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.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Boy In The Dress (UK)

Its not a queer film per say but depending on how to see it, this could fall in this category. Story of a perfectly normal kid, showing no sign of homosexuality, it just happens to be that the boy likes to wear dress. Is that so wrong? This and more questions are asked and answered in this feel-good heart warming beautiful film based on a book by the same name.

12 year old Dennis lives with his older brother John and their father. Their mother left them recently for another man. Dennis is very god in football an misses his mom terribly. When Dennis sees the Vogue magazine in a store with cover girl wearing a dress similar to what his mother wore, he gets intrigued. The school rebel Lisa James finds out and comes closest buddy with Dennis because she is all about fashion and wanting to break the rules. She makes Dennis wear a dress and experiment by going to the local store to see if anyone recognises him and of course no one does. One day when Dennis has had enough of his father’s gloom, he decides to do something crazy and wear dress to school. Initially no one recognises but the secret is soon revealed which leads to his expulsion from school, just few days before the final football match. Dennis is not allowed to play the game. When they are losing, Dennis’ closest friend Darvesh convinces entire team to play in dress so that Dennis can join the team back and bring back victory to school. As expected the team wins, the father is immensely proud of his son Dennis and the headmaster of the school has no choice but t o take Dennis back in school after one of his own little secrets of cross dressing is revealed.

What really impressed me about The Boy in the Dress was how deftly it skipped across its heavily mined social territory by simply treating it as no big deal. It wasn’t about sexuality of the boy or anything. The film is very light, easy on the eyes, made for Tv kiddo film and I think with that in mind, it does achieve it’s purpose really well. The acting by all principal actors is amazing and there was such a charm about the boy playing Dennis. He was just perfect for the part. All the other characters were likable and it was also pretty funny in some parts like the sports coach, or Raj (store owner) and the referee for the final match.

It is bright, cheerful, simple & funny film that delivers a worthwhile lesson without overstating its case. (6.5/10)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Turtle Hill, Brooklyn

This film reminded me so much of Ferzan Özpetek’s films that I have seen over the years. A very similar setup, specially to the Italian film ‘Saturno contro’. But I am not gonna judge this film based on that. We all have inspirations and as long as we still end up producing a good piece of cinema, I am going to appreciate it and enjoy it. This film falls in the same category and was a very pleasant experience in a lot of departments which we will talk about later. The title of the film comes from the name of the neighbourhood in Brooklyn where the protagonists live.

The premise of the film is a birthday party. Will and Mateo have been together for sometime and it is Will’s 30th birthday and they are hosting a party for their closed ones and friends in the backyard of their apartment. Mateo is Latino  and is frustrated with his career not going anywhere and we then find out that Will is not out to his family. Soon after the plethora of friends start pouring in and the plot just follows a party with the interactions between guests. Both Will and Mateo are unsettled emotionally, as are many of their party guests who engage in conversations of love, sexuality, politics, age and ethnicity. New secrets are revealed when Will’s gym trainer comes and kisses Will but it turns out it is Mateo who had slept with him a couple of time sand is now scared that his secret is gonna come out. It is on this birthday in presence of the guests that Will and Mateo have to try to figure out why they are not the happy, loving couple they want to be.

First things, the acting and the whole setting is pretty natural. No one seems to be acting and thats the biggest USP of the film. Friends--straight and gay--arrive, liquor and conversation are flowing, and everything appears to be as it should be. We know that there's a serious underlying tension between the two men, but this isn't obvious to most of their friends. Camera flows smoothly between all the characters. Everyone is given sometime and but none of the characters are probably established including the main leads. I think this has a good potential to become a web or TV series where all these individual stories can be established. Filmed on probably very low budget, I will still congratulate the director for finding actors who are natural, where the flow of scenes are natural and it makes sense. Sure, from a story perspective there may not have been anything conclusive to say but the director knows his craft and I think he can do a good job in making more films

Essentially Turtle Hill, Brooklyn is a snapshot in the life of a couple who are reaching a turning point in their relationship. It wasn't really a great party, and it wasn't really a great film, but the movie had its moments, and its charm, and it exudes honesty, authenticity and transparency. (6.5/10)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Gay Short Films : 29

Eden (USA)
Adam and Everett are stuck  in an institution that cures you of being gay. With the help of Mary, a nurse haunted by her own past, they begin to execute their plan of escaping from the Eden institute. But as time starts to run out, and Adam struggles with a darkness that has plagued him for some time, they start to lose hope of making it out untouched. When Everett escapes and Adam stays in, he is supposedly cured. I really did not understand the ending of the film. This still confuses me. ON a bright side, the actors are cute and can actually act. (5/10)

HuffPost Talks With Brett Jones: The First Openly Gay Navy SEAL (USA)
Navy SEAL Brett Jones joins HuffPost Live to discuss his new book "Pride: The Story of the First Openly Gay Navy SEAL" and why he is pushing for equality in red states. Jones, the first openly gay Navy SEAL, was outed while serving when a voicemail to his boyfriend, who was also a member of the United States military, leaked. (4/10)

Monster In The Closet (USA)
An old pastor hires a twin for an evening of sex. When the job is done, the old man wants him to stay longer of more money, which they both agree. The hustler soon finds out that this is the homophobic pastor who is all over TV. The old man on the other hand has trust issues on the younger chap. A cat and mouse game follows in the midst of a very confusing plot. We don’t really know what was it that each of them exactly wanted. Hustler wanted money but the pastor seemed more like a psycho to me. The film ends with both of them dead. It’s weird and even the acting is a bit OTT. (4/10)

Estate by Bruno Martino (Italy)
A small video to express the simplicity about love, how it's the same for every one. The memories of a lost love, and how many of us have been there. Absolutely brilliant. (8/10)

Rite (UK)
Mike picks up his estranged teenage son on his birthday so they can spend a rare day together, a man desperate to prove he’s changed. Drink and the simmering violence of match day in London brings out the worst in him over a long, difficult afternoon for father and son. But at the end when the father realises that his son is gay, finally the calm and peace of his heart comes out in support of his son. It is about the unconditional love of a reformed father trying to prove he has indeed changed. (6/10)

Male Bonding Rugby Style (UK)

The cameras follow the players of the Sanbach Rugby Team  in North England as they celebrate their success in a series of local pubs. The more they down the alcohol, the more their inhibitions peel away,and their feelings for each other find physical expression.They may be playing it up a bit for the camera,but there's no doubting the sincerity behind the kissing and fondling. There's plenty of nudity and swinging dicks. A freedom of male bonding where everyone is super confident about their sexuality. (6/10)

OVO (France)
This short film is a political thriller set in near future where a extreme neo-fascist party has taken over the government and wants to get rid of foreigners, jews and homosexuals. Laurent has a gay Arabic lover. They both along with their friends have to decide whether to flee the country, stay and fight, or stay and hide. Will it be too late before a decision is taken. The film goes back and forth between various scenes. A difficult film to watch but doesn’t really prove a point on what it wants to say to its audience. (5/10)

Luces del centro (Argentina) [Center Lights]
This is a silent gay short film that shows as the night progresses and the countless city lights come and go, and like people, mingle, meet, separate, are reunited. A man looks at them from the top of his balcony as a reflection of his mind. They make visible the wide range of meetings that the city offers, but he prefers the man who lives in the next room, although not reciprocated. It was alright. (4/10)

En del av mitt hjärta (Sweden) [Passing Hearts]
This is not a gay short. A teenage boy who looks depressed because he cannot play goes for a cross-country adventure to meet a stranger couple and soon we find out why. Their son’e heart was donated to this kid and somehow through him, the parents feel closer to their son. A very intriguing and touching love story.  (7/10)

100 Metros Estilo Libre (Mexico) [100 m Freestyle]
Polo and Domingo spend their last days together before Domingo moves to another city. Domingo has to say goodbye to his girlfriend, Mina; while Polo deals with his feelings towards his best friend in the little time they have left. Although it seems that Domingo also has some feelings for his friend.  A classic case of who says it first and will it be too late? (6/10)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

West Hollywood Motel

I was given access to screener version of the film by Syndicado, a film and TV distribution company. I have mixed feelings watching this film. Had I seen this film a few years back, I may have thought that this was a feel good funny film but having seen a lot of meaningful cinema of late, I unfortunately can’t say the same about this one. This does not mean it was an awful film but there is nothing special about it either.

