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

Saturday, April 18, 2015

La Maison de Himiko (Japanese) [House Of Himiko]

This was an interesting film, unlike most other Japanese gay themed films that I have seen before. It was an interesting mix of drama, comedy, emotions. In fact, the film could also be a right balance between both gay and straight audience. A story that’s said to  focus on relationships (does it really?), it makes for something interesting on paper.

Saori is a young woman, with low self-esteem and always low on cash struggling for survival. Her father left her mother to live his life as a gay man. He started a bar for gays, which later closed. He then opened up a retirement home for gay men called “La Maison de Himiko”. Understandably, she holds the grudge against him through the entire movie. When approached by her father’s very young and handsome lover to work as an assistant at this home, she unwillingly takes up the job became of money involved. At first she’s very uneasy and finds the men that live in the retirement home disgusting. Slowly but surely she comes to like the men that are there and helps them through some problems as well as confront problems of her own. The film focuses a little bit of every individual older man in that house along with the patron and how their lives were and are now and maybe everything is not as rosy for these men as it seems to Saori. While she opens up to everyone in the home, she still can’t forgive her father, who ultimately dies. She joins her old job back but clearly misses the beautiful company and love she received at the home. Things change and with persuasion from the members of then house, she comes back to the home for a hopefully happy future.

Interesting storyline and executed a s a chick-flick with little bot of romance, sex, drama, comedy and everything. I enjoyed the film because I chose to ignore the loopholes but there were quite a few. Why is the young sexy guy with older man when she stops around for sex at every opportunity, why does he suddenly become sexually interested in Saori, how does the house make money to live such a good eventful life etc. The film does show that homosexuality for some folks is quite open while for others, it could be still a shame. The young boy who gets transformed from being a bully to the house to a actually helping them in cooking was a good side plot. In terms of acting, the guy playing the older father is superb. He has that carizma of a lady queen who you can imagine running a gay club where the richest and the famous came in old days. He had that positive suave attitude that you would expect from such a person. His younger lover was way too cute and also acted well. I sometimes felt that Saori was over the top. The plot twist of one the guys going paralysed etc was totally unnecessary in my opinion.

Al said and that, even though the film might not have been great, it wasn’t bad either. I didn’t feel cheated or angry at having wasted my time. Yes, the film had gay stereotypes but I am not complaining. (5.5/10)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Interior. Leather Bar.

Now this was an interesting film, if you can call that at all. It is a mix fiction, documentary, feature or you can call it docufiction film as mostly it is mentioned in its promotions. The film stars James Franco and Travis Mathews (also credited as the directors of the film) as themselves working on a film project which reimagines and attempts to recreate the 40 minutes of deleted and lost sexually explicit footage from the controversial 1980 film Cruising starring Al Pacino.

The film starts with the fact that Franco and his Travis are looking to recreate the lost 40 min censored footage from the film. The film follows their process of finding the actors, whats their motivation behind doing this film, a mix of gay and straight actors preparing for the role and this documentary. Everyone is apprehensive, some are doubting, some are questioning while others are condemning. The major focus is on Franco’s friend, an actor, who is trying to make mark of himself and is now being asked to reprise the role of Al Pacino. Very soon we find outfit we will actually not get to witness the 40 minutes of loss footage. The film is actually the footage of the process of making the film. Only towards the end did I realise that all the talking an interactions are all scripted (at most improvised). Even if all the actions captured by the filmmakers were truly spontaneous, you'd still question how "spontaneous" they were, because almost everyone onscreen is a professional actor.

I did not know anything about the 1980 film, but thats kind of irrelevant to this film. Even now, I personally fail to understand the motivation behind this film. It’s like a bait-n-switch. Yes there are 2 graphic sex scenes but whats the point. The scene where Franco and his actor friend discuss what is normal sex and why is gay sex considered ‘deviant’ was a good part but apart form that, I just kept waiting for something to happen. It just didn’t. "Interior. Leather Bar" is ultimately more an idea for movie than a movie itself and it feels half-baked by the time it ends.

The only good thing is that it wasn’t unnecessarily stretched. With the running length of just about an hour, it is bearable. (4/10)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Shortbus

Shortbus is definitely not a gay themed film. It revolves around a sexually diverse ensemble of colourful characters in New York city and since a couple of prominent characters are gay and gay relationships have been given ample prominence, I think I feel ok reviewing this film on my blog. Surprisingly Shortbus includes a variety of explicit scenes containing non-simulated sexual intercourse with visible penetration and male ejaculation with all combinations of partners- male-male, male-female, female-female.

