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.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Bizarre (aka Brooklyn Bizzare)

There cannot be a more apt title for this film, which totally lives unto its title. As a Viewer, you really can’t figure out what’s the purpose of the film, where it is headed and what’s it even trying to say. A truly bizarre film. set in Brooklyn about a young immigrant boy’s story trying to find his identity in a new city.

Maurice, a reticent young homeless man, somehow manages to get by in Brooklyn; he spends his nights in parked cars until he finds himself at Bizarre, an underground club renowned for its burlesque shows. Maurice is fascinated by the club’s playful revues celebrating self-determined sexuality and creative otherness, and the two female club owners both adore him. He soon becomes a part of their self-selected family, and begins to bond with introverted Luka, who also works in the same place. But Maurice turns his back on Luka’s growing affection. There is a bit of jealousy when Luka gives in to Maurice’s straight friend who fucks anything that moves. Luka just cannot understand what is Maurice’s feelings towards him. Running away from his true emotions he drifts aimlessly through the city and in his boxing club. Unable to withstand the pressure of his repressed feelings, Maurice unleashes a mounting foment of emotions, pervaded by tenderness and menace. There is apparently some back story which we are never told about.

There are so many  things that are ‘bizarre’ about this film. why did the girls end up approaching a random stranger to work with them and even live with them is a mystery. Luka, who forgets his keys one night, sleeps with Maurice but next thing we know is that he is pretty much moved in with him. What is Maurice’s past? Are the lesbian couple in open relationship or just teasing Maurice because he is so charmingly cute! We don’t know. Logic is not really the strong point of this film, for sure. The film is trying to not take any stand for anything; be it Maurice’s sexuality or other queer members, who strangely all have a double life. Maurice’s character is loosely defined and lack of no proper story track around him makes this film about nothing at all. Having said these, I thought the performances of all the actors was quite believable. They were god and yes Maurice was damn god looking in a twin sort of way.  There are too many burlesque routines in the film, although few of them good, have absolutely nothing to do with the plot. The dialogues are minimal and most important events are captured via loud background music.

All we have here is yet another gay themed tragedy that is ‘bizarre’ in true sense, a senseless odd film with a very attractive lead character for eye candy. (2.5/10)

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Webcam Boys (UK) (Documentary)

I am starting to realise that most BBC documentary follow a very standard tried and tested pattern. Pick a theme, identify 3-4 candidate who fit in the theme, follow a piece f journey of their life pertaining to the theme, give us details of things that we probably already know but don’t acknowledge, and finally end the deal with what the subjects are doing as of today. Ok! stop laughing now :) Its true, this is what they follow. Watch a few of them and you will know what i am talking about. This documentary looks at the growing number of young men who are stripping off for strangers online to make money.

There are a growing number of young men taking part in the sex industry by putting their bodies online to make money. We meet martyr, who has been jamming with his straight friend for last 6 years. They are straight, have never touched each other but have a huge following and make easy money. All they have to do is strip and keep their clients happy. Martin is very serious about his business and wants to expand and grow. Then we meet Joseph, who hosts a cam show five nights a week from a shed – which his parents helped refurbish just for his shows. He had a dark past of sex and drugs and his mom is very supportive of new money making venture. And finally we meet Pete, a newbie in the business, straight muscle guy with a wife and son who is trying to figure out the business. The requests he receive keeps getting weirder and weirder. Despite having support from his wife, we are told he finally decides to quit camping on focus on other ways to make money.

As per the documentary, A recent study showed that five percent of male students had worked in some capacity in the sex industry and this documentary explores this little-understood part of the sex industry, explores what drives these men to go online and uncovers the impact of what they do. They all have their own reasons for getting involved: for some it is a short-term way to make extra money to pay the bills, some see webcams as a means to longer-term work opportunities with good profits, whilst for others it is simply a world to explore their sexuality and flaunt their body. It tells you that if you’re going to do porn then just make sure you’re comfortable with the whole world finding out about it.

Thankfully the documentary was not unnecessarily stretched and was a decent watch. (5.5/10)

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Gay Short Films : 44

Underwater (UK) 
Jonathan, is taken to an elite swimming academy deep in the English countryside by his soon to be step-mother, kept away from her upcoming wedding to his father. At the academy, Jonathan struggles to find his place among the group. He may be a top athlete in his field, but here, he is not suave enough to deal with sexcapades and chauvinism of people in the group. They act straight but don’t mind fooling around with each other. The chemistry is real, the penis shots are real & the drama is real; except I don’t really get the whole point of this short film. Just Ok.

Todo El Sol Del Mundo (Spain) [All The Sun In The World]
Pablo & Mauro meet each other while clubbing. They stare, they like each other, they leave together. For some reason, not very clear, they are not together any more (or was it really just a one night stand). The film is captured through a video that Mauro makes for Pablo since he promised to make a video for him in their one night stand. I was a bit confused about the last scene where it seems that Paulo is now standing the bathroom in a position exactly where the two met. Interesting!

Kiss Me (USA)
Set in the world of Latino boxing, Kid mentally replays his ring opponent’s death over and over. Outside of the ring, it’s a violent match in his head and his heart: his love-starved wife is begging for affection, his son is looking for a father figure and, within himself, Kid must man up and admit what he really is: a homosexual. No gay scenes as such but the message is very clear. It wasn't very clear how did his opponent know that Kid was gay! Overall a different yet interesting story.

Slant (USA)
The film is inspired by Emily Dickinson’s poem.Ash, a college professor in his 50’s is looking for love after death of partner to AIDS way back. Ash fancies his gardener, a young attractive man who shows knowledge of poetry. Fooled by the fact that Luis is attracted to him too, he gets stood up. Patrick, his new neighbour comes for his rescue at this time with a bottle of wine, pleasant conversation and an age appropriate company. It is much easier to be with someone with commonalities than it is to train someone to like what we like. Very good.

The Main Event... in America (USA)
A Bronx is boxer and is living a decent life. He has a girlfriend and a son but still something is missing. He still prefers to have his single status and be a free man and ocassionally help out his family but something is bothering him. He is low on cash and needs to do something meaningful with his life. Only later we realise that he has a secret lover too. Now he must choose between his love for his dream of being a champion fighter, his family or his love for a man. Decent !

Butterfly: The Adult Word (Korea)
Cheol-soo is a grown-up who doesn't have a proper job and starts social life at a host bar. However, it's not easy adjusting to the bar,  where passion and lust swells. He is being well coached and mentored by his predecessor and slowly but surely he also learns the tricks of the trade. Now it is his time to open up to reality and become the new man. The cycle continues, when a new boy joins for job and he may not have feelings for the boy. To what extent will he go. I didn't like this film.

Pourquoi mon fils? (France) [Why My Son?]
This is the right time for Thomas and Louis to announce to their parents that they are gay and together. They are both teenagers at this stage. Everything goes well for Louis but Thomas’ father doesn’t take the news so lightly. He enters into a state of uncontrollable rage, and can’t live with the information. He even goes to the extent of threatening to kill himself. Better sense prevails and Thomas makes him realise that accepting the reality is much more simpler. All things ultimately fall in place.
Desnudos (Spain) [Naked]
Javier and Fran are naked in Fran’s bedroom and Javier has to leave. He forgot his phone at home and a innocent message by Fran leads to his parents discovering his sexuality. The father gets might upset about the contents on the phone. A can of worms of fear, homophobia & sexism opens at the dinner table. Javier has had enough and when his father asks him to leave, he gets naked (leaving everything that his father gave him behind) and his mother soon follows suit.