As title suggests, the film is set in a motel and focusses on few couples who are spending their time (a couple of days) in this motel. We meet a Venezuelan import trying to make it into movies and longing for companion. A chance encounter where the motel miss up a reservation for another guy could be his chance for companionship. We meet a straight couple who are in town to meet their cousin where the wife overnight develops a penis and the entire day goes in the confusion on what the hell has just happened. Then we have a lesbian relationship. One of the girls is an actress married to a man and is not ready to make any sort of commitment to her partner who is completely devoted to her and also is ok dealing with the fact that she is married. And finally we have a gay couple who have come for a romantic vacation but there is something that’s missing between the relationship. The film focuses on these couples and try to make a story of these individuals.

Let’s analyse the stories. The story of a married straight couple was weird. Also the casting of husband was probably not right. He felt pale in comparison to the very strong performance by the wife. She was fantastic. The lesbian plot was not convincing. There was just no chemistry between them, considering that they are supposed to be together for 2 years. For the gay couple, we didn’t know what was actually missing in their relationship? The younger dude is outgoing while the other one prefers watching movies; so how the hell does everything get right in the end and the extrovert guy has a change of heart. The only good chemistry was in the non-couple of the Venezuelan guy and the stranger. That story itself can be made into a short film which would be very nice. The actors had great chemistry but not a whole lot o focus was given to it. Performance wise, I have to admit that most actors did a pretty darn good job. Usually when I watch low production films, I keep my expectations low but these actors were all good. All they need is some good mentorship and some luck and they can do well.

Thankfully the film is not too long so its not too much of a torture. I think the idea was to make a pretty simple funny movie. They achieved the simple part but it wasn’t really funny. I did not laugh at even a single scene. Overall I would say below average. (4/10)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Kissing Darkness

And its back!! The saga of terrible awful gay themed films mad in US is back. Let me just say it out loud: ‘Please do not watch this awful terrible movie. Save 1.5 hours of your life’. I would not recommend to watch it, even if you get paid to do so. But then, if you need lessons on how ‘not to act’ and how ‘not to direct’, this film could be a good case study.

A group of friends rent a cabin in the woods to escape the hollow festivities of West Hollywood Gay Pride. The group consists of 4 gays and one straight guy whose father owns the cabin. Once there, boredom fast settles as they're deprived of their usual party tactics. They get their hands on an Ouija board which somehow awakens the spirit of a Gothic murderess. The vampire starts following and one after the other, the guys are attacked and made vampires. I do not even wanna go into the details of the story anymore because only I know how I managed to survive the film.

Acting was over the top by everyone involved. I couldn’t believe how terrible Sean Paul Lockhart was. Its such a shame. Everyone else was also quite annoying. The bitchy queen blond was so artificial and annoying. The scenes were totally out of sync and lot of connections just did not make any sense. The film would cut from one scene to the other without much explanation on what the hell is going on. You will never know why the straight guy kept taking his shirt off at every single given moment and why the hell would he come with a group of gay guys for vacation anyway when he doesn’t even like them. The only good thing about the movie is a lot of eye-candy, fully ripped torsos and some ass of the cute boys. The vampire girl was terrible as well but probably the most decent in the whole lot. The sound in many scenes is also terrible and you just can’t understand a word of what is being said.

Horrible acting, horrible production, horrible movie. Two stars for some (actually, a lot of) eye candy.   (2/10)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Cambridge Spies (Mini Series) (UK)

This BBC mini series is definitely not a gay mini series but the fact that 2 of the 4 principal characters of this series were gay, makes this series qualify for me to write a review about it here. This series chronicles the lives of the four Russian spies from 1934 to 1951.

The series shows us how the 4 characters, Philby, Burgess, Maclean and Blunt are recruited and why they feel compelled and obligated and wanting to do this with Russia. Each series focusses on an individuals life and the interactions between the four people. Blunt is the reserved one who occasionally is allowed to show emotions and is also gay. Guy Burgess is witty and charming, who enjoys picking up men in public toilets. Maclean is a man of privilege who feels guilty for what he has, yet is aware of his limitations. And finally we have Philby, the most enigmatic, fiercely loyal and intelligent, devious and filled with angst. There is a lot of information that is thrown at the viewers and you just have to keep taking it. I am not going to try to summarise the story or narrative here like I do most times, because there is so much that it is difficult to summarise it into words. But in short it is a sympathetic look at these 4 gentlemen from their Communist days at Cambridge in the early 1930s through their rising through the ranks of British government. Highlighted in particular on this journey are the sacrifices that they all made in their personal lives ranging from Philby's first wife to Burgess' great love Julian Bell and Maclean's being forced to leave behind his wife and children. Also seen is Blunt's journey as he gradually loses faith in both Communism and his spying for the Soviet Union.

The acting and production by everyone is just brilliant in the whole series. Thankfully it was not made in a documentary style and hence the viewers are always engaged. It is never made a big deal of the fact that 2 of these guys were gay either by their friends or even the Russians. It was just accepted. It was definitely eye-opening and insightful. I thought the story and focus on each character was quite balanced. Though personally not being aware of the whole history, made it a little difficult for me to follow the series completely. There were instances where I was completely loss because I personally am not very aware of the overall picture. But all said and done, it doesn’t take away form the fact that this is an important piece of historical information.

Definitely recommended. (7/10)

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Gerontophilia (French)

Gerontophilia means ‘love for old people’. This love story is shocking, at least for me,in terms of its premise but by the time the film ends, it does make sense. This story of intergenerational gay love, although being controversial ends up also a tender love story if you can look beyond the predujices. I have never witnessed such a premise in the gay film scene and this is enough to generate the curiosity for me for this film.

18 year old Lake is in a relationship with his overly feminist girlfriend Desiree. But soon we get a hint that he actually gets aroused and excited by old wrinkly jaded old men. The happiness he sees sees a guard on the road and later when he gets an awkward erection while resuscitating a geriatric swimmer at the pool. His boozy mother soon gets him a job at ld age nursing home and Lake feels in heaven. One patient who particularly gets his attention is Mr. Peabody, 81 year old from theatre actor. After a few meetings the two people hit it off and they share martinis and games of gin rummy and nap-time canoodling. When Lake tells about this to Desiree, she surprising is supportive of Lake but its not the same of his mother and the home authorities and they instead load up Mr Peabody’s meds and strap him to the bed. Lake decides to do something about it and to fulfil Mr Peabody’s wish, decides to take him to Pacific Ocean on a road trip. This road trip leads to moments of love and jealousy when Lake feels that youngsters are trying to get Peabody’s attention (maybe of money) but he truly loves him. Lake tries to overcome his jealousy monster but its too late. Age and Travel catches up with Peabody and the expected happens.

I am not sure if this film is meant to be taken very seriously in terms of how we treat our senior citizens or is it a light-hearted take with uber-feminist girlfriend and Lake’s alcoholic mother providing the laughs. But what I do know is that it was different and actually rather pleasant watch. It is a captivating story of love, loss, and personal exploration. Lake is immensely charming and super cute. His smile is to die for. I am really looking forward to seeing him in more films. I think I was enjoying this film evermore because of his innocent looks, good acting and brilliant smile. Mr Peabody’s character was very interesting and very well done as well. After ding some research online, I found that the director of this film has previously made only soft porn films, so I have to commend on this big transition with and independent meaningful film extracting amazing performances from his actors and dealing with a topic that is too much of a taboo.

