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

Wednesday, 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)

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Toute Première Fois (French) [I Kissed A Girl]

I am finding myself having seen a very similar subject recently. There have been a lot of “coming-out” stories and many film makers are trying to attempt something different with what can be easily termed as “coming-in” story. We have seen many straight man turning gay, so why not explore the reverse affect where a gay man can turn straight. I personally don’t believe in this but what the hell, I am all up for exploring the subject for a film, especially when it is dealt with a bit of humour.

Jeremy finds himself waking up with a girl clearly remembering that they had sex. He is super confused because he has been living a very happy life with his boyfriend Antoine of 10 years. In fact they are even planning to get married. Jeremy’s family adores and loves Antoine. Not knowing anyone to turn to, he reaches out to his best friend Charles with whom he also runs his business abut consulting reports. Jeremy can’t get Adna, the swedish girl he slept with, out of his mind and this has affected his sex life with Antoine. On Charles’ suggestion that the only way to know what’s going on will be to face Adna again. Jeremy does that and finds himself getting immensely attracted to her. He can’t bring himself to tell her the truth. In his efforts to help Jeremy, Charles ends up giving Adna a job in the company which further complicates things. Now Jeremy clearly sees his strong feelings for Adna. At the same time Antoine just doesn’t understand whats wrong with Jeremy and tries to talk to him but without any result. As the lies pile up, Jeremy finds himself facing the big decision: stay gay and get married, or play it straight and screw up his life. At this stage the film could have gone any direction, but Jeremy decides to go straight. But its too late because Adna finds out the truth. He goes to Sweden in hope to win her back and of course there is a happy ending.

This film falls strictly in the category of rom-com. Everything is happy-go-lucky but also with a lot of humour. Jeremy’s parents bring in humour and so does Charles with his casanova antics and flirting with their secretary. Although his love story with her was just not justified. Why would he suddenly be so in love with her. Butane the bigger of the problems is how to justify Jeremy going straight. I bet the story writers must have had a touch time to figure out what way they would want the story to end. Because there is always a fear of eliminating maybe one segment of viewers. As much as I am ok with Jeremy going straight, the whole last section of making a trip to Sweden, all the way to the north just to win her was a little too extreme. The acting by everyone is very good but there was just no chemistry between the two lead actors. Someone having lived for 10 years together would have a lot more passion. Although filled with cliches, I did not find myself getting bored. The length of the film was just right. There are no lessons to be learnt from the film, it’s meant to make the viewers laugh. I chuckled here and there and that was that.

No great shakes but not bad either. Strictly an average film and you won’t get bored. (6/10)

Friday, August 28, 2015

Gay Short Films : 38

En El Mismo Equipo (Argentina) [On The Same Team]
A young rugby player is trying to keep in the secret that he is gay, due to conformity mostly, but he struggles with it almost everyday. He longs to be free, but what exactly is freedom to the young man? He isn’t so sure himself. Good.

Particularly Now, In Spring (Belgium)
This is a film about the dreams you have when you are young. A seventeen year old boy reveals his life philosophy of idealism, unity and friendship amongst his mates in the sports club. Yawn !

Góðir Gestir (Iceland) [Family Reunion]
New York artist Katrin struggles to come out to her relatives back in Iceland. She is struggling every minute at the family reunion about how her family is going to react. But when a very senior member whose birthday they have got together for reveals that he is gay and has decided to live with his partner together challenges all her assumptions. Things are going to be ok for her after all. Very good.

Saint (Belgium)
The story of a roman soldier who is executed because of his Christian beliefs from a gay angle. Bore.

Shabbat Dinner (USA)
William’s mother has invited two crazy hippies with their son for dinner and is doing her best to show off but he doesn't have much in common with their son Virgo. This changes when Virgo tells him in private that he has come out as gay and then he starts questioning Virgo about details of his sexuality and ultimately giving into his fantasies until the father catches them. Quite funny.

Trunks (UK)
He's straight, but under the water at his local pool he feels gay. Will he tell his ex-girlfriend the truth? Meh!

33 Teeth (USA)
Eddie has a heightened fascination with his attractive neighbor. Eddie observes his neighbor measuring his manhood with a comb and decides to use the comb to enact revenge after being made fun of by his neighbor's friend. Short and sweet.

Not Gay (USA)
Bromantic comedy about a guy who apparently comes out to everyone on a drunken night but can’ remember anything. He keeps denying that he is gay, until, he tries to kiss a girl and it dawns on him that h is probably gay.

43-44 (Brazil)
A young man has a fetish for flip-flops 43-44 used by attractive men. He goes around walking in the city, increasing his collection of these used flip -flops all the while fantasising about the sexy stuff he would be doing with those. Average.

Diumenge (Spain) [Sunday]
The school year starts, and Max joins for the first time to his new high school. Because of his sexual orientation, his integration is complicated. He confronts bullying and violence. Only Marc is willing to give him a hand, but it is not taken too well by his girlfriend. Marc gets a shock when Max tells him they have decide to move to a different city. Nice.

Pajas (Spain) [Jerk-Offs]
2 friends try to relive old days jerking off together while watching porn together, till one of them realises that the other one has secretly been filming them and this whole thing actually maybe a setup and not just some casual fun.

Gaydar (Brazil)
A hilarious film. Modern age where there is a physical gayer that you can point to a man and find if he is gay or not. This adds some funny situations when his best girlfriend’s father is revealed to be gay. But when he ultimately finds a decent guy, he can’t tell if he is gay or not because he turns out he has a gayer blocker. Too good.

Ese Viernes (Argentina) [That Friday]
A guy walks us through his boring day at work ending up in a bar. He gets a very interesting young man there, starts having great conversations and even asks him to kiss him. This is all until he realises it was all a dream and finds himself waking up next his wife. Does he have secret desires? Too good !!

Jackpot (USA)
Before internet age, when closeted 14-year-old Jack Hoffman hears about a stash of gay porno hidden across town, he decides to brave the bully infested streets of his small New Jersey town, in hopes of getting what he wants. What happens over the course of the day will change everything. Brilliant

Prince and Ekaj (USA)
Two completely different gay latino teenagers find one another wandering the streets of NYC. Story about homelessness, prostitution and struggles. Weird.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Please Like Me: Season 1 & 2 (TV Series) (Australia)

Just finished watching 2 seasons this Australian TV Show and I absolutely loved it. Its quirky hour but that resonated with me. Th geeky, nerdy, awkward dialogues and situations is something right up my alley. An excellent take on a man’s quarter life crisis, its charming, real and extremely funny. Sure season 2 doesn’t live unto the enormous expectations that season 1 created but nonetheless it is still really good.

