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

Friday, December 31, 2010

Splendor

First things first, this is not a gay film an dhas nothing to do with homosexuality except the fact that the best friend of the main characters happens to be lesbian and there is a small kiss between the 2 men. This still doesn't qualify the film to be a gay film. So, why am I reviewing it here? I dunno. This was supposed to be gay film when I started watching it. :(

An average, calm mid-20s girl named Veronica restarts her dead dating life all of the sudden, but with two guys: a sensitive failed writer named Abel and an airheaded drummer named Zed. At first she despairs. Then she finds a way to date both without their finding out. Then she tells both about it. Then Abel and Zed meet each other, and, after much initial conflict, they wind up living together and evolve into a very odd yet happy threesome. However, as time goes by Veronica starts growing apart from them, while Abel and Zed become brother-like (and kid-like). Soon she finds out that she is pregnant and now wants someone more stable in her life. So when a director starts courting a pregnant Veronica, strains ensue. She dumps the 2 guys and starts hanging out with the director and agrees to marry him when he asks. This breaks Zed's and Abel's heart. Will Abel and Zed be able to grow up and save the day? This is how the film ends up with.

The first half of the film was interesting with the whole premise of a threesome couple but when it because serious, I started to loose my interest. The drunken scene where Veronica dares Abel to kiss Zed is met with disgust, but when she asks Zed to kiss Abel, Zed explains "It's not going to kill you, believe me!". Abel and Zed are two sexy losers. Eric, the director is a non-sexy winner. Veronica is just confused, but underneath it all, she is one smart lady cookie.

Just a decent watch. Not bad but not good either. (4/10)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

3 Needles - The Passion Of The Christ (Canada Short Film)

Three dramatic AIDS stories intertwine, chronicling the spread of AIDS on three continents: a plasma-smuggler in China; the mother of an HIV positive porn star in Canada; nuns in Africa. Only one of them was relevant for this blog , so reviewing that here.

Set in Canada, this segment addresses the fundamental flaws in the adult entertainment industry. Denys is an adult-film actor afflicted with AIDS. Young and living at home with his parents, Denys steals his dying father's blood to pass his mandatory AIDS screenings. This triggers an AIDS crisis within the film industry. Following his father's death, mother and AIDS-stricken son are left broke. The mother purchases a life-insurance policy for herself and then begins seeking-out the virus for herself. The results are horrific to say the very least. The conclusion is the young actor being confronted by one of his victims. She looks him in the eye an utters, ""You killed Me for eight-hundred dollars." This segment contains strong dialog, adult situations.

It is not appropriate for the majority of young people. Nonetheless, it does serve a purpose in showing the viewer the shocking trend of people deliberately seeking the virus. This was not very clear whether Denys got the virus from one of his clients in the movie or was he really gay (since he went to gay rehab program). (3/10)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Masahista (Filipino/Tagalog) [The Masseur]

Masahista is a very engaging film even if it's done with a shoestring budget. It gives you a very realistic view of the life of a young man trying to survive poverty by offering massage and sexual services. The film impressed me because it seems there is lot going on but in actuality there is very little that moves.

Illiac is a handsome young lad who, because his alcoholic and carousing absentee father cannot support his family, has left his home to work as a masseur in Manila, assuming the financial responsibility of his family. Illiac works in a massage parlor - rooms like closets so close that conversations are easily heard - where he has his regular clients as well as newcomers, each of whom pays for massage an tips for all the 'extras' the boys are more than willing to offer for a price. The film only centers on two parts of his life:when his estranged father died and his client for the night.. someone who called himself as Marina. He is a bread-winner therefore he has to strive harder and because money is faster in this field, he succumbed to it. After his father dies, Illiac must return home and be the one who must assist the mortician in preparing his father's body for burial. The scenes where he is preparing his father's dead body and his interaction with his clients mimic each other and show a poignant side.

The film is a close examination of the old conflict between father and son, expectations and disappointments, needs and failures to fulfill, and in the end the mourning for a relationship that never succeeded. There is a good balance between sexual imagery and social interaction for funeral though I believe that some massage scenes could be reduced to keep the length of the film in check. It was good to see that the film also focussed on some of the interactions of the masseurs among themselves. The cast was also ok. Guy playing Illiac was pretty good (acting and looks).

Quite a decent fare. Don't go for titillation. The film has its moments. (5.5/10)

Fucking Different (German)

Lesbian filmmakers from Berlin were asked to make a short film about their idea of male gay love and sexuality and, vice-versa, gay men were given the task of making a short film about lesbian sexuality and eroticism. All genres were allowed and it could be erotic, experimental or simple but within a 3 to 7 minute range.

The result is a mish-mash of several (I think its 15) odd films that tried so hard to be different that it was so difficult to sustain interest in any one of them. The highly diverse films, primarily concerned with the pinpointing, questioning and deconstruction of clichés -- clichés which, in spite of the proximity of gays and lesbians during the past ten years, appear to persist to a shocking extent in the minds of many in the opposite group. The diversity of the various contributions provides good reason to hope for a thoughtful and informative expansion of our perceptions of certain roles and gender-specific patterns. Because, after all, we are not just fucking differently, we are fucking different. And that's just fine the way it is.

Fucking Different is highly scattershot in its approach, to its credit and to its detriment in equal measure. The only one worth watching was when gay men talk about what they think lesbian sex is. It also had all the cliches but it was still funny to a certain extent.

Highly experimental. I don't think I am ready for this yet. (0.5/10)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Just Friends? (Korean Short Film)

I have mentioned this a few times before that sometimes small films (especially in the gay genre) make so much more sense than a full length feature film. This film of approximate 30 minute length accomplishes this mission successfully.

Seokii anxiously awaits the arrival of his boyfriend Min-soo, who has taken leave from the military. Shortly after they reunite, they are met by Min-soo's mother, who is unaware of their relationship. Seok-i decides to stay with Min-soo and his mother at an inn when he realizes there is no way for him to get back home. The next day, after Min-soo's mother leaves for church, the couple become physically intimate back in their room. Their session is cut short, when Min-soo's mother returns unexpectedly early and becomes devastated by the revelation. Seok-i returns home that night. Then there is a short confession song by Min-soo for his mother, telling her that he is gay and that he will continue to love Seok-i. Sometime after the event, Seok-i is shown working at a restaurant when he is encountered by Min-soo, who is on leave again. As the two run outside, a voice-over of Min-soo's telephone conversation with his mother plays—Min-soo tells her that he will return home together with Seok-i. Meanwhile, as the voice-over ends, the couple kisses in public.

As Seok-i gets ready to begin his military service, his mother is heard calling him—the two lovers look at each other in dismay as they realize another cycle of coming out. Both the guys in this film are very cute and they play their part very convinculgly. They have love in their eyes and emote very well. The whole mother episode was a little over the top but fit well in the coming out part. I felt very happy to see 2 very young men so much in love with each other.

Love unites and rules. (6/10)

Juste Un Peu De Réconfort (French Short Film) [A Little Comfort]

A Little Comfort is a bright, pleasant French coming-of-age tale about a young man who falls for his "straight" male friend. Now how many times have we heard of similar plot but he good thing about this one is that it is done in a romantic and a short span of time which makes it even more believable.

Arnaud is a young teenager coping with his attraction to the popular hunk Guillaume who has a steady girlfriend. Arnaud imitates his idol trying cigarettes, alcohol and sex, finds a girlfriend, but when both girls leave their beaus, Guillaume (whose suicidal mother is hospitalized and who has no other family) seeks refuge with Arnaud. Arnaud's mother is more than happy to have his 'best friend' stay with them when Guillaume's temporary foster father has to leave town on business for several weeks. At last, in a comfort zone, away from the outside world, Arnaud and Guillaume bond, fall in love, and actually fit into the society that they feared would ostracize them..or..is this little tale merely the acting out of a dream for the tender little Arnaud....it is up to you the audience to decide. Films such as this serve the intelligence of the film audience well. In concluding we can only hope that the angel of a cyclist who appears at film's end is there to provide much more than just 'a little comfort' to our Arnaud. He deserves it.

