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.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Make It Right: Season 1 (TV Series) (Thai)

This is season 1 of Thai  boys’ love romantic comedy series featuring 12 episodes each of about 45 minutes each. So you can see that it was quite time consuming to watch all of this. The story revolves around young boys’ budding relationships and how they deal with their feelings within themselves and in front of the judging society. The primary story(s) takes place in a high school institution where most of the characters go to study.

The story of this series is paper thin. The primary two characters are Fuse and Tee. When Fuse finds his girlfriend cheated on him, he finds solace in Tee, a young boy who shows immense interest in him, but Fuse is confused. Doesn’t know what he wants. Then we have this other couple Book and Frame. Frame is outgoing guy who sleeps around while Book is this really shy guy. They have a chance sexual encounter and how this changes the equation between them forms the crux of their story. There is a whole load of other characters as well who add to the story. Frame’s sister who does cosmetics business, her lover, her admirer. Then there are other boys in the school, and each of them have their own story going on. We also have Rod, who has a huge crush on Fuse. Anyway, there is not much to the story necessarily, and the series just follows their day to day activities of love, heart-break, jealousy and friendship.

I am not sued to Thai series, so I maybe reacting a bit weird; but I found the acting, especially people’s reactions to any situation very dramatic and over the top. In fact the boys look a bit awkward. Sometimes, the reactions made me laugh out loud. I blame all this to the directors but then maybe this is how thai series are. I will have to watch more. Also the series is way too long. There are many side stories and even the main stories drag out. Each of the episode should have been of about 20 minutes each and crisp. I think that would have added a lot to the merits of this series. Book and Frame have good chemistry which was completely lacking between Fuse and Tee. On a positive note, the boys were all very cute. It was surprising to see how comfortable everyone in school is with anyone’s sexuality. It was never shown as a big deal being gay. Is that Thai culture really that advanced? I doubt so. Interestingly, none of the young boys’ parents were shown and it felt, they all belong to affluent families with constant junk food eating, buying cosmetics and hanging out with friends. Nothing wrong with that but just an observation.

The story and the plot is promising but I am highly disappointed with a teenage like execution but then I guess its the teenagers who were the target audience for this series. (5/10)

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Better Half

Aah! The stab you feel when you see a wonderful story and idea and paper and see it blow up in execution, not just in one department but various aspects of it. I will talk about it more in details later but to give the credit due where it belongs, the story is pretty novel and had huge potential if this was in a capable director’s hands.

The story is about a gay couple Tony and Leo. Tony is a social worker who works with lower section of society (drug peddlers, convicts, hospitals, abused women etc.) and he is very passionate about his job and very dedicated. Leo, on the other hand is a financial advisor and is very much into career and money. They have been together for a while. In one of the many cases, once a woman leaves her stillborn baby in a hospital. While taking care of the kid, Tony gets really close to the baby Dylan. When Leo proposes marriage, he accepts but also asks if he would consider adopting Dylan. Leo is very reluctant because he has barely accepted the idea of marriage. Ultimately he gives into pressure. But because of gay adoption legalities involved in the system, Leo has to adopt baby as a single parent with Tony later applying for guardianship. Tony becomes a full time home maker while Leo is fully focussed on his job. But Tony’s old cases come to haunt him and he gets killed in a gun shot. Leo’s world is turned upside down because he was never ready to take care of baby. In fact, he wants to run away from the baby. But with support from his friends and Tony’s colleagues, he gets over the fear and finally accepts Dylan as his own son.

So clearly the story has enough potential, but where do I even begin with the flaws. The beginning is flawed. We see 4-5 different scenarios completely unrelated to each other before we can even figure out what’s going on. And the camera angles are so weird with completely focussing on head shots of the characters that it gets very distracting and flat and annoying. The photography is very uneven. The lead actors had potential but the director IMO didn’t do a good job of extracting performances from them. An independent film has its constraints and I do understand that but there is no excuse for bad timing and really poor editing. Talking of which, the film is pretty long and totally lacks professional creativity. The makers could have gone into the details of bureaucracy of adoption for gay parents but instead they focus on personal tussle between the couple. A welcome effort in terms of story but totally thumbs down for execution.

Watch it only if you don’t have anything else better to see or if you have money to use the same story and adopt it better. (4/10)

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Gay Short Films : 54

Coming Out: Best Gift Ever
A 23-year-old, Russian-born violinist Artem Kolesov posted a YouTube video in which he comes out as gay. Instead of creating an anonymous contribution, he chose to share his name and face, his story of abuse, depression and suicide attempts, to let fellow LGBT youth in Russia feel less isolated. Despite the possibility of arrest, he has no regrets, because LGBT Russians & the world will hear the voice of a gay Russian.

Out of Exile: Daniel's Story
In August 2014, Daniel was confronted by his family who disapproved of his sexuality. Daniel recorded the event on his phone. This VR video using the technique of videogrammetry uses the original audio and plight of LGBT who end up being homeless because their family abandons them.

Grindr Killer (UK)
For over a year the London police failed to properly investigate the deaths of four young gay men and link them to a serial killer. During this time one man repeatedly tried to raise the alarm. Finally the killer was sentenced to life imprisonment. This short BBC documentary is about those events.

En La Azotea (Spain) [On the Roof]
Adrian and his friends climb every afternoon on a roof to watch a girl who sunbathes. But this afternoon will be different because Adrian will also see a naked guy on the roof. Challenged by his own sexuality and his friends query, he has a quick decision to make.

Längs Vägen (Sweden) [Along the Road]
Two truck drivers have a secret relationship. They meet up at a rest area along the road, but both of them are longing for something more.

Barcelona, nit d'estiu (Spain) [Jordi & Marc]
Jordi and Marc are team-mates in a local soccer team. Jordi has been offered a contract with one of the biggest soccer clubs in the world. But the club wants him to keep his sexuality a secret. This brings a bone of contention between the two guys because part of Marc wants him to not go and be away from him although football club is the right thing for Jordi. What would be the right thing to do in such a case? A very beautiful and well acted emotional film.

Shower (Norway)
Showering after his swim, a young man finds his interest piqued and his self-image challenged by a strange sound. He gives in to his instincts but rage takes over when caught by a stranger. Classic case of closet homophobia !!

Reel (Sweden)
It is the last day before Victor has to move to another city. So he and his best friend Robert do all the things they like to do together including skateboarding & spraying. But this time, there will be a kiss too.

Seminarista (USA)
A young Colombian conservative seminarian struggles to choose between his faith and his sexuality after he has a steamy encounter with a free-spirited guy during a trip to the US.

He She We (USA)
When a handsome young man decides to leave his older female lover his escape plan is foiled when her early return coincides with his new lover's arrival. A classic set up for disaster and heartbreak? Or perhaps there is another possibility of the trio getting it on?

Truth or Dare (USA)
2 couples decide to play the game but the instigator will soon realize that some deep waters may have been better left uncharted with her boyfriend. Done to death!

HerzHaft (Germany)
Felix is secretly in love with Ralph. This doesn't seem to be the biggest problem, but Felix is fifteen and Ralph is his thirty-four-year-old soccer coach. They meet every day in secret. One day, Felix's mother finds out and Ralph has to decide between feeling and reason.

Dos Chicos Adolescentes (Argentina)
2 young adult boys meet at one of the guys home on a hot day trying to control their passion and feelings.

Without A Mom (USA)
Two gay Dads fumble to provide their straight son with meaningful support after the loss of his first real love. They both constantly question if their decision was right given there is no female at home but their son assures them he is very happy to just have 2 Dads.

