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.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Seed Money: The Chuck Holmes Story (Documentary)

I had heard about Falcon studios but never knew the history of it. Most of us probably have seen porn, especially gay porn and quite enjoy it as well but I, for once, never thought of the history behind, how this industry came about. Who started, why, under what circumstances and all that jazz. This documentary primarily focuses on Chuck Holmes, fonder of Falcom Productions, a pioneer of gay porn industry. It provides a decent insight into how . when and why did this all start and end.

Told through various interviews of his friends, colleagues and actors, we learn that in 1971, Chuck Holmes moved to San Francisco to sell real estate. That was the time when the sexual revolution was in full swing and the city was known as the 'Smut Capital of the United States.' Soon his real estate business turned into VHS producing films with mailing list of interested customers, who would pay him all cash money to get their hands of the porn films that he would produce, maybe only twice a year. After a few years, the mailing list had become a studio, Falcon which would soon become a became a revolution. In an era of homophobia, legal loopholes, laws and fear of prosecution for producing and distributing obscenity, Chuck took a hobbyists' industry and modernised it. The way he initially presented his actors and gay men slowly changed from hairy to complete all white American clean male after Calvin Klein came up with their brand. Needless to say that the industry made him a multi-millionaire. The money helped Chuck become a political force both in San Francisco and nationally. He was one of the founders of Human Rights Campaign, and a fundraiser for Democratic politicians, only to find that while his money was always welcome, he often wasn't.

The documentary doesn’t show any footage of Chuck Holmes speaking or interacting besides just one instance where he accepts an award. Rest everything is either shown through porn movie clippings that may have sometimes mimicked his life or through pictures. I felt that was missing a bit. I was glad to see that they did address the AIDS epidemic and how the studio failed to address the issue immediately till they finally gave in to the demand of actors and started using condoms. Interestingly, the documentary glorifies Chuck Holmes way too much, and in the process doesn’t even acknowledge the contributions that the actors or technicians would have had in the success of his business. having said all this, a film still deserves a decent mention to know a bit more of the history about the man who started and revolutionalised the gay porn industry.

Story of Chuck Holmes and his movement from a pornographer to philanthropist to political force. (5.5/10)

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Gay Short Films : 51

Hazel (Switzerland)
An obsessive mother, on the verge of a nervous breakdown, attempts everything to scare the gay away from her precious child.. A father, carefully blotted out from all the family photos and a dreadful child psychiatrist with unconventional methods. Its a colourful film with OTT characters.

A Gay Hike (US)
2 friends make their third friend, who is in closet, come out to them comfortably in the magic of nature. Short and sweet.

Slap (UK)
A teenage boxer finds expressing himself with make-up and female clothes more natural to him. But in the society where we have gender-defining conditions and expectations, our protagonist confronts the standards of masculinity in sports with keeping your identity intact.

Hora (Israel)
This animated short documentary investigates what it means being intimate by holding hands in public in various countries.

Golden (Germany)
A tale of being different and growing up. It talks about how gay people find their safe space in the world and naturally gravitate towards each other’s comfort space, because thats what is normal to them.

How Tasty Was My Little Cafuçu (Brazil) 
Two friends just talking about the various parties that they have been a part of. Talks about dreams, fun, pleasure and nothing else.

Closet (UK)
A forbidden love in a brutal comprehensive school. A closet guy bullies his companion while the story unfurls around a wardrobe that appears on a desolate beach.

Place (Israel)
Yair takes care of his sick mother, who develops dependence upon him while his boyfriend asks him to move in. He loves his boyfriend very much and chooses his boyfriend by making his mother realise the importance of him in his life. Very cute guys.

Man In The Mirror (US)
Jason, a Puerto Rican from New York City, has to deal with rumors that he is gay. With his identity questioned, Jason pushes himself to understand who he is and how far he will go to prove that he's just one of the boys. Loved it!!

Love Without Limits (Portugal) 
Young people and the party. A short scene from the movie "O que há de novo no amor”.

Agua (Mexico)
The life of an introvert teenager takes a turn with the arrival of his new swimming partner. His extrovert nature makes him question his own personality and sexuality.

Une Voiture Rouge [A Red Car] (France)
Time seems suspended in the gas station lost in the middle of nowhere. The arrival of a red car is going to stir things up.

La Donna (Argentina)
A guessing game between 3 characters (a couple and a man). The characters start to drink and loosen up, this results in less innocence and more seduction. The guest kisses the wife and then the husband, which sparks questions in the mind of the couple. Not really gay themed.

That App (USA)
Film showing the heart-breaks, deceptions and games people play using gay apps. you talk, you fall in love, get heart broken. You don’t learn your lesson and start all over.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Cruising

This film features in pretty much everyone’s ‘Must see Gay Films of all times’; so I finally decided to stop procrastinating and give this film a chance. I think I was just worried that because the film was a while ago, I just assumed that I may be disappointed and was just trying to delay that as much as possible. But boy, was I wrong! It may be old, but the situation, scenes, landscape and scenarios are as relevant today as they were yesterday.

New York city in 1980, some murder victims are found and it is suspected that it is a work of a serial killer. The targets are all gay men (similar age and looks) hanging around in West Village bars. The head of the detective department picks Al Pacino to go undercover, since he resembles the victims. He gets an apartment there, and moves out of his girlfriends home. Unfortunately the assignment takes a toll on their relationship since he cannot tell her the details. He starts frequenting the S&M bars in the area and MeatPacking district and makes friends with his neighbour Ted. After days of going in and out in the bars, he suspects on of the guys as a potential killer that they have been looking for. The cops force and traumatise the guy, which leaves our man disturbed by the hole sequence of events including police brutality on a poor unsuspecting man just because he is gay. Following a new lead, Al Pacino starts following a music student closely. When he sneaks into his house, he finds the leather outfits and some letters and is convinced that he is the killer. He lures him into a cruising park and brings that guy into custody. While the police department thinks that the case is solved, murdered body of Ted is found which the police dismisses the murder as a lover's quarrel turned violent. The end of the film is a bit open ended when Al Pacino returns to his girlfriends home and his girlfriend inspects his clothes that look very similar to the outfit that the killer wore.

The film is interesting but apparently it went through a lot of controversy when it was released way back when. The bar scenes and murder scenes seem to be shot at real locations. Some of us still dont realise this but some aspects of our world could be filled with danger especially when temptation seems to be everywhere. It was fascinating for me to see what NYC was probably like in 1980s. One thing that I personally felt that the murderer in ever scene looked similar but a different person. I wonder if this is my imagination or does it mean that they may be one killer on the prowl. I mean given the fact that Ted’s body is found after the killer is behind bars could support this theory. The ending is what makes the film special. During the film we see how his relationship with his girlfriend is deteriorating and they have even stopped having sex. Also he says t his boss that the assignment is personally affecting him a lot. Does that mean, that he was cared to come to terms with the possibility that he may be gay, or at least, feels attracted to the idea!! When the cops catch the first guy, why was Al Pacino tied up in bed. Clearly, he wanted to try things out and experience. Otherwise won’t he have tied that man instead? I also think that maybe there was a hint that may he himself was the killer. If not the original one, then maybe became one in the process.