Don’t let the topic intimidate you. Watch it with an open mind. You may not agree with it but that doesn’t mean the film is not good. (6/10)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

G&T (Italian) (Web Series)

G&T is an Italian webseries. As title suggests, these are initials of our 2 main characters Giulio & Tommasso. The web series was 13 episodes. I was lucky enough to find this with subtitles. There are so many web series that I need to catch up on. I just wish there was more time in a day.

Series starts with the G & T, two best friends going to a club to have fun. One thing leads to another and they end up kissing and later we see Tommasso storming out of the club. Circa, 5 years later, people have moved on. Giulio is in a steady relationship with Matteo but lives with his best friend Sara whereas Tommasso lives with his girlfriend Serena working for his brother. The 2 friends haven’t seen each other for 5 years since then. When Giulio catches Matteo cheating on him, he is heartbroken. A chance encounter with Tommasso and Sarah at a new club is going to change things soon. There is awkwardness when the 2 friends meet and Tommasso even picks up a fight with Giulio. We realise there is something more to it. Tomato is stressed because for both his brother and his girlfriend, he is never good and he is tired of living in this frustration. Also when he sees Giulio back, all memories start coming back and he is back to being confused. Matteo wants Giulio back and apologises and wants to get back his love. As luck would have it, Giulio is picked up as the architect for Serena’s and Tommasso’s new house and they are forced to work together. A lot of events unfold, where Tommasso goes back and forth between being cordial to Giulio but also being a bitch at other times. As expected things end well, when Tommasso attitude soften progressively, leading him to discover why he is really hostile toward Giulio that he was always trying to run away from the true love. He was just trying to suppress his feelings. He feels pretty good when he finally comes out to his finance and brother and stops caring about everyone else. His love for Giulio is deep and pure, exactly how Giulio feels for him. The 2 of them finally get together at the end of 13 good episodes. Its a very happy warm feeling for everyone, including friends and Giulio’s family.

Apart from the main story, there is also a side love story of Sara with a bar owner, but that doesn’t add any relevance except some additional characters to the basic plotline. Each episodes takes us to some scenes back to the first night at the club, and more secrets are revealed to us slowly on what exactly happened that night in the club. As much as it would annoy me that randomly they would go the first night in every episode, it started to make sense, when they would show something peculiar about every single individual from that night and how it shaped their present. Tomato is really cute and did well in his act of a guy burdened with not knowing what he really wants and also of living in shadow of his brother and girlfriend. Serena played the part of a bitch with perfection. Giulio also acted quite well. I think strictly in terms of acting, he was the best of the lot. But my favourite was Sara. She was naughty, she was quirky. Still , overall the acting needs to be hugely improved. Production values were quite decent.

Yes we have seen many stories on the love of a gay and supposedly straight guy but still this one was not a bad viewing at all. (6.5/10)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Eastern Boys (French/English)

An interesting mix of two very diverse topics has been dealt with in this delicate, ambitious and gripping drama. We see the intricacies of eastern boys who are illegally in France and what gay-male sexuality is about. A home invasion, a tender love story, hide-and-seek thriller and finally a deft ending; this film definitely tackles and shows things which I have not seen before.

Film begins with us observing a gang of eastern European guys hanging out at the railway station. We ultimately see a 40 something Daniel, who is somehow interested in one of the boys named Marek, a handsome Ukrainian hustler. Daniel gives him his address and asks him to come next day. A naive thought son becomes a nightmare when his home is invaded by the entire gang and slowly everything is taken from him, in a very tense but long sequence. Stripped of everything material that he possessed, Daniel starts working again, only to be visited by Marek again the next day. This time for sex. Marek frequently starts visiting and we see a gradual bond starting to develop. The sexual intensity increases, they become companions. Marek enjoys his company and Daniel finally feels he has someone to take care of. The carnal relationship starts turning into parental bond. But there isa problem. Mark’s passport is held by his boss, the leader of the gang and for Daniel and Marek to do anything, they will need his passport. Some thrilling sequences later. A hide and seek chase sequence where Mare gets captured by his boss but later saved by Daniel, shows us even more depth of the conditions that those people are living in. Finally Daniel is able to make a valid argument to be Marek’s legal guardian and he adopts him.

The film is sort of shown in 4 parts and some of them feels disconnected.The second part where Daniel is a hostage in his own apartment is really scary. I mean, its  avery real situation that most gay men do not think of but it could happen to any of us. The helplessness that Daniel has when he sees there is nothing he can do about the gang robbing his house is so real and nerve wrecking. Marek also plays his part beautifully and so does Boss, in his menacing act of the gang leader. Sure;y we see how the relationship loves between 2 men and how Daniel moves on from wanting Marek’s body to now wanting to be his guardian is shown evolving. It just doesn’t happen in a snap. The fourth part set in the hotel when Marek goes to take his passport feels a bit disconnected from the film and I feel it was somehow better handled, but oh well !!

A little crisper editing and shorter runtime would make this film even better watch.. It is still quite interesting and shocking. (7/10)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Gay Short Films : 28

Mi Realidad (Spain) [My Reality]
Xavi is a boy who has been left by his fiancé after a relationship of 5 years. He can’t stand it and decides to rely on some self-help books in order to leave behind his sadness. This includes imagining that his boyfriend is always with me when he wake sup, when he sleeps, when he walks , when he works; everywhere and anywhere. But how far will this world of reality and dreams go. Will Xavi go to a level where he begins to lose even the real friends he has?

The First (USA)
A brilliant short summarising the belief that you never forget your first. Our main character is bi-sexual and seems to be exploring his own preferences and feelings although at the same time he is hurting others in the process. It starts with him cheating on his girlfriend with a boy, then another girl before the girl-friend realises whats going on. A series of hook-ups follow before its time that our hero needs to decide what he wants from life and love. Good production values and decent acting.

Tsintty (Portugal)
3 relationship and 3 couples. gay, lesbian and straight. One thing that is common among them is anguish and suffering when one of them is abandoned of a loving relationship by their partner. Now its upto these individuals to find the strength to overcome the difficulties that came over their life. Its the story of the end of a relationship, a broken heart, and how that heart picks up the pieces to move on.

Vuelo cancelado (Spain)
When his flight canceled, Martin returns home and is face to face with infidelity. He finds his boyfriend sleeping with a girl. The three get into a chat which neither is prepared for. When Martin finds out truth, he wants to help his Bf but shock awaits for him, when the female casting director finds him more interesting.

Jumper (Germany)
A secret visitor outside the house of a family. The naked man in the window symbolizes ‘the elephant in the room’ and the thing we don’t talk about. Each of the four family members remember the time when they all individually slept with the visitor. What follows is a complete breakdown of the family.

A Descoberta Luke (Brazil)
Luke is 18 and goes to a gay sauna. He discovers that it is not things work there as he always thought. Luckily not lost all hope. A sweet and funny animation.

Liquid Sun (Netherlands)
Victor and Aidan are friends. Victor is visiting and is about to head back to Poland but something happens the day before where the friendship is questioned. Victor kiss Aidan who punches him back. But the fun and friendship is still intact. Victor leaves hoping something to happen but Aidan realise his true feelings hone it is a little too late. Interesting feature and very well shot.

I Hit Send, or Modern Meltdown (USA)
Written for a poetry reading at Penn State earlier this year, Steven Boyle is ridiculously adorable  and touching reading his work "I Hit Send, or Modern Meltdown" about the first time he told someone he loved them. Find it online and watch it. Its fun.

Can’t Quit You (Taiwan)
An autobiographical short film about Zico, a hair stylist. It’s the story of his first love, a relationship that blossomed when he began his career as a hairstyling assistantThe couple dreamed of a life together, symbolised by an identical tattoo that would become the emblem of their bond. But just when everything starts to seem perfect, Yin steps into the world of drug addiction, turning their relationship upside down.

