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, July 30, 2010

Le fate ignoranti (Italian/Turkish) [The Ignorant Fairies] [His Secret Life]

This film was both deep and touching. What happens when a man loved 2 people and how the 2 people now come face to face to deal with their loss and make their own friendship. The film doesn't have any clichés. It consumes in the interesting characters that it has. The whole gang of Michele is colorful, funny and full of life.

Antonia was living the life of most women would dream of. A good medical career, a loving husband, and a wonderful marriage. All that came to a crumble one day when he died in an accident leaving Antonia is grief and mourning. But an accidental discovery of a painting hinted that Antonia's husband Massimo has another lover. Burning with anger, Antonia sought to find out more about this lover. But there is a catch; Massimo's lover is a man, Michele. Which shocked Antonia more to realising that her husband had lead a double life; one a straight married man, the other a gay lover. Through Michele, she learnt more of her husbands secrets. A circle of friends Massimo has known through Michele, drag queens, immigrants, gay men, quirky apartment neighbours, and also AIDS patients. This circle of friends shared a warmness that all frienships has. Indirectly, she has replaced the vaccuum left by Massimo's death. At the same time, there is a growing attraction between her and Michele, as both are brought closer together. Time moves on and Antonia and Michele have a love hate relationship. Finally Antonia is shown to move on with her life and she wants to travel and see the world to make up for the loss of her husband.

here are many side stories to Antonia and Michele's friendship as well such as dealing with rejection, pain suffered by an AIDS patient. Some of these issues are delicately dealt and while some humorous. One thing that I both liked and did not was the fact that Michele did not keep mourning and crying of his loss of Massimo's death. He was always 'the other man' and knows how to deal with. It is more difficult for Antonia because this is all new for her. I loved when Antonia and Michele kiss because they both think they are kissing Massimo through each other. The direction was brilliant and the entire story was handled very beautifully.

Strongly recommended. This is what we call good cinema with gay characters. (8/10)

Pornography: A Thriller

What the heck was the film about. I know I was paying all attention to the film but it never explained why certain things were happening. It seemed like the film was divided in 2-3 parts with them being linked some way but never an explanation given. By the end of the film, I wanted 2 hours of my life back.

Mark Anton in 90's was a famous porn star who made a few films, was on top and then suddenly vanished into thin air. Flash forward to current time: Michael is researching a book about porn. He's interviewing people who have long wondered what happened to the elusive Mark Anton. The trail leads him to a Brooklyn loft apartment that he and his partner feel compelled to move into. The vibe is definitely unsettling, and there are mysterious holes all over where it looks like cameras used to be. Michael finds a VHS tape hidden in the wall. He plays the tape but is not sure what he sees. He brings the tape to a video store friend to get it fixed but mysteriously then he also disappears. After a while Michael also disappears. The film's focus now shifts to West coast where porn star Matt Stevens has an eerie dream about Mark Anton that he hastily adapts into a screenplay. With the project greenlighted and production well underway, Matt ends up reliving Anton’s career in the same tragic manner.

The film was never clear on what's imaginary vs what is real. You try to keep focus but fail to understand. Every thriller needs to have an explanation for why things are going on a certain route but this one just didn't seem to want it or even think of it. From performances perspective, the film is ok but what can the actors do when the screenplay itself is so timid that it just doesn't make any sense.

DOn't waste your time even though it shows as the top seller on TLA's website :) (1/10)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bollywood And Vine

This is such an OTT movie. Just about everyone in this film was loud mouth except the lead played by Delilah Leigh. The film had interesting theme but since it was made on such a low budget, the surroundings etc just did not gel with the film. It gave a very boring look to the entire film.