The actors are all cute and make for nice eye candy. The acting itself is believable and you particularly feel the genuine longing of the young man for his friend. ... This short 36-minute film had the potential to be expanded into a full-length feature that would have provided the opportunity to develop the engaging plot further. (6/10)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Devoteé (French)

This was a very awkward and disturbing movie to watch. I dunno about others but definitely for me. This is not something you watch or even wanna watch. Maybe the subject material yes, for sympathy sake, but why why why did the director have to be so so graphic in the sex scenes. That was freakish and disturbing.

Devotee is the story of Hervé, an assertive 43-year-old man who was born without arms or legs. Of course, he has not had a good love life. On top of that he happens to be gay. He meets a gorgeous young man online, a devotee (devoteeism or acrotomophilia) is the sexual attraction to people with amputations) who seems like he might be different. Their encounter proves Hervé's difficulty in finding a true connection with someone who is interested in treating him like a person rather than a mere fetish. Because this young man also cares about just his own pleasures. He treats Hervé as fetish and uses him without bothering to even consider his personal satisfaction. Of course this leads to no where and movie ends with Hervé meeting a man who also has troubles in life because of his seemingly very large penis.

Odd to the core, I had to keep fast forwarding to even go through the movie. Rather than arousing sympathy for the characters, I felt repulsed by the whole idea. COmpletely avoidable. (0/10)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Autopsy (French)

Now this film was something to watch out. Totally engaging crime drama with gays being just a part of it. Some would argue whether homosexuality was the theme of the film or was it just a part of it. The more I think, the more I think it can go in either way. So I will leave it as a gay crime drama very different from whole bunch of other gay films being served out there.

Eric and Sarah are detectives who are investigation the murder of a professor which it seems like a gay hate crime. When they go for the autopsy of the corpse, they find Dr. Emmanuel instead of Dr. Rose who had so far been motherly figure to Eric. Eric has been married for 20 years and has a 17 year old son but there is something about Emmanuel that instantly attracts him and he tries very very hard to fight it. They need the doctor for some interrogation but Eric is having a hard time, to the extent that he even gay bashes Emmanuel once. Sarah understands there is something wrong but is too busy with investigation. Because of the witnesses they successfully come up with the sketch of possible murderer. Meanwhile Eric cant take it anymore and tells his wife about his attraction for Emmanuel. She is devastated and asks him to leave. Following this Eric moves in with Emmanuel even though they had not declared love for each other so far. Things are going fine until Eric one day sees Emmanuel meeting his ex who looks exactly like the sketch of the murderer. He feels used by Eric. They get him arrested and his ex-boyfriend tries to run away and dies in a car accident. When the ruth is revealed and the mystery is resolved, it turns out that Emmanuel was always right. He never used Eric or anyone but is very very deeply hurt by all this. After the mystery is solved, when Eric comes to apologize to Emmanuel, they hug and kiss and Emmanuel shoots both himself and Eric without any resistance by Eric.

I thought the movie's plot was pretty engaging and interesting. Though I dont read many positive reviews online, I liked it. The acting was very good. Though some may argue (like Sarah does in the film), how can anyone suddenly become gay but I dont think Eric turned gay (in literal sense). He was just so so attracted by Emmanuel that it didn't matter he was a man. One downside is that the murder investigation seemed too rushed. There was no logic or explanation behind how could Eric come up with the theory of the murder and it actually turns out right. Both the characters fit their roles and enacted their part well and they had a very nice chemistry. The scenes capturing Eric's struggle for his attraction to Emmanual was very good.

Overall very watchable and interesting for me. (7/10)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Just Say Love

Just Say Love is the film version of stage play. It is shot as if you are still watching the play which gives it a unique feeling. Specially the film also starts with some interesting scenes which leads you to believe that you might have found that one interesting yet different piece of gay cinema but alas that's not true.

A rugged carpenter Doug is working on the street where he meets Guy sitting on bench. Guy is ardant fan of Plato and believes that love is everything. They strike up a conversation. They start off clearly wanting very different things out of their meetings, but it evolves - over a period of many months - into something that is mutually rewarding and satisfying to both of them, but not in the way they first expected. Doug mentions how his pregnant girlfriend Gita is all about spirituality these days and doesn't satisfy his sexual urges. Guy tries to overcome his sexual attraction towards Doug but cant fight for long. They start messing around which works for both. DOug gets out of it when the baby is about to arrive. This totally breaks Guy apart. But Doug can't remain apart. After the baby comes, he comes back to Guy and they strike a friendship again which leads to love and not sex. They feel so much more for each other. Gradually, thing start falling in place wen Doug decides that he has to tell Gita who ultimately accepts the relationship.

The whole movie is in a stage format. It is interesting in parts. But I think it was stretched a little too much. Guy and Doug had some chemistry. But since it was shot in a play format, lot of other characters etc. were all fake, which kind of didn't go down well with me at least. They acted well though. This story if seen on stage, I would have absolutely loved it. A film version just reduced the affect for me.

I would suggest to watch the play instead if you can. (4/10)

Gang chanee kap ee-aep (Thai) [Metro Sexual]

Metrosexual is a term describing a man of any sexual orientation who spends a great deal of time and money on his appearance and lifestyle. However, in this movie, one might not be able to draw a conclusion on the theme of the movie by its English title as directly as an official Thai title "Gang Chanee Kap Ee-aep," which could be literally translated as "the chicks gang and a closeted gay man."

Pom, Pang, Pat, Nim and Fai are five upper-class best friends in Bangkok, Thailand. Fai is married with two boys, Pat is engaged to an older Japanese man, Pom and Nim, still hopelessly single. At one of their frequent dinners out, Pang announces introduces her friends to Kong, a man she has secretly been dating for three months, and who she has agreed to marry. Kong is handsome, cultured, fashionable and seems to know more about cooking and fashion than all the girls put together. The rest of the gangs think that the guy is "too" perfect. The paranoid of their lovely friend getting married with a "closeted" gay man looms in, thus the gang embarks on the quest for the truth. While they are in the process of finding out truth about Kong, they also have to deal with their own life and find that true love for themselves. This is a proof of love, friendship and self-actualization for all. As expected, they find out an old school friend of Kong who it seems were pretty close and are able to save the engagement. It turns out that it is not as of Kong was lying to Pang but he was lying to himself and is time for him to accept the truth.

The movie is not just about homosexuality, it is also about friendship, love and loyalty towards yours friends with homosexuality in the background. From acting perspective, everyone was alright. It was initially very confusing to get in the film with similar sounding names and similar looking faces but after about 20 minutes, it was fine. One big problem for me was that towards the end of the film, the shrill tone of voice of the characters was getting too much to handle and was starting to irritate my ears. The dialogues in the movie are full of sharp and quick-witted quotation.

It was pure entertainment and a good time pass. (6/10)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Friends And Family

What if gay guys were tough? What if mafia bosses were warm and cuddly? What if loving parents were also hardcore off-the-grid anarchists? And what if they all came together in a nutty climax where hilarity would inevitably ensue? The screenplay of this film encompasses all these elements and make a very entertaining comic film that keeps you engrossed throughout.

Meet Danny and Stephen, a dapper couple who share a palatial New York townhouse which they pay for by working as enforcers for Victor Patrizzi, a charming mafia boss. The strong but sweet-natured duo is thrown into a tizzy when they find out Stephen’s parents are coming for a visit. And its not because they are gay (which the parents know). They don't know what the couple really do for a living and they have been made to believe that the two run a catering business and want to enlist their help in throwing Dad a 60th birthday party. The guys quickly get busy hiding their guns and ammo in laundry hampers. Meanwhile, Victor is concerned that his two sons, one a budding chef and the other a wannabe interior decorator, don’t quite fit the traditional mafia mold and aren’t cut out to carry on the family business. Also his daughter Jenny has an announcement: she’s just gotten engaged to Damon. In order for Stephen to fool his parents into thinking he’s a caterer, he has to pull together a massive dinner party with everyone's help. The fat Soprano-like underbosses in Patrizzi’s crew are hired as waiters who get training into how to act gay (hilarious), Patrizzi's acts as Stephen's employee but everyone wants to help the couple since they are so very nice to everyone. Eventually the dinner party takes place with food and decoration supplied by Patrizzi’s effete sons, but it’s interrupted when Damon’s crazy anarchist parents and their crew bust in with machine guns to take the guests hostage and by doing so somehow bring down the federal government. Danny and Stephen have to handle the situation so truth about them ultimately comes out which is surprisingly not too shocking to the parents and others.

