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.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Rock Haven

Rock Haven is a simple story of a young boy having to rectify his religious beliefs with his sexuality. There isn't much of a subplot, plot twist, or surprise in the entire movie, just a simple story well told. Had this movie been made a little earlier when people were just coming to terms with accepting homosexuality in the society, it would have had much more impact.

Brady is a shy, introspective 18 year old spending the summer before going away to college in a small coast town in Northern California. He is there with his widowed mother, who is a devout Christian. Brady spends most time either reading Bible or watching the ocean until he meets a neighbor's free-spirited visiting son, 19 year old Clifford. Brady never before felt drawn to anyone as he feels to Clifford, and the other boy makes it clear that the feeling is mutual. Sensing his apprehensions and inexperience, Clifford lets their relationship develop slowly over the course of the summer, and, although he kids Brady about being a "nerd" in many of his interests, is careful not to express a conflict with his religious upbringing and convictions. Soon Brady's mother finds out and decides to send him away to college. Brady starts avoiding Clifford. Clifford feels responsible for turning Brady away from his faith so he decides to move away from US to his father. Brady ultimately realizes that he is what he is, he confronts his mother and goes to meet Clifford. He meets but the decision has been taken and the boys who could have been together forever just separate from each other.

The film moves very slow but considering there are only 4 main characters. It was good that both Brady and Clifford had some story backing them up. Clifford was just not a hot body. Both the moms also acted well but I personally could not digest the strong reactions that Brady's mother would show. If you get past the religious message, there is a nice love story in there of two people drawn to one another for different reasons and trying to work out their differences to achieve something they both want.

Decent watch if you don't get bored with the pace of the film. (5/10)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Les Passagers (French) [In Transit]

This one a was avery weird movie. It seems like thats all I watch these days. Again it had just had few characters who happened to be gay. This is not purely a gay cinema.

The film basically follows thoughts dreams and a slice of life of a few people traveling in the subway train in Paris. An old woman is just looking at passengers and wondering what they do when they get off the train. The film hence follows the life of 4-5 such people. A young man who is taking flowers to the grave of his former lover, a victim of AIDS, reflects on their last moments together. Another young man is so obsessed with finding a woman with perfect feet that he ends up marrying one with an unpleasant face. David, a school teacher, begins an amorous liaison with a an unemployed younger man, Marco, whilst Pierre, a security guard, is all too ready to give up his days of solitude when he meets the right woman. Around them, society seems to be crumbling, the spread of AIDS reflecting a far deeper malaise in a world that has lost its way.

It is one of those oddball films that are primarily made for festival circuit and are usually beyond a common man's intellectual. Barring one or two individual story,nothing else in this film was able to hold my attention.

I would suggest to avoid this film. (1.5/10)

L'homme de sa vie (French) [The Man of My Life]

I had somehow a lot of expectations with this film specially with the way the film started but alas, by the time the film ended there was a lot left unsaid. Maybe the director thought that people are smart enough to comprehend the complexities of relationships but then in this movies the complications were at a level way above at least my understanding.

Frederic and Frederique are a happily married couple who enjoy entertaining large groups of people at the country home where they vacation. One day, Frederic invites their next door neighbor, a single gay man Hugo, over for a get-together with family and friends. Soon, Frederic and Hugo have struck up a friendship largely centered on their mutual addiction to running and their propensity to talk the night away over such weighty matters as love, passion, responsibility, freedom, commitment and marriage. Hugo tries to convince Frederic that his role as dutiful husband and father has robbed him of his individuality and earlier lust for life, while Hugo, spurned by his father at a young age, comes to his own understanding of the importance of family by the end. There's an obvious sexual attraction between the two men. Frederic is torn between the desire to continue loving the wife who so obviously loves him and who has provided a stable home for him and their children - and this new found feeling for Hugo that he can, in no way, shape or form, even begin to understand.

The romance is not about sexual attraction, but the role people play in he life of the other that bring forth emotions. My problem with the film was it was not easy to comprehend. All 3 main characters their part very well. You would not wanna hold responsible anyone for anything. Its just the way things happened in their lives but yes you do feel for Frederique because she is the one who gets affected the most.

You can't deny its a beautiful film. But this is one which you might either love or hate. (4/10)

Phoenix

The film could have been better. The story although simple had potential to grab the attention only if the performances were good an the pace of the movie was slightly more fast. Because after a point, it just feels draggy and you just wanna fast forward the film just to give it some push.

