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

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Meth Head

Thirty-Forty minutes into the film and I was losing my interest in the film. Although the film does get to the point right away, there is nothing that catches your attention instantly. Plus I thought the acting and direction were really really poor. But as the film progressed, my view changed, I got used to the actors and story finally picked up the steam before there was a sudden abrupt ending. Meth Head is a cautionary tale about extremes.

Julian and Kyle are a happy couple and just engaged. Julian is successful but Kyle wanting to become an interior designer is stuck in a dead end job and he thinks his family doesn't get him, despite having a very loving sister and brother-in-law. One evening while partying both Julian and Kyle are introduced to crystal by a guy named Dusty. Julian recovers but next thing we know is that Kyle is addicted. Julian tries his best to save Kyle but fails and ultimately throws him out of house. When his family refuses to take him in, he moves in with Dusty and his girl friend Maia who lives with her granny. Living the life of drugs and substance abuse, Kyle starts soon realizing that he needs more money to continue addiction. Dusty, supposedly straight, starts doing prostitution with Kyle to make more money for drugs. Maia is the most balanced mentally regardless of her addiction and everything going on in her life. She somehow holds the group together. All three of them are trying to escape reality. Maia and Kyle get a shock when Dusty falls terrible sick and dies. It doesn't change them but makes them think. Kyle ultimately reaches out to his father for help.

As I mentioned earlier, the film goes through phases of being very boring to meaningful. The subject is very relevant even today and must be watched but I wished as a movie there was more to this. Chemistry between Kyle and Julian was seriously lacking. Kyle looked and acted like an addict even before he started taking meth. Guy who plays Julian is same as he is in every single film. Dusty and Maia were actually much better characters and actors, specially Dusty who had a certain vulnerability about him. Kyle is shown to become an addict within minutes. The build up is missing and is so essential for a story like this. For a couple who were about to get married, Julian just leaving Kyle randomly was not justified at all. I doubt a gay man at his peak will take meth and just spend all his time at home rather than partying, so in that sense , I miss some sense of realism. The end again was very abrupt and sudden. Both Kyle and his family's decision to suddenly reconcile was vague.

There has to be better films on addiction in gay circle but till then his is not too bad. It might not be very interesting but in the second half the film does show you the evils of meth addiction very effectively. (5/10)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Gay Short Films : 23

Way too many problems (USA)
Two high schoolers talk about the death of a classmate. One friend says that no problem is so great that he needs to take an easy way out and commit suicide, while the other guy keeps defending him. His friend is surprised at the defense. Soon we find out that the dead friend actually tried to kiss this guy and now he feels partly responsible to be the cause of his friend's death.

Pause (USA)
A short story of very quick 4 stories of guys meeting each other and how they intertwine. This short has a great message on preventing yourself of HIV. Pause before you play, because you can't rewind.


Something Real (USA)
A celebrity packed short with a musical twist about the bar scene. Primarily focussing on an estranged couple who just don't want to say sorry to each other, the other celebrities musically walk us through what they all think and go through in a gay bar. Ultimately everyone is looking for that someone special in life. Great music and excellent short with  some known actors from gay scene.

The Astronaut On The Roof (Germany)
A comical road movie about two scriptwriters who write a film about two scriptwriters who write a film about a teenage couple who become bank robbers. A film about the struggle of writing a movie, getting lost in the way and end up starring your own script. IT is actually weirdly funny movie and shows how just random thoughts can sometimes transform into a movie script and actually do a great job in market.

Billy's Dad Is A Fudge Packer (USA)
Billy is a boy who has to decide what he will do with his life. His father works at the candy factory as a "fudge packer" (which is modern slang for homosexual anal sex) and "has several men under him". His mother is visited by a short, mannish woman who knows how to please the local housewives. His sister is preparing to be a good wife, and in almost every shot is moving a phallic object to her mouth. A random funny old B/W style short film.

Boygame (Sweden)
John and Nicholas are 15 years old and best friends. They are both very interested in girls but feel insecure when it comes to a first sexual encounter with a woman. That's why they decide that they will get some 'practice' on each other.

The Lonely Lights.The Color of Lemons. (USA)
A visual study of a young jogger who is shown a series of inkblot paintings that propel him into a collection of stories and memories centered on childhood, questions of sexuality and an enigmatic girl. The film is structured around eight of these painting each paired with a single word. I so did not get this movie at all. Hell ! its not even a gay short film.

El Antifaz (Peru)
A story told through the eyes of Priscilla, a transvestite, as he transforms himself in front of a mirror, and recalls how he went feeling guilty for having HIV, how he took off his mask to become an activist, overcoming his guilt and fear.

An overall average rating for combined films. (5/10)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

In Bloom

So, I am not very sure what was the main crux of this film. Surely it is about breakup and breakdown of lovers after having spent a beautiful part of their life together; but why sid story of a serial killer and so much loneliness and boredom in everyone's life? We meet an estranged couple and journey back with them 7 month sin to the pat when their love was 'in bloom'. The movie explores the complexity of first love.

Kurt is a small time drug dealer who supplies pot to his peers, whilst Paul his boyfriend of two years has a dead-end job in a local grocery store that he can barely tolerate. When the long summer starts, they are having fun and very much into each other and seem the perfect couple. Everything had been going well with them until one night one of Kurt's good-looking customers puts the moves on him, and although he initially resists Kevin's advances does it opens his mind to the possibility that there is more to life outside of his cosy relationship with Paul. Some thinking on his part makes Kurt realize that its better to break up and enjoy life than being in the relationship and he breaks up with Paul, an impulse that he will only regret when it is far too late. We also have a back story of a serial killer who is targeting lone men, who ultimately ends up killing Paul's lonely store co-worker. The film starts and ends with Paul and Kurt meeting each other and they are at a stage where they can barely even talk to eau other.

The plot is steeped in innocence and full of well-meaning intentions but personally for me, the movie leaves a lot to be desired. I completely disagree that the movie is reminiscent of one of my fav films "Weekend". The primary actors do a well decent job, but lack the chemistry and spark of a couple. It is also painfully slow and I am still not sure of why the back story of the serial killer and what was the relevance to the story. It is an alright movie but it will take a lot more to keep people completely engrossed in the movie.

A good concept and focus on gay-relationship, how I wish, this film was more engaging and absorbing. (5.5/10)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Hot Guys With Guns

With a title like this, there is already high expectations. Not just about the hotness of the guys but also of some action sequences in the process. Unfortunately, this film falls short on both of these expectations. Its more of a comedy-mystery genre. To give the credit where its due, The makers did come up with an interesting concept, thinking out  of the box from the regular gay movies that we get to see otherwise but it could have been so much better.

Danny is a struggling black actor/waiter, and his ex-partner Pip lives a comfortable upper-class existence with his overly controlling mother whose racist tendencies are very evident. And this is primarily the reason for their breakup. Danny is taking a course in private investigation in preparation for a possible role. There are a series of robberies happening in gay sex parties but none of the victims is contacting the police for the fear of being outed. These are all profile people. When Pip becomes the latest victim, he asks Danny to take up this case. As pissed as Danny is about his playboy nature and insensitivity, the residual spark still between them motivates the actor to help, however reluctantly. They come up with ideas with the hep of Danny's teacher to uncover this suspense. The finale or the reality when exposed is not as exciting as one would expect, but nevertheless, I don't think that shocking the audience was ever the expectation. But Pip's current bf coming out as one of the culprits really doesn't surprise.

I thought the acting was a little amateurish by the leads, despite this being an attempt for a comedy-thriller. I think a little more polish from the lead actors could have made a huge difference. Nonetheless they were cute, specially Danny. The mother was the worst actor. Similarly, the reason for the loots and the actors doing it, doesn't seem very convincing or menacing. But if you look from the comic angle, the amateur bumbling of Danny and Pip, makes it funny while downplaying the violence. The movie is essentially a comedy in the guise of a thriller, finding room along the way for effective moments of drama, romance and insider Hollywood jokes. There are some funny dialogues but gets bogged down with too many characters and pointless detours from the main story.