Even we’re apart (Vietnam)
A film with only music and no dialogues , shows life of a couple who are apart from each other for a short time but how theistic manage to keep connected through technology. When its time to meet, there is a small scare but the lovers are reunited.

O PitBull (Brazil)
On the beautiful beach of Ipanema, two seemingly very different men have something in common sure! An animation feature. Silly but cute.

Asbjørn (The Love You Have In You)
Music video featuring a gay couple and their interaction.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Pride (UK)

Set in 1980s, this film talks about 2 of the most unlikeliest of groups coming together to support each other. A loveable, warm and witty film. I, will admit that I had no clue about this aspect of history. The film is based on the true story of pioneering gay campaigners in London who supported the strikers with the "Pits and Perverts" benefit concerts - and in so doing had to overcome tribal suspicions among both London's gays and the miners of south Wales.

Mark is a young gay campaigner who decides to break out of gay politics and support the miners. Mark and his friends raise some cash and finds a sympathetic Welsh mining leader to accept it. The irony is that the miners are generally speaking the most homophobic group that they could ever hope to find, so the union wants nothing to do with them or their money. When Mark and his friends visit the village, as expect they face hatred some some and love from others but slowly they manage to turn things around and slowly everyone starts liking them, well mostly everyone. The rest of the film shows us how this group of lesbian and gays form LGSM group, win everyone’s love, some people’s hatred and try an move on. We also witness some of the individual stories and their coming out stories interlaced with poignant love and affection from miners families especially the women. The ending where the miners show up their support for the gays is just the perfect ending and mad me choke a little with emotions.

Every single character in this film goes an exceptional performance. the LGSM group or the miners, everyone just fits ad the fact that film is light hearted with comedy tones makes it so much more easier and pleasant to watch. The director very expertly juggles a large number of characters and story elements without making it confusing. We have the gay man who reconnects with his estranged family; the onset of AIDS; the self-actualization of a modest miner’s wife. You cannot not be moved by this film. The takeaway message of “Pride” is that meeting someone of a different race, gender, orientation or status is a lot more informative, honest and enriching than experiencing them from what media tells you. Therein so much that I am feeling inside but can’t find the right words that can describe how good I am feeling after watching this film

This is a must see movie that will show how hate can harm and will also reinforce your faith in humanity. (9/10)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Gay Short Films : 27

Sígueme (Spain)
One day Rubén decides to grab his bike to enjoy the sea air, something he can’t do everyday. What Rubén doesn’t know is what will soon lead to an encounter behind the rocks with a man named Paco. When he returns home, his finance Julia notices that their engagement ring is missing and she realises that he has been unto something. This afternoon that will change a relationship between two people forever. The film ends with the trio together and  aid named Paco. A lot is left for the viewers to decide but this is a great short film although similar stories have been seen in full length feature films made on similar subject.

One Shot (Germany)
Kerem is Turkish. His family is conservative. His sister denied her religion. He is gay. A cliché you will say, and certainly it is one. Because this story is the beginning of a movie within a movie within a movie, where all characters came to shot a clip against racism. Despite all good intentions in the world, they end up in a quarrel of clichés. IT is an interesting concept but drags towards the end.

Crabs In The Sand (Israel)
Noam,13, is spending his afternoon with his little sister, Maayan, 10, and there two girlfriends, Elinor and Tami, waiting on the beach for the girls father to come back from a visit at the prostitute. The kids meet Michael, a 30-year-old retard, and play with him like any other day but This time Noam take it one step too far. A step that will change there friendship forever. Interesting but doesn’t really explain the motivation of why it was done, what was done.

Being Stavros (UK)
Stavros is looking for love. In a bid to find it he makes an unusual move - entering the ‘Mr Gay UK’ beauty pageant. Only problem is that at 420 pounds, Stavros weighs 3 times as much as his competitors. He still signs up and wins but the bureaucracy lets him down in the end. This is a documentary about one man’s unbreakable spirit.

Rick (USA)
Rick’s partner ends up dying in  car accident on the day the two were arguing on the streets and Rick still blames himself for it. Now, 3 years later, he depend son his friend Adam to pul him out of the darkness of his soul. The only problem is Adam is all made up non-existent entity. Interesting concept and well done.

Gay camp (USA)
A trip with a pretty big gay group of people to Bumping Lake. Big Yawn !!!

Gay=Sin (USA)
This is not an anti-gay video. It’s an ironic statement showing the truth underneath the disgusting words people saying, showing that gay people are happy and beautiful and completely natural.

Indícios dois (Brazil) [Traces Two]
Close friends Peter and Guto are excited about moving to Rio de Janeiro. As they move to the new city, they are about to discover the city and their affections for things including each other. They evolve mixed feelings of the present, the memories, the reality and the dreams. Sharing one bed, the friends started feeling things of one another that they dare not accept. Is it just a dream or a reality that is coming true. Beautiful film.

Gagak & Merak (Brunei) [The Crow & The Peacock]
A bored mother at home gets furious when her only son shows up home with makeup and a dress on. When she confronts her son, she is caught unawares of the emotions that have been building up in her son, who only wants to be what his heart wants to be. What will the mother do? Will she take extreme steps to save her family honour or will she give in to the love of her son? First gay film from Brunei directed by Abdul Zainidi. Decent attempt and good performance by mother. I wish the son could have done better. Interesting concept.

Depois de tudo (Brazil) [After everything]
A mature man is cooking dinner waiting for his love to arrive. They eat, watch a film of the tenth time, carries each other and sleep. Little gestures, daily tender routine, a movie that you still enjoy it as it was the first time, some wrinkles here and there & endless caresses. Looks like a usual daily routine in the life of a mature gay couple till morning comes and the lover has to leave to his “family”, not to know when can he come back. Some ugly realities of life forcing people to lead a life which probably they never wanted to in the first place but society forced them to. Very good.

20 male gay NYC (USA)
Gay men talking about gay men in NYC. Bore !!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Love Is Strange

Wow!! A story told with simplicity, beauty and emotions sums up this wonderful story. I don’t know how many gay love stories have been made focussing on mature couples, maybe I haven’t seen them, but I am so glad that this film was made. Having lived in New York myself, I could really appreciate the nuances of New York real estate (which is kind of backbone for the film) and balancing work and life and family.

Ben and George have been together for 39 years. Ben, a painter, struggles with anxiousness and sadness at most mets and it is George who is always there to prep-talk him and make him look at the bright side. After years of being together, they finally decide to get married. But soon afterwards, George looses his job as choir director, because by marrying his partner, he has now officially come out. With loss of income, they have to sell their Ny apartment and temporarily take shelter at their friends/family couches albeit separately. Ben goes and lives with his nephews family and shares a bunk bed with their son while George ends up sleeping on the couch of their friend’s , a gay couple’s apartment. Not only do they have to deal with their own separation and being away from each other after so many years, they have to get adjusted to life style of their adopted families , which at their age is definitely not the easiest thing to do.  A chance meeting with a young man about to leave his ‘rent-controlled’ apartment brings back the ray of hope in their life. We don’t get to see what happens when they move in but we do see what happens a year later when George is left alone. Be’s grand-nephew comes to give George the last painting that Ben was working on when he was saying with them. This is his way of saying sorry for being mean to Ben’s artistic passion earlier.

Ben and George are so good in their roles that it is hard to imagine that these guys have not been together so many years. They capture the ease of such a relationship, where you want to grow old with someone and you actually do, beautifully. Kudos to the director as well of handling it beautifully. Their relationship is not of a casual friends but that of lovers who have become one after several decades of being together. The film is emotional and heartfelt, but never melodramatic. Certain scenes are long without much happening but they give an insight of the character’s inner lives for us. The lead characters are gay but the film is more about having to deal with growing old, still have to make money, gay partnership, how its not easy to survive in the “city”.