Many think that the film is stereotypical and all that but I thoroughly enjoyed the film. It was short and sweet and nice. The handsome duo of Stephen and Danny was nice although they didn't look gay from any angle which is also addressed by a statement when they wonder have they been very tough just to compensate for being gay. Everyone acts very well. Patrizzi's sons, his wife trying to raise her son's image in her husband's eyes is hilarious. Various other scenes stand out. Towards the dinner scene, the film gets a little hocus-pocus but still keep you entertained. Damon's parents angle was probably not needed at all. The film could have been a little different from that perspective.

Still enjoyable and keeps you entertained. Now how can that harm you. (7/10)

Les Amours Imaginaires (Canadian French) [Heartbeats]

This is a french film based in Canada. French films from France usually have a very different aura about them. This one, I don't know so much actually. It was nice and interesting with a very common thing about a love triangle but at some places the direction was very different and how the triangle affects the relationships is also shown very well.

Francis and Marie are very good friends. They meet Nicholas at a party. Nicholas is this greek god kinda guy who has blond curls, perfect charming face which everyone would die to be with him. Although neither would agree, but both of them are instantly very very attracted to Nicholas. He is very very friendly with both of them and they start hanging out. Marie and Francis are both falling head over heels in love with Nicholas to the extent that it starts to hurt. Specially when neither of them can tell whether he loves either one or both or none. They once come up with an idea of spending some time in Europe. Things get bad when Marie can't just handle closeness between Francis and Nicholas and wants to leave. This leads to a fight between Francis and Marie and Nicholas has had enough. They all leave. Francis and Marie try to get in constant touch with Nicholas but he now doesn't want to get into any mess. They both are extremely hurt. A year passes by and finally they are getting over Nicholas and their strained friendship is coming back to normal. But some people never learn. The film ends when a good looking guy winks at both of them standing together and they both now start following this new guy. SOme people never change.

The film is also a meditation on the senselessness of love and why its own madness is what makes it so appealing. The film also includes a roundtable of characters not related to the main story discussing relationships. At first, you want to pay attention to see maybe the characters are somehow related to the film but it doesn't happen, so by the time third segment comes, it becomes boring. The film is shot on a very stylized fashion where scenes are in slow motion, a lot is left on the viewers mind to imagine and interpret because real emotions are not shown until the end of the film. Even Marie's and Francis' friendship looks more like strictly acquaintances. The film has this song that continuously keeps playing which is good but every time the same song. Acting was ok though Marie seemed a little out of it but I guess her character was like that.

It is an alrite film. I get it that its for people who have been in love and all that but some things can be told very straight, why unnecessarily complicate it. (4/10)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Priest (UK)

'Priest' is a complex film, dealing with hard issues of incest and homo-sexuality, but first with the conflict between the priest mission as a moral leader and the Procustian laws of the Catholic church he needs to obeye by. The ideological content may be controversial for many, it was partly for me as well, but I cannot help admiring the well kept balance, the dramatic tension, and the masterful way the excellent team of actors is filling the roles.

Father Greg is a young, dedicated, idealistic and yet conservative compared to his colleague, Father Matthew, who has recently arrived in his new parish. He works hard with total faith and devotion. Soon after moving in to Father Matthew's house, he discovers that Father Matthew has been having a relationship with his maid. There is initial friction as the Old and New Worlds collide. Father Matthew dismisses Father Greg's modernistic sermons, while Father Greg frowns upon Father Matthew's casual stance on papal celibacy. Later on, a school girl, Lisa confesses to him that her father has been sexually abusing her, Father Greg faces his inner struggle on whether to reveal the truth to the authority, or remain silent in order not to break his vow. Confused and frustrated, Father Greg goes to a pub and meets Graham at a gay bar and later they have sex. They are to stay in an on-and-off relationship. One stupid mistake leads to their arrest and everyone in the community finds out about them. In this time of struggle, it is Father Matthew who becomes support of Father Greg. Now Father Greg must confront his human desire and his sexuality. How does he deal with Lisa's situation and his own desires make the movie a very incredible watch.

The film was a surprise to me. I fond out later that as expected many churches attacked the film for its content and depiction but i salute the makers for trying out such a bold and good attempt. Mixing religion with a powerful back story of sexuality is not easy and comes with its share of criticism. The acting is superb. Guy playing Father Greg is superb. You see the pain in his face and feel his struggle trying to reconcile his faith with his orientation. The most powerful sequence comes when he breaks down in front of a cross begging God to help him. Father Matthew is believable. Yes, the film is controversial, you may not agree with some of the ideas and it looks sometimes as a cinema manifest, but it is still a good and human film.

It shakes beliefs of the church, but it is a bold, remarkable and emotional film. (7.5/10)

Friday, December 3, 2010

El Mar (Spanish) [The Sea]

Let's be clear. This is not a gay film. One of the characters happens to be gay but that is not the central plot of the film. This is a dark movie sinister in its setting and narrative telling. Set during the time of civil war in Spain during 40s, this is not an easy film to watch specially for Non-Spanish people who are not familiar with this history.

A group of friends play together. Ramalla, Tur, Francisca and 2 others. They witness the terror of the assassination of men, and the revenge that drives one of them to murder and suicide. These wide-eyed children become adults, carrying all of the psychic disease and trauma repressed in their minds. We then encounter the three who survive into adulthood where they are all confined to a tuberculosis sanitarium. Ramalla has survived as a male prostitute, protected by his 'john' Morell, and has kept his life style private. Tur has become a frail sexually repressed gay male who is deep into religion and thinks that praying and faith in God is the key to everything. Francisca has become a nun and serves the patients in the sanitarium. The three are re-joined by their environment in the sanitarium and slowly each reveals the scars of their childhood experiences with war. Tur longs for Ramala's love, Ramala longs to be free from his Morell, and Francisca must face her own internal needs covered by her white nun's habit. When Ramalla finds out that it was Tur who had reported to Morell that he stole his boxes, he can't take it anymore and comes to punish Tur. Tur tells him that he did it so that his mind os not deviated because of Ramalla. Ramalla says now he will punish him by getting physical with him so that he can suffer all his life.

The setting of the sanitarium provides a graphic plane where the thin thread between life and death, between lust and love, and between devotion and destruction is played out. There is graphic sex and violence and the viewer should be prepared to witness every form of brutality imaginable. These scenes make the movie intense and believable. Every character has a very difficult role to play and they all do well. In terms of entertainment, this film does not provide you that but it definitely shakes you up, specially the end when Tur kills Ramalla.

It is a dark film. I want to say I liked it but can I watch it again? Definitely not. (4.5/10)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Wedding Wars

Wedding Wars is a very funny take on gay's struggle for marriage. I liked the fact that the issue has been given a humorous angle and not a serious issue based film. The film mostly explores relationship between 2 brothers who had some kind of falling out after one brother tells the other he is gay. I saw this film for the second time primarily to review it here and secondly cos it is funny too.