Set in contemporary NYC, the film focuses on 3 main relationships/protagonists. Sofia is married to sexy Rob and together they have great sex. But she has never had an orgasm in life. She works as a couples/counsellor where she meets the couple Jamie and James. James is going through some sort of depression which is affecting the relationship between the two. We also see that a guy has been secretly watching over James’ every move. We also meet Severin, who is a dominatrix, who fulfils fantasy of her clients but in the process has herself never developed skills of human interaction. When James/Jamie find out about Sofia’s orgasmic condition, they introduce her to Shortbus, a weekly social/artistic/sexual salon. James wants themselves to open up their relationship and meet a guy. They meet a young guy Ceth and begin a relationship. Sofia tries anything and everything there to get to climax. Even Rob starts joining her because he feels, he ha failed as a lover in bringing her the orgasm. On the other side, Severin begins to help Sofia loosen up sexually; Sofia helps Severin achieve a deeper human connection than she had experienced before, including a sexual experience between the two but Sofia is still unsatisfied. We soon find out that the video that James has been making throughout the film was actually a suicide film and he wanted to open the relationship so that Jamie can be happy after he is gone. This is when Caleb enters, the guy who has been secretly watching James and helps him fight his inside demons. We see scenes that show us connections between the characters' emotional problems and their sexual lives. The film finds alogical conclusion when all characters somehow find a proper solution/closure to their issues.

First things first, yes, there is a lot of sex. Graphic real sex, far from being crude or offensive. But rather than displaying sexually explicit scenes for the sake of cheap titillation, "Shortbus" is provocative with an actual purpose. With sex as focal theme, the film shows how sex, friendship and love continually intermingle. The raw carnal need of every individual may reflect their mannerisms and need as humans as well. It conveys our motivations and struggles. Yes, this film will be remembered for its explicit sexual scenes but also for its beautiful emotional moments. As this is a gay blog, its important to highlight that the story of Jamie and James was handled really well. The opening scene of James trying to suck himself and drinking his cum, is a bit too much to handle initially, but later we get to see what really is going on between them. Emotional handled well with intimate sex scenes, it makes for an interesting watch nonetheless. But having said all this, the film does get quite slow at some points and you wish, something quick should happen. So in that area, a tighter editing would help. Acting by most people is above average.

Just like real life, the sex in this film comes from honest place and not for titilation. The film shocks you and makes you think. (7/10)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Banana (TV Series) (UK)

Banana is first of the two spin-off shows from ‘Cucumber’. The show focussed mainly on Henry and Banana, in 8 episodes, focuses on 8 different characters and journey of love, heartbreak, sex and drama. Some of these characters very prominently feature in Cucumber, while others feature in just blink an miss appearance. Nevertheless, it is a great idea to showcase some of these stories. Added to the fact that these stories have some sort of comic touch to them, makes for an excellent viewing. You may or may not agree to everything that is shown, but you certainly won't be able to neglect it.

Episode 1 focusses on office boy Dean, who has been complaining about he was thrown out of the house. Since he needs money desperately, he visits his home with his best friend Scotty.
Episode 2 shows Scotty and her obsession with an older married woman and how she stalks her. Armed with a fantastic support system, the scene where she tells the woman how beautiful she is, was just perfect.
Episode 3 focusses on a lesbian relationship between two different individuals, a relaxed party goer and a more focussed career driven girl. Despite differences, the relationship can still be worked out f you really want to.
Episode 4 focussed on trans woman Helen, victim of a jealous ex, who decided to share some of their intimate videos and pictures online when she spurned his attempts of friendship. The support that her family gives her in the end was incredible
Episode 5 shows a young teenager who is obsessed with Freddie after a hook up. It shows him attending his best friends wedding and try to make sense into her that there is more to life than just being married and not living her dreams.
Episode 6 introduces us to  adorably quirky and slightly paranoid Amy. She goes on a nervous but lovely date with policewoman Kay, who also found out was the woman to arrest Daniel for Lance's murder.
Episode 7 shows Aiden, a hunky guy and how a simpleton Frank wants to have a relation with him. They both feel a connection but Aiden makes it more than clear in no uncertain terms that a relationship between the two of them was never, ever going to happen.
Episode 8 is a strong episode that focusses on elderly lesbian and her cleaning empire. She realises a little tool ate that the girls she has been employing for cleaning, could possibly be being abused by their caretaker JonJon.