Delilah Leigh used to work a lot in C-grade horror films. She used to be known as the scream queen and has not been in any movies for 25 years now. An Indian guy Bhuvan Bannerjee operates a tour bus 'Bannerjee Tours'. He is totally smitten by Delilah and for him she is still that super star. IN hopes of catching a glimpse of her, he daily passes outside her house with tourists. Delilah has a young son Devin who has got the looks of his mother. He is gay and when he wears his mother's clothes he looks exactly like Delilah. When Delilah (aka Devin) finally make an appearance on the porch, Bhuvan immediately falls in love with her and offers her a script to do a film totally oblivious that the real Delilah is now old. But the truth soon comes out when Delilah and Bhuvan kiss and that Delilah is actually Devin. Bhuvan gets mad and leaves. Actual Delilah somehow convinces him to come back home and manages to lock Bhuvan and Devin in the attic together for days. Devin is now totally in love with Bhuvan but Bhuvan is not gay (or so he says). Bhuvan rebels, attempts escape, and the trio become caught up in an accidental death of a snoopy wannabe star neighbor. Finally things are ok. Bhuvan leaves them leaving a love struck Devin behind. A year later he comes back for Delilah's birthday and invites them both for a trip where he proposes to Devin and they both get married.

How could a straight guy suddenly turn gay and straight away get married to a dude. This was all so unbelievable.The saving grace of the film is that it doesn't take itself seriously. The plot is inane and unbelievable, going from one farcical situation to another without regard for pace, tone or honest character development. Devin was totally intolerable as Delilah. The annoying Delilah's neighbor was fun. Bhuvan was alright although I don't think he was Indian at all.

Bollywood and Vine is one address you won't want to visit - just drive by and honk. (4/10)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Il compleanno (Italian) [David's Birthday]

A sexy, melodrama set against the operatic score of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde. A multi-star cast, it explores the complexities of human relations and the tests that your life takes and things it makes you do. A pitch perfect and beguiling ode to the all-encompassing pull of desire, David's Birthday stands out as an example of gay European cinema at its most potent.

Two married middle-aged couples head out to the stunning Italian coast for an ideal holiday in the sun. Diego and Shanny don't live together anymore because Deigo could never get his act together. She now lives in New York city with her 18 year old son David who is an underwear model in NY. She and Deigo had their baby when they were very young. The other couple Matteo and Francesca are also happy with a young 8 year old daughter. With their relationship seemingly solid and unflappable, the group of friends settle in for a typically serene beach holiday. When David arrives for the vacation, it is not just the young girls on the beach who are drawn to his Adonis-like beauty but Matteo as well who cannot fathom why is he getting so attracted to his friend's son. When Matteo finds he too is increasingly struggling to keep his desire under wraps, it becomes clear that he needs to do something about it. Various incidents happen that test the relationships of the 2 couples and the vacation goes on with a Shanny's brother also joining them for a brief period. On David's birthday when no one is home, David and Matteo finally get to get thier passion in action. But Francesca sees it and in shock when she is running out, she gets killed. The movie ends with everyone mourning but no one still knows what happened between David and Matteo.

Pulsating with a raw eroticism, David’s sexuality steams up the screen. Matteo's struggle to keep his infatuation for David not very open is handled beautifully. Everyone's performance is top notch and so is the story. It beautifully shows the complexities of human relationship and how no one is perfect and they have their ups and downs. David’s Birthday expertly weaves its way toward an operatic crescendo which leaves you wanting more.

Beautiful and definitely watchable. (8/10)

Strapped

This movie was different, very different; in terms of story, style execution, reality vs execution and everything else. You might or might not like the film but the fact will remain the same that this is a new and a novel experience.

A young hustler comes with a man to his apartment building. We right away realize that he likes to please his men, and their pleasure is his top priority. After he gives pleasure to this man, he is on his way out. SOmehow he can' find his way out and thats when starts his encounters with other gay men in the building while our hero trying to find his way out of he building. He first meets a cocaine filled older guy where he strips dance, blows another man and sees some tenderness in another man. Next he meets a straight man with issues who wants to blow him. When the deed is done , he hits our hero wherein he gets saved by another older man in the building. After a series of very mature discussions with the man, they get physical and the old man does him. All this while our hero makes sure he gets paid for whatever he is doing. By this time we also realize that he will do anything for money (as we see in 4 diff encounters and 4 different acts). Finally he meets the same tender guy whom he saw in the old man's aptt. He is lonely and just wants to spend time with the hustler and wants to kiss him. He refuses but this dude is persistent and is ready to pay him all his savings. WHen the hustler agrees, starts a passionate kiss that lasts forever and it goes all the way. The hustler who all this while was emotionless and was doing everything for money finally has an emotion in himself re-ignite and now he longs for love too.

