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

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Date And Switch

This film falls under the category of rom-com with a gay twist. The film was overall wuite decent and I saw it with 2 new friends of mine but there were a few moments in the film, which left me questioning on why certain things were happening the way they were. The film is about two high school buddies that cope with the knowledge that one of them is gay. The subject certainly isn't dated, but the film somehow fails to continuously entertain the audience. More on that later.

Michael and Matty have been best friends forever. In their high school, they make a pact that they will get laid at prom. All's well until Matty reveals that he is gay. The film now focusses more on Michael's gay panic rather than Matty's struggle for the same. Michael tries to be supportive by forcing Matty to go to a gay bar and even dancing naked in bubble soap with him. He tries to google "gay" to find more details leading to a hilarious scene between him and his father. Matty meanwhile meets a guy Greg but decides to keep the information away from Michael. Also one night, in a drunk state, Matty ends up having sex with his ex-girlfriend, who these days is quite close to Michael and he likes her. There is a tension that creeps up in their friendship but next thing we know is that they are hanging out together having fun and thats what one of my confusion was. Then at one point, in frustration Michael out's Matty in from of his parents to which he denies and even decides to go to prom with his ex-girlfriend. Michael then comes with Greg to still prove to natty how really supportive he is of Matty's choices.

There were times in movie when suddenly there would be tension between Matty and Michael and then in the next scene they would be having fun. Although Michael was trying to be supportive to Matty, I could not understand as to why would that bother Matty and him getting upset and frustrated. I thought as best friends Michael was doing the right thing. SO it was really never shown what Michael's real conflict was. Then the whole thing about them being part of the band and him not wanting to sing was an unnecessary drag in the film. Moe and more scenes were added just to show Michael's inner conflicts rather than focussing on core issues. Some of the jokes were really falling flat. The only funny scene was when Michael googles "gay". What was really lacking in the film was solid characterization, good dialogue, and interesting plot. The characters feel like teen caricatures and they simply aren’t relatable. The moments like coming out to your best friend of a decade; outing your best friend to his unsuspecting, conservative parents; or sleeping with your ex who your best friend is falling for, are not really examined in detail. They are just scenes to take the film forward which becomes a little annoying after a while.

Just an average time pass gay chick flick IMO. It definitely doesn't get boring. (5.5/10)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Naked As We Came

I still can't make up my mind of what I think of the movie overall. I do like fucked up family dramas but then they have to be done well. The plot is decent but there is something missing in all of this. This measured, claustrophobic drama about a pair of siblings reuniting with their terminally ill mother moves at a very slow pace, which sometimes can be off-putting, but some wide-screen cinematography comes as a saving grace.

Elliot and Laura are running their family business in Manhattan and are visiting their mother whom they haven’t seen in a year and a half. They find out that she is dying of cancer. The mother Lilly admits that she wasn’t the best of mothers and the relationship strains between the three of them is very evident. She was more interested in her orchids than her children. She was married to a man who was a womanizer and interested in making a career in politics. Lilly lives in a huge estate now and unknown to the kids, Ted has been living with their mother as a combination of groundskeeper, caretaker and a friend of Lilly. But there is a secret and what is it? The film focusses on the kids and the mother trying to improve their relation. Despite Laura's fears and Lilly's delight, Elliot and Ted end up sleeping together on the first night itself. And their liaison sets off a chain of emotionally charged confrontations, with the grown children loudly expressing their resentment at Lily for having been a bad mother. It turns out that Ted is a writer and is staying there to get and write a story because Elliot's father was once a famous politician whose career nose dived when the story of his illegitimate son came out. Th ending I felt was random. The mother dies, sister gets back with her husband and Ted decides to stay with Elliot.

Lilly was excellent in her role as a troubled bad mother dying of cancer but I wish I could say the same about rest of the members. The 2 guys were gorgeous but the film was weighed down by their pretty much wooden acting. Elliot spends most time in the film staring in open space, which gets annoying after a while and Ted has this wooden expression which you will understand only after watching. Also his character is not clearly established. We really don't get to know the purpose behind him being there, why he is not happy with his bf and why does Lilly trust him so much. Thankfully Laura as the controlling sister was quite effective as well and even sings a brilliant song. The film was shot beautifully in a mansion with a nice green house area. The sex scene is done ok but I think it was just for the sake of doing it. There was no real need (not that I am complaining) . :)

There is nothing in “Naked As We Come” you haven’t seen before in a movie. (5.5/10)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

More Than Friendship (German)

Be it the title or the film poster, somehow I had big expectations from this film. I know, that expectations do kill the fun sometimes but this film came way too short on that. Sure its a thought provoking story and had a lot of potential but the director in my opinion somewhere missed the boat. I think this would have been a fantastic short film, but a full fledged feature film was quite boring for me.

We are introduced to Mia, Lukas and Jonas. They are friends from childhood until 3 years ago when things changed and the three realized that they were more than friends. The three of them become lovers, something that provokes people around them and something which is beyond all conventions. Even their parents can't understand and are not to comfortable with the situation. The 3 of them are on a vacation which seems to last forever and we slowly find out that Jonas is sick and is dying and the three of them are trying their best to keep their love for each other intact. Jonas only wishes that after he is gone, Mia and Lukas stay together. Inevitable happens and finally Jonas is no more. Its not very clear on why, but we see that a year later Mia and Lukas are also not together anymore.

As you can see that the story is quite simple but god! was it dragged. The locations were beautiful were there was hardly anything being spoken among the trio. I was so bored at so many places in the movie trying to get my head around on wtf is going on. The acting was soooo bad and fake. The forced kissing of each member with each other on every given opportunity was just too lame. And there was absolutely zero chemistry between the lead actors. Zilch ! The direction was equally bad and so were the dialogues. If the director thought that the audience will empathize with the characters, he was so wrong because the poor direction didn't help salvage the film at all.

I would not recommend wasting your time on this one. (2.5/10)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

GBF

Most of you know that the title of the movie stands for "Gay Best Friend". As per this film, GBF is the trendiest accessory for the girls to have, specially at a upscale suburban high school. Like most of the teenage comedies, this one also tries too hard to bring laughs, but it seems mostly cartoonish with a little sweetness here or there in parts. I can imagine most gays not liking the film unless you are very trendy teenager still in the ams phase of your life as the movie shows.

In the North Gateway high school, Brent and Tanner are best friends and both gay and they are both looking for a right opportunity to come out. Tanner is the sober natural one while Brent is the stereotypical flaming queen. They have 2 other straight friends who know about them but are very much part of the group. Caprice, Shley and Fawcett are the school divas who are popular and will probably be at loggerheads at the school prom queen contest. They are all looking for a personal edge for the competition and as per latest pop-culture, a GBF could exactly be the thing. Brent is preparing for this to be opportunity to come out but due to misunderstandings, it is actually Tanner who ends up getting outed. This brings a dent in their friendship but the net thing you know is that all 3 girls are vying to be best friends with Tanner to have an advantage over each other. To his surprise Tanner is actually loving all the attention and make over and getting drunk, and in the process neglecting his true friends and love Brent. A rival prom celebration is started when the school prom doesn't allow Tanner to bring a male date. Their are some funny moments around this. Of course things start getting clear in the process. Tanner realizes whats going on but also realizes that Fawcett has more to her than just a pretty face. Brent realizes his mistake. and all's well that ends well.

The biggest problem of this movie is that it doesn’t have a single believable moment in it. The movie works its concept to death with a silly storyline for matured gay audience but then if the target was teenage gays and girls, it is bang on. Performance wise, it us very hard to say anything because all the girls are supposed to be mean, over the top and sassy. I guess they do a  good job. It was great to see Megan Mullally as the closeted Brent’s overly supportive mother, who arranges a television marathon of gay movies. All the fun moments were courtesy her. Tanner seemed honest in his portrayal of a teenager who is struggling with coming out. I liked the fact that parents of both gays are supportive and there is no unnecessary drama in accepting their kids.Brent was funny and the sorta GBF that the girls probably wanna have. The  blooper scenes under the closing credits are actually pretty funny.