Every episode was actually quite nice and very informative, sometimes surpassing the parent show. My favourite has to be one with Scotty and then about Amy. Actually every episode was quite nice and very intelligently done. apart from Dean and Scotty, the other characters did not feature that prominently in the show, but it was still nice to see that the characters being built and some episodes being created around their life and support system. Great spin-off show. (7.5/10)

Friday, April 3, 2015

Lilting (English/Mandarin) (UK)

This film reminded me a lot about this Indian film ‘Memories of March’. I am not saying that the films are similar but I found that the basic premise was quite alike. It doesn’t take away the merits of this film. It is a poignant film and touches you at places. It’s not to say that it doesn’t have its shortfalls but given the duration of the film, its quite nice. A story of two people trying to prevail past not only with language gap, but also the intense privacy of their own grief, makes for an intense serious viewing.

Kai and Richard are long time lovers. Kai’s Cambodian-Chinese mother Junn is living in a London retirement home that she totally despises, because she feels lonely and also because she doesn’t speak ay English. Even more, she despises Kai’s “best friend” Richard because he came in the way of Junn moving in with Kai. Not so long ago, Kai died in an accident and both Richard and Junn are dealing with it. Hoping to connect with Junn, Richard pays her a visit but she makes her disliking for him quite apparent. Richard later comes with a friend Vann, fluent in Mandarin and English, as a translator to help Junn connect with a potential suitor Alan in the retirement home. But soon the dramatic engine kicks in as Vann begins translating longer, deeper and inevitably more painful conversations between Richard and Junn, quietly filling in the gaps for Junn about how her son lived while carefully withholding the true nature of Richard and Kai’s relationship. Both Richard and junk experience visions of Kai as a living breathing soul that stirs up their internal emotions. End may not be as exciting but we do see relationship improving between Richard and Junn and hopefully there will be a happy future for both of them.

The film is a very slow paced film and the way Richard and Junn deal with the grief is interesting. It shows us how it is not impossible to share true, meaningful moments with someone who cannot speak a word of your language. Although the Characters’ background stories are not very well established, the emotions are still vivid. While Junn is restrained, Richard does get his eyes wet on more than one occasion since he still cannot tell Junn the real honest truth about her son. The three-way bilingual conversations are paced and edited smoothly, with smart but not excessive reliance on subtitles. Richard is excellent in his role, but I felt Junn was a little too stiff. As a mother, I would have expected more reactions and emotions coming out from Junn. It’s Vann who surprisingly, in a supporting role, gives a great performance, who unwilling gets involved emotionally between the two protagonists while translating everything for them. Kai has limited role, but him and Richard make a great pair.

The movie is depressing, yet uplifting, but somehow I feel, it failed to reach its true potential. (6/10)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Cucumber (TV Series) (UK)

These are exciting times for avid film/series watchers like me, specially the ones that focus on gay characters. It is time for another gay TV series from UK. I had heard of this series a few months back, but I am an impatient man. So I waited of the entire series to finish, so I could binge watch 8 episodes. By now most of you may know that this is a part of 3 web series along with Banana and Tofu, which essentially represent hardness scale of penis erection. The thought itself is so exciting that every gay man would watch this series.

Cucumber’s central character is a 45 year old man Henry and his life and his loves and his adventures. Henry is an insurance salesman and has been living with his boyfriend of 9 years, Lance. Interestingly, we find out that Henry doesn’t like anal sex and somehow he has convinced Lance of that. Lance is desperate to get married to Henry and end his virginity phase but Henry is more interested in his conversations with Dean (a black teenager working in his office) and Freddie, a delicious 21 year old hot working in cafeteria. Henry is totally smitten by him and just dreams of having him in bed at least once in life. In an unfortunate incident, Henry and Lance break up and Henry ends up moving in with Dean and Freddie. Henry eventually gets thrown out of his job, after supposedly causing the suicide of one of his colleagues. Henry starts making homoerotic videos with his nephew and his friend while Dean and Freddie continue with their sexual trysts. Meanwhile Lance gets totally smitten by Daniel, his co-worker, who keeps making sexual moves at Lance but seems like a bipolar personality. So while Henry drools for Freddie, Lance is doing same for Daniel. Lance eventually succeeds but it comes at a price of his life when Daniel in a fit of anger kills him. Some fingers point at Henry for cause of Lance’s death but he is equally devastated by Lance’s death. He needs to move on. His friendship with Dean and Freddie is getting closer even to an extent when Freddie offers to have sex with him which he refuses. When the trio along with many other are thrown out of the illegally occupied houses, Henry decides to take all of them to their home and make a Collective. But things don’t last too long and eventually everyone moves out. Time moves and few years pass when Freddie and Henry have a reunion of sorts. The reunion between Freddie and Henry was the highlight of the episode. I love that this show went from Freddie being barely able to tolerate Henry to actually having the both of them develop an understanding and respect for each other without either of them becoming a couple.