Sex is the commonality, but out of that commodity comes raw, unguarded emotions for all, even for the hustler. Mid way into the film, I felt that the director was trying to make a fantasy and a dream but it was realistic, something that you realize from the dialogues. I got a sense that he was trying to portray the hustler as a dream , a farce and not a reality. In either case, it was alright. Performance wise it was strictly ok by everyone.

It was a strict ok for me. (4.5/10)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Oye Vey! My Son Is Gay!

You can't help but notice this very attentive title of the film. The title gives an impression that this one is going to be a laugh riot. The film actually does manage to give you few laughs here and there but overall I personally felt that the film was a little mish mash of skits and unnecessary drama was created/added towards the end.

Nelson lives with his partner Angelo but remains closeted to his family, while they continue to try to fix him up with a nice Jewish girl. After they mistake centerfold neighbor Sybil for his fiancee, he finally comes out. The mother and father are shocked. Mother slowly starts accepting but the father has harder time. Starting here is just a series of events that just show struggle of the parents including meeting Angelo's family and then Angelo and Nelson's quest for a baby and fighting for gay rights to be able to adopt a baby.

In my opinion the film should have just focussed on the other's struggle for accepting her son's sexuality. That would have made a much fun with compared to her accepting almost immediately and then trying to support her son in everything. The child angle was uncalled for. I mean there was hardly any time between the couple coming out as a couple and immediately wanting a kid. I mean, really? Everything in the film was actually very cliched. The best part about the film was casting. The Jewish mother was right on the mark, so was the father and the gay couple. Although some more chemistry between the 2 good looking men would have helped.

I think high expectations sometimes kill the fun. The film was good but definitely could have been much much better. I will still suggest to watch it. (7/10)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Violet Tendencies

My first reaction after I came out of the theatre watching this film was that the film was alright. The problem was that sometimes too many subplots spoil a film and in my opinion this is what happened in the case of this film. Had the script focussed more on Violet and less on all the sub plots, it could have been a better movie. too many plots in this movie gave it an episodic feeling which I personally didn't quite as much as I would generally have.

Violet, a 40 something fag hag is the life of every party. She is a successful PR executive for an NYC-based fashion line and has everything except she realizes that all men in her life are gay and she need someone to love her too. By way of comfort, co-worker Riley reminds her that you're surrounded by men who love you, so he and his novelist partner, Markus (director Caspar Andreas), volunteer to find her a fag stag, a heterosexual who prefers the company of homosexuals, though her roommate, Luke (writer Jesse Archer, reprising his role inA Four Letter Word ), suspects that they're an urban legend. While Violet goes on a series of blind dates, Riley struggles with Markus's desire to adopt a child; party planner Luke tries to win back stylist Darian; and HIV positive go-go boy Zeus looks for a love of his own. When her dates don't pan out, Violet turns to house model Salome who offers advice from the perspective of an impossibly gorgeous woman, like act disinterested. She meets an architect whom she thinks she can love. SLowly but unknowingly she starts to change to accommodate herself in the new man's life thereby distancing her friends but soon realizes that this is not what she is. Finally she finds the love of her life right next to her in the go-go boy who was actually the man who was always close to him but was a straight closet case.

The acting was very good by Violet but everyone else was strictly alright. Luke, her roommate was kinda actually annoying and Markus' character just after kids didn't seem realistic. Although both their respective men were super hot (not so much in the acting department). The film was funny in parts but overall left a lot to be desired. Characters could have been built a little more or just completely taken away. The only funny parts were 2 girls in the office who actually had not much to do but their minimal scenes cracked me up.

Just decent watch. The writer and director lost a wonderful opportunity they had in their hands. (6/10)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Do Começo ao Fim (Portuguese) [From Beginning To End]

For every bad film in the QFest film festival, thankfully we also get to see some good films too. Even though the entire subject matter of incest might repel to a few people, the film is fearless and daring in many ways as its touches on some very taboo subject matters. It slowly creeps up to you. There is a very haunting aspect to this film that will leave you lulled and wanting more.