Ben and Shel are brothers. Ben who is an advisor to the governor has recently got engaged to governor's daughter Maggie. On Maggie's suggestion that they should try Shel as their wedding planner, Ben unwillingly goes to meet his brother and his partner Ted and asks him to be his wedding planner. Shel is shocked, surprised but readily takes it up, at the same time hoping that this will help bring the 2 brothers close to one another. Ben is clearly not very comfortable with the fact that Shel is gay but doesn't do anything about it. It is elections time and things are all fine until the governor gives his stand on gay marriage on national TV, a speech that was actually written by Ben himself in which governor says that a marriage should be only between a man and a woman. Shel is more disappointed by the fact that his own brother disapproves of gay marriage, a very fact that disappoints Maggie too. Shel goes on to protest against this in governor's house and also goes on strike against the wedding planning. His boyfriend Ted tries to explain him a lot but to no effect. Slowly his protest to everyone's surprise becomes a national event and gays go on strike everywhere in the country. This shows some funny situations since now the wedding goes in jeopardy since they can't find suitable people to help them. Anyway, all's well that ends well. When Shel understands how important the wedding is for his brother specially after Maggie decides to not get married because of all this, he pulls up his socks and gets all gays together to prepare for the most wonderful wedding that his brother Ben and Maggie could have. This helps in bridging the gap between the brothers and gives a channel for Shel to discuss gay issues with the governor.

Like I mentioned before, the film gives some insight into gay issues by being funny but at the same time talking about some very important issues which can have more desirable impact than some gay right advocates promoting something. Shel and Ben were very good in their roles. The start of the movie was a little awkward and it seemed to go nowhere but soon it picks up steam. The whole parent angle of Ben and Shel is also funny and so are the one line comments by the governor's wife. It goes overboard sometimes but most gay films do that. Its all good.

Definitely a one time watch. Gay romantic movie with genuine gay social issues. (6.5/10)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pethaino gia sena! (Greek)

I haven't seen Greek gay comedies I think before , so this one definitely came as a surprise. On top of that, when the film is half decent when you have no real expectations from the movie. This one definitely came as a pleasant surprise. If I had seen the movie in its entirety, I probably would have given it higher rating but in comparison with other films, this falls a little short.

The film starts with a man who has just died and is trying to wonder how could he have died. The film goes in flashback and explores various reasons how he could have died. And funnily enough all possibilities are to do with a family of husband, wife, a gay son and grandmother who can't listen. The son is a bad student and need some private lessons. The father is a traffic cop who is full of himself and lives with a secret desire to become a famous lyricist. The mother teaches tango lessons and is very very busy. One the mother almost accidentally hits a man while driving, she thinks she has killed him but he is saved. She then hies him to teach her son at home. Initially the son refuses but when he sees the man, he falls in love and agrees to learn from him, thereby improving the grades too. Slowly, the mother and the teacher start having a passionate affair with the son and the mother totally unaware of each other's feeling. On the other hand, the father also starts befriending the teacher because he helps him in getting his creative juices flow for lyrics. Its only the grandmother who knows what's going on and wants to do something to save her family. In the meantime, son finds out about the mother and tells his father too. Everyone is so hurt that they all individually plan to kill him and the funny thing is that the poor teacher just dies of heart attack while having sex with the mother.

The entire film is done in a very comic manner. How everyone wants a piece of the teacher. The funniest is grandma who cant hear and communicates with the family through SMS. Also the whole climax sequence, where everyone has their own way of killing the teacher and when he dies, they all think that it is because of them he died, makes the whole premise very funny. Although the teacher was so ugly looking, I couldn't understand why everyone was going ga-ga over him.

A very decent fare but gets a little low on ranking because of a few reasons. (5.5/10)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

101 Rent Boys

This is a documentary style feature which talks about 101 rent boys in Santa Monica Boulevard in the LA area. Although the film features 101 different hustlers, it focuses on the lives (and loves) of a few key men. They have been chosen to reflect the immense diversity of the boys of the Santa Monica Strip. An amazing thing happens when you cross a video camera with award-winning directors, $50 and a hustler.

To prevent the film from becoming monotonous and repetitious, it was divided into seventeen chapters with titles like, "Losing It," "The First Trick," "Gay," "Straight," "Turn-ons," "Turn-offs," "Pain," "Weird [stuff]," "Drugs," and "The Future." The stories, for the most part, are painful to hear: some interviewees clearly struggle with drug addition and it is clear how they will spend the $50 they earned making this film, many are victims of childhood sexual abuse or parental abandonment, others suffer from the recent departure or death of loved-ones. Some hustlers took the money politely and immediately tucked it away in a pocket, their underwear, or inside a sock. Some said "thank you" softly, with a sparkle in their eye. One man held his fifty dollar bill throughout his interview as though it were nothing or as if he had forgotten he was holding it. n many respects the men are indeed what you might expect, but in each instance they show, perhaps unintentionally, their humanity. They are indeed considerably more than the flesh and bone rented for a few hours by their customers. They are human beings and much, much more like the "average man" than they are different--a realization that adds to the film's uneasiness and which is, indeed, the ultimate point of the whole thing.

As a documentary, however, the film has two very distinct flaws. The least obvious of these is the fact that the prostitutes are selling more than their bodies: they are selling illusions, fantasies, and dreams.

Its different. Its not a feature film but a documentary that every person will have a personal preference to. (3/10)

Avant que j'oublie (French) [Before I Forget]

This is one of the few French films that either you will like or hate. There is no in between because the subject and treatment is different. It is not easy to hold someone's interest throughout the film of such nature. Unfortunately, I belong in the second category where I didn't particularly cared too much for the characters or the film in general. I could have stopped watching the film at any point and continued after missing a substantial portion and still not miss much because there isn't much going on in the first place.

Pierre is a blocked writer, a former gigolo now in his 50's who has been HIV positive for 20 plus years. He is depressed in life because no one wants him and he doesn't have much to go n with his life. Film progresses with Pierre having conversations over cigarettes with various gigolos (former) discussing life and money. He sees a shrink, who advices him to go for younger gigolos so that he can get a boost in his life. He reads aloud a love letter from the Eighties with slightly tearful wistfulness from an ex-lover who dies long long ago. In all this a rich man for whom Pierre thought that he will get all his money but that is not the case. The film has finally some action but it fades as soon as it had started. The film ends with Pierre agreeing to don a drag dress to go out with a much younger muscular gigolo.

Seriously, what the hell was this about. If it was about depression, the some sort of hope is also needed. Just looking through a man's conversations that go nowhere is not my cup of tea. Pierre comes across as self centered, one dimensional, and uncaring... bitter, but not willing to look at any options.

Completely avoidable. Even French make mistakes :) (1/10)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

2 Short Filipino movies

A Boy Named Cocoy
Young man arrives to Manila to find a work. There he meets another boy who helps him and takes him in. Slowly he realizes that this guy is gay and maybe helping him for sex. This breaks his heart and illusion. He picks up a fight with him but feels obligated to return the favour. So he allows him to get physical with him and then leaves soon after because he is not gay and can't deal with the situation. Alrght but real bd print that I saw. (3.5/10)





Mga Lalaki Sa Dilim
Will you pay for sex? Will you pay for love? This video captures some moments in a male hooker's night from the time he waits for a client to every kind of service he gives them, for a price. But can one get it for free? What if two hookers fall for each other? Who will be the client and who will be the hooker? A lot of sex, and sometimes love, happens in the stillness of the night. (0.5/10)

Boy (Filipino)

When I saw that this film was by the same director of the film " The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros", it got me excited. I liked that film and was expecting something similar. This film is not great by any means but it is definitely different. It is a funny and touching story of a up and coming teenage poet who also happens to be a gay boy.

A teenage boy goes into a gay nightclub one Saturday night and it is empty except for those who work there and the usual crowd. "Boy" has never been to the club before and knows nothing about the gay lifestyle so he has no idea of the rules that are followed. Suddenly an 18 year old dancer Aries takes the stage and boy is mesmerized although he does not understand what has caused the attraction. The boy gets so attracted to Aries that he sells his prized collection of comic books and action figures to gather enough money so that he can bring Aries home on New Year’s Eve. When he does that, the boy's mother suspects something is going on, questions him, and the awkwardness of his answers are painful. Later Aries leaves, without taking his payment. The boy follows him, and goes home with him, where he is faced with a very different environment from the one he knows. His friend also explains why he dances, which gives a lot more insight into his personality and his culture. In the end, neither can live in the word of the other, and there is no safe haven where they can be apart from their respective environments.