An alright film which is funny in parts. It won't had you to watch it but don't expect any ground breaking stuff. (5.5/10)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Perfect Wedding

This was an interesting yet entertaining film. My first thought after reading the title and the fact that it was a gay story, made me think that it had to be about a gay wedding. I was happy and pleasantly surprised that the film was essentially about a gay love story wrapped around planning and execution of a straight wedding. The film also deals with some very small yet relevant issues like adoption, alcohol, alzheimers and sign language.

Alana and Kirk are getting married. She comes back home for Christmas to also plan for her wedding. Alana's mother wants a lavish wedding whereas she doesn't care much. She also invites her GBF Roy to help her plan. Roy used to date her Brother Paul but they broke up 2 years back. Roy has been single since but not to be thought as a loser, he brings along with him, his friend Gavin posing as his boyfriend. Family meets, chats happen and all is well. There are obvious sparks between Gavin and Paul but they both control it for Roy's sake. In the meantime, we find that Alana is compromising with her wedding plans to go ahead with her mother's idea of a lavish wedding just because she thinks she owes them something for being an adopted girl. When Gavin and Paul find this out, they plan to arrange for a secret quick and intimate wedding for Alana with help from Kirk who is all up for keeping his vince happy. They also manage to convince the parents. Turns out the mother wanted a lavish wedding because she thought that it would be something that her husband would remember ever since he has been diagnosed with alzheimers. Quite a few people are surprised with the intimate wedding plans but everything is just perfect. Gavin and Paul are still struggling with their feelings. Unable to take it any further, Gavin decides to leave town before he ends up doing anything stupid. When Roy hear about this, he accepts how he was just pretending to be boyfriend with Gavin and he is actually single. IN a very sweet moment everyone in the family offers Paul a ride (since he can't drive) to go find Gavin and admit to his feelings for him.

The film is a perfect romantic charmer, something that you may enjoy watching with your partner. It has quite a few 'aww' moments as well. All characters are very humane is the story. Paul is dealing with alcoholism and substance recovery, Alana is struggling with being honest to her mother. Yet somehow they all have this deep love, respect and affection for each other. Performances from all actors is very good. Every character was evolved very week except for maybe Roy, but its ok. The focus were more on Paul and Gavin. The sweet moments where they both realize how much they have in common between them but they can't do anything about it, are so cute.

Excellent editing and beautifully shot, I would definitely recommend the film. (7/10)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Hawaii (Spanish)

I think the director of this film has a knack for creating sexual tensions in his film. "Plan B" and "Absent" are bob exemplary examples in that area and now we can safely add the name of this film as well in the list. Not only does he create a good tension n the film, and the film moves slow but it still does manage to hold your attention quite a bit. I have a feeling that like his previous films, many may not like this slow style of narration but I again enjoyed quite a bit.

The bearded and bespectacled Eugenio, a scruffily handsome thirty-something from Argentina's well-off middle class, has moved into the house of his uncle so he can look after it for the summer and at the same time work on his novel in peace. When the younger Martin comes knocking on his door to ask him for some summer yard work, the duo realize they used to play together in childhood in the same neighborhood and Martin's hired straight away to do odd jobs around the house. What Martin doesn't tell Eugenio is that he's actually homeless and sleeping in the park, though by the time Eugenio finds out, the two have spent enough time together for Eugenio to suggest Martin sleep in the house's shed. The house-sitter might have an ulterior motive for keeping his worker close. Eugenio would like nothing more than being manhandled by the help. The next 90 odd minutes is a slo cat and mouse game where both the the guys are sorta attracted to each other and want things to happen but don't know how, when and where to start. Martin once takes a leap and kisses Eugenio but he acts surprised. When Eugenio realizes what he is missing, he goes back looking for Martin and the ending is really beautiful. The smile on both their faces just killed me.

People may think of this film as cock-tease but trust me there is so much more to it. The film maker explore ideas of the gay male gaze and desire as well as more complex issues of class. The film is full of erotically charged atmosphere, which never seems to translate into any action. You get excited because the actual doing of the deed would interrupt the joy and innocence of the games of almost-foreplay, which is so prolonged. Performances from both principal actors is quite good and they are both freakishly good lookin. Something very sexy and raw about both of them specially Eugenio. The sexually charged scenes where Eugenio is trying to peak into the bathroom when Martin is taking a shower or the one when Martin unzips his pants and takes off his shirt is HOT! to say the least. The guys were in just shorts for most of the movie and so was I while watching the film because it is summers where I am right now and trust me, the heat from the movie was no less evident.

I absolutely loved the film and i hope you will too. (7.5/10)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Boys On Film X

Boys On Film X is the tenth volume in the world's most successful short film series.
All boundaries are broken as BOYS ON FILM X takes it further than ever before, showcasing some of the most sexy, unique and brilliant filmmaking from around the world. Honestly I have been more than happy with this series but this series IMO has been a major disappointment.

Blinders
One night a young couple visit a bar where they meet a young boy. This boy possesses an otherworldly physical beauty that could attract anyone; man or woman. And indeed, the young lovers are attracted, one more so than the other. What does this chance meeting mean for their relationship? An odd film but thankfully was short enough to bear

A Stable For Disabled Horses (UK)
A totally inapt title for the short film. When Kanoute decides to move back to Norway his best friend Benny throws him a surprise party a party just for two. It soon becomes apparent that Benny has a secret that he has to get off his chest before Kanoute leaves, but is it a secret Kanoute wants to hear? Another one of those strictly ok and OTT acting

Little Gay Boy, Christ Is Dead (France)
Jean Christophe dreams of becoming an international model, but in reality lives with an old lady, an English prostitute in Paris. Over the course of one unusual day, JC endures a series of abusive encounters that will change him forever. His youthful innocence is changed to hardened experience as his dreams are destroyed by those around him. This was not an easy film to watch. The abuse he goes through just in the course of one day is too much to watch. PLus the dance act after every encounter does try to tell you something but I as a viewer was just not sure, what that is.

Boys Village (UK/Germany)
The Boys' Village was once a holiday home for coalminers' sons, where the young boys could just be themselves. Not much remains of its former glory, though. Shattered glass and debris are all over the place; graffiti on the walls. There are countless trap falls and opportunities for injury. Kevin finds the place very interesting and spends lot of time there. He has been 11 years old for quite some time now. Has it been years or decades? This film was unnecessarily stretched long. There was absolutely nothing worth watching.

Headlong (Belgium)
On the night of a dance competition a young ballet dancer is in a foreign place. He finds himself alone in his hotel room and when this emptiness overpowers him, he meets a stranger that could change everything. An interesting film, it wasn't clear why the young boy was sad and what was it about this stranger man with a shady background that got him attracted towards him. I am not too sure of this even qualifies as a gay short.

Teens Like Phil
This is one of the better films in the series. Phil, a shy, insecure teenager, is trapped in the painful throes of adolescence and the struggle in coming to terms with his sexuality. At his elite private school, Phil is bullied by Adam, his former friend and love interest. Adam frequently lashes out against Phil and enjoys humiliating him in the locker room. When Phil can no longer tolerate the situation he takes drastic action to bring it to an end. Better acting and overall a string message of teenage suicide is well depicted in the film.

Inflatable Swamp (UK)
Matt, a gay man in his late 20s, navigates the lonely intersection of carnal sex and human closeness. With the arrival of Luke, a new man in his life, he finds a way to reconcile pleasures of the flesh with the new aroused imperatives of the heart. Almost a silent short film, this was just the right length and something interesting to watch. An example of how gay men can be scared of true intimacy.

