kissing another boy surfaces on facebook and soon he is an object of everyone’s bullying. The situation is bad that even his father completely stops talking to him. Nathan tries his best to protect the identity of the other boy, who happens to be Lucas, another guy in his class. The bullying takes harsh turn and one day he gets beaten really bad, primarily by Lucas. This shakes up his father completely and he starts to try and understand his son and come a bit closer. Meanwhile Lucas continues to hang out with his girlfriend, feeling the pressure of his educated parents who are big time homophobic and wanna make sure that Lucas is not friends with Nathan. The truth eventually comes out and suddenly Lucas finds himself completely isolated in his own house. Depressed, he runs away from home and decides to take away his own life but i saved in time by Nathan and Stephan. Even this incident doesn’t change much in Lucas’ parents but slowly his mother starts coming around and supports her son. In fact she even leaves her home till the father comes around. Unfortunately, his father does come to see Lucas play his boxing match but leaves because he cannot still accept his son.

As I mentioned before, films like this are important and relevant even in today’s time, especially for teenagers who are struggling in coming to terms with their own sexuality. There were several scenes that I connected with while others, I felt, were a bit over the top. When Nathan’s father stops talking to him, you feel the sadness in him because his only true supporter is taking a step back. You feel how brave he has to be every single day to go to school and be bullied and face the brat students. Eventually his father comes around, which is quite believable. Similarly, the way Lucas is treated by his parents, you feel so bad. I mean, just imagine yourself as a young teenager and if your parents make you eat alone, not talk to you, beat you and lock you in your room; how would you feel? I felt really really sad in those scenes. But having said that, I also found it a bit odd that in the year 2016, an educated doctor father and a corporate mother thin that this is a choice and disease and that he needs to fix himself was a bit over the top. I mean I have never seen so much homophobia, when the parents ask him to stay away from Nathan, even in class, just because rumour is that he is gay. I also did like the support that 2 of the teachers provide to Nathan when is dealing with all the bullying. Acting wise everyone does a great job and in films like this, the most important thing is to connect with protagonists and I sure did with both of them. You have Nathan who fully accepts who he is and then you have Lucas, who is struggling to be himself because he is pressured by his parents expectations.

This is no great film but surely an important film that deserves to be seen by people. Hopefully parents will start becoming more understanding of their teenage kids struggling to fit in. (7/10)

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Lazy Eye

An interesting film where ex-lovers reunite after 15 years. I think the film is supposed to be a delicate and mature touching love story with heartbreaks and everything intercepted in between to make it watchable and more realistic. Somehow the parts of the film made it a bit hard for me to believe. The simple fact of why would there b still so much passion and love for someone who you spent a summer 15 years ago. Isin’t that a long long time ago? By the way, the title of the film comes from the eye condition that Dean has.

Dean, who works as a graphics designer in LA, is a bit bored with his job and how his life is going. An out-of-the-blue email from Alex brings a kind of storm in his life. We find out that Alex and Dean spent a summer together 15 years ago before Alex abruptly disappeared and now wants to reconnect with Dean. After an initial reaction of “Fuck off!”, they start exchanging emails with a bit of flirtations and finally decide to meet each other. Dean Dean invites Alex to spend a weekend at his house in the Southern California desert. As nervous as Dean is anticipating Alex, they both can’t keep their hands off each other as soon as they meet. They start talking about what happened and through a series of flash-backs we get o know how they met 15 years ago. Things are going fine till they both drop a bomb on each other. Dean admits to being married to Brian who is travelling for work. Agitated Alex leaves home but comes back to give his secret that he disappeared that summer since he met someone else. Rest of the movie is about reliving past, coming closer and pulling apart again. Alex expects Dean to leave everything including Brian to be with him, but thankfully Dean questions his commitment to anything in life and says that he would rather prefer to make his marriage work and be honest. And just as Alex disappeared 15 years ago, he again leaves in the crack of dawn.

Though the pace os the film can be a bit questionable, the director adds enough layers, giving an intimate insight into the lives of the reunited lovers. Though Dean blames Alex for leaving abruptly; we soon find that there are always two sides to any story and how communication is important. The locations are new, and the lead actors are both very good looking with their tidy matching beards. They definitely act really well and there is plenty of lounging around near pool in tasteful nude scenes. The story is relatable but personally for me, not very believable as I said before. People change drastically in 15 years both physically and emotionally and it seems this was never discussed.  Its a film for mature audience who have been in love. The pace of the film could have been faster but the whole idea was probably us, as audience, to spend the weekend with these 2 protagonists and feel what they are going through.