Dylan is celebrating his 23rd birthday by setting his apartment with flowers and dinner, expecting his love of one year Ken to arrive for the surprise. Ken always just comes for the weekends and goes back for his 'real estate' work to Phoenix. After a night of passion, Ken has to leave next day for an emergency work. Dylan is hurt then angry and breaks his gift, sending Ken off to Phoenix in a miff. Sorry for his behavior Dylan takes the money enclosed in a Birthday card from his folks and flies to Phoenix to apologize to Ken. What Dylan is not expecting to find is Demetrius, whom he traces via the broken vase to and learns that Ken and Demetrius have been partnered for seven years. Neither Dylan nor Demetrius is pleased with Ken's lying and cheating but they gradually admit to finding solace with each other and spend time together. They seem to get along well with each other and clearly make a bond but then for some reasons Demetrius just decides that he does not have those feelings for Dylan and asks him to leave and go back to LA. Deeply hurt, Dylan goes back and the potential love story just comes to an end just like that.

The setting of Phoenix is simple and real but personally for me, it didn't work. On the contrast it created a boredom impact for me. Demetrius was the only decent guy to look at and also who could act well too. Some of the scenes with an older couple who just come in and out were kinda fun.

Just an alright film. Watch it if there is nothing better to do. (4/10)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Tru Loved

I kept wondering where had I heard the name of the film and then after seeing the poster I realized that I had seen the name in Advocate magazine. I soon realized that main protagonist was a female so I had my reservations on whether this film is really gay themed or like recent farce movies, they are just pretending to be.

A teenage girl recently has moved to suburbs or LA in a very small town. She has lesbian mothers and gay fathers. Everyone in the school thinkns she is weird except Lo who makes friends with her. Initially dismissed by her mothers for being black, they start dating. Couple dates and Tru soon realizes that Lo is gay and confronts him. Lo admits but is scared because his black family would never understand it and moreover he is so passionate about football that if he comes out, he might be thrown out of the team. Tru and lo pretend to be a couple. In the meantime Tru meets Walter, a teenage gay boy and they becomes friends. Walter has always been bullied so its kind of good for him. They both start a gay-straight alliance club in their school. Everyone has initial reservations including Lo because all he is scared of is no one should find out about him. IN this club, Travis comes as a big supporter. Tru initially thinks he is gay but turns out he is totally straight and they both start dating. There are several instances when Tru tries her best to make Lo aware of the situation and accept reality but he is just not ready for it. Not even when h has feelings for Walter and they wanna be together. Sense prevails and when Tru's mothers decide to get married. situations arise and things happen which finally give Lo the courage to accept his sexuality and face his fears of school, friends and family.

Overall I liked the film. Tru was very charming and the film actually dealt with some serious teenage issues like their own acceptance of their sexuality and then the society's approval. It was also good to see a straight supporter Travis who would support Tru and the GSA club in every way. My issue is why suddenly they have to show everyone as closet homosexuals just because Lo is now coming out. Suddenly this small little town is filled with gays. Why do directors have to do that. Can't they just keep it simple. But otherwise the movie was charming. It was good to see Walter again. I still can't forget his performance in 'Watercolours'. I might have to see that film again.

Definitely worth a watch if you can excuse the lame ending. (6.5/10)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Comme un frère (French) [Like a Brother]

Most of the French gay films that I have seen so far have actually been pretty decent buy this one was confusing and had a very very abrupt ending. It actually takes a while for the viewer to realize that the film is going parallel in 2 time zones: the character's present and past.

Young Sebastien aka Zack is with his boyfriend remembering his birthday a year ago when he moved to Paris. The film goes in flashback(s) when Sebastien lived in the small coastal town where he doted on his best friend Romain. Despite Romain's devotion and physical closeness to Sébastien, Romain is in love with Sophie. Sébastien loves Romain and while the two have some beautifully tender moments together, Romain is not the gay boy Sébastien needs. He then leaves college and moves to Paris with his father who is fully supportive of his son being gay. Sebastien changes his name to Zack begins to visit clubs and eventually is absorbed into the gay life, yet he still dreams of Romain. After months pass and Zack is in a comfortable relationship, Romain comes to Paris and the two now young men meet in a park. Where does this union lead to is completely left to viewers imagination.