Yeah Kowalski
Definitely the best saved for the last. Gabe Kowalski is a late bloomer and all-around misfit whose dad still cuts his hair. When Gabe's anonymous question about his still smooth armpits is selected to be read aloud in sex-ed class, Gabe goes to great lengths to impress his classmate crush, Shane, at Penny Foster s birthday party. A teenage's obsession to reach puberty soon, this film is charming and pleasurable to watch with good acting.

This edition is definitely the most disappointing of all. (3/10)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Falls: Testament of Love

A sequel to last year’s “The Falls,” this film actually jumps forward five years to reunite the two young Mormon men who came out by finding each other in the first film. I believe that  it is a solid continuation where they left off in the first movie because it was explained well what happened to the 2 main characters at the start of the movie. I didn't expect a sequel hen I saw the original film but I was quite glad to see the makers coming up with one.

Its been 5 years since RJ and Chris fell in love and separated. After their trip together, Chris suddenly disappears and stops replying to RJ's messages. RJ now ha s a new boyfriend Paul and hints seem to be going good. Meanwhile we see that Chris is now happily married to a woman and even has a 3 year old daughter. Destiny reunites them when they both hear of Rodney's death (the military veteran they befriended while they were on the mission). Chris totally snubs RJ and wants to have nothing to do with him. RJ doesn't know what to do because he is still struggling to find the closure on his relationship with Chris. RJ then decides to take a work break and goes to Salt Lake city to meet Chris. Initially he shows up unannounced at Chris' house but is warmly received by his wife. Chris snubs RJ as long as he can but soon he also gives up and now cannot control his emotions anymore for RJ. Chris' wife soon finds out and i not ready to give up yet. But Chris doesn't want to lie anymore. He decides to come clem to everyone that he cares about including his family. RJ finally finds a closure that he had been looking for 5 years but at the same time he also knows that he can't be with Chris (which I still don't quite understand why). THe film ends on a mic of happy-sad note.

Like its predecessor, once again, understatement is a strength here. No character or scene is over the top or dramatic but instead its very real. The only time I felt something was fake was when RJ decides to talk to Paul to take a break. THe whole reaction by Paul (sudden crying and weird expressions) were too annoying in a film where every other character is beautifully underplaying their part. Even the fight or conflict between Chris and his wife has been done really well and very underplayed. The film also never downplays on christian religious beliefs. The end when RJ kisses Chris at his parents anniversary was probably uncalled for. While talking of positives, the film is definitely very slow and sometimes sluggish in its pace. Both RJ and Chris are still very cute and adorable. The film does ask some serious questions about love vs personal responsibility and how our actions affect the ones we love.

If you loved the first part, you would like this one as well. Just be patent with the pace of the film. (6.5/10)

Monday, December 23, 2013

Hunting Season (Web Series)

I am starting to very much like the idea of these gay web series. Firstly, they are easily accessible to the viewers and secondly, more often than not, they make for a good viewing and acting as well. Of course there are exceptions to the rule but they sometimes definitely turn out better than a bad bad gay film. This series was 8 episodes each of about 10 minutes each. Said to be inspired by a famous blog "The Great Cock Hunt", follows the romantic and sexual exploits of Alex and his small group of friends in New York City.

Alex is a single gay 20-something in Manhattan, a smart and successful blogger at Gawker by day, who turns the spotlight on himself and his friends and starts anonymously writing about his social life. The 8 episodes just show his encounters with random people in Manhattan. # of his other friends are also a regular feature along with Alex who form the group and show us interesting stories.

I watched the uncensored version and I must admit that I was quite taken aback by all the nudity in the show. But hey I am not complaining. I enjoyed every bit of it. Acting wise, Alex was a very good choice. Not only he is exceptionally good looking but he also did a good job at acting as well. I just wish he waa a little taller, which otherwise would not have been an issue, had they not shown every guy that Alex went out with, very very tall. All of Alex's friends TJ, Nick and Tommy are alright acting wise. There is no histrionics that is supposed to be proven with this show.

The focus is on entertainment and a little skin show and it definitely succeeds in doing that. Given the duration of each episode was very short, it is a perfect viewing. (6.5/10)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Down The River (Thai)

This film is more like an extended version of a short film. The essence and thought is nice to portray  a tale of love and longing and confusion between two young lovers but somewhere it misses to hold your attention.

Win and Krit are best friends from school. But while Win longs of the day he will start to raise a family, all Krit wants is to take his relationship with Win to the next level. Win may not think himself to be gay, but his relationship with Krit is an essential component of his existence and the two frequently spend long days hiking through the wilderness together. Krit even has a scrapbook filled with pressed flowers from their many hikes. One day, the lifelong friends take a hike with two women. In this specific trip that the film focusses on, Krit feels he is loosing Win to the girls and also in general in his life. He is heart broken. The film doesn't end on a happy note. Krit ultimately looses his love to a girl but he makes his peace with life.

Credit to be given where it is due, the shooting location of the film is fantastic. The ideal setting of an undisturbed forest & waterfalls and beautiful crumbling temples, makes the viewing dynamic but its the slow and lethargic pace that misses out on audience attention. The time flows like the waters of the river the boys follow, sometimes fast, sometimes slow, sometimes swirling back. Both the leading men acted well. You can see Krit as the young boy madly and deeply in love with his friend. At the same time, Win pot rays a guy who is afraid of getting into adulthood because he can't decipher what his feelings are for his friend and his confusion for a wife and a career. He is afraid to be gay but at the same time he can't reject his friendship.

Beautiful thought but how I wish this was a short film. I would have given it quite high rating. (3.5/10)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Bridegroom (Documentary)

Inspired by the popular 11-minute YouTube video “It Could Happen to You,” this super highly emotional documentary will have sympathetic eyes crying buckets as it recaps how Shane Bitney Crone and Tom Bridegroom came out, met up and faced prejudice before and after Tom’s unexpected death. Like most documentaries, the story narration style is very simple. It relies on interviews with Shane's family and the couple's circle of friends, who describe how these two closeted small-town guys clicked when they met in Los Angeles, quickly forming the kind of relationship that romantics everywhere envy: moving in together, get a dog, start a social-media consulting business and travel the world as a couple. But not every fairy tale has a happy ending.

Both young men find the courage to come out to their parents. Shane, surprisingly finds support from not just his mother but his father as well eventually. Tom’s conservative parents were more conflicted, reacting with anger and denial. But eventually Tom's mother visits the couple and actually hangs out with them giving the impression throughout that she is supportive of the couple. We are enjoying and loving the couple as we hear from everyone till the tragedy happens. Tom falls off a four story building. Thats not what the entire pain is. It is what follows after the fall and subsequent death. Everyone involved was stunned, especially in the days that followed, as Crone discovered how unfair hospitals, the legal system and funerals can be to unmarried loved ones. We see how Tom's family completely shunned Shane and his family members, not acknowledging their presence and even banning them from attending the funeral. The results are devastating as we see the results of marriage Inequality rear its ugly head. We feel the pain in a shattered relationship.

Hopefully, documentaries like this will continue to elicit peoples hearts into making equal marriage available countrywide. There will always be people that disagree with same sex relationships, but if you have a heart you cannot deny that committed couples all deserve the dignity of the protections marriage affords.Thank you Shane and Tom for showing the world what true love is like. (7.5/10)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Five Dances

Sometime simple is so beautiful. My first reaction while watching and even after the movie was, Wow man! those dances were amazing!!. I kept wondering that despite the film having a paper thin plot, why did i like the movie so much. Agreed, it may have something to do with the dances in it but then ballet is not my favorite form. I think it had a lot to do with the overall direction and performance from the actors. It was all very very heart touching.