Just in time for his 21st birthday, Josh gets dumped by his girlfriend, kisses a man for the first time, and learns that his mom, Rose, tried to commit suicide. He lives with his best friend Tom of many years who is dating this girl who totally uses him. Claire forms the trio of this friendship group and is the girl whom Josh dated. Geoffrey is the man whom Josh kisses and soon they start dating. Meanwhile since Josh’s mother’s attempted suicide, he has to start living with her to take care since she is divorced. But Josh’s father, who is now dating May, an asian girl wants to help in any possible way he can. Season one follows lives of these people and their interactions including how Josh is coming to terms with his sexuality and whether or not he will be able to continue his relationship with extremely hot and good looking Geoffrey. We also have Aunty Peg, who is another interesting character. Season 2 introduces Patrick, a new room mate of Josh and Tom. Tom is now single and meet a girl. Josh adores Patrick but he doesn’t give him a second thought. Josh meets Arnold, a patient in a mental ward where now his mother is also spending some time. His father and May now have a young baby daughter as well and Claire is working in Germany. Josh still is leading a very aimless life doing nothing which worries his father. This season focuses on how these characters have developed further, lives of some patients in mental institutes, Josh’s relationships with Patrick, Arnold and even Geoffrey who comes back for one episode. Of course we also get to see what’s happening with Tom’s life and how is he dealing with his single status. Season 2 really doesn’t have a proper ending but at the same time, its not open ended either. We see changes in everyone’s life and how they are all individually dealing with it.

The best thing about this show is that it feel genuinely comedy without feeling like watching a sitcom. Major life events are given a touch of humour without making a huge deal out of it, specially when Josh comes out or when his mother attempts suicide. The entire series is laced with everyday conversations and humour. Josh’s character is so lovable and real; that I absolutely felt in love with him. And now I find out that he is even the writer of the show, which explains how he probably related himself to the character so well. His interactions in season one with his mother and trying to help her, or him trying to make his relationship wok with Geoffrey were easily the highlights for me. Most importantly I really enjoyed the camardierie that Josh and Tom shared along with Claire. Thats what friendship and friends should be like. It made me realise that maybe I am missing something in my life. Josh’s mother was my second favourite character in the overall series. Actually its hard to pick up because everyone does such a marvellous job. Patrick in season 2 adds nicely to eye candy but his character didn’t have much to add except Josh’s infatuation with him. Besides that I think he added a good eye candy. The dialogues are sharp and witty and humorous and real and that is what makes this show immensely likebale. Barring one episode where Josh and his mother go for hiking (a real bore episode), everything else is extremely superb and real.

I strongly strong recommend this show. It is brilliant. I, for one, can’t wait for season 3. I am keen to know what happens with Josh and his friend Tom and Claire, his mom and father; will Geoffrey resurface or will things go ahead with Arnold? (8.5/10)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Candid Love (Documentary)

What the fuck was this documentary. It was painful and embarrassing. I am all about “more power to indie film-makers”, but I think this one totally missed the boat unless I am the only odd man out who thinks this way. The story is about Jon and Daniel. Daniel’s father has just passed away and is in his hometown while Jon updates us about whats going in their lives. They are a bit of unhappy couple and are trying to deal with their issues. Jon is bipolar and Daniel is recovering alcoholic (perfect!). Daniel comes back after 2 weeks and then we hear his side of story , his past and where the couple is currently according to him. There is some more blabbering and by then I have completely lost interest in them. The film ends with the couple telling us thatchy have decided to go with long distance relationship since Daniel will move with his mom and Jon is not ready to move with him because he has a life.

First of all, when these are such trying times in their life; one has lost his father for God’s sake; using that premise to make a documentary itself raises all sorts of morality questions in my mind about the whole project. I felt absolutely no connection with either of them and to be honest I didn’t even feel that either of them had any love for each other. Their confessions and talks seemed real and true which makes me believe even further that were they even a couple. It seems their strings are already broken, so what’s the point. These 2 just stumble directionless and we all know what happens when people decide to go for long distance.

I still can’t figure out why they allowed the camera to record everything they were going through. What was the intention behind making this documentary. It is like I can go and start filming some random couple’s life, do a bad editing job and put it out in the market. Terrible. (1/10)

Saturday, August 22, 2015


Boulevard is a movie about choosing truth, regardless of how many years may have been lost to a lie. Watching Robin Williams film attempt a very serious role was one of the reasons that got me attracted to watch this film. Most coming-out films talk about youth but this one is different because certain events in his life trigger the changes that lead to our main protagonists accepting the truth about himself.

Nolan, in his sixties, is a married man with a very routine & monotonous life. His days are spent in bank and at home his relationship with his wife is more of companions. They sleep in different rooms. He has a best friend Winston whom he occasionally spends time with. His father is in a care house and is dying. One night while driving home after visiting his father he accidentally runs into a gay hooker and befriend him. He starts confronting his closeted homosexuality. The young guy is Leo, who doesn’t mind spending just time with Nolan, listening to what he has to talk about and getting paid for it. But for Loan, it is confronting and accepting himself. We later find out that he has known ever since he was 12 that he was probably different but he never did anything for fear of God and his parents. As story starts unfolding, there is more to Leo’s character. We never know the real reason but he also starts depending on Nolan for money and financial and emotional support, because Leo gets bullied by some guy who expects money from him all the time. When things reach to a brink of Nolan almost losing his job, Nolan decides to break things up with his wife and just move on with his life, with or without Leo.

The whole suburban setup and a routine mundane life is something that we have seen before in the past. So there is nothing new but the performances of Nolan and his wife keep this film very real. It is very interesting to see how over the years the couple has managed to practice to not talk about issues that they both think would be uncomfortable to discuss. Many scenes where Nolan is probably lying and the wife knows, she choses to ignore. The film although offers something painful and true, the problem lies with pacing. I understand that for stories like these, you cannot just run through, but still, I found myself empathising with characters but completely losing interest in the film because of the pace. Had it not been a William’s film , I may actually have fast forwarded it and seen it quick. Also some other things were a bit odd for me, like why would Nolan wanna spend all that money on a hustler? Is it because he is the kind of person who loves to care? Nolan was never sexually interested in Leo, so why couldn’t it be that he had more father-son feelings for Leo. And the guy who bullied Leo, who was he? why did Leo owe him money and why would he just brutally accept his beatings. To be honest, now that the ilm is finish, I am not too keen on even finding the answers.

A simple film, with very slow pace, it is ok just because of Robin Williams. It could have totally gone south easily. (5.5/10)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Amic/Amat (Catalan) [Beloved/Friend]

I am not sure what category does this film fall into. The film came out in 1999 and focuses on the central character of a gay middle aged professor. A mix of psychological drama, sexual bramble. It also has a few parallel stories going on and how the lives of some of these people intertwine with each other. By the way, the poster of the film is quite misleading. This film is definitely not a sleaze fest.