Eersgeborene (South Africa( [Firstborn]
The short film explores identity and sexuality within the Afrikaans minority through a tale of two brothers who descend into matricide and madness on a remote farm.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Romeo & Romeo

Oh My God!! I hope no one ever has to go through the torture of watching this film (if you can even call it that!). Horrendous! Horrible! Pathetic! Really bad in every single department. I mean what was someone thinking. I cant believe this little piece of shit was made and then the makers even expected that someone will actually watch the ilm or even applaud it. This is so bad, that even having to write this review feels like an utter waste of time.

As per imdb summary, Zak Lawson was a pop star who came out of nowhere, and reached the top of the billboard charts at the age of 14. He met bad boy Trent at the peak of his career, bad news. Trent dragged Zak down a road full of drugs and alcohol. He spiraled out of control, and his career was over. Years later Zak faces the past head on, finding out buried secrets which test his sobriety. In his journey he has a friend, his mother, his caretaker (Trent’s sister) at one point and some other random people.

Bad! Bad! Bad! acting and direction. I mean I have seen enough bad films in my life but nothing beats this film. Unnecessary screaming, usage of F word totally random, boobs hanging out for no reason, two long drawn sex scenes for just eroticism; where do I end the list? Direction is bad, execution is bad, acting, loud music, story.. everything everything is terrible… Please please do not waste precious time of your life that will never come back!!. (0/10)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Monster Pies (Australia)

Yet another high school coming-of-age stories. We have seen plenty of these by now and can guess in most cases on what’s going to happen, but occasionally we also do get something interesting to watch. The film was recommended by one of my followers here and Iw as really looking forward to it and wanted to like it quite bad but sadly, I think over expectations killed this movie to an extent for me.

Mike, is our main protagonist, a gawky and nerdy teenager in high school. He lives with his mother at home and works at a video store. He is constantly late to school and is bullied by school guys and is called faggot occasionally. A new hot and good looking student Will joins his class and a class project brings the two guys together to present their own interpretation of ‘Romeo & Juliet’. The duo decide to give a spin to the story with Frankenstein’s monster and the Wolfman as two societal misfits who want to be lovers.   The two boys slowly get very close and we also get an insight into their lives. Both come from broken homes. Will’s father is drunk and abusive and his mother is in a nursing home, barely conscious and doesn’t even recognize her own son. Given such situations, When Mike approaches Will with his love, he first pulls away but slowly comes back. The two are now together slowly struggling with acceptance amongst themselves. The duo doesn’t get enough love at home and these are the moments that they have each other. The family situation doesn’t improve any more and just like the project they were working on, their love story also has a tragic ending. Will ultimately takes his own life leaving Mike to accept the reality and never forget his first love.

This film has received excellent reviews and have taken people back to those innocent times when cellphones were not there and people used to watch videos (probably early 90s); but I still feel there was something that was missing with the film. I can’t pin point to what it was but I was just unable to connect with the characters. I think they acted really well, especially Will, as the confused kid with abusive father. But I felt their chemistry lacked passion and felt more like friends. Mike was quite awkward , portraying exactly what his character demanded. Thankfully there are no unnecessary explicit sex scenes just to titilate us. The story was quite interesting and the direction was good too. A little bit focus on editing and background music would have helped this film quite a bit. I did not understand any reasoning behind all the video store scenes which were a couple of them.

Either I was not in the right frame of mind or my expectations from a film are very different from a general movie-going audience but I was a bit disappointed with the overall result. (5/10)

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Teenage Kicks

Transitioning from a teenage to adulthood is never easy and we have seen quite a few films, mostly coming-of-age kinda stories that shows us what goes on in an individual’s mind. This film is a bit different, because our character is not only going through this phase and struggling through his sexuality; but also he has to deal with guilt, grief and identity. At this point, I do have to mention that the title of the film is neither inspiring nor flattering for the kind of story that this film brings to forte. The film is definitely not about teenage romp, instead it is a drama that leaves you thinking.

Mik lives with his elder brother and migrant parents. He is questioning his sexuality and finds himself madly in love with his best friend Dan, with whom he indulges in masturbation while watching lesbian porn. The duo have plans to escape their homes in search for better life. But sudden death of Mik’s brother Tomi (partly because he is running away from Mik who watched him naked and got aroused) in a car accident brings further havoc in Mik’s life. His parents are indifferent to him, his father never considers Mik worthy of his son, and we find the secret later. To add further to his problems, hi smother wails about how he’ll never be half the man his brother was. Dan, meanwhile finds a girlfriend and Mik finds himself further lonely. He son finds solace with Tomi’s heavily pregnant girlfriend. Mik is so confused about what he wants that he tries to slip in his brother’s shoes by trying to sleep with his brother’s girlfriend. Mik is tormented. He goes to stranger’s home, indulges in drugs and random sexual encounter with both a guy and a girl. Things further go south when he tries to convince Dan that his girlfriend doesn’t deserve him and kisses him. Shocked, surprised and outraged; Dan ends up raping Mik only to later repent on what happened. Mik still doesn’t understand why everything bad happens only to him. Some family secrets are revealed and finally Mik realizes that he needs to stay back and take care of his parents and stay back and he will have to look for love and care with someone else outside Dan.

One thing that the film clearly shows is the uncertainties that Mik’s like keeps bringing him. Truly everything seems to go wrong for the kid. The guy playing the character of Mik does an incredible job as a frightened and confused teenager who feels responsible for his parents unhappiness, for his sibling’s death and scared of losing his best friend to a girl. His struggle with his identity is very real. On the other hand his best friend Dan tries to be there for him every step of the way until he gets to know that Mik is in love with him. The parents reaction was a bit something that I didn’t understand. Surely it wasn’t Mik’s fault for who his father was but both his parents treat him very bad for no reason. He is given no love and is even made responsible for his brother’s death. The film was intense because you just did not know what else is gonna go wrong for the boy and you just want to be there for him. The film doesn’t hold back on the struggles that come with such a sexual awakening.

An interestingly unique and different film though quite heavy. You need to be in the right set of mind to understand and really appreciate this film. (7/10)

Monday, September 4, 2017

When We Rise (Mini-Series)

This is a 4 part mini series that aired on ABC channel, which is a dramatization of the real life San Francisco centered fight for LGBT rights from 1972 to 2015. The LGBT community which arguably has had the most numerous organized campaigns against them of any minority group to suppress those rights in the United States during that time period; is shown with some real life snippets thrown in for people to relate to it better. In totality it is a long watch but absolutely essential for us to appreciate the fights that our seniors have fought for us to get us the rights that we have today and live relatively stress and hassle free.

The series focuses on the advocacy and other supportive work of three primary individuals, Cleve Jones, Roma Guy and Ken Jones, whose experiences focus on different aspects of the issue. At the center we have Cleve Jones, a gay teenager barely surviving on the streets of San Francisco, who eventually goes on to become one of the most prominent figures of the gay rights movement. He forms alliance with Roma Guy, a feminist activist who discovers her own sexuality in the process of agitating for the rights of her friends who are lesbians. Ken Jones is a black Vietnam veteran whose story is a bit alienated from the movement itself but it does focus on loss, addiction, and spiritual crisis. The intersections of sexuality, race, gender identity, and economics is all handled beautifully in this section of the series. We also have Diane, who is Roma’s partner and he own struggles to bring up a family and still be neutral without jeopardizing her career. The initial 2 parts show how hostile the entire the entire SF institutions were towards the gay community and how we did not have support from any section of the society. But just in the time when we the movements start and the heat starts taking place, slowly men start to get sick and suddenly the country in engulfed in AIDS crisis. Ken, who had won a hard-earned enclave of peace, ends up bereaved, homeless, and an addict. Ken and Roma need to move from political activism to fighting for their and friends’ life. Right from the days of Harvey Milk upto the very recent DOMA and Prop 8; we get to witness everything through the lens of these primary characters.