Good concept and a better direction could have given this movie a possibility of sequels. Still not bad. (6/10)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Test

I don't whether its me catching up on movies, but it feels of late I have been watching a lot of movies set in mid 80s during the whole AIDS epidemic times. This movie. although set in 1985 in San Francisco, deals with something different and the presentation is also very different. The film captures the fear raging through the gay community as the AIDS epidemic begins to devastate a lot of people’s lives. After years of accepting promiscuity as the new normal, they have to rewrite the rules for their sexual and romantic encounters. There is not crying or anything but there is definitely hope.

The film is about a gay dancer named Frankie and his day-to-day life as a back-up for a dance company. He is passionate about dancing and is constantly being told to "dance like a man". We don't know if he does have a crush on Todd, the manly gay bad-boy dancer on the group but you can see there is some sort of sexual tension between them. This is the time when AIDS reports have stated to come out and the gays are living infer of whats next. The latest blood tests have also just been introduced but the guys are afraid to take the test. There is not much known about how the disease is caused and spread. Frankie lives in fear and keeps reminding Todd of being safe. Finally Frankie gets a chance to perform when one of the guys fall sick and he does brilliant work. He meets Walt, a guy in a bar and hook up a few times but Walt is moving away soon. Before he moves, he tells Frankie that he has been tested positive. This bread Frankie's confidence. Thankfully his test comes negative and so is Todd's/ The two were meant to be together. And they do get together towards the end.

Clearly a lot of portions of the movie were focussed on dance and the leads are dancers and they both do a good job of it. Trying to create emotions and what was actually going in people's minds at that point, the film succeeds and provoking that but as a whole there is a lot to be desired. There is not much happening between Frankie and Todd till the very end of the film. Frankie's other flings (with Walt and his room-mate) are not interesting and the narrative is a little underdeveloped. Clearly the focus was more on dances (which are good) but some sort of further story development and character detailing would have helped the film tremendously. Minus the dance scenes, the film could be easily short film.

The film does promote healthy and safe sex suggestion. A story that could have been much more likable leaves a lot to be desired. (5.5/10)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Southern Baptist Sissies

Originally set as a stage play, thesis the film version of the play. It means the play has been recorded so that viewers like me can also enjoy the film. The setup, acting, sets and everything gives you a feel of a stage play which could be good or bad depending on how much are you willing to experiment with movies. The premise mostly is about how being queer can be quite a burden and trying to be a Christian an even greater burden. Being queer while trying to be a Christian at the same time can often seem impossible.

The play follows story of 4 childhood friends set in Texas. Each one of them struggles with his sexuality in a varying way. Mark, who also serves as narrator, questions the Baptist church that preaches love and forgiveness while decrying homosexuality; Benny fully embraces his gayness, growing up to become a flamboyant drag queen entertainer; TJ (Mark's first love) desperately tries to deny who he is, eventually getting married to a woman; and Andrew, the most troubled of the group, wrestles with the conflicting demands of his faith and his sexuality with ultimately tragic results. In addition to these we have an older gay man Peanut and his best friend, an alcoholic Odette, who humorously discuss their lives and comment on the proceedings during numerous sessions at a gay bar. We see how the boys interact, trying to teach each other a thing or two, help each other, support each other; we also see families reactions and how ultimately it affects all their lives.

It i snot easy to sit through this long movie/play, specially when there are a lot of monologues that keep coming one after the other. But its the humour by the old friends in a gay bar that keeps the goings alive. We do get to witness the pain, anguish and sufferings by the boys and what they all are going through. It is a good mix of pain and humour. Sometimes the pain comes abruptly in the midst of the comedy, but it is the real pain known all too well by young queers trying desperately to understand who they are and what other people think of them. The message of Sissies is one of hope and healing for those who grew up in the church. An unflinching portrayal of the kind of damage the church continues to do even more strongly today. The performances by all actors is incredible and praise worthy and kudos to the makers for bringing out something so important to a wider audience.

The format of the play will unfortunately find a very niche audience for the film but sensitive performances and an important subject warrant a viewing. (6/10)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Torka Aldrig Tårar Utan Handskar (Swedish) [Don't Ever Wipe Tears Without Gloves]

Thank you so much to one of my readers on this blog, who suggested that I should watch this series and that I would like it. I had in my list to watch this series but if not for the feedback, I probably won't have watched it so soon, and I would have missed out on such a great series. Made as a 3 part TV series of almost an hour each in Sweden, This film brings us a very interesting, genuinely touching, heart- wrenching and important piece of modern history. It deals with the start of the AIDS epidemic in 1980's homophobic Sweden.

19-year-old Rasmus, moves from rural hometown to Stockholm to attend university after graduation. As soon as he arrives in Stockholm he begins to seek out the gay community that he was always suppressing in his small town. He meets and befriends Paul as soon as he arrives in the city. At a Christmas dinner party in Paul's apartment he eventually meets Benjamin, a young man who is struggling to come to terms with his homosexuality (Paul helps him) and faith as a Jehovas Witness. There is instant connection between the two men and they start dating each other. Benjamin is still not out to his family but despite this they soon move in together. Their friend circle is Paul and some of the other close friends who they hang out with Paul. Their tradition is a family christmas dinner.  AIDS has started to spread among their friends, end eventually it also reaches them. They are losing their friends and everyone around them. When Rasmus is found HIV-positive, Benjamin finally decides to tell his parents and church elders that he is homosexual, in order to fully support Rasmus. This leads him to being shunned by the church, and forces his parents to stop all contact if they want to remain in the congregation. We see Rasmus and Benjamin struggling with things and others as well. We get glimpses of families not acknowledging that their sons are dying of AIDS or the fact that they were gay. When Rasmus in in a worse condition, Bejamin asks his parents to visit who visit and are the most nicest people. But after his death, just as others Rasmus' parents refuse to accept Benjamin's request concerning Rasmus's funeral, although they had been deeply in love and Benjamin had remained by Rasmus' side throughout. 20 years later, Benjamin is still surviving and dealing fine with support of memories of his love and their time spent together with friends.

The series fundamentally seeks and shows truth of the situation and in what actually happened; yet truth is coupled to the intensity of a well-crafted script and beautifully acted roles, something the pure documentary approach lacks, something that allows the story to become universal, outside time and place. The entire 3 episodes go back and forth with Rasmus' and Benjamin's childhood memories, their growing up times and days, their interactions with their family and surroundings; their current lives and in the last episode, the future life as well. The title of the series comes from an act of kindness when a nurse is wiping tears from an AIDS victim but as per the theory any human contact, even if it’s intended as the smallest act of kindness, risks passing on the infection. This film shows response across society to these extreme new circumstances. It beautifully shows the couples relationship growing, their joys and tribulations, how their contact with their blood families reduce and their new friends-family increase. There are moments on the screen that are emotionally very strong and need a strong heart to watch and sit through those. The fathers crying when Rasmus dies, the families not acknowledging, Benjamin watching everyone dying slowly, Rasmus' reaction of finding out he is positive and dying, Paul's funeral in the end and finally the old Benjamin's outburst when he finally gets to see the place where Rasmus grew up. There were so many scenes where I had a touch time controlling my emotions. Thanks god that the characters and their situations are treated with respect, according them dignity even when life has done its utmost to take that away. The 2 lead actors give honest, moving, raw and believable performances, fighting for their love and acceptance from both their families and society. The actor playing Paul was also very good and he stays happy until the end and keeps the group together.

An important series that shows the dangers of ignorance and prejudice during the worse times of AIDS epidemic; the importance of love, acceptance and remembrance. We who were not in that time period, need to sit back and reflect on those tough times and empathize with people who lived through it. Imagine how emotionally string they would have had to be, when I can't even watch it without crying. (9/10)

Friday, July 11, 2014

Geoff and Pavel

When I started watching this, I kept wondering why does this give a TV series feeling rather than watching a movie! And when in the first 5 minutes itself, the scenes were abruptly changing, I had to pause and look out what was going on. It turns out that this is not a film. The scenes were extracted from several episodes of the Irish TV series Raw. The result is a pretty decent watch (sometimes lethargic). It is not the usual youtube amateurish crap but it is not professional either. Overall a decent gay love story with a lot of stuff going around.