Beyond Plain Sight (UK)
Ryan is a popular member of his community. He’s charming, helping and a social butterfly. It feels like he’s lonely and in need of connection. However, when he returns home, we discover he has some extremely dark and disturbing secrets. The missing people in the neighbourhood may after all have something to do with Ryan. It is a pretty unnerving short, partly because the camera seems so neutral about what it’s showing you, to the point it sometimes feels like it’s taking you into the head of someone you might not want to be so close too.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Nasty Baby

This film has a very independent, next-door neighbour types, slice of life film. Its hard to put a genre to this film since it could be a comedy or drama but what is important is that the issue and the subject has been handled very sensitively with realism. A film about motives, hopes and fears; a small problem lies with the fact that while the film was happily going in one direction, it suddenly takes a different turn and as a viewer left me completely baffled.

Freddy and Mo are a happy gay couple living in a New York city apartment. Freddy, a budding artist working on a video piece featuring him like a baby, is trying to have a baby with is best friend Polly but it turns outfit Freddy has a low sperm count. Polly suggests asking Mo to be the sperm donor. Initially hesitant abut the whole thing, Mo finally gives in. Their neighbour homeless ‘Bishop’ has been making life of this gay couple a living hell by his antics. He doesn’t like gays and i a bit nuisance to everyone around. Freddy who has had enough of him is unto his hair with frustration. But when his meeting with the art producer doesn’t go well, his encounter with Bishop at the entrance of his house takes a nasty turn. Bishop is killed. What will the trio do for each other? Will they overcome their doubts and fears or will they go to extreme lengths to achieve their dreams!

Its a scary ending. Something that not many people may like but at the same time, the acting is so well and is done with such conviction that it is unbelievable. The natural chemistry that Freddy and Polly share as best friends. Their longing to have a child and be parents is very genuinely conveyed by their acting. Yes Mo is initially hesitant to be the substitue because he always considered Polly as Freddy’s friend but he changes his mind when he sees Polly taking care of a bruised patient. Almost two-thirds of the film is about trying to have a baby and the trio-chemistry which includes visiting mo’s family for dinner. Its when the whole Bishop episode comes, I am not too sure what I feel about the overall film. I would have much preferred it to stay one-track but I am sure the makers have their own motives. Will the trip be able to live the rest of their life having known what they have done? Happiness should not come at this cost, I believe. But it is for us the viewers to decide. By the way: Hats off to everyone to not make any racial comments about colour or ethnicity. In a city like NY, it all just co-exists without making such a big deal about it.

Having said that, it still doesn’t take away from the fact that the film is poignant, very watchable and has some of the best real natural acting I have seen in recent times. Freddy happens to be director of the film as well. Now I need to find out what else has he done. (7.5/10) 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Cut Snake (Australia)

There are very few thrillers in the gay genre, at least among the ones that I have seen; so I was quite excited to see this film. Having read the brief synopsis, I hoped that the film would be good. This crime thriller comes with a twist because this one has a gay love story and a straight love story smashed together in a love triangle and thats what makes this film more interesting.

The film starts with Pommie entering an old woman’s house trying to con her to give him her son Merv’s address. We don’t know what he does with her. Then we meet Merv, also known as Sparra, who is soon to get married to his sweetheart Paula. Together they live in a small town near Melbourne. Paula doesn’t know much about Merv’s past but since he is the most caring, gentle, sweet man; she doesn’t question much. A surprise visit by Pommie to Merv changes things. It turns outfit Pommie and Merv were cell mates in prison and in fact they were lovers too. Tommie is furious to see that Mrv has forgotten him an dis in love with a woman. Paula is welcoming but Pommie threatens Merv that he will tell her everything, despite Merv reminding Pommie that he will never go back to the old ways including violence and loving a man. Things just go downhill from here. On evening, in a fit of rage, Pommie picks up a fight with people in the local bar who later destroy Merv’s entire home. This is when Paula is surprised and in Merv’s absence, Pommie tells Paula about his prison past. This shocks Paula but she still forgives him. Things take another turn when Merv & Pommie get back at the bar people and now the police is after them. When Pommie realises that Merv may be trying to flee the city secretly with Paula, he goes and tells her the truth about the love between the two men. Relationship between the couple turns sour and now Merv must do something and decide what direction does he want to go. Tommie is against him as well now. Will he reciprocate his love or try and win back her lady.

From a story point of view, it is interesting but I felt something somewhere was missing. The director wants us to care for Pommie’s feelings but it keeps shifting between his menace and his vulnerable side. Yes, he is a killer and psychotic but his love for Merv is pure and real. Unfortunately, as an audience you fail to empathise with other of the two men because it is not very clear at any point what was the extent of her relationship in the prison and what was their secret pact? Thankfully, both the men are not projected as any gay stereotype, although the tight pants and shorts definitely showed their juicy behind very well. Thank you 70s. hahaha. Acting from all principal characters is quite good and this film is decent attempt but it fails to leave any long lasting mark. And the very strong Ozzie accent didn’t help much either.

The film may be thriller but doesn’t have either much of a thrill or suspense. It is strictly average. (5/10)

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Please Like Me: Season 3 (Australia)

I was so excited and happy to know that season 3 of this fantabulous show is gonna be telecast soon. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it when it ended. Josh and Tom and Clair and everyone else was still so fresh in my memory. In fact me and a friend of mine who also loved this show, were both excited about this new season. And it definitely still lives unto the expectations.

This season’s focus is a lot on Josh and Arnold. After going back and forth with their relationship, they finally have sex and try and be together. They make a lovely quirky couple. Arnold eventually even comes out to his parents, who are initially taken aback but come to terms with it. Josh’s best friend Tom meets Ella, a girl at a bar, who now becomes a permanent fixture in the life. The friends make fun of how Tom also picks the wrong girls but thy stick together. Claire is back this season after a few episodes and brings her own baggage including an unwanted pregnancy. We get t see what’s happening in Josh’s parents life as well. Remember Hanna from previous season, the lesbian whom Josh’s mother meets at the mental institute. They are now living together and sharing a fun interesting life. Josh’a father is dealing with his own issues. His wife, May, tells him that she cheated on him during her pregnancy. After a few differences, eventually the couple gets back together. There are a couple of very interesting episodes about a new guy Ben, whom Josh meets on grindr. When Josh and Arnold decide to go for an open relationship, Josh hooks up with Ben, who has a brain condition and how they end up bonding with each other. Anyway, the show ends up at christmas luncheon, where everyone tries to be together but can’t help not being mean to each other, thereby, leaving josh, in a for of anger lashing out at everyone and reminding everyone that its their own faults.

The shows continues to be silly, funny and very real. The show is really about flawed, aimless young people living together. I love the fact that the show depicts a friendship between a straight person and a gay one without making a big deal of it. Season three is still about the little moments of everyone’s youth that are funny and tragic and wonderful and disastrous, often all the same time. The interactions between every character is just so good and real that I wanna be a part of this group. All these characters made me laugh and made me smile after a long day at work. I really am looking forward to more seasons of this show. It is sad that many people may not be aware of this series. This show needs to be promoted big time. It can make a huge difference.