As I have mentioned above, There is a lot of stuff that has been tried to show and cover in this four part series, and in the process I felt a lot of it left more to be desired. Some fights felt left unfinished, especially in todays time when we could be so close to losing it all that we have achieved in past 50-ish years. The reality is that everything we see in this s real and actual people helped us achieve our goal while many of us just sat and did nothing but are enjoying the benefits. We really need to appreciate and feel gratitude for what we have today given to us pretty much without having to fight for it. The series may not have been the best rendered because 5-6 hours is not enough time to show everything that needs to be covered but is still super important.The acting by all actors is simply amazing. I personally felt the younger teenage actors were more in sync with the character than the adult versions. Also the connection between the actors within the same character felt missing but I guess. who cares! Guy playing Cleve Jones younger version is the best of the lot. I personally learnt a lot about the feminist movement as well in SF. This was a very good reminder for us and our history and now I am curious to read and see more about what happened in other parts of the country especially NY and the world.

We did have a long journey behind us whose rewards we are reaping but will this continue to be the case. I felt asking this question without any convincing answers. (7/10)

Friday, August 25, 2017

Speech And Debate

I dunno exactly how I felt after this film finished. This was a very average film, where conveniently strained situations are created and by the end of it all life goes back to being very rosy; which all feels too good to be true. Touted as a teen comedy, I personally did not laugh at ay point and I couldn’t really connect with the actors either.

Three oddballs in a school ultimately come together: Dan is a new boy in the neighborhood, openly gay and wants to start a gay straight alliance but the school board would not allow. We then have Diwata, an aspiring outspoken wanna be actress who is heart broken when she is not selected for a school musical because she is against the changes made to the story to suit the sensibilities of the conservative town. Finally we have Solomon, who has a lot of thoughts and topics that he wants to write about but the school newspaper is heavily censored because of board rules and hence he is also frustrated. Among the only options available to them, the make/join the ‘Speech & Debate’ club because they feel this is what will give them a platform to showcase their talents and fight against the outdated rules of their school. After a few weeks, they make a disastrous attempt to participate in a Portland competition, and get into some big-city trouble when they miss the bus home. They then come up with a master plan to use the board meeting to make people aware of their problems and hoping that with the use of media, things will finally improve for the three of them, for people like them and for the entire school and town.

My biggest problem like I mentioned above is that, this film never connects with the audience. It fails to make a convincing case. If you look from a point of view of brainless entertainment, maybe this is good but then I doubt this was the intention, since a lot of issues have been tried to highlight in this film. Hypocrisy, teen pregnancy, closet gay teacher, homophobia, social media craze, bullying, freedom of speech, and other general teenage issues; and because of this, it never does justice to anything. On the bright side, the acting from all the three main characters is amazing, especially Diwata. Actually she did crack me up a couple of times. Dan was gorgeous looking and gives in a very restrained performance of a city gay boy trying to adjust in a small town. Solomon was also good and added a charm to the story.

A strictly time pass film which I would say as below average. Good looking cast but a weak storyline. (4/10)

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Kept Boy

After a long time i saw a gay film whose subject wasn’t run of the mill. Complexities of living with a sugar daddy is something new, maybe it has been handled in a few short films or side stories but a full fledged film on this subject is a great idea. Sadly personally for me, it didn’t translate too well on screen as I would have liked to, and I will write more details about it but nonetheless I really appreciate an interest in bring something new to the table.

Good looking and hot Dennis lives with his sugar daddy Farleigh who works in reality TV production. Dennis has never worked in life and has enjoyed his time as Farleigh’s kept boy, and unfortunately his production is not doing too well. So on his 30th birthday, Dennis is asked to look for a job to support himself a little bit. This comes as a shock to him since he has never worked in his life and his circle of friends also include Lonnie & Paulette who themselves are living with a much older woman and a man respectively. In between all this, Farleigh starts giving a lot more attention to the new pool boy Jasper, including making him the design assistant for his show. Dennis now has to do everything that he possibly can to win back Farleigh into his life. Dennis and Jasper try to overdo each other including when they all go to Columbia for vacation. The climax and all seems pretty contrived and convenient where Farleigh dies and it seems life for Dennis is going to be more independent and happier but who knows.

The film is touted as comedy but to be honest I didn’t laugh at any single instant. Instead I felt that it was handled more like drama and what really happens and thats what got me more excited about the subject. It is hard to say whether Dennis wanted to stick with Farleigh just for money or did it include a bit of love as well, probably latter since he rejects an offer by another rich old man, who happens to be Jasper’s uncle. But then , anyone with even little bit of dignity would wanna look for some self-respect when clearly Farleigh is more interested in Jasper now. He spends the entirety of the film trying to win Farleigh back and nothing works. The whole climax of Jasper and Dennis hooking up to win Farleigh back was also bit weird. And what about the end? The two kept boys are now together or was it a whole planned affair? Anyway, besides these screenplay grudges, as far as acting goes, Dennis was the star. He portrayed his character exceptionally well. I thought Jasper was a bit confused and not natural. And of course, I am not complaining about some hot nice ass that you get to see in the process.

An interesting insight for people who think they can have a carefree life finding a sugar daddy, it is very easy to be replaced in such scenarios. Overall a decent film. (6.5/10)

Monday, August 21, 2017

Bear City 3

And finally the third and the last film in this bear trilogy, brings back all principal characters back from the first two films and continues to what’s the latest happenings in everyone’s lives. As enjoyable as the first two films were, I was looking forward to this film as well. Though it didn’t disappoint, it also did not bring anything new to the table.

Lets look at all the major characters and couples that we are introduced to and will watch. Fred who has started making a documentary on bears, is now about to have a baby with his husband Brent. While Brent has completely taken over the responsibility of doing all preparations for the arrival of the baby, Fred is busy with his documentary, making Brent feel that Fred is not taking the baby’s arrival with as seriousness as it deserves. Then we have Michael, who although still mourning the death of his past lover is building a new relationship with Dalton. Dalton’s daughter Emma, a very tough teenager and very protective of her father,  comes in to the mix a year into their relationship and the trio is going through their own tribulations. And then we have Roger, who has not only lost his love in part 2 but also has now lost his job and apartment. The entire group is now going to the bear campground for the weekend or something and Roger also goes hoping to rekindle love with his ex Tyler. But Tyler now has Jay, a fireman and they are both very much in love with each other. Each character goes through their ups and downs, laughters and cries, hopes and wishes and start to redefine ‘family’ in their context, especially after Fred & Brent have their baby two weeks early in the camp. Each learns a valuable lesson about tearing down misconceptions, building relationships, rebuilding one’s self, and finding more than enough love in their hearts.

I dunno what was it but the film didn’t excite me as much as the first two did. This could be a combination of expectations and the fact that the film really did not have anything novel to offer unlike the first two. I mean, there was nothing wrong with the film but then there was nothing outstanding either. Like most films, each couple had their share of misunderstanding which gets resolved by the end of the film. We all know exactly what the outcome is gonna be. I think it was the expectations that left this film a little short in fun quotient for me. Acting by all principal actors was still pretty good with Brent still taking an edge over the others. Roger’s character in this chapter, according to me was quite irritating and unlikeable. I wonder if that was the intent but besides that I was happy to see that all characters were given equal prominence including Fred’s sister who is also the surrogate.

Not bad at all but not great either, This film is an alright conclusion to the trilogy of the gay bear life. Now lets look forward to something new. (6/10)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Gay Short Films : 53

Johnny (US)
An older man hires a young sex worker named Johnny to be his first sexual experience with another man. The night they share forces them to face the difficult truths they've been trying to outrun. Johnny is a story about finding the strength and courage that it takes to accept responsibility for the choices you have made.