The film is highly erotic yet as I stated it is extremely tastefully presented. The eroticism comes across by implication and it is highly homoerotic. The love scene is tender and we watch the two make love through a glass, through water, through the aquarium that the boy has in his room. The connection between the two central characters is sweet and fragile in a way that brings a freshness to the film. Boy explores the relationship as a life-changing moment as the sensitive poet learns to grow more confident and assured in his sexuality. They also show a different mindset about the dreams of a poor person struggling to get by in the Philippines.

It is a touching but a slow story. (5/10)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Le Fil (French/Arab) [The String]

I know I have said this many a times before but what can I do when it is so true. Frenchmen have come up with some of the best films ever and this holds true even for gay genre. The freshness in the scripts and execution is worth watching. I feel I am lucky to get a chance to watch these films. Not everyone is that lucky. I just hope more people start appreciating French cinema.

Handsome Malik returns to Tunisia from France to stay with his widowed mother, Sara. He is half Arab and half French and is already struggling with his roots. He wants to confess to his mother about his homosexuality but as we later find, she always knew just never wanted to acknowledge it. Malik seems attracted to rough local guys whose job is to service young rich men. Sara has an Arab guy called Bilal who lives in servant quarters who does menial jobs for her. Malik has instant attraction for him but doesn't know what he feels like. He keeps guessing it keeping the master-servant relationship going. Meanwhile, to keep relatives and the world happy, he agrees to marry his co-worker, a coupled lesbian who's having a baby by artificial insemination. The lesbian's father is unbelievably cool with all this. I want to be as cool as that old guy some day. Things happen and one fine day when both Bilal and Malik can't take it anymore, they go for each other which Sara soon finds out. After initial rejections, she finally accepts them as a couple and so does her extended family. Malik still goes ahead with his plans to marry his co-worker for the sake of the child. The film for a change ends in a very happy note.

The performances and the story was totally spot on. The humour was also there at the right places. This is a loving, wise, subtle, witty, sophisticated, erotic, almost Utopian vision of how life should be, a tonic to all those well-made but often dreary movies about gay life outside the urban gay Meccas of the West. The film's title comes from a piece of string that can be seen attached to Malik from time to time. The string represents the hold both his mother and his upbringing have on the man, and it is something he has dealt with since he was a child. Sara plays the role of cliched "overbearing mother" role so elegantly and sympathetically that you cannot help but like her despite her sometimes abrasive behavior. Bilal and Malik have an amazing chemistry. The movie doesn’t really explore in any detail the possible consequences of this gay union in a country where homosexuality is still illegal. The sub-plots few and between were also nice like Malik's meeting his cousin in a gay bar and having an affair, Malik's grandmother and her reactions etc.

This is a great film to watch and feel your one-and-a-half hour well spent. (8/10)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hollywood, Je T'aime (English/French) [Hollywood, I Love You]

"Hollywood, Je T'aime" is not just a lighthearted colourful popcorn comedy that the cover suggests. There is humour but also some food for thought. It looks at a heartbroken guy's disillusionment with the Hollywood glamour, and ultimately finds out the hard way that streets in Hollywood are not paved with gold. He has to answer the question, whether he loves Hollywood or not.

Jerome, a guy from Paris, after having been ditched by his boyfriend, and in order to overcome his infatuation, decides to go to L.A. for Christmas, at first for vacation, and maybe get his hands on acting and then for reasons not quite pinned down that seem like going for a ride. At this journey he meets various local people who help him in his destiny. He meets Ross at the beach, who lives on his own and is a drug dealer. Ross, is attracted to Jerome and helps him at various points. In the interim, Jerome befriends a tranny prostitute and, through her, meets an older, bitter drag queen who lets him stay in a room at her big house in Silverlake. Jerome samples the gay nightlife, plays at a sex club, has countless flashbacks imagining his ex Gilles is with him, and gets very disillusioned with the prospects of staying in the States. To make ends meet, he ends up getting a acting job through Ross's connections. But none of these events make him or keep him happy in Hollywood. Images of his boyfriend, keep intruding his happiness in the city of dreams. Jerome soon realizes that the city is not for him. As quickly he decided to come to LA from Paris, he suddenly decides to move back. He says his final goodbyes to the friends he had met and leaves back for Paris back to his love.

The film shows the gritty side of Los Angeles and West Hollywood, and I give it credit for being brutally honest in showing how Americans are often not welcoming of people from foreign countries. I felt that the characters were also very under developed, A little more time on them would have been good. Like Chad Allen as Ross was completely wasted. A little more connection between him and Jerome would have added some spice to an otherwise bland film. Even others were just ok. Usual bitchy drag queens and all.

There have been better films and much much better specially for Chad Allen. This is below average for sure. (3.5/10)

My Night WIth Reg (UK)

Entirely set among London's gay community in the mid-1980s against the background of the mounting AIDS crisis, My Night with Reg follows the ups and downs of a circle of homosexual friends over a period of several years. One of the group, the Reg mentioned in the title, is not a character in the play but the whole plot revolves around his apparent promiscuity and the chain reaction of deception and betrayal set off by it.

The group, most of them in their thirties, meet at irregular intervals, often at Guy's place. Guy himself is a lonely man who has always had crush on John but never dared to tell him. He lives a solitary life, which he only spices up with phone sex. 18 year-old Eric, is helping him decorate his new flat. During the course of conversation we find that on one holiday he met a gay man who eventually forces himself on Guy and has unprotected sex with him. At his flatwarming party, he has just come back from his holiday. John comes to meet him and they talk. The most popular of the gay circle is Reg who has had a long-term relationship with Daniel, but Daniel himself suspects Reg of occasionally being unfaithful to him. The scene soon shifts to Act 2 where I believe Reg has died of AIDS and Guy is hosting the friends. In the course of the play, John, Benny and even his faithful companion Bernie confide in Guy of having had secret sex with Reg. It hurts Guy most to hear that John — whom he himself fancies — is having an affair with Reg, thus betraying their mutual friend Daniel. When the night ends, he asks Eric to stay back and give him company. The movie shifts to Act 3 where now John is living in Guy's apartment with Eric because ironically, the next one to die is Guy, who has not had sex with Reg. It is John who, somewhere in the flat, finds all kinds of memorabilia dating back to their student days and where Eric tells John how much Guy loved him. John has still not told Daniel about his year long affair with Reg even after his asking because he just could not bring himself to do that.

This was a beautifully written story which I can totally see myself enjoying on theatre. The concept and acting can do wonders for it. Everyone in this film was also pretty good. Thankfully even though it was pretty evident that the story was theatrical, the direction and acting was very cinema like which was good because when you watch a movie, you don't want to think of it as a play. Characters of Guy and Eric for me were most interesting. John was ok. Daniel was fun.

I would recommend this movie. Its an artsy kind but if you appreciate good cinema, you should like it. Just be patient with the accent and the slow pce of the film. It is game of words. (6/10)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Crush

This film is made up of four unique stories, very different from each other, about 20 minutes long talking about different aspects of gay romance and each story is quite moving. We see also what love is and how it affects the characters. the stories could as well have been for characters of any sexual orientation.

"Don't Ask" is about a interracial couple Cameron and James. The two have been together for 4 years and for most of that part Cameron has been on duty in Iraq. Just before Cameron has to leave again for his duty, they both go out to meet friends, where Cameron is forced to defend himself to a pacifist when she wants to know why he is still fighting in a useless war. Cameron leaves and James stays home and lives in fear that his lover may not return.
"Bloodline" is about Gerald, a cute gay goth who finally is able to talk to Christian in his class. He always thought Christian was interested in him. Pretty soon the boys fall in love for each other but hide their feelings. Christian hides his biggest secret of being a vampire. Gerald wants Christian to turn him also into one so that they can be together forever.
"Strokes" is about hero worship. Michael, just out of art school gets internship under his idol Robert Brook. Michael soon realizes that his hero is not a nice person, rather he is eccentric and has no respect for anyone around him. Michael's dreams are smashed though at the same time he is sexually attracted by him. But Michael has to go through the ordeal till the final day when he sees a very tiny soft side of Robert Brooks and finally they both go to bed together that night.
"Breathe" is a film about everyone who has fallen in love for first time. With a complete voiceover, the director narrates the story of a young boy Dennis who is a loner and harbors feeling of love for the best looking and most popular guy in school. When he finds out that both their parents are friends and had planned a camping trip together, he has to bear the extra pain of being so close to that boy but being so far at the same time.