Set in a sun-burnished Brazil, two boys, Francisco and his younger half-brother (same mother, different fathers) Thomás, are being raised in upper class comfort in Rio by their doting mother. Five years apart, the boys are best friends and unusually close to each other so much so that their intimacy brings vocal concerns from relatives that maybe they are too close. But the parents reluctantly brush away the concerns. There are several instances when Francisco says thathe will forever take care of his brother Thomas. After having focussed quite a substantial amount of time on their childhood, the movie flashes forward 15 years later when their mother is dead and Francisco's father is dead. Thomás' father has moved out so that the brothers can live their life. Francisco and Thomás are now strikingly handsome, bronzed young men and their childhood intensity has evolved into a torrid sexual relationship. They are deeply and madly in love with each other. But when Thomás is offered a chance to train for the Brazilian swim team in Russia for a long period of time, the proposed separation brings fears that their love is threatened. Francisco forces Thomas to go for the training but not before they exchange wedding rings amongst themselves. The distance apart tests their faith and love for each other. They miss each other terribly, Francisco gets into partying and even ends up kissing a girl but soon realizes his mistake. When the pain becomes unbearable, he goes to meet his brother in Russia and the two lovers are now reunited never to be separated.

Some of the context in the movie is not clear. When the mother realized the closeness between the men, why didn't she do anything about it. Did the brothers get physical for the first time only after their father left home and they were adult? Was their father aware of their relationship? If yes, didn't he object because clearly everyone around them saw how close they both were. The relationship to me is extremely poetic and beautifully directed. There is a great chemistry between the 2 men both as kids and adults. The love scenes will make you gasp with their intensity and sense of poetry. The 2 men although light up the screen, there is a certain amount of sadness eminent from their acting. I actually want to write so much more about this film but you really have to just watch it to experience it. The film makes you yearn for lovers. It doesn't matter if they are half brothers.

"I love you."
"And why do you love me?"
"I love you because you're mine. I love you because you need love."
"I love you, too."
"And why do you love me too?"
"I love you because...to understand our love they'd need to turn the world upside down."

Watch it. Its beautiful, poetic and romantic. And of course the main actors are extremely hot too. (9/10)

Shut Up & Kiss Me

My days of bad movies are not over yet. Not even in the film festival. Here comes a bizzare story with an ending that leaves you saying WTF. And the fact that it is director's autobiographical doesn't help. I can empathize but thats no sorry excuse to make a lousy film.

Ben is attractive, successful, and looking for love…in all the wrong places. Failed attempts with video dating, his uproarious friends setting him up, and bad gym run-ins have this perennially single 35-year-old ready to call it quits. He figures maybe romance is just not in the cards for him. Except there is this hot stud who runs by his house each morning as he waters his lawn. It takes a fair amount of courage for Ben to speak with Grey, well actually, he’s pushed into it by his best gal pal Callie, and the chemistry is instant. But here's a problem. Grey cant be monogamous. He likes to play around while Ben is a 1-man person. Neither of them hides this from the other but after a while Ben can't take it and they break up. His friend tries to hook him up with other men. Then one fine day Grey runs into Ben who doesn't talk to him too well except that he had to go see a therapist for his problem. The movie ends with Grey being that therapist and the fact that Ben has accepted his man's philandering ways of life.

Yes, the movie ended exactly like that. After the movie finished, the director was present for QnA, and all I wanted to ask was 'What was the point of the movie? What is it that he wanted to tell us?' It was all so absurd. The characters had no chemistry and connection. They were overacting their parts to an extent. It was just weird. Oh! and the most annoying thing was a big giant green frame at Ben's house entrance which was there is like every frame. Probably the director forgot his pay his VFX team

Don't go by some reviews. You will regret this one. (1.5/10)

Plan B (Argentina - Spanish)

Plan B is one of those films which is not everyone's cup of tea. The heart is in the right place but the pace at which the film is shot is lethargic specially in this day and age. The film is raw, the acting is raw, none of the lead characters are buffed up or anything; they are every real like you would see someone in everyday life; so in totality it either works or doesn't work. Personally for me, it worked to an extent but could have been improved drastically.