And as I write this, I find outfit Josh and Tom are real life best friends and that a lot of scenes may have been inspired from their real life. Now this information makes this show even more special. Watch it to believe me. (8.5/10)

Friday, January 8, 2016

Margarita With A Straw (Hindi)

There haven’t been many Indian films that explore the queer theme in their cinema. Surprisingly the theme of lesbian is still far more acceptable than gay. But nonetheless, its every step that counts, and I hope that makers will take a leaf of lesson and would make more movies on similar themes. This film takes it one step further asking the question ”Do the disabled `also’ desire? Do they long for sexual exploration and intimacy?”

Laila, suffering from cerebral palsy is a free spirited teenager, who is an aspiring song writer. Her heart longs for the lead singer of the college band but soon her heart is broken. Keeping the timing right, she is offered a scholarship for creative writing course in New York and she along with er mother leaves for the city. She wants to lead  normal life in the city like any other song person and after initial hesitation, the mother allows. Here also she has a crush on a young man Jared in her class. But its her meeting with Khanum, a fiery young activist of Pakistan-Bangladesh descent, that changes her life.  Khan is blind and somehow the 2 girls instantly bond. Love soon follows between the two girls and Laila is happy. But she son discovers that she is actually bisexual because she is still very much attracted to jared and even ends up sleeping with him while she is still in relationship with Khanum. The girls are invited to India for their summer break because for the family, the two girls are best of friends. Getting courage, Laila confides in her mother about who Khanum really is. The mother totally disproves of her daughter’s choice but its too late since it is soon revealed that the mother has stage 4 colon cancer. When the mother dies, Laila decides to stay back in India & informs Khanum about her infidelity who believes that Laila just used her to explore her own sexuality. The film ends with Laila going on a date with herself thereby showing she has life in control now.

First thing that comes to mind after seeing the 2 actors is about their disabilities. Its unbelievable that the 2 girls are ‘normal’ yet play the differently abled characters with such confidence and grace. From the director’s perspective, the idea came to her form the thought that “When life hands you lemons you can be bitter and sour or you can make a yummy Margarita with them and raise a toast!”; the essence behind her film. Its refreshing to see that Laila’s character is shown as a perfectly normal girl who is rebellious, free spirit, what’s porn, makes songs, hangs out with friends, has crushes on boys and everything else. She just happens to have cerebral palsy and is wheelchair-bound. Laila acknowledges her difficulties but doesn’t let them overwhelm her. Khan’s character is another strong minded character who took a while to accept that she is lesbian and would not take nonsense from anyone. The love scenes between Laila and Khanum are aesthetically done that makes you feel tenderness towards the on-screen lovers. The mother’s part acted by Revathy is another essential soul. The chemistry that the mother and daughter share is so pure and real, i loved it.

The film has a lot of heart and very strong performances by the lead actors. A sensitive film and a subject that can be celebrated. (7/10)

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Gay Short Films : 43

Aban and Khorshid (USA)
Inspired by true events, an intimate portrait of two lovers, glimpsing into the world in which they met, moments before their execution for being gay. So real, shocking, touching and so very sad !

Dinner with the Woodburns (USA)
A son's revelation about being gay opens up a can of worms. What he thought was going to be a huge deal compares nothing to everything else that will be disclosed by the family members at the dinner table. Funny!

L' Appuntamento (Italy) [The Appointment]
Francesco, hurt by the discovery of his girlfriend's betrayal, is craving to meet his contender and makes an appointment with him only to be surprised himself. The film relates to the identical thought which two different people have in common from the heart and are destined to meet, beyond their genders and their sexual orientation.

Green Line (Canada)
In the Montreal metro, two young men exchange furtive glances. Yes, thats all that is to this film :)

Brácha (Czech Republic) [Brother]
Young skater has an eye on his sister's boyfriend. He does everything to attract his attention but the guy freaks out and leaves.

Impact (France)
Mental journey of a high diver seconds before his jump.

'P' (Netherlands)
A family reaches boiling point during a pit stop. Will the volatile cocktail of sweltering heat, restless hormones and suppressed frustration explode? The father is bored, mother is having an affair, sister is crazy and the boy is raging with hormones and discovers woods where men ‘help’ each other.

E Perfekte Tag (Switzerland) [A Perfect Day]
Two boys meet for the first time through an app. A certain vagueness takes over the night as they seek to decide what they want from each other.

Rótulo (Brazil) [Label]
This film speaks about the need that people have to define the sexualities of other people. This film was done in a a really funny humorous way. Loved it !

Am Gipfel (Switzerland) [At The Top]
The story of two best friends that go for climbing in the alps and one of them accidentally meets a possible love his life.


Relación Abierta (Spain) [Open Relationship]
Oscar and Sergio have been in a relationship for 5 years. A random afternoon one of them decides to ask if they should be in an open relationship. But when they start discussing the rules of engagement, things start becoming more complicated than they had originally anticipated. A funny take on the whole open relationship concept. Loved it.

Tourist (Germany)
A young tourist is cruising the park in Berlin. What is he looking for? Is he as innocent as he looks?

Saturn's Return (Australia)
Barney and Dimi are young men in love and are on a trip to visit Dan, Barney's dying father. Dan is planning his suicide and wants Barney there. In the process the men rediscover their love for each other.

Mrs Craddock's Complaint (Australia)
Mrs. Craddock lives across the park's public toilets. What are all those men doing there? She decides to go and find out. A silly yet funny short film.

The Disco Years (USA)
Tom Peters looks back to 1978, the year in high school that he came out of the closet. Tom's mom drags him to her disco-dancing lessons. His friendship with Matt becomes his first love, and then Matt turns on Tom with homophobic venom. Later, Matt and Matt's new girlfriend trash the classroom of an effeminate teacher with more vicious homophobia. This incident gives Tom courage to accept who he truly is and its time to open the closet door.

Love Kills (Germany)
Young Tim leads an easy life - spoiled by his eccentric mother and his older, well-to-do boyfriend. One day, he meets Bosi, a straight, low-level criminal thug, and falls in lust with him.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Coming Out: Season 1 (French Mini Series)

This mini TV series features 12 episodes each of which is about 10-12 minutes long. The series focuses on a lot of characters based in Montreal, their life, their love, and how they deal with each other. In today’s day and age, managing and maintaining a relationship is not an easy thing and sometimes it can just be a mess. The characters in this series show us how they tackle love and friendship, in their own unique way and how much they're willing to risk in the pursuit of love and happiness.

Our main focus is on Mat, a gay fashion photographer, who is going through a slutty phase post his break-up with his now ex boyfriend, Ian. He still is struggling to get over him, when he resurfaces after a homophobic attack. He can’t decide whether he wants Ian back in hi life or not. hey restart dating but when Ian realises that Mat cannot make up his mind, he leaves asking mat to take a decision. We also meet Hugo, is is having a secret affair with a cop named Olivier. And we find out that Olivier is husband of Gen, who is Hugo’s best friend and co-worker. Constant pressure by Hugo to come clean to his wife makes Olivier’s life complicated. And when things to come out, as expected, it is only supposed to get ugly. Finally we have Teo, 18 year old street kid, living on drugs off the street. Social worker Caroline wants to help him but he won’t take any of it. This has started to affect her relations with her partner. Teo, as it turns out has AIDS and because of his drug abuse, is reached beyond control. We have few there additional characters but they just help the stories above move along. We go through the lives of these individuals and see what outcomes does life bring for them. Two dies unfortunately, Olivier and Hugo are trying to make things work while keeping Gen happy as well. Mat, is confused still, specially after he gets an offer to move to New York temporarily. The series ends when we don’t know if he leaves for New York or does Ian finally convince him to stay back.