The film is basically shot in a dance studio with 5 actors practicing series of 5 dances. Chip is our main protagonist, who is all of just 18 and arrived in NYC on scholarship for this performance.  Chip is so broke in NYC that he is secretly sleeping in the studio. That is until one of the girls' Katie finds out and takes him home. Katie just got out of a 7 year relationship. The other girl in the group apparently has had a sexual fling with their teacher and again ends up cheating on her husband by sleeping with him again. And finally we have Theo. Theo slowly gets attracted to Chip and not so subtly reveals his interest in Chip. Chip is shocked and reacts very hostile but eventually barriers are broken and they start dating. The final sequence of the film with moments of intimacy, wine, dance and hanging out between Chip and Theo make the end very memorable.


Like I mentioned before, the film stands out because of its beautifully choreographed and edited dances. The dances very beautifully also convey the interpersonal dynamics of the group. I can't imagine how difficult it must have been to come up with a narrative and dance sequences so intertwined. Chip is definitely best of the lot. Portraying avery vulnerable character, all of 18 years old, who is new to the city and broke; he is fantastic. He probably has some hidden story which we are not told. He is nursing some anguish inside which is briefly revealed in his conversations with his mother. Despite all that how he awkwardly accepts breakfast, coffee from his peers made my eyes moist. I can't imagine what and how would I do at 18. He may be a good dancer but he is still learning the art of interacting with adults in a social space. Whatever you write of dances is little. Breath-taking, mesmerizing and beautiful are just some words that come to mind. The flexibility that these bodies had, the synchronization and the tight dance bodies; it was a visual treat. I am so glad that finally someone had the guts to take a different take on a gay doing out story.

I am so happy and glad to have seen this movie. If you love dancing even itsy bitsy, you should watch this film. Agreed there is not much to the plot and focus is more on silence and dancing, it will still leave an impression on you. (7/10)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Nate & Margaret

First things first; this is not a comedy film. Its at best a character study of 2 very unlikely individuals who share a very unlikely friendship. our protagonist happens to be gay and him getting in to a relationship at one point leads to discord between the friends.

Margaret is 52. Nate is 19. They're neighbors in a Chicago building. They're best friends. They seem alone in the world. There is no mention of family. They like to do things together: Shop at the Goodwill store, have brunch, hang out. Margaret has never been married. Nate, who is gay, has never had a boyfriend or even been kissed. Margaret wants to become a successful stand up comedian (but truly she is pathetic) and Nate is a student at film school. He's directing his thesis film and has enlisted Margaret as his sound person. One night Nate meets James and after a couple of meetings, we see that the 2 young men start falling for each other. Margaret is not thrilled to learn about Nate's new friend, but bravely invites the two of them over for dinner. The dynamics of this scene are carefully modulated to allow the morphing of James into the jerk he really is. As Nate navigates his new relationship, Margaret begins to make real headway with her stand-up routine and their lives begin to head away from each other. The once upon a time closest buddies just grow apart, very apart.

It is a pleasant film that has a few moments of drama, but is primarily a sweet story of a unique friendship hitting a rough patch. There is no over the top drama or emotions. It feels like everyone's day-to-day existence. There’s no huge setup, no voiceover narration explaining who the characters are or how they became friends. Performance wise both Nate and Margaret do a wonderful job. The scene wen Margaret invites Nate and James for dinner is little weird to watch because James acts as a real jerk. Margaret's jealousy should not be confused for closet love. When you see losing a friend, the jealousy is obvious irrespective of age or gender.

The movie is about: friendship. The film respects that and doesn't get distracted by sex or age. (5.5/10)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Unconditional (UK)

"Unconditional", presents the intense story of a severely repressed homosexual attempting to create his fantasy woman from an inexperienced, virgin, teenage boy. Effectively disturbing if not entirely satisfying, this tale of a handsome older man's infatuation with a teenage boy is a mix bag is terms of good or bad cinema. The unusual love-story soon spins off into strange territory as dangerous and dark obsessions take over.

16 year old twins Owen and Kristen struggle to make ends meet as they are full-time carers for their disabled mother. They make jokes about her dying, but also care about her deeply and their lives revolve around her. Enter Liam, a cool suit-wearing salesman who visits them to handle a financial loan inquiry. With his flash blue car and easy patter, he appears a charismatic intervention into the twins’ dull lives and Kristen especially is taken by his charms. But it is Owen that Liam has his sights on. He takes him out for a drink and the pair bond over beer, pool and food, with Owen entranced by his charms. Thinks move into stranger territory when Liam convinces Owen to dress up as a woman and the pair go out for dinner together. Owen  is inexperienced and impressionable enough to go along to an extent, it doesn’t take long for the viewer to realize there’s something very wrong with Liam, even beyond his needing to pretend Owen is a girl. Meanwhile Kristen thinks that it is her for whom Liam always shows up at their house. Liam sees his love for his ex-wife every time Owen dresses up as a woman. Liam becomes more and more romantically obsessed with him when dressed as a woman, eventually resorting to frustrated violence when he feels Owen moving away from him. He insists on Owen dressing as a woman when they are together and starts to promise a future and a ‘normal’ life together. “Indecision is for losers,” he tells Owen. “There are no conditions on love.”

The odd and complex relationship between Liam and Owen is definitely watchable, especially as it reaches a climax as the pair checks into the seaside Guest House and Liam’s behaviour tips over into frightening violence. The film is filled with very solid performances by everyone specially Owen. This has to be one of the most challenging roles for any actor. Liam acts really well although after a certain point when his actions go bonkers, as a viewer I fail to understand whats wrong with his tortured mind. Having said that, the story itself is intriguing and compelling and you want to know what will happen next.

Watch it for the performances. Definitely a decent film. (6/10)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Out In The Dark (Hebrew/Arabic)

What a lovely film. Yes, it is a dark film and very very real in terms of direction, execution and performances. I was quite positively surprised by the film and the subject. A gay love story between a Palestinian student and an Israeli lawyer is not the easiest to handle but kudos to the write, producer, director of the whole team to do this. The film really touched my heart and left a mark and something to think about for a long time.

Nimr is a young Palestinian man studying psychology. At night, Nimr avoids border patrols to illegally enter Tel Aviv and go to gay bars. His conservative family doesn't know about his sexual orientation. To top that Nimr's brother is a part of an extremist rebel movement who do not hesitate one sec to kill someone is he is gay. One such night he meets Roy, a handsome Israeli lawyer working at his well-connected father's law firm, and the two instantly hit it off. Nimr initially receives a student visa that would enable him to visit Tel Aviv once a week to take a course. However, the honeymoon is soon over for the young couple, when Israeli security forces attempt to blackmail Nimr by threatening to reveal his sexuality to his family unless he collaborates with them. Nimr's family ultimately finds out and disown him. His brother does not kill him but lets him escape to Tel Aviv and asks him to never come back. Hearing the entire situation, Roy tries his best to pull any strings he can to help his lover but comes up short. Nimr's situation keeps getting trickier and tricker. Roy finally manages to get a way out for Nimr from Israel to France and promises to meet him there. Here starts the cat an douse game between the 2 lovers and the secret service. What happens ultimately shocks you. Nimr manages to escape but Roy has to pay big price for it by being in prison.

The film's title is quite appropriate. The situation the protagonists are in forces them to run and hide, keep their love literally and figuratively in the dark, rather than celebrate it. The film shows the insane and crazy political situation in those regions in an so far unseen way. The love scenes in the film are touching, and surprisingly direct, but they were not at all intimidating or disturbing. The politics of the inherently tragic situation of a gay love affair in the midst of the Israeli Palestinian conflict is where the film really shines. The chemistry between the two leads is off the charts, gluing us to the screen whenever they share it. This is crucial, because it ensures we've invested in the fate of this forbidden romance. And the fact that the 2 leads are both good looking doesn't harm at all. As an actor, Nimr creates an earnest, charming, likable protagonist, who evokes our sympathy more and more as his situation deteriorates. Roy's compassion and care for Nimr is heart warming making us all want to have a Roy in our life. A crowd pleasing happy ending would have been unrealistic but the vague ending actually kept me satisfied.