Like I mentioned before, the movie flips between past and present without much concern for our keeping up with the story. In fact, the jumping around is a reflection of the boy's state of mind. But it doesn't work for me. I would rather just watch a simple film with beautiful emotions. Romain was pretty good looking and did his part well. It was a little confusing as to why he wanted to be really close to Zack (to the extent of kissing him).

Just an alright film. Doesn't work for me. (2/10)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Boy Culture

Not knowing hat to expect from the movie, it came as a pleasant surprise. The movie is light, not very heavy on the emotional scenes and keeps your interest throughout the pace of the film. It is rare to see gay cinema that is thoughtful, witty, romantic and sexy all at once.

The film is shown in the form of narration by 'X'. He is a hustler by profession and has sex only for money. He does not believe in romance or random gay sex. He has 2 room mates Andrew and Joey. Andrew is a black gay male who also does not do hook ups because he believes in romance and this is the only person for whom X has hots for. Although there is a pattern emerging that slowly Andrew is getting into the whole hookup business. Then there is teenager Joey, who totally is in love with X but knows it cant get anywhere. Once X meets a client Gregory who ends up becoming his chat client. He still gets paid and Gregory shares with him his life story of love with a man for last 50 years. During the same time, Andrew is trying to get X to try and date but somehow X can have sex either for money or for love. Andrew wants to give it a try but only when X is ready to. Its clear that both X and Andrew have deeper feelings for each other but neither want to admit. When they both find out what Gregory had been telling X was a farce but it was al because they could realize that it is actually not that difficult to express and accept your love for someone. X and Andrew both realize this soon and are happy together.

The writing of the film is superb, the direction is crisp and the acting is good. People seem real with real feelings but of course there has to be some melodrama in everything. X emotes a type of vulnerability without giving up his pseudo-macho hustler persona. Andrew is still in his Noah's Arc mode and Joey was also very funny. Btw: X is sexy. There i something raw about his performance which at least I appreciated.

I think everyone will enjoy this film. I sure did. (7/10)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Regarding Billy

Even after it has been few hours since I watched the film, I am having a little hard time making a decision on my thoughts of this film. I think the film had great potential as a short film but they dragged it on for a long time (it is really slow) and in turn it lost the essence, the magic and the intimacy that this film could have created with the audience.

Dean and Billy are best of buddies and share a very nice, playful – but very frustrating – friendship. Out of the blue Dean announces that he is joining military for 4 years. Dean departs with much unsaid. In the meantime Billy's parents pass away and so now he moves back to the town to take care of his young learning-disabled brother Johny. Just when they were getting settled Dean comes back to the town and starts living with the brothers. Billy is ecstatic to see him but still is having a hard time telling him about it. The 3 men bond together and have a good time. Billy tries to tell Dean his true feelings for him a lot of times but always fails but when he finds out that Dean is probably turning blind soon because of military he cant hold back anymore and blurts out his feelings without fearing. Dean responds positively and admits to having loved Billy ever since he can remember. The 3 young men then share some intimate family moments.

LIke I mentioned abpve that the film was really slow but the underlying story was definitely beautiful. It also had beautiful mesage about love, companionship and a sense of family which I think all of us gays aspire to have. It's strange how few films attempt to manage the coming of adulthood, deal with being gay and coming out, and still find relationships that matter to us. This film manages to address all of these in a gentle and approachable manner. And yes the 2 men being attractive definitely helps ;)

Definitely worth a watch if you dont mind a little sluggish pace at which the film progresses. (6/10)

Sam Fooi (English/Cantonese) [First Love And Other Pains]

This film has the look of a low-budget film by an inexperienced film-maker. However, it has an interesting story, two interesting main characters, and ultimately is worth watching.

This film follows the relationship between an English professor Hugh who happens to be a bitter, alcoholic writer in Hong Kong, and Mark, one of his prize students. At first, Mark is merely another student in one of Hugh's classes, but Mark's talent soon brings him to Hugh's attention, and once Mark gets to know Hugh a little better, he is clearly smitten with Hugh. While Hugh tries to push Mark away at first, one night, Mark enters Hugh's apartment to find him drunk in the bathtub, and they give way to their passion. Hugh wants to put a stop to this but Mark pursues it. Having failed in making no progress in his writing abilities, Hugh attempts suicide. Mark then saves his life and takes care of him. This in turn brings them closer and the film ends with them looking for an apartment together. Whether they are living together or not is left upto viewers imagination.