Camchat (US)
An experimental look at online sexual encounters through one young man's interactions. Yawn!

Lily In The Grinder (US)
Ryan struggles to find meaning in his provisional existence, exploring sex and death and the idea of 'becoming something.' This surreal film, enveloped in a classical string quartet piece, is a rumination on death, time, and the nature of existence. What if human life cannot be said to truly begin or end? This one was way too weird for me.

Never Too Late (US)
A teenage romantic short film that shows that even with HIV+, its never too late to find love if you truly look for it.

Dans Les Yeux (France)
A Sunday morning like any other in the Parisian suburbs. Two 18-year-old men, are secretly in love. An odd situation that Alex imposes on Victor. But an unexpected announcement will challenge his love and force him to take a stand.

Workout Buddies: A Bro Love Story (US)
Brian begins working out with Miguel, because he wants to get fit and they are both having a great time. But eventually, Brian starts getting jealous when he sees Miguel working out with another bro.

Turbulence (Canada)
As the plane slowly makes its descent, a young couple is faced with their differences through sudden pockets of turbulence. Alex, who's about to start his career, struggles to communicate his true artistic passion to his boyfriend Brett, a straight-laced, privileged law school frat boy still coming to terms with his sexuality.

Tienda de campana (Spain)
Adrian and Dario are friends since the age of fifteen, but that will change after the camping trip.

Éden (Portugal)
João and Pedro live in this garden. What João wants the most is for Pedro to be happy and the only way he found to make that happen is to support him in his escape with Sara. On the other hand, Pedro learned how to love João and does not want to leave the garden. But one of them ate the forbidden fruit.

OuT (USA)
We travel through the stages of coming OuT with the mysterious "A".

Pipe Dream (USA)
Peter’s girlfriend of two weeks, offers to give him the greatest gift that any young man would want: his first blow-job. Problem is, Peter has a small dick... or so he thinks. With the support of his super-hip gay DADS and a penis pump, Peter must prepare himself to measure up against the expectations of society. But sometimes in this world, it's not the size that matters, it's definitely how you use it. This film was brilliantly done with a good mix of humor and message.

Scaremonger (USA)
Hearing news that her 10-year-old son is being bullied because of his feminine long eyelashes, a single mother descends into a paranoid spiral of nightmares as she tries to protect him by trapping him inside. A very interesting film that shows how parents can get so protective.

Heet Water (USA)
A sober intense situation of exploring sexuality in a bath tub.

D.Asian (USA)
A young 4th grade is trying to fit in, where he likes the cutest boy in class. Where everyone thinks he is White, he identifies himself a s Asian and he bloody well has a very good reason for it. Amazing IMO!

Der Untermensch (Canada) [The Subhuman]
A contemporary dance piece abstractly depicting the persecution of homosexuals at the hands of the Third Reich.

Dragen (Denmark) [The Kite]
The film is based around a kite which rekindles memories of childhood between 2 long lost friends. The film is with barely any words spoken. They meet as kids and slowly start falling in love, only to be dragged back home by one of the parents. All memories come back flashing, seeing the kite again.

Arrival (USA)
An animation film following a young boys journey into adulthood and gay relationship.

Tu.Yo.Baño.Sexo.Ahora. (Spain) [You.Me.Bathroom.Sex.Now.]
When Antonio finds out that his boyfriend of 8 years is cheating on him three days before Christmas, he decides to find solace amongst friends at the neighborhood dive. He meets a guy there who pretends to be German and they both have a great time in the bathroom leading to a fast way of Antonio forgetting his anger. Will he be able to use the same trick on another guy? I absolutely loved this film. And would highly recommend this comedy.

Paradigma (Spain)
Innocence, sex and lust converge to tell the story of Guille, a teenager who seeks himself through others. With his best friend, he is seeking to control his sexuality and maybe find one guy that loves him for who he is.

Green Light (USA)
The lonely nights of two gay men, seeking connection in their worlds of isolation.

Friday, August 11, 2017

That's Not Us

This is a film that examines long term relationships, (definition of long-term is debatable) over the course of weekend in a nice picturesque beach town. At the onset it seems another one of those improvised, low budget, indie films, but its thankfully saved by some really good acting. The actors maybe unknown but they definitely don’t come out as novice and that’s a good thing because otherwise, a film that relies heavily on dialogues can very soon get very boring.

3 couples (gay, lesbian and straight) come to a beach town near New York for the weekend. Each one wants to have a good time but internally each of them is going through their own problems. James and Spencer have been together for a while and are very much in love but Spencer has just been accepted into a grad school in Chicago and that seems to have put a discord in their relationship. Alex and Jackie, the lesbian couple , hasn’t had sex in ages and Alex is trying her best but feels constantly rejected by Jackie who has her own issues. And finally we have Liz and Dougie, who have recently started dating an dare in their honeymoon phase of constant sex but when Dougie admits he doesn’t know how to ride a bike, it drives a wedge between them. Each of them tries to talk about their problem with someone except their respective partner. Issues are raised, some fights happen and as expected everything is resolved by the time weekend comes to an end.

Storywise, it is as simple as what I mentioned and to be honest, the dialogues are also pretty lame; but thankfully its the acting that saves the film. I think the idea was to keep it as real as possible, but I really doubt that the couple who have been together for a few years talk this formally with each other using the sentences being used in the film “Let’s be in the moment” and “Just tell me how you f---ing feel!” There is way too much talking and after a while I started losing interest in thier story line because to be honest, even though the issues were trivial, they were made out to be of the utmost criticality and hence when I read somewhere talking of these as “first world problems”, I couldn’t have agreed more. The gay couple’s chemistry is the best one and for obvious reasons, I connected most with. They are also given some good funny dialogues which keeps the mood of the film light. Talking always helps and even in this case the conflict, miscommunication, and resentment in the group is eventually resolved.

A decent feature if you have nothing better to do. Its worth a watch only for the natural acting. (5/10)

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Handsome Devil

Set in the backdrop of a boarding school, this film is another one of those coming-of-age stories for a teenage boy or boys. What’s a little hard for me to believe is the fact that neighborhoods and societies in general can be still so homophobic in Ireland, but then I don’t live there, so its not fair for me to comment on that. It may not be the easiest for  a teenager to come out but but something tells me that its highly unlikely that a whole high school community would be harsh including the teachers.

Ned, teenage gay outcast, joins a boarding school since his parents work in Dubai. Taunted and laughed at because of his ginger look and non-interest in rugby, he has learned to live that way. He is soon joined as his room mate by Conor, who also joins this school because of suspension from his previous school for picking up fights with students. A quiet and shy guy by nature, it turns out that he is a rugby star and now the only hope for the school to being them back the winning glory of the tournament. Ned and Conor form an unlikely friendship, ably supported by their English teacher who continuously encourages students to be themselves (who later we find out that he is gay himself but surprisingly in closet, maybe because of his job). The school bully soon finds out that the actual reason for Conor to leave his earlier school was because he was picking fights for anyone who would confront him to be gay, blackmails Conor to cut off all ties with Ned and help them bring the coveted cup. Ned is surprised by how suddenly Conor has disappeared from his life because of nothing. Initially hurt and tired of being called a faggot, he announces to the school that Conor is also gay. This is what Conor has always feared and his nerves get the better of him and he disappears from the school on the day of the final match. Ned realizes his mistake, somehow convinces Conor to take back the charge and bring back the glory by being himself and not pretending to be someone he is not. He comes back to the team and is ready to join the team only if they all accept him for who he is. Miraculously all of them agree despite a reluctant coach. The match is won and the two friends are back together.