Jaume is a middle aged professor who is dying (we don’t know of what). His best friend os fellow university friend Pere, who Jaume loved all his life but is now his best friend. Here has a lovely wife and a 19 year old daughter, who has just found out that she is pregnant. The child is of David, a rebel-without-a-cause kind of college student. Pere hates David while Jaume thinks that he is one of the most brilliant students, albeit a rebel and Jaume finds himself falling in love with David. He is shocked when he finds out that David actually hustles as a male prostitute to make money. He tries to get David focuses on literature and do something with his life but David is a rebel. Professor comes up with this brilliant plan of making sure that Pere’s daughter actually keeps the child and does not abort. He even requests Pere to keep the baby because that is the only way he will have some sort of legacy left behind after he dies. The baby will have the blood of the two men the professor has loved the most, and will be his spiritual grandchild. Of course, everyone thinks that’s is the craziest idea. At the sometime when Pere’s wife spends an entire day with her daughter since they found about her pregnancy, she realises she is no longer in love with here and she needs to do something more meaningful with her own life.

The film is essentially about these 5 characters with central focus on the professor. All these individuals are racing against the clock, arguing and hurting each other. Interestingly, unlike most films, all the characters are pretty much thinking only about themselves and do not consider the effects on others. It is a dense & dark film where the characters forget that  there's a fine line between wishes and making them possible with another person. Performance wise, everyone does a great job. Personally, I would have liked to see David’s character more developed. We hear a few times that his father committed suicide but beyond that we never get more details of the depth of the character. There is definitely a pain inside but what are the reason and why is he not letting professor make his life better, are still some questions that kept bothering me even after I finished watching the film.

Still, this is a good example of examining the intergenerational values: the reckless angry youth versus the sadness of middle age. (7/10)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Sugar Orange (German)

This was a weird film to understand. I tried hard and wanted to understand and was hoping that something logical will come out of it but unfortunately it didn’t. It doesn’t mean that film was bad or story was odd. The problem according to me is the way the treatment was done of the film. Constant flashbacks and pretty much no explanation of anything that happened in the past just adds to more confusion. Having to write the synopsis now itself is a task because that will completely depend on what my understanding of the film was. By the way, also it is not really a gay film. It might be gay interest because of Clemen's character but thats it.

Leo is Sugar, Clemens is Orange. Together, they are two ten-year-old boys who are inseparable, really close friends. Cut to current day, when Leo is all grown up, running a club and has jus stated a romantic relationship with Lena who turns his feelings upside down and awakens his inner child, the one still searching for unconditional friendship. It turns out that Leo has fear of being abandoned. The reason is that when they were kids Leo had an accident and his best friend Clemens left him all alone the entire night and Leo still can’t figure out the reason behind it. Clemens is now in a steady relationship with Leo’s’ elder brother who is an author. It seems that has also become the cause of Leo’s’ broken relationship with his brother. When his brother in in town for a book reading, he embarks on a road-trip with Lena to escape the possible arrival of Clemens. He goes to his childhood hometown. Between flashbacks, we are exposed to what Leo fears and what he is comfortable with. There are moments of fights and insecurities between him and Lena who sis trudging to find out what happened between once upon a tie best friends. The ending is a bit open ended when Clemens appears and him and Leo engage in a playful game while swimming. Is that just hallucination like previous times or is it reality? We won’t know.

The film has potential, story is novel but I think it would have added more character had it been a more linear structure. Also, a lot of things were left tour imagination and interpretation. Why did the best friends fall apart, why did Clemens leave his friend alone, did Leo had ore than friendly feelings towards Clemens, why is Leo bitter about the fact hat his brother is with Clemens, why does Lena go back to Leo even when he doesn’t treat her well and more questions like this? Also why does it seem that in all of his home town, there is no one else besides some 5-6 young men and Leo and Lena. Where is everyone else? For a long time in the film, I even thought that Leo’s bedroom was more of a stage setup and not a real thing. On a bright side, the acting by Leo was good and there was a very weird but sexy appeal about him and his character. It was intriguing and as a person I would like to know this character more and what is going on in his head.

Story had potential and acting is decent; its the non-linear screenplay and character structure that leaves audience feeling cheated and incomplete. (4/10)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Girlfriend Boyfriend (Min Nan / Mandarin) [Gf*Bf]

This Taiwanese film is more about political movement than a gay film, per say.  Set in 1980s Taiwanese sociopolitical reformation movement, it just happens to have a gay character who is also very central to the plot. Interestingly according to the director, he wanted to focus on freedom and in fact both politics and homosexuality represent that theme. I may not necessarily agree with him. But at least that gives an insight into his idea behind making this film.

Starting in 1985, we are introduced to three Taiwan high-schoolers Mabel, Liam and Aaron. All of them are activists rebelling against the martial law during the turbulent period of 1980s Taiwan. On the personal side, Mabel loves Liam a lot, but Liam doesn't really have a feeling for her. So she ends up falling in love with Aaron instead, who constantly pursues her once Liam tells him that she is not his girlfriend. Liam, in the meantime, is actually a closeted homosexual who's been longing for Aaron. Another few years pass and they have graduated from college and are working now. Aaron has a boyfriend who is also married but he still longs for Aaron. Aaron ended up marrying someone else but he and Mabel are also having an affair on the side. Among the trio, its only Aaron who thinks of himself and is practical while Liam and Mabel’s emotions rule them. Finally Liam makes a painful decision to stop loving Aaron after a confrontation following prolonged repression. He refuses to suffer anymore. And as a friend this is where he steps in for Mabel and makes her understand that she also has a choice. They are forever friends and their sublime love ends up Liam becoming the foster father for Mabel’s twin daughters, who happened to be Aaron’s kids as well.

This film is one complicated love triangle which will make your head spin upon watching the movie, but in a good way. The film is told in a more poetic style. Character evaluation of Mabel from tomboy, to daring college student a very sad woman is brilliant. Aaron and Liam are again brilliant actors. Apart from the 3 actors, there is an openly gay character who sees what’s happening between the trio, is a rational observer of life and always wants to help his friends. Its a roller-coaster ride of varied emotions ranging from happiness to heartbreak with such genuine affection. The film is sad yet beautiful
 and needs patience. You need to get into the skin of the characters and feel them. The only problem is that there are scenes that as an audience you may have to interpret, because they are not so obvious. Scenes like the one where Liam finally reveals to Mabel his affection towards Aaron, and Mabel is also devastated to realize she and Aaron can never be together during their college years is heartbreaking.

This film makes you remember your friends, how friendship can sometimes easily lead to love, how love is not always easy, how friendship evolves with time. Its essentially a poetic story tangles in the complexities of life. (6.5/10)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Der Kreis (Swiss German) [The Circle]

This was a very interestingly done documentary-drama that depicts the social scene that revolved around Der Kreis (The Circle), a gay publication in Zurich, in the 1940s and 1950s. The magazine was published from 1932 to 1967 and distributed internationally and was also used as a scapegoat for the murders of several gay men in the city. The docudrama primarily focusses on relationship of Ernst Ostertag and Röbi Rapp, which is told through documentary interviews with this sweet elderly couple and a conscientious dramatization of their courtship in the 1950s.