Geoff is the au-chef in a restaurant run by Tanya and her husband Max who is the main chef. People come for Max's cooking but his eccentric behavior more often than not, leaves Geoff in charge. A young Czech waiter Pavel has recently started at the restaurant. Like he does for most people, Geoff shouts at Pavel and makes fun but slowly starts caring for him. In the meantime there are a lot of side stories happening in the restaurant: drug dealing, restaurant not doing well and employee troubles. Geoff thinks he should be a partner because he works his ass off but Tanya doesn't agree. max really doesn't have much say in what happens or not. After hanging out a few times with Pavel, Geoff and him eventually hook up but for Geoff its another one-night stand. He starts treating Pavel even badly in the restaurant and that makes him hurt. Finally things start falling in place when everyone comes together to make restaurant a success. Geoff realizes his mistake and makes up with Pavel and they try to start a beautiful relationship together.

As mentioned This is not a film but scenes extracted, so as a viewer you will have to ignore when sudden scene jumps do not make any sense. Just keep focus on restaurant and Geoff And Pavel. To be very honest, there is not much to their love story either; jut a couple of interactions here and there but overall its still quite decent. Acting is quite decent by the cast. Again remember, this is supposed to be a TV show, so accordingly things just fall in place.

Overall a decent mash-up when you don't have better things to do and are looking for something strictly time pass. (4.5/10)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Hoje Eu Quero Voltar Sozinho (Portuguese) [The Way He Looks]

I was so excited when I saw that this cute short film (one of my favorites) has been made into a full length feature film. I was really curious to see what the makers can come up with when it comes to an entire length feature. Unfortunately, my expectations were not met completely. Don't get me wrong, it still is a fantastic film but can it match the humongous expectations that were set by the short film? Probably not! Maybe what the makers wanted to achieve versus my expectations didn't match  at a certain level. I was hoping the makers would focus on romance angle more (purely for selfish reasons), but makers tried to infuse the bling guy's struggle to be independent.

Leonardo is blind from north and is best friends with Giovana, who walks him him everyday from school. Leo is often picked up at school but he is used to it by now. The dynamics change after entry of Gabriel, a new student in the class who ends up sitting in proximity of Leo and Giordana. Gio probably likes Leo but can't do anything about it. She also wonders if Gabriel is interested in her. But Gabriel and Leo start becoming close friends. This is the first time Leo has found company in a male guy of his age group and unconsciously he ends up ignoring Gio in certain cases. She starts getting jealous of the close proximity between 2 guys. One night after a party Gabriel ends up kissing Leo but they don't talk about it anymore to avoid awkwardness. Leo clearly likes Gabriel but Gabriel says he doesn't remember anything and starts spending more time with another girl in the school. Gabriel also tries to make sure that misunderstanding is cleared between Leo and Gio, which ultimately happens. This gives Leo courage to tell Gio that he loves Gabriel. Initially shocked, Gio ventrally comes around and the film ends on a very positive note when it turns out that Gabriel has similar feelings for Leo.

You know as I am writing this review, I am realizing that barring a few issues that I had with the film, I pretty much liked most other things. Let's get over the negative first. There were quite a few scenes and dialogues where Leo wants to go to a different country and be on his own. His struggle to not always be helped but rather be independent. As a viewer I felt cheated because despite having spent so much time on discussing the issues, it was never given a proper closure. Although Leo riding a bike on his own in the end does show a sort of freedom that he gets. All 3 principal actors are simply terrific. Their performances are noting short of amazing and heart warming. The way these teenagers show emotions of love, jealousy, rejection, care & sensitivity is mind blowing. There is something endearing about the film that makes it worth the watch. The movie is very "go with the flow" and you feel a part of the film. Discussions between Leo's parents about their protectiveness for him were also handled with dignity and not pity. Actor playing Leo is superb. I was 100% convinced that he is blind in real life. Gabriel is so cute and adorable that I could eat him up :)

Complemented with a great musical score, this film is definitely worth a watch and highly recommended. (8/10)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Gay Short Films : 22

These short films are all less than 4 minutes in duration. Therefore, I am combining these all here.

Dear dad, love Maria (Spain)
Maria, a young male-to-female transsexual, writes a letter to her disapproving father the night before her gender reassignment operation. An exploration of memory, loss of innocence, growing up, and being who you are.

Seven sins: Greed (Canada)
A young couple sings from their apartment windows about the unshared bagel that ended their relationship. And the guy finds a male lover.

The Wedding dance (USA)
Guests are leaving their love message for the newly wed couple specially groom, when he invites his parents for the first dance. The parents happen to be a gay couple. Fantastic !

Ageless (USA)
Love, sex and relationships are seen through the eyes of two men; one in his 50s, the other in his 20s. Their common struggles about wanting just sex or something more emotional, prove to be ageless.

The Closet (USA)
An old man recalls the moment that defined his life when his parents found out about him. A touching end when a little girl helps him tie his laces and goes with her gay dads.

Kaghaz-e Sefid (Iran) [White Paper]
A portrait of stick-figure kids who don’t fit in at home; they bring their rainbow of colors out into the world and meet each other.

De Kinderombudsman (Netherlands)
A shout out to stop bullying when  kid recalls how he was beaten and not helped by anyone.

Nakenlekar (Sweden)
A funny story where 2 guy are watching porn and suddenly one guy says that he wanna go for guys now because he thinks its too much of time waste to woo a girl. Guys are much more easier.

Samesies (USA)
Another funny tale from previous times, I guess where they show the probability of how there were only gays and being heterosexual was later then forced on them.

So God Made a Gay Man (USA)
Just a 2 minute run down on how gay men are goo and there is a reason they are in this world.

Tapin du soir (France) [Night Hustler]
A young man (not a hustler) is picked by a man and pays him 40 dollars for a blow job. The young man asks for the favor in return for money. He then says that he is just lonely and wants some company. This romantic short is well-made and to the point.

Waking up (Israel)
A guy wakes up to a happy morning with his partner and their kid and suddenly he finds everything close to his heart disappear.

Steam (UK)
Camera focusses for about 2 minutes on a perfectly ripped body of a man drenching with sweat who in the end is shown to be ironing his underwear.

An Act of Love (Italy)
Men are arm wrestling in an arena when two bears suddenly decide to stop it and start kissing. Everyone in the arena follows the suit.

Adam: Next Generation Robotics (UK)
A call to people to not be like robots: Never be controlled, suppressed or silenced.

Znelka (Slovakia)
A train full of prisoners, when a passenger years for a cigarette from a soldier, he passes the smoke in a lip to lip kiss.

Best (US)
2 black friends get together one last time for a quickie before one of them gets married for good while the other just watches.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Matterhorn (Dutch)

This was a very confusing film for me. I read this film has been featured in many comedy film festivals, which is weird because there is not a single comic scene in the film. I still am not very sure what was the point of the film and what was the exact message that the makers were trying to make in the film.

Fred is a widower, devout and religiously conservative Dutch man. Being a good Christian, Fred decides to help reform a homeless man Theo and teach him a few things about responsibility and the importance of work. Theo seldom talks or initiates conversations and is more like a slow-witted robot—doing things Fred tells him but seeming to have little in the way of intellect. Sometimes he makes animal noises and is more interested in hanging out with farm animals than people. And, sometimes Theo puts on Fred's deceased wife's clothing. Despite this, both men come to care for each other over time. In fact, eventually Fred comes to love Theo and is convinced that God has answered his prayers for a new wife in the form of Theo. One day telling his story of how he proposed to his wife , he says "Will you marry me" to which Theo replies and says yes. But soon Fred finds out about Theo's real life and that he has a wife (or an ex-wife). He drops Theo at his home and returns back only to find Theo again at his doorstep after a few days and he is back to being very happy. They get married in a church and decide to live together.

I have a few problems with this film. I think a man marrying a mentally child (even though with big body) irrespective of male or female is questionable, considering that he is from a very strong religious background. There is no proper build up of why is their marriage important. Its not as if Fred really proposed to him. Is there a guilt that Fred is dealing with and was he a closet homosexual or is he doing this for his son, who it turns out if gay and was thrown out of the house by his father. And what was the whole story about Fred's neighbor. First he accuses Fred of taking his love and marrying her and then he accuses of taking Theo from him. This film was nothing but a bunch of confusion. Despite major flaws in the story, the acting by all primary actors is very strong specially Theo.