Cucumber has been a mixed bag for me. There are scenes and episodes that I completely loved but then at the same time, there have been stages where I have been left wanting more. The story idea and presentation is definitely novel and something new but I wished there was more detailing into some of the other aspects. At any stage, i never felt connected with any of the characters and this is where I think the series fails a bit. If nothing more, as a viewer, I should have found a warmth about Henry, but I don’t. On the contrary I found him a very selfish individual. Freddie adds the right mix of attitude by a hot gay guy who can have anyone who he wants and Dean as the goofy teenager struggling to find his own. The actors are all charming and have done their job well. Having been to Manchester and seen some of those places, I felt good. I know its not fair to compare but the show ‘Looking’ in US is far more better than this series. Gay television dramas need to be free to fail, and gay characters to be fully rounded human beings rather than walking issues.

I would still recommend this to everyone. My expectations were bit much higher than what I eventually got. (7/10)

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Last Straight Man


This was an interesting film. I have very mixed feelings about it and still can’t decide what to make out of it at the end. Hopefully while writing this piece, it will get clear in my head. the few things that come to my mind after seeing the film is that it must have been made on a ultra low budget. Because the entire film has been shot in one hotel room along with some pics here and there but pretty much every single thing happens there. So the production cost has to be really low. Keeping that in mind, the film has been done actually pretty well.

Lewis and Cooper have ben the best of friends for a while. At Cooper’s bachelor party, when he gets too drunk , he decides to just stay back with Lewis at his hotel room. More shots follow and Lewis admits to being bisexual or maybe even on path of being gay. Thankfully Cooper doesn’t over-react and since he has never messed around with a guy, they end up doing so. Thankfully again, no drama happens in morning and the friends part way still being the best of buddies. Soon we se that this now becomes an annual event, where the 2 buddies spent the same day in the same hotel to screw and catch up. Something that was supposed to be just fun, slowly is turning into something else. They both open up to each other sexually and emotionally that they had not thought of. Lewis is falling involve but part of it still bothers Cooper since he has wife and a kid. They meet again a few years later and then again. What we are privy of are the conversations that happen between the 2 men and how it brings them closer to each other. Five nights over a ten year period are depicted, showing how their friendship/relationship changes, and exploring the boundaries of sexuality.

Since the entire film is based on the conversations between the 2 men, a lot depends on the dialogues of the film, which to be honest range from moderate to decent to good to mediocre. Often I felt that the conversations were going no-where and the film was unnecessarily being stretched, which I still believe, and the film would have been much better with a tighter editing. But then someone could argue that it is necessary to show the dynamics changing between the 2 men. The performances between 2 men is quite alright actually. Neither great shakes but not terrible either. Lewis is mostly the logical one  and Cooper just wants to let loose having to live a life for 364 days a year that he probably doesn’t enjoy. What surprises me is that the film is shown over 10-12 years but the duo doesn’t change at all over the course of years. Just getting a french beard for one of the nights, doesn’t make a huge change.

A decent watchable  film but unfortunately it fails to hold at the attention of the viewers. It needs crisper editing. (5.5/10)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Looking: Season 2 (TV series)

Just finished watching the last episode of Season 2 and at the same time I also find out that the series has not been renewed for Season 3. Now that makes me upset, because e decent gay series are hard to find in the first place, and now HBO wants to take away that pleasure from us. Anyway, at least they are going to allow a special episode so that all the stories can be given a proper closure. Now I will wait for that.