The Circle, is not a magazine but is also a gay community within itself. This is during the time when things in Zurich were a bit more lenient compared to anywhere else in the world. This is where Ernst and Robi meet. Ernst is a girls high school teacher while Robi is the main drag act performer for the club’s ball parties. We see how the two lovers meet and their story goes forward. Things are done in secrecy but it is still in control. Things change when a series of murders happen and suddenly the influential members high society are outed as gay who are killed by rent boys. This brings ‘The circle’ under scrutiny. Suddenly it is no longer okay to run the magazine and the cops take a very hard stand on the matters. One of their balls is raided and every member is asked to prepare a statement declaring their sexual identity. Things get hard for Ernst and Robi because Ernst wants to do something for the society , yet at the same time keep his job secure and be in closet. Rob on the other hand wants a normal loving monogamous life. But the two love each other too much and brave all odds. After 2 murder cases are solved, the third one takes a toll on the cops and the circle is shut permanently by the authorities. Zurich is suddenly now not as gay friendly as everyone thought it would be. The film later shows how the tow men later start a magazine and also then end up to become the first gay couple to legally get married in Switzerland.

This is a beautifully told true story of love amidst a backdrop of lies, secrecy and fundamentally fear. It shows the hope and intellect of gay men in the 40s. It is a truly engaging film, and one to watch if you’re interested in knowing about the history of our gay culture and how much we take for granted today. I think getting real life interviews of Ernst and Robi and their friends and family along with full dramatised portrayal of the events made it even more engaging. The film makes it very clear how much hurdles a same-sex couple that simply wanted to be together had to clear in the 1950s and how the pioneering ‘The Circle’, helped fill a void but how its relatively low profile became a problem when a series of rent-boy murders shook the city.

Great acting an direction makes this film/documentary very engaging at the same time providing us with some good context history about what it was like to be gay in Switzerland back then. (7/10)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

DTLA (TV Series)

It was so embarrassing to watch this show. You know how sometimes the directions so flat, the interactions between the actors are awkward and hard to interpret and some sex is thrown in just for the sake it; this show is full of these cliches. I really would love to know what the actors think of this show if they were to watch all of the episodes in a marathon run. Sure, we have seen bad acting and direction before as well and it could also be pardonable to a certain extent, but these flaws are too in your face to be ignored in this series.

DLTA stands for Downtown Los Angeles, where the show is based in. The show is focussed around 4 so called couples, their lives and interactions. The central characters are Lenny and Bryan. Lenny makes good money but Bryan has no job and now they have to sell their downtown apartment because they can’t afford it. Bryan doesn’t even have any prospective jobs or is even looking for it, which makes Lenny piss and is starting to affect the relationship. Then we have Matthew, a struggling actor who just got a part in a gay play but wants to hide that from his boyfriend Marky, an amy man, because he has to go nude. But apart from that their relationship is new and loving and exciting. We also have Stefan, an arrogant cocky lawyer who is so full of himself, dating a younger guy and always putting him down because Stefan thinks he is the best. Finally we have Kai, a celebrity obsessed teacher, who is best friends with the mandatory fag hag SJ, whose married life is in shambles since her husband cheated. We see the lives of these people where Lenny’s paranoia that Bryan is cheating on him keeps increasing. Meanwhile, SJ helps Kai stalk an athlete who Kai thinks is gay. An old friend from New York resurfaces whom SJ used to date. Random events and scenes happen with no conclusive motivation.

The biggest flaw as mentioned above is poor choice of actors and really bad direction. Too many scenes just end abruptly. The actors are required to portray varied emotions but none of them is skilled to do so and clearly the director does the shittiest job of all. We never get really involved in any character’s life. You are supposed to empathise with him but his constant nagging towards Bryan makes you side more with him than Lenny who just comes off as nothing but a bitch. Most surprisingly, the sea scenes are so forced. Anyone can see that. They just randomly come out in every episode to show us more skin, as if thats what we are watching the show for. Times have changed and we expect the gay themed shows to have more depth , better acting and overall appeal but this show lacks the basic areas of acting, directing, editing and writing. No wonder this show never got a next season.

Dreadful story, bad acting, horrendous acting; you should watch this show only because you are dying to watch something gay themed. But even then, I can suggest you so many better shows and films that you don’t have to watch this embarrassing piece of production. (3.5/10)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Boys On Film 13: Trick And Treat

I am enjoying my time watching all kinds of short films. Like previous series, this one  surprises and delights with 10 new short films, exploring relationships, dark desires and confronting hidden secrets. As expected this one also turns out to be a mixed bag of sorts.

Surprise (USA)
After misbehaving at school it s time for young Jack to confess to his mother, but the solution to his problem is not like anything he could have imagined. This time its the mother who maybe has a surprise for her son.

Boygame (Sweden)
Best friends John and Nicolas aren t confident about having sex with girls, so to avoid embarrassment; they decide to get some practice on each other. This is one of the best portrayals of interactions between 2 boys trying sex with each other for the first time without being awkward or guilty.

Caged (Netherlands)
Read review here

Vis-à-Vis (Australia)
When a government official comes to inspect Richard and Martin’s relationship for visa approval, it is clear that all is not as it seems. Cue hilarious consequences as the two men will stop at nothing to hide their true identity. Will Martin get visa approval or will things turn out for the worst? One of the better films in this series.

Followers (UK/Australia)
When an elderly woman sees a vision of Jesus on the swimming trunks of a young African man at her class, she befriends him as she believes God has sent her a sign for him to free her of her loneliness. Only to real the guy out because he catches her staring at his dick.

Kissing Drew (Canada)
A dreary school day in 1992: Cool kid Drew is James' sexual fantasy, but Drew is also James' bully. In a single moment, James faces off against both Drew the bully and Drew the fantasy, but is it enough to reclaim his dignity?

A Last Farewell (Sweden)
A Last Farewell looks at an aging author’s sorrow over the death of his long-term partner. Haunted by visions of his late husband, and in conflict with his daughter, who is trying to renew the ties between them, how will he move on and find peace? This was hands-down a brilliantly acted and directed short film and can potentially be made into a full length feature.

Middle Man (UK)
After a misunderstanding, Nathan tries to get in contact with his hearing impaired boyfriend through a type-to-talk service. Will the middle man be able to fix the situation or will Nathan have to find another way to communicate? A very amusing yet simple film.

Remission (UK)
Two young men and a boy roam the overgrown English countryside, seeking to escape a deadly virus. The two men are forced to take a horrific decision after the boy s behaviour puts them in increasing danger but is it too late to cheat death? Disaster, those didn’t make any sense.