The best thing that I liked about the film and two main protagonists is that no romance angle was forced into the narrative. They were friends who truly cared for each other and being the oddballs (gay/quite/sarcastic) was their common binding factor. And I really appreciate the efforts of film makers for keeping this simple. As I mentioned above, yes, we do see certain bullies in high school, who would indeed act the way some of the students did, but the headmaster and sports teacher probably should not. Guy who played the English teacher is a wonderful actor and beautifully plays his role of a brilliant teacher who is trying to push students beyond their limits, while struggling with himself to be true to his own beliefs. Ned’s character was nice and witty like someone who has become used to being bullied and now uses humor as self-prevention mechanism. Conor on the other hand is troubled (I feel their needed to be a back story with his father, that could tell us more about what’s truly bothering him. On one side he is this quiet, shy musically inclined guy but then he is this aggressive rugby player. Both the guys acted their parts brilliantly, but somehow the empathy was missing. I could relate with them but I couldn’t feel them and this is one of my major concerns with the film.

This film is about being gay, and about anyone that doesn't fit into the social norm. People need to stop thinking that anyone who is different is a lesser individual. (7/10)

Friday, July 28, 2017

Loev (Hindi/English)

I had mixed feelings 15 minutes into the film. I was wondering whether this is going to be another trash, budget independent bad movies or will it bring something different in perspective. I have to admit that less than half way into the film, I forgot and didn’t care about the low production quality or even the use of hand help camera at different points. I was engaged in the chemistry of the leads and was just trying to figure out what the relationship between the leads is, because it is never made clear to us until quite late in the film. A complicated but love story would be an appropriate way to describe this film.

Sahil, is a young budding musician, who has a huge fight with his roommate(?) Alex before heading to the airport to meet his childhood friend Jai. Jai is now a successful banker and is in India for a meeting and Sahil plans a weekend getaway to Western Ghats with his friend. The two are from very different worlds which we see n first few minutes of the film but despite their differences they are very close. Neither of them are entirely certain of their place in each other’s lives, but they are ready for the trip. I couldn’t figure out of they are friends/lovers/boyfriends or what!! They are close yet they argue like babies on quite a few issues mostly because of the fact that Jai doesn’t stop working even on weekends. Jai’s way to apologize to Sahil is by embracing him and kissing him but Sahil stops him. Day 2 is planned with a hike and the two share a kiss together which we see later. This is when it is clear that Jai probably has a girlfriend in NYC and Sahil’s roommate Alex is actually his boyfriend.  When they are back in Mumbai for Jai’s meeting, Sahil embarrasses Jai by kissing him in front of his clients and confronting that he is not ready. On the contrary, Jai blames him for not reciprocating his affection from the beginning. The two kiss, but when Sahil tries to withdraw from him, Jai rapes him, only to immediately regret it. After an awkward silence, the do meet Alex and his friend for dinner and after party. Late at night its time to leave but now Jai is overwhelmed with guilt. Sahil is ready to forget but Jai can’t. He knows that they can never be together because they have vastly different lives. They part ways as a heartbroken Sahil watches him leave. Alex is lovingly waiting here for his love.

I may have given too much detailed summary bit I think its important to feel that the way the subject was handled was simply amazing. Jai and Sahil had amazing chemistry. Like I said before that it takes time to figure out if they are lovers or friends but either way there is a very genuine connection, affection and love for each other which is very evident in all their actions. There is a mystery around what is one person to the other and that is not just for the audience but even the duo are going through the struggle. Alex, initially may seem clumsy, but I felt tat he was more perceptive that it seemed. He gives Sahil his space with Jai but is also the balancing factor in Sahil’s life. Sone one who loves him and is not afraid to show it, even though Sahil may be conflicted. Is that because Sahil loves Jai romantically or values as a friend; we don’t know and honestly, I don’t care! Its brilliant brilliant direction, where the focus is on love. No time is wasted on creating back stories because eventually it doesn’t matter. It would be a sin not to mention the amazing acting by the three main actors especially Jai and Sahil. Their chemistry is infectious showing similar forms of pain and confusion trying to figure out things between them in their own way. They are friends and possibly lovers, full-blooded and restless but they are present for each other. I can’t imagine every one of you not being able to connect with their character. I later read that guy playing Sahil passed away soon after he shot for the film and this makes this film even more haunting and a tale of incomplete passion.

Charming, different, disturbing and sometimes haunting, "Loev" is a love story that I had been waiting for to come from India. Sadly, it will never get the audience and appreciation that this film truly deserves. Finally someone had the courage to redefine relationship, love & passion in Indian context. (8.5/10)

Monday, July 24, 2017

Something Like Summer

One thing gets very clear after you have started watching this film, that this is definitely a book turned into a film. The dialogues seem something like you would read in a book and even otherwise things are not. at a consistent pace and that was my biggest problem with the film. An otherwise beautiful love story spanning over a period of few years gets wasted when you don’t work at all in characters behaviour or clothes or attitude to reflect the changing timelines.

The film starts with Benjamin, openly gay 17-year old high school student. He is completely infatuated with a new student Tim in class. Gorgeous Tim is popular, very handsome and apparently straight and so Benjamin stands no chance. An accident when Benjamin trips over him brings the two boys together when Tim confronts Benjamin if he indeed is gay. Soon their love story begins and both the boys are very happy but Tim still can’t come out in open, forget telling his friends about Benjamin. They eventually break-up even before school finishes. Ben moves to Chicago and 2 years later is required to come back to his hometown when his best friend’s father passes away. Ben meets flight attendant Jace on the flight and soon they start dating and even move in together. Tim comes back in picture as the two boys meet in a coffee shop. Tim is changed now and accepts his sexuality but it is too late since Jace and Ben are in a happy relationship. Tim says he can do anything to get Ben back, and he does. He creates a misunderstanding between the couple, which makes Ben sleeping with Tim (too convenient). Misunderstanding between Ben and Jace gets clear and the boys get married. They are happy with each other till Jace is diagnosed with Brain tumour and soon gives up on life. Ben finds t hard to move on and time passes by, till the expected happens. Tim and Ben’s paths cross again, the misunderstandings are cleared and there is a hope for another chance and possibly a happy future.

The story of the film is good and it needed better direction in my opinion. Its not that acting or anything was bad, but as I mentioned above, the timeline of the over was never clear. The protagonists looked and behaved exactly the same throughout the film. There was no hint of growth in them and it was very difficult for me to absorb that fact. I mean c’mmon you cannot look and act the same when you are 17 vs when you are supposedly 27 or something. Oh! I forgot to mention that the film was semi musical, which in my opinion, was neither a good or a bad thing. I didn’t care for those musical numbers especially since they really didn’t add much to the story. Tim and Jace were natural and stuck to their characters but Benjamin as the actor left a bit to be desired. I wonder if Tim and Jace’s characters are supposed to be out of league for him or that’s just the impression shown for the audience. On a positive side, the film doesn’t over indulge in sexual scenes and it focuses more on love and affections. Ben’s camaraderie with his best girlfriend is also very nice.

Agreed it was low production and the movie could vastly be improved. This one had huge potential to touch the viewers emotionally but I personally was able to connect with the characters only intermittently. (6/10)

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

MIQVA (Spanish) (Web Series)

What’s happening to me! Why can’t I find a couple of hours at a stretch to watch a nice decent gay film? I hate being busy. But thankfully web series or short TV series dont require a commitment of a couple of hours at a stretch and hence, they come to my rescue. MIQVA is one such series which has 8 episodes, each of about 8-12 minutes in duration.