An interesting, intense and dark thriller with good performance and open-ended interpretation. Although now that I write this review, I wonder if the film was really supposed to be a thriller or was the main focus to actually show the character graph and development of Al Pacino’s character and his possible involvement in the 1980s gay S&M sub-culture. We may never find answers to some these questions. (7/10)

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Familie Verpflichtet (German) [Family Commitments]

Some movies are just meant to be fun. You must watch them, don’t think about it too much, stay in the moment and just have a good time. Don’t try to find logic behind things that are happening and try to question “How is this possible?”. You will only hurt yourself whereas your friends will be laughing their asses off. This is one such film. Nothing but a comedy farce. It doesn’t promise to change your world, rather it just wants to make you smile with silliness and it works !

David and Khaled are much in love couple who live together. David is Jewish, flamboyant and openly out gay man. Khaled on the other hand is arabic origin and is in closet because of fear of his father who is homophobic & runs a restaurant. David runs an art gallery and Khaled is a quiet gym teacher, who must pass his final exam before becoming certified. David’s possessive controlling Jewish mother always interferes in their life and David can not do anything about it. Enter Sarah, a barely 19 year old girl who shows up unannounced with news of her pregnancy. David is the father from a drunk hookup o a previous year party. Initially shocked, David’s mother takes up on her to make sure she wants to have the grandchild. Even Khaled wants the child but David is reluctant. Confusions continue and in the process Khaled decides that he must tell his father the truth. But instead, what the father understands is that Khaled has a girlfriend Sarah who is pregnant with his grandchild. Khaled lies and says that he has come out to his father. More comedy of errors follow. When Khaled’s father shows up a their home to meet Sarah, David’s mom blurts out the truth which devastates the father. The boys are both heartbroken because the other person has not been truthful but then its time for Sarah’s delivery. When the baby is born, things all fall in place. David and Khaled both realise that hey are meant for each other and they force their individual parent to sort out their difference and they use the grandchild as blackmail, which unsurprisingly works for both. All’s well that ends well.

The film was just right length. At any point it did not feel unnecessarily being stretched. Yeah, maybe the comedy feels sometime over the top but it somehow works. David and Khaled are both gorgeous looking and act really well. They both have amazing chemistry. All the supporting actors are also too good. My favourite 2 scenes are actually the ones where a lady teacher hits on Khaled in school. They were so funny. Khaled’s aunt is also funny as the strong matriarch of the extended family. We also have the artist who lives in the couple’s attic and just fucks around. The comic scenes were not stretched and were smart, short and witty. The drama never went OTT and felt like you wish it was real. Actress playing David’s possessive Jewish mom was also really good. The whole situation, characters just fit well together.

The film is definitely worth spending an evening of fun-filled good times where you don’t wanna spend energy and just wanna chill and have a good time. You will not be disappointed. (6.5/10)

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

American Crime : Season 2 (TV Show)

I debated for a while whether I should review this on my blog, not really sure why; but finally I decided to do it because it made sense. This series dealt with a lot of things that anyone of us has to bear and go through in life. Yes, the show is more in crime series, but the context and setting is very relevant to my blog, so reviewing it here made perfect sense.

The story is primarily about 2 high schools in mid-west America. One school is a private school and the other one is public. Within first episode, the context is established. Taylor, a young high school kid, gets assaulted and later is revealed that he has , in fact, been raped by one of the other school students. Because he was drugged, he cannot remember who it was. His single desperate mother, gives all her energy and focus in getting her son the justice that he deserves. Eventually, the name of the guy is revealed and is Eric, one of the co-captains of the private school basketball team. This is the basic premise of how people go about solving the case and what happens to everyone involved in and around the case. Another important character is the black guy who is the other captain. The rape happened at the party hosted by him, so he also comes indirectly in the line of fire and we witness stuff that goes around him. And finally we have 2 of the most important characters; the coach of the basketball team and the principal of the private school. At times Taylor is driven to such madness and craziness and torture that he ends up killing one of the school boys as his measure to take revenge and stop being that helpless boy. This just makes everything more complicated. Layer by layer , different pieces of puzzle are solved and eventually everyone gets what they deserve.

I had mixed feelings after I was done watching the show. It was thrilling in the sense that every episode would bring something new. Great details and thought was given to different characters and what happens in their life. One incident (supposedly done for fun) can make so many changes and impact so many people that you would have never thought of! So I would look forward to every new episode. What I found was a bit of uneven pace. Sometimes a lot of detailing would be shown while other times the story moved so fast that you would be like, ‘what just happened’. I also didn’t understand the relevance of the whole story of the public school and the principal there. Was it to just to add and address the racism issues? Because honestly, the essence and core of the primary story could still have been achieved without bringing the public school in the picture at all. Th end episode also felt a bit rushed. A lot of good scenarios were created and points established, but the finale seemed rushed. I guess that the makers had permission just for 10 episodes :) But despite these flaws I still think that 10 episodes of about 40 minutes each, still was successful in addressing issues of rape in men, especially teenagers, the politics behind everything, how kids are still afraid of coming out as gay and what happens in a closed knit community when all these issues surface up.

Definitely give it a god because it is a good mix of story, good acting by pretty much everyone and sensitive issues that need to be discussed. It includes the school board, teachers, students (especially basket ball players), and their families. The series does touch upon the issues of racism alongwith sexuality and homohobia. (7/10)

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Please Like Me: Season 4 (Australia)

Yay!! Season 4 of one of my favourite shows. You have no idea how I have controlled myself not to watch the episodes the day that they were telecast, since I am such a fan. But the fun of binge watching all the six episodes was too much and so I waited till all episodes were aired and first thing I did was watch the whole season All my memories from previous seasons came coming back and I am glad that they did a quick preview of sorts from previous seasons to refresh your memory. That was definitely a good touch. Sadly this season had only 6 episodes.

Josh & Arnold are still together but clearly something is missing. They try threesome but the third doesn’t like Josh as much. A small divide occurs between them and on a trip to celebrate Hannah’s birthday Josh decides to breakup with Arnold. Meanwhile Tom and his girlfriend seem to begetting along well with each other and being very very supportive of Josh. The girlfriend clearly enjoys Josh’s company a lot more, since he is fun. Josh spends time with his father and mom on a lavish dinner where they talk about wonderful things about past, present and future (one of my favourite episodes). Heartbroken Arnold tries to move on and so does Josh and we see him with various different possible dates. Surprisingly Geoffrey, from previous seasons return for some fun times with Josh. It seems Josh is finally growing up. Tom decides to move out of the home with his girlfriend (part of becoming an adult) but things al change when Josh’s mom commits suicide. Suddenly Josh’s life goes topsy turvy, but with support of everyone he is able to get through all this. Both Joh and Tom move out of their home. Josh buys a new place after selling his mother’s home and Tom moves out as well. But in their new space he and his girlfriend realise that they need to breakup since she doesn’t like this new change. The series ends with two best friends together enjoying each other’s silent company with some yummy food.

One big shift I felt this season was that all characters were a bit mature. Its been a while and they are starting to grow up and become mature. Sure, none of them has any job and you don’t know what they do but at least in all other areas they try to act and be mature. All the goodness in terms of humour, great natural acting, goofiness and reality; all at the same time. It was a perfect recipe for e after a long long tiring day at work. As in previous season, a lot of focus is on food and presentation and I love that and in fact one of the episodes this season is all in a restaurant eating a 15 course meal which looked mouth watering. One of my favourite scenes this season was when Josh is taking his childhood toys back home and sings an entire song while making a teddy bear dance in bus. Hannah’s birthday episode and Josh-Arnold breakup was emotional. I wish everyone had a friendship like Josh-Tom. The way Tom supports Josh after his mother's death was awesome.