The series is a bit confusing in first 2 episodes when character after character is introduced and you fail to keep a track of who’s who. But after that you get hooked on. The fact that the episodes are shot an quick, you never get bored; there is always something happening. The acting by principal actors is definitely above average and the production quality and directions also above par. But from a story angle, there could have been more depth in characters and their story. the break-ups are quick and the make-ups are even faster. I don’t think most people in real life will react the way the characters do here but then we have to remember that its a show. A good mix of sexy scenes, good looking men, decent story line and some light moments; makes this show a decent watch.

It is worth your time and does not leave you feeling like you wasted part of your life. (6.5/10)

Monday, December 28, 2015

A Reunion

This film is pretty much a road movie in which american landscape plays a major role. Over the course of few days, two friends will try to rediscover themselves while we watch them clumsily fumble through their emotional confusions.

Michael and Josh are college friends who lost touch when Michael took off to Japan without a word and Josh settled in Los Angeles. Michael is back in country for the college reunion and wants Josh to take a road trip from LA to Chicago. the 2 guys are very dissimilar. Michael is playful, peppy and a bit vague while Josh seems more settled, quite and lonely type. The exact terms of their past relationship are never fully divulged, it's clear from the sexual tension between them that a longstanding mutual intoxication still exists. They visit their college friend Lisa, who is now 6 months pregnant where Michale recounts the college time when they all had a threesome. Josh gets very mad at this, yet the journey continues. At one point they both give in to the sexual tension between them and spend the night together. Just when they seem to think their life could be good together, they visit Michael’s brothers home where it is revealed that Micael is set to marry someone soon. This pisses off Josh, understandably, who finally tells Josh that he is ready to make the move. It is upto Michael to decide.

The film according to me was quite lame and boring. It felt unnecessarily stretched for no reasons. Te dialogues seemed to be spoken without forethought or reason. Michael is really annoying. He is the kind of guy I would NOT want to take a road trip with. And on the complete contrast Josh is super quiet. But I guess thats probably to show his unhappiness at being lonely and later we find out his hurt at Michael leaving suddenly because Josh could never find a connection with anyone else in life. I don’t think the acting by the actors was bad, but I d blame the screenplay and direction. Also there was very little chemistry between the prime actors, which just completely spoils the fun.

It a slow, unnecessarily stretched film, despite trying to show something new. Crisp editing and make it a 30 minute short film, and this film can hold you attention for far more benefit. (4/10)

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Winning Dad

I was a bit confused about the title of the film initially but it makes sense now. This film specifically is about a man wanting to win over the love and affection of his boyfriend’s father, who, although has come around accepting that his son is gay, is still very anti-gay and in his own words “gets sick to his stomach with the thought of 2 men together”. You can imagine that with a situation like this, things are ever gonna be easy.

Coby and Rusty are a couple. Coby works as a chef and right next door to him Rusty works as a bartender. Coby wants his father to know Rusty and comes up with a game plan for this. Coby and his father go an an annual camping trip and this time along, Coby forcefully manages to get Rusty along, as the man with whom he wants to get into partnership for opening of a new restaurant. As planned, at the last minute Coby bows out leaving Rusty and his dad to spend some time alone. Colby’s sister and mother know all about this but his father is a touch man to crack. Surprisingly Rusty and Coby’s father get along really good at the trip which makes Rusty comfortable telling the old man about who he really is and that he wants to get married to Coby. The old man gets very angry , upset and says all kinds of nasty things making it very obvious he will never accept such a thing. To retaliate, Rusty goes about telling Coby’s father about the details of their sexual life which breaks the old man down. He calls his wife depressed and comes back home. When Coby finds out what Rusty has done, he doesn’t want anything to down with him and they break-up without giving Rusty a chance to explain. Not that he is going to forgive his father either. The father soon realises what a huge mistake he has done (after he sees his son sad, his wife depressed and other signs), he decides to make amends. Because of him the boys happily come back together.

For a film like this, the subjects need to have a good chemistry, which was lacking between pretty much every relationship. Coby and Rusty seemed like friends rather than lovers. The father and son had absolutely no emotional chemistry. And finally the family, the mother, the sister; they all seemed characters but had no family chemistry among them. This is not to say that their acting was bad, but unfortunately thats exactly what it seemed it. Acting! It didn’t seem real or natural or even remotely believable. Coby was definitely better among the 2 actors but his character was so poorly fleshed out. He is not a big fan of his father but despite that he decides to just break up with Rusty after hearing what happened. If he is a true lover, he would have given Rusty a chance to explain. And then within a week they are both seeing other guys as if few months have passed. The father can’t decide what he is more upset about, accepting his son is gay or accepting his sex and complete family life? The sister’s character was required to read books and argue with her father, just to show even more how stubborn the old man is. Mom’s acting was pretty good and she was the most believable among all the actors in the film. The landscapes and the hiking areas shown in the film are beautiful and the cinematography is nice; but overall I think the film was probably made on a low budget, which is quite ok IMO. I feel the story had potential but somehow the soul was missing in the way it was treated.

Its not a bad subject, however i directed with more passion and realism, this could have been really good. (5.5/10)

Monday, December 21, 2015

You and I (German/English)

Eventually after the film ended, I ended up liking this film more than how much I thought I would, while the film was going. Touted as a ‘post gay’ film (whatever that means), this film is slow paced but very watchable for the amazing chemistry by the two leads. There are no forced sexual scenes, nudity is natural, and no hostile environments. And thankfully the subject and film is not about being gay is be all end all. There is more to life and friends.

Jonas picks up his best friend Philip from the airport and they both head for a road trip through the countryside of northeast Germany. We learn later that they met in London and also lived together in a flat for about a year in London. Jonas is a photographer and is looking at this trip to also come up with his next subject. The first half just focuses on this trip with them driving around, swimming naked; basically just pure natural friendly chemistry. They are both quite relaxed with each other and physically close (not sexually). Midway their trip, they pick up a Polish hitchhiker Boris who knows the countryside well. On a drunken night is when we find that Philip is actually gay and may also have some attraction towards Boris. The three are having a good time but attraction between Jonas and Boris is strong and they both hook up. This upsets and irritates Jonas who feels left out and jealous that his friend is having a good time. Out of the blue he kisses Philip passionately, who is completely shocked and blindsided. Philip then asks Boris to leave and the film then ends with Jonas and Philip preparing for the photo exhibition with Philip’s arms around Jonas and tenderly kissing his neck.

As confused and a little frustrated I felt after watching the film, I now feel that director wants us to have our own interpretation about the relationship between the two men. The topic of close friendships between gay and straight males i handled interestingly slightly touching upon whether is there sex in the back of mind always. Even more, does sex define sexuality or is it the emotional connection? The vague ending of the film makes us question if they are now lovers or still friends or both. Are they now sexual or still just physically close but not sexually because we saw Philip kiss Jonas on his lips even before. Is Jonas now gay or bisexual, or is this a case of his falling for an individual rather than falling for men generally? What’s most interesting is that as an audience why do we even care for these answers? Why can’t Jonas be straight but have a very special bond with Philip? Why is that wrong? I personally know of a few such relationships, so trust me, this is entirely possible. Anyway, as I mentioned above, the slow pace of the film may deter a few but the natural chemistry between the two guys is infectious. You feel that these are 2 real close friends on a road trip doing everything that 2 close friends would do; it just so happens that one is gay and the other is straight. Jonas is really good looking too.