This film is not about homophobia or the Israel/Palestinian conflict. It's about love and the desperate fight it must put up to survive in a world ruled by hate. (8/10)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Happy Sad

I was quite anxious to watch this film. I have been missing NYC quite a bit and this would have been one way to get back at those old days at least by virtue of locations. Honestly at that point, going to the OIA film festival, it wasn't really important for me whether the film was gonna be good or bad. A film about 2 couples, a gay and a straight, and how their lives intercept with each other, form the crux of the plot. The movie blends racial and sexual diversity into a modest exploration of hooking up in our modern world.

Marcus and Aron are a very happy gay couple who have been together for 6 years. Since its been a while, the couple decides to open up the relationship. They decide to not talk about various rules. The only rule is that they cannot fall in love with another person. Meanwhile, in the restaurant where Aaron waits table, we meet Annie who is there to break up with his 20 something boyfriend Stan because he is not stable in life. Unable to find a suitable excuse for break-up she says she is lesbian and wants to explore the other side of her sexuality. A series of co-incidences follow, which is weird but we will call in cinematic liberty. Marcus ends up meeting Stan on an internet date because Stan is heartbroken because of Annie. Annie starts gravitating towards her colleague Mandy who is dealing with her own family personal issues. Aaron meanwhile is having fun on the side with lot of men but does get jealous seeing Marcus with someone else. Things get to a complicated stage when Marcus starts falling for Stan. Stan and Annie meet after a long time and want to give it a try again but they both agree that they will not out any boundaries in the relationship and they are both open to explore their sexualities. Meanwhile Marcus and Aaron are finally falling apart. Marcus is totally in love with Stan and Aaron can't handle it any more and moves out. All the 4 characters in the film goes through a major change throughout and no one gets a proper conclusion.

The fact that there is no closure to any character is both a good and a bad thing. The film just ends and the viewers wonder what would happen. But I was ok because we can each then have our own interpretation. The acting by all characters is quite nice. They all seem very natural and comfortable which makes the viewing a pleasure. Stan was a cute twin with most beautiful eyes while Aaron and Marcus both acted very well. The film’s several sex scenes are handled with admirable composure, and the gay trysts are granted just as much attention as the straight ones. The film was quite straight forward yet complex. Was there anything extraordinary in the film? Not really!! But then it wasn't a bad film either.

I would keep this one as strictly average. (5.5/10)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Freier Fall (German) [Free Fall]

This is the first film that I was with 10 other friends in the Out in Africa film festival in Johannesburg. I guess this is the first time, I saw a film with such a large group. What was interesting is how all of us had different views on the movie. Some watched it for entertainment, some for romance, some focussed on nuances while others focussed on hotness quotient. It makes my belief even stronger that it os not necessary that whatever I like should and could be liked by others as well. We all have our own opinions. SUre there may not be novelty in the story but for me it was the  treatment that made a huge difference.

Marc is in police training. He has a girlfriend and a baby on the way. During his truing days, he meets his fellow inmate Kay and during their regular jogs Marc experiences a never-before-felt sense of ease and effortlessness. During one such jog, the day ends up in 2 men getting very intimate with each other. Marc realizes his mistake and runs away. He is now posted with a unit and Kay also manages to get posted in the same unit. Marc is very upset and angry with Kay's move, because he just wants to focus on his girlfriend and the baby and life has some other plans. He, at the same time, also finds himself falling in love with another man. When he can't control much, he gives in and him and Kay start a secret affair, while Marc trie to balance his life waiting for his baby to arrive. His girlfriend notices behavioral changes in him but doesn't think too much. One day when Kay is picked up in a gay bar, he is outed to the entire unit in his police division and even gets assaulted by a fellow policeman on a couple of occasions. But he truly loves Marc and even professes his love for him in from of his parents after Marc's mother sees both men kissing. Afraid of lying anymore, he finally tells the truth to his girlfriend who moves out with the kid. Marc is also confused about Kay and decides that he would like to bring their relationship to an end. After hearing the truth and dealing with it for a while, both Marc and his girlfriend decide that they cannot continue like this and need to break-up. Marc thinks of going back to Kay but its too late and Kay has already left the city. Marc is left all alone.

There were two scenes that stuck in my mind even after the movie ended. The first time when Kay and Marc hook up while jogging and Marc realizes what just happened, he runs fast, very fast. I thought that was a very well directed scene. And the other scene is when Kay offers Marc the keys for his apartment. The look in the eye of both Kay and Marc of that love and trust to share the apartment keys is so blissful. Marc is falling in love and is slowly realizing what it is like to be in love with another man who in turns returns the gesture by sharing the apartment keys. The background music of the film gels really well and gives a very genuine real feel with the audience. Acting by all principal actors is quite good. We get to see Marc and his girlfriend go through various stages in their relationship and deal with them like adults. Marc's character shows us as he learns to submit to his free fall, of what does freedom mean and how easy or difficult it is tone yourself or to be with someone who likes to be himself and to live in a society which expect certain norms and principals to be followed. On a side note, it didn't hurt to see the good looking Kay making out with another good looking guy who also happens to be both policemen.

In spite of an overload of stereotypes and cliché's, the film seems acceptable and very watchabale. I would definitely recommend it. (7.5/10)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Sum Of Us (Australia)

I think I had seen this film over 5 years back and had been wanting to see it again, so that I can finally put up a review online on my blog. Undoubtedly, this mvid depicts one of the most beautiful father-son relationships I have ever seen in a film. It is the true love, respect and affection that they have for one another that makes your heart how warm. Sure, sometimes you may feel that this is not as close to truth but who are we to judge. If this sort of relationship could exist in every family, that would be just awesome.

Jeff lives with his father Harry. Jeff is gay and his father is more than ok in accepting Jeff's homosexuality. He is happy and proud of what Jeff is and supports him in every way. The father-son understand each other so well that hey can predict each other's routine and what they are going to say or do. Through some flashbacks we also realize that Jeff's grandmother was a lesbian and the purest love Jeff can remember is the one that his grandma shared with her partner. When Jeff meets Greg, a guy with a string potential of being his boyfriend, It is very hard for Greg to see how open , cool, nice and good Jeff's father Harry is. This is because his own father doesn't treat him well. In fact he even throws him out of house when he comes out. Difficult to take the love and openness between father-son, he steps back which breaks Jeff's heart. At the same time Harry find a divorcee woman through a match matching business. Very soon they come very close to each other but the moment she finds out about Jeff being gay, she freaks out, accuses Harry of lying to her. Harry suffers a stroke because of all this leaving him unable to walk or speak. Jeff cares for him as best as he can, taking him to the park for an outing one day. Jeff and Greg meet up in the park and agree to try and rekindle their romance, while Jeff's Dad, although unable to speak, gives his overwhelming approval.

I liked the fact that the film doesn't have any OTT drama and no one gets AIDS and stuff. Its a feel good happy film about relationships. love, fear and hope. I also loved the fact that the gay characters were not stereotyped by any means. He is just a guy but a guy that isn't afraid to be sensitive or tough without being wishy washy or macho. Russel Crowe just fits so well in the film. The actor who plays Harry is too good. Although some people can take his love for son and over eagerness to find a match for him to be too intrusive and overbearing, it ultimately in totality all fits in. Considering that the film was originally a play, this film is competent, entertaining, warm, and full of hope that the world is moving in the right direction.

I would definitely recommend it to watch on a nice lazy evening with friends for a feel good viewing. (7/10)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Rosa Morena (Portuguese/Danish)

This film was such a pleasant surprise. Having known nothing about the film, I was looking forward to actually another bad gay film but man was I proved wrong! And I am so glad that I was. I have watched  a few films about gay men trying for adoption and surprisingly they have all been made very well. This is yet another film falling in similar genre, again handled with lot of sensitivity, grace and realism.