The acting is ok but the motivation behind Mark getting so smitten by Hugh despite the very obvious huge age gap is not very clear. Also the film really doesn't explore many of the issues related to the disparity in either age or culture, which is a pity. It seems like the director had just a thought of showing a young boy falling for an old man and then he wove a story around it. The good thing is at least the film is short.

Strictly ok. Novel concept which wasn't explored completely. (3/10)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Danny In The Sky (French Canada)

To market this as a gay film is insulting. The main character is not gay. There is nothing in Danny's behavior that marks him for gay. He pursues women the entire movie, finally ending up with one of the most annoying women in the movie. One wants to knock that ever-present camera right out of her hands.

Danny is a romantic young man looking for love. He loathes school, wants to become a model. He is dating a top hotel model who is into him just because Danny actually looks hot but she soon realizes that Danny is only using her, so she dumps him. Danny is the son of a gay dad and a top model mom who died of an overdose when he was still young and this is the reason he wants to become part of a society that values luxury, glamour and appearances above all, by becoming a model. When modeling fails, he meets a guy who works as a stripper in gay club. Danny has no place to go and he starts doing the same job. This guy used to date a photographer Karine whom now Danny likes. Although I get the feeling that he was even using her to get famous. Gay bars, drugs and quest for high profile life ultimately get to him and he gets shot. He survives but his life has no meaning.

This has to be one of the worst movies ever made. Actually no, I have seen worse. Except for Danny's good body, there is nothing else in the film. Screenplay is bad, acting is terrible and the film just has lots going on without actually telling anything.

Avoid at all cost. (1/10)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Newcastle (Australia)

Newcastle is actually a surfing movie. Labeling it as gay cinema would be injustice. Just because one of the characters happens to be gay does not move us away from the main emotion of the film. It's about emotions, trials, tribulations, wanting to do something in life.

Jess and Fergus are brothers. Their elder half brother Victor as an up and coming surfing champion but he could never reach the pinnacles that he always aspired to. He sees the same talent in his brother Jesse. He has a natural talent for surfing. No wonder Victor harbors a resentment towards him. Fergus on the other hand is a flamboyant character who keeps changing his hair color and is comfortable with his sexuality. On the day os selection for the national championship, Jesse comes in third that completely upsets him since only top 2 will be sent for championship. One of his friends Andy from his circle of 4 friends gets selected who actually is not interested but because of his father is pursuing this. The friends decide to go on a weekend together and take Fergus as well with them. They have fun and they all practice surfing. Fergus and Andy have some chemistry going on between them. Victor shows up there next morning with his 2 other friends and starts surfing. A pseudo competition starts happening and in the process Victor gets killed and Andy gets badly hurt. This is the time when Andy gets a chance to represent himself in the Newcastle surfing championship and he is ready to prove himself.

As mentioned Fergus character was just there and happened to be gay. Actually his character acts as a catalyst between the family and also amongst the friends. Acting wise I think everyone did a decent job. Mu inability to fully understand Australian accent sometimes acted as a blocker. I have no idea about surfing but the scenes were beautifully shot. I think there should have been some more clarity on Victor's past, why he behaves the way he does etc. Chemistry between Fergus and Andy also could have been developed but then I am being a little selfish here. A lot of naked young bodies to see :)

A decent movie overall. Not bad. (5.5/10)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Anonymous

This was a bad film on all grounds. The intentions might have been nice but overall impression that is left on the viewers is far from satisfaction. It is a film with loads of nudity and sex scenes but they are more repulsive than anything.

The film shows life of Todd who works in a movie theatre and is full of boredom. He has a boyfriend of 3 years but he there is no physical connection left between them. Todd work night and his boyfriend works day. Todd engage in random hook ups and meets people online. This also includes public bathroom sex. When his boyfriend John gets a hang of it, he catches him in act in a public restroom and beats him up bad. Todd is now homeless. Homeless, Todd is forced to live at his office, but his compulsion for sex throws his job into jeopardy too.

The film is a little too realistic and I quite did not understand what the whole point was. A lot of nudity and maybe some titillation but apart from that after a certain point of time the film just drags. Its description seemed promising, but it didn't deliver in the ways I'd hoped.

Pointless for me. (2/10)