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 28, 2009

Lola + Bilidikid (German/Turkish) [Lola and Billy the Kid]

This amazing film takes on huge cultural issues and taboos that neither the Germans or their Turkish "guests" really want to face. Add to this setting the fact that the film deals with the taboos of gay life, transgender and transvestite men, and the stresses of families who deal with these issues on a daily basis and the result is a film full of richly detailed stories.

Lola, a Turkish drag queen has a lover Bili, a macho, closeted Turk who views his role as the Man and Lola as the woman and encourages Lola to have gender altering surgery so they can live as husband and wife back in Turkey. Murat is Lola's baby brother, also gay, living with his mother and older brother, Osman who disowned Lola for being gay. Murat was born after Lola left home. After 15 years Lola returns home to demand his inheritance share to proceed with his sex change and finds out about Murat. They reunite because Murat is tired of Osman. Lola and Murat plan to meet the next day but 2 days later Lola's body is found. Ultimately a deep secrt is revealed that Osman would sexually abuse Lola before he eventually threw her out of house and it is he who eventually murdered her. This is the main story of the film. Other side stories include a fascinating relationship between another Turk Iskender who is picked up by an older elegant German Friedrich. And there is the gay bashing drama between young German lads and the Turks.

Amazing acting by everyone in the film. It was so real and you could feel for the characters. Is is heartbreaking to see what some people have to go through in life. Raw emotion has rarely been portrayed so effectively on screen. Brilliant direction too.

Worth a watch. Its real and gruesome. (7/10)

Head On (Greek/English - Australia)

This film is about a greek family living in Australia. It was interesting to watch because it shows you life from the perspective of Greeks who migrated to Australia and how they cope up with everything including family values.

19 year old Greek Ari is frustrated with his life. He confronts his parents who like the control their kids life but that's because they were once political activists and they had a hard life to live. Ari has secret homosexual desires which lead him to many odd sexual encounters which he is not proud of. SInce he does not have a job (not that he is looking for one), he gets into drugs, random sexual encounters. His sole attempt to seduce his friend' sister fails. He meets Shaun, a room mate f his brother. There is instant attraction but they both do nothing about it. The film walks us through various Greek families in his life and the affect it has on him and people around him. They include his father' friend who has a transsexual son who is conformable with who he is but the father is not. There is also a family who's son is getting engaged to a rich fat girl only for maybe money. The guy is Ari's friend but Ari doesn't understand why he is doing this. In all these frustrations Ari picks random men to let off his frustration. He is afraid to be loved or to love. Finally when Shaun and him have a moment together, ARi becomes aggressive which pisses off Shaun and he throws Ari out of his house. He cries, says sorry but ultimately moves on with the same frustration, aimlessness and picking random men.

Ari's character had so many shads and so much potential as an actor and the guy playing the role did a fantastic job of it. The intensity in his eyes was amazing. Sometimes the film would get confusing because of a plethora of characters and it was not clear who they are. The film is real, brutal and people who might have one through such a phase in life might be able to connect to it.

I thought it was very well made. (6/10)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Darker Secrets - Sideline Secrets 2

If you thought Sidelines Secrets was bad, wait till to watch this sequel. This is an idea of a producer/ director's whimsical fantasies and the fact that they live in their own world. This film was nothing but a soft porn film.

Peter has been appointed to go through the video tape that Dr. Kirk used to make to help in some investigation. His roommate is Todd, a straight guy whom Peter has hots for. Peter feels disgusted watching those tapes but soon becomes captivated by the tapes, and sets out to satisfy his dark desires. He films Todd having sex with a girl and blackmails him into having sex with him. Afterwards, he makes one of his girlfriends into having sex with random guys, make money and live his dar desires.

Believe me, thats all there is to this film. Most of the time, we are forced to watch the sex between the guys on the tapes that Peter is watching. Every scene in the movie was just an excuse to get boys naked and create a sensation or something. There was nothing in terms of acting, story or anything at all.

Don't watch it. BAD film. Period. (0.5/10)

Sideline Secrets

Didn't realize until half way that I had seen the film before. It must have been a long time plus now it gives me an opportunity to blog about it. The film sounds interesting, low budget and god. But son you realize that its nothing like it.