Thomas, is a single gay man from Denmark. When he is unable to adopt a child in his home country legally, he comes up with an alternate plan. He visits his close friends family in Brazil hoping to explore the possibility of bringing back a child. He meets lawyers but there is apparently no direct ay to do this. A lawyer even suggests him to may be lure a poor woman with some money to buy the child. Thomas' friend very strongly try to reason with him son how he is being silly but Thomas is so bestowed with the idea of bring back home a child, he really doesn't care. He meets Maria through some contacts. She is beautiful, charming woman with 3 kids already, unmarried, lives with her sister and her husband in slums and is pregnant again with no money to support her unborn baby. The plan is simple, Thomas will pay Maria and bring her baby to his native country. But when do plans ever fall in place. Before you realize Thomas begins to get more and more involved in Maria's everyday life before and after the child is born. To the extent that he gets a small flat and moves in slums with Maria and her family to take care of the child. All this time his lawyer keeps reminding him to ask Maria to sign legal papers but she keeps finding excuses to not do so. Thomas doesn't mind this either because he also has fallen for Maria and is even having physical relations with her. Maria feels spoilt with all the money she is getting from Thomas and changes her mind to give the baby to Thomas. When Thomas finally begins to realize whats going on, he decides to steal the baby and take with him. He almost does it, when he realizes it is not right and returns the baby after the slum dwellers beat him up. Eventually time passes and Thomas is heart broken. Maria eventually changes her mind and gives the baby to Thomas.

From a story's perspective, the story seems lame and predictable. So what!! there is so much more in the film. The film is emotional, delicate and real, very real. Acting by Thomas is world class. Its just brilliant. Any gay man or couple who years to adopt a kid will be able to really connect with his character. Maria's character also goes through a lots of ups and downs, which in my opinion is very humane and real. How can a mother ever be so sure to give up her baby. She goes through similar doubts in her mind and doesn't want Thomas to leave because with him, now she has the perfect family she always dreamt of. All the shooting locations are spot on.

This is definitely movie that deserves a wider release and a bigger audience. (7/10)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Ethan Mao

This could be termed as one of those coming of age gay teenage stories. It could also be termed as something that holds your interest, except I believe that I am watching this film quite late in the game. I believe, if I had seen the movie earlier and maybe with a better frame of mind, I may have actually enjoyed the film. But hey, i can't have control over everything , so I will have to review this film as I felt after watching it.

Ethan Mao is living very comfortably in his suburban home with his chinese family. When his step-mother finds out that he is gay, she manipulates her husband and Ethan is booted out of the house. Ethan starts living off the street as a hustler where he meets Remigio, a part time hustler and drug dealer. For some reason Remigio take instant liking for Ethan Mao. For thanksgiving when Ethan Mao gets to know from his brother, that the family is going to be away for a while, he decides to visit home to get some of his mother's stuff but fate has something else planned. The family comes back and now Ethan Mao and Remigio are caught in the act. Believing that they have no choice left, Ethan Mao holds his father, step mother, brother and step brother hostage in home. In the following increasingly desperate hours, Ethan, his family, and Remigio are forced to confront their unresolved conflicts between each other. Ethan's father starts getting more calm, his step-mother turns out to be a sexually frustrated woman. Ethan's two brothers seem cool. iN the end the step mother manages to inform the police and the 2 boys are caught. But are they really caught or is it all a bad dream that Ethan was having?

The film though a little slow is quite engaging in parts. I wish the hostage scenes were reduced in length for more impact. It was very nice and refreshing to see the friendship and dedication of Remigio towards Ethan, although the film never explains the reason behind it. I never got the impression that Remigio was romantically involved towards Ethan, but something kept him loyal towards him. The little bit that I think of Ethan Mao as an individual, I can imagine how hard it must be for him. Barely 18, having to leave a very comfortable life, finding suddenly himself on the streets is the not the easiest thing. Acting wise, everything did a decent job. I must say, i am not much into asian men but there was something sexy about Ethan. The step mom was way over the top and i hated her character. The production is rough and patchy with a  very strong indie flavor. The flashback sequence where Ethan is dreaming is strategically placed and the viewers could be confused even by the time the film ends whether all this was real or dream.

Despite all the goodness, someone the film failed to leave a mark on me. At best, this is a strict average affair. (4.5/10)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Between Something & Nothing

Why do we waste money and effort in making such bizarre films. Supposedly this film is based on slice of life story of the film-maker himself. And when that happens, you end up making a film which is quite self-indulgent as this one. I don't mind weird artsy films, but they should have a purpose at least. This films lacks that and much more.

Middle class guy Joe joins the prestigious Rhode Island school of design. He is one of the few students who are not from rich families. He comes friend immediately with like-minded Jennifer who also is sailing on a similar boat. Joe becomes friends with a local hustler Ramon, in hope to find inspiration for his artwork. Jennifer and Joe go through a number of sessions of arts projects of weird nature. They also explore their dark side where they do shop-lifting, mugging, drugs, alcohol and clubs. They both get indulge in free booze and cheap unsafe sex. Joe himself gets ion hustling trying to figure out whatever that he is trying to figure out. One day he finds Ramon dead and thats when it finally clicks. Street hustling and hot sex and weir encounters with Jennifer ultimately succeed in bringing true artist in Joe.

The movie tarted of well specially since both Joe and Jennifer acted pretty good but from a story's point of view, there isn't much that happens because it is just encounter after encounter and some random events happening in their life. None of them lead to anything at all. The characters are not build. As an audience I don't connect to either of their character. The situations happen and then another event takes place. There seems to be no point in showing those because there is absolutely no connection between any of those events. Yes there are far worse movies but at least the acting in this one was not horrible. I will totally blame the story and director for making such bad piece of cinema.

I would not recommend this. I could have watched a better film. (3/10)

Friday, August 23, 2013

Accused - Tracie's Story (UK)

This is not really a film as such but an episode from a British television series. Each episode follows a character as they await verdict in the court and it tells the story of how they find themselves accused. Interestingly, Tracie's story episode very rightly fits in my blog requirements.

Simon is a bored English teacher who teaches uninterested teenage students by day, and becomes Tracie, a transvestite, by night. But trawling bars in Manchester dressed up to the nines, tottering on stilettos and ready to pull has not produced a lasting or truly fulfilling relationship. On one particular night out, Tracie gets into an altercation with some men out on a stag night. Tony comes to Tracie's aid and offers her a ride home, culminating in the pair having sex at Tracie's home. The pair strike up a casual relationship, with Tony confessing that his wife has died and he is a widower. They are totally smitten and their love affair begin. It is revealed, however, that Tony's wife is still alive when Simon walks past Tony in town and follows him. Simon tracks down Tony's wife's place of work and receives a makeover from her. When Tracie confronts Tony, he cries and begs and agrees to tell his wife but in the meantime his wife finds out about Tony's affair. In a brutal attack, Tony kills his wife because "he couldn't hurt her by leaving". He tells Tracie that he has left hi wife and asks Tracie to travel with him to the lake with Tracie unaware of his wife's body in the car. Tracie runs away, with Tony in pursuit, but Tony can't bring himself to kill her. Tracie is charged with murder but is found not guilty, and Tony is imprisoned for murder.

Actor playing Simon/Tracie was brilliant. It is never easy for  akan to play drag or dress up like woman and still do justice to the role. His portrayal of Tracie's rejection, abuse, defiance and hope was spot on. Not to mention how week Tony's character compliments Tracie's. The actor does a fantastic job in a tricky role of a lover but also a psycho maybe. At a short length of just about an hour, it is perfect length and captivating story that won't leave your attention. This episode also shows 'alternative lifestyles' is sort of brushed to the sidelines in society, and often gets washed up in a sea of ignorance and preconceptions.