The primary events happens between 4 close gay friends over an evening and our primary man is Juan, who is also the host of the party. He is obliged to attend a family event with a boyfriend. "I imagine that you will come accompanied" (“Me Imagino Que Vendrás Acompañado” thus the abbreviation MIQVA) says his mother, who has accepted him being homosexual but cannot accept that her son is single. This happens every time and all his friends have already exhausted pretending to be his boyfriend. In the urge to avoid problems and prejudices, he hires an escort as a companion, and gather his friends to give them the news and ask their advice. The evenings goes from Juan telling his friends about his decision and their reactions waiting for the escort to arrive and judge him. They also spend time remembering good old days, full of sex, companionship etc. Each of the friend has his own story where one is just been proposed by his bf but fears monogamy; second one just wants to be famous and successful and the third one mocks love but secretly thinks otherwise. The series ends up with all of them getting drunk and Juan and a friend ending up having sex. They all ultimately decide that the four of them should go as a family and forget this whole boyfriend business.

Whats not very clear at the end os whether the sex between the two guys is purely physical or there is more cooking between the two. It seems it was purely physical and they both had been wanting to do it for a while but couldn’t risk hurting friendship. There are good funny moments and each character gets ample opportunity to throw some witty one-liners; especially when they compare how things used to happen in “good old days” vs with current generation. Although a lot of times I felt that the acting was a little over the top and the jokes forced; I have a feeling this could be a successful theatre act. But the truth is that making this as a web-series definitely increases its reach to the target viewers. All the four guys look good and make for a nice eye-tonic.

This could have been better, but at least its a platform that is slowly allowing me to get back in the groove. (5/10)

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Boys On Film 16: Possession

I know I am posting after months. But I have ben way too busy with a lot of things happening in life, and am not sure how and when I will be back to watching and reviewing films regularly. Anyway.. What is happening with this whole series? Something that started off with a brilliant collection of stories is turning into something barely relatable. At least I feel so. Its quite disappointing.

Golden (Germany)
As a golden boy becomes a golden man, his carefree spirit wanes under the weight of being different. As he grows up he becomes more introverted until, one day he discovers he’s not alone. I had seen this before. Something that shows you may not be alone.

Jamie (UK)
Shy, quiet Jamie, spends a revealing afternoon with Ben after meeting on a dating app. As they chat, Jamie finds himself opening up and letting loose his hopes and fears in an unexpected awakening. Interesting!

B. (Germany)
Torn between a cold relationship with K. and her feelings for another woman, shy and insecure B. is heading for a disaster. For too long she has suppressed her desire and lived a lie. But is it really too late for B. to follow her heart? Animated.

Pyotr495 (Canada/Germany)
One evening in Putin’s Moscow, 16-year-old Pyotr is baited by an ultra-nationalist group known for their violent abductions and attacks on young gay men. But Pyotr isn’t as defenceless as he might appear. Interesting yet scary.

When a Man Loves A Woman (UK)
When Nick, who still hides his sexuality from his mother, gets a call to say she’s coming to visit, he desperately turns to best friend Amanda to pose as his girlfriend. Nick must use charm, cash and emotional blackmail to convince a hungover and reluctant Amanda to continue the ruse. Now this was funny with an unexpected twist.

Follow Me (Belgium)
Eighteen-year-old Jasper is madly in love with his art teacher. Overcome with confusion and longing, Jasper takes to following his teacher and his new girlfriend wherever they go to a point of obsession.

Chance (UK)
Trevor’s life has become a void, following the passing of his wife and long term companion, Doris. A chance encounter in the park with a mysterious stranger equally troubled by his own dark past jarringly reawakens him, and forces both men to live again.

Sign (USA)
When Ben summons up the courage to talk to Aaron at their local subway station he is surprised to find that Aaron is deaf. Despite the communication barrier love blossoms, but their very different worlds threaten to tear them apart.

Away With Me (UK, France)
Alex and Paolo have just hooked up in London. Despite only knowing each other briefly, Alex whisks Paolo away to his Aunt’s home in Nice. Alex believes it’s a holiday romance, but does Paulo feel the same?

We Could Be Parents (Sweden)
Marely left Erik when he found out he was selling himself for sex. Now, Erik’s last chance to get Marely back is to make this film explaining the reason why; so that they could afford to become parents one day.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Moonlight

This film is very important not just for the black community but also very much for the African-gay people, who like a lot of other communities struggle to be themselves. This film especially becomes important form a US standpoint when politically things are going downhill and people are very quick to judge anyone who doesn’t cater to the social norms. I have been hearing so much about the film, especially after winning the Oscar award, so naturally my expectations from the film were quite high and I have to admit that the film actually meets expectations to a large extent. It is important to understand and relate to what and how a child goes through and how any small thing can infest a kids mind and ultimately shape his or her future.

The movie is told in 3 parts and focusses on life of Chiron, a young boy. Drug dealer Juan watches Chiron being chased after by school boys shouting faggot behind him. He rescues a boy but in a manner that doesn’t shelve his self-respect and bring him home to nourish and be good. Chiron lives with his drug-taking and single mother, who really doesn’t care much for him. Chiron gets bullied in school and just occasionally his latin friend Kevin comes to him as a true friend. Juan takes him in his wings just to gives a loving nourishing environment. Stage two in teenage years. The bullying hasn’t stopped and life hasnt much improved for Chiron. He is still the same shy boy and still only has Kevin as a friend. One night along the beach, the two come closer but just the next day Kevin ends up beating Chiron because of provocation by another classmate. Chiron brings out all his anger and hits that classmate badly and gets jailed for it. We move to stage 3, where Chiron is a different man. He deals with drugs on street and is now all buffed up. But what hasn’t changed much is his shy demeanor. His mother is now is rehab and apologizes for how she dealt with him. A chance call by his friend Kevin brings him back to the town. The 2 friend relive old days; each one not showing what really they want form each other. There is the awkwardness between them , before Chiron finally gives in and tells exactly what brought him there. The film ends at a very tender moment.

Story wise although film may feel simple but its the treatment that sets it apart. No where you get to see over the top drama. The way Juan and his wife bring Chiron in their family while respecting the fact that he still has a mother raising him is handled really well. The scene where young Chiron asks Juan, what a ‘faggot’ means and if he is one; its brilliantly handled. Juan takes the word apart, and doesn’t take Chiron apart with it. In the teenage years, Chiron, now skinny lad is still dragging himself with no friends. So that one night when Kevin and he end up kissing at the same beach where Juan taught him to swim, it breaks your heart to see that Chiron asks for forgiveness after the kiss. Thankfully Kevin (very very cute) simply says “What have you got to be sorry for?”. And the boys get a little more closer. And finally the young grown up Chiron. Yes we wonder what happened in the jail that made him change so much as a person but you see the light in his eyes and confusion on getting that call from Kevin (again really handsome). The scenes that follow between grown up Chiron and Kevin are some of the best scenes of the movie. You see the hapiness, confusion, ecstasy, eagerness; all in both of them but they both just don’t know how to express the feelings and the tension is just brilliant. Acting wise, everyone is simply brilliant. There is an interesting continuity between the three boys and you feel that yes its the same boy that has grown up. The three of them have brilliantly managed to keep the skin of character inside them. The film is slow yes, but thats what makes it even more of a classic. I feel like I will have to watch this film again in a few months just to understand all the intricacies, the nuances and silences of the characters. Scene where Chiron talks about crying and fearing of turning into an ocean just before the kiss is also so sad. I am now remembering more and more scenes like that. The best impact come from that final moment when the two best friends just hold each other because they know what they want.