"Love is Strange" is a patient film. The emotions it unleashes are enormous. Great performance by lead characters makes this film immensely pleasurable to watch. (8/10)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Gay Short Films : 26

Dirty boots (USA)
This video follows a sexually-charged day in the life of a gay biker gang in Brooklyn. They awake in a tangle of leather, then suit up and ride to an underground sex club to initiate new members. Boundaries are pushed, but the boys find love, family and the unexpected.

The Love Within (USA)
Three college students - Ethan, Meg and Josh - share an intense friendship that turns emotional when unspoken attractions come to light. S straight couple and a man’s attraction for his best friend. The inescapable truths of the heart will either strengthen or destroy their seemingly fragile bond.

Coming Out Straight (USA)
A comical satire on the parental ignorance teens face when coming out. A teenager raised by 2 gay dads comes out and how his dads react forms the crux of this short.

Vapor (Canada/Mexico)
Set in Mexico City over the course of a single day, this is the true story of an older man's decision to accept his homosexuality, his coming-out. Told without any dialogue, this award-winning short film is a cinematic exploration of shame, catharsis, and ultimately, transcendence. A heartening story of self-affirmation.

Animal Within (Spain)
A hotel suite: the scenario for a young student to discover with his own eyes the dark venture of a wicked man. Tuns out that the monster is a doctor who seduces young buys for their organs. Really shit scary short film.

Viðrar vel til loftárása (Iceland) [Good weather for an airstrike]
Set in 1950s Iceland, it features a football match between two teams of young boys. As one team scores a goal and celebrates, two young boys on the same team begin to kiss. No dialogs and the music is instrumental however the melody has lyrics.

STOCKBAR - Phoenix Forum (USA)
A short focussing on some events in the life of a few strippers including waiting n guests, having competitions and of course stripping.

Performance Anxiety (USA)
Two straight actors sign up for a gay film. Now they need to rehearse for a movie's gay love scene. How will they make out and what tricks of acting will they use from their bag? Will this change their chemistry?

Gay Couple Who Challenged Singapore's Sodomy Ban
Singapore is land of paradoxes that are made particularly vivid through the prism of LGBT issues. While the island nation and former British trading colony is among the wealthiest and most diverse nations on earth, it remains rigidly opposed to granting basic rights to its LGBT population. Gareth Lim and Kenneth Chee challenged this in court but were defeated as the city-state's Supreme Court ruled Section 377a of the penal code is constitutional.

It’s Consuming Me (Germany)
A beautiful short film of a man who can’t move on. He wishes that he could but he is caught in the thought of why could have been with his so called love thereby losing a grip on reality.

Becoming Flirty (USA)
A celebration of transformation and being true to oneself. A man starts his day with shaving, makeup and transforming into this beautiful lady ready to flirt with men.

Tough Guise 2 : Violence, manhood & American culture (USA)
Pioneering anti-violence educator and cultural theorist Jackson Katz argues that the ongoing epidemic of men's violence in America is rooted in our inability as a society to move beyond outmoded ideals of manhood. In a sweeping analysis that cuts across racial, ethnic, and class lines, Katz examines mass shootings, day-to-day gun violence, violence against women, bullying, gay-bashing, and American militarism against the backdrop of a culture that has normalized violent and regressive forms of masculinity in the face of challenges to traditional male power and authority. He also shows video games and movies and how they have their affect.

An overall rating of just average. (4/10)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Children 404 (Russian) (Documentary)

For any documentary to be successful, it is very important for it to hold viewers attention. Tell a story that has something important to say, incorporate key characters and their interactions and present in a way that viewers wanna know whats going to happen next. Sadly, this documentary miserable fails in the latter. It does have an important story to tell. But it is so long and drawn and boring that within 30 minutes into it and you have already completely lost the interest.

Based on the stories from the Children-404 social networking project, which offered Russian (and international) youth a channel to express themselves and seek or offer support, this documentary’s name wants to say that ‘visibility is vital’. In 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin passed a bill forbidding the “promotion of nontraditional sexual relations to minors.” LGBT youth, now defenseless against insults and intimidation under this “gay propaganda” law, are considered sick, sinful and abnormal. The teens here detail their humiliations and discriminations, as well as their courageous stands against bullies. Although the documentary focuses only on 2 individuals mainly. A guy who wants to move to Canada and the girl who started the whole campaign. Not really sure what happened to all these other stories.

The documentary is brave and is an important story to tell that the world needs to hear but as I mentioned above, it fails to grab the attention. The one scene that was interesting for me was when the guy is standing with a banner in a square and the hateful comments he hears form the passers by and when the cops approach him. But otherwise there was a lot of drag. I guess lack of funds was probably one of the reasons to make it in a very home-made video style. In any case it is a very real and terrifying picture of contemporary Russia. (4/10)

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Phi Chai (Thai) [My Bromance]

Wow! Another Thai film that impressed me. Some people may find this controversial and even cheeky to an extent but I thought that the direction was done quite well and most of the stations were handled bravely and sensitively. Its not a typical gay teen coming-of-age film but its more than that. Its about whats right and what’s not in a relationship.

Golf lives with his father and aunt. His father showers him with money but not love. When he remarries, in comes Bank, his step brother. Bank constantly keeps trying to reach Golf but is always met with hostility. Things change when their common friends make Golf realise on how bad he is treating his brother. The 2 guys start accepting each other as brothers. Bank gives Golf the love and warmth that he has always desired. The school’s pop start is interested in Bank who refuses his proposal because he likes someone else. The moment when the 2 boys confess their love for each other being a brotherly love is very emotional. The two start a relationship and even find acceptance form their friend circle. But hell breaks lose when the parents find out. Golf’s father warns him to break off the relationship or else he will send Bank to US. Reluctantly Golf decides to go to US for studies so that Bank’s life is not torn apart. When he returns after 6 months with a fiancé, Bank is hurt and doesn’t know what to do. Clearly the 2 boys still care for each other and love each other very much. Hurt by what Golf has done, Bank decides to go to the school pop-star. Angry with this development and to prove his unconditional love for Bank, Golf puts himself and Bank in an accident. Golf survives but Bank is critical since he will now need kidney replantation surgery. Golf offers his kidney. Time passes and Bank misses Golf because he thinks he went back to US. Only in the end the truth is revealed that Golf dies after donating his kidney. He had  tumour which was diagnosed after the accident.

An interesting story done very interestingly. While t is a reflection of teenage guys love and discovery, the film doesn’t touch on any issues around homosexuality, which I am fine with. Not every film is supposed to do that. I liked how the friend are acceptable of their love even though maybe they may be not approve of 2 guys loving each other in general. The underlying theme of friendship beyond the love of 2 guys was quite evident. Both of the guy acted well IMO although Bank was much better than Golf, even prettier. Some of the scenes with Golf seemed way over the top but Bank was more natural and real. They should lose of the weird whining and grits that the 2 boys randomly give out. Its very comic and no dramatic at all. The first half of the movie was quite cute and sweet and send half was completely dramatic. I think the mares wanted every element to be part of this film. They rely didn’t have to put so much drama and twists in the second half of the film.  There is a line from the film that I would not forget
“Love isn’t about wing brave or not,
it’s about whether you want to love or not”

Very watchabale and overall the movie was still above my expectations. (7/10)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Fucking Different (German)

The idea on paper sounds very interesting. Get gay short films made by lesbian filmmakers and lesbian short films made by gays. How does the sex of the others work, how to deal with stereotypes, prejudice, sexual fantasies and pornography; all these areas could be explored.

So 15 queer crossovers filmmakers from Berlin were asked to make a short film about their idea of lesbian and gay love respectively.  All genres – animation, documentary, drama – were allowed. Filmmakers were also given a free hand in deciding which form their films would take – either experimental or conventional. The only parameters to which they were required to adhere were the length of each film – between three and seven minutes. It was interesting to see that even though we may think lesbians and gays co-exist, there is still a lot of cliches in the minds of many in the opposite group. Sometimes ridiculous and other times offensive. W are not just fucking differently, we are fucking different. And that’s just fine the way it is.