Both unexpected and surprising, this was an interesting watch. (6/10)

The Falls

Your first reaction when you read the synopsis of the film is that why would someone try to rehash the evergreen 'Latter Days' about mormons and homosexuality but your doubts are soon put to rest as the movie proceeds.The movie could have embroiled into controversy as well because of the theme of exploring young missionary's personal journey but thankfully nothing like that happened.

A young 20 year old guy RJ Smith is sent away from home to perform his mission and spread the good Mormon word as part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. RJ ends up getting paired with Chris, a more experienced missionary, who becomes both a mentor and a friend to RJ. The two of them together give us a glimpse into the everyday routine of a missionary, getting up early, studying, praying, spreading the word. As RJ begins to learn the ropes and gain confidence, we see Chris having doubts in his beliefs. In the crisis of faith, we begin to see the real Chris as he becomes increasingly dismissive of his missionary responsibilities and bolder in matters of the heart. One thing leads to another and next thing we know is that The 2 men fall in love with each other. When they go for a second visit with a military man back from Iraq, we see the 2 men slowly loosening up. That whole scene is amazing where they even try drugs and do not hide their love for each other. Things take turn when they are discovered in bed by an elder. Eventually, the relationship between RJ and Chris comes to a head as they are forced to deal with their new perceptions, of themselves and of their religion, community, and family members, which they know do not deal well with “people like them”.

Comparisons with Latter Days are inevitable but it was very refreshing to see that the movie had not much in common with the former and could really stand on its own. The film was probably made on a shoe string budget but that did not stop the two lead actors from giving in a very good performance. The movie runs and unfolds at an even pace which some viewers may think of as slow but because the makers wanted to focus on what rely goes in an everyday life of a missionary, i guess it was necessary. I am glad I saw the film. It wasn't ground breaking but it wasn't bad either. The supporting actors were all ok as well. There was humor thrown in as well with the whole war veteran guy.

Overall, keep expectations low and you may actually enjoy this film. (6.5/10)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Walang Kawala (Filipino/Tagalog) [No Way Out]

Sometimes intentions behind a film are good. The plot is good, direction is ok, acting is decent, but still there is something that gets missed in connecting with the audience. Focussing on a very important issue of human trafficking and sexual slavery , there are ups and downs in the story telling. There are moments that you connect and are totally there with the characters and then there are other times, when you just feel things are just not going in the right direction. This film, with all right intentions, unfortunately falls in the second category.

Joaquin is a fisherman in a small village and is in relationship with his neighbor Waldo. When his wife suddenly arrives from her overseas job, Joaquin suddenly has to divert his attention on her because she just wants sex and get pregnant. Unable to handle Joaquin's behavior, Waldo, a young teenager, leaves for Manila in disgust. He is so hurt by his lovers behavior. When Waldo is gone, Joaquin realizes ho much he loves him and he comes out to his wife and also leaves for Manila to look for Waldo. Tracing his path, he meets few folks who in some way would have come into Joaquin's life including a gay bar owner, a restaurant owner and finally to Rufo, a bi-sexualcop who eventually turns out to be a devil and who holds clue to Waldo's disappearance. Rufo lures Joaquin into his home and introduces him to his submissive wife. A sadist by nature, Rufo turns Joaquin into a prisoner and sex slave. It turns out that he did exactly the same with Waldo and many other youn boys and girls . When Joaquin is finally reunited with Waldo, he discovers that Rufo is about to sell them like fish to an international sex trafficking ring, along with his personal harem of male and female captives. Finally with Rufo's wife's help, they manage o escape but in the process Joaquin is killed. Waldo takes his revenge after few months by killing Rufo.

The film does become quite brutal and sadistic in parts where they show Rufo. I am not sure whether it was demand of the scene of the film but the rape scenes and forced sex scenes are quite elaborately shown in the film, making it not suitable for all tastes. Sure its a gay film but it was also about the love that the two guys shared with each other. The scenes in the gay bar were also quite explicit but I think they were ok and didn't really affect anything. Those were the scenes where some basic premise of the plot and meetings with new people were shown. I have a feeling that film was as real as it could be. Joaquin acted really well as the lover torn between his wife and his love. Waldo was strictly ok. A better actor in that role could have done wonders in my opinion. Joaquin's wife was very very over the top , to the extent of even being comical in parts. The production values looked ok. Its a mature story but like I mentioned before, there is something missing that stops me from completely empathizing with the lovers.

It's definitely watchabale, given we have so much crap out there. (5.5/10)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Stonewall

Everyone involved in gay rights movement or remotely interested in it is very familiar with the stonewall story in NYC. Everyone who lived through that time has their own story to tell and this film just focuses on one such story. It is by no means a true story but is a story told by point of view of 'La Miranda', a fictional drag queen. How she, her drag friends, her love and others got through the Stonewall days.

La Miranda is a drag queen who goes through the torture of police once in while in the Stonewall bar. She meets Matty Dean, who has just arrived in NYC. He is somewhat naive and very young. They embark upon a friendship which soon turns into love. Matty Dean comes with enthusiasm to do something for gay rights and to make a difference but he feels uneasy about the way things are. He befriends another man who enlightens him about rallies and a peaceful march to Philadelphia. When Matty Dean has some issues with La Miranda because he wants to focus on making a change, he moves in with this man and start an affair but even here, he is not fully satisfied. He still sees a lot of problems in the place. There is another love story on the side between Stonewall owner and the head of drag queens. Of course, the owner never wants to be seen in public with drag queen and their love affair is a big secret. When the owner can't deal with this double life, he commits suicide. The film ends with the famous riot when the police tries to arrest all drag queens out of the club. The unbelievable but true twist on events is the cops including the NYPD's crack tactical police unit equipped for riots retreating into a newly emptied Stonewall Inn for their own safety is truly a sight to behold.

Stonewall is a brutal film that delivers a very strong message in a very straight forward, no crap, right to the point kind of way. The characters in the film are all adorable in their own way and you can really feel what they are feeling. You can feel the frustration that Matty Dean feels, specially when he can't even enjoy the time with his so called boyfriend at the beach on fire island. All La Miranda wants is love in life and doesn't want to deal with any shit from cops. The actor playing La Miranda is excellent. Matty Dean is so charming, effervescent and everything that you would want in your man including the dashing good looks. I wish a little more focus was done on the other love story. Why did the bar owner suddenly have change of heart and decides to publicly acknowledge his love story?

The film gives a sense of history albeit through fictional story. A great lesson of what people in history did for us to make our lives better in this present. (6/10)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

15 : The Movie (Hokkien/Mandarin)

This film is a provocative insight of the world of several disenchanted, tattooed youths rejected by their own families and sidelined by the mainstream of society, all 15 years of age. Shot in a disjointed MTV and voyeuristic style with mixed paces, this film is a semi-documentary of a lost generation.

The plot, consists of short stories which fell into 3 acts. The first, being the brotherhood between 2 friends who ponder the meaning of their aimless lives. They know that they are condemned in the eyes of society, and find solace in the company of themselves. The second act was a bit comical, as 2 friends helped an ex-enemy to look for a building to commit suicide in. And the last act continued with examining the lives and friendship between the same 2 friends.

There is really nothing more to the plot. I was solo ultimately bored with the concept, idea, direction and everything, I didn't even bother to know whats going on and what not!! I read all over favorable reviews of the film but I am sorry I really did not get the film at all. The film does show some stark realistic portrayal of the youth but there has to be something in the film to hold your attention. I wonder if an actual documentary would have been a better idea. It is wrong to even classify this film in the gay category.