There's no humor, there's no tragedy, the characters are bland. You don't get bored because you are waiting for something to happen but nothing ever does. (3.5/10)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Ming tian ji de ai shang wo (Mandarin) [Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?]

I think I am having a few good days here where I am getting to see more and more films that spring a peasant surprise. From a story point of view, this film would have seen yet another one of those late coming-out stories but I am so happy to see the maturity in the way the whole subject was handled in the screenplay and of course in subsequent direction. I will talk more on that later. But I have to admit, this film had everything in it, simplicity, family, love, emotion and wanting to do the right thing that is expected of you from each character's point of view.

Weichung, an optometrist, lives with his wife Feng and son. They have ben married for 9 years. At his sister's engagement party, Weichung bumps into an old friend, Stephen, a wedding photographer who, though also married, is living the high life of a younger, single gay man. When Stephen teases Weichung for his newly straightlaced lifestyle, dormant emotions are awakened in Weichung. Meanwhile Feng's parents pressure her to ask Weichung for another child. As soon as the discussions start, Weichung starts freaking out because it would mean physical intimacy. A chance encounter with a very cute flight attendant who visits his store gives him the courage to let his feelings come out. Meanwhile Mandy starts having second thoughts about her marriage and decides to break-up. Stephen and his group of friends try to bring them together but fail. Feng's boss admires and secretly loves Feng but can't do anything about it. One day Feng sees Weichung with the flight attendant and confronts him. Her world falls apart when Weichung admits to having gay feelings but also convinces that he really wants to be a family and be a family man to provide and take care of her and their son. When Mandy one day finds she is pregnant, her love for her fin ace rekindles and they decide to get married. Feng and Weichung very maturely decide to get a divorce, so that they both can have a second chance of love in life.

The film is not really a romantic comedy is being promoted but it is a real depiction of the struggles that a man has to go through when his attempts to deny his gay feelings resurface and what a wife has to go through when she finds her husband is gay. It is avery thoughtful family drama. Despite the topic being hectic, the film never gets melodramatic or cheesy and stereotypical which is very easy to happen. There is a easy rhythmic tone to the film. Acting by everyone is really really good. Mandy's character is a little caricature-ish but that provides some light moments in the film. Also Weichung's chemistry with the flight attendant is very effortless. You can feel the attraction and both of them wanting to do something about it. The film never crosses the decency line which will probably help it get a wider audience despite a bold subject.

This family drama will not disappoint you if you go with minimal expectations. You will enjoy it. (7/10)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Snails In The Rain (Hebrew)

An intense and alluring film, it manages to hold viewers interest till the end. Running with a perfect length of 80 minutes, it never gets boring or over the top. I think this would be a good film for anyone to watch because just replacing the mysterious man writing letters with a woman would make this film probably more accepting but it loses the tension that gets created in this scenario between a straight couple and mystery letters. A dense and captivating drama of how sexuality and love or not being loved affects people.

The story is set in 1989 (not sure why). Boaz is a very charming and beautiful young man who lives with his girlfriend Noa. He is a student at the university of Tel Aviv studying linguistics. He goes to the post office to check status of his scholarship but instead one day sees a letter from a secret admirer. The letters keep coming with more and more details about Boaz's life which makes him realize that the person is somewhere close to his everyday life. His thoughts are consumed with finding out who it could possibly be. Especially as he knows the letters are from a man. Paranoia takes over when everyone he meets becomes a possible suspect of the daily correspondence. Boaz has history in military, during one of the evenings he kisses a man whom I think he had a crush on and the guy knew it. Deep down, he desperately hopes that the letters are from him; and during the sleepless nights in Israel, he stays up and fantasies about leaving everything behind and running off with his adolescent crush. But the letters start taking a toll on the life of Boaz and Noa. The once very much in love couple barely talk to each other. Noa one day reads letters and figures out the reason for stress but Boaz never brings it up to her because he is very confused about his sexuality and what he wants from life. When another letter appears saying that Boaz’s admirer is finally going to reveal himself, she is terrified at what this could mean. She knows who the letters are from and she confronts the man. Ultimately Boaz has to take an action to find out what he really wants and make decision because he has to move on with his life.

This film is a very strong exploration of obsession and sexuality. There are so many nuances in the film, you feel very connected to the characters. You feel you know exactly what Noa and Boaz are thinking, who by the way, both are excellent performers and their chemistry is amazing. When the truth comes out about the guy, it is shocking because you could have never guessed who the letters were from but it al makes sense. There is a lot that is said through background music and eyes, which just adds to the overall beauty and tension in the film. The fact that Boaz looks absolutely delicious just adds to the film and there are more than handful scenes where we see him almost naked. SO there is a lot of eye candy. My favorite thing about the film is that Boaz feels very human. I can see a lot of people not knowing how to react in such situations and really struggling which in turn will effect their everyday lives.

A refreshing film with focus on the two characters whose life is in turmoil because of a secret admirer looking from 2 different angles. A compelling and reflective experience. (7.5/10)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

C.O.G.

Having heard such good things about this film in critics reviews and all, now I have many questions. Firstly why is this a comedy/drama film? It is just "whatever". Secondly why is this a gay film and being promoted as a gay film. The lead character may be gay. He never even admits to being one. We never see any real sexual tension or desire in this young man.I kept waiting for the entire duration of the film that something interesting is gonna happen but it never does. Not one character in the film seems real for some reason. THere is so much more left to be desired in the film. Sure everyone is going gaga over the fact that this is first adaptation of writer David Sedaris's (whoever that is) work but big fucking deal. For those who read his piece may enjoy is but what about the others? the rest of us !! Phew !!

Yale grad David wanders away from his parents to work on an apple farm in Oregon. ON his way to Oregon from Connecticut, he meets one strangely disruptive customer after another. The humor comes from David's increasingly befuddled stare at each of these events, implying that he sees the rest of the world as somehow wrong-headed or weird in contrast to his own standards. At the farm, David initially hopes that his friend Jennifer will join him but since that doesn't happen he winds up in the company of Mexican immigrant co-workers who don't speak his language. Incapable of befriending them, he feels outsider and eventually shows his ugliest biases when he suspects that his stuff has been stolen. Transferred to an indoor assembly line, he's further mocked by disgruntled union workers. The fork lift operator Curly comes as a respite as his first friend, whose ulterior motives were to actuallys keep with David. When he runs away from there, me meets Jon, a promoter of Chritianity and Jesus who wants to take David under his wing and bring God to his heart. Naturally, that doesn't quite pan out either, although David seems uncertain whether he's exploiting Jon's hospitality or simply hanging around because he's got nothing better to do. We see all the negative sides of Jon where he loses self control and gets mad and angry about things on which David had no control over as well. And then finally David is on his own.

I really didn't get much about the movie.  An important question always after the film is, whether it managed to hold the attention of the viewers? This film really lacks in that department. We are never ever told why did David santa change of pace and why is he so adamant to not talk to his mother. There are more things he can do rather than working on an apple farm but those things are never made clear. It seemed he was gay from the beginning so what was his problem when Curly was coming on to him. It clearly seemed that he was interested in him as well earlier. An then the whole Jon episode as well doesn't tell us much where does this movie want to go. In one magical moment when Curly is about to rape David, he finally feels god in his heart and the church makes him a C.O.G. (Child of God). wtf !! I am really struggling to understand these ays why critics have been going crazy over these weird films. I always thought I like different films but these are just ridiculous. On a positive note, David acts really really well and the beauty of nature and cinematography captured is really nice and eye pleasing.

I hope this is the first and last of Sedari's piece to be put into a film. The lead character of this film is as distant from the audience as he is from everyone else in the movie. (3/10)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Broken Hearts Club

A romantic comedy is exactly the right phrase to describe this film. The film is about gays and friendship and how a group of gay friends deal with their day to day life dealing with friendship, love, drama, acceptance, family and romance. Not to be taken very seriously most times, the film does manage to send some messages across as well but in a very subtle way. Because it is an ensemble film, it never really focuses on one specific character. Petty much every character gets ample scope and hence it also does give a soap opera feeling sometimes.