This film may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I would recommend to be patient with the film. Let the scenes and chemistry between the characters draw you in and question your own thoughts about stereotypical definitions of sexuality and gay life. (7/10)

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Gay Short Films : 42

Let’s Fall In Love (Italy)
The story of two boys in love, who opt to show their affection for each other in public by the simple, loving act of holding hands, only for one thereafter to have second thoughts about such a display of sexual openness.

April Fools (USA)
When a terrible April Fools prank goes terribly wrong, terrible things happen.

1919 (Canada)
The Winnipeg general strike as seen through the window of a bath house.

J Pee - I’m Not Gay (USA)
A comedic homo-bro rap song, in which J Pee (Jesse Pepe) performs all sorts of homoerotic actions as he claims he is NOT GAY-only to realize that ... he might just be lying to himself. Very funny !

Stand Up (Ireland)
Support for innocent teenage love by standing up in sovereignty with your gay friends.

Luigi and Vincenzo (Italy)
Years of a love story in clandestine, for shame, fear, thinking they do not have rights, no marriage, no family, neither walking hand in hand. But today on gay pride day, something changes.

Ha(r)d To Say (USA)
A speechless story of two men who meet one day on the busy streets of New York and all the things they have to say to each other.

Una notte ancora (Italy) One More Night
Feel the pain of the man who comes home to find his boyfriend leaving him. But is he really leaving him or is it a role-play that happens every day to forget and get over a very painful memory from the past?

The Rosa Song (Germany)
It is Not the Homosexual who are perverse, but the Society in which we lives. A group of men assemble to review, rewrite and restage the legendary final scene of the film.

Hookup (USA)
Two guys meet up on Grindr. But the young man loses interest after knowing that the other guy has a girlfriend, yet still meets guys online regularly and not accept his sexuality.

Sandanski (Italy)
A dance of passion, love, sex and fire. A unique love story.

Adam & Steve (USA)
Welcome in paradise; everything is nice and green but apparently there is a problem, instead of Eve there is a ... Steve

The Rain (Sweden)
The dance that slowly takes over, forming a pattern that none of the characters can see - they are all connected; the rain affects them all.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Guidance (Canada)

A classic example of how to live in continuos denial and self-appraisal; this film shows us that sometimes we can be our own worst enemies. Thankfully this film takes a dark-comedy route to tell this to us rather than being over dramatic. Also, it is worth pointing out that besides the lead character being closeted gay, there is nothing else gay themed about this film.

We meet David, a former child star who obsessively watches reruns of his hit television-show. He is drunk and has alcohol problems and is also flamboyantly gay. Although he is in denial about all these things including the fact he is gay, which no single person around him believes. When he is diagnosed with skin cancer, he is in denial of that as well. When he is on the verge of getting evicted from his apartment, he decides he wants to “help teenagers”, and studies for a high-school guidance counselor position as he would for a role.As luck would have it, he gets the job on temporary basis. Surprisingly, he becomes popular with a few kids, because he is ok drinking with them, having weed with them and having a ‘I don’t give a fuck” attitude. He is propositioned by the gym teacher but David is in denial of being gay, so doesn’t do anything about it as well. He specially takes a liking for Jabrielle, a guarded black student, who has her own problems at home. Soon David’s reality comes out and he is evicted from home. Around the same time Jabrielle also has had enough and runs away. The two of them steal a car and  lot of money from tanning saloons. But better sense prevails when David finally decides that Jabrielle deserves a better family life and that he should probably surrender to the cops.

I am not entirely sure of I liked the film or not, but I am quite sure I enjoyed the lead actor’s performance; who I believe is also the writer and director of the film. Its interesting how he lives in denial , which is summed up in a sentence when he says "I exist in the space between caring too much and not giving a fuck”. I wonder if one of the dead behind making this film was also to show the harsh realities of some of the child actors who get lost in oblivion when they grow up. Maybe!! The fellow teachers of the school were quite funny and some of the students that he helps get over with their awkwardness was also interesting. But overall the film failed to keep me entertained throughout. Something was missing. I am sure given the small scale, independent nature of the film, it will recover its cost.

Its not a bad film but nothing great to talk about either. It surely won’t disappoint you. (5.5/10)

Sunday, December 13, 2015

La Partida (Spanish) [The Last Match]

This film can easily be termed as gritty, shocking, very real and sexy at the same time. Set in Cuba, I am not sure how real is really is to the actual life but it the acting and story and content felt quite real. Its a shame that the things people have to resort to just to make ends met and enjoy simple pleasures of life. Life is hard, very hard and its even harder when you have to balance your duties with something that you heart years for.

Yosvani and Reinier are two young men who play in an amateur slum soccer team. Yosvani lives with his elder girlfriend Gema and his black-marketeer father. Reid lives with his wife, a small baby and her mother who is always looking for money and support from Rei, since he is the only male earning member of the family. She openly encourages him to be a gay prostitute since that will at least get them money. Reid meets a handsome man Juan visiting from Spain and hooks up with him occasionally. He makes him feel good and also awakens a curiosity in him of whether he is gay? At the same time, Yosvani starts feeling a strange physical attraction towards Rei and he takes his chances by kissing him. Their drunken kiss is a shock and intrigue for both of them and soon they are having an affair on a tall rooftop. You can see they both love each other but Rei has to continue to hustle to make some money. Yovani is doing ok financially because of his girlfriend’s family but can’t ignore a strong love for Rei. He is sad that Rei does hustling but he can’t help him. Thanks to Juan, Rei gets one opportunity to for a possible soccer career, he wants t focus on it. Meanwhile Yosvani’s situation turns for worse when his girlfriend’s father throws him out for his affair with Rei. Yosvani steals money from him, so that he can run some place far far away with Rei, but Rei has to take a call of what he wants to do. He loves Yosvani but would he choose him over his football career. What price will Yosvani have to pay for stealing money from a thug?

The way try is presented, you can feel that working class life in Cuba is not easy at all. The film is raw and real with brilliant chemistry and acting by the 2 lead. Yes, the film flaws in its narration because it becomes hard to see if Rei is really in love with Yosvani or Juan or is straight or may be he is really as confused as we feel as audience. The characters never really give in to their desire and take their friendship to a new level of intimacy. Having said that, some of best scenes involve Yosvani and Rei coming to terms with their feelings for one another, going from repulsion and disbelief to fun and love. A good mix of secret love, sex for hire, athletic aspirations, morality, hunger for survival; the film never gets over dramatic. I am not sure what the end scene was meant to be, something whose reference still eludes me. This film is a lot of things, from super sexy to a sad commentary on homophobia. The story will engage you, pique your interest and even anger you. The performances are electric, and the scenes reveal a side of Cuba that we outsiders rarely see.

An interesting film depicting a lot of emotions. Something that also shows that gay for pay is ok, but being gay for real is strict no-no. (7/10)

Friday, December 11, 2015

7ème Ciel (French Short Film) [In Seventh Heaven]

This short film was about 40 minutes long and therefore deserves its own review. This is a film that can be classified into gay drama, crime and poverty , depicts in a very short span of time about some of the life’s stigmas and a guys story of rediscovering himself.
It shows how society expects us to behave and belong and how some people are forced to live in a constant state of low self-esteem and self-rejection.