Its about human emotions and connections and not race, skin or color. Its about men and fact that its ok for men to cry and feel vulnerable. A toast to all those who have struggled to identify and accept love and finally achieve it; this movie is brilliant and an absolute must-see. (9/10) 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Un Bacio (Italian) [One Kiss]

A beautiful and touching film, although not-necessarily a centrally gay-themed one. The film deals with issues of friendship, acceptance, rebel, self-confidence. Equal focus is given on all three primary characters in the film. More than anything it is about friendship and how one kiss could change the lives of friends.

Slowly, three of our primary characters are introduced to us. Lorenoz is new to town. He is outgoing, exuberant, very gay and likeable (if you want to). He has been adopted by very liberal parents and brought to town. Parents are ready to fight with school authorities if they have to, to make sure Lorenzo is comfortable with who he is. He becomes real close friends with Blu, daughter of hippy parents. She has been labelled as rebel and slut because of an infamous incident where she slept with her bf and three other friends of him. She gets called names in school, so she prefers to be by herself. And finally we have Antonio, a gorgeous young boy and basketball star but considered very stupid by most of his classmates. His brother died in an accident few years ago who used to be the poster child for his family and school both. So now Antonio, spends much of his time talking to the ghost of his brother. The three of them become really close and star taking fun revenge back on their classmates. All is fun and good till we realize that slowly both Blu and Lorenzo start liking Antonio. Since Lorenzo is co confident of himself, he goes ahead and kisses Antonio and that one incident just changes the equation between the three of them. Things get worse, although Lorenzo and Blu still occasionally hang out. Crazy things happen when hatred completely takes over. Antonio kills Lorenzo in a fit of anger and things will never be same again. Film ends with showing a scenario, if Antonio had reacted differently on the kiss that Lorenzo gave him; how things would have been much different and happier.

There are a lot of things that I liked about this film. The film has very interesting animations, songs and dancing; especially when Lorenzo goes into this zone where he ignores the real world and imagines living in this cool place. All the dance routines were pretty darn good. The story, though simple, is told in a very likeable manner. I liked the humour and for a change Lorenzo’s character was shown as a very strong character. He is gay but not apologetic and not afraid to get back to anyone who dares to point a finger at him. So refreshing and nice. Also, the storyline of Blu was quite important. How only a year later, she realizes that actually she was not being a slut but instead she was drugged and raped and all this while she had been blaming herself. Some of my favourite moments include when Lorenzo’s adopted parents argue with the school to let Lorenzo be himself. Hats off to those parents and wonderful writing of those characters. In fact, the acting throughout is quite raw & natural and this is the reason that its emotional impact is quite high.

It is a simple story of love, identity & friendship with a perfect balance of comedy, music and drama. (7.5/10)

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Godless

A very taboo subject, whenever someone tackle sit, can be very easily met with extreme negative reactions. Although I personally may never endorse the feelings, but I do respect and am ready to give my view point to a film makers motivation on taking up a complicated subject and present it to their audience.

Shown us through Nate’s view point and through flashbacks, we are introduced to brothers Steven and Nate. Steven is a year older, and a medical student from out of town. Nate stays local and is a physical trainer in a local gym. Steven returns to town after their mother’s demise. We learn through flashbacks that their father is already dead. Steven stays back to comfort his brother Nate emotionally, who was very close to their mother. But soon enough more secrets are revealed and we find out that both Steven and Nate have been in a secret relationship with each other. Something that started as sexual experimentation in their pre teen years soon evolved in a very very strong love for each other, despite clearly understanding that it was wrong. Despite being atheist, they both fear that their parents might see their relationship with judgements. Anyway, it turns out when Steven moved out, the brothers decided that they both need to move on for everyone’s benefit. Steven has moved on and lives with his bf Ray now who also comes and stays with the brothers after the mother’s demise. Nate, on the other hand has been struggling so much to move on. He is not even ready to look at his co-worker at his gym who is madly in love with him. Steven struggles to keep his love for Nate while making him comfortable around his new boyfriend. He is conflicted between the two men and talks about how we are capable of loving more than one person at the same time. The boys get physical again after years, but Steven wants to continue his relationship with his now bf. The decision is final and Nate needs to move on. Maybe his gym colleague could be his new love of life.

I had very mixed feeling throughout watching the film. Firstly because the film was really really slow. I could have watched it on a fast forward mode and still would not have missed a thing. Secondly both the production quality and the acting abilities of the leads left a lot to be desired. Steven is lot better but Nate feels just like a whimping cry-baby. Always demanding and needs to be hold in arms. It feels like he is in depression forever and totally taken over by his obsession with Steve. Steve, on the other hand is more practical and rational. The other good thing is that the film never goes over the top. There is no grand melodrama. The scenes between the brothers are handled with sincerity and even the arguments are pretty normal but my gosh!! the pace; it really tests your patience. The maker seems to be more interested in creating an atmosphere but c’mmon , give the audience something more. I was shocked to see how bad the acting from the parents was. Actually besides Steve, the only other person who did a decent job was Nate’s gym co-worker. He seemed pretty normal and real. On the other hand, the guy who played Steve’s brother was plastic and wooden.

I know I have said lots of negatives about the film but I still give it an average rating because of subject and sincerity. Although slow, the film still left some sort of impression and made me think. I appreciate how Steve handled the entire situation and believed that we are capable of loving more than one person at the same time. (5/10)

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Slash

Slash is definitely not a gay themed film but has enough references for it to have a review here on my blog. I’ll try to keep it short and simple for 2 reasons. a) Because I didn’t think too much of the film, and b) My blog is supposed to be mainly about queer cinema but this film falls in a grey area.

Neil is an introvert 15 year old, questioning high school freshman. He thinks he might be gay but isin’t sure, although he continues to write steamy fan fiction for his own pleasure. He writes about Vanguard, the brawny, galaxy-hopping hero of a popular sci-fi franchise. When his stories are exposed in class Neil is mortified, but the slightly older, effortlessly cool Julia comes to his defense, who is a fan fiction writer herself on an online “adult” forum. They both become good friends and Neil has someone with whom he feels comfortable with. He feel she is falling in love with Julia. Until Neil grabs attention of Denis thorough the website, who is the site moderator and he invites Neil to present his work at a comic con live-read event. Secrets are revealed there, when it comes out that Neil and Julia both lied about their age, Denis recommends him to be himself. Neil and Julia hook-up but neither knows what it really means and Neil wants to hook up with Denis to explore his queer side. The event doesn’t go as planed and it puts a strain in the relationship of two friends. But at least Neil gains confidence on his writing and he continues to write gay fan fiction on Vanguard.

Was this really a coming-of-age story as the makers portray it to be? I somehow don’t think so. Unless I completely fail to understand the genre of the film. I think ‘Slash’ as a term has a whole different meaning and reference, which , I know I fail to understand. But a film is supposed to be for a wider audience and this is where it fails. Also I think too much focus is given on the adult (specifically homo-erotic) aspect. What happened to good old fan fiction writing? ON a plus side, the production values and the acting by everyone is pretty top-notch. I never had to fast forward the film. But it could easily have been a few minutes shorter or the pace could have been better.

I can see few people liking this film but this was definitely not my kind of cinema. Its not bad, really, but just one-dimensional and superficially uninteresting. (4/10)

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Skam: Season 3 (TV Series) (Norwegian)

Thanks to one of my blog followers lina, I finally managed to watch the third  season of the show ‘Skam’ which apparently translates to ‘Shame’. My initial thoughts, (a) Why didn’t I watch this series sooner (b) How do I now find time to watch the first two seasons.? For those unaware of the show, like I was till a few days back, this is a hit Norwegian show, a cross between TV/online/web series that focusses on lives on teenagers studying in a high school. Each season focusses on a different character and tackles various issues. The main theme of season 3 is the gay storyline and this is how I came to know about the show in the first place. Its 10 episodes with each episode being 20-25 minutes each.