Devon by all appearances is a successful kid with a kind girlfriend Jenna but he has an eye for boys. On a visit to a gay bar, he meets Brian who has been down the same path and can offer Devon assistance on every level. They bond, Devon comes out and they start a relationship. During all this time, the neighborhood boys have been disappearing. Devon's stepfather psychologist Dr. Kirk Tyler is not at all what he appears to be. He asks Devon to leave home after he finds out that he is gayand because of his new relationship. It seems Dr Tyler is in a dark business with Detective Cunningham who apparently is investigating the missing boys. Devon with the help of Jenna and her cousin Amy soon finds out the real deal of how his step father has ben videotaping boys in nude and then blackmailing them. Brian somehow managed to escape from that and Devon finds out this after he watches the tapes. He also finds out that his father had been secretly filming him as well. In a dramatic scene in the end, the detective gets greedy and tries to kill Dr. Kirk who ends up shooting detective before he dies and all things are fine now.

I was very disappointed by the film. There were so many nude scenes and they were nothing esthetic. They were there just for pure eotic reasons. The cast was ok with decent acting. Maybe with some tighter screenplay and better character actors who did not act like zombies, the film would have been better.

Can be avoided. See it only if you are desperate. (4/10)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Tan Lines (Australia)

Sometimes a film might sound interesting by the synopsis on the paper but if you mess up the direction, it leaves a really bad taste in audience's mouth. So in the end it all boils down to a good direction.

Midget loves to party and surf with his best friend Paul. Since school is over and it is summer time this is all they do in their small town. This may seem an ideal life but Midget begins to feel claustrophobic living with his mom, sharing a small room and a bed and questioning hi sexuality. Cass, the elder brother of Paul suddenly comes home after having traveled in Europe for four years. Midget immediately is attracted to him. He is openly gay and exudes self-confidence. He is also a wonderfully graceful surfer. Midget and Cass become involved and their meetings are filled with passion. The problem is that they live in a town where secrets cannot be kept and every one knows what everyone else is doing. Midget realizes that being gay and the life style he leads are incompatible and even though he tries to imitate Cass's confidence he sees that he can't and wonders why Cass ran away for four years. Intermittently he also tries to date a girl but that doesn't work out either. We son find out that the reason Cass ran away was because he and his teacher were caught having sex and they became talk of the town and thats the reason Cass ran away. After all these years his parents still don't accept him, so he leaves the town again with is teacher. Midget meanwhile realizes the need to independence and hence moves out of his mom's house and accepts his sexuality.

This film had lot of odd things. Starting from mom son sharing the same bed, a weird aunt wanting her niece to have inappropriate conduct with Midget so that she learns how to control plus the whole chemistry between everyone involved. It all seemed fucked up. Some scenes were so slow that I was like, move it man. Actor playing Midget did a very good job. Cass was bad. The only good thing was some intimate scenes between the lead characters.

Not just US but Australian's make bad movies too. Avoid it. (3.5/10)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Finding North

Its been a while since I saw a decent gay film. It wasn't great by any shakes but it struck a chord with me (if we forget the annoying Rhonda in the film). It made me want to have a family with my boyfriend.

When a passing bank-teller Rhonda sees Travis, a heartbroken guy ready to jump off the Brooklyn bridge, she gets obsessed with him thinking she realizes the pain he is going through because she herself is suffering because of her parents and starts stalking him. It includes following him to his house uninvited, raking through his belongings and eventually following him all the way to Texas. Travis on the other hand, we realize is just getting over the fact that his boyfriend of 10 years has just died of Aids. He receives a tape from Bobby wanting him to travel to Texas to see where Bobby grew up, things that he did and fulfill his wishes. Rhonda stalks him thinking he is cute and wanting him but soon realizes that he is gay and is here to fulfill Bobby's wishes. They have their arguments and fights but Rhonda wants to help her and so does Travis because he knows he cannot do it alone. I a series of tapes Bobby wants Travis to do certain things which includes visiting his Aunt and telling all the truth about him and Travis to her in person. It wont be easy but he wants no more secrets. Finally he reaches Bobby's grave, buries certain things there that he wanted Travis to. Rhonda helps him in all this and in the process realizes what she is doing wrong in life and how she needs to move out of her parents and start her own life.

The film touched me particularly because it so very deeply touched upon the fact what a person goes through when you life partner dies, in this case of gays. The days when the film was made, the gay partners were not allowed in funerals and barred from any ceremonies and clearly not given any legal recognition of widow or something. Travis played his role very convincingly. But Rhonda, tell me tell you was annoying to the core. I would shoot her is she would stalk me.