A gang of 4 thugs are eve-teasing a girl. When she doesn’t react, this makes one of the guys Mobutu very angry. They beat up her boyfriend and Mobutu flirts with the girl. Sofiane is the only guy in the gang who tries to keep things under control. He comes back home to his mother and sister studying. When alone, he logs in to a gay website to meet guy. He decides to meet a young man for the night when he agrees to pay him money. Meanwhile his girlfriend Julie is trying to get in touch with him. We later find out that she knows what he does for work (gay for pay) and is not ok with it. She is the only one who brings a smile on his face. Meanwhile his father is giving him a hard time for not working. We then witness an encounter where it is Sofia’s regular customer who calls him and has a degrading sexual encounter. This is the time when Sofiane realises that how much ever normal life he tries to live, his homosexual urge begin to rise. He ultimately in a fit if disgust comes out to his girlfriend and leaves home forever to meet the same guy who he had met earlier. Possibly love?

Sofiane’s charter is quite complex. His father is playas after him and he hangs out with good-for-nothing gang. When his gay urges increase, it causes him discomfort because no one will accept him the way he is. He even goes to the extent of suffering in a disgusting sexual encounter with a dominant guy, only to realise that the only ray of love he actually saw was with the guy whom he had met earlier. His outburst to his girlfriend over the phone was remarkable and equally sad was when his sister realises that he is leaving home forever. Acting was quite good by all characters given the premise.

A short and lovely film showing harsh realities of life and how some people deal with them , specially when you add gay feelings to the mix. (6.5/10)

Thursday, December 10, 2015

London Spy (Mini Series) (UK)

I was quite excited when I found out about this 5 part mini-series lasting a total of 5 hours. Spy/thriller/mystery is my favourite genre and of course, by my blog you can of your tell that I do watch a lot of gay films; so this series definitely brought with it a lot of anticipation and expectation at the same time. BBC is known to come up with series and drama like no one before. Will it be the same this time or will high expectations kill the fun. I am going to try and analyse in this review here.

Based on the foundation of love story, we meet Danny and Alex. Danny is carefree, occasional drug user, party-goer young man. A chance encounter with Alex changes something in him. Is it the beauty or his simplicity. he would never know. He takes chances, makes a move to Alex and his love is reciprocated. They are 2 very different people but somehow complement each other. Their love grows and Danny finally introduces Alex to his best friend, mentor and guide Scotty who has been with him through thick and thin. Just when things are going well, Alex suddenly disappears. About 10-11 days later, Danny finds his body in mysterious circumstances. This is where a whirlwind of receipts and lie start and its difficult to imagine whats truth and what’s lie. Danny is made to believe that Alex had a secret life that involved escorts, S&M, drugs etc but Danny would have none of it. Despite being severely threatened by everyone for his life, he doesn’t give up on his search for truth. He had found a secret metal cylinder when he had found Alex’s body and now Danny has to find how to decode it. He is supported by Scotty in his search. He mets various people, including Alex’s parents, his so-called escort service, his drug dealer, mathematics genius and all that. After a whirlwind of events, all charges against Danny are dropped but he still wants to know the truth. Danny finally finds out that the metal cylinder was carrying an algorithm that could identify lying simply by examining speech patterns. It promised the “end of all lies”. And that is exactly what became the reason for his own death, a secret that Danny ultimately finds out courtesy Alex’s mother much later he has given up on the whole event. But at least, he can live content now that he nows the truth.

London Spy started off really good. After the first episode finished, I was hooked onto it. There was mystery, drama, love, emotions; pretty much everything. Episode two was even better, but to be honest subsequent episodes failed to keep the magic and thrill alive. It always happens when the beginning is so brilliant, it is inevitably hard to meet the expectations and give a befitting finale. At places I felt that scenes and characters were just thrown for the heck of it (like drug dealer, gay orgies, drug etc). I am sure there could have been a way to just circle around the main story line rather than trying to create more elements. Having said that, performances in this series are extra-ordinary. Clearly, the winner is Danny. His growth from a reckless young man to a lover to a mature men who would leave no stone unturned to find out the truth is amazing. He portrays the emotions of a loner, heart-broken lover with extreme conviction. The scariest part was when he realises he has been intentionally infected with HIV. I think it was because of this actor that the series was still a great watch. I am not convinced with the finale and the reason given for Alex’s murder but I can’t even think of what else could the makers have come up with. The end specially where the mother agrees to drive with Danny to tell the truth to the world was way too cliched. It is scary of think of all this, if you even remotely believe in the whole spy world.

A strange yet inexplicably compelling story, Danny’s character and acting makes it worth a watch definitely, despite the fact that the finale may leave you rather disappointed. But wth, at least we got to see something new and exciting. (7.5/10)

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Dōshitemo Furetakunai (Japanese) [No Touching At All]

Apparently this film is based on a short story by the same name that was quite popular in Japan. I haven’t read the book but my vies on the film are very average, for various reasons. We will discuss that further.

Shia is a young shy man. Having quit his last job, on his first day at his new job, he meets Togawa in the elevator who is brash and extremely hungover. Only later he finds out that Togawa is his boss. For whatever reasons, at least not clear to me, Togawa takes a liking for Shima and before you know an affair starts between them. Shima is still the shy one while Togawa constantly pursues him. Shia also makes a god friend with another guy in the office who is also close friends with Togawa. Shia has a history with his ex-boyfriend because of whom he had to leave his old job. So as much as he appreciates and likes and wants to reciprocate Togawa’s love, he is scared that this is just a phase for Togawa and pretty soon he will get bored and he will leave him. His worst fears come true when Togawa is offered a job in another city and he decides to take it. Togo really loves Shima and wants to make things work between them and does his best to explain to Shima that nothing will change between them. He moves to the new city, when Shima visits him because he realises that he is also truly in love with Togawa. The film ends with the duo trying to make things work between them.

The story is very simple and has been done ok. But really there is nothing much to it. Why is Togawa attracted to Shima is not very clear. Shima has this dead-exrpressionless face throughout the entire movie which gets annoying after a certain period of time. I think we needed some more back story on him, unless the makers were completely unable to bring out the difference between shyness and autism. :) Togawa’s character was interesting and charming and kept the film alive. He was a man who did what his heart wanted without caring for what others had to think about him. Besides this, I felt that the film was a bit slow. There could have been more energy in the film, or the films overall running time could have been reduced. The positive of he film is the story again. I like the idea of man who is shy & has some bad history finds the true love of his life and his love is ready to accept him and do anything for him.

A strictly average film. Slow paced and and drags at certain point. (4/10)

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Tangerine

What a surprise! I kept dilly-dallying to watch this movie but finally I gave in and what a wonderful surprise this film was. A quirky, wildly entertaining film about a day in the life of two transgendered prostitutes in LA on Christmas eve and the non-stop drama that goes on during the entire course of the day. Some people can also term it as a screwball, odd, buddy-comedy between the two prostitutes which has been told with a very daring quality.

Sin-Dee has just gotten out of jail after 6 weeks. She learns from her best friend and fellow transgendered  Alexandra that her pimp, Chester, whom she loves has been cheating on her while she was in prison with a white girl. All she tells is that the girls name probably starts with a ‘D’. Sin-Dee is mad and goes out on a quest to track down both Chester and this other woman, while Alexandra following her. They separate their paths at various junctures only to meet again. When Alexandra feels that there is going to be drama, she decides to leave Sin-Dee alone but son realises that since she more composed of the two , she needs to be with her best friend, before she has to make a stage appearance that evening. Sin-Dee finally finds the girl and drags her along with them both across the streets of LA. Alongwth this main story, there isa parallel, somewhat connected thread, of this Armenian cab driver  Razmik. After a few guests that he drives off, we find out that he is into transgendered prostitutes. Finally all these characters meet, and ultimate drama follows, and it does out that even Alexandra also slept with Chester. Meanwhile, suspecting of her son-in-laws weird behaviour, Razmik’s MIL sets to find out the truth and eventually discovers it as well. The film ends with all the individuals going their won ways and reflecting upon what has happened during the day.