Season 2 continues to focus on the 3 friends Patrick, Augustine and Dom. Patrick and his boss Kevin are now secretly dating. Initially hesitant, Patrick tells this to all his friends. Kevin has still not broken with his current boyfriend, so the things are complicated. Patrick initially is ok with this but can’t take it anymore forcing Kevin to take a decision. Ultimately patrick and Kevin end of moving n together but the end of season is not as rosy as it seems because it seems the 2 want different things form their relationship as far as monogamy is concerned. Augustine is trying to stay away from alcohol and meet a positive bear. For some reason, he has this instant liking for him and he tries his best to sort his life and see if he can finally make it with this new guy. H also joins him in his volunteer service of helping trans kids at a centre. He finally feels happy. And then we have Dom and his fag-hag roommate Doris. Dom is still trying to find out how to put his dream to reality by opening some sort of eating join. When Doris’ father dies, she is left with some money which she offers to Dom. At the same time, Doris also meets a black straight man, who is too much into her and too good to be true. She is struggling with balancing her friendly love for Dom and love for this new man because she wants things to work out for them. In between we see some side stories of other people around them including Rich who was Patrick’s ex boyfriend and also Dom’s older boyfriend whom he met in Season 1. Season 2 ends on a high not without putting any closure tony stories.

As in season one, my absolute favourite thing about this season is the performances. Every single actor, I mean, every single one of them is amazing. And the credit has to go to the director for this to extract such natural amazing performances. I also like that this season focussed on all three characters and not just Patrick. Augustine's character and story was developed further which was good to see. I think we still need to see more of Dom and Doris history. Although this season my absolute favourite was Doris. How I wish, there was more of her. Patrick’s character could use some more bot of fine tuning and a little more reactions. I loved the scene where he and Kevin plan for an overnight stay. The entire sequence is funny but so damn realistic. The entire premise is realistic and very life-like. You feel you are following your friends in real-life and watching them through a secret camera. The spontaneity of the actors is amazing. I wonder how much of this is rehearsed vs improvised.

I am sad that the series has not been renewed but maybe one day we will see a movie version of this. Meanwhile enjoy this and lets hope we see more LGBT theme series and films that are actually good. I am LOOKING :) (8/10)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Day It Snowed In Miami (Documentary)

The Day It Snowed In Miami, a documentary about LGBT rights and the 1977 Anita Bryant campaign in Miami-Dade County. The documentary’s title serves as a metaphor: the ordinance that sparked the outrage was debated by commissioners on an uncharacteristically frigid night and some opponents at the time remarked that the ordinance would pass "when hell freezes over." The morning after the ordinance was approved — Jan. 19, 1977 — Miamians woke up to snowflakes for the first and, so far, only time.

The ordinance and subsequent battle in South Florida between liberal supporters and conservative singer Anita Bryant's Save Our Children group, thrust gay rights into the national spotlight for the first time and the film documents the LGBT movement through the present. Banned by law from holding any public or private teaching jobs, as well as several other professions, and hounded by a state Senate committee headed by a former governor, Florida’s homosexual population lived in fear and solitude. After the ordinance was passed, A backlash quickly ensued, led by Anita Bryant. The documentary focusses on that aspect. Soon the focus shifts to the 80s AIDS crisis. Left without support, gay men and their sympathizers organized to fight the disease and to comfort the afflicted. This effort, according to “The Day It Snowed In Miami,” is what turned the tide. With improved organization and more research, effective treatment eventually followed. With treatment came longer survival times. With longer survival came a renewed need to focus on a future, and that future increasingly meant demanding acceptance as equals in society. The story ends when the motion to reinstate the county’s human rights ordinance was passed 6-5.

Though dealing with an important and emotional aspect, the documentary felt very preachy and long. The first half of the section was insightful and fit the title. When the film started going into AIDS epidemic and other things, it just felt that this is stretching way beyond what it was originally planned for. I agree that historically that is THE single most important piece of history that defined a lot of things for gay community, but it seems to me at least that it wasn’t supposed to be the focus of the documentary, which it ended up being. Also, for someone like me, who did not have any of this context before, it would have been better if the documentary was a little more simplified to understand. I felt a lot of political terms were used which did leave me a bit confused many times.