I can’t stress enough on how good this show is. This needs to be seen by each and every single individual because this is how a show should be: Fun, cocky, hilarious, slice of life and very very entertaining that always keep a smile on your face. (8.5/10)

Monday, December 5, 2016

Warwick

Oh my god!! What a utter piece of garbage this film was. Yes! I said it ! Unbelievable!! How can someone be so self-absorbed that they have no idea of what they are doing, or someone around them to tell the makers that they should not be doing what they are doing.

The story is straight forward. A young man travels from Ohio to Seattle for an interview. In the hotel, he meets a male prostitute, a young mysterious man, who talk about stuff, have sex and the guy leave sin the morning. Thats it!! Yes, trust me; Thats it!! This 70 min long film could easily be made into a 4 minute short film. How long can one watch the protagonist looking outside his window, or doing stuff on mobile or laptop, or just waiting for the elevator. The talking portions in the movie were barely 15-20 minutes. The rest is long yawning shots of random things. I feel that the makers in their mind thought that they are making a tribute to ‘Weekend’ or something (at least I get that feeling). The direction was sooooo bad. I am sure the film was made using iphone or something as an experimental home video, but no one should have any expectations at all form this film.

What a terrible waste of time for everyone. Do not even attempt to see. Usually in such films the saving grace is a hot sex scene but that also here is sooo boring and nothing to talk about or watch. (0/10)

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

L'Armee du Salut (Arabic / French) [Salvation Army]

I don’t know why but I had many expectations form the film. Something about the poster, the story about an Arab teenage got me all very intrigued but alas as always expectations kill a film. I did not know until very recently that the film was based on the autobiography of the director, which in fact surprises me because then the maker should have taken the best parts of the film.

Film primary focuses on Abdellah, a young teenage boy who lives with his parents and 6 siblings in Casablanca. His father and elder brother have their own room whereas his mother, 5 sisters and younger brother all share one rom which gives him the familiar feel of intimacy and closeness. Abdellah is a quiet kid, slightly bullied by everyone and a boy struggling with his sexuality. He looks upto his elder brother Slimane and has a huge crush on him. But since he cannot do anything with him, he finds sexual release with older men in the neighbourhood. Its not very clear if they use him or he uses them. Slimane once takes Abdellah and his younger brother to a seaside holiday but leaves them one day for another girl which kinds of crushes Abdellah’s love and dreams. Fast forward 10 years and Abdellah is now in a relationship with an older Swiss professor and they are having a good time holidaying. Its not very clear as to how and why they got together but in the third segment we see that Abdellah, now a young man, goes to Geneva for his college but arrives a month earlier than planned and has nowhere to go. The professor sees him and offers him love but Abdellah doesn’t want it. Was he really just using the man for his benefit as his ticket out of Morocco, we won’t know? The film ends with Abdellah finding a shelter with the Salvation Army, where his new room mate joins him and finally he may find a friend.

I have to admit, I was really enjoying the first 30 minutes of the film. The setup, the casting, the family dynamics and everything was spot on. Although it gets a little puzzling as to why Abdellah is the way he is but it still is interesting to watch him going through his daily routine, while meeting random guys on streets who have sex with him in construction sites. I am guessing thats not a very uncommon scenario. Similarly Abdellah’s longing for his brother and his subsequent heartbreak when he leaves them for a girl while on a holiday was interesting. Later when Abdellah is with the Swiss professor, his interaction with the boat guy was also interesting. I think culturally, it was acceptable that the local boy found a rich man to take care of him. Had it been just for pleasure, Abdellah would have been judged by everyone. Still, even after finishing the film, I cant tell whether its the men that were exploiting the young Abdellah or it was just his way to get some acceptance of love. The scene when he hugs an older man on the seaside love makes me believe that all along Abdellah is craving for love and affection from someone and he is not getting it. I feel there is too much left untold or unexplored and there is a scope for a lot more. I wonder now what the book is like!

In summary, this is a film that started with a lot of promise in first act but somehow it lost focus and steam and then we as viewers failed to emotionally connect with the main actor and what he really is going through. (5.5/10)

Monday, November 28, 2016

Baisers Cachés (French) [Hidden Kisses]

A teenage love drama, a story of coming-out and acceptance, a story of bullying etc etc. We have seen them all, heard them all; but the makers keep coming up with more of these films, which I am glad because the situations haven’t changed much in a lot of places and we need to continue to educate people around us regarding these issues. Its important to keep them in focus.

Nathan, a 16 year old, lives with his single father Stephan, who is a cop. They have moved to a new neighbourhood and Nathan is adjusting in his new school. Within a few days, a picture of him kissing another boy surfaces on facebook and soon he is an object of everyone’s bullying. The situation is bad that even his father completely stops talking to him. Nathan tries his best to protect the identity of the other boy, who happens to be Lucas, another guy in his class. The bullying takes harsh turn and one day he gets beaten really bad, primarily by Lucas. This shakes up his father completely and he starts to try and understand his son and come a bit closer. Meanwhile Lucas continues to hang out with his girlfriend, feeling the pressure of his educated parents who are big time homophobic and wanna make sure that Lucas is not friends with Nathan. The truth eventually comes out and suddenly Lucas finds himself completely isolated in his own house. Depressed, he runs away from home and decides to take away his own life but i saved in time by Nathan and Stephan. Even this incident doesn’t change much in Lucas’ parents but slowly his mother starts coming around and supports her son. In fact she even leaves her home till the father comes around. Unfortunately, his father does come to see Lucas play his boxing match but leaves because he cannot still accept his son.

As I mentioned before, films like this are important and relevant even in today’s time, especially for teenagers who are struggling in coming to terms with their own sexuality. There were several scenes that I connected with while others, I felt, were a bit over the top. When Nathan’s father stops talking to him, you feel the sadness in him because his only true supporter is taking a step back. You feel how brave he has to be every single day to go to school and be bullied and face the brat students. Eventually his father comes around, which is quite believable. Similarly, the way Lucas is treated by his parents, you feel so bad. I mean, just imagine yourself as a young teenager and if your parents make you eat alone, not talk to you, beat you and lock you in your room; how would you feel? I felt really really sad in those scenes. But having said that, I also found it a bit odd that in the year 2016, an educated doctor father and a corporate mother thin that this is a choice and disease and that he needs to fix himself was a bit over the top. I mean I have never seen so much homophobia, when the parents ask him to stay away from Nathan, even in class, just because rumour is that he is gay. I also did like the support that 2 of the teachers provide to Nathan when is dealing with all the bullying. Acting wise everyone does a great job and in films like this, the most important thing is to connect with protagonists and I sure did with both of them. You have Nathan who fully accepts who he is and then you have Lucas, who is struggling to be himself because he is pressured by his parents expectations.

This is no great film but surely an important film that deserves to be seen by people. Hopefully parents will start becoming more understanding of their teenage kids struggling to fit in. (7/10)

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Lazy Eye

An interesting film where ex-lovers reunite after 15 years. I think the film is supposed to be a delicate and mature touching love story with heartbreaks and everything intercepted in between to make it watchable and more realistic. Somehow the parts of the film made it a bit hard for me to believe. The simple fact of why would there b still so much passion and love for someone who you spent a summer 15 years ago. Isin’t that a long long time ago? By the way, the title of the film comes from the eye condition that Dean has.