All 4 stories were very different. I think I liked all of them. SOmetimes it is good when you just finish an idea and not stretch into a full length feature. Content wise, 'Breathe' is best of the lot but execution of 'Strokes' is much better. 'Bloodline' is left open ended plus I wasn't too impressed by the performances.

Decent watch if you are into shorts. (5.5/10)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dare

If you have been a follower of my blog, I put this post about a short film "Dare" and did mention that this film has the potential of being made into a full length feature film. Well guess what, someone did listen to us and used this idea to make a full length feature film. Although the film really didn't preceded or follow the story but the short story fits in very well in the narrative. I liked the fact that they stuck to the original dialogues and scenes of the short. I wish they stuck with the original actors too.

The film is split into 3 acts from the perspective of individual 3 characters and a final act of them together. Alexa is a typical teenage high school girl who wants to become an actress. He drama partner is Johnny who doesn't take it seriously. She wonders if being bad would benefit her and so she gives in to have a physical relation with Johnny. This transformation in Alexa makes her best friend Ben feel betrayed. He also has had a crush on Johnny. One night when he is there to pick up Alexa, he offers to give a ride to Johnny home. They talk and end of kissing together and Ben giving a bj to Johnny. (This was the whole re-enactment of the short film) This makes him very happy and he comes back home and decides to tell Alexa all about it. We don't get to see the reaction. Finally we are shown that Johnny has had a troubled life with divorced parents, lot of money but no one to talk or be friends with. He is happy that he now has Alexa and Ben as friends but both of them think they have Johnny. Johnny wants to be with both of them together but its not possible. This causes friction between Alexa and Ben as to who rightly deserves Johnny. This breaks his heart and he goes back in his silo. The film ends with a scene where Ben and Alexa are ready for college and Alexa sees Johnny going for an acting audition.

This was a typical teenage drama. As much as I am glad the short film was made in a film, it did not satisfy my expectations. Acting was good and good direction but somehow a connection was missing. I would have liked to see what exactly was Johnny's history. The good thing is that the film does not judge anyone's preference. The ending is yet another "profound" attempt at open-endings.

The film didn't bore me but didn't meet my huge expectations either. (6/10)

Capturing The Friedmans (Documentary)

Documentaries that focus on the lives of their subjects are intrinsically voyeuristic. What starts as a not uncommon family avocation turns infinitely darker as several of the family members seem compelled to record disturbing intra-family encounters that both enthrall and repel.

In the late 1980's, the Friedmans - father and respected computer and music teacher Arnold Friedman, mother and housewife Elaine Friedman, and their three grown sons, David, Seth and Jesse - of Great Neck, Long Island, are seemingly your typical middle class American family. They all admit that the marriage was by no means close to being harmonious - Arnold and Elaine eventually got divorced - but the sons talk of their father, while also not being always there for them, as being a good man. This façade of respectability masks the fact that Arnold was buying and distributing child pornography. Following a sting operation to confirm this fact, the authorities began to investigate Arnold for sexual abuse of the minor-aged male students of his computer classes, which he held in the basement of the family home. Based on interviews with the students, not only was Arnold charged with and ultimately convicted of multiple counts of sodomy and sexual abuse of these boys but so was eighteen year old Jesse, who was mentioned by many as the aggressor of the two in the acts. Arnold admitted that he is a pedophile, but that he did not abuse the boys in his class as charged and convicted. The trial process brought out the dysfunction that previously existed within the family. But the issue of Arnold and Jesse's guilt of these acts is hotly debated among the family, among the authorities, among the media and among the students of the computer classes.

This documentary reveals the ambiguity and uncertainty in most litigation and it uses copious home movies to reveal the major characters at play and rest without helping to determine guilt or innocence.

Decent watch. Not my type though. (4/10)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Un Enfant dans la foule (French) [A Child in the Crowd]

This is an old 70s film which directly actually does not fall in the gay category. There are situations in the film that question whether Paul was gay or not but it is clear that his attraction is more real to wards the girl whom he meets towards the end of the film. So this can be argued. Set in 1930s in Paris during the German occupation time, the film is nevertheless interesting.

7 year old Paul studies in a church run boarding school and visits his home every weekend. For some weird reason he feels that no one at home wants him (including mother, father and elder sister). Soon there are issues between the couple and they split. Paul is no longer in boarding school but school was never his thing. He tries but he just does not like to study. He wanders on the street and like to meet strange men looking for love and acceptance. He does this menial jobs for German soldiers in Paris and make some money out of it. He meets a school friend, they share a bond. Paul steals for him because he is finally getting love from someone but it doesn't last long because the boy being Jewish is deported. He then meets several grown up married men. They help him with some money and food which he graciously accepts. None of them uses him. BUt they all ultimately have to go back to their respective families, once the war is over leaving him all alone longing for love. The film ends when he is all dressed up as a 13 and a half year old boy going out looking for work to help is family.

This film is a classic example of how subtle you can show things in a movie. Is the boy gay or does he have affairs with men because he can provide his family with food? It's impossible to answer in that context. Paul's need for love is so intense he's looking for someone all along the movie. And this is because we see as a child he so strongly years for his mother's love but get complete ignorance on her part. There is no hint at homosexuality, all is suggested with an incredible sense of decency.

The film shows the pain of a boy very artistically. It engrosses you with it. (5/10)

Better Than Chocolate (Canada)

I am not a big lesbian movie watcher, so I wasn't sure about watching the film. They are just not my cup of tea. So with my own apprehensions, I did start watching the film. In the end it turned out to be not so bad. The funny thing was this film also had all the typical lesbian cliches that you will find in most gay movies too. So in a way , it was funny. PLus the film was in a comedy genre, so it wasn't that bad after all.

Meggie, just quit university and preferred becoming part of Vancouver's gay scene, performing in a gay bar and working in a lesbian book store. Things seem to go pretty fine until the day when Maggie's Mum Lila calls and informs her that she just left her current husband and wants to move in with Maggie, bringing Maggie's teen brother Paul with her. The problem is: Mum doesn't know (or doesn't want to know) that her little daughter is gay. Things get even more problematic when one night, after her performing at the club, Maggie meets an attractive, tough and cool girl named Kim. As cliched as it may sound, Maggie find a huge house for sublet, she and Kim move in together on the first day itself and are soon joined by Lila and Paul. Paul soon finds out about her sister. Maggie's transgendered friend Judy (Jeremy) son befriends the depressed Lila to bring her back to reality of life. Maggie struggles to tell her mother of truth which drives Kim crazy. In the end everything is normal when things come out in open, Kim and Maggie are happy together and Judy finds love in Francis , the lesbian owner of the book store whom she always had a crush on.

The story is simple but everything is done with a touch of humor. Maggie's smile was very infectious. And also Lila's character was comic. The scene where she finds dildos and stuff was funny. It was good to see Paul very accepting of her sister and finally meeting a bi woman herself. The movie is no path breaking cinema. The intention is to just entertain the audience and thats what it does.

No great shakes but not bad either. (5.5/10)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Presque rien (French) [Come Undone]

This is a film that promises a take on gay life, as most viewers expect and somehow, it gets away from that promise into an introspective view at a young man's soul. The film has a way of staying with us even when it has ended. It is a character study about how a young man gets involved into a love affair with someone so much different than him that, in the end, will leave Mathieu confused, hurt and depressed when things don't go according to what he hoped the relationship would be.