The film is set in gayville, West Hollywood and follows life of gay friends. They hang out at coffee shops, clubs and each other's homes. We meet Dennis, a photographer who often holds the group together and hosts a lot of parties; Cole, a very handsome, charismatic actor and room mate with Dennis who often ends up with other people's boyfriends and can't stick to a guy for more than 2 weeks maximum and breaks their heart; Benji, the youngest member of the group, with a penchant for gym-bodied men, who finds himself going through some bad times; Howie, a psychology student who is known for over thinking every situation; Patrick, the cynic of the group, because of which certain members of the group do not like him because they think he is always negative; and Taylor, who has just broken up with his long-term boyfriend. A fatherly figure Jack guides them all and runs a restaurant for broken hearts and provides them with advice and jobs for some of them who work part-time as servers at his restaurant. Feathers shuffle when Benji brings his co-worker, the 23-year-old Kevin. As most times he ends up staying with Cole who breaks his heart and then starts dating Dennis, who is really not sure what he wants form life. Meanwhile Patrick's sister and her lover asks him to be surrogate father of their baby and Howie is dealing with how to get over his previous boyfriend, a very good looking man who he is still sleeping with but somehow they an't figure out where it is all gonna go. Tragedy strikes when John, who also sponsors a softball team, dies due to a heart attack after winning a softball game.

What's striking about the movie is the ordinariness of its characters and what they talk about. The humour in the film is natural and sarcastic but never bitchy (something that most gay men are known for). The lighthearted tone is set right at the beginning, as a group of friends plays a game to see who can act the straightest the longest. The film also discovers that gay men, like straight men, spend an extraordinary amount of time thinking about sex. And that they can be insecure, unfaithful, lonely and deceptive. The movie is likable and goes on a steady pace but unfortunately it never has those peaks that could take this movie from good to very good. That key line "I'm 28 years old and all I'm good at is being gay" is like an announcement liberating gay movies from an exclusive preoccupation with sexuality.

It is a heartwarming, glorious, happy feel good movie , that made me miss my gay friends a lot. (7/10)

Monday, June 23, 2014

Normal

I can't believe that this film was made for TV. Although these days you can reach out to a much larger audience through TV than films. Its a funny, lovely, touching love story about a God-fearing rural small-town Midwestern couple and the film manages to capture the nuisances of small town life very well. Its definitely a sensitive topic that the makers have tried to deal with and they really need to be applauded for that. And Tom Wilkinson for being so brave to take up the main role and portraying it so beautifully and with respect it deserves.

Roy and Irma have been married for 25 years and have a son and daughter together. After their 25th anniversary, Roy tells Irma that he has long felt that he is a woman trapped in a man's body, and wishes to do something about it, no matter the consequences. Irma, an avid member of the church choir, naturally finds this a little disconcerting. She feels as if she has been lied to through out the whole relationship and her life is falling apart. Roy starts taking hormones and you can see his co-workers reacting very oddly to this. Gradually she starts coming through and lets Roy be back in home, especially after witnessing him trying to commit suicide from the pressure he could not deal with anymore.  and live with them and be supportive as much as she can. Their daughter is the most supportive in this transition. The film shows how their son is initially disgusted but eventually comes around. We also get to see how Roy's parents get around to accept who he really is. All that Roy need to become Ruth was support to get rid of all the anxieties he had been feeling. The indifferences did not change a person, it actually made the people around him more open minded and accepting to differences between people.

This is an incredible powerful movie regarding unconditional love,acceptance and responsibility for ourself and our loved ones. You can't even begin to imagine what really is going through the minds of the 2 characters. Roy, who wants to become a woman and knows it's the hardest thing he has ever done in lit and Irma, who feels betrayed and cheated but still come sin full support of her husband because at the end of it they are all a big family. This movie is less about transsexualism but more about love, family, support and kindness. Handled with sensitivity, taste and touch of humour, the director deserves a special mention. The film takes neither cheap nor trivial shots and never fails to show deep respect for the problem and for the characters affected by it. Best pat was seeing the daughter fully supportive and excited about the whole transition and that providing strength to Irma.

A sensitive treatment of transgender issues with some fine performances and a good story, this movie is a good watch. (7/10)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Normal Heart

After weeks of waiting and mentally preparing myself to watch a hectic film, I finally saw the film. Based on Larry Kramer's play by the same name. Showcasing a man's struggle to the rising HIV and AIDS epidemic in New York City in early 80's, this is a gut-wrenching film that shakes you up completely. I have seen a couple other movies on AIDS epidemic that have hit me harder, but this film also leaves a very very strong impact and makes you think that to wasn't too long long (almost 30 years) when all this was happening. It gives me shivers to even think what people in those days must have been going through seeing their near and dear ones die because of it and they being completely helpless.

Ned Weeks is an openly gay writer from NY. When he sees an article in New York Times about "Rare Cancer diagnosed in Homosexuals", he meets Dr. Emma, who ha sheen seeing many patients unexpectedly afflicted with this rare disease that compromises immune systems of the individuals. Dr. Emma says tells Ned that he doesn't have the disease but asks his help to raise awareness of the disease within the gay community. Ned organizes a gathering in his house where Dr. Emma says that she doesn't have conclusive evidence but strongly believe that the illness is sexually transmissible. Ned announces that he wants to start an organization to spread information about the disease and provide services to those who have been infected. Ned and his friends Bruce, Micky and Tommy start an organization called GMHC. The organization organizes fundraisers for research on the disease that will now be called AIDS and establishes a telephone hotline, counseling, and other services. Many of the organizers believe that Ned's attitude towards raising AIDS awareness is too direct and abrasive. Over Ned's objections, they choose Bruce as their President. Ned meets NTTimes reporter Felix in hopes of getting his help. The two begin a romantic relationship and later agree to move in together. The disease continues to spread and claims the lives of more and more people. Ned's frustration knows no bounds when he doesn't see any support from either Mayor or US government. Bruce loses his boyfriend to AIDS, in a very very emotional scene. Dr. Emma's efforts to get grant for research are rejected by the government officials. Ultimately Felix also comes down with HIV symptoms. ed's live goes topsy turn, because he can't do anything. The two state their love for one another at the hospital before Felix dies.

This film is heartbreaking story about a problem that still persists today, and is absolutely a must-see. It's an account of life during an epidemic that might have been less brutal, or at least more dignified, had public officials behaved with more bravery, honesty, and compassion. You see the anger, suffering and frustration and the makers have tried their best to bring it all alive on the screen. Its a shame to see how every cry for help was totally rejected by the officials. The film also shows anger towards closeted gays with power and money like the then mayor of NYC who could have worked miracles if he had the courage. The acting by every principal actor is really engaging and note worthy. It doesn't mean that as a film it doesn't have blemishes. Some of the characters like that of Tommy was not fully established. I would have liked to see more around him. Ned's outburst at every instance needed some explanation and also whey Bruce and other friends were of the opinion that the way Ned is approaching things is not right. I would have liked to know a lot more about it. Ned and Felix's relationship was dealt nicely and how a relationship gets affected when one of the partners is found affected by the disease. Felix is brilliant. The scenes where Tommy collects cards of every man who is dying to AIDS fills your heart with sorrow and the entire sequence of Bruce losing his boyfriend, is just so heartfelt and sad.