Dean, who works as a graphics designer in LA, is a bit bored with his job and how his life is going. An out-of-the-blue email from Alex brings a kind of storm in his life. We find out that Alex and Dean spent a summer together 15 years ago before Alex abruptly disappeared and now wants to reconnect with Dean. After an initial reaction of “Fuck off!”, they start exchanging emails with a bit of flirtations and finally decide to meet each other. Dean Dean invites Alex to spend a weekend at his house in the Southern California desert. As nervous as Dean is anticipating Alex, they both can’t keep their hands off each other as soon as they meet. They start talking about what happened and through a series of flash-backs we get o know how they met 15 years ago. Things are going fine till they both drop a bomb on each other. Dean admits to being married to Brian who is travelling for work. Agitated Alex leaves home but comes back to give his secret that he disappeared that summer since he met someone else. Rest of the movie is about reliving past, coming closer and pulling apart again. Alex expects Dean to leave everything including Brian to be with him, but thankfully Dean questions his commitment to anything in life and says that he would rather prefer to make his marriage work and be honest. And just as Alex disappeared 15 years ago, he again leaves in the crack of dawn.

Though the pace os the film can be a bit questionable, the director adds enough layers, giving an intimate insight into the lives of the reunited lovers. Though Dean blames Alex for leaving abruptly; we soon find that there are always two sides to any story and how communication is important. The locations are new, and the lead actors are both very good looking with their tidy matching beards. They definitely act really well and there is plenty of lounging around near pool in tasteful nude scenes. The story is relatable but personally for me, not very believable as I said before. People change drastically in 15 years both physically and emotionally and it seems this was never discussed.  Its a film for mature audience who have been in love. The pace of the film could have been faster but the whole idea was probably us, as audience, to spend the weekend with these 2 protagonists and feel what they are going through.

The film is a no-frills, simple, to the point, very well acted film. (6/10)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Muerte en Buenos Aires (Spanish) [Death in Buenos Aires]

We have had very few mystery/thrillers in gay genre. I think if we tried, we would easily be able to count them on fingers. This film although may sounds just a standard, simple police-procedural crime thriller but the director has used a lot of homo-eroticism (not just for the sake of it) and that is what makes this film even more charged and exciting. Also important to note is that the film is set in 1980’s in Argentina.

The film starts with the murder of a wealthy gay member in Buenos Aires who also happens to be an art collector. Rookie cop Gomez, ridiculously good looking, is at the scene waiting for the cops to arrive. Detective Chavez, a family man and a tough cop is given the responsibility to close the case soon as possible. The initial suspect is Kevin, victim’s lover who left a message on his answering machine. Chavez asks Gomez to join his team and goes as an undercover into the gay circle to get more information. Gomez befriends Kevin and extracts information from him while enacting various sexually charged scenes. Also we see a strange sexual tension between Gomez and his boss Chavez. As Chávez delves into uncovering the identity of the murderer, he is challenged both professionally and sexually by the involvement of Gomez. Kevin is taken into custody, but there he gives some information to Chavez that makes him question the whole motive of the murder. Nothing is what it seems and Chavez starts to believe that maybe Gomez is behind al this and maybe all the money and power is visually becoming appealing to him. After various twists and shocks, the films end is left for viewer’s interpretation but at the same time it is made clear as to who was the involved party.

First things first, lets talk about how hot Gomez was. No one can deny that and the sexual charge and tension between him and Chavez was so cool, you could feel it. The two instances where they almost kiss and Chavez wants to fuck Gomez were wow. Now this is what chemistry is all about. And acting by them was brilliant. You have to give al the credit to the director for presenting them they way she did. Visually also I thought the film showed some brilliance in terms of recreating an old era. The story had enough twists for the viewers to keep guessing who really could behind the murder. You question yourselves about who could be involved in this. The film also shows how corruption, money, sex all played out in that era in Argentina. I did not, for a moment get bored and was always looking forward to whats going to happen next. Yes, everything that happened may not be totally believable, but who cares!!

A very rewarding and fulfilling experience with good twists. Hopefully, a sequel would follow soon. (7.5/10)

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Retake

An interesting story of someone trying to relive his past in an effort to fix it or make it better. The film is one of the few in the genre of a road-trip film in queer cinema but still it does not completely succeed in keeping audience’s interest peak for a long while. At least I had to watch film more in a fast forward mode, just in the hopes that something more worthwhile will happen.

Jonathan, a middle-aged man travels to find a young male escort. After a few tries, he hires a young male prostitute to accompany him for a road trip to Grand Canyon, with the condition that the entire trip will be about role play. The young man is playing Brandon, a young, temperamental, rough around the edges kinda guy who is Jonathan’s boyfriend and they are madly in love with each other. As the young man, he is more interested in finding the true reality but Jonathan insists that he stick to the role he was hired for. Slowly, he starts to put small pieces together to understand who Brandon really is and what does he mean for Jonathan. Eager to leave his own past, he finds an odd connection with Jonathan. Slowly their affection starts to grow. Clearly the young man feels a stronger connection to Jonathan which he reciprocates, but is it for Brandon or is it for the real man that the young escort really is.

The story was very unidirectional. The entire film is on the road trip and motels where Jonathan is taking pictures of his companion in exactly the same places that he took with his ex-lover. I really did not understand the motivation behind that. He kept saying he wants to fix things but how does this trip help, is not really explained. The escort has had a rough childhood when he was thrown out form his own home but a little bit more background would have helped to show why did he get so attracted to Jonathan towards the end. Was it because finally someone showed him love and affection! The acting by both the leads was actually quite decent as per the script demanded but I had personally issues with the pace of the film. I really don’t mind slow films as long as they are trying to say something. but this one definitely tested me.

An average film on a lazy evening. Its not bad at all, in fact an interesting story but the slowness of the film can be challenging for some. (5.5/10)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Fair Haven

Now this is how you can make a very ordinary and simple story, gripping for an audience. The treatment, direction and emotions is what it matters when a viewer watches a film. You have to be able to empathise with the characters ad feel their pain and angst and happiness and other emotions and only then, in my opinion, you can justify the money that you spend on a film. I am not saying that this is a great film by any means but it is an excellent example of staying focused on the core issue without getting unnecessarily dramatic or anything.

We meet James, a 19 year old young teenage boy, who is just returning home after being part of a religious reparative therapy called ex-gay conversion therapy. He comes home believing that he has been “cured” of his same-sex desire. He hopes to go to college soon but after his mother’s death, his father is struggling with money and cannot afford to send him to college. After a spat, James decide to go to community college and help him at his orchard. One day the encounter with ex-boyfriend Charlie starts changing things. James, who thought, he has been cured is confused again. In an attempt to control his desires, he starts dating the preacher’s daughter Suzy. Charlie and James start to hang out together and be civil with each other and in Charlie, James again find a confidant with whom he can speak whats exactly in his mind. Finally James gives in and decides that Charlie is the right person for him. Suzy and his father both find out about this. James is in distress and he decides to move out of his father’s home, move away somewhere with Charlie and start a new life. Thankfully, his father comes around, decides to try to support James for what he is and what he wants in life and will always be there for his son.