Mirrors (UK)
In a toilet of a Manchester nightclub, two young men catch each other’s eye. As they reveal their feelings to one another, they find that their lives mirror each other in more ways than one. The only thing left to do is face the person staring back at them.

A mixed bag, so an average rating. (5.5/10)

Monday, August 10, 2015

Boys On Film 12: Confession

I had been waiting for this volume for such a long time. It had been a long break. As in other series, there is a theme that is followed. This volume exposes private lives, uncover secrets and present a choice - to conceal or to confess? Duration wise these stories are quite short and hence, overall is not a tiring watch at all. After a disappointing last 2 series, this one is a welcome break.

Home From The Gym (USA)
An unnamed, sexy man comes home, alone and starts to undress. The male form put forward in all its nudity, sexiness, full front and centre. What’s the point o the film? Don’t ask me. :)

Showboy (Australia)
A young football player, Julian Maxwell, finds himself struggling to support his unemployed, recently widowed father while fighting to keep safe the secret he once shared with his mother: He's not only gay, but performs a drag act in a local bar. Very good.

Cruise Patrol (Netherlands)
An animation film, this one explores what happens on a long and dusty road where a routine cruise patrol takes a strange turn and spirals totally out of control. It was cartoonist IMO.

I Am Syd Stone (Canada)
Lights, Camera, Action! When a much-desired Hollywood heartthrob returns back to his home town for a reunion of sorts, he expects to rekindle an old closeted relationship. But soon he learns that things aren t as they seem and secrets always catch up in the end. His friend who he thought ended up being straight is now in a happy relationship with his gay partner. Very well acted.

Deflated (USA)
Chris has come to the store with his dad to spend his allowance. His heart is set on getting a bouncy ball, but all of the balls in the ball cage are bright pink...except for one deflated green ball. Ultimately Chris must make a choice: is it okay for boys to play with the bright pink balls or will he take home the deflated green one?

Age 17 (Switzerland)
Matteo is a 17-year-old boy who has fallen in love with Don Massimo, a young who leads the local marching band in which Matteo plays the drum. Matteo sees in Massimo a person willing to listen to his fears and desires and for the first time in his life, Matteo feels ready to open up to someone. Absolutely wonderful and brilliant film.

Human Warmth (Belgium)
Antoine has a desire. His passion and his love is so overwhelming that he has to stay close to Bruno. He loves his warmth and he needs it. But as with any relationship, soon comes the time of detachment and what will happen if Antoine s body stops responding?

Tonight It s Me (USA)
Read the review here

Good Morning (Canada)
Good Morning comically examines the ideas of sexual identity and age anxiety via the story of a man who on the morning after his 30th birthday party wakes up with both a massive hangover, and a 17-year-old boy sleeping on his couch. One of the best acted and directed shorts I have ever seen. SUPERB!

Overall a very satisfying collection after a few earlier disappointments. (6/10)

Sunday, August 9, 2015


This film has his heart in the right place and could have been a very good film. Unfortunately it fails very short of that feat. The biggest problem with the film is lack of consistency. It never focusses on one single issue. The makers have tried to fit in every possible issue that needs to be addressed or talked about and in the process, any of those fails to register. Our main protagonist doesn’t get any space to explore all the issues that he is dealing with.

Randy, a 17 year old choir boy keeps having these wet dreams about making out with his fellow male singer and also a good friend. He is a devout of Jesus and prays everyday. But this is not the only issue. He lives with his mother who split up with his father after mysterious disappearance of their 5 year old daughter and now the mother is mentally not so stable. Fortunately Randy’s friends are all sweethearts and warmly embrace the possibility of him being gay, but it is he who keeps rejecting the notion. He ends up also becoming a part of gay version of Romeo & Juliet with his crush, his mate, who he still has a crush on and who seems to enjoy the attention equally. Things change when he meets Marshall, a 21 year old aspiring film maker, who hires Randy for one of his student films. Soon an affair begins which Randy’s mother finds out and blames his actions for the disappearance of their daughter. Randy feels responsible and wants to do everything for the family with the pastors help. In the meantime there are some side stories of teenagers losing virginity and unwanted pregnancy as well. As mysteriously as the daughter disappeared, she resurfaces and is found by police and the family comes back together. This time Randy is striker and makes it a point to see that marshall is also well accepted.

A coming of age film, this film can prove inspirational for young men struggling to come to terms with their sexuality but unfortunately fails to create a dramatic impact. It just gets lost trying to deal with way too many issues as mentioned above. And because of this,  as audience, we are not sure whether this was hard core drama or a high school camp kind of a film. The acting by everyone is pretty good, especially by father and mother. Randy is charming but a bit amateurish but on second thoughts, maybe thats expected of a 17-year old. I am not too sure. Only if the film focussed on a couple of main plots, it could have been that great film which it fails to become now. All issues like teenage pregnancy, gay musical, Randy’s sister, his friend getting STD, sexual violence; all are just touched upon and are dropped without any convincing conclusion. Barring these oddities, I still did enjoy the film. I wasn’t bored. There was always something happening, that kept you interested. But this film will fail to stick in miming for a long term.

This film bites off more than it can chew but still you can be assured, its not a bad film either. (6/10)

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Gay Short Films : 37

13 Ans (France ) [My 13]
Jonathan is in love with Julie, the most beautiful girl of his school. However, Julie doesn't even know him. He becomes friend with Charles, Julie's brother. One day, he sneaks in Julie's room to steal her diary and finds a drawn heart, with the quote "I love Jonathan". He is overjoyed until he finds out the diary is not Julie’s but it is of Charles. A refreshing and sensible short film.

Message Sent (USA)
Michael Collins has a perfect set of friends and life as a teenager including a girlfriend. Except for the fact that he is gay and wants to come out. He decides to send an email describing truth about himself to all his friends.

A Cuestas Con Mis Padres (Spain ) [Nowhere Without My Parents]
Ever since Pedro confessed to his parents his sexual status, unable to remove it from the head, even he imagined his parents in the most embarrassing situations, like his parents telling him what to do and how to do when all he wants is a good fuck.

Nörden Och Kärleken (Sweden) [Nerd In Love]
Daniel and Måns are Warhammer-buddies. But maybe there is something more between them than home-painted plastic soldiers. Both of their hearts beat for each other. Who will make the first move?

Tony and Kevin (USA)
Tony and Kevin's wedding day preparations and video. Meh!

The Feast Of Stephen (USA)
Stephen watches a group of boys playing basketball. When he gets noticed by the boys, he becomes a victim of their homophobia. A parallel is drawn to a group of guys gang banging a guy and the film ends with Stephen smiling. Maybe thats what he really wanted?

A Christian Boy (USA)
A mother experiences a spiritual awakening through Christ. Her son experiences a sexual awakening through a man who looks like Christ.