The story unfolds with Mathieu, after suffering from depression; revisit his family summerhouse to pull his life together. It is the same place where two summers ago he met his first boyfriend, someone he just broke up with. Mathieu is visiting with his sick mother and his sister to his aunt' summer house. While sunning at the beach Mathieu notices a handsome youth his age staring at him, and we can feel Mathieu's emotions quivering with confusion. The biy ultimately turns out to be Cedric who is completely attracted towards him. Soon after the boys starte an affair and start to build a love relationship. Viewers might not notice but they both have their differences too because Cedric just wants Mathieu for sex, specially shown when they both go to a visit an architectural site. Mathieu is complex young man coping with family issues whereas Cedric is free soul. Somehow Cedric talks him into staying back ad going to his town with him so that they both can start a life together. Mathieu is not sure but still decides to go ahead. Time passes, family changes are made, and Mathieu drifts into depression including a suicide attempt. The manner in which Mathieu copes with all of these challenges and finds solace, strangely enough, in one of Cédric's past lovers Pierre brings the film to an ambiguous yet wholly successful climax.

There is a lot of symbolism between Mathieu picking up the cat after their break up and when he met Cedric for the first time. He picks up the cat on the street and we know Cedric used to hustle. He says hat cat is cute but stinks like Cedric was a street boy. He wants cat (Cedric) to be his prince charming but they know there is little compatibility except physical desire. Both the actors have done very well in the film. I think the end of the film is also nice because basically Mathieu is looking for a family and seeing Pierre with his mom helping and stuff, he knows he can trust him and make a friend in him. The direction is slow, gentle and provocative. A little tighter editing would have helped. The other negative point of the film is that a lot is left for the viewer to decipher. There would be people who would not get the gist of the film in its entirety.

Overall a pretty decent film that can be watched. (6/10)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ai qing wan sui (Taiwan) [Vive L'Amour]

This was such a ridiculous movie. The first thing I read someone's review online was that it is one of the director's best film dealing with contemporary loneliness and alienation. BS !! This was crap, boring and utterly annoying. Viewers just keep waiting and waiting for something to happen but almost never nothing happens.

In Taipei, a middle-aged real estate agent, May Lin, goes about her daily routine of putting up signs, inviting potential customers to an open house, then sitting and waiting for them in empty apartments as the hours drag by. Hsiao-kang, a young gay man who sells wall space for burials, soon finds the key to an apartment being shown by May Lin and moves in. When May Lin meets Ah-jung a slick street vendor of women's clothes during a lunch break, they coyly size each other up, then use the apartment for casual sex. Ah-jung, unaware of Hsiao-Kang's presence, takes the key from May Lin and also moves in. The characters live an existence surrounded by silence, unwilling or unable to reach out to each other, living in the empty spaces. They spend their time aimlessly, drinking beers, smoking cigarettes, and just watching the time pass. When May Lin comes to the apartment to rest, the two clandestine guests forge an alliance to avoid being seen. In an unforgettable sequence, Hsiao-Kang hides under the bed masturbating while May and Ah-jung make love directly on top. After May leaves, the young man crawls into bed with the sleeping Ah-jung craving to kiss him. The film ends with each member lonely staring at a park in the city.

In a movie of more than one and a half jour, there is very minimal dialogue. Scenes just go on and on without anything happening at all. The film then abruptly ends. No point. No entertainment. Just pure, concentrated torture inflicted on the viewer.

Pleading again to not give crap in the name of art-house cinema. (0/10)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Gay Short Films : 5

En Malas Compañias (Spanish) [Doors Cut Down]
A school boy hangs around a mall in order to pick up older men and have sex in the public toilets. When his English tutor teaches him anal sex he is opened up to new experiences despite being caught by his disapproving father. When he meets a 18 year old he goes to the toilets only to be caught by security and charged. Despite his parent's disapproval he finds this makes him dedicated to one relationship but the sexual anonymity of the toilets is a constant lure for him. This film is done in a very entertaining way.



Close To
Two young men have a brief sexual encounter in a New York City subway that sets off feelings of anxiety and desperation. It was a weird film that I didn't care much about.





Davy And Stu
As the sun sets over a swampy Scotland bog, two boys meet in the darkness as part of a nightly ritual. Part character study, part love story, DAVY & STU is a heartwrenching look at the intensity of adolescent romance and forbidden love.








Heartland
H.G. living a happy and openly gay life in New York must return to Iowa to help his alcoholic father save the family farm. He doesnot feel part of clan but still helps with another boy Ryan hired by his father. He comes out to his high school sweetheart, who outs him to the whole town, forcing his father to take to his bed with a bottle. Alone one night in the most desolate part of town he runs into Ryan and discovers that the farm hand is not exactly the ladies man people think he is.





Alkali, Iowa
On his family's farm in rural Iowa, young Jack Gudmanson is wrestling with his sexual identity, not an easy thing to do in the macho world of the Midwest. But things become clearer for him when he discovers via a rusty old lunch box filled with gay magazines that his father, killed in Vietnam, led a double life down on the farm. But as liberating as the discovery is for Jack, it is painful for his grandfather and mother, who have tried for years to keep it a family secret. Now Jack must decide whether to share this new information with his younger sister or allow it to remain buried a while longer.


Omar (French)
This is the poignant story of Omar; a closeted young man living in the tower blocks of a city he love. He hides his homosexuality, having sought solace in his relationship with a local teen who’s regularly subjected to homophobic abuse, by way of the gang culture that surrounds them. Accidentally seen thereafter in a gentle gay embrace, the wrath of prejudice is soon to descend upon Omar, leaving him pondering whether to turn his back on his true sexuality or the city itself.

The Bobbsy Boys
An emotional film about 2 lovers who are siting at th ebeach watching their son. One of them has cancer and is leacing his son in his partner's name in his will. When the partner says he will take care of the son come what may, the first guy is able to die in peace.

Some of these films were really good. (6/10)

Since Adam Was A Boy (Australia) (Documentary)

The cowboy has long been romanticised as the ideal image of masculinity – a rough and rugged bushman who loves his beer as much as his woman. But for a young bloke living on the land it’s a tough life if you don’t fit the mould.

Adam Sutton grew up in Australia, the son of a Vietnam veteran. He had a turbulent time as a young man, spending six months in jail after a fatal road accident for which he was convicted of culpable driving under the influence of alcohol. Sutton went on to build a reputation as a skilled and respected rodeo rider, horse breaker, riding instructor and trick rider – culminating in a stint as a wrangler for the movie 'Ned Kelly', where he also helped the actors with horsemanship skills. It was here that he met Heath Ledger – and established a unique connection that would resonate later with the release of Ledger’s recent movie 'Brokeback Mountain'.

Adam Sutton’s story first came to public attention just 2 days before the Academy Awards in a front-page story in the Sydney Morning Herald, which generated a surprisingly large reader response – and changed Adam Sutton’s life in unexpected ways.
He is currently single (or at least when this film was shot) and is looking for his soulmate.

Documentaries are not everyone's cup of tea. Specially since some of them could be done in a not so entertaining way. This film was not entertaining from any angle. It was a typical documentary which tells you a story through interviews. (4/10)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Plata Quemada (Spanish) [Burnt Money]

After having finished the film, came the declaration that this film was based ona true heist that happened in Buenos Aires in 1965. It is so interesting because while I was watching the film, this is exactly what I kept thinking. The film has a gripping story and the main protagonists happen to be gay. Focus of the film is not their sexuality at all, instead its all about what they both are doing as a team and what are they capable of.

Nene and Angel are lover who are famous in the criminal world as 'Twins' since they never do anything alone. After initial passion, there is something missing between the two from Angel's side because he keeps hearing voices that tell him what he is doing is wrong. But when it comes to work it is all good. They are hired for a bank robbery along with the car driver Cuervo. The robbery is successful but they end up killing a couple of cops and also Angel gets shot in his shoulder in the process. Now the entire police department is after them, so they flee to Uruguay where they have to remain underground for as long as they can. Nene and Angel's relationship is deteriorating. Angel has some kind of psychological sickness but Nene truly loves him, wants to be with him and take care of him. Angel's physical withdrawal sends Nene outside the relationship to satisfy his sexual needs. One of these encounters is with a woman Giselle he meets in a bar and results in a confessional talk about his gayness and ultimately ends up in one of the most sensuously graphic sexual scenes. Angel had sensed that Nene had been cheating on him, and he soon understands where Giselle fits in. Before it can come to a fight, however, he also hears from Giselle that Nene still cares for him and suffered from his rejection. When she forces him to choose between her and Angel, he chooses Angel. She informs the cops about their whereabouts. The cops surround them. At first the three of them believe they will be able to escape because the cops would not endanger all that money. In high spirits, the three of them set to defend the apartment and their freedom, while Nene and Angel rekindle their relationship and spend some short and erotic moments of mutual happiness. Seeing that now they can't save themselves, they burn all the money and ultimately die.