The title of the movie comes from the name of the orchard that James’ father’s run. It really has no bearing to the movie itself. James acted really really well. The internal emotional struggle that he goes through is amazing. Right from being angry at his father for everything and trying to control his emotions; then trying to figure out what’s this fling with Suzy and finally with Charlie, on how can he control and hide his real feelings for Charlie. His emotions, at some points, start getting very unidirectional but it does convey his inner feelings. The recurring overhead shots of James in his childhood bedroom convey this feeling brilliantly. Actor playing his father also does really well in the character that he is supposed to be. Charlie is real cute and in the very few scenes that he and James have together; they both show excellent chemistry with one another. You can feel their love for one another. In an otherwise normal film, the only over the top thing, was Suzy’s parents. Their dialogues were overly enthusiastic and somehow didn’t fit in to the overall pace and sound of the film. The other negative in my opinion is the father’s sudden change of mind.

Its a beautiful captivating story, that touches the audience without being preachy. A simple, sweet and graceful film; that you wouldn't regret watching. (7/10)

Thursday, November 3, 2016

A Young Man's Future

What a wasted opportunity!! This was the first thought that came to my mind after I finished watching the film. The one person who should immediately be fired is the casting director, followed very closely by the director, who couldn’t see what was going on. I feel so sad and disappointed when something that could have been so wonderfully fantastic ends u being so cheap and terrible to watch.

The story is based in a college where Jeremy lives with his partner Elliott for the past 2 years. However, Jeremy has had enough of betrayals and mistreatment by his partner and he decides to break-up. Very next instant we find him moving in with Scott, who he had met just a few days back. A charming young man, Scott genuinely likes and care for Jeremy. The relationship is going fine till its time to meet parents. When Scott’s father comes to meet the couple, he is very visibly unhappy and disapproves of their relationship. Thankfully Jeremy’s parents are much more positive but shock comes when Scott starts behaving weird and ultimately being diagnosed with schizophrenia. Thankfully Scott agrees for a proper treatment and Jeremy wants to be there every step of the way for his love. His parents are equally supportive till there is a point where financially and logistically its not possible for Jeremy to take care of Scott. Scott’s father takes him to take care but after a few months Scott runs away and becomes dangerous to the community. Jaded by life and circumstances, Jeremy gets back with Elliott, who now together are looking for Scott everywhere in town. They find him but find it very hard to convince Scott to get medical attention. Ultimately he is admitted into a hospital and the film ends with Jeremy handing a pen to Scott hoping that it will reignite his passion for Maths in him and will get better.

So if you read the above synopsis, you really feel that there is so much potential but ultimately everything depends upon execution. The film was so badly directed, that I can go on and on finding faults in the film; lot more than positives. Firstly for a subject like this, there has to be a crazy chemistry between the leads; which is clearly missing between either of the couples. The acting by supporting cast is terrible. Both sets of parents are just awful and there is absolutely no explanation given for their odd behaviour. Why does Scott have estranged relation with his father and why won’t he talk to Jeremy about it? (Maybe his disease has some origin there). Jeremy’s parents are all good till suddenly his mother shows up saying things are not ok financially. They look and act totally like strangers than a couple. They are both terrible. The pace of the film was odd. Sometime sit felt it was being stretched beyond a point while they zipped through the illness so fast without delving deeper into the causes. And what kind of college were these guys studying in? I never saw any other student walking in the campus, or apartments or parks besides these 3. And as far as I know , most students are really poor, but here , our protagonists live in fancy houses and have money to drink wine pretty much every day. C’mmon now!! The only saving grace in this film was Jeremy. He looked pretty and acted well as the character that of confused young man who doesn’t know what to do. He has to choose between his past, his present and will he have a future. But how much can a poor guy save the film by himself. Scott was ok for what was given to him but I think his character was all over the place.

A beautiful story about two college kids who experience a terrible disease, could have been a great film in the making; however a poor screenplay, a shoddy direction and supremely bad acting makes this film a terrible watch. (3/10)

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Gay Short Films : 50

Birdbath (Australia)
A young Oz-Malaysian couple struggling with their relationship. The asian guy is not sure if his family will accept their son’s sexuality and relationship.

A Brief History of Princess X (France)
A history of sculptor Constantin Brancusi’s ‘Princess X’, a futuristic bronze phallus that is actually a bust portrait of Napoleon’s equally infamous great grand niece, Marie Bonaparte.

Curmudgeons (USA)
A pair of senior citizens in 80s have a relationship that shocks both their families. When the grand-daughter comes to visit, Ralph couldn’t possible imagine the surprise she has in store for him from his lover Jacky and his grand-son. A potty-mouthed, but endearing, comedy.

Realness With A Twist (Paris)
A young man searching for identity and acceptance as he splits time between the normal everyday life (pretending to be playing football) and the thump and excitement of the Parisian voguing scene.

Una pared (Cuba) [A Wall]
Tommy, a young construction worker, is doing some work on a house owned by Saulo, a mature music composer. Tommy is attracted to Saulo and is always looking for options to be near him. Nevertheless, both men never touch, except with sounds, words and stares.

Welcome to the Candy House (Germany)
Once again, Hänsel and Gretel have lost their way. They stumble through the big city in search for place to stay, ultimately ending up in a backroom of gay sex. Meh!

To the Marriage of True Minds (UK)
Hayder and Falah, two young Iraqi men, seek asylum in London from Baghdad in an illegal cargo vehicle. They separate on entering England because of security. We follow Hayder through his search for Falah in the Arabic communities of West London. The lovers are ultimately united.

Light Bulb Sun (UK)
Ellis, Fay and Freddie are a group of close friends. Fay and Freddie are together in a relationship but tension soon starts to build between them all as Ellis’ true feelings for Freddie come out. He is in love with his best friend.

Last Will & Testicle (US WebSeries)
A gay man reveals his testicular cancer diagnosis to his quirky friends and family, deals with his treatment, and confronts his nightmare walking and talking lump of ball cancer. This 12 episode web series (each episode being 3-4 min), shows a very funny take on the disease, the reaction of lover, family, friends and colleagues. It was good comedy but sometimes just bland.

American Male (USA)
A depressing reality of expectations of a “man”, gender norms and internalized homophobia.

Holden (Spain)
Holden, a young photographer with a short-term memory problem, travels to Paris for a photo session with a successful French actor. The two fall in love from the moment they meet. They spend the night together, walking the streets of the city, aware that it is probably the only night they will have together or is it something they do often? Loved it.

Une poignée de mains (France)
A quick short take on possibilities of what may happen when 2 people meet and how will it end?

The Dazzling Destiny (Spain)
Nico has just been dumped by his first love. He hasn't yet understood how or why but he'll have to face a new day despite the fact that he is still trapped in memories. Wonderfully shot.

The Arrow [Love Pride Truth] (USA)
A beautiful dance performance of love between 2 men as a tribute to Orlando shootings. SO BEAUTIFUL !

Kaleb: Apunte sobre la fugacidad del amor
A love story between two lonely and wounded men. One of them is an escort while the other has hired him. Over the course of their meeting, they understand each other much beyond just physical intimacy.

Bleu Piscine (France)
Blue pool. The water, the sun, Diving, swimming, water drops. A homoerotic tale of 2 men in and around a pool.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Esteros (Spanish / Portuguese)

What a beautiful film!! I did not have much expectations from the film and did not have any idea what the film is all about but I was pleasantly surprised. Agreed that the pace of this film could be found a bit too slow for a lot of viewers but in my opinion that just made this film even more beautiful and an experience to watch the relationship between the two friends.