Self Service (Israel)
A young man meets a teen-aged boy in a public launderette.

Boys Grammar (Australia)
Bullying is taken to extremes at an exclusive private boys school. Gareth is raped by Nick and his friends in school. When they meet in the evening with the professor, they keep teasing on how beating helps them become a man and this was for his own good. A deeply disturbing film about homophobia and bullying.

Cabalerno (USA)
A young videographer is fascinated with filming a hunky skateboarder.

Mon Copain Rachid (France) [My Friend Rachid]
In this funny exploration of youth, race, and sex, a nine-year old boy works through his obsession with an older boy, his Arab friend Rachid. Specifically his obsession about the sizeable penis of his older friend. How Rachid exploits this to get from the boy, yet there is something inherently close and friendly about the two despite age difference. I think it was a very good short film.

Ballen (Netherlands)
22-year old Teun has to move back home after being diagnosed with cancer. His house-mates have organized a farewell dinner for him. To show him their support, they all go bald and remember old times. Not strictljgay, but more fraternity style.

Uitgesproken (Netherlands) [Caged]
David is torn apart when he finds out his best friend Niels is gay. Homosexuality isn't tolerated in their group of friends and they shut Niels out. Will David side with the group or choose for his friendship with Niels instead? A wonderfully shot and acted gay film.

The Monkeys and the Elephants (USA)
This short comedy explores the nature of relationships, and the interplay between different genders and sexual orientations. How gay men make advances and how it is no different to when a straight guy makes advances to a girl.

Sqaured (USA)
A one night stand gets competitive when two guys find out they are both tops. They play various games to decide who should bottom. Soon they also discover that they are both bigots who buy into stereotypes about each other’s racial identities? They sound the night as companions with a possibility of seeing each other again sometime in future.

Out Of The Closet (USA)
One man's dreams are suddenly broken when his lover decides to dump him for a girl and making a career in the city because he can't let go off his conservative roots.

Ronny & I (USA)
One of the bets short films I have seen. When a teenager tells his best friend he is gay and comes to terms with the fact that he is in fact love with his friend, the support and love that the gets fro his best friend is amazing and unbelievable. Ronny is open to showing his friend that he is also capable to love and show him the ropes. Its not clear if Ronnie is gay too but that doesn't matter. Shot in a format of hand held camera, this is brilliant scripting, acting and directing.

Gay Problems (USA)
A stereotyping account of some of the common complains that gay men seem to make all the time.

Toeing The Line (USA)
Two guys, jock friends from high school years before, reencounter each other during a group lunch at a café. One of them starts asking the other questions about sexual desires in high school and how open one would be to cross the line. Exploration of the ambiguity of sexual desire leads to crossing of the line where the 2 men explore each other’s bodies.

Kimchi Fried Dumplings (Canada)
Carls the eldest of three brothers  and gay and is expected to be a role model for the family. He wants to show his family that he made the right choice to move away. However, youngest brother Adam's unexpected hostility reveals the problems with Carls choices.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Cupcakes (Hebrew)

Sometimes you just want to watch a film for escapism, to have a smile on your face, and to not have to think too much about the complications of life. The director Eytan Fox is known to have delivered some really hard-hitting but good gay Israeli cinema, so this film is also a huge change for him. A musical comedy, this film is charming, simple and good fun to watch.

Every year 6 friends get together to watch UniverSong contest on TV, an ode to EuroVision. This year should be no different. The group of friends include middle-aged baker Anat, whose husband has recently left her;  gay schoolteacher Ofer, who likes to entertain his kindergarten class by performing musical numbers in drag; shy blogger Keren, whose interactions with the world are primarily online;  lesbian singer/songwriter Efrat, whose career is limited to coffee shops; former beauty pageant winner turner lawyer Yael; and repressed Dana, who works as an aide to a conservative female politician. But today is the day when Anat’s husband has left her, so ti cheer her up they impromptu get into a singing gig and even make a video. When Ofer’s closet boyfriend sees the video, he jokes about why not send it to UniverSong. What starts off as a joke, becomes serious when their song gets selected to represent Israel in UniverSong. The group is initially angry with Ofer to do such a thing but when they see their friends and family make fun of them for doing this, they take it up a s challenge and now they wanna prove something for themselves. They are ‘groomed’ by the Israeli bigwigs to prepare them for the big contest in Paris but the group soon realises that in doing so they are losing their natural simple charm which got them selected in the first place. They take matters in their own hand, make a trip to Paris on their own. They don’t win, come at a second place but they prove to others and themselves that its important to be true to yourself.

As I mentioned before, this film is simple, funny and emotional at the same time. The title comes from the bakery that Anat runs. What connected me to the film was to see an unlikely group of friend, coming together for each other and themselves indulging in doing what they all love. As explained in the opening scene,  "we all want to be part of the normal world and not fight it for once." The film is colourful, jazzy and laced with good music. Friendship is given respect, relationships are treated fair and however stereotypical it may seem but i loved the gay relationship between the two guys. One who is completely openly gay while the other, in closet as ever, because he could be the head-honcho of a big business.

The film is meant to entertain and make you feel good and it does exactly that. Whats to complain then. (6/10)

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Last Weekend

Throughout watching this film, i kept being reminded of one of my all time favourite christmas films ‘The Family Stone’. I don’t know why but it kept feeling that this film was a wannabe ‘Family Stone’. There were lot of similarities, which I don’t know were incidental or on purpose but regardless I couldn’t help but subconsciously compare the two films. That doesn’t take away from the merits of this film at all. I would also like to mention that this film is not a gay-themed film at its core. One of the main characters happens to be gay and his short story line is just part of the main story.

The film is about a wealthy family’s gathering over a labour day weekend  at their beautiful stone home on Lake Tahoe. Mom and Dad have decided to sell their home but have nettled anyone. Painstakingly, the mother has prepared and panned for entire weekend and wants to make it special. They have 2 sons. One of the sons, Theo, has just been fired from his job with a financial firm over an expensive clerical error. He is in a bad mood. His girlfriend keeps looking for approval from the mother. Roger, the second son is gay and works in the film industry, has brought a boyfriend/date with whom he is forming an attachment that doesn't quite feel like a relationship. He is simply embarrassed by his mother's shallow, acquisitive behavior. Roger also has some other friends who have come over. We witness the family dysfunctions over the course of three day weekend. Things happen including their home help getting hurt, Theo flirting with Roger’s guest friend and everyone else keeping their secrets. By the time film ends, neither the kids share their secrets with parents nor the mother tells either of son that she's planning to sell their beloved summer home. Weekend ends, Kids go back their way and its time for husband-wife to be alone once again.