It’s an important story packed with vivid individual moments, but with this material and these actors, it feels like it could be so much more than what it is but nonetheless this deserves a viewing by every gay man. (7.5/10)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Gay Short Films : 21

The Language of Love (Australia)
This film is about a schoolboy coming to terms with his sexuality while in the middle of a French exam. It sees Charlie wake up to his feelings when tasked in the exam to "describe your best friend ... write your response as a letter to your friend, in French". Charlie talks viewers through what is going on in his head as he struggles with the question. The truth is, he is in love with his best friend Sam. In a moving monologue Charlie reveals his worries of being bullied by classmates and rejected by Sam if he were to reveal his feelings. A beautiful ending that says "It’s not because he’s a boy, he just happens to be one. ... You always hear people say it's weird and just not normal, but isn't that the point of love? To transcend normalness and become something special?" Loved it. (7.5/10)

Belle Salope (France) [Beautiful Bitch]
Being with one of his clients, young male prostitute Cédric receives a voicemail from his mother. Spending her days in detox, she desperately wants him to come and visit her. Cédric embarks on a journey through Paris on his rollerblades and against all odds attempting to get to her as fast as possible. Unfortunately life is not as it seems. Her mother doesn't remember as much and he just goes back to his good old hustling ways. A decent film which shows what kind of struggles a young needy man could have to go through. It is for money or pleasure? We would never know. (5/10)





Elliot King is Third (USA)
Set in near future, this is fiction taking into account the social involution of human societies that might happen. The film shows transgender people living in a future where everyone is identified by a microchip implant, including everything from gender to financial information.  Being labeled as a third, or transgender, has dangerous implications for a society used to dealing with just male or female labels. A lot of them are killed in a peaceful march which leads to our main protagonist Elliot King pretend to be a male and not third gender to grow in society. His future is in for a toss when his past comes back to haunt him. A very very interesting film that shows that in many ways we are growing but in so many ways, he are regressing. (6/10)


Best Job Ever (USA)
Alan Meeks is looking for a job as a porn editor. Little does he realize that being great at something can be a curse unto itself. In a turn of twists, he ends up in a gay porn agency which he realizes too late. Since he can't quit because of his contract, he decides to be the lazy as that he can both at work and his behavior. He is in for a shock when his so called carelessly edited work is one of the best that the production company have seen. A very light-hearted perfect comedy short that brings up a smile on your face. Great acting. I love the scene where he thinks if he drinks at work, he will be thrown out but on the contrary everyone joins the party. (7.5/10)



Gatecrasher (UK)
A young, gay actor, Mark’s got the looks, the ability, and the charisma to go all the way. His agent can get him the auditions, but the parts are just never quite right. That’s because in Mark’s mind, there’s only one man who can help him: James Francis -an older established writer as well as a renowned gay icon. However, what begins as an ambitious idea soon turns into obsession, with Mark slowly gatecrashing the life of his idol. I am not too sure if the film was meant to be comedy, serious or spoof but nevertheless it entertained me and shows a facet of obsession of getting popular and everything right. Great acting and a fantastic twist in the end. (6/10)

Ronan’s escape (Australia)
This film provides a candid insight into the life of Ronan, a 14 year old boy who’s been bullied his whole life at school. It is a very accurate & controversial portrayal of life for someone who has fallen victim to bullying and the repercussions which exist. Ronan’s Escape presents arbitrary scenes rather than traditional storytelling which provokes audiences into discussion and interpretation of the scenes on a more personal level while reflecting on their own experiences. I have been reading lot about bullying etc and this movie yet again made me stop and think about what can be done really to stop this. (6/10)




North Atlantic (UK)
Based on a true story, it is an interaction between 2 men. To clarify, this is not a gay short film. A young man is manning the control tower of a very small airport in the Azores when he makes contact with a plane flying blind with radio and other control issues. At the helm is an older Scottish man and it is clear that he will not have the fuel needed to make it to this airport, which is his nearest. Sea rescue efforts are launched but seem futile given the odds, leaving the two men in voice contact for the remainder of his flight. A sad story but a real one. (6/10)




Simply Rob (USA)
Simply Rob is a portrait of New York based poet and activist Rob Vassilarakis. This film follows Rob as he tells his turbulent life story through his poetry. This film was interesting for first 5 minutes but a constant jibber-jabber from Rob and pretty much non-stop talking without any pause makes this a difficult painful watch. (2/10)


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Broadway Damage

Wow!! It was so refreshing to see a romantic gay film from 90s. The fashion of those ays, the humour of those days and the NYC of those days. Gosh! I miss NY so much. I am really looking forward to being there again asap and live there exactly how I used to. Won't that be interesting !! There was a time when I was a huge fan of rom-coms and somewhere down the line, my fascination for them went down. But I do not regret watching this film. Surely, I am not gonna apply too much logic into the story and hows and whys. After all, the movie ultimately entertained me and brought me some glorious memories of my favorite city.

Cynthia, Marc and Robert are young friends in New York City. Marc is a struggling actor, Robert is an actor/songwriter and Cynthia is desperately trying to attract the attention of Tina Brown to break into magazine publishing. All of us who have lived in NYC know all about apartments in New York. Cynthia and Marc luck out when they find an apartment to share in Greenwich Village. Good looking Marc easily scores with guys and Robert complains about how all these hot men are completely out of his league. We later find out that Robert is secretly in love with Marc. Marc ends up meeting a young musician David, who lives with his boyfriend across the alley from Marc's apartment. David's boyfriend throws him out and David moves in with Marc. Paradise ends soon when Marc finds out the reality about David and throws him out of house. Meanwhile Cynthia, not getting anywhere further in stalking Tina Brown is completely broke and going through a nervous breakdown and decides to move back to her parents in Long Island. Robert continues to secretly love Marc while he is rejected from one guy who he shows interest in but apparently Robert is not his type. In the end, Marc and Robert visit Cynthia on Long Island. Free from the drama of his relationship with David, Marc realizes that he has feelings for Robert. Cynthia gets a call from Tina Brown's assistant, setting up a meeting for the following day.

Simple, sweet and escapist realist piece of movie; this is what this film is about. The characters are lively and very lovable. I absolutely loved Cynthia. I want a Cynthia in my life. A funny friend who will always keep my spirits up. It is a delightful , feel good cinema. Agreed it is no great shakes or path-breaking but why does every film have to be that? I like the fact that the filming has probably happened in actual village apartments; the cramped size, small bedroom and bathroom; it is just so real NYC that I know of. The film has a lot of fun and charming moments along the way, specially anything involving Cynthia. SUre, there are lose ends. The initial interaction never show that Robert is in anyway interested in Marc till suddenly Marc meets David, so that comes as a surprise. Not only that, Marc's love for Robert in the end is also out of nowhere and clearly is to give the film a happy ending. Acting by every character was quite decent and they were all in their character. I loved the cute nerdy Robert with his glasses. The film thankfully never gets too serious and keep a lighter tone throughout.

A sweet charming retro-ish movie about gay love, gay friendships, gay life and finding the right guy in your life. (7/10)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

For Love, We Can (Mandarin)

Its always good to see when organizations come together to promote to message of healthy sex, specially in gay community. Something that is meaningful, entertaining, touching and most importantly send out a clear message on why it i important to be very safe with your life. In view of the record high number of newly reported HIV infection in 2013, the Red Ribbon Centre collaborated with the Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival to explore an innovative and gay friendly means to promote HIV prevention and hence this beautiful piece of a short film.

Jun is a reckless, rebellious young man. His now deceased father, threw him out of house when he found out that Jun was gay. Now he lives with his mother, who works very hard but is also struggling to accept his homosexuality and hence they barely communicate with each other. Michael is an honest, stable young man who works in a bank. Michael meets Jun and two lonely souls fall deeply in love. Jun’s mother initially disapproves their relationship but comes around when she finds out how fine a young man Michael is. One day, Jun's ex-boyfriend revealed to him a secret that he is HIV positive. This changes the world of the 2 men who eventually find out their own health status. And now Jun and Michael have to face the most difficult test in their relationship while the mother is also going through her struggles.

Strong emotional values is the first thing that was left with me after the film ended. Emotional bonds between the characters is very strongly portrayed here. Connection between Jun and Michael, Michael's care of Jun's mother because of his own issues with his parents, his love and commitment to his grandmother. The lead actors give a very strong performance. I have to admit that Michael is very very good looking and attractive. I don't usually think much of Asian guys but this guy was so adorable and cute. The film gives the message of early testing and staying positive in your mind because times have changed and even HIV positive people can lead a normal healthy life. I think that's an important message that needs to reach out to the community.

An important short ilm to be seen by all. (7/10)

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Pit Stop

Not many films have focussed on the loneliness in a gay man's life. This loneliness is much more manifold if you are stuck in a small town Texas. Unfortunately, since the focus of the most of the film is on this aspect, it misses addressing some other fun important issues and fails to rise above getting sympathy for gay men in a small town in Texas.

The film follows parallel lives of 2 single gay men. Gabe lives with his daughter and ex-wife to support raising their daughter. They broke up after Gabe had an affair with a married man and it ended up badly. Neither seems superbly excited about any activity in other's love life but they both try to be supportive. Across town, we have Ernesto. He spends his evening take care of an old friend who is in coma after an accident. He recently broke up with his Boyfriend Luis, a younger guy but still lets him stay at the house till he finds a place. Soon his patience runs out when he sees that Luis is not even trying to find a place or find a job and he gives him just one day notice to move ou of the house. The 2 men are now even more lonely now. Their paths almost cross a few times, but they don't actually meet until fairly late in the movie. They go to the same places and work 100 ft away without even knowing each other. The 2 guys finally meet courtesy online website. The 2 guys meet, hang out and fall madly in love showing us how you can "move on" when you least expect it.