The film is told in two simultaneous generations. Childhood friends Matias and Jero spend many summers together in the Argentinean wetlands of Esteros. They both are really close to each other, just like their families. The boys spend all the time together and one such summer night, they get much closer and intimate. Unfortunately, their mutual attraction never finds a conclusion because Matias’ father agrees to a job in Brazil. Present day, Matias now has a girlfriend and the two are visiting his hometown for her cousin’s graduation celebration. Matias and Jero reconnect and you see the initial awkwardness soon turning into connection that was long lost. Jero is now a handsome young man confident and comfortable in his sexuality. The two men try to reconnect, including taking a day trip to the summer house (despite Matias’ girlfriend’s reservations). As the two men tentatively reconnect, the unresolved tensions of their youth rise to the surface slowly. The inevitable happens and the two friends finally make love to each other but as expected, the morning brings the awkwardness back for Matias, who now has to reassess his choices and to figure out whether he can turn his back on his girlfriend in favour of the man he's always loved but ignored.

I really like the film and it connected with me in a way that pure love touches you. Actor playing Jero was fantastic. He showed all feeling with just his eyes. The happiness on seeing his friend again after all these years. the longing and love that he still has for his friend, but still aware that one wrong move on his part may lead to losing his friendship, the happiness and satisfaction on finally making love and ending in disappointment and heart-break on seeing how Matias reacts the next morning. Everything is so subtle and innocent and not OTT at all and thats what makes it ever so special. Matias in his role was good too as a confused man trying to find out what the right thing to do is. The film doesn’t really explore this but my view is that Matias always hid his feelings or emotions because of his dominant father, which becomes evident in the scene where the father stares the young Matias when he is dancing with Jero. Th direction was simple yet elegant. The silent moments and the picturesque details that just show us that these friends are connected emotionally and spiritually and they don’t need elaborate dialogues to show the connection to anyone else. Besides the pace of the film, I really cannot find much fault with the film but then that itself could be a downer.

I Believe this is more a story about friendship turning into love and not necessarily about being gay. If slow paced films do not bother you, then you may connect with this film. (7.5/10)

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Departure (UK)

I love fucked up family dramas. They give an insight into human emotions and what they are capable of. Its also goos to see that not all families are happy-go-lucky. They all have some real issues that they have to deal with.

Beatrice and her son Elliot arrive somewhere in France to pack their bags and empty their summer house, because it is sold now. A decision that was taken by Elliot’s father, Philip (who doesn’t show up until later). We also have Clement, a young boy form Paris, visiting his aunt in the same town because of a family turmoil. Elliot falls for Clement in their first meeting, which he knows but Clement is very indifferent to it. He agrees to their invitation to help them pack giving Elliot an opportunity for them to hang out. Clement is friendly and proves to be a sympathetic ear to Beatrice, which makes Elliot jealous. He thinks she is now his rival and wants Clement. Elliot knows what he wants and he is vocal about his feeling to Clement who just ignores it. Clement takes time for his buried feelings to come out, which we don’t know since he submits to a lustful kiss by Beatrice and also to a handjob by Elliot. The father son arrives to sign papers and seemingly there are more secrets in family, which we are not told besides that their marriage is crumbling. The marriage finally crumbles and life for Elliot will not be same again in England. As a budding poet, his new life will be a departure that proves both literal and satisfyingly figurative.

The film is slow, so as an audience you need good patience to watch this The film draws heavily on emotions and the surroundings to create the longing of aloofness. It shows considerable promise when it comes to show the sensitivity of emotions and aesthetics but the same becomes tiring after a while. I men for how long can we watch the characters stare into open space? The characters sketch is interesting. I like it that we know enough about the characters but not everything, which leaves room for individual interpretation. Yes it wasn’t very clear whether Clement was into Elliot or not but thats not important, is it! Clement is aware of Elliot’s liking for him and he plays along. He himself comes from a disturbed background and takes the opportunity of human touch in his stride. Whats wrong with that? I love the scene when both mother and son ask each other why they didn’t tell me about Clement.

The film is a good story but it could easily have been cut short by 30 minutes. I don’t think it will appeal to most people but do give it a try. (5.5/10)

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Amor Eterno (Spanish) [Eternal Love]

Now this was a weird film! When someone says that this film fans in a similar genre like ‘Strangers by the lake’; you automatically have huge expectations an thats where the fault lies. The film neither has suspense, nor content or skin show for that mater. The makers did try to make it a thriller but to a viewer like me it just seems like a wanna thriller, or was it a vampire thriller (we will never know).

Carlos is a middle age bearish language schoolteacher who frequently visits the local cruising ground after work where gay men, lesbians and teenagers find fleeting sexual partners. One afternoon he recognises one of his students, Toni, wondering through the woods with his friends. After class the next day, Toni asks Carlos for a ride, and the two end up having hot and steamy sex in the back of the car. While Carlos is adamant this is a one-time thing, Toni’s youthful innocence makes him develop a crush on the teacher. Despite his wishes to keep it a one-night stand, Carlos and Toni meet again. On the side we also see a group of teenage friends, all of them pretty much been dejected by their lovers, hanging out together inside and outside the forest dong something which is never very clear. Anyway, towards the end of the film Carlos and Toni are started outside the school and are given a lift by these “teenagers” who sexually tease Carlos and end up going to his home. It eventually results in a tragedy, that was probably mastermind of the group with Toni as one of the members.

Like I mentioned before, the film was quite confusing. There is an effort to make the film mysterious, but the confusion of what is even happening gets in the way. It is never made clear who these random bunch of teenagers are and whats Toni’s connection with them. The erotic love making scenes between Carlos and Toni are ok but most of the film is set is such dark, its really hard to comprehend whats going on. The music of the film is jarring. It feels so out of context and forced. There is nothing much good about the film. As viewer, I didn’t empathise with any character or even did identify with them. Was this supposed to be horror because it was not? Were the teenagers some sort of vampires? I don’t know! They were more like sex-driven zombies.

I think, this film was director’s self-indulgence to give the zombie-vampire-horror genre a new style but in my opinion it fails miserably. (3/10)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Quand On A 17 Ans (French) [Being 17]

“Another coming-0f-age sexuality film”; this is the first thought you have when you see the title and ponder over what different can this film offer. But it does offer a lot more. Yes, the primary focus is on the two teenagers who are confused about everything and have feelings of fear and not knowing whats what! Combined this with the sheer beauty of the French alps, this film makes it for a spectacular watch.

Damien and Thomas are the 2 protagonists, turning 17 and both a bit unpopular in school. Thomas is a quiet kid and not very good with studies whereas Damien is a smart intelligent guy and on one such occasion Thomas trips him and thats when fights between the two of them start. But Damien is too tough to just accept the bullying and he fights back. Damien’s father is a soldier and mother is a doctor. Thomas is adopted and lives with his parents in the mountains. When his mother gets ill, Damien’s mother treats her during which she also has to spend some time in the hospital. She then invites Thomas to come stay with them so that his school doesn’t get affected. She also does this party because she is aware of the tension between the two and that maybe they can be friends. Battings have started to change. The boys, though continue to fight, you can feel something more is happening. And one such day, Damien very honestly feels Tom that he is attracted to him. Tom’s reactions are priceless and he is as confused as Damien. I mean he is a teenager. Since Thomas doesn’t know better, he hits Damien and in the process ends up breaking his arm. Damien’s mother cant take it anymore and send Thomas back to his home. In a twist of events, Damien’s other dies in the war and this brings the 2 boys closer yet again. Thomas becomes the emotional support for both Damien and his mother and this is the time when the two boys also realise how much they love each other, Although Damien is more sure than Thomas. Love losses and Damien tells about this to his mother who is supportive and happy for her son and totally accepts the relationship. What is to be seen is where this relationship will go forward.