Tall, confident wild-haired Bruno is pissed that he’s been dumped by his girlfriend and upset that she’s seeing another guy, Pablo, a sweet metrosexual charmer. Although she has dumped him, she still sees Bruno occasionally for sex. Determined to get even and get back his girl, Bruno devises a plan that involves befriending Pablo, making him fall in love with him, and then dumping him in the hopes that his ex will run into his arms again. But have things ever remained same the way you plan it. Bruno starts hanging out with Pablo trying to entice him to make him fall in love with him. They start spending a lot of time together but never get physical or anything. A gradual mutual affection starts developing. Bruno gives him final blow when he gives Pablo a letter expressing his love. Pablo confused about everything finds out by a mutual friend that Bruno is actually ex-boyfriend of his girlfriend and probably he has done all this to get back at Pablo. Pablo is sad because at some end he was falling for Bruno. He breaks up with his girlfriend because now he is confused. On the other hand, Bruno now is really falling for Pablo and wants to get back with Pablo.

So the story has its heart in the right place but there are scenes (and a lot of them) where nothing happens. The camera just captures various moments in the 2 men's lives and their hanging out scenes. There is no background music or anything. The director actually focuses a lot on the two actors' faces, as they ponder, decide, ponder some more, dream, think some more, decide, and ponder. The film can definitely use some serious editing and some background music. In my opinion, this would have ended up a really good 30 minute short film but as a full length feature, it fails in keeping the audience captured.

You have to be really patient to understand and appreciate director's vision for this film. For me it worked only partially. (4/10)

Contracorriente (Peru-Spanish) [Undertow]

After watching loads of crap in the film festival, here came the pleasant surprise in the form of this Peruvian small film Undertow. I am so glad I got to see this film. It is such a beautiful depiction of human emotions. Not only does the film depict the unmatched beauty of the Peruvian coastline, this bittersweet tale of a unique love-triangle set within a small fishing village explores the quest to define contemporary sexual identity.

Miguel, a respected fisherman and his beautiful bride Mariela are about to welcome their firstborn. But Miguel harbors a scandalous secret; he is also in love with a man, Santiago, a visiting artist who has been ostracized by the local community because of his sexuality. Even though Santiago is frustrated with Miguel's closetness, he still loves him and yearns for him alot. When Santiago drowns in a tragic accident involving the ocean's strong undertow, his spirit returns to Miguel in a form that only he is able to see. For the first time, they are free to express their love without fear. But Santiago remains trapped in the village, unable to cross peacefully to the other side, until his body is found and buried in accordance with the rituals of the town. In the meantime somehow news spread in the village about the 2 men's closeness. After initial denial, Miguel accepts it to his wife and because of their son promises to never ever think of him or anything. He asks Santaigo's ghost to never visit him again. Life is going well until one day his body is discoveerd. After a lot of struggle, Miguel chooses to do right by giving proper burial to Santiago, something t hat was his last wish, even if that means that his wife is going to leave him forever and the village community will ostracize him.

Oh boy! where do I even start. The story was perfect. You would think that the whole ghost aspect would make this film quirky but no, it has been handled so beautifully with emotions, its unbelievable. The love between Miguel and Santiago is pure and eternal. Miguel's struggle between his love for Santiago and his wife and son is sop real that it kills you. I loved the moments when initially Santiago's ghost comes and Miguel thinks that everything is going to be ok and they will be happy. His expressions are priceless. Best acting is when you dont have to speak and the viewer knows exactly what's going on in the actor's mind. The climax is heart wrenching. Miguel wants to do his best for his family but how can he ever forget Santiago, a person whom he always truly truly loved. When he accepts this to his wife, it kills you and finally when Miguel does the last rights, you just can't control. Performance wise, every single character in the film was splendid. The approach of the film is very gentle. Everything, from sex to death, is implied, nothing explicit. I salute the director for attempting something so brave and handling it with such sensitivity. It could easily have become a cheