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.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Muslim Drag Queens (Documentary) (UK)

This documentary was telecast on UK’s Channel 4. Being gay has never been easy for anyone past or present included. When you are asian, it is a bit harder because of culture and if you are asian and Muslim, then the difficulty goes on more level up. This documentary very effectively follows life of gay asians, specifically Muslims and drag queens. Narrated by Sir Ian McKellan, the documentary’s focus is on young men who are unable to publicly reconcile their sexuality with their cultural identity and traditions.

Asif, is a good looking young Muslim man who loves to dress up in drag and perform. The documentary starts with him showing us the death threat emails that he has received. He is popular and successful as his alter ego Asifa Lahore. But behind the expertly applied make-up, she is fighting a major battle on behalf of all those who don't dare to wear their sexuality so openly. Then we see Imran, whose alter ego is Zareena Khan and i looking of love everywhere. She gets lots of proposals from men all the tim, but ultimately they (Muslim married men, in most cases), want to just have sex with her because they feel that since she is in drag, they are still straight. And finally we have Ibrahim, you gay man, who grew up in Mauritius, recently came out and has supportive family and now wants to venture into drag. We see Asif training and nurturing him for his debut. All is not hunky dory though. Asif also wants to hold a walk to bring more prominence in the society for gay asians but is very disappointed when its the Britishers who show up for the march but none of the gay asian community shows up. She is very disheartened. But ultimately, things change for her when she is nominated for Attitude magazine’s pride awards, which she eventually wins as well.

The documentary shows quite a few examples, specially in the case of Zareena Khan, the difficulty for many LGBT Muslims in expressing their true identity. Unlike most documentaries, this one was not boring or bleak. In fact, the characters they picked had interesting stories to tell, good narration and direction; expertly injecting the subject matter with a hefty dose of humour. It is undoubtedly very brave of the three main characters who had the guts to open their hearts out in open for the world to see without fearing for their life. They can be role models for a lot of LGBT youth , not necessarily of Muslim background. In an interview apparently Asifa mentioned “I’m a Muslim, I’m British/Pakistani and I’m also a drag queen. I totally understood the risks and I totally understood the impact that it would have on my life and I decided to do it because the issue is really important to me."

An eye opener for me in various ways, more documentaries like these deserve to be shown on public platforms throughout the world. (6.5/10)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

El Tercero (Spanish) [The Third One]

A good concept which could very easily be shown in a 20 minute short film and I can bet you that the impact that this short film would have had is much greater than the impact that this film will ever have. The title pretty much tells us what the film is going to be about but in the process it becomes tiring and lethargic and you start to wonder whether anything concrete will ever happen or not.

Herman and Franco are an older gay couple who have been together for 8 years. They meet Fede, a very young man in his early twenties, online and have a few raunchy conversations about a threesome. Finally they invite Fede for dinner and more. A very nervous Fede arrives anther home and obvious discomfort is seen between the trio. Slowly as the three men eat, chat, and drink plenty of wine, they become more talkative and open. In due time, they are revealing intimate aspects of their lives and histories. Soon after dinner, the romantic encounter starts which ends up in a threesome (a really long scene). The trip sleep together and being good hosts Hernan and Franco make sure that their guest is comfortable and has everything he needs. Fede leaves and the film ends with him sitting in the classroom with memories from last night. We see him smiling with pleasure, having learnt something and most importantly a confidence that wasn’t seen before.

As mentioned, content wise there i snot much. The trio meets online,, meets in person, have threesome and part ways. This simple thing is stretched in such long drawn scenes that it tests your patience. The first act of online chat lasts of about 10-15 minutes where raunchy, steamy messages are exchanged. Then comes the dinner conversation done in 2 long takes of 20 minutes each and finally the sex scene that again last for more than 20 minutes. I really don’t understand why the director had to go so deep in every aspect of their acts and make it tiring. Haven’t the team heard of ‘Sometimes less is more’. This neither classifies as a relationship drama or an erotic thriller; it just offers a very slice of life film, but how I wish it was also an interesting one. The dinner conversations give us a peak into the trio’s character but it soon becomes very dull. It becomes difficult for an audience to care about Fede, as we know nothing about him; he simply seems young, innocent, and uncomfortable.

I seriously recommending doing a very tight edit of the film and present it as a short 20 minute film. The actor are fantastic, they look good, get into the skin of their character, have good chemistry and they do a great job but the screenplay and direction falters big time. In its current form, the film is a bit dull and tiring to be strongly recommended. (4/10)

L'amour au Temps de la Guerre Civile (French) [Love in the Time of Civil War]

What was the point of this almost 2-hour long film? Really!! Surely, we do see a very unflinching account of the life of a drug addict but then thats all there is to it. Its like we are following a drug addict and seeing what he is doing on a daily basis between trying to find money for drugs (mostly be being a hustler), getting high and then finding a place to sleep. I personally couldn’t find any more logic or reasoning to the whole film besides what I just said.

The film starts with a steamy and graphic sex and drug abuse scene between our protagonist Alex and Bruno. Exact nature of the relationship is not known until Bruno reappears towards the end of the film. After a couple of nights of intense drug use and sex, Bruno leaves and now Alex has to find to make money and get more drugs. He makes friends with his drug dealer and his girlfriend who use Alex’s car to distribute drugs to their customers. This goes on for about 30 minutes or so till they all get arrested. Alex gets released soon he wasn’t dealing and then again begins the same cycle of money, drugs and sex. He then goes to another old pal’s house who stays with his stoned girlfriend. After exhausting a couple of days of being high and sex, he leaves and meets Bruno again. They get a room and then again follows sex and drugs and in the end Bruno ends up ODing himself leaving Alex all alone.

Sure, we do see what these addicts go through, and will do anything o get their high, be a hustler but there is nothing besides that. Alex has no aim and no plans, he is taking one day at a time including where will he sleep at night in the chilly winter. And thats exactly what he makers have shown us. Alex just tries to get by. He maybe high but still not spaced out and till seems focussed. The scenes all start feeling very repetitive to me. The film’s rhythm sways back and forth between intense and impatient, and it indeed tested my patience. I still don’t know the motivation to make the film and making the film so long. On a positive note, the actor playing Alex is pretty darn good. He does his job really really well and given the right kind of opportunities can do some great work. We do not know either Alex’s history or anyone else’s but you still don’t feel empathy for any of them.

All that the film does is shine a light into the spiral of despair that drug addiction can create. You would need patience and maybe a personal history with someone to appreciate this movie better. (3/10)

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Chutney Popcorn

This film came out in 1999 and is a light hearted comedy. I can imagine that in that time it was probably a risqué subject, only because its the story of an traditional Indian family as a background. Ideally I wouldn’t have classified this as a film in LGBT realm because there is so much more to it, like family, responsibilities etc. but it is still definitely worth putting up on my blog.

Reena, an Indian-American is a henna tattoo artist and lives with her lover Lisa. She and her sister Sarita were single handedly brought up by their mother. Like most Indian families, the mother and even Sarita are obsessed with babies. Few months into her marriage, Sarita finds out that she can’t get pregnant and about the same time Reena’s family make her feel that she is selfish and doesn’t do much for her family. Without discussing with Lisa, Reena offers to be the surrogate mother of the baby for her sister and her husband Mitch. Narita is not to keen on the idea but because Mitch seems really excited, she goes for it. After numerous attempts, when Reena can’t get pregnant, Sarita has hd enough and wants it to stop and wants to not be a mother. As destiny would have it, Reena does get pregnant and even though Sarita doesn’t want the baby now, reena wants to keep it for the family. This creates  friction between Reena and Lisa because being a surrogate for 9 months is very different from having a baby and then keeping it. In between some wisecrack jokes by the mother and occasional ‘dyke’ stereotypes thrown in by Lisa and Reena’s group of friends, the film continues its light-hearted journey till Reena delivers the baby. Lisa comes around and takes care of Reena and now they are all a big happy family.

'Chutney Popcorn' seems entirely predictable until the moment Sarita changes her mind about wanting to bring up the child, and Reena, without thinking twice, announces that she wants to have the baby anyway. But despite this, it does make for an engaging watch, mostly because of the mother. I loved the scene when she does the 8th month pregnancy ceremony. So sweet !! None of the characters are easy to play and as I said , specially given that it is the Indian context, my favourite had to be the mother. She could easily have been a snob, homophobic character, instead she conveys the pain of a devoted single mother who only wants best for her child. The characters do get evolved over the period of time. Everyone in the film has done a decent job of acting and as I said, it cam out in 1999, so you do have to keep that in mind. Apart from that the film is a delightful mix of culture clashes, sibling rivalry, and good, old-fashioned dyke drama.

I know I haven’t put in much lesbian film reviews on my blog, but I do hope that over a period of time, I will eventually grow up. This is definitely a feel good, subtly humourous film that shows family is still the single most important thing for everyone. (6/10) 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Drink Me (UK)

I was starting to wonder how come my recent stint of gay films have been quite decent and chances were quite high that I would son be watching a real crap movie soon, and behold here it is. This film is an attempt to mix vampire craze with tons of sex, wafer thin story line and expect to do wonders for everyone involved.

James and Andy are a perfect couple, until Andy loses his job suddenly. In order to make their ends meet, James recommends they allow a lodger to stay with them. In comes Sebastian, a loner, good looking, tall, muscular but weird guy. Andy goes through all kinds of dreams every day and begins to wonder that Sebastian is hiding something and is very scared of him. He suspects that Sebastian could be the killer who has been stalking the streets of their neighbourhood and responsible for so many people seemingly disappearing into thin air. James on the other hand doesn’t notice anything. The film ends at a bizarre note something similar to how it started in the first place.

The opening shots in the film really tell you what you’re in for. A bizarre dream sequence followed by a really long sexually charged shower scene between the couple. There is no doubt where this film is headed. with a lot of odd camera angles and equally impressive male nudity, the makers must have their target segment right tin their head. But c’mmon; no one in their gift mindset would wanna watch all these sex scenes with the backdrop of a really weird film which logically makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Might as well sit at home and watch porn. So many unanswered questions about what are these dreams that Andy keeps getting randomly, why isn’t he just looking for job rather than sitting at home, how does he leave house in shorts and return in jeans (lol), why is a lodger the rational choice for these two? And many more. Most bizarre scene is where James is naked and in a dream sequence is caressing a tree for some reason. I guess the makers wanted to make this film more about atmosphere and mood rather than substance, which is a shame since James and Andy were not bad actors per say and given a chance they could do better; its the director who IMO is just bad.

I dare you to watch this film sitting still in one place and not wanting to blow your head off. It is a bad film on all accounts minus a LOT of sex scenes and nudity. And my rating is only for that. (2.5/10)

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Surface

A very interesting concept indeed. We all go through nostalgia. Watching certain scenes, places, listening to songs, reading old letters, reconnecting with friends etc brings back memories. But what if you didn’t have this luxury. Imagine having no cherished childhood memories to recall. The makers use this basic premise to come with an indie film, that touches the subject but slightly fails in passing on the actual message across.

Evan is  young college going student, who spent his childhood and youth moving between an endless list of foster homes. He is in a stable relationship with his boyfriend Chris who loves and supports him but at the same time can be a bit controlling and trying to make Evan into something that he is not. One afternoon Evan finds an old 8mm film camera in a garage sale. The old owner asks him to return back in a week to collect the editing equipment. When he returns a week later, he finds that the old man passed away and now it is his son Peter who lives there. To honour his father, Peter gives him the editing equipment along with the old family films that his father had shot. Evan goes through tons of childhood memories of Peter and starts to form a bond with Peter, getting to know him as he is today versus what he was as a child in those films and he struts living vicariously through Peter and his memories. Evan even leaves Chris to be with Peter because he thinks Peter can bring I’m that stability and happiness that Chris never could. But does Evan really know what he wants?

The Surface is a quiet, contained film, with the sort of melancholic air that could easily have come across as extremely pretentious. Thankfully it doesn’t go that route. But then at the same time, it doesn’t really invest much time building a stronger character graph for Peter and Chris. Why is Evan unhappy with Chris besides him being controlling. What attracts Evan to Chris? Is Evan really maybe looking for a protective fatherly figure that he finds in Peter? Or is it Peter wanting a younger evan to relive the movies of young adulthood that he had lost because he really didn’t care much and having seen Evan’s short film, he realises how important they were. The film ends with a slight feeling that perhaps Evan will continue to float from one place to another, look for something that will always allude him. The acting and direction of the film is quite simple and indie like. Thankfully there are no annoying or over-the-top characters. As I mentioned before, the story idea is indeed quite novel and interesting about a young man discovering the concept of family, even if its not his own.

The film is not bad. It is decent, just the right duration and enjoyable but it’s not quite as profound or remarkable as I would have liked it for me to rate it much higher. (6/10)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Gay Short Films : 40

Foreign Relations (USA)
Recently dumped Tom decides to take a Mediterranean group tour. Short of the money to get a double room just for himself, he is randomly assigned a roommate for the duration of the trip. While group tour guide is being flirty with Tom, Tom is so horny and can’t figure out if his room mate is gay or not. Their is lot of sexual tension in the 7 days that the men are together but its only on the last day that the truth comes out. Well acted and decent directed.

Fugaces (Spain)
In the week of Pride, Madrid is full of new guys. And there is always one that stands out from the mass.

Daddy's Big Girl (USA)
Widowed gay Cliff, a wealthy movie developer, has a strained relationship with his overweight adult daughter Millie. Millie is in a catch-22 situation where she feels negatively judged as an overweight person, but does nothing either to make her life better or to lose weight. Millie sees her father's life as a purely hedonistic one, where everything is all surface and no depth. It isn't until Cliff tells Millie a story about his deceased wife/Millie's mother that they come to a better understanding of each other.

The Saint of Dry Creek (USA)
Shown in animation, Patrick recounts how in 1950’s his father taught hi the message of being proud of whoever you are and whatever you do, subtly teaching Patrick to accept his sexuality.

Me siento culpable [I Feel Guilty] (Catalan)
Josean is Basque and Diana is Cuban based in Frankfurt. After making love, Josean teaches Basque words to Diana. She then asked him to say in Basque what he was thinking at that time. Josean takes a few seconds to answer: I feel guilty. When Juan, who is Josean’s boyfriend arrives, Diana also feels guilty.

No Bikini (Canada)
A 7-year-old girl refuses to wear her bikini top at a summer camp for her six week course of swimming classes and emerges out victorious. She recollects it as the best time of her life when everyone thought she was a boy.

Elder (Short Documentary) (USA/Italy)
In 1974, a Mormon missionary finds his world turned upside down when he falls in love with a handsome Italian Communist. With original 8mm film and fierce storytelling, Tom Clark recounts a love story set against the backdrop of coastal Italy wrought with faith, identity, cigarettes, and Thorazine.

After School (USA)
Fifteen year-old Jack is forced to come face-to-face with his growing romantic feelings for his best friend Danny. Special on the day when they are hanging out after school and Danny shows his vulnerable side crying when his puppy dies.

Mila Caos (Cuba)
Every weekend at an illegal drag show in a suburb of Havana, Sebastián, a 17 year old Cuban teenager, transforms into a diva. His onlywcsh is that housemother will one day come see him perform. The mother on the other hand is indifferent. How long will this last?

Morning Announcements (USA)
A teenage boy delivers a message of acceptance to his rigid Catholic school during the morning announcements, through which he explains how the institution's hypocritical message of 'loving the sinner' contributed to the suicide of his gay younger brother. A strong and a very hard-hitting film.

Vattnet [Water] (Netherlands)
James leads a lonely life. He is interested in the group of handsome Swedish soccer players staying at the hotel. When he finds one of the boys injured at the hotel's swimming pool, James offers his help and smuggles the boy into his room and locks the door. Locked up with a strange boy in his own room, James experiences the complexity of his own sexual feelings for the first time.

La última noche [The Last Night] (USA)
Two best friends, an American and a Spaniard, spend a last night together in New York. When the Spaniard talks about wanting to have a relationship, his straight friend kisses him. Will this destroy their friendship?

Chaser (USA)
Alienated from his conservative Jewish family and community, a promising, young, gay schoolteacher seeks solace in New York's barebacking scene. Interesting film but I not understand what was the point!

Paco (Spain)
Jota goes out every morning in search of love, and love is called Paco. He imagines love with every stranger he sees.

Independencia [Independence] (Spain)
Two men facing the Spain of their time during war times when accidentally one of the men comes out to his brother.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Płynące Wieżowce (Polish) [Floating Skyscrapers]

Oh no!! Why did they have to end the movie like this? I can’t watch another sad ending. According to the director, this is a film about love, or the lack of it and about the consequences of seeking out its substitutes. And as the film ended, I as a viewer was unsure of what the filmmaker intended to say with his story. Some of the characters get what they want, some of them don't, but none of them seem satisfied with the way things end up. What was the filmmaker's message?

In his fifteenth year of training, aspiring champion swimmer Kuba lives a normal, uneventful life - at home with his mother and girlfriend Sylwia. He happily switches back and forth from good sex with Sylwia to the occasional back rub his mother craves. At a gallery opening one night, he is out of place and totally bored until he meets Michal. Sylwia picks up on his fascination, but Kuba has her heart. Attraction between two men is instant and Kuba starts looking for ways to hang out more and more with Michal, and their bond grows. Sylvia sees all this and probably even knows what’s happening but doesn’t want accept it. Whilst Kuba dreams of a life with Michal, the latter takes on the task of convincing his concerned mother and distant father that his lifestyle isn't just a passing fancy. And at the same time Kuba comes to recognize he has never experienced feelings as deep as those he has for Michal. Not to be bothered by what the world thinks, the boy kiss in public and this is when Sylvia has to accept it. She tells his mother who is deeply devastated. She is so strong affect o him that she commands to stay away from Michal and stay with Sylvia. The film abruptly ends at a tragic, downbeat and open ended note.

I am not very sure how open & tolerant is Polish culture towards gays; I am guessing not a whole lot; which reflects in our film as well.. The sexual tension between the boys is very believable. They hang out a lot but don’t even get to kiss each other until very late. When asked by Michal on what does Kuba want to do now that he has him, he replies “Not to fuck this up!”. That was brilliant in my opinion. You see his eyes gleam in pride when he says that he adores Michal. At the same time, it is never very clear on what attracted Kuba towards Michal. Is it possible that Kuba was actually bisexual. Interestingly not many films have explored this aspect. A bit clarity on that would have helped between love and lust discussions. As viewer you do feel bad for Sylvia, because even when Kuba is going through his self-acceptance phase, he keeps telling her that he loves him which seems a bit out of context.By the way, there is a lot of nudity in the film but everything is done really very aesthetically.

Regardless, it was a very decent piece of cinema. You are left with questions that you want answers to but regardless you will see an interesting take on how a man's world got turned completely upside down. (7/10)

A Escondidas (Spanish/Arabic) [Hidden Away]

The best thing about this film is the subtle yet very powerful story. This is a film dealt with sensitivity and feelings as we ride a roller coaster of emotions. An intense story of two 14-something boys. At that young age, the world and your own self changes at such a speed. Our protagonists feel the changes and experience love for the first time but because they are both boys, they have to keep it hidden away and given into the social pressure.

14 year old Ibra, originally Moroccan, left his country long time ago hoping for a better future in Spain. Living in shelters, fully settled, going to school, he is hoping his paper work will get done soon. Then we have Rafa, a young boy living with his parents. He hangs out with his group of friends inclusion best friend Guille. Rafa gets visibly uncomfortable overtime the friends talk about girls and going out with them. A chance encounter a nightclub is their first interaction, but the spark between them develops much later. Rafa wants to be with Ibra and after initial awkwardness they both befriend each other. Fearing that his paper work may not come through, Ibra runs away. He gets mixed u with a local gang that gets him to sell drugs but Rafa finally manages to find him and they both run away again. Rafa and Ibra will now do everything to be together. Rafa goes over and beyond to help Ibra, using his friend Guille’s life. The bond, mostly emotional, is very strong but soon Ibra realises that he cannot have Rafa run with him. He has a stable life and he deserves one. An emotional climax, not in your face, makes me believe that this bond was not meant to last long.

The first problem, if you can call it that, you will notice is the non-linear story telling format. It is not told chronological, so it does take a while to put the jigsaw pieces together and understand but slowly it all starts to make sense. You feel the confusion and awkwardness that both these boys are going through. Rafa doesn’t want to be made fun of for not being interested in girls and top of that being interested in an Arab foreigner for friendship. Ibra on the other hand just wants to stay in the country legally and knows that it has to be his good karma that he met Rafa. The boys hang out together over games, walks and long silences. But don’t let that fool you. I believe that shows the emotional bond that is getting created between the two boys. We see both real love and denial as they realise how they feel about each other. The only kiss in the film that shows that they may be connected at physical level as well and not just emotional was fantastic and well-placed in the narrative. The scene where Rafa asks for help from his friend Guille is so pure. ITs pure friendship emotions. There are 2 very emotional scenes in the film and in each they demonstrate the fear of unknown and losing their loved ones at such a tender age. The acting by all principal last members is amazing and the story and direction is brilliant. Capturing and witnessing loss of first love at such a tender age is not easy but I really applaud the makers for bringing this to us without over dramatising any situation. I would LOVE to see a sequel of the film come through in next few years.

Don't be fooled into thinking that this is just another boy meets boy love story. At it's very core is a film that tells the story of young love, young love that we've all experienced. (8/10)

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Supernatural (Thai)

What the fuck was this? sci-fi apparently but what utter crap. Ok, some people will call it artistic, ambitious and what not, but c’mmon; the subject of the film and premise has to make some sense for the normal movie watching audience. The film lost me completely within 15 minutes and I had to fast forward and watch the whole thing. What a sheer waste of time.

Synopsis (copied from online, because I really do not have patience to write anything about this film): In a futurist world, the Thai kingdom has been transformed by ‘The Leader’ into 'the Realm of people who have done good deeds and earned merits'. It’s a nice place to be, even though the inhabitants are plagued by an indefinable nostalgia. In the old days, people could at least touch each other. Although the Realm has reached version 2.0, technical possibilities remain limited. This wondrous story of the future is interwoven with stories set in the present and past.

As per the director and online forums, this film is supposedly, a political metaphor about modern Thailand, in the form of a homoerotic sci-fi film. In reality, As mentioned above, it was just a pretentious, pointless, silly and utterly boring film that doesn't work at all, either as a feature or documentary or self-obsession. Save you brain and time. Avoid completely. (0.5/10)

Seek (Canada)

What the hell was this film? When it ended I had a mixed feeling of relief and regret. Relief that it was over and regret for having bothered watching it. But then, I have seen much worse films, so this one at least didn’t give me a headache and didn’t make me feel wanting to punch the director.

Evan is a young journalist who works for a gay magazine that covers the local community. He doesn’t get an offer from Gazette, his dream company but they do offer him a job of writing a piece about city’s night life. He knows that his colleague Aidan isa big circuit party man who writes about these pieces and could probably give him some insight. Aidan helps Evan meet Hunter, who is the king of the night clubs and hosts the best parties in the city. In hunter’s company, Evan finds out about all the hard work that goes into making these parties successful. Hunter, it seems likes Evan but Evan’s personality is so shy that he is completely oblivious to the admiration. In between all this, we see 2 long interviews with 2 different couples who are very happy inline despite being very different and we also get to see almost a 10 minutes long unedited drag queen performance. Also, memories of Evan’s ex-lover keeps coming through in hi mind and dreams. What’s the relation of his ex-lover with Hunter and Hunter’s love; this is a question that even I don’t have an answer to. Anyway Evan ends up finishing his piece, gets published and finally is making his mark in the big city. He and Hunter finally even hook up after playing cat and mice.

I have way too many questions unanswered after watching the film. Very obviously, the whole connection between Evan and Hunter and Hunter’s ex-Jordan. Was Jordan the same guy as Evan’s estranged love? Jordan never ended up hooking up with Evan, so why did Hunter become obsessed with Evan? Did he have a different motive initially which changed over a period of time or was he also attracted to Evan just because at one point he believes Jordan was attracted to him. And then besides this, what was the point of these 2 long drawn interviews, Evan’s relation with his girlfriend and subsequent fight; there just was no logic behind all that. There is absolutely no chemistry between Hunter and Evan or even Evan and Aidan as friends. And the stupid smirk that was a constant fixture on Evan’s face was quite annoying in the first half. After that I just assumed that this was a way of showing he is shy! Lame! I am trying to figure out what was the whole point behind making this film. Was it to show that we all have our own paths to happiness and we all ultimately get there. Who cares!

This film would have been better as a short film. Stretching it into a full length feature film was a real bore. (4/10)

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Azul Y No Tan Rosa (Spanish) [My Straight Son]

Yay!! My first gay film from another new country, this time Venezuela. I am not very sure whether this is the first LGBT themed film from the country or its that I couldn’t see any film yet. Whatever the case maybe, I am so happy that this film was made and that I got to see it. Its a beautiful, emotional film that shows celebration of diversity and love and also makes a point against homophobic attacks and discrimination. A perfect combination of love, romance, heartbreak, family, friendship intercepted with just the right amount of drama and few funny moments; this film will definitely touch you. The title actually translates as "Blue and Not So Pink," but has been dumbed down to "My Straight Son."

Diego is a young and successful photographer and is very happy in his relationship with is partner Fabrizio. His life is quite happy with his love and 2 of his closest friends by his side, the transgendered Delirio and the beautiful Perla Marina who is still with her abusive boyfriend. We also get to know that the families of both guys are also homophobic even though they are both aware of their son’s preferences. In a twist of events, Diego’s estranged son Armando comes to live with him for few months since his mother has to go to London. Worse timing ever, Fabrizio gets attacked for being gay which leaves him in a bad coma. Armando is already bitter about the fact that his father pretty much never messaged him for last 5 years and even now he doesn’t have time for him, not realising what has happened with Fabrizio. Finding the truth about his father, Armando is now coming to terms with his father’s sexuality and his LGBT lifestyle and friends. Diego at the same time is dealing with anger and hostility of Fabrizio’s parents while he struggles in hospital. Armando meets a girl online and slowly falls for her but he is too insecure about his looks. This is when Diego and his friends help him a lot to grow his self-confidence. Fabrizio doesn’t last longer which leaves Diego heartbroken, but with the help of his son and friends pulls it through and the father-son relationship slowly grows and they both become used to each other with ample support from friends and a beautiful ending to the film.

From the very first scene we realize that we are about to see a quality film in which the sound, music and photography are well done. I was very impressed with the whole dance sequence in the credit opening. And despite too many layers and all its plot complications there is something very compelling about the unraveling of the relationship between the father and son that ensures our investment in watching to the end to see how its all going to turn out. We see bits and pieces of lives of every character involved but the basic plot never deviates from its main theme. I really enjoyed every scene that had Diego’s family involved either fighting or eating or watching TV. It just all felt so natural and real. Its difficult to single out anyone when everyone is quite talented and good looking and fits their character. We identify with the characters and suffer and love with them. The gay bashing scene was so brutal that you feel the pain and the horror of it all. I don’t know anything about Venezuela or life as a LGBT member in that society but this film gives me a very realistic feel of what it probably is like. Keeping a good balance of emotions, comedy, there is no reason you will not be able to relate to this film one way or the other.

The film ends with dreams of a world that we would want to live in, a happy balanced world. Apparently this is the director’s first film. I would say, he is someone to keep an eye out for. He is brilliant and the film is wonderful. (8/10)

Friday, October 16, 2015

Velociraptor (Spanish)

Wow!! This movie was incredible and that is solely because of the amazing chemistry between the 2 main protagonists. As you can tell by my blog that I have seen plenty of gay films, but the style of direction and the overall story and the way things have been handled is quite unique in my opinion. When the film started, I thought this was going nowhere and it was another one of those independent self-indulgent films (which it is) but somewhere along the line, it just completely grabbed my attention. There is nothing much to the story but it still got me totally absorbed in the world of these 2 young guys.

Its apocalypse time and the world is going to end soon. People are fleeing (where?) and everyone is doing their own thing. Some people are staying together, some people are abandoning their families and everyone’s deepest fears and desires are coming out. 2 best friends Alex and Diego decide to spend the day together walking the streets of their city.  Alex is gay and shares stories of the guys he has met. Diego is straight and is a very close and supportive friend for Alex. During their conversations, it comes out that Alex is still a virgin. Although he ha set many guys, he never went all the way with someone, because he can only do it with someone who he trusts and he proposes that Diego to have sex with him. Diego is initially mad but still doesn’t leave the side of his friend. He leaves the idea open and says that he will think about it. The two of them end of at Alex’s home and this is where the sexual tension, will he won’t he, where is the line between friendship and love, is it sex that matters or is Alex in love with Diego? These and many more questions rise and get answered during next 30-45 minutes of their time spent at home. Diego decides to ultimately do it but things end up at an unsatisfying place where Diego just can’t do it. The friend say good bye and it seems that the final moment of world coming to an end is also real close.

This film explores the concept of fluidity of sexual desire. It is interesting that in the beginning of the film, when Alex shares stories of him blowing straight guys at school,  Diego mentions that he is old fashioned and believes that people are either gay or straight. And then he is the one who ultimately ends up giving into Alex’s wishes. People may argue that Diego also had hidden desires but I disagree. I strongly think that he was a genuine very nice and caring friend for Alex. A friend to whom it doesn’t bother to hear about Alex’s problems, his gay sex escapades or even his string sexual desire for his friend. The narrative also goes into many flashbacks, which again is handled in a very unique way, and each new flashback adds nuance to these 2 young men trying to discover who they are and what they want to do before it is too late. The 2 lead actors are simply superb. Their chemistry with each other is one of the best I have seen in recent times. They do a very admirable job of balancing the equation of friendship and sexual tension between the two. I think its thanks to the director. The scene where Alex makes Diego watch gay porn is amazing. Diego’s reactions are to die for. Both the young man are extremely good looking but the simplicity and Diego’s smile made me root for him lot more than Alex. At some point Alex became more of a sympathetic character rather than someone who is in control. Diego’s character balances him really well. I am not sure why the film was set with apocalypse as the backdrop but maybe this has also to do with the fact that to show that people refuse to explore outside their comfort zone and their life outside the limited world. Maybe if they know their time in the world is limited, they would be more open to things.

This film may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I would recommend this film just for the natural and extremely wonderful camaraderie that the leads share and lighten up the screen with the brilliant portrayal of 2 best friends wanting something and doing something different because ultimately they both care for each other. (8/10)

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Jess & James (Spanish)

There are not many road-trip movies with gay theme, so this is a welcome change in that area, but unfortunately when it comes to material and story-line, film-makers are left with just a handful of subjects handling queer issues. This film falls in the coming-out and young guys falling involve category but set in the context of a road trip. Well, this at least makes it different. I also did like the idea of splitting the film in 8 different sections, each focussed on a certain theme of the overall film.

James, open about his sexuality, lives with his overbearing mother, who he believes drove his father away. Jess on the other hand, is a confused young man, who keeps changing girlfriends, even getting one pregnant. The 2 boys meet for a hook-up initially but clearly James gets strong feelings for Jess. Jess, who is really fed up of his life with controlling parents and a nagging girlfriend, agrees to go on a weekend road-trip suggested by James. This road-trip becomes a journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance in case of Jess. The road trip focuses on their interactions with each other, how they get to know each other and what they decide to do with each other. The most important aspect of the trip is their chance meeting with another guy Tomas. Tomas brings more fun and energy and passion in the two men and they also having one of the most passionate threesome. They invite him to come along, but Tomas chooses to stay with his father in the small town. One of the reasons to go on this road-trip was to also for Jess to meet his estranged brother who left the family longtime back when he eloped with the nanny. Jess burns the bridges and the brothers are reunited and Jess finally comes out to his brother and acknowledges James as his partner. The duo meet Tomas again and embark on another trip of their life.

I don’t know if it was just me or others felt the same but the 2 guys looked so much alike. I found myself getting confused so many times during the movie remembering which is Jess and which is James. If not for the torn jeans and the beads that James wore all the time, it would have been really hard for me to differentiate. The chemistry between the two guys is impeccable and there are some steamy sex scenes. As mentioned before, the whole chapter when Tomas joins them is beautifully handled. Clearly both the guy like him, but at the same time they also have to question their commitment for each other. The three guys have fun in town, hang out as best buddies. I was just enjoying watching the trio chemistry. It was brilliant and yes the threesome scene was tasteful, artistic and very well done. Another scene that really stood out for me was when Tomas teaches them both dancing steps. Its Tomas, that makes them realise each other’s importance. You believe the two characters have fallen for each other and you care about where they end up, right from the time we see them hook-up. On the flip side, there is some serious issue with the background music of the film. It was techno, very loud and just did not fit into this kind of film. I normally don’t even notice such things but this was too much in your face. I would definitely recommend redoing background music.

Anyway, just a small point but doesn’t take away from the fact that this was indeed a very interesting film. Its not great but definitely much better than a lot of crap I have been seeing lately. (6/10)

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Eisenstein In Guanajuato

I think this is the kind of film where it is important for the audience to know what they are actually getting into. And by that I mean, not just the storyline of the film but also a bit of history about the film and the subjects of the film. This film specifically relies too much on pieces of information about a then well-known Russian film-maker who was quite popular. And in this film, we get to see the unauthorised biography of what could have happened when he along with his crew visited Mexico to shoot for his next film.

In 1931, Eisenstein, famous Russian director, drove from California to Guadajuato, after two years of unsuccessfully trying to get a production started in Hollywood. Eisenstein in a clownish and an eccentric  man who gets very fascinated by the country and finds too much similarities and differences between his motherland and Mexico. Canedo, is a handsome academician who has been assigned to the director to show him around and be his companion. The director who came to shoot his dream ‘Que viva Mexico’ ends up shooting almost 250 miles of the film , never to get to edit it, but in the process gets too diverted by exploring his own sexuality, his love that he will soon find out for Canedo. The primary focus of this film is to show the intensity and chemistry between the two leads, how Eisenstien comes to terms with losing his virginity and embrace who he is himself and possibly explore love.

The film is grand and is filmed in a very theatrical, over the top large frameworks, with large monologues but actually thats the kind of setting that is needed for such a film. Setting the facts outright, I may not have liked the film but I can totally feel the passion of the makers behind this film. This film, if for nothing, will definitely be remembered for shelling elaborate scene where Eisenstien loses his virginity to Canedo. A very graphic yet poetic scene, this forms the crux of the relationship evolving between the two men. Apparently it was this sexual encounter in Mexico that defined the kinds of films that Eisenstein used to make and will end of making after returning back from Mexico. My interest in the film failed very early on, because I just couldn’t connect with anything significant happening. The two men would walk around various parts of the city, or sit naked in the hotel room talking about all kinds of things, which for some may add to the story but for me it did not. Other characters would just come and go without adding anything significant. Performance wise, I think the actor playing the lead role does a very very good job.

I can see the film doing rounds of gay festival circuits with such in your face nudity and sex-scene and getting popular but I highly doubt that will this film ever find any appreciation outside this circle. (3/10)

Monday, October 12, 2015

Tarik El Hob (French) [The Road To Love]

There are not many films that talk about homosexuality and Islam in the same breath. Personally, this is a topic that interests me and when I encounter a subject that deals with these 2 together, i usually go for it, hoping I will uncover something meaningful and interesting. Sadly, this really low budget french film does not do the trick.

Karim, a sociology student in Paris is of Algerian origin. He is making a video documentary on homosexual relationships in Islamic cultures, and is having troubles finding subjects to interview. Most of his time, he spends with his girlfriend. After a few bad meetings, Karim encounters Farid, a gay, well-adjusted, quietly seductive handsome Algerian lad who not only agrees to be interviewed, but also finds ways to assist Karim with his project. Slowly spending time with Farid and spending time travelling in northern /Arabic part of Africa, Karim finally comes to explore and accept his own sexuality.

The story of the film sounds very interesting but unfortunately film was nowhere close to it. The film was probably made on a shoestring budget and is filmed in a very interview/documentary style. It got really bore real quick. To be honest, while watching the film it felt as if it really was someone’s college video project which at some point was deemed decent enough to be released for a wider audience. Some interesting concepts are talked about and eat with (like the whole active homosexuality vs passive, sodomy, ancient Egyptian culture etc.). Some people may get excited with the fact that actors are real, but I think at some stage, we do want a good balance of realistic cinema intercepted with art. Something that feels like was shot by a hand held camera, interviewing openly arabic gays, sound good on paper, but it definitely did not lead any impact whatsoever.

Although in hindsight, with decent production values, actors and script, this subject is something that has potential to make a real big impact. (3.5/10)

Beira-Mar (Portuguese) [Seashore]

I understand the passion that film -makers sometime invest in making of a film. Everyone has a different motivation and for some it may also be personal stories, but the problem arises when a restrained approach starts becoming too lethargic. This film about coming-out-story of a teenager to his friend, doesn’t really go anywhere at all for over an hour before it comes to the point and by then , I personally had lost almost all interest in either the characters or the story.

Martin is sent by his father to retrieve some family document from the family of his deceased grandfather on the southern coast. His closest friend Tomaso decides to join him. They stay at their father’s beach house during this cold time. Almost first hour of the film focuses on the boys randomly walking streets of deserted town, killing time, drinking and smoking and finally picking up certain other young girls and a boy for an evening full of drinking. The next day when Martin goes to the family house again for the second time and has made some progress compared to the first visit, is when he asks Tomaso if the guy back at home is his boyfriend? This is the first time the boys openly talk about Tomaso being gay. Tomes tell Martin everything. More conversations follow before what’s expected happens. Both the boys realize that their feelings for each other might have been more than friends and its time to explore each other as lovers.

This film could have been so much better as a short film or something that would focus on something more concrete. Shaky frames, hand-held cameras, awkward pauses, sharp focus on faces, blue sky, aimlessly wandering; all this become a little too much too handle after a while and you wanna scream for the film to move ahead. The performances of the actors of average at the best but in my opinion, there was only so much they could do. The basic fault lies with the director and the script. This experiment is too much of a self-indulgent where the viewers are taken for a joyride without testing or caring for what they would expect.

There are a lot better teenage coming-out stories which keep you interested and you feel for the characters as well. This one unfortunately doesn’t come anywhere closer to anything. (3/10)

Friday, October 9, 2015

Feriado (Spanish) [Holiday]

Yay!! another first film from a new country. A coming-out gay film, there is nothing much new to this film honestly but what I admire about the film is the fact that someone in the country dared to make a film that even touches upon the gay aspect and treats it sensitively rather than making  mockery of it.

Set in 1999, when one of the worst financial crisis hit Ecuador, W meet the shy teenager Juan Pablo who has come to spend his carnival holidays to his family house in the mountains of Ecuador. We find out that’s uncle, whose house he is staying at, is a banker who is locked up because of the bank scandal. Nevertheless, it doesn’t stop the family especially the kids to enjoy their vacation. Juan Pablo is constantly bullied by his cousins and he finally finds excitement through a chance encounter with Juano, a thief, when Juan Pablo saves him from his uncle’s escape while stealing tyre covers in the carnival party. The crew of the film then focuses on there growing friendship and the silent fun moments they share. Their socio-political differences are nevr mentioned and are never an issue. Clearly Juan Pablo is completely in awe of Juano, who in turn thinks of him as a friend. One night after a crazy party, the 2 boys do end up kissing passionately, but Juano finally runs away. Before heading back to his home after his vacation ends, Juan Pablo goes to meet Juano for one final time and says goodbye.

I think the screenplay of the film was quite weak. A lot more drama, excitement could have been built up. The actors playing the two main pats were quite good but were in control of the undercooked screenplay of the film. Their passion was not so much real but Juan Pablo’s silent glances towards Juano with a mixture of curiosity, sensuality portrayed his vulnerability and his desires. The whole fading banking scenario was all in the background and didn’t really add anything substantial to the story. Even the ending wasn’t anything ground-breaking or special. Finally Juan Pablo confides in a friend that he may like guys, so as a viewer, I am just left with just a shrug as a reaction

In short, this film is a simple story of a teenager coming to terms with his sexuality on his holiday. Nothing out of the world but not bad either. (4.5/10)

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Wasp (UK)

My first reaction after seeing this film was that I guessed the makers wanted to put this film in the same category of one of my favourite films "Weekend" but alas, this one didn't come any closer. The pretext and the synopsis of the film was quite interesting and to a very small extent, it did a decent job of keeping my interests hooked on. But then the film just kept going no-where. Actually, thats not correct, the film did move but the individuals reactions and behaviours would change so much at random that so many times it would just not make any sense.

Oliver takes his boyfriend on one year James on a romantic break to his parents house in South of France. In France, they bump into Carline, James’ old friend who has been dumped by her boyfriend. The couple agree to let Caroline join them for their vacation but Olivier is less than happy at having a third person around for the duration. Olivier is definitely unhappy about the situation and him and Caroline clash over various things, but at the same time they also connect on certain issues. During a drinking game, when it comes out Oliver has indeed slept with a girl but never since he came out as gay, Caroline for whatever reasons keeps pushing his buttons to get a reaction from Oliver. All this while James doesn’t think much of it because he just is glad to see finally Oliver and Carline are getting along. Slowly a weird sexual tension starts building up between Caroline and Oliver. Carline continues to pursue, while Oliver starts to question his bisexuality. When Carlone finally makes a move on Oliver, he rejects here and she leaves the house. When James confronts Oliver on what has happened, he rushes to bring her back. After they come back, James notices difference in both of them and this is where it starts dawning on him that there might have been a lot more things going right under his nose than he ever noticed. He slowly starts saying attention and confronts Oliver if he has ever cheated on him. In the middle of night, he even forcible confronts Caroline on why she is doing what she is doing. The ending is left open-ended where we need to figure out did something happen between Oliver and Caroline when he went to pick her up and where will this story lead to.

The low budget of the film really shows despite the fact that the setting and house is really beautiful. But thats not even the problem. My main issue was the absolute lack of chemistry between the couple. Oliver and James had just no chemistry. And with respect to Caroline, if she has just been dumped by her boyfriend, she is being nothing but a real mean person by trying to seduce her friends’ boyfriend. Even if Oliver was interested in her, she should have avoided her for various reasons. Its seems her character has no ethics. And if this is supposed to be a romantic vacation, how come the bus are never together. One is reading while the other is cooking and vice versa. Was this vacation really a romantic get-together or a way to address the underlying issues that the couple might have been having. This is one of those films where barring the above open questions and the lack of chemistry, its hard to say what exactly is wrong. But the film definitely fails to hold your attention. Maybe a little more sexual tension and a lot more reaction by James would have helped. The so called surprises are not really surprises.

Strictly an ok film with decent performances but absolute lack of chemistry between the characters. (5/10)

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Das Sommerhaus (German) [The Summer House]

Having read the synopsis of the film, I was quite intrigues. This subject could not be any more controversial just with its basic plot and theme. Unfortunately, the execution of the plot in the film does not play out as well as it does on paper. The resulting film is a lacklustre piece of jumbled ideas and mixed messages.

That Larsens are a picture perfect family. Father Markus, mother Christina and their almost 12 year old daughter Elizabeth. They have a perfect house and a summer house (a little gazebo in the woods). But right from the beginning we see that there is something brewing in the foundation of this family.. We don’t see any direct ambushes but clearly its a dysfunctional family. A close friend of Markus is in deep financial trouble and Markus offers to help him with some money, but her may need more. Very casually , the friend mentions his boy Johannes to be nice to Elizabeth. When Markus meets the 12-year old boy at his home playing with Elizabeth, he feels affection for him. By this time we have realised that Markus is bisexual and has flings with men on the side. Markus begins to approach Johannes and creates an intimacy of which he increasingly loses control. This includes the two of spending time with each other on weekends but doing nothing intimate except setting with their t-shirts off. So while both the wife and daughter are still very affected and stirred by Markus’ complete disinterest in their life, Johannes, as it turns out , has a plan of his own. He shows one day to Markus’ home and demands 150k euros other wise he will tell people that Markus has been assaulting a young boy. Shocked by the turn o events , he leaves him to go to the bank while Johannes stays home with mom and the daughter. The ending is left vague with Elizabeth walking towards Johannes with a knife ready to attack him.

As mentioned about, it is not easy film to watch but the good story on paper did not turn out very good on screen. There are so many scenes that fee unnecessarily stretched. IT feels that it could’ve been a made for TV film and reduced the duration by at least 30 minutes. Th film starts off well but begins to get weird and disappointing soon and it never recovers from it. The whole point of Markus’ friend and his girlfriend making out after dinner and engaging in sex which Christine joins but ends up showing Markus having sex with his wife without completion didn’t make any sense. It had nothing relevant to the story. Also the mother-daughter bond was quite strange. She seemed all a bit of freak to me, which Elizabeth mentions to her father as well. The other weird aspect is of the whole suicide showdown by Christine. I mean if as a couple they are clearly unhappy, then just move on for Christ’s sake. Then the whole closeness of Markus with Johannes. What was Markus’ intention. A healthy flirty relationship with a young man who could easily be his son or was it just a way to escape his family life.

The film is a bit too confusing and too jumbled to follow for my tastes. And added to it, the relatively slow pace of the film doesn’t really help. (4/10)

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Tofu (UK) (TV Series)

You must have read my reviews of British shows ‘Cucumber’ & ‘Banana’. I finally managed to see the companion show to complete the trio. It is a documentary series that focuses on a range of sex attitudes in the twenty-first century from the viewpoint of everyday people.The show basically takes some of the characters from the 2 shows but mainly focuses on the real life sexuality with a fictional minisode also thrown into the mix. Every episode lasts about 12 minutes with a topic chosen and then getting views form each of the people being interviewed.

The eight episodes focus on the following topics:
- Good Sex, Bad Sex
- Sex Talk
- Not Having Sex (Asexuality)
- Coming Out
- Teenage Lust
- Queer as Folk
- Instasex
- Filthy, Dirty Sex

Every episode brought in a very different mindset. I liked the fact that a wide variety of people were talked to so that we get to experience a wide spectrum and their viewpoints, there, strengthening the belief that now two people are same and that we all like things the way we do.  I love the approach of discussions - no demonising but an honest appraisal of the pros and cons. And the other thing that was also good was that they took a wide mix of characters: right fro a mid-60s old woman, to an asexual person, 2 porn stars, lesbians both young and old, a straight guy who pays for prostitutes and of course a few main actors from the 2 parent shows. I wish I had seen this right after I watched the shows but hey! its never too late.

Not as interesting as the parent shows, but this one specifically was just supposed to be as a discussion mode and not preachy. (6/10)

Friday, October 2, 2015

Gay Short Films : 39

Talking To My Mother (USA)
This film tells the story of a young man trapped in a culture clash. It explores the complicated relationships between Michael, a second-generation Chinese American man, his mother and Julianne, his girlfriend of two years, to whom he plans to propose. After a twist of fate, Julianne accidentally discovers Michael's secret of loving another man that would change their lives forever.  Will Michael be able to face the truth with his loved ones - and most importantly, himself, before it's too late?

Mr. A (USA)
A curious teenage boy Kenny finds his teacher’s profile on a gay dating website, while browsing through them with his girlfriend. Hidden feelings rise again within him and he makes an unexpected move on the teacher, that has some serious consequences.

Yo Sólo Miro (Spain) [I Only Watch]
Julia and Eduardo are married for a long time and they look like a conventional couple from the outside. Soon they realise that they may be total strangers. Julia finds herself watching porn often probably because he is not satisfied. When Eduardo has to go for a work trip, she finds 3 gay porn DVD’s in his closet. Her reaction is calm and something that shocks Eduardo. She invites a hustler for Eduardo, so that she can just watch the 2 men.

Shattercane (USA)
A farm teen has his life planned out for him: he will get married to his girlfriend and take over the family farming tradition. But when he confides that he might be gay to his youth minister, word spreads to his family and girlfriend, and his world unravels. The end seems disturbing because it seems the guy will never be able to be true to himself.

När Bromsvajern Släpper (Sweden) [No Breaks]
Silence speaks of love in one hot summer. Three friends go for a party in night in summer. a girl and a boy are siblings and the theory is their friend. We see initial connection between the girl and the friend, but slowly something unspoken starts brewing between the brother and the friend. The girl realises it and hoarily leaves them alone and goes back home. Not much in still spoken between the two guys. A smile is all that says everything.

Dolls (USA)
When teenager Thomas rediscovers his dolls in the attic, his mother demands they sell them. She insists that Thomas work the annual garage sale where a devilish ten-year-old boy defaces Thomas's toys. As Thomas struggles to save his dolls, his mother begins to see the part of her son she always overlooked.

Kendo Monogatari (Cuba)
Lesbia has a hair saloon at her house. Mandy, her best friend, whose boyfriend recently broke up with him, who helps her with the duties of the saloon, wants to leave illegally from the country and go to USA. For the sake of her friendship and Mandy’s safety, she sells her saloon and starts practicing martial arts when she gets the news of his safe arrival.

Mørke Rum (Denmark) [Perpetual]
Sebastian explores his sexuality and seeking sex/love online. He meets Jacob, older and more experienced, who takes him to a sex club. In the new and frightening surroundings Sebastian has his first sex and in their subsequent meetings love sprouts, at least for Sebastian. Outside the darkness of intense togetherness, the reality penetrates. Jacob is full of lust and not love. So when Sebastian's hopes are disappointed and Jacob pulls away, Sebastian return to the dark room to restore the lost with a stranger.

Small-Time Revolutionary (UK)
Russell finds himself caught between two opposing worlds and needs to decide whether to keep up the appearances or stand up for who he is. He is gay and hasn’t come out to his family and at the same time he is part of the revolution against Thatcher government in 1988. As expected, coming out wasn’t as difficult as he thought it will be.

Silver Stiletto (Australia)
Two men are found dead in a dumpster outside of a well known gay bar and their wounds suggest the actions of a trained killer. There are no witnesses and no evidence. Detective Alexis Morgan has a crazy theory that disheveled drag-queen Dorothy may be responsible. We find out how and why.

The Boy Who Couldn't Swim (Denmark)
Two teen boys meet each other in Copenhagen and team up to find one of the boys' mother. Instead they end up finding themselves - and each other. Big bore film.

Baby (UK)
A mesmerising depiction of adolescent sexual anxiety. We see a moody teen recalling a sexually-charged visits to a swimming pool including his fascination for both boys and girls.

Hidegzuhany (Hungary) [Cold Shower]
During a warm summer night, Robert, a naive 17 year old and Feri, the roma member of the high school drama group, are forced to deal with prejudices, that have existed longer then themselves.

Violin (Germany)
When a drug dealer comes to deliver some weed to a budding violist, two unlikely kind spirits share an unlikely moment of intimacy with a violin, while the musician tries to show him how to play violin. An intense beautiful short.

Pop-up Porno
A hilarious book design about a gay man's sorry about finding out that his twin is gay as well on grindr.

Sugar Baby Love
An animation showing a boy going through all kinds of wrong guys before he meets the dream of his life.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

G - Lost In Frankfurt (German)

I really don’t understand what was the point behind making this film. It was like an extended promo for gay tourism in Frankfurt. Not just any gay tourism, but something that involves drugs and sex. The story can be summed in a very short time and this film if edited well could be like a promo for gay/sex/dug tourism in Frankfurt.

Kris just lands in Frankfurt to work in an underwear shop. He meets Damiano who offers to show him around Frankfurt. the night ends in a gay club with G and sex. The next day he shows up with another friend David. The trio end up in a club, drink up G ad have hot passionate sex. The third day, the trio meets two of their other friends. This sis the only time they have some conversation where they all discuss their coming out stories. The night ends up in a gay club and surprise surprise, there is more G, following a full on orgy between the 5 guys.

And thats pretty much it to the film. There is constant electronic music playing in the background which annoyed me a lot. As I mentioned, the film has no logic. Its like a character study of kind of excitement a new life can bring (in this case that of Kris). There are elaborate sex scenes which didn’t arise any sort f excitement in me. By then I was so bored of the film and wanted it to end. Thankfully both Damiano and David were good looking but besides that it was like watching a virtual tour guide of the gay environment of Frankfurt. Totally avoidable. (1.5/10)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Sturmland/Viharsarok (German/Hungarian) [Land of Storms]

What a shocking, disturbing yet poetic ending! And to know that this film is actually based on a true story makes it even more interesting but not in a happy sort of way. I guess this is a film that shows harsh realities of gay life in certain regions of the world (this one focusing on eastern Europe I suppose). Its sad that whichever first world country you are living in, you may still encounter intense homophobia and similar heartbreaking stories, the moment you step out in the interiors.

Szabi is a good football player, playing for Germany but is into the game only because of his father. He doesn’t really enjoy the game. He is friends with Bernard and also possibly both of them are in love with each other but can’t say so. There is definite tension which one day leads to a major fight after a game between the two of them and Szabi decides to leave Germany. He goes back to interiors of a village where he has inherited his grandfather’s home. There he meets Aron, who he catches while trying to steal his bike. Friendship gets struck between them and they start to rebuild Szabi’s house together. Friendship soon turns into drinking and a night of poison of Szabi pleasuring Aron. Nothing is said and a similar incident gets repeated again that is enjoyed by both. Aron doesn’t know what’s happening to him and ends up confessing the whole event to his sick mother who he has been nursing. Stab gets beaten up badly by the town boys. We later find out that Aron’s mother told the  boys because she thinks Szabi is being bad influence on Aron. Soon Aron starts feeling something for Szabi and he also gets beaten up in school. Right when things are going ok between the two, Szabi’s old friend Bernard shows up confessing his love. He wants to take Szabi back to football but he is very clear that he cannot leave Aron and go. Bernard tries his best but ultimately gives up. Meanwhile when Aron’s mother gets really sick and ultimately dies, Aron has a very tough choice to make. How will he move on with his life? By now the town knows about the boys. So what’s Aron going to do? He chooses a path that punches you in the stomach.

The film is intense and slow, so you really have to be mentally prepared to watch this film, otherwise it is very easy to get uneasy. Set in rural Hungary, I recommend to be patient and enjoy the beauty, the cinematography and most importantly the cracking chemistry between the lead actors. The film has drama but is never melodramatic. The sensual love-making scenes are so well done. Not many gay films have been successful in showing real love scenes between 2 men without making it graphical. A simple scene where the two men put up a door in the house is brilliant. Their eyes speak so much. Similarly, the sexual tension between Bernard and Aron, because both of them want Szabi was also handled brilliantly. The scene where Aron confronts his mother if she told the boys about him and Szabi is also very painful to watch. The homophobic scenes against both Szabi and Aron are quite graphic. Things get ugly and violent and tragic. This isa film which shows that love is beautiful and pure but how easy it is for the society to be very cruel about it and ruin everything for the lovers to such a drastic effect. I also liked the way the character graph evolves for both Szabi and Aron. Aron specifically is a difficult role to play. If not for the brilliant acting and equally brilliant direction, this film could have easily become a big bore. I really dread even the thought of being in the shoes of our protagonists.

A true story of selfish love for oneself over all others and in its worst form. Definitely recommend it but urge you to be patient. (7.5/10)

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Gays: The series (Web Series)

Another one of the web series, focusing on life and musings of the gay characters, this one is very innovatively titles “Gays”. :) It is set in New York city an mostly follows four twenty something gay best friends navigating the tumultuous terrain of NYC. Actually if you include the girl as well, who is an integral part of the show, you can say that it is the story of 5 young twenty-somethings.

Huxley, Jackson and Natasha are room mates. Huxley and Natasha work together in a very well known restaurant. Huxley is a wanna be photographer and somehow not confident about himself and wonders if anyone will overdate him. Jackson, often referred to as a ‘bad’ person, has recently been diagnosed with brain cancer and is struggling with how to deal with it. Natasha is in her own happy world and dreams of making t big with some famous movie star. Then we have Ben, an attractive introvert, who works for a non-profit organisation and is in a long-distance relationship with Andrew from Boston, who by the way, is full of himself. And finally there is Cameron, a dramatic drag queen with a love for old Hollywood. Although these group of friends are very close and always there for each other, they are all hiding secrets about themselves. Cameron is a working call girl for the rich in NYC. Ben starts hanging out a lot with his very dominating boss and even ends up sleeping with her, twice! Huxley is secretly meeting a famous film star and something that started with friendship leads to sex and drugs for the film star and of course Jackson is hiding is cancer. Over the course of 8 episodes, we see how these characters interact and their stories unfold.

I felt that Huxley’s character was given more prominence compared to the others but maybe that as intentional. Acting of the characters start growing on you after a while. After watching first three episodes, I wasn’t sure if I eve wanted to continue to watch because it seemed like the story, the characters, the acting were just all over the place but thankfully things started to improve after a while and it started to make sense. Acting by the characters is strictly ok. A little unrealistic scenarios, but who cares when you want be a in a make-belief world. Also I feel the makers were not sure if they wanted a more serious tone or overall a fun campy sort of vibe to the whole series. Despite having no humour or drama and an abundance of stereotypical acted scenarios, this series was still watchable.

I would rate it strictly average or little lower than that. (4.5/10)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List

There used to be a time when I was all about chick flicks But as I have grown up over a period of time, I just find them so annoying. The cheap teenage girls histrionics makes me cringe and wanna slap someone. Anyway, coming back to the film, the main story is about 2 19-something BFF’s and how their life an chemistry withe at other changes over a period of time owing to certain men in their life.

Naomi and Ely are next door neighbours in manhattan and they have been together ever since kids. They have list of men who they can’t kiss just so that it may ruin their friendship. Also , we are told that Naomi is not totally ok with Ely being gay but she never tells him. After a few really annoying sequences, we meet few other characters. Naomi has a boyfriend Bruce who is nice and cute but she also fancies their doorman Gabriel (really yummy). She also secretly might be in love with Ely. Even when she is with Bruce, she constantly talks about Ely. One day while waiting for Naomi, Bruce gets to hang out with Ely and they get to know each other better and realise that they have something in common and end up kissing each other. But they both feel a very strong connection. As expected help breaks lose when Ely tells this to Naomi. She gets heartbroken but doesn’t even give a chance to Ely to explain things. She is in her own world. She decides to completely break things up with Ely. In such a time, Gabriel comes as a friend and completely supports Naomi and becomes her friend in need. Time passes, confusion and misunderstandings are cleared and both friends realise that they cannot let such a trivial thing affect their lifelong friendship.

My first impression while watching the film was not ‘awww’ but it was highly annoying. Naomi’s character was very annoying but even her interactions and how Ely and her behaved just got on to my nerves. First 15 minutes literally made me angry and super annoyed. Thankfully both the characters and actors got better after that but still it was just a very usual rom-com film. To be honest and fair, the film was not bad. It was everything that you expect from a fag and a fag-hag friendship rom-com film, but I guess these films are no longer my cup of tea. I can see why teenage girls would really enjoy and go ga-ga over this film. But all said and done, the movie still feels too shallow and glib and fails to connect the audience with its characters. The only good thing about the film was dreamy manhattan. Seeing all the streets and places that I frequent in this city was a relief. Also it is good that I saw this film while being in New York. Had I seen it anywhere else, it would have made me miss Manhattan even more.

A typical yet annoying rom-com , which I cannot handle anymore. (4.5/10)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Apo Thavma (Greek) [By Miracle]

This was an interesting and a weird film at the same time. I haven’t seen any film from Cyprus before, so its hard for me to say how developed their film industry is. I am nostrum, if that’s something that should change my views about overall film in general but personally, it does change my perspective a bit.

The story has 2 parallel tracks running, whose characters occasionally cross paths. In the first we have Aliki and Andreas, a couple in their thirties, who have lost their 4 year daughter in an accident. They are leading a very depressive and mundane life which is putting their married life at risk. I got the impression that sometimes they wanted another child but other times they didn’t. Parallel , we meet Marios, a teacher in his twenties living with his mother. He is gay and satisfies his sexual urges with random hook-ups, but things change when he meets a young choreographer in his swimming club, but he is too scared to fall for him, because he doesn’t know what future will hold for him. Back to the couple, the wife gets fascinated by a sudden miracle of statue of Virgin Mary shedding tears and hopes that soon a miracle will happening their life.

There is no proper ending to the film, because when Aliki leaves her husband, I am not sure if thats for good or she wants to come back. Does she blame her husband for it? Why is Marios afraid of committing to the guy. How much does he really care about his mother finding out the truth about him? Many such questions and acts of the individuals are left unanswered. Acting by the actors is decent but overall the direction is quite poor. The scenes look very well rehearsed. And to be honest, there wasn’t much sense behind the plot. The only positive I can think of is that in society like Cyprus, it wasn’t probably easy to make a film with almost 50% of it focussing on a gay issue.

Its a very below average film from story, direction point of view. Something that would have been better as a short TV show episode. (3/10)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Ya-gan-bi-haeng (Korean) [Night Flight]

An interesting film. A very interesting film! Now hold-on. I didn’t say this was a good film or a bad film; I don’t know yet. Hopefully while I recollect my thoughts while writing this piece, I would have made up my mind. This Korean film would probably have found more acceptance with me, had the narrative style not been so all over the place Its takes a while to understand the whole picture and by then you are uber confused.

Primarily a story of high school and adolescence, it focuses on 2 of the three friends. Yong-ju and Gi-taek are close friends. Soon we get a hint that Yong-ju is probably gay and has some very strong feelings for Gi-woong, who also happens to be the leader of the school gang. What does the gang really do besides buying, we don’t know. But they seem evil and Gi-taek is an object of their bullying on more than one ocassion. We also find outfit these 3 people used to hang out together as kids but something changed over the time and Gi-woong no longer hangs out with him. Meanwhile Yong-ju is sincerely in love with Gi-woong and makes many advances to show his love but there is something that’s stopping Gi-woong from accepting or rejecting his love. When Gi-woong steals Yong-ju’s bike, this official gives him an opportunity to stalk him. But  rather than appreciating his efforts, Yong-ju gets beaten up. It doesn’t change his love and he continues his advances because he knows there is something more personal and serious with Gi-woong and believes that he can bring him out of his shell. At the same time when Gi-taek gets a hint that Yong-ju may be gay and that he actually is in love with Gi-woong, betrayal becomes inevitable. Gi-taek tells the gang about Yong-ju being gay and his love for Gi-taek. They both get punished in a brutal sexual assault and a physical assault who then attempt to take revenge.

As I mentioned, my problem with the narrative is its uneven structure. It is a hard film to watch, a gruelling experience but you are trying to fit some pieces together and they get unfold quite late in the game. The slow-up gets tiresome and I almost lost interest in the film but I am glad I sat through. While the teenage period is more violent, brutal and real, their childhood times are more friendly and sugary. A lot of questions still remain a mystery to me. Why did Yong-ju keep pushing Gi-woong to get him to accept that he is gay. There was never an incident before that can say that Gi-woong could possibly be gay. Finally when Gi-woong reciprocates his feelings for Yong-ju, is that because he is lonely or because Yong-ju is the only one who has ever cared for him. Why was Gi-woong bullied as a kid that changed his entire personality as an adult teenage. We never get to see details about his father’s arrest and why was he hiding. Anyway, the acting and the direction are pretty alright. A world of casual violence in school, longing and loneliness, friendship and relationships and taboo of being gay are also woven pretty well. I think the problem is that the makers wanted a little bit of everything added which sometimes took the focus away. Or maybe my expectations were high, after all, the director gave us the immensely marvellous "No Regrets".

The film questions traditional thinking in Korean culture and discusses taboo subjects. It must be seen but be patient. (6.5/10)