Although the film starts slow with a few repeated scenes, it is still really pretty and establishes the base context for us on whats going on between the 2 boys. The eruption of confused feelings between Damien and Tom is portrayed with great sensitivity and a brutal reality. I mean when the boys fight and hit each other, you can totally imagine todays’ teenagers doing the same. It is interesting how the sexual tension finds an outlet in spontaneous outbursts of violence.Both of the boys are amazing in there acting. Damien, the geeky awkward guy but who wants to learn to defend himself, realises his love for Tom but is not sure whats happening to him and where this will all lead. And then we have Tom, who is a bit confused with his mother’s pregnancy, what that would mean to him, his dreams and now what Damien is doing to him. The director shows us the feelings of loneliness, fear, longing and magnetic attraction in moments so tender and private you almost feel like an intruder. But at the same tim, this is the only way to feel attached and empathise with the characters. I loved the last scene when Tom comes to Damien’s home when his mother goes in labour and asks Damien to stay by his side. We shouldn’t forget Damien’s mother’s character, who is critical and central to the film. She is real, warm, intelligent and relatable. Her husband’s death is a big game changer in all their lives. I know I have mentioned before as well, but the setting of the film through season right from winter through summer adds another interesting element. The calm and reasonable pace of the film helps the audience to absorb everything happening around them.

The movie is alive, real and full of love that started with violence. It at least made me wanna be 17 again. (7.5/10)

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Mexican Men (Short Stories)

This collection of short stories titled ‘Mexican Men’ is a collection of five encounters that are sensual & seductive and are the works of 2 very popular film makers of Latin cinema. Most of the films emphasise on the aesthetics of some handsome Latino men, and very little attempt to include a conventional plot. I had mixed feelings after watching the series. Actually not all 5 short stories are gay themed (sigh!) but they are still good.

Trémulo (Trembling)
Carlos, an adult teenager works in a barber-shop. One day his eyes meet with Julio, a customer. Julio returns in the evenings asking for a shave (or maybe to meet Carlos). They spend the night together, eating, chatting and even dancing getting increasingly close, with sexual tension building between them. They both know that this is short lived but was still amazing. The best film in this collection, this is the sort of film that you watch and anna be in love again. Brilliant!

Young Man at the Bar Masturbating with Rage and Nerve
This documentary film follows a man who works as a rent boy, which helps to support his real passion of dancing. However, for him these two things are not mutually exclusive, with sex and dance playing similar roles. This is more like a constructed documentary with interviews and scenes and sections that have obviously been staged. But surprisingly, it still makes for uninteresting story with how our protagonist discovers what its like being gay, his passion and desire to do something with his dance and how does prostitution fit into all this.

Nubes Flotantes [Wandering Clouds]
This short film about swimmers uses highly choreographed dance movements to tighten the sexual tension and emotion between people. Two young men are swimming, while in voiceover one of them tells us about their relationship – a mix of friendship and rivalry with an undeniably homoerotic edge. When a third guy joins, who is homophobic, a bubbling anger is brought up to the surface. A decent exploration on homophobia and difficulties of maintaining relationship.

Atmusfera [Atmosphere]
So this is one of the films that is NOT a gay themed film. A loud speaker talks about the dangers of the world, a possible epidemic and caught between that are 3 characters. The streets are abandoned and slowly the characters want to find the truth. An incontrollable desire forces them to leave in search of the sea. Weird but lyrical !

Vivir [To Live]
Weirdest of them all and again not a gay film. A short film set in three parts showing three different emotions (at least that is my interpretation). Through art and dance, the film explores both the characters’ emotional closeness and distance.

The first 2 films are really good. The rest are just meh!



Saturday, September 24, 2016

Outings (UK) (TV Series)

Being promoted as an original homegrown independent gay British series and something of a sibling to Queer As Folk, this series was a sheer disappointment. The show, focussing on a group of gay 20-Somethings trying to work it all out; doesn’t even come close to the above mentioned show or anything else decent for that matter. Poor story, bad acting and just a big mess all over the place.

The show follows three characters – Kane, Kiegan and Tim; and we witness their lives over a course of three episodes. Each episode sort of concentrates on one of the characters. Episode 1 shows Kane getting dumped by his boyfriend in the middle of having sex because it was so terrible. He moves in with his mom (it looks like there is history there before) and we are introduced to the other characters. Episode 2 focuses on Kiegan. We are not told about the history with family but apparently there are estranged relationships. He has been asked by his brother to be his best man and now he has to visit home for his niece’s christening. Tim starts dating a fellow actor and Kane is now a gay converted o straight man in a relationship with Lucy. Episode 3 is about him when he throws a birthday party with 80s theme for Lucy. The couple is going through a rough time with respect to sexual compatibility. Is Kane really straight now? The show ends with lot of open questions with Tim’s date and Kane ending up together in the end.

As I mentioned above, the story was quite all over the place, the continuity etc. did not make any sense. The acting was really poor too. I think Kiegan was probably the only saving grace. I highly doubt they ill ever be able to come back with season 2 unless they come up with better writing and direction and bring some sense and reality to the show. I understand that the writes used this from their own experiences, but still there is so much that can be improved in this show, pretty much everything. Take tips from Australian show ‘Please Like Me’ , which is unbelievably good.

I would recommend to not waste your time on this bad mini-series, bad acting and non-existing storyline. (3/10) 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Boys On Film 15: Time & Tied

The newest volume in this series is all about short stories from Britain. Sadly and disappointingly, most of the stores in this collection are below average. At least I personally did not connect with most of them.

Closets
We look at the lift of Henry in this time-travel coming of age drama, as a teenager struggling with his sexuality in 1986. Hiding in his wardrobe, he time travels to the present day where he meets up with a similar teenager, Ben, occupying his same bedroom 30 years later.

Putting On The Dish
This is London in 1962, a time when being gay is still a criminal offence.  Two strangers meet in a park and strike up a conversation in slang to talk about their experiences. I did not understand a word of what was being talked about

G o’Clock
After being called out to an emergency, Alex, saves the life of a young boy who had overdosed on GHB. He later arrives at a chill-out and meets Nik, a sexy young Spanish boy who he takes under his wing but soon discovers his caring instincts comes with a dangerous price.

Nightstand
Two men meet over three consecutive nights – one is young and gay, and the other is married. Their tender affair unravels in the night-time metropolis leaving them to face their biggest fears. Interesting but needs more !

Morning Is Broken
At a family wedding Sam meets Nick, who’s fond of vintage cars. He invites Sam to go for a drive, a pact is made and an adventure begins. But maybe Nick has a past that scares him.

Sauna The Dead
A night in a sauna turns into a fight for survival. Two men must over-come prejudice and join forces in taking down a horde of towel-wearing zombies. Who will live to see the dawn?