Overall, still a very important documentary which helps us understand another chapter in history of gay rights movement, this one focusing on Florida. (5/10)

Friday, March 20, 2015

Underage And Gay (UK) (Documentary)

In the documentary film Underage and Gay, shown on Channel 4 in UK, we meet bright, articulate, funny teenagers who tell their own stories during this interesting period of their lives. The camera follows queer teenagers for about 4-6 months to survey whether the world is now a more tolerant place? But even more importantly, what is the reality for LGBT teenagers in Britain today?

Become from Bradford is a 14 year old gay teenager who was never in doubt of his sexuality. The documentary looks at his desire to be out, open and honest while starting at his new work but at the same time dealing with threatening phone calls and abuive messages. Mykyla, 14, is a self-described ‘butch lesbian’ and as such has had issues fitting in with other girls. She attempts to meet more people ‘like her’ including a residential boat trip with an LGBT group. During the trip she finds out that she identifies herself being addressed more as a boy with pronoun ‘he’ but still wants to retain her body. Tamika , 16, is a sassy, confident lesbian. After years of fitting in, and keeping a low profile, Tamika has decided that her school prom is her chance to smash some preconceptions her schoolmates have about her by turning up in an elegant evening gown. Alex, 17, was born a female, but is starting to construct a new life as a male. After some domestic strife, he was placed in a hostel, away from a family that had always mistreated him. We watch as he attempts to build a new life away from them, and struggles with the realities of being a transgender teen. Finally, Cariad, 14, a Welsh lesbian who has suffered horrific bullying. She decides to let go off her tom boy look and embrace her girly-ness with her new look and new confidence.

All the teenagers in this documentary come across as intelligent, brave and obviously self-aware of who they are and how they want to live their lives. People question whether at such a young age do they really know who they are and what they want but it is a debate saved for another day. It was interesting to see what teenagers even in today’s day and age go through. Alex’s story affected me the most. For a 16 year old to start a life on your won without emotional support from family is got to be the hardest thing anyone has to do. The other also have interesting stories and the fact that the duration is just the right size under an hour, it keeps the viewers engaged and at the same time the message is passed across.

A touching and brave documentary about sexuality and gender. (6/10)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Gay Short Films : 30

A list of some really short films/programs that I saw with gay theme.

The Clearing (UK)
This short show an unidentified walker who is lured through the woods by the distant sound of a saxophone. He is drawn past inviting groups of gay men luring him into sexual acts, a woman picnicking, a boy eating an apple, before finally reaching the clearing. Good !

Alfalfa (UK)
Film introduces a gay alphabet, with the aid of images and music, which it is argued is a defence against heterosexual language. Yawn !!

Distance (French Canada)
A couple struggling in their relationship gets the last blow when the husband comes out to his wife as gay. Average !

The Navajo Nation and Same-Sex Marriage (USA)
The national debate over gay marriage, however, is prompting some Navajos to re-examine a 2005 tribal law called the Dine Marriage Act, which prohibits same-sex unions on the reservation. More documentary style. Yawn !

Black Gay Dads Who Blew Up Twitter (USA)
What did Kordale and Kaleb Lewis, the black, gay, Atlanta-based fathers of three young children do when they were faced with intense homophobia and racism after a picture of them doing their daughter’s hair went viral. Nice !

Kus me Zachtjes (Belgium) [Kiss Me Softly]
All attention in the family goes to 17 year old Jasper’s singer dad. He rebels by coming out to his family by kissing his boyfriend in the entire crowd. Comedy !

Primera Vez (Argentina) [First Time]
An 18-year old meets a man of 29 in a chatroom and decides to have his first experience with him. Pretty good !!

Mies Etsii Miestä (Finland) [Man Seeking Man]
An old man gets a surprise when he mistakes his estranged son to be the hustler who he had advertised for and was expecting to show up around the same time. Awkward !

No Particular Night in Fun City (USA)
A young boy running away from the law ends up in the back alley, only to bump into a leather jacket daddy, who hates faggot. Conversation between them reveals that the boy ran away because he bashes a man whom he thought was trying to blow him when he was taking a leak. Bad acting !

Cara O Cruz (Spain) [Head Or Tail]
Heartwarming story of 2 very close friends who know they are not gay and talk about it but would rather be with each other than choose that over any girl or their further education.  Excellent short film !

You're Dead To Me (USA)
As she prepares to receive family members on an important anniversary a mother cooks, cleans, and fights with her trans teen over unresolved differences that left them estranged. The argument reveals some rifts in their relationship and resolves itself in an unexpected and touching climax. Very good !