The film is a no-frills, simple, to the point, very well acted film. (6/10)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Muerte en Buenos Aires (Spanish) [Death in Buenos Aires]

We have had very few mystery/thrillers in gay genre. I think if we tried, we would easily be able to count them on fingers. This film although may sounds just a standard, simple police-procedural crime thriller but the director has used a lot of homo-eroticism (not just for the sake of it) and that is what makes this film even more charged and exciting. Also important to note is that the film is set in 1980’s in Argentina.

The film starts with the murder of a wealthy gay member in Buenos Aires who also happens to be an art collector. Rookie cop Gomez, ridiculously good looking, is at the scene waiting for the cops to arrive. Detective Chavez, a family man and a tough cop is given the responsibility to close the case soon as possible. The initial suspect is Kevin, victim’s lover who left a message on his answering machine. Chavez asks Gomez to join his team and goes as an undercover into the gay circle to get more information. Gomez befriends Kevin and extracts information from him while enacting various sexually charged scenes. Also we see a strange sexual tension between Gomez and his boss Chavez. As Chávez delves into uncovering the identity of the murderer, he is challenged both professionally and sexually by the involvement of Gomez. Kevin is taken into custody, but there he gives some information to Chavez that makes him question the whole motive of the murder. Nothing is what it seems and Chavez starts to believe that maybe Gomez is behind al this and maybe all the money and power is visually becoming appealing to him. After various twists and shocks, the films end is left for viewer’s interpretation but at the same time it is made clear as to who was the involved party.

First things first, lets talk about how hot Gomez was. No one can deny that and the sexual charge and tension between him and Chavez was so cool, you could feel it. The two instances where they almost kiss and Chavez wants to fuck Gomez were wow. Now this is what chemistry is all about. And acting by them was brilliant. You have to give al the credit to the director for presenting them they way she did. Visually also I thought the film showed some brilliance in terms of recreating an old era. The story had enough twists for the viewers to keep guessing who really could behind the murder. You question yourselves about who could be involved in this. The film also shows how corruption, money, sex all played out in that era in Argentina. I did not, for a moment get bored and was always looking forward to whats going to happen next. Yes, everything that happened may not be totally believable, but who cares!!

A very rewarding and fulfilling experience with good twists. Hopefully, a sequel would follow soon. (7.5/10)

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Retake

An interesting story of someone trying to relive his past in an effort to fix it or make it better. The film is one of the few in the genre of a road-trip film in queer cinema but still it does not completely succeed in keeping audience’s interest peak for a long while. At least I had to watch film more in a fast forward mode, just in the hopes that something more worthwhile will happen.

Jonathan, a middle-aged man travels to find a young male escort. After a few tries, he hires a young male prostitute to accompany him for a road trip to Grand Canyon, with the condition that the entire trip will be about role play. The young man is playing Brandon, a young, temperamental, rough around the edges kinda guy who is Jonathan’s boyfriend and they are madly in love with each other. As the young man, he is more interested in finding the true reality but Jonathan insists that he stick to the role he was hired for. Slowly, he starts to put small pieces together to understand who Brandon really is and what does he mean for Jonathan. Eager to leave his own past, he finds an odd connection with Jonathan. Slowly their affection starts to grow. Clearly the young man feels a stronger connection to Jonathan which he reciprocates, but is it for Brandon or is it for the real man that the young escort really is.

The story was very unidirectional. The entire film is on the road trip and motels where Jonathan is taking pictures of his companion in exactly the same places that he took with his ex-lover. I really did not understand the motivation behind that. He kept saying he wants to fix things but how does this trip help, is not really explained. The escort has had a rough childhood when he was thrown out form his own home but a little bit more background would have helped to show why did he get so attracted to Jonathan towards the end. Was it because finally someone showed him love and affection! The acting by both the leads was actually quite decent as per the script demanded but I had personally issues with the pace of the film. I really don’t mind slow films as long as they are trying to say something. but this one definitely tested me.