Crossroad
Liam, a young man wrecked with confusion after an incident that one night guides him on a mission of self-discovery where the choices he faces may risk changing his life forever. Yawn !

Dawn
As dawn creeps across London, two lost outcasts meet in the darkness, as the sun begins to rise, and the veil of the night is lifted, the pair look into the cold light of day for hope.

Trouser Bar
Set in a London gentlemen’s outfitters c. 1976 and taking inspiration from the emotions aroused by the love of corduroy, leather and tight trousers, two men enter Sir John’s Trouser Bar, little do they know the adventure that await them. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Gay Short Films : 49

These are a few short films with great stories, done well and are generally above 20 minutes plus duration.

How Not To live Your Life - Don Goes Gay (UK)
This is one of the episodes from the TV sitcom. Don is forced to question his sexual preferences when he wakes after a night of heavy drinking to find himself sharing a bed with Samantha's brother Jamie. Unaware he is actually the victim of one of Samantha's pranks, he decides to open his mind to homosexuality, and asks his apparent bedfellow out on a date. Eventually Don realises he is not gay after Sam's brother performs oral sex on him. This episode was hilarious. All the small things that Don thinks on why he is gay was brilliant. I think I am going to use the term 'Gayman' going forward. Funny!

Tranny Trainer (USA)
An interesting concept and thankfully made into a short film. Forrester used to be an athlete and famous but is now old, down and out and works as a personal trainer in a gym. When nothing else works for me, a chance incident leads him to becoming a personal trainer for a transvestite and he leaves the gym. Next thing you now is that gym is getting calls after calls for this special program while Forrester finds his calling and trains the ‘ladies’ in the park. Each character has their unique identity. Alright but could have been funnier.

Invulnerable (Spain)
Elías is just beginning his career as a high school teacher and just beginning his relationship with Pedro, his co-worker. He just finds out that he's HIV positive. The film goes back-n-forth on Elias’ early life, how he met Pedro, his ex-lover and how possibly he got the virus. But now the big question is how will Elias tell the truth to Pedro and how is Pedro going to react? The film and the story was told in a light manner and I found myself even laughing at few points. Invulnerable came down as raw and honest but not overbearing.

Utopies (France)
Thomas is suspected to be gay, and mobbed by youngsters in his poor neighbourhood. He meets Julien, from a different social background via Internet, in search of a different experience. They discover the suburbs around Paris, utopian architectural projects from times where a better future for all was still an aim of society. These discoveries will nourish their own personal utopia. The film is ambiguous, albeit with a love story that preserves a form of innocence. Acting is good but movie is a bit slow paced.

Sex Chat with Pappu & Papa - Homosexualiy (India)
In the final episode of this Indian web series about sex education, Anand, the dad meets his old college friend after ages who’s there to get his gay partner’s fractured foot fixed. This time both his son and his father have some awkward questions this time for Anand about homosexuality. Anand patiently explains them about homosexuality and also educates them on it.

Panorama, The Orlando Nightclub Massacre (UK BBC Doc)
It's America's worst nightmare: an armed gunman on the rampage in a gay club going around killing people. Panorama reveals what it is like to be caught up in the carnage of a mass shooting, telling the story of the Orlando massacre from the people who were there. Like everyone else, I too had been following the news but this short 30 min documentary showed with graphics and interviews, how terribly scary it was for people to be trapped inside and really not knowing what to do. I felt deeply for the people so far but not to the extent that I did after watching the documentary.

Tonight It's You (USA)
Browsing profiles on his phone, handsome CJ arranges a late-night hookup with misfit Hunter, only to discover more going on in Hunter’s backwoods farmhouse than he bargained for. This is going to lead him to something much more sinister than he could ever imagine. Misfit Hunter is going to haunt CJ for a while and he will not be able to control. A gothic, sexy, thrill and horror ride. Ending was bit confusing but still at least something different from the standard run-of-mill stuff.

Statross le Magnifique (France)
This film is the first chapter of a trilogy about Statross Reichmann, an incarnation of the western world and all of its contradictions. Statross is a mixed-race baron who lives in a mansion haunted by the ghost of his father, a Nazi colonel. Statross is tormented by his identity and the past of his ancestors.I had to watch this film without subtitles, so most of it did not make any sense to me.

Alfa (Cuba)
Alfa Mendez, Cuban gay porn actor, has to face returning to a film set without Yerry, his boyfriend with whom he used to shoot a few years ago. Sentimental and artistic by nature, on his first day of shooting without him, Alfa tries to act as in the past but things can not be like before. He is having difficulty getting close to anyone or even getting it up to be ready for the shoot. The film shows that the loss of one’s loved ones is equally painful to any profession.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Brokeback Mountain

Finally, the mother of all gay films. Of course I had seen the film way back when it released on the big screen but I started writing my blog only much later. So, it was in my TODO list to watch the film again, so that I can review it for my blog. Whoever watches or has any slight interest in gay films, knows and has probably even seen this film. I finally got to see the film again with a buddy who is just getting into the world of gay cinema, and what better film than this to onboard him to this wonderful world.

The film begins in 1963, when Ennis and Jack, about 19 years old, get a job tending sheep on Brokeback mountain. Ennis is a boy of very few words. He learned to be guarded and fearful long before he knew what he feared. Jack, who has done some rodeo riding, is a little more outgoing. After some days have passed on the mountain and some whiskey has been drunk, they suddenly and almost violently have sex. Denying the initial incident as one-off thing, slowly the 2 men fall in love with each other and have a wonderful summer up the mountains but its time for reality. Time passes and both men are now married with kids. One day out of blue, Jack decides to visit Ennis, and the passion they both have for each other suddenly reignites surprising them both. The 2 men start having “fishing trips” every few months for a few days so that they can spend some quality time with each other and plan for a possible future. Jack thinks he and Ennis might someday buy themselves a ranch and settle down. Ennis who remembers what he saw as a boy: "This thing gets hold of us at the wrong time and wrong place and we're dead.”. Frustrations increase as the men grow older but one thing never changes for them is their love for each other. Unfortunately one evening, in an accident, Jack dies (which we are told through visual images, might have been a hate crime). Ennis’ world is devastated. He was always lonely but had Jack with him in spirit. He is now all alone with only memories of Jack.

The film is heart-breaking and yet in some way gives a hope for lovers. The way the 2 men react and understand their relationship is all because of the way they grew up. Ennis was always taught by his father to hate homosexuals, and hence he hates himself. In an incident of frustration he still feels immense pain and says "Why don't you let me be? It's because of you, Jack, that I'm like this -- nothing, and nobody." Jack, on the other hands more accepting of himself and wants whats best for both of them. The two respective wives have important characters especially Ennis’ wife, when she calls him out of the fake fishing trips. She had earlier seen the two men kissing and knew what the trips were all about. The closing scene involving a visit by Ennis to Jack's parents is heartbreaking in what is said, and not said, about their world. A look around Jack's childhood bedroom suggests what he overcame to make room for his feelings. This is a story of forbidden love marked by brilliant and amazing performances by Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal. The chemistry between the two men is impeccable and you wish you had a love like that for whom you would be ready to anything.

The film hits you like a shot in the heart and no wonder it rates as one of the best films ever made. A desperate sad story but a beautiful and moving experience. (9.5/10)