Former Inmate On His Time In LA Jail's 'Gay Wing' (USA)
A former inmate ( a British producer) walks us through his experience of spending time in the gay wing of LA prison and what things you have to deal with as opposed to politics of normal wing. Interesting !

Victor (France)
Victor is a young man of good breeding, who keeps his dead parents in the bedroom of their sumptuous family cottage. The new status quo opens the door for new discoveries in curing a threesome with his maid and his hunky boyfriend.

Orange/Milk (Romania)
The story of two friends whose relationship is built around the obsession for voyeurism and for each other. A better direction an this film would have been fantastic. Alex was HOT !

Monday, March 9, 2015

Cuatro Lunas (Spanish) [4 Moons]

Films with multiple parallel tracks can be a hit or miss. Some stories gel well with each other while others don’t. Each film-maker has a different way to present these stories. Some keep them totally separate while others try to bring in the characters into each other to show some form of relation between the stories. There is no right or wrong between these two styles. As long as the viewer is still sufficiently engaged and enjoys, nothing else matters.

This film also follows 4 parallel stories. We meet 11 year old Mauricio who has a secret crush on his dark haired cousin. Rather confident of his feelings, he manages to act on it with his curious cousin only to be later humiliated in public by the cousin’s curiosity-turned-homophobia. The young boy’s first brush of crush will leave a deep impact on his life including how his parent’s react to the entire situation. In the second story we meet Fito & Leo, former school buddies as kids who reunite in college again. Spending time with each other makes them fall in love and they are both surprised by it. But soon Leo starts fearing to be found by family and friend. His first boy-friend or love is no longer important but sense soon prevails and things are green again. Third story is about lovers Hugo and Andre who have been together for 10 years. They routine life has induced boredom in Hugo, who secretly starts seeing another man. Andrew wants to hold on to Hugo and do everything it takes to salvage the relationship but will that be enough. Maintaining a relationship is as hard as finding love in the first place. And in the last story we see a retired professor and poet with wife, kids and grandkids, propositioning to a ripped hustler in a gay sauna. He ends up stealing his grandkids christmas money to satisfy his curiosity but the change of heart in both of them in second half just looks forced.

Each story in this film corresponds to one of the four phases of the moon: new, half waxing, full, and half waning; and each has a gay protagonist at a roughly corresponding time of life: late childhood, late teens or very early 20s, middle 30s, and old age. Each protagonist faces challenges typically faced by gay males at those times of life, but presented in entirely original ways. Acting by pretty much everyone is actually quite good and good direction. My absolute favourite story is about leo and Jito. It is really endearing and heartwarming. Their interactions, first time cuddling and sleeping, their attempt at first time sex and everything else is just pure and magical and captured very very well on screen. How I wish now that someone takes specifically this story with the same actors and weave a full-length feature on justice section. Sadly the last story about the old man feels completely the opposite. It was stretched beyond meds and the scenes where he s hanging out with his daughters seemed completely out of place and unnecessary. The other 2 stories were equally good and they all teach us something. How a kid goes through adolescence and will it scar him for life that he is gay. The scene where he goes to church to ask the priest if he ha committed crime, gives us a glimpse of what could follow. Overall the film was quite engrossing and I can definitely admit that I did not feel bored of the film and can see myself revisiting it at some point in life.

The stories grab your attention till the end. Overall a very pleasant and satisfying movie. (7.5/10)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Boy In The Dress (UK)

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Turtle Hill, Brooklyn

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

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

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

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

Monday, February 16, 2015

Gay Short Films : 29

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

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

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

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

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

Male Bonding Rugby Style (UK)

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, February 12, 2015

West Hollywood Motel

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Kissing Darkness

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

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

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

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

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Cambridge Spies (Mini Series) (UK)

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

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

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

Definitely recommended. (7/10)

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Gerontophilia (French)

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

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

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

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

Thursday, January 29, 2015

G&T (Italian) (Web Series)

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

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

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

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

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Eastern Boys (French/English)

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

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

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

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

Friday, January 23, 2015

Gay Short Films : 28

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Pride (UK)

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

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

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

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

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Gay Short Films : 27

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, January 16, 2015

Love Is Strange

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

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

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

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

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Gay Short Films : 26

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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