An average film on a lazy evening. Its not bad at all, in fact an interesting story but the slowness of the film can be challenging for some. (5.5/10)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Fair Haven

Now this is how you can make a very ordinary and simple story, gripping for an audience. The treatment, direction and emotions is what it matters when a viewer watches a film. You have to be able to empathise with the characters ad feel their pain and angst and happiness and other emotions and only then, in my opinion, you can justify the money that you spend on a film. I am not saying that this is a great film by any means but it is an excellent example of staying focused on the core issue without getting unnecessarily dramatic or anything.

We meet James, a 19 year old young teenage boy, who is just returning home after being part of a religious reparative therapy called ex-gay conversion therapy. He comes home believing that he has been “cured” of his same-sex desire. He hopes to go to college soon but after his mother’s death, his father is struggling with money and cannot afford to send him to college. After a spat, James decide to go to community college and help him at his orchard. One day the encounter with ex-boyfriend Charlie starts changing things. James, who thought, he has been cured is confused again. In an attempt to control his desires, he starts dating the preacher’s daughter Suzy. Charlie and James start to hang out together and be civil with each other and in Charlie, James again find a confidant with whom he can speak whats exactly in his mind. Finally James gives in and decides that Charlie is the right person for him. Suzy and his father both find out about this. James is in distress and he decides to move out of his father’s home, move away somewhere with Charlie and start a new life. Thankfully, his father comes around, decides to try to support James for what he is and what he wants in life and will always be there for his son.

The title of the movie comes from the name of the orchard that James’ father’s run. It really has no bearing to the movie itself. James acted really really well. The internal emotional struggle that he goes through is amazing. Right from being angry at his father for everything and trying to control his emotions; then trying to figure out what’s this fling with Suzy and finally with Charlie, on how can he control and hide his real feelings for Charlie. His emotions, at some points, start getting very unidirectional but it does convey his inner feelings. The recurring overhead shots of James in his childhood bedroom convey this feeling brilliantly. Actor playing his father also does really well in the character that he is supposed to be. Charlie is real cute and in the very few scenes that he and James have together; they both show excellent chemistry with one another. You can feel their love for one another. In an otherwise normal film, the only over the top thing, was Suzy’s parents. Their dialogues were overly enthusiastic and somehow didn’t fit in to the overall pace and sound of the film. The other negative in my opinion is the father’s sudden change of mind.

Its a beautiful captivating story, that touches the audience without being preachy. A simple, sweet and graceful film; that you wouldn't regret watching. (7/10)

Thursday, November 3, 2016

A Young Man's Future

What a wasted opportunity!! This was the first thought that came to my mind after I finished watching the film. The one person who should immediately be fired is the casting director, followed very closely by the director, who couldn’t see what was going on. I feel so sad and disappointed when something that could have been so wonderfully fantastic ends u being so cheap and terrible to watch.

The story is based in a college where Jeremy lives with his partner Elliott for the past 2 years. However, Jeremy has had enough of betrayals and mistreatment by his partner and he decides to break-up. Very next instant we find him moving in with Scott, who he had met just a few days back. A charming young man, Scott genuinely likes and care for Jeremy. The relationship is going fine till its time to meet parents. When Scott’s father comes to meet the couple, he is very visibly unhappy and disapproves of their relationship. Thankfully Jeremy’s parents are much more positive but shock comes when Scott starts behaving weird and ultimately being diagnosed with schizophrenia. Thankfully Scott agrees for a proper treatment and Jeremy wants to be there every step of the way for his love. His parents are equally supportive till there is a point where financially and logistically its not possible for Jeremy to take care of Scott. Scott’s father takes him to take care but after a few months Scott runs away and becomes dangerous to the community. Jaded by life and circumstances, Jeremy gets back with Elliott, who now together are looking for Scott everywhere in town. They find him but find it very hard to convince Scott to get medical attention. Ultimately he is admitted into a hospital and the film ends with Jeremy handing a pen to Scott hoping that it will reignite his passion for Maths in him and will get better.