Enjoy the film and feel the pleasure of being in love. (6.5/10)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Kenneth Williams : Fantabulosa!

This film is about Kenneth Williams, star of the Carry Ons and Round the Horne. Kenneth led a life full of mental torture as he tried to overcome his homosexuality in 1950s Britain, and also be one of the most popular people in Britain.

The film shows us a man Kenneth Williams, both appalled and aroused by his homosexuality; a man desperate for love who pushes away any advances that may bring him a moments fleeting happiness. He befriends playwright Joe Orton who is everything Williams wishes he was: virile, self-confident and relaxed with his sexuality. But it is Orton's partner and murderer, Kenneth Halliwell, with whom he shares the quietly desperate despair that characterises his life. Like the man himself this is very funny but also tragic. His only true friend throughout his life is his mother who stays forever with me in his good , bad, struggling and famous times.

To be very honest, the film was totally out of my league. For Britishers, who have witnessed real life of Kenneth might appreciate it but for a newbie like me, al of things happening in the movie were too much too handle. In fact after a while I started getting a headache. It did nothing for me.

If you know about Kenneth Williams, only then watch it otherwise completely avoid. (1.5/10)

Ciao

I had heard of the film first time in Philly LGBT film festival but couldn't see the film. So I was excited now when The film is finally out on dvd. I kind of knew the basic plotline but I was a little disappointed when I saw the final product.

Mark has died in a car accident. His best friend Jeff is taking care of his stuff. He checks his emails and finds out that a guy named Andrea was about to visit him from Italy. Jeff is surprised that he doesn't know anything about Andrea. With his regular correspondence with Andrea, Jeff finds out that they had met online about an year ago and have been in regular touch. This would have been their first visit in person. Since Andrea had already booked his tickets, he decides to come anyway. They eventually meet, where they extend their e-mail exchanges into more personal and intimate conversations. They talk about their respective countries, their jobs, their families, their lives. Mostly, they talk about Mark. What began as a tragedy that linked two strangers from different ends of the world becomes a deeply realized friendship. In the process Andrea also realizes that maybe Jeff had feelings for Mark. The film ends with Andrea going back to Italy with an invitation to Jeff to visit.

The film sounds simple and believe me, it had nothing more than what I mentioned above. The film's direction was fine but it was too dark. A little more money on lighting etc would have been better. Performance wise, the actors were just ok. You know how sometimes you know they are acting. They know what's coming up. Thats how I felt. It didn't seem natural.

Still not a bad watch. I have seen much much worse. (5.5/10)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Brother To Brother

BROTHER TO BROTHER is a feature length narrative film which follows the emotional and psychological journey of a young Black gay artist as he discovers the hidden legacies of the gay and lesbian subcultures within the Harlem Renaissance. It explores the life and struggles of black, gay artists in the present and past.

Perry is thrown out of his house by his family when they find he is gay. As he struggles to hold on by working in a homeless shelter and trying to maintain a college scholarship, he is haunted by his homosexuality and becomes increasingly withdrawn due to his family's rejection. One day an elderly man randomly stops next to Perry and his friend, recites a poem and leaves. In his library research for a class project, Perry finds a book about the Harlem Renaissance and recognizes a poem as the same one that the elderly man was reciting. They encounter each other again at the homeless shelter where Perry works. He confronts Bruce about who he is and begins to ask him about the Harlem Renaissance. They go on a literal and metaphorical journey to the house that was known as "Niggeratti Manor" which was the creative center for the younger, rebellious generation of the Harlem Renaissance as they created their revolutionary literary journal, "Fire!". Although the house is now dilapidated, we are transported through the landscape of Bruce's memories of the glory days of the Harlem Renaissance. Perry learns about the lives and personalities of Bruce's friends and sees how they became a surrogate family for Bruce. Recognizing this era as his history, Perry sees the pride that Bruce exuded in those times in terms of being Black, gay and unashamed. As the story progresses, we witness the transformative power that they have on each other’s lives through their shared passion for art and storytelling.

Th beauty of this film lied in the transitions between present and past and although things have changed, but its still a long way to go. What I did not understand clearly was why would Perry reject his white friend's love since he was just being honest. This film deals more with history and issues rather than being one of the run of a mill gay love stories.

Watch it for this one is truly different. (6/10)