The pace of the film is slow but it demands it to portray the loneliness in the lives of the 2 men in their mid-thirties. The focus is on Gabe and Ernesto but everyone in the film is a real person with a story to tell. All are portrayed in a thoughtful and empathetic way with no one casually discarded for the sake of storytelling expediency. Even the interaction of Gabe with the school teacher is quite realistic where you feel sorry for the guys trapped in the town. This is a true character study of people finding their way in life and love and one cares about what will happen to them. A much as I understand the importance of establishing characters but it borderlines to boredom sometimes and this is when I wish the makes thought of maybe adding some pace or lighter or tense moments in the film. I have nothing against slow films, if you have been reading my blog regularly, but a little something more would have helped the film immensely. Acting by everyone is very good, above par than most shitty american gay films.

Its real, too real with characters that seem to jump off pages of real life. If you are a patient film-goer, you may actually be rewarded by something unexpected. (6/10)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Lose Your Head

A tout thriller and a crazy head spinning film are some of the words that I read and was told by some of the people who saw this film. These words do describe what the film is about but maybe they are a little too strong. I would describe the film as thriller with surprises and a twist that you did not expect or see coming. Unfortunately I missed out on some of the german and Spanish being spoken in the film but I am pretty sure that I didn't lose much in the film.

Luis is a young Spaniard who travels to Berlin after a break up with his boyfriend to get lost in the city. He immediately goes out to experience the nightlife in the city, meets a girl outside a club and hangs with her. He also eventually meets a mysterious man Victor and instantly take a liking for him.We also meet a girl Elena with her cousin who are looking for their lost brother Dmitri, who has been missing for a few weeks. He takes up some drugs in the cob and is warned that he will lose his head. Luis soon realizes that he is caught up in the middle of the disappearance of Dimitri. It turns out that Victor and Dmitri were together for almost 2 months before he disappeared. Luis doesn't tell Elena that he knows Victor when she shows him the picture. He is too much in love with Victor and wants to find out the truth. But it seems everyone is playing their own game. Victor gives a haircut to Luis to make him look like Dmitri. Luis is hiding truth from Elena. Victor has stuff from Dmitri but is he making up some story. After a few events, Luis finds himself trapped in Victor's web and there is no escape. Everyone is now suspecting Luis of fowl play and is looking for him and now Luis is running to save his life. How and where he ends up in the end and how the loose ties end, is a complete surprise. No wonder the old man warned Luis in the beginning in the club that he is going to lose his head.

Very interesting twist I must say, which I never saw coming. In hindsight the signs were all there but I personally never thought of it. It was also quite nice that the director covered on every single person and event in the thriller on why and how they became a part of it. When all of this is going on, you want to scream at Luis to run away but the boy in him keeps wanting to go back to Victor because he is so much into him. He is willing to ignore his faults even when all the signs are there. The film maintains the suspense with incredible performances that will keep you questioning who is being truthful. The key focus of the film is the young people who spend their days lost in a haze of alcohol, drugs and dancing, and the dramatic consequences this life can have on a person. As Luis says "Drinks are cheap, clubs never close and drugs are almost free". But is that really true or does all of this come with a price?And what an effect it does, is shown in the film. The ending leaves a few loose ends that may drive you crazy like Luis' ex-boyfriend is gong around Madrid putting missing person posters. I still can't figure out what that was about :( But that apart it is still quite a good movie.

Overall, Lose Your Head is an entertaining film, which will leave you with a lingering sense of dread and may make you think twice about popping that pill in your mouth. (7/10)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Retro Gay Short Stories

A collection of gay short stories before year 2000.

Un arrangement (France) [An Arrangement]
A man and his son come to terms with their sexuality in their own different manners: while the father painfully hides his secret from his family during night tricks, the son progressively discovers a more open sexuality. Very very interesting film.

Dizzy (Canada)
Written on a flight to Australia and intended as a speech for Hull’s brother’s wedding, Dizzy is a story of one man’s attempt to come to terms with his fragile balance in the modern world. Strictly time pass.

Pracht (Germany)
Two guys sitting across each other on the train fantasize about having sex. Interesting piece and something that can probably tun u on

Les larmes du SIDA (France) [The Tears of AIDS]
A married man falls in love with an another man whom he meets on a beach. He describes this sudden passion in simples words. A nice heart warming film and filmed very very well.

Une nuit ordinaire (France) [An Ordinary Night]
A young French man bicycles across town after an evening out to spend the night with his boyfriend. The twist in the tale is that the bf is probably dying of AIDS.

Des majorettes dans l'espace (France) [Majorettes in Space]
Dimitri, a Soviet cosmonaut of Soyouz 27 likes majorettes. Catherine and Laurent like making love. Jean-Paul II loves airports. Vincent loves boys. Total random and abstract.

Les amoureux (France) [Lovers]
This short is extracted form the feature film. In a French small town, Marc, a 15-year-old teenager, reveals his homosexuality.

America the Beautiful (USA)
Short video transforms verses about religion and battle into a verse about the right to love.

Allegoria (France)
A self inducing crappy piece of experimental cinema where the film-maker just plays with colors with its weirdly make-up'ed characters. Totally bizarre and weird.

Masculins singuliers (France)
A taxi driver tries to take advantage of his passenger ( a drag queen) but is in surprise when the tables turn and drag queen is heavy on the driver. Another bad film.

Boys beware (USA)
What might have been a harmless, even helpful warning to kids about pedophiles becomes ridiculous and ugly by its pretense of revealing what all *homosexuals* are like. It is insulting to gays that this film is still screened in some parts of the country even today.

An average rating of four because the films were more bad than good. (4/10)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Kill Your Darlings

I wanted to like this film. I really did. Having heard so much about it and reading critics positive reviews, I was almost sure that this movie is going to be great. And of course, what happens; After having sat through 4 sessions and finally finishing the film, I was glad that it ended. Another example for me on how expectations really burst your bubble. I think I need to rethink these true autobiographical kind of stories because there is so much there that the makers pack in them, and if you do not have the context of who's who before watching the film, you will be completely lost like me.

The film chronicles early life of the famous poet Allen Ginsberg. He gets a seat in Columbia University and soon meets Lucien , a rowdy, anti-establishment student in the college. Ginsberg discovers that Lucien's papers are all written by David, who is older to him and also probably an ex-lover. David loves Lucien and but the latter is just using him. Rebellious writer William and a sailor Jack also hangs out with the group. Ginsberg takes part in various extreme escapades with this extraordinary group of people. Allen has crush on Lucien and he knows that. So Lucien tells David that he is done with him and recruits Allen to write his term papers. When Allen finds out Lu probably doesn't love him as much he does, he is heartbroken. A confrontation between Lu and David, ends up David being dead by stabbing and drowning. Lucien is arrested and he requests Allen to write his deposition for him. Initially reluctant to help, Ginsberg goes about riding about the truth of what happened and what's the history behind David and Lucien's relationship and writes a piece entitled "The Night In Question". After reading it, Lu begs Allen to not release it because it can ruin him. The friendship sours and Ginsberg gets expelled from college but gets a encouraging note form his professor to pursue his writing.

The film boasts of excellent performances by everyone specially by Daniel Radcliffe as Ginsberg and Dane DeHaan as Lucien. As I mentioned above, my problem is with the first half of the film. You see so many characters being introduced, it becomes a little hard to keep a track of who's who and what their relationship with each other is. And this is when it help to have some sort of prior background information. The film is an intellectual moral maze and not exactly an entertainer. The movie although sometimes confident, is an obsessive and complicated re-telling of enigmatic characters placed in a deceitful and over-dramatized tragedy of murder. The movie feels drowned in the water with average narrative clichés weighing it down despite some really good performances. Also, it doesn’t deal very sensitively with the issues sexuality presented for these period characters. Maybe it wasn't important but then why show the scene where Ginsberg loses his virginity.