So if you read the above synopsis, you really feel that there is so much potential but ultimately everything depends upon execution. The film was so badly directed, that I can go on and on finding faults in the film; lot more than positives. Firstly for a subject like this, there has to be a crazy chemistry between the leads; which is clearly missing between either of the couples. The acting by supporting cast is terrible. Both sets of parents are just awful and there is absolutely no explanation given for their odd behaviour. Why does Scott have estranged relation with his father and why won’t he talk to Jeremy about it? (Maybe his disease has some origin there). Jeremy’s parents are all good till suddenly his mother shows up saying things are not ok financially. They look and act totally like strangers than a couple. They are both terrible. The pace of the film was odd. Sometime sit felt it was being stretched beyond a point while they zipped through the illness so fast without delving deeper into the causes. And what kind of college were these guys studying in? I never saw any other student walking in the campus, or apartments or parks besides these 3. And as far as I know , most students are really poor, but here , our protagonists live in fancy houses and have money to drink wine pretty much every day. C’mmon now!! The only saving grace in this film was Jeremy. He looked pretty and acted well as the character that of confused young man who doesn’t know what to do. He has to choose between his past, his present and will he have a future. But how much can a poor guy save the film by himself. Scott was ok for what was given to him but I think his character was all over the place.

A beautiful story about two college kids who experience a terrible disease, could have been a great film in the making; however a poor screenplay, a shoddy direction and supremely bad acting makes this film a terrible watch. (3/10)

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Gay Short Films : 50

Birdbath (Australia)
A young Oz-Malaysian couple struggling with their relationship. The asian guy is not sure if his family will accept their son’s sexuality and relationship.

A Brief History of Princess X (France)
A history of sculptor Constantin Brancusi’s ‘Princess X’, a futuristic bronze phallus that is actually a bust portrait of Napoleon’s equally infamous great grand niece, Marie Bonaparte.

Curmudgeons (USA)
A pair of senior citizens in 80s have a relationship that shocks both their families. When the grand-daughter comes to visit, Ralph couldn’t possible imagine the surprise she has in store for him from his lover Jacky and his grand-son. A potty-mouthed, but endearing, comedy.

Realness With A Twist (Paris)
A young man searching for identity and acceptance as he splits time between the normal everyday life (pretending to be playing football) and the thump and excitement of the Parisian voguing scene.

Una pared (Cuba) [A Wall]
Tommy, a young construction worker, is doing some work on a house owned by Saulo, a mature music composer. Tommy is attracted to Saulo and is always looking for options to be near him. Nevertheless, both men never touch, except with sounds, words and stares.

Welcome to the Candy House (Germany)
Once again, Hänsel and Gretel have lost their way. They stumble through the big city in search for place to stay, ultimately ending up in a backroom of gay sex. Meh!

To the Marriage of True Minds (UK)
Hayder and Falah, two young Iraqi men, seek asylum in London from Baghdad in an illegal cargo vehicle. They separate on entering England because of security. We follow Hayder through his search for Falah in the Arabic communities of West London. The lovers are ultimately united.

Light Bulb Sun (UK)
Ellis, Fay and Freddie are a group of close friends. Fay and Freddie are together in a relationship but tension soon starts to build between them all as Ellis’ true feelings for Freddie come out. He is in love with his best friend.

Last Will & Testicle (US WebSeries)
A gay man reveals his testicular cancer diagnosis to his quirky friends and family, deals with his treatment, and confronts his nightmare walking and talking lump of ball cancer. This 12 episode web series (each episode being 3-4 min), shows a very funny take on the disease, the reaction of lover, family, friends and colleagues. It was good comedy but sometimes just bland.

American Male (USA)
A depressing reality of expectations of a “man”, gender norms and internalized homophobia.

Holden (Spain)
Holden, a young photographer with a short-term memory problem, travels to Paris for a photo session with a successful French actor. The two fall in love from the moment they meet. They spend the night together, walking the streets of the city, aware that it is probably the only night they will have together or is it something they do often? Loved it.

Une poignée de mains (France)
A quick short take on possibilities of what may happen when 2 people meet and how will it end?

The Dazzling Destiny (Spain)
Nico has just been dumped by his first love. He hasn't yet understood how or why but he'll have to face a new day despite the fact that he is still trapped in memories. Wonderfully shot.

The Arrow [Love Pride Truth] (USA)
A beautiful dance performance of love between 2 men as a tribute to Orlando shootings. SO BEAUTIFUL !

Kaleb: Apunte sobre la fugacidad del amor
A love story between two lonely and wounded men. One of them is an escort while the other has hired him. Over the course of their meeting, they understand each other much beyond just physical intimacy.

Bleu Piscine (France)
Blue pool. The water, the sun, Diving, swimming, water drops. A homoerotic tale of 2 men in and around a pool.