Of all films in this series, nothing actually caught my attention at all except one “Melancholy Road” and you can’t make a simpler film than this. A monologue about a teenage male’s first homosexual experience over a black screen. But the rest were ordinary, absurd and I felt cheated and wanted my time back so I can spent it on something more meaningful. (2/10)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Last Summer

My faith in good gay cinema has once again been reinstated. But I guess I knew that very well that I will encounter some wort of worse movies and some really decent to some really good ones. This film needs patience but that and the simplicity of this film is what makes it special and you feel connected to it. A small town life has to be portrayed in a way that it exists. Not more not less. So yeah, some of you may get very impatient but trust me, give this film your attention and no expectations. You would be surprised !

Like and Jonah have been inseparable ever since they were 4. Jonah is the smart one and an artist while Luke is just an average kid. It is their last summer together before Jonah leaves for college. Each one of them loves the other more than the other person thinks. It is killing both of them equally that Jonah is going to leave but is there anything that they can do except their time together? Faced with separation, they savour every remaining moment, hold it, cherish it, never letting it go. Their relationship has solidified over years and thats what keep them happy, loved and safe.

Yes, when it comes to the story line, there is nothing more than what I have mentioned above, but when you watch this 65 minute odd film, you are left in awe in the minimal dialogues, the silence, the beauty and the perfect image of summer, peaceful and tranquil. The film doesn’t overdo anything. Simple things like cuddling, intertwined feet playing with each other with their shoes on, falling asleep in each other’ arms, time spent with their family and moments of quiet contemplation as Jonas and Luke ponder what the future holds for them individually and collectively. Separately they contemplate the future and wonder about being left behind by the other, but together in the last lazy days of summer, they simply exist in the now and are content to do so. They being gay or being in a relationship is never an issue with anyone. This film is more about pure teenage love. Its weird that even though the guys never even kiss but the film still felt very romantic.

First love in a small town has never been shown so beautifully, romantically and simplistically. When you love someone, you just want to be with them and spend time with them. Everything else just waits. (7.5/10)

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Where The Bears Are - Season 3 (Web Series)

And the bears are back ! By now, if you have seen the first two seasons, you have a general idea on the characters, their goofiness, their interactions and their silliness as well. So you know exactly what you expect and hence what you get is also what you expect. Its a win-win situation.

Like the predecessors, his season will also feature Reggie, Wood, Nelson and Todd into solving yet another thrilling murder mystery. Suddenly all chunky beefy male models of ‘Chunk Studio’ are being illdd and over a period of time there are 3 deaths. Nelson gets cast in a horror film, Chunk Studio owner wants Todd to join, which he ultimately joins as undercover. And Reggie enlists Wood to help him shoot a reality TV pilot to help him expand his brand as a true crime expert. We also have the usual dose of the 2 detectives also trying to solve the case. Thing sleep mystifying and eye are raised at all potential suspects including the make-up at its, ex-flames and anyone working in the Chunk Studio. Just when they the fours think that they have solved the murder mystery by catching the culprit, a rude shocks awaits them. Apparently it was not just one or two killers but its a team and now the bears must unite to solve this mystery for good.

The series was still fun and good time pass. Nelson’s hyper active praise of himself still gets to my nerves but its the combination of Wood and Todd that keeps it very interesting. Also the number of cute bears that you get to see in this series is just amazing. Since this is a web series, I can understand watching it like a movie feels dragged but its ok. I, for one, look for more seasons and stories coming out form this combination but as I mentioned earlier, the makers really need to keep the total length in check.

Definitely a laughter riot, but only if you have seen the previous seasons and you know exactly what you are getting. Otherwise you may end up with wtf reaction. (5.5/10)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Praxis

Oh My God!! What a piece of garbage this was ! yes, you read it right. I have actually written those words right at the beginning to save many viewers who are still yet to watch it, save themselves over an hour of their life. Sure the film wants to make some point about depression and loneliness but then why drag it to 90  long boring obnoxious minutes. The message could have been so well passed on in a 10 minute short feature film.

I will struggle to write the plot here because there was none but let me try in a couple of sentences. We see Brian, a handsome young man, going though past and present of his life and living in depression and fear of something. We also meet Joe. an older fit and handsome man, who time and again comes in Brian’s life as a source of strength. The chapters of their life are then shown in repeat mode with pretty much every scene repeated like 5-7 times, which didn’t make any sense to me. The films starts with Brian’s death so we know what’s in store finally for us. And that’s pretty much it. I am not kidding. I feel bad for actors who must have thought of this as a great potential film for them but alas, only if wishes could come true. There is one nude scene that barely lasts for the viewers to look forward to anything.

This movie feels like 2 lost actors looking for a film script and a director. And why this particular title? Please please do not waste your time on this at all. Just when you think you have seen the worse of movies, something comes up again to surprise you. (0.5/10)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Gay Short Films : 25

Can I be your bratwurst, please? (Germany/USA)
Jeff ‘bratwurst’ is tickling everybody’s fancy. When he arrives at a Hollywood hotel, all the guests have all sorts of fantasies set in motion at the sight of Jeff. We have a Marilyn Monroe look-a-like, a leather-man with a little white dog and the hotel-owner’s mother all craving for Jeff’s flesh. But fantasies turn wild at the dinner table set for christmas, where maybe these people are more than just humans and want even more than Jeff's bratwurst. Or is it just Jeff's imagination? A very well done and interesting piece of short narrative. (6/10)

The Disgustings (USA)
A comedic short film about a day in the life of two best friends, one an egocentric complainer and the other a judgmental ruthless witch, both ridiculous narcissists. This film clearly shows the abundance of assholes around you. I couldn’t believe some of the insulting to people remarks in this but I can also believe that people like these 2 exist. (6.5/10)

The Bash (USA)
This short film deals with internal and external homophobia. After movie screening, an argument breaks between the gay couple on why one can’t hold hand of the other. This gets unwanted attention of three rowdies who try to beat them but didn’t expect faggots to fight back. The couple’s relationship gets a new strength. (7/10)

My Father is Gay (India)
This is a very embarrassing watch. A young guy lives with his father and he hustles to make money. His father never asks where he gets this luxury life style from. ONe day when the son realizes that his father is in some kind of financial trouble, he along with his friend discovers that his father has closet gay tendencies and during one suck encounter he met a guy, who is now blackmailing him. The son agrees to accept his father and help him and tells him the truth about him being a hustler too. It turns out that the guy's friend had it all planned so that his friend could leave hustling and could see what his father really is. A great plot idea which if handled nicely can do wonders but with horrible acting, worst direction and utmost disgusting diction of english words, it was painful and then comedy to sit through the film. On the plus side, the guys were really HOT. (1/10)

It's elementary - Talking about gay issues in school (USA - Documentary)
A first film of its kind to address anti-gay prejudice by providing adults with practical lessons on how to talk with kids about gay people. It shows that children are eager and able to wrestle with stereotypes and absorb new facts about what it means to be gay or lesbian. Since it aired on more than 100 public television stations in 1999, It’s Elementary has fueled a growing movement of educators and parents - gay and straight alike - who are committed to preventing pervasive homophobia and anti-gay violence. The film shows what happens when kids in kindergarten through eighth grade discuss lesbian- and gay-related topics in age-appropriate ways. Shot in six public and private schools, It’s Elementary models excellent teaching about family diversity, name-calling, stereotypes, community building and more. Definitely worth a watch for everyone. Its so refreshing to watch some kids being so pure and just talking about what comes as a first thing in their mind. Highly recommend. (7/10) 