Since I haven’t seen the show’s first 2 seasons, my review will be based on this season as an individual. The main character of this season is Isak, who hangs out with his close group of 3 other male friends. He flirts with one of the popular girls Emma, but very soon we realize that he has his eyes on a really hot guy Evan. He steals glances on him at various occasions. They both finally meet each other at one of the school group parties and become friends. They share this inherent chemistry and a friendship soon blossoms. When Isak realizes that Evan has a girlfriend, he forces himself to like Emma more but things don’t go as planned. Finally, the two boys just give in and they hook up in a very passionate love affair. Just when everything was going perfect for Isak, he gets a message from Evan that things are moving too fast and that he needs a break. He is devastated and has no one to talk to. When constantly quizzed by his friends, he finally tells them all the truth and all his friends are very supportive. Evan apologizes to Isak and soon things are back on track till another blow strikes Isak. Soon it is revealed that Evan is bipolar. Initially Isak freaks out but on some coaching by one of his friends Magnus, who’s mother is also bipolar, he decides to give it a go and take care of Evan. Slowly things start coming back to normal and they love between the two guys rekindle and reaffirm their faith in closeness. The season ends with a Christmas party and Evan recovering good in proper care of Isak and his friends.

The above is the main storyline but of course we have so many other characters who add beautifully to the story We have Isak’s pals, especially Jonas, who is the first one whom Isak comes out to. Then there is Sana, the Muslim girl, who slowly becomes Isak’s study partner and consecutively a friend and confidant. We have girlfriends for both Isak and Emma and other school students and then finally Isak’s gay room mate, who gives him comfort in his own way. There are way too much good things about the show. First thing is the acting by every character and a unique identity that is given to each of them. You feel for Isak, who cannot stop himself from looking at Evan at every given opportunity while struggling with questioning his sexuality. I absolutely loved that how no one cared a shit about Isak being gay when he comes out. His friends are as supportive (maybe even more) when he comes out and they even help him get back with Evan. The storyline, actors and dialogues and so real and believable that you feel you are a part of the group. It was refreshing to see the forward approach by Evan to make Isak feel comfortable. Their first kiss underwater was so special and wonderful. I struggled initially on why Evan wanted things to slow down but that is clarified later. We find out that Isak’s background has something to do with his parents broken marriage, especially his mother’s mental issues, so when you see the supporting text messages from his parents, you cheer and cry alongwith Isak. I, for some reason, felt the pain that Isak was going through in each of these phases that he was going through. First to accept his sexuality, then finding love in life with subsequent heartbreak, the true friends he has in his life with whom he can talk about religion and sexuality and finally when the whole bipolar incident happens. I mean, if a young 17 year old teenage has to go through so much, I can only imagine. Everything has been handled with a mature, yet natural way, that nothing feels over the top. The chemistry between the boys is great. They way they look at each other with their piercing eyes, you feel the love between them and you also feel the heartbreak that Isak has ben through. You cheer for their love, you want them to get together and stay together for ever and ever.

I had the same mixed feelings of happy and sad when I finished the series, like I had for some other shows in the past. Sad that is over, but really happy that I still have faith there people will continue to come up with innovative ways of good TV/cinema focusing on LGBT community and present issues in a more realistic manner. Bring it on. (8.5/10)

Friday, February 10, 2017

Gay Short Films : 52

Entre Amigos (Mexico) [Between Friends]
A quick short film of two teenage friends. One of them is in hospital and THE other one has secret crush on his friend. When the sick guy asks his friend to jerk- him off since he is his friend, things may take a different turn when the other guy will try to go beyonD just jerking off his friend. He has now accepted his sexuality. What will his friend do? The boys were cute and the film is kept at a perfect short length of just abut 5 minutes.

1992 (France)
It's 1992. Martin is 17 and he films his daily life with his Hi8 camera. He films anything and everything around him. One day he meets Dominique, 23 and works as a student monitor at Martin's high school. Soon an affair begin between the two. Its also the time when Martin is trying to figure out why his relationship with his father is so strained. Maybe filming him also would help.

Bed Buddies (USA)
An interesting take on what happens when three gay friends take their relationship into unknown territory. Three best friends wake up one morning only to realize that they slept with each other. Intense conversations begin on what this will do to their friendship. Should they stop immediately but what if they all enjoyed it, and they all actually like each other. Fantastic film. I loved the concept and I also liked how every possibility was explored without giving us a conclusion.

Why Does God Hate Me (USA)
A coming-of-age comedy about Matthew, a 14-year-old boy living in a very religious town, whose best friend Ester tries to ‘cure’ him of being gay, every time he sees a hot guys in either school or outside. But a trip to San Francisco shows Matthew that he might not be the one who needs curing. It’s comedy, yet a very emotional story of how we all need to be more tolerant to everyone and that its not some sort of disease, or something that can be cured. I like how Matthew decides to be on his own and take control of his own life.

South Park S19E06 - Craig x Tweek (USA)
Interestingly done episode. Introduced by the Japanese art of Yaoi, school students are horrified to find that Tweek & Craig are part of the homoerotic and homosexual paintings done by this art students. Neither is gay but soon they may have to pretend to be one because that’s the only way they will be able to get out of it. In my opinion, the episode was just Meh!

You Are Beautiful (Bulgaria)
A very interesting film. We see a young teenage boy chatting on a gay chat website planning to meet a man. Our young friend also has some communication issues with his mother, who finds out about his son's adventures online. As it turns out the young boy was talking to his father and they are both shocked to see each other. With everyone in family knowing a secret, the dynamics suddenly change at dinner table where everyone is now an adult.

Alex y Fabio Ya No Están (Puerto Rico) [Alex And Fabio Are No Longer Here]
Alex and Fabio’s intricate relationship is examined through a series of flashbacks, highlighting their initial insatiable desire for one another to the inopportune turn of events that led to the dismantling of their relationship. What results is not only an examination of a broken relationship, but an honest portrayal of modern love and its oftentimes fleeting nature. A very fine and warm film.

The Curse of the Un-Kissable Kid (USA)
Josh spends his days dodging bullies and snarky school principals. To make his problems disappear, he drinks a gypsy’s magic potion… if only he’d read the fine print! Life is going to change for him now.

La Collana (Italy) [The Necklace]
Marco is a shy courier instructed to deliver some jewels in a photo studio. Here he meets Giorgio, the photographer: handsome, gay, cheeky who comes on to Marco.

The Tormentors (Australia)
This film deals with the subject of homophobia in a family run motor mechanics business. The father has always been hard on the two sons. The elder son is supposed to take over the business but the younger son is hiding something. With the arrival of an intern at the premise, things may change for him, who can’t take it anymore and comes out of closet but it might be too late by then.  Informal discrimination is a prevailing problem, despite dramatic cultural and legal improvements in recent years.

Gorjetas (Brazil) [Tips]
Mario is broke & is unable to pay bills. In order to earn money to pay them he takes radical measures as he starts as a webcam boy on a famous porn site. To keep and increase the attention of his viewers he goes to extreme lengths, when an intruder walks in to his room to rob him. He uses the event as an opportunity to make more money for himself. A very interesting take on what lengths people will go to satisfy their urges.

Mañana Todo Será Mejor (Spain) [Tomorrow Everything Will Be Better]
A couple though living together has strains. The guy is not sure of what he is doing. Next day he meets another guy at the pool and the two start to flirt but cant do anything. Our man is in for a surprise when he goes back to his girl’s house only to realise that the other guy is her brother.

The Confession (UK)
A lovers quarrel, when one of them asks his partner to be open about his love rather than being conscious about his image, especially when he is leaving for a voyage and wont be back for months.