If you like my kind of cinema, its best to avoid this. (1/10)

Saturday, August 3, 2013

L'homme est une femme comme les autres (French/Yiddish) [Man Is A Woman]

The film started off so promising but I think after a while the writer was sort of lost and wanted to cover up a lot of things and issues in a short time. There are not many films based on gay Jews , so it was refreshing to see one. The film positively shows how one man balances being gay and Jewish by having him marry for a bribe. It tried to show how a Reform Jewish family and an Orthodox Jewish family comes together to celebrate their children's wedding.

Simon is a young gay Jewish man living in France. He is out to his family and is in love with his Cousin David, who is getting married. His financial situation is not good and his uncle who doesn't have any children, offers him all his wealth and mansion if he marries a girl and keep their family name going on. Initially Simon laughs it off even arguing with his mother but when his uncle cuts all his finances, he has no choice left. Enters Rosalie' an awkward unhappy virgin Jewish girl who sings to earn money and who ran away from her traditional Jewish orthodox family in New York. Simon tries hard to woo her and she easily gets wooed. She takes him to meet her orthodox family. The family initially hates him but he owns everyone over. Turns out Rosalie's youngest brother is gay and tries to flirt with Simon but Simon cannot afford to lose this. When they come back to Paris, Simon cannot take it anymore and tells Rosalie that he is gay. That doesn't stop the girl from marrying him and they even consummate their wedding. Surprisingly Simon is suddenly happy in a married life and they are spending time together. No explanation on why the change. Meanwhile David is getting divorced and Simon's fascination starts growing again with him to no proper end is shown. Rosalie one day declares that she is pregnant and she cannot continue to stay in their weird marriage arrangement and leaves for New York.

As you can see, the film does touch upon varios subjects including how men and women can view relationships, how a gay man lives in straight world etc. but unfortunately comes up short on every account. The film resale doesn't explain any sub story and doesn't give conclusion to any of those. Simon's love for David and his monologue preparation to say it to David, his sudden enjoyment being with a woman and totally neglecting being gay and the original fact that he married only cos of money. If he doesn't need money anymore and can't have sex, why stay in marriage. The first 30-40 minutes of the film were quite hilarious. The whole sequences of when Simon is trying to ww Rosalie are actually quite funny and hilarious. His reactions to her sudden singing, humidifier in her house and that whole sequence is too funny. I loved Simon's eye rolling expressions. Pricelss!! Similarly scenes with his mother and Rosalie's orthodox family are quite good. I think if the film makers tried to make this a light hearted gay movie and focussed on detailing some of the sub-stories, it would have been a fantastic film. Acting wise everyone did a good job. Simon was excellent and extremely good looking and I think Rosalie was also very very pretty. The mother was also quite funny.

There were a few enjoyable moments but nothing exceptional. There was so much scope in this film. (5.5/10)

Friday, August 2, 2013

Totally Fucked Up

Ok. So I read some really glaring reviews of this film and thens elided to watch it. What a horrible mistake. I see folks saying how, you will really enjoy this film if you are a hard core Greg Arakki fan but why should i be a fan of a director and like all his movies. A movie should be good or bad regardless of who the director is.

The film is weirdly divided into 14 segments (for whatever reason) and we are taken into a journey of 6 odd gay teens in LA. It seems there is nothing really happening in the teenagers lives. All they deal with is boredom and other people's stories. The film was so bad that I am not even gonna bother in some of thee entail story but there was no real story. One guy feels all alone, smokes non stop, meets a guy and feels loved and then suddenly goes away. We have a lesbian couple who are mostly ok. In another relationship, one guy is very secure while the other wants to fool around. And then we have one more guy who also has some story but while watching the film, I was so bored and dis-interested that I could care less what his story was.

This really is a fucked up movie. The acting is awful, the cinematography is completely flat and uninteresting, and even though the movie is only 79 minutes long it drags more than anything I've ever seen. It felt like over an hour had gone by but when I checked my watch I realized I had only gotten ten minutes! The narrative structure also is quite bad and so are production values. The actors are so boring and uninteresting with so many close-ups that it gets annoying.

Absolute totally boring self-important rubbish. (1/10)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Warm Wind

I started to see this film because i thought it was a gay film But its not. The main character just happens to be gay and there is oohing more than that about him being gay in the film. So why am I reviewing it here, if its not gay. That's because if I got fooled hinting this was a gay film, others to can. So maybe this can help others who read this. The film focusses mainly on troops and their life after war. Not a terrible film but not what I was hoping for.

Dave lives by himself in a house in Arizona, where there is a lot of natural beauty. His business is down and he is a little depressed. He hangs out with friends James and neighbor Seth but that doesn't bring much to his otherwise boring and mundane life. A call from his mother and he finds out that has dousing Buck has arrived back from Marines but he has physical disabilities and post trauma stress disorder. Dave thinks he should take care of him because they have grown up together and Buck's father is an alcoholic. Buck doesn't care that Dave is gay. Heated arguments follow when friends visit and argue that Buck should be government's problem. Things in the end turn out ok. Dave decides that he will make his home into a care center where he will take care of veterans with physical disabilities and his friends James and Seth help him along.

A Warm Wind is an odd case of poor production values and incredibly slow pace increasing the intensity of the message of the drama.This story plot could have been very effective short film with a very strong message. Dave looks good and acts well but Seth and James are a little OTT.  Buck is fine. But the pacing is so slow at time, you just don't know what to do except fast forwarding the whole sequence. There are long sequences of Dave staring at nature, swimming etc which I guess were needed to establish the boring and lonely life of Dave but after a while it gets on nerves. The good thing is that the director did not stereotype gay, drunk or narcissistic characters and trust me the film has all of those.

Good thought and intention but stretched way too long. And on top of that there is nothing gay in the film. lol (3/10)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Twist (Canada)

I was really looking forward to this film because I was going to watch it with a friend. The premise was so promising. A gay re-telling of Charles Dickens' classic Oliver Twist. How could this go wrong but somehow neither of us ended up liking the film. There were so many questions that were left unanswered, that I was forced to exclaim wtf by the end. The plot is moved out of the London poor house onto the streets of Toronto. The the tale is told not from Oliver's point of view, but rather that of Dodge.

Dodge works for Bill who works with various young boys as hustlers. Bill is an angry man who hurts boys if they don't bring enough money home every night. One night Dodge finds Oliver and brings him him with him. He takes Oliver under his wing and instructs him in the unforgiving arts of drug abuse and prostitution. Oliver develops a crush on Dodge and views him as his boyfriend, complicating their friendship. Dodge does not reciprocate his feelings, and reacts angrily to Oliver's kisses and other signs of affection. As Oliver's innocence dissolves, both young men confront their demons, and ultimately it is Dodge who finds he cannot escape his past. At the same time we have Bill's girlfriend who works in the coffee shop and is also a subject of Bill's abuses. Oliver meets an old man, who suddenly takes interest in him and who seems like he could be his real father. Also we meet Dodge's brother who comes back to get him. Dodge doesn't want to go back home because he blames his oder brother for not intervening when their father was abusing him. The film ends with a very dark scene between Dodge and his brother.

Like I mentioned before, there is a lot in the film that is left for viewers imagination. I felt none of the characters were completely developed. No explanations were given on the girls abuse, Dodge's history, the older guy who suddenly gets interested in Oliver but then same way just starts ignoring him. The writing is the biggest drawback of this film. Low-key, and very slowly paced, with long camera "takes", this bleak story would have been better with a little more substantive action. Giving where the credit is due, the actors do quite a good job of acting. But given that their parts were so underdeveloped, there was only so much that they both do.

This movie comes across as depressing, and with good reason. While more faithful adaptations of Oliver Twist have the uplifting quality of people trying to leave their bad conditions, this movie just shows people sinking deeper into the muck. Perhaps this was intended by the writer/director, but the execution makes the movie less than memorable. (3.5/10)