Ta av mig (Sweden) [Undress Me]
Mikaela recently changed sex from male to female. One night out she meets a guy who is more interested in her than her girlfriend but he keeps asking her about her dark husky voice. He follows her home, eager to know the reason. When told the truth, he is curious to see her breasts and vagina. There is a subtle power play between the two characters where we see how they are both a little intrigued by each other. The movie examines our perceptions of gender and how our identity can be formed by the perceptions of others. I liked it because it never gets ugly. It explores the curiosity of human nature. (6.5/10)

Sam (USA)
After being bullied and beaten for dressing like a boy at school, Sam escapes into the fields surrounding her house, where she’s forced to spend the night and choose between who she is and who the world expects her to be. It s avery short film with minimal dialogues but somehow it just failed to connect with me. I think a little more context would have helped the movie a bit. (3/10)

After The Sky Turned Black (USA)
After losing his vision in a terrorist bombing, photographer Frankie West closes off from the world, eventually forcing his frustrated boyfriend, Graham, to abandon him. Months later, a bitter and reclusive Frankie dedicates his time to seducing young men who sound exactly like his ex. They share an evening where Frankie recounts his past and wonders how things could have ben different. A very touching and emotional film though it ended too quick. This plot has a potential to be a full length feature. (6/10)

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Wedding Most Strange (UK)

With such an interesting title, the expectations from this film were a little on the north side. Unfortunately it was not the wedding that was strange but the film on borderline ridiculous. The dvd cover and synopsis of the film was also quite good and alas! only if the expectations could result in the film delivering what it promises. The movie is supposed to be funny, but what it really felt was badly acted and directed pseudo reality television.

We are introduced to Danny whose divorce has just come through. But in order for him to get his father's inheritance, he needs to get married within 2 weeks. and hence begins his search. He puts an online ad to find suitable male suitors to marry in a short notice. The search finally boils to 3 guys who are all invited for the wedding. We meet his best friend, a gay guy, his ex-wife and another odd friend Tracy, who probably has hots for Danny. Danny hasn't told any of them why is he getting married so soon and why this secrecy. When they find the truth, They all agree to help and Danny's ex-wife decides that she wants to compete as well. After indecision times, Danny finally decides on the guy he wants to marry and finally a gay wedding happens.

This film is a perfect example on how a bad direction can totally screw up a film. You never get to connect or sympathize with Danny as the main character. Quite a bit of film's portion goes in him trying to find a suitor and even when he finally decides, there is really no explanation since there has been no connection or chemistry or screen time between the 2 guys. No explanation is given on why did he divorce his wife in the first place. If being gay was the reason, then why is he ok with his ex-wife being a contestant again? It sometimes feels that Danny's best friend is in love with him, but that angle is never explored. Why does he deal with his weird friend Tracy, who is nothing but obnoxious to everyone including her boyfriend. The whole premise of the film seems like someone saw "The Bachelor" on TV and decided, 'Aha! this concept can be made into a film' and then directed it really badly. The 3 guys shortlisted were never given enough time to explore. Raj's family was Over the top and unlike most Indian families. He had that confused and 'I am desperate' for look all the time. The dialogues by everyone is silly and nonsensical. Danny was drawn as a sexless, fickle, two-dimensional character and I couldn’t help but feel I didn’t really care who Danny married, just as he himself didn’t seem to. But I blame this on real bad direction.

It is not a pathetic film but definitely doesn't deliver to what it promises or could potentially have delivered. (4/10)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

L'inconnu du lac (French) [Stranger By The Lake]

Wow! I have not seen an erotic gay thriller, which is drama yet full of eroticism. Although, at the same time, I can totally see people hating this film absolutely because a lot of scenes feel repeated. According to me that's necessary and I will talk about it in details later. The film is mixture of allure and menace. Most scenes have an underlying tension, and we really do not know what to expect beyond the lake and the bushes.

The basic plot of the film is very simple. A young man Frank, spends his summer days hopelessly searching for companionship at a popular cruising spot on the shores of a lake in rural France. The woods behind the beach is where the gay men involve in sexual encounters. Frank meets Henri, a flabby a guy whose wife has just left him and who sits alone on the beach away from most gay men. Frank also meets Michel, a very attractive yet darkly mysterious man and starts falling blindly in love with him. Although Michel is with someone, he and Frank does end up hooking-up. One evening Frank spots Michel drowning his current partner. Instead of calling the police, he is drawn more and more towards Michel and desperately falls in love with him; even as local police starts an investigation and both Frank and Michel are prime suspects. Henri has an intuitive understanding of what has happened and warns Frank who himself is scared but can't help being madly in love with him. When Henri confronts Michel of knowing what has happened, he goes to the woods signaling Michel to follow him, Frank overcomes with a bad feeling and rushes towards the woods. He finds Henri dying who tells him that he has finally received what he used to come to the beach for. With Henri dead, Franck is terrified and runs off into the woods to hide. Michel is now looking for Frank who is hiding but still his desire to be with Michel is greater than his fear.

The whole look of the film, as I said before is very thrilling. A slow thriller that sets the pace of the daily ritual of these individuals. The way characters move and interact is very very real. The naked male body is celebrated like never before and is treated very casually and with eroticism. Yes, the sex scenes are out there but as an audience we need to understand that yes Frank is driving himself to self-destruction because Michel is all worth it according to him. Sure I did sometimes get uneasy every time we see the similar scene of cards driving and parking, but you feel as if you are present there and are visually witnessing everything that is going on. The performances are beautiful and setting flawless. I can see why this film is being applauded in the film circuits. And at the same time I can also understand moviegoers saying WTF !!! This film needs attention, patience and your complete involvement.

The mystery may be resolved, but the suspense and uncertainty remains even in the end. I thoroughly enjoyed it but don't take my word because for all I know, you may actually hate it. (8.5/10)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Cockpit (Swedish)

Ok, so this may not really be classified as queer cinema, but it touches upon the subject tangentially, so there is no harm done in reviewing the film here. Plus this film was quite funny and interesting and I think more people should watch the film and get entertained. We don't always have to have films on serious subjects. Its time we lighten up the mood a little.

Valle is a successful pilot and leading a good life with a wife and kids. When the job market goes down, he unexpectedly finds himself out of job. To make matters worse, his wife divorces him and ends up with a much older man and Valle finds himself living with his sister in his childhood home. Unable to find a pilot job, he decides to impersonate as a woman with the help of his sister, when he finds an opening for a female pilot. Of course, he gets the job and this is where the fun begins. He starts getting close to a bi-sexual stewardess and a fellow pilot, known for his promiscuity, starts flirting with her. On a tragic flight, when there is engine failure, Valle starts freaking out and passes out. When he wakes up, he sees that most people are injured, including the co-pilot but everyone is safe. He becomes an instant star in the country. Everyone talks about feminism and brave women etc. Valle (now female) becomes a brand and much respected. The lines between his female and male life as well as his personal and love life starts to become a blur which he eventually cannot handle and one day the truth comes out in black box recording. Everyone is ashamed and suddenly female pilots are the worse pilots. Feeling pressure by his sister, who thinks that Valle should tell everyone that he is bad pilot. It has nothing to do with females. The way Valle comes out at a press conference is hilarious and so is the entire sequence thereafter.

Cockpit is light-hearted and charming film and serves as a potent reminder that identity is fragile, fluid but powerful. Humans are more important than gender and an individual is so because of his/her identity and not gender. Although this genre has been definitely tried before, it still remains funny depending on how well it has been done. There are more than enough funny scenes in this film, which continue to trickle your funny bone. Valle is funny and handsome. He is great when he is a man, but leaves a lot to be desired while portraying a woman. Make-up etc. could have been better. Maria, his sister's character was in fact the funny one and also his mother's who has now turned lesbian.

Decent time pass and funny film. You will not get bored for sure. (7/10)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

J'en suis! (French) [Heads or Tails]

Thank god for a nice funny film. Full of stereotypes and cliches, this hilarious satire pokes fun at both straight and gay attitudes and communities. The concept of a straight man pretending to be gay is not new and I at least have seen a few films in this subject but this was still quite funny. Sure it may be not a gem or a genius film but it does keep you entertained with a constant smile on your face and for me a viewer that does matter quite a bit.