The performances of the two lead characters is commendable. They have done a great job. The physical relationship between Nene and Angel is far less graphic and yet far more sensual for being so. There is no graphic love scene between them (except in the end) but both of these men are ultra-convincing as the macho thugs who would literally die for one another, and they invest every gesture, every inflection, with genuine romantic chemistry. For all its dramatic fireworks and sexual tension, BURNT MONEY is a story of undying love, as touching and beautiful as any this reviewer has ever seen. They may be thieves and murderers, but when Nene looks into Angel's eyes, you know instinctively that their love transcends life and death, and is destined to last an eternity. On the flip side, the film was lengthy. A smaller shorter version could keep the proceedings crisp. The other thing I felt was the lighting. It was too dark at most places.

This film is a terrific love story and a heartstopping thriller based on a true story. Try and watch it. (6.5/10)

Un Altro Pianeta (Italian) [One Day In A Life]

This was a stupid, nonsense movie. Actually maybe not that bad in retrospect but again, what was the point? A slice of one day in a person's life? But it still has to have a point. I can go and start filming a bunch of people on a beach on a particular day and 2 hours editing call it a film. It does not make it a art specially when you have forced nudity and sex in the film.

Salvatore is a handsome man edging towards middle age ho now spends time enjoying beautiful seaside of Italy. The film bizarrely starts with a hookup encounter with another young man in the sand dunes on his way to he beach. Then he goes to the beach, walks around (sometimes naked) and meets a group of 3 girls (totally annoying). The group starts talking about love , philosophy and future. He also meets a young man on the beach named Cristiano who reminds him of his lover who died a year ago. There is attraction between the 2 men but Cristiano is young and careless which annoys Salvatore. He becomes close to one of the women in the group, the only sensible one who it turns out is HIV positive. In a bizarre twist of incidents, suddenly everyone has to leave the beach for one reason or the other leaving Salvatore with this woman. They decide they like each other and end of making out and having sex on the beach.

Yes, this is how the movie ends. Totally abrupt. Hello!! How did our totally gay man suddenly become straight all of a sudden and fall for that woman. What was the whole point of all those weird conversations between all the individuals. The film may have premiered in Sundance film festival but it was very very odd and made no sense.

I would recommend to stay away and maybe watch one of your favorite movies for a second run. (1.5/10)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Apariencias (Argentina) [Appearances]

This movie was supposed to be funny or at least thats what the film makers claimed. Trust me it could have been funny but it in no way tickled any of my funny bone. On the contrary I wanted the film to finish fast because it was just too obvious of what's going to happen next. Calling it a comedy film is itself a wrong thing to say.

Carmello, who is 30-years old and extremely shy, finds it difficult to reveal his innermost feelings to Verónica, his coworker. He has loved her ever since he has seen her but he doesn't have that outgoing personality. When Verónica returns from a work trip from USA, she brings her boyfriend along with her which completely shatters Carmelo's world. Things are worse when she announces her intention to get married soon. Accidentally, she spots him demonstrating in a gay rally where he becomes a leader of that cause. Of course, Verónica assumes that Carmelo is gay and asks him to help her out in the project that she is working on. Hoping to win her love Carmello plays along with the game. He wants to use this opportunity to overcome his shyness and maybe at one point be able to tell Verónica how much he loves her. When the friendship between them grows a lot, one fine moment, days before her wedding, he tells her the truth but as expected she feels cheated. After a little cat and mouse game, the wedding is called off and they both kiss and make up.

Like I said before, humor is pretty outdated (whatever little that existed). I thought principal characters were a little over the top specially Carmello. There was just no chemistry between them. At no point it was said why would Verónica leave her boyfriend and why was she falling in love with Carmello. There was no such single moment that could explain this. The parents of both these characters were other annoying characters in this film. Worse is that whenever gay comes, it has to be the stereotypical gay cliches.

Maybe its worth within Argentinean context but for a wider audience, it leaves a lot to be desired. (4/10)

Three (Documentary)

Based on Howard Roffman's best selling photography book "Three" this video diary of Kris, John and Gary documents the challenges and joys of an intimate three-way love relationship. Gorgeous and uninhabited, these American boys in London have agreed to let the outside world into their provocative private lives.

John and Gary have been a couple for few years in London. Because of work, John has to be in SF for few years and thats hwne he meets Kris and a wonderful 3-way relationship starts. As every relationship has, these guys also go through time of love, jealousy, meaning, work, fun, sex etc but they are different because they are 3 people on a relationship. The documentary shows up bits and parts of the lives of these 3 gorgeous men and individually what do they all think of one another and the relationship overall. The documentary also shows how the actual book 'Three' evolved which became so famous because no one could actually believe that these 3 gorgeous beautiful men were actually in a 3-way relationship. The film shows how sometimes everyone has insecurities even though there is strong bond of love among every one.

The duration of the film is nice, crisp and short though editing could be a little tighter. The most annoying part was that the background music was much louder than the actual dialogues itself which made it very difficult to actually understand what was being said. There was hint but not complete clarity on what made them go for 3 people relationship and how did they meet ech other. I think that would have made it more interesting watch.

It's a documentary. Watch it like one. (2.5/10)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Rodeu-mubi (Korean) [Road Movie]

I had mixed feeling during watching this film because there were times when I felt that the film was simply dragging but having watched the whole film, I think I was impressed with the film. It looked very realistic (Though I am not the one to say anything about life in South Korea), and specially the ending left me in the pain when its too late when you finally are ready to reciprocate the love of the other person.

Dae-Shik is a gay homeless man on the streets of Seoul. We see him saying goodbye to a guy saying that he does not want love at the beginning of the film. He finds a suicidal ex-financier Suk-Won on the street. Suk-Won's business has failed and his wife has thrown him out. Dae-Shik starts taking care of him. Completely broke now, Suk Won also starts living on the street doing some menial jobs. Dae-Shik takes good care of him. He is falling in love for him. Deep love which Suk-Won is completely unaware of. The film progresses with the 2 spending time together, getting in trouble and being beaten up by police. The two hit the road together to find work, but instead find Il-Joo , a prostitute. Il-Joo is attracted to Dae-Shik. Dae-Shik is attracted to Suk-Won. And Suk-Won is not gay. When he turns to Il-Joo for comfort, the triangle is complete. One day it comes out that Dae-Shik is gay which none of the other two had suspected. Initially it grosses out Suk-Won but he decides to stay because there is nowhere else he can go. Il-Joo is heart broken too. Since the 2 guys had become friends, they move further without the prostitute where we find out that Dae-Shik was a climber, once married and now with a kid. Things get worse and Dae-Shik finally asks Suk-Won to leave which he does but he soon realizes his love for Dae-Shik. But its too late now. Dae-Shik is dead in a mine blast.

Few issues that I had with the film includes the fact that the film tried to be too realistic. I understand that they were living on the street and had their share of trouble but why show certain things more often just to stress on it. If the idea was to show that Dae-Shik is falling for Suk-Won , it was more than clear anyway. It was never very clear why Dae-Shik came on streets. My interpretation is that he felt guilty that he is gay and responsible for his ex-wife and son and doesn't deserve love and luxury and was punishing himself by being on the street. But he finds love. The chemistry between the 2 guys was good and you could see Dae-Shik's love for him. Il-Joo was nothing but annoying to the core but thats what her character demanded. I also liked the fact the fact that just because Dae-Shik likes him Suk-Won doesn't give in. He says, he likes him but this is one thing he cannot be. He cannot be gay. But ultimately true love wins. Its too late though.

It is a romantic movie but with a realistic element. You have to be patient to watch the film. The end of the film makes you feel the pain. (6.5/10)