Kill Your Darlings isn’t exactly bad, it’s just a bit boring and misguided, and it failed to keep my attention at it despite I trying my best. (5/10)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Girl, Boy, Bakla, Tomboy (Filipino/Tagalog) [Girl, Boy, Gay, Lesbian]

It's been a while since I saw a comedy gay film. This film helped me fill that void. Although some may feel that this borderlines corny with comedy but who cares! My time was well spent and at any point I did not look at how much more of the movie is left. That's because I was totally enjoying the film and laughing at a lot of places and one liners. And what is surprising is the fact that the quadruple roles are all played by the same actor. Now that's a major feat for any actor.

Pete and Pia are a married couple in Phillipines. Pia gives birth to quadruples but because of evil plan sod the mother-in-law the kids get separated after birth. Girlie and Peter end up staying with their father in US and Mark and Panying end up with their mother growing up in the farm. Girlie is a spoilt rich girl who claims to be a model, Peter is a race car driver who is diagnosed with Hepatitis C, Mark is Bakla (gay) and Panying is tomboy (lesbian). Peter needs a liver transplant and this is when Pete (father) tells the kids about 2 other siblings. They all travel to Manila and it turns out that MArk is the only compatible donor. The family finally meets and this is where the comedy begins. New Heights of comedy and entertainment begin. Girlie and Mark are the 2 siblings who are always at loggerheads and trying to get back at each other. Peter and Panying are the more sorted ones. Of course things all fall in place in the end and they all are a big happy family.

The concept of a comedian in real life playing 4 characters sound gimmicky but it actually works. The styling , looks and behavior of 4 characters is so different that you never get confused between them. You exactly know which character is who,which is a huge plus point IMO. The film is filled with laughter and one liners and the film at the same time provides an emotional core as well. Its always refreshing to see that the gender or sexuality of the character is never an issue. It just describes who they are and the film focuses more on their relationship. But comedy is still the core. The punchlines are hilarious. I think Girlie was the funniest character and Panying was the least developed. Even the 4 kids who live with Pia were quite funny. It may sound racist but all th evokes on the fake black kid were too good. Technically the film may not be a masterpiece, but then it is funny and most importantly it succeeds in entertaining people. A couple of scenes where the grandma featured were also quite funny. She was awesome.

All-in-all, "Girl Boy Bakla Tomboy" is a wonderful comedy movie which I think everyone would enjoy. I am starting to become a fan of Filipino comedy gay movies. (7/10)

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Gay Short Films : 20

This is another review collection of short movies. This time they are all under 10 minutes, and hence being reviewed all together.

Flamingo pride (Germany)
This animation is intellectually and socially negligent, yet insidiously shrouded in bright colors and some sort of ham-handed sense of humor. When the only straight flamingo tries to get out of the herd of gay flamingos, what does he have to go through !! Quiet decent IMO

Desanimado (Spain)
A cartoon character goes to therapy because he feels rejected in a ‘live-action’ world what dislikes those who are different. The protagonist reflects on the nature of prejudice and has to decide to either adapt to the norm or dare live as he is. A good way to see would be replace cartoon with gay and similar theories apply. It was a little boring for me because there was non stop talking for like 5-6 minutes, which started giving me a headache.

Mi amigo Jaime (Spain)
The movie tells the story of Dani, a young boy who shares a close friendship with his friend Jaime. Their relationship changes when Dani realizes he feels something more to his friend and ends up kissing him. Initially repulsed, Jaime comes around when he invites Dani to meet at the pier , hugs him and gives him a kiss on cheek. Things will be good now. Brilliant short.

Ecce Homo (Behold The Man)
The film interweaves images form Jean Genet's masterpiece, Un Chant d'Amour with images from gay male sex films. It forces the viewer to question the point of view in looking at "pornographic" images. It asks whether the taboo is against gay sex or against seeing gay sex. The style of film making and presentation is definitely not my cup of tea.

Last Address (USA)
The list of New York artists who died of AIDS over the last 30 years is countless, and the loss immeasurable. This film uses images of the exteriors of the houses, apartment buildings, and lofts where these and others were living at the time of their deaths to mark the disappearance of a generation. Haunting yet not very interesting, despite me being a NYker.

Gay Baby (USA)
An expectant couple learns their unborn son is gay. The father is disappointed that he will never be able to bond with his son over sports. A young gay store clerk changes the father’s reaction from disappointment to excitement. Things take a more positive turn when the father realizes that as gay as the clerk is, he is a super star in sports. Excellent !!

The Attendant
A middle-aged black attendant walks around the gallery in which he works. The attendant searches bag of young white gay man and the 2 men become aware of a mutual sexual attraction. At close of business, the attendant shuts the museum doors and sees the paintings come to life. The scenes now depicted show images of domination and homosexual desire. A little too ambiguous for me, constantly shifting between reality and the attendant's imagination.

Solipsist (USA)
It's not really a gay short. Its not interesting either but it is visually captivating. It probably used up a lot of money too. An experimental fantasy short film about otherworldly beings whose minds and bodies converge into one entity. Filled with elaborate costumes, stunning visual effects, and underwater puppets, the film is a non-narrative purely visual/audio experience designed to transport viewers through a hypnotic, dream-like experience.

Glacier (USA)
A visual essay on the LGBT history since the times. Packing stunning visuals form army, politics, movies, everyday life; including color and B&W and a very haunting melody backing all this, we younger generation should feel very proud and lucky for where we are today. Pretty darn good!

Bakersfield, Earth (USA)
A Guy who wears a dress tries to join an anti-evolution protest group of moms who home school kids. When the group starts getting a little uncomfortable because he believes his alien race created humans, they ask him to tell his theory (which is totally absurd). An interesting mix of comedy, laughs and sic-fi. Good acting and production value. Total time pass.

An average rating of again 5 for all these short films. (5/10)

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Whatever This Is (Web Series)

Expectations always make a huge difference. Whoever is into watching gay shows or something has probably seen "The Outs" and know what a fantastic show that is. Now when the makers come up with another web series, the expectations are bound to be sky rocket. I had huge expectations form this show as well. Were my expectations met? Probably not, but was the show good? I would say "Hell! yeah". Its so very different from 'The Outs'. If that was about gay couples, this show focuses more on trails and tribulations of young adults trying to make it big in NYC. It paints a broader picture of a group of young creatives trying to make ends meet and working disappointing jobs in what seems like an unending road to emotional and creative fulfillment.

The story is primarily about 3 roommates: Lisa, her boyfriend Sam and their gay friend Ari. They all live hard lives. Lisa is struggling to live the a state of poverty she's uncomfortable with but still appears as a kind person. Sam and Ari work on low paying video production his with their horrible boss Oscar as PA, just so that they can all pay the rent. They have a jar of cash at home, so that one day they can realize their dream of making and doing something on their own. Lisa, unemployed in summer because she is a teacher, happens to find a job as a caretaker with a lesbian couple, who I still believe had some ulterior motive because they hire her as a cook, even though she has no idea on how to cook. The 6 part series follows the lives of these 3 characters and a few more that make the part of the entire gang and primarily asks you how long are you expected to do work that you hate, for pennies, until it becomes something that you love that pays the rent?

As I said before, the show is very different from 'The Outs'. It had very natural acting while somehow I miss that here. The characters are real but it feels they have a theatrical style of acting which doesn't really fit into this kind of web series, specially Ari. The interactions between the room mates does seem very natural. Sure the show has its share of quirky comments and one liners that will make you laugh and giggle but overall the show is more thought-provoking while trying to be entertaining at the same time. I wish the characters were well developed. It would be nice to know some back stories about all the three characters and others. Why is Oscar the way he is? Clearly Lisa can do better, why is she putting up with all this? Why are the lesbians going out of their way to help Lisa. More on Ari and his romantic love interest. The director make short appearance in one episode and I instantly remembered how much I liked him in 'The Outs'. Despite all the above so called flaws, the show is still pretty darn good. I mean, there is so much crap out there in movies, in TV and on the internet; I really feel that a maker like Adam Goldman is definitely trying to defy the norms by thinking out of the box and bringing the viewers what they can relate to and connect to.

I will strongly recommend this show. Unlike me , try and watch the show in its individually and try not to compare with the maker's debut show and I bet that you will indeed like the show. (7/10)