Kudos to the main characters of Sin-Dee & Alexandra for pulling off an excellent team. They are so naturally compelling on screen, it is real, saucy, right attitude and a very strong self-assurance with which they carry themselves. These are two fierce heroines as they need to be to survive on the streets of LA by any means. I can’t believe the makers just found these two aspiring trans-actors. The movie could not have been same without them. Of course Sin-Dee takes a slight edge between the two. You cannot miss the high tempo high-energy background that follows each moves of these characters. It goes extremely extremely well with the film. At places I felt Si-Dee’s action were all over the top and her quest is getting tiring but it actually goes quite well with her overall wild, stubborn character. It was a very good decision to present the story in a more comic, pop-culture-ish way rather than going the dramatic route. I think more people will be able to relate with the premise that way. The photography, cinematography, lighting etc of this film were truly brilliant as well. There are multiple individual scenes that stand out and show the harsh realities of the actual life of street workers, including their interactions with the police officers with whom they are on the first name basis. The film has a lot of walking and more walking on the streets but the camera furiously follows and keeps it real. The characters of Razmik and Dinah also add their own reality and focus on the entire story. At any point it doesn't feel forced.

This film shows the harsh reality of what goes on out on the streets of LA for working class transgendered people. It is entertaining for us and dedicated to the women who are actually working the corner. (8/10)

Friday, December 4, 2015

Gays In Prison (Documentary)

Ever wondered what is life really like for LGBT people in prison? Reading the title you would think that this is a generic documentary but to my disappointment, this documentary primarily focusses on drag queen Latrice Royale, who became famous after featuring in Ru Paul’s drag race.

We meet Latrice and go through her life on how she was molested as a child, beaten, why she ended up being in jail and what happened inside. We then also look at how, with support from her loved ones and friends, she was able to get back her life on track and is now one of the most successful drag queens. And then we meet some other 4-5 inmates who share their stories of living in prison as an LGBTQ member. They talk about forbidden love, finding love online, making pen pals, forced sex in prison, being raped by both guards and fellow prisoners, hiding their true identity. Some say it was sexual torture, for others it was a fabulous sexual experience. We also witness struggles on trans people. Interestingly most of these inmates came to prison because of drug-related issues and a good percentage turned to drugs after being damaged and rejected by their families. The documentary also focusses on how important yet difficult it is to find a normal job with a criminal background.

As I mentioned earlier, I was a bit disappointed in the overall content because I think this subject could have been a lot more hard-hitting and emotional but the makes failed to capture that. Also I may not know a thing about documentary film-making but I couldn’t help laughing wit the way all the subjects were introduced. They ere made to do these awkward walks across the hall, across pathways etc. It looked ridiculous, staged and so fake. And the same repeated scenes of them doing the same walk came every single time they would come on screen. Initially irritated, I was soon laughing at that. I personally would have liked to see more detailed story about other inmates rather than the just touching the tip of the iceberg. One of the inmates summarises it well. "There's all kind of sex in prison. There's people that are married to each other, people that are dating each other... There's all kinds of sexualities and all kinds of gender in prison that don't necessarily translate to the outside."

An interesting insight into this side of prison life and LGBTQ members. (4/10)

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Gay Short Films : 41

Hopeful Romantic (USA)
A musical film about one man's emotional journey through love, heartbreak, and healing. It's a universal story about loving, letting go, and holding onto faith that there's somebody for everybody. It is dialogue-free, completely musical. I wasn’t sure if I would like it but it wasn’t bad at all. (6/10)

Gokugoku futsuuno! (Japan) [Quite Ordinary]
When a student comes out to his teacher (who is himself gay), he internally wows to protect him and sees it as God’s plan for his love. Butte student loves another boy who rejects his love. A story with comic touch that shows some realities of how people react when you come out. (5/10)

Brookton Hollow (USA)
Story of true love. Kyle loves alone on a farm with his father. Their cow is his only best friend. The father gives Kyle a warning that with meat being low, cow would have to go and just then Kyle starts dreaming (or is it reality) that cow takes form of a young man to be with Kyle. To save the young man fro body of cow, Kyle has to prove his true love to him, which he does by facing his father when he is about kill the cow. The age old concept of love wins all. (6/10)

Here Now (USA)
A random film of 2 straight couples: one hot passionate and the other boring. A fleeting glimpse of possible gay man. Senseless short. (2/10)

Ça prend des couilles (French Canada) [It Takes Balls]
A young man waiting for a sex change operation is confronted by his masculine conscience, which tries desperately to convince him not to do it. It is an interesting concept though may not have been directed as well as it could have. It still leaves questions unanswered. (5/10)

Abrase (USA)
The fading love of two men, remembered by one of them in a long monologue. A relationship once vivid, now dissipating into a fog of partial remembrance; the memories of heartbreak and loss that bend and change as the years go by. (4/10)

6 no es un color (Spain)
Men are as diverse as there are colors in the lines of cities metro. Taking this theme, we go through a cursory glance in the lives of a few men in the city of Madrid. Some get a second chance and some don’t. Sometimes fate is capricious and decides a return to the same station. Nothing great. Plain average (4/10)

Few Random Shorts
These videos were with homoerotic images, naked men dancing but no narrative as such.
Cherushii, A Study In Choreography for Camera, Midnight Swim, Another Me, Figure Scrub, Morning Sweat

Después del invierno (Spain) [After The Winter]
3 lives in extreme situations of pain, hurt and anger (one of them being a gay man). We witness the human ability to go through these challenges, bear the pain and still go on a and eventually succeed. (4/10)

La Mirada de las fotos (Spain) [Staring Pictues]
A young couple needs some place to have intimacy, so they use Arturo’s grandmother place, but Carlos has a problem: he can’t do ‘it’ in front of the pictures of dead relatives. His boyfriend makes fun of him, but some months later he is the one who feels the picture’s gaze. I think this one was totally bizarre. (4/10)

Dottie Gets Spanked (USA)
In 1960s America, a young boy is obsessed with Dottie Frank, wacky star of the eponymous hit sitcom The Dottie Show. While his mother gently encourages the boy’s fixation, his father grows increasingly frustrated by his son’s apparently “sissified” interests. Interesting concept but stretched too far. (4/10)

Papa’s Prince (USA)
A young girl with two dads tells the story of how her parents met to a new friend, trying to expand his knowledge of love. Full with singing, animations and imagination. (4/10)

Serene Hunter (Paris)
A randy gay Parisian moves in with his new boyfriend - just as an old flame from Los Angeles comes back into town. The man can’t keep anyone happy or satisfied including himself. He wants to have the cake and eat it too. Where will it take him or will he remain eternal hunter? (5/10)

Plan Perfecto (Mexico) [Perfect Plan]
A couple who are no longer in love comes up with a perfect plan to breakup individual but only one of them is able to execute it. I think this was quite funny and interesting. (6/10)

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Paternity Leave

Yes, the premise about a gay man finding himself pregnant was really interesting and it was an excellent opportunity to make it a good fun watch. Unfortunately, a real bad screenplay and an average direction just makes this film barely watchable. Also the film title really doesn’t justify the story. In the beginning we witness a debate about paternity vs maternity leave when a woman asks why men should get such long paternity leave when woman does all the work. And this issue is never discussed again.