I ams till struggling to figure out, what was the central aim behind the film. Was it to how a gap gets created between parents and kids, once they grow up. Or is it lack of communication? Or is it about family secrets? Is it about a eccentric mother? What is it? There are scenes which talk about the mother being very nit-picky about spending money but then in one scene we see her just throwing money over buying baskets. She complains about not getting enough time with her sons, but at the same time, she spends all her time withe in kitchen and later at hospital. The relationship between Theo and his boyfriend is not clear. If it was supposed to be only one night stand, why are they together? There is absolutely no chemistry between the couple. What was the point of adding Theo’s friend and her boyfriend. If they were removed from the film, absolutely nothing would have mattered.  Scenes like this and some others kept me wondering why was the film made? It feels like just a slice of life film. Thankfully, acting by the mother is the backbone of the film. Rest everyone is pretty ordinary. Neither good or bad. By the time the film is finished, your impression is very neutral.

There is nothing worth remembering about the film but at the same time, thankfully it doesn’t bore you either. A strictly average film.  (5/10)

Breaking Free (Documentary)

There are very few films or documentaries from India that touch upon the subject of queer-ism. So I alway forward to anything that comes out. This documentary delves into human rights violation and lives that got affected because of Section 377. Although the maker ays that its his personal journey, I disagree. We actually don’t see anything personal about him. But what we do see and hear is much more dreadful and real and scary.

Travelling across various parts of the country and talking to various individuals over a period of seven years. We hear individual stories from gays. lesbians, hi-res etc who have been assaulted , blackmailed and a lot of times even sexually abused by police and cops by using the fear of section 377 to the individuals. We hear some horrific stories. We also meet a lot of activists from Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai , Delhi etc and also the lawyers who have been fighting with community to get 377 repealed. Since it is filmed over a period of 7 years, we do see the fears of individuals at the beginning, we then also get to see hope and happiness when Delhi high court decriminalises gay sex only to be criminalised again by the supreme court. The movie brings out the real sufferings of the community at the hands of the law and why we need to break free from the medieval law.

After seeing the film you will realize that what the LGBT community is asking for is a basic human right, to live and love with dignity. This should not be  denied to anyone in any country by any law. It is important to understand that gays also want love, passion and companionship and not everything is about sex. Thankfully the documentary doesn’t try to sensationalise anything. It relies on true events, views of lawyers and activists an their fight for basic human right. Watching this documentary gives people hope again that maybe the government will do something about this. Soon !! (5.5/10)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Sud Pralad (Thai) [Tropical Malady]

What an utter piece of garbage this was. I mean common. You can’t just make anything in the same of visual masterpiece. In my opinion this is the height of self-indulgence. What use is a film, if only 10 people are going to watch it? I just read that when it was screened at Cannes, people left the screening and then boo-ed it but then later it was given jury prize and suddenly everyone started praising the film. This is just ridiculous.

Keng is a soldier assigned to a post in a small city in rural Thailand. Everyone likes him in the village but his heart is set on Tong, who he meets in a truck in the village. They start blossoming a friendship which slowly turns into romance. They have a connection between them and we just see the two guys taking random country trips and walking along jungles and killing time. Then suddenly film shifts into a second act, following some ancient Thai fairy tale. Tong has now disappeared and is believed to have become a ghost tiger. We then suffer through 45-ish minutes of Keng wandering around jungle looking for this spirit. This spirit of Tong taunts and bedevils the soldier, causing him to run through the woods and become lost and isolated himself.

The pace of this film is a major flaw. A languidly paced film does not always equal a soulful, moving film experience. I had to fast forward pretty much the entire second half of the film because there wasn’t anything happening. I do not need to watch a soldier wandering off in jungles for 45 minutes to understand whats going on. The same feat can be easily achieved in 5 minutes. This is not art. This is torture. Tong was good as a shy man who is getting all the attention from a soldier but Keng as a soldier did nothing for me. His body language and his voice were so bad. I just don’t wanna go on and on on how bad this film is and how utterly waste of your time it will be.

I really doubt, how and why are there positive comments abut this film. People need to get a life. (1/10)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

To Catch A Killer (Canada/USA)

Ok, so this is not a gay themed movie, per say, but the fact that it chronicles the true gruesome story of a homosexual serial killer who killed almost 30 young boys after sexually molesting them, makes it for a contender here. This was a made for TV film. At length of almost 3 hours, it doesn’t get boring because you are waiting to find what will the cops do to nail this criminal.

When a local teenager Chris Gant disappears in Des Plaines, detective Joe, is assigned to the case. His initial investigation makes him believe that local businessman John Gacy might have something to do with the disappearance. He assigns a team to find out evidences but almost overtime their evidences are found to be circumstantial and hence an arrest is never made. Things get worse, when he threatens to sue the police department and Joe for almost million dollars. Also everyone, including joe’s boss thinks that Gacy is innocent and is a respectable member of the society. Gacy and Joe then begin a sadistic game of cat-and-mouse as they both try to manipulate each other. Detective Joe is personally very invested in this case because he feels something is wrong. Eventually more evidences are gathered and after securing a second search warrant for Gacy’s house; they eventually find out not one but many many bodies buried under his basement. Gacy is charged with the rape and murder of 33 boys and young men and convicted, being sentenced to death.

Although it is quite an old movie and the production values show that, but the subject is quite relevant even today. Macy’s performance is simply superb as the respectable yet menacing man who is out for some mischief. We feel the pain that Chris’ parents go through. Thankfully, most details surrounding Gacy's crimes were left out. The sole focus was on how did the detectives go about nabbing the criminal, including tricks to make him break down. We don’t see any violence, gore, killing in the film. It is left to the viewer's imagination as to what happened to Gacy's defenseless victims. This film is not for thrill, rather it is more  semi-documentary style thats meant to show the evils of some of the respectable members of our society.

A terrifying film when you think of everything that a single man did to 30 plus teenage boys. A true crime representation. (6/10)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Secrets Of The Gay Sauna (Documentary) (UK)

Yes the title is very attractive and immediately catches your attention as a viewer but do not be fooled by the title. It is clearly chosen to attract more viewership on television.  Amore apt and suitable title would have been “Inside a Gay Sauna”. Just adding the word ‘Secrets’ makes it much more appealing to attract more audience and higher viewership on Television. This is made for TV documentary focussed on CS2, a popular sauna in Nottingham U.K.

For most of us gays, a gay sauna is not an unfamiliar term. But outside the community, not many may be aware of its existence, let alone what happens inside a gay sauna, commonly also known as “gentlemen’s relaxation zone”. People can tell you whatever stories, but men usually visit these sauna for one and only one motive; sex. Yes there are showers, sauna, jacuzzi, steam room but there are also dark rooms, sleeping rooms, porn room, glory holes, sling room and what not !! The documentary follows the gay couple John & Joe who run CS2 and who have been in an open relationship ever since they can remember. They also do not remember when was the last time they both had sex with each other. To make it more sappy, we are also witnessed to one of them proposing to the other for a wedding (which for me was clearly for the sake of this documentary). We also meet Narvel, man in his late 60s who is pretty much addicted to sauna and the idea of casual random sex. We also hear his partner’s views who has never been into saunas. Over the course of this 50 minute documentary, we will find out that for John and Joe, ‘owning a sauna is a lifestyle choice. They both are more than happy to mix business with pleasure’. We also meet the cleaner who has been working there for 6 years and happens to be a straight man. He doesn’t have anything against gay men but at the same time he is quite uncomfortable admitting to anyone that he works in a gay sauna.