Dominique and Pierre have been best friends and business partners. But when they go bankrupt, Dominique doesn't have the courage to tell his wit and kids and pretends to continue to live a lavish life. He also doesn't want to do any menial job. He has a keen eye for antiques. When he goes to sell of his own antique pieces, he gets hired to be the antique guy's partner. But this offer is made under the assumption that Dominique is gay an due goes ahead with it because the money is good. When he starts dressing gay, his wife becomes a little suspicious but never thinks much. When a boyfriend is needed, Pierre comes in handy and they act as a couple. When Dominique's wife sees them together on TV, she is appalled and doesn't know what to do. On the contrast, his mother is super excited to see him finally come out of the closet. A lot of funny scenes and situations follow. Ultimately, Dominique can't bear it anymore and comes clean to his partner who is very disturbed and asks him to leave job. But sense prevails and he comes back when he realizes how good Dominique is at his work and how he deserves every bit of it.

The film is a light heart comedy and no one should take it seriously. Pierre's and Dominique's scenes together are a laugh riot. The comfort and relationship that they share as 2 straight males is definitely very pleasing and same can be seen when they act as a gay couple. It also gets funny when Dominique starts questioning his own sexuality. Dominique's mother getting excited to know that her son is gay is the best. lol. The confrontation with his wife when she learns of his "alternate lifestyle" is priceless. The whole story with Dominique's employer and his boyfriend is also quite interesting. Thankfully the film never insults any minority group, and it succeeds exceedingly. This film is pure satire but it works really well. The 2 lead actors loo good and do a brilliant job in acting. Thankfully the humour is not cultural specific and anyone can easily understand it.

Strongly recommend the film. Its charming, its funny, its saucy and full of cliches. I loved it. It was pure entertainment. (7/10)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

L'homme blessé (French) [The Wounded Man]

All the time I was watching his film, I kept thinking "What is going on?" and you know how that is never a good sign. Expectation that this film will son start making sense,just always go downhill. Not much dialogue and only actions makes watching this film very boring and hard. I wonder if this has anything to do with not having context of homosexuality life in France in 1980's. I doubt because that should be no reason to not understand the context of a film.

A young man named Henri goes to the railway station with his parents to bid farewell to his sister, who is leaving on a vacation. The train is late, Henri has time to linger, and on a trip to the men's room he discovers that he has great passionate interest in men. One man in particular, Jean, a thug who implicates Henri in a robbery and then gives him a violent kiss, becomes for Henri a figure of enduring erotic fascination. Henri comes out of his shell that she starts getting obsessed with Jean. After a bit of gamesmanship, Jean takes Henri home, where Jean's girlfriend Elisabeth also lives. And then mutual mischief sets in. Jean sets a trap for Henri, who falls in. There is an older guy who is always after Henri and he then takes him to his home where Jean is also there and there is some hot-action there. I am not very sure of the time lapse  but its never clear. The old man ultimately takes Henri to this desolated place where Jean is sleeping. By then, the lust and passion and longing for Jean has built up so much in Henri that he takes drastic steps in the end of the film.

As I mentioned, I was quite confused most of the times as to whats actually going on. Who is the old man. Sure he fancies younger blokes but what is it that makes him want to help Henri all the time. What does he know about Jean. Does Jean have  medical problem or emotional issue? Why is Henri going all crazy over Jean. Why is Jean playing games with Henri, when he keeps saying that he doesn't want Henri to do anything. My list of questions will not end. Why is Henri always wearing dirty clothes. Why does he spend so much time in rushing and running form one place to another only to stop and look about ... left, right, left, right. This action of his would happen every single time and it started to bother me so much after a while. Jean has a comfortable life style at home, then why is he so attracted to the street life with hustlers. Shame, my questions will never be answered :(

In short, this film was just not meant for me. Portrayal of the turmoil of a young man wanting to escape from his boring socially acceptable family life while feeling disturbed and offended by the alternative world to which his emotions are driving him. Yawn! (2.5/10)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Gay Short Films : 24

Boris and Nadir (France)
A 9 episode, each of 60 to 90 seconds, promoting public awareness advertisements for prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. THis is one of the best things I have seen in recent times. How in such a sweet fun and easy way you can educate people on just use of condoms but only on post HIV positive status and how life doesn't end. Best thing is that actors are real porn stars. Fantastic!!. (8/10)

Love Ain't Magick (USA)
Athiest Will and his partner Om, a hippie, who loves to change his names, have their share of couple problems. But when their daughter comes home engaged to a guy who’s parents are extremely Christian, the two men bond together to make it work for her to meet the in-laws and funny secrets are revealed. Funny premise but such terrible bad acting. A good movie to watch and learn ho wont to act and how not to direct. (3.5/10)

They Say (USA)
We see an odd friendship between the most unwanted girl in the school and the boy who is always bullied. We hear various girls and boys talk about their daily lives and how it is vastly different from either of the two friends. When the girl spills the boy's secret hoping to make friends, the boy is bullied even worse and is force to move towns when he kisses a boy. Not everything that happens on a school playground is play. (6/10)

Praner Manush (India)
Chaitak and his mother deal with their soon-to-strike tragedy as he wants to confess to his mother every little thing about himself within the little time he has. He also gets confronted by his past during the same period of time when his boyfriend meets him. Very very novel and good concept but not such a good execution. (4/10)


With This Ring (USA)
All marriages have their share of problems, and this film takes a dark look at gay marriage gone bad. A young man brings home a sexy stranger and realizes the spark they are feeling in bed might be something special. As the night progresses the young man begins to think that there may be more to this encounter than he had thought. With right to marriage also comes right to divorce, which in turns comes with unexpected consequences. (7/10)

Is it a sin? (Germany)
Its the story of 3 friends who have been together since childhood in a small country village. Hanna, Magdalena & Samuel. Samuel is in a relationship with Robin but doesn't have the courage to tell his friends. When Magdalena finds out, she gets very disappointed in him saying horrible things to him. While Hanna is supportive, Samuel decides to end his life when he gets message from Hanna about "It Gets Better" project and that life for Samuel will be better soon. Decent film. Samuel was sooooooo obviously gay, why would anyone think otherwise? (5.5/10)

Believe The Dance (Norway)
This is NOT a gay short. Four different souls are stuck in their daily mundane job. They all get hit at the same time by the dance 'God' in a life-altering experience. I personally did not like the short film at all. It was odd, pretentious and quite boring and meaningless. (2/10)

A Star-Crossed Love (USA)
"Star-crossed lovers" is a phrase describing a pair of lovers whose relationship is often thwarted by outside forces. A gay version of Romeo -Juliet shown between 2 teenager boys. When one of the boy's friends find out, they beat up the other kid, forcing the 2 boys to individually commit suicide if they can't be with each other. Ironically, its the friends of the boy who attends theatre who have an issue with him being gay, whereas, the jock guy's friends are all cool about it. Very decent film. (7/10)

Roerloze Ontploffingen (Belgium)
The film is overall divided in theme of homosexuality with 3 separate stories, all with some sentimental value. First one about a woman falling for a married woman, the second one about a guy in the bar really longing for a man, who doesn't have the courage to accept himself and third and final about a gay teenager who is bullied in school. A very iterating way of direction and The camera work gives the viewer a feeling of how confined the character must feel. Quite decent. (7/10)

Miles Apart (USA)
Such a warm film inside and out, this film shows that compassion and transformation are possible. Jeffery and Miles are visiting Jefferey's mother's house for his sisters wedding. Despite the boys having been together for 5 years, the mother hasn't accepted Miles. This weekend things are set to change and like they say "never say never". Not the best production quality but the film positively portrays love, commitment and a very uplifting message. (8/10)