Greg and Ken are a couple and very happy with each other. On the night of their 4th anniversary, they have to cancel their plans and baby-sit Greg’s nephew. Greg is bit neurotic and always worries about his weight but doesn’t do anything about it. Ken, on the other hand is a normal-isn guy. who works as a lawyer. On their anniversary night, Ken feels he wants to top Greg and so he does but few weeks after that they realise Greg is showing signs of nausea and other symptoms. On doing multiple check-ups its established that Greg is pregnant. Everyone including doctors are surprised and Ken convinces Greg that its a good thing to become parents. But when the news comes out that this has become a normal phenomenon and other gay men are also having babies, Ken doesn’t feel special anymore. Now he doesn’t want the baby anymore but Greg has to live with the baby and his neurotic attitude. Greg , being alone now hires a man Thomas, who can help keep a check on him and also help him through his pregnancy. Ultimately Ken comes around, joins Greg back at home. There is a normal delivery and the couple lives happily.

As I mentioned before this film doesn't delve into any of paternity leave laws as the title would suggest. It's merely a drama about whether or not Greg and Ken even want to have a baby at all. If the intent f the makers was to make this film funny, it was not. It wasn’t drama either. It was something in between The acting was just average by the two principal actors. Greg scored a little over Ken. Lot of things in the film were forced and I felt it had absolutely no bearing whatsoever to the entire plot. Example, the whole backstory of Greg’s ex-boyfriend wasn’t needed at all. The side story of Greg’s friend having a stroke and going into a coma, serves absolutely no purpose whatsoever to the main story line. Ken’s attitude of not anting to have a baby anymore because now they are not that special couple seems quite forced and sudden. On a positive note, Greg’s one-liners are funny in places. Most of them are references to pop culture appropriated by gay men. And the random cat songs that he keeps singing is also fun. Thomas was o in his brief role and thank god! of not showing anything romantic between Thomas and Greg, which in normal scenario seemed like an obvious thing to do.

The film is just okay. Not earth shattering but not bad either. Few years bak I would have  rated it higher but not now when there is a lot more quality films out there. This was a decent attempt. (5.5/10) 

Monday, November 30, 2015

En la Gama de los Grises (Spanish) [In The Grayscale]

An interesting film that subconsciously debates love between two men; one a gay man for whom homosexuality is a black-or-white concept and the other who is not ready to choose a side because he needs to figure out the impact on not just him but people around him as well. I have been part of many conversations where gay men question the whole concept of ‘bisexuality and this film does a very interesting t make on the whole theme. Its a thoughtful, beautifully acted and nuanced film that makes you think.

Bruno, architect by profession, has recently moved out of his home, leaving behind his wife and son. They are not separated. He just needs time alone to think and figure out what he wants to do with his life. He is hired by city commissioner to design a new monument in Santiago that would mean something to the city. The commissioner also introduces him to Fer, a free spirited tour guide who knows the city inside out so that Bruno can make a more informed decision. Fed is young, fun, energetic, good looking and a happy man while Bruno is going through his internal struggles about life, work, family etc. Fed thinks of Bruno as a closeted gay and tries to flirt with him. Over the course of time Bruno finds himself getting attracted to Fer as well, and doesn’t know what to do. He is happy when he is with him but what does that mean? Ambiguity, regret and confusion soon pops up. Bruno realises that he has been meeting Fer for 3 months now and hasn’t started any real work. Meanwhile word comes out that Bruno was seen kissing another man which doesn’t go too well with his wife and son. This makes Bruno question even more on what he is doing. The movie ends with unanswered question for us on what will happen but what does happen is that Bruno finds an idea on what he wants to make the monument about.

As the title suggests, this film explores those difficult shades of gray of somebody trying to overcome their longstanding sexual repression. Or is it really that? Why can’t this be a whole new feeling, maybe? You empathise with Bruno but you also feel for Fer. fed has honesty and integrity and knows exactly what he wants from their relationship, so it feels he is cheated when Bruno can’t take a decision despite the fact that he clearly loves him. Thankfully , the film doesn’t go overdramatic when the wife and son find out. You see mature conversations happening and a glimpse into one of the secrets of their married life. The intimate moments between the two men are real, very real. Their hanging out, sleeping , coffee, breakfast, smoking; just about everything feels natural and real. The chemistry between the two men is good and you witness the journey of how and when they  move from guide to friends to lovers to estranged lovers. They have a very intelligent and an intuitive sense of physical connection. Did I mention that they are both quite hot and good-looking as well. Interestingly the surroundings of the 2 guys also give a depiction of how one is happy vs how the other is lonely and isolated. Yeah, we do see bits of history of Chile in the process as well , but it didn’t mean much to me as an outsider.

Definitely recommend this one. It may seem like an old story but treatment and direction is quite different. You relate to the characters and you understand why Bruno can’t take the decision which is expected of him. (7.5/10)

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Stand (Russian)

It was disturbing to watch this film. Disturbing not in a bad way, but in a way that you feel like appreciating what you have in your life. There are worse places and countries to be out there being a gay man. Surely, we have seen films about homophobia and gay-violence; but this film IMO shakes you up from inside. It is so hauntingly real, that it is difficult to explain.

Anton and Vlad are a very happy domesticated couple in Moscow. One evening, having taken a wrong turn in their car, they witness what they believe is a vicious gay bashing. Anton wants to help but Vlad pleads him to not do so of this own safety. They later hear about a young man being admitted in hospital with what is believed to be homophobic attack who later dies. Part of Anton feels responsible in some way and wants to investigate the story behind it. It’s dangerous territory but Anton is persistent, Vlad agrees to help. They make a plan and get help from the deceased’s siblings. Anton also gets help from Katya, a budding journalist in France. Anton tries to meet people online, hoping to find and trace the people who were responsible for the young man’s death. As Anton gets more and more deep into the whole situation, Vlad finally gives up and can’t take it anymore and breaks up. For Anton, nothing else is more important than finding out the truth. The ending shocks us all and is very unexpected but it maybe is the true representation of what being gay in Russia would actually mean.

First and foremost, huge respect for the film-maker to make such a hauntingly disturbing bold film. As actors Anton and Vlad are pitch perfect in there respective roles. Their eyes speak volumes of what they are both going through. They make a handsome pair, sharing a loving and natural chemistry in the comfortable privacy of their Moscow apartment. The way we are shown this couple’s life and how in one split second, their life turns upside down when Anton’s zeal to find the truth becomes self-consuming and nothing else is important anymore. Vlad supports him all the way till he feels it right but ultimately he also gives up when he sees that Anton is not being reasonable anymore. Anton’s point of view also quite quickly suggests that his vision quest has narrowed into tunnel vision. The Russian winter, the slow moving life, the interactions, the abuses feel all very real.  Given the intense worldwide outrage over Russia’s mistreatment of gays and the country’s 2013 federal law prohibiting homosexual “propaganda”, this film feel so much more relevant in today’s time and honestly it scares me. As a film, t slows down a bit towards second half but still remains focussed

A couple’s risky search for the truth ultimately and sadly has unexpected and grim consequences. But this is what make the film real. A complex, heart-breaking, thought-provoking and brilliantly acted and directed film; I highly recommend this film. (8/10)