The title sounds more titilating and raunchy but the documentary is not. It takes you inside sauna, walks you through the premise and shows us perspectives of owners, workers/cleaners and of one of the frequent visitors of the place. As a gay viewer, nothing may seem new information to you but the documentary may (just may) succeed in shocking some people in what actually happens inside a gay sauna. (4.5/10)

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Gay Short Films : 36

Hofesh Hagdol (Israel) [Summer Vacation]
A family is on  vacation when the unexpected happens. Yuval is enjoying with his wife and kids when suddenly because of water pressure, he needs help getting out of sand. This is when his ex-lover arrives and saves him. Has he just saved him from bring buried or will he also save him from the suffocation of a pretentious straight married life, when truly is gay and struggling to come to terms with it.  Leaving an open ending for viewers to interpret as to what happens, but I really enjoyed the way and sensitivity with which the subject has been handled. I loved this short film. Acting, direction and story were brilliant. This has a potential of making into a full length features film on this subject by extending the story. (8/10)

Ray's Male Heterosexual Dance Hall (USA)
If you think business decisions are made strictly on the basis of profit and loss, you need to see this short little film. When our hero Cal is looking for a job, he is advised by a friend that everything happens by making contacts. An all male dance hall is the place where everyone goes. The film highlights the politics of the dancehall in the same way as making contacts in the business world. And as what happens in the corporate world, most of us of us dance to the tune that is chosen by those with power. I am amazed to know that this film won an Oscar for best short film in 1987. (7/10)

I quit (USA)
Finn Page, a 20 years old guy has recently ended his first relationship. However, he’s not dealing with it very well. He resolves that quitting dating is the only option to prevent his heart from breaking again. Now, its up to his friends to convince him that sitting on the sidelines won’t make him happy. And one of those friends may also happen to like him but Finn would have nothing of it. Following arguments, Finn realises that his friends only want the best for him. Shot in Philadelphia, it was like going back into memories for me. (6/10)

Anochecer (Argentina) [Nightfall]
When two guys move in together and the night falls, its time to face the first step of mutual attraction.

Spasibo (France)
Clément, a French actor, goes to Saint Petersburg to participate in a films festival. When he gets there, he realizes he has disappeared: nobody can hear him and see him. He meets Andrei, a Russian gay who lives the same thing. This film was made as a reaction to the censorship of a gay short film in Parisian season’s festival in St. Petersburg. The film denounces the social invisibility who are reduced homosexuals in Russia. The film is marked by urgency and spontaneity in which it was made. Spasibo means ‘Thank You’ in Russian. (6/10)

Félix et le Poisson (Mexico) [Félix and The Fish]
Felix is a young lonely guy. One day he finds a finds a young man by the beach, unconscious who hardly speaks anything. He takes him home to take care of him, he then realizes he has scales on his back. Is he a mermaid (manman). This guy loves water and feels close to it and happy but Felix now fears that he will go back and may never return again. He goes back between reality and dream, where one moment the merman is with him, whereas, the other moment he is not. Interesting concept but amateur acting and lame direction in my opinion. (4/10)

Calogero - J'ai le droit aussi [I Also Have the Right]
A music video of a teenager’s obsession with his friend and imagining him kissing the boy under various circumstances.

Naděje (Czech Republic) [Hope]
A poignant film about hope and survival. A young man is dying of AIDS and just can’t it any more. He wants to die but of course his mother wouldn’t let. When his estranged father visits, they dwell on the past. Father apologise for disowning him and he didn’t mean. And he was the proudest man, overtime the son would win a race. So, the question is if he didn’t give up throughout his life while racing, why giveup now when its time to die. He needs to fight for it. A sad tale and excellent direction and acting. This again has the potential to be treated as a longer duration film with some background on characters and what happens to the family after he is gone. (6/10)

What Grown-Ups Know (USA)
After splitting from her husband, Roy’s mother takes his car and leaves home with her son Roy but they are struggling to make ends meet with dead end jobs and fleeing out of motels in middle of night. A chance encounter with a man in public toilet makes him realise he might be gay. He then recognises him again as the owner of the caravan park where Roy and his mother have settled in. Roy wants the man but what does the man think of him. Probably a son, who was taken away form him years ago? or something more? When the mother wants to leave, Roy goes back to manager but comes back devastated and rejected just like Roy’s mother was from his father. Great acting and superb story and direction. Could use some production polishing. (7/10)

En Compagnie de la poussière (Luxembourg) [With the dust]
At the frontier between youth and adulthood, François is in love with Michel. Michel doesn’t seem to care. The arrival of Alice, a capricious young woman, threatens to disturb this strange balance. I am not quite sure of who was the dead body in the morgue and which among the two friends was now dealing with it, but it seems like it was Michel who had now become a doctor. I wish that was a bit clear. But apart from that. I think the film and the story had potential, but I personally did not understand bits and pieces of the film. (6/10)

Benny’s Gym (Norway)
Alfred is a teenager who gets bullied all the time by Benny and his friends, who beat him up. But when Benny is alone and spends time with Alfred, he is a different lad. The high school bully shares his secrets, his fears and hopes with the unpopular kid. An outlandish bond takes place between them. In high school, Benny keeps ignoring Alfred, but when they're together everything is different. One night, Benny kisses Alfred passionately. Alfred acts surprised but he had been longing for such a moment. When the bullying continues by Benny’s friends, will Benny just be a ute spectator or expose himself before the eyes of the others to save Alfred because the possibility of losing Alfred forever is more than he can bear. (7/10)

Antes de Palavras (Brazil) [Before Words]
A fragmented account of the growing attraction between Celio and Dario; two classmates who are brought together by a series of serendipitous encounters and their own naive curiosity. It is Celio’s girlfriend Sofia, who realises even before the boys that there may be some karmic connection between the two boys who want read the books that the other one is reading and also they both listen to the same music. She is the one to decipher the feelings she knows exists between the two boys. Absolutely brilliant short film. Great directorial debut and brilliant acting. Please please make a full length feature on this keeping the same sensitivity of the characters intact. (9/10)

Alguma Coisa Assim (Brazil) [Something Like That]
Caio and Mari, two teenagers are discovering Sao Paulo' s night. Something unexpected may just occur when Caio would realise he is probably gay and break Maris’s heart. Little did Mari know that her joke up pairing Caio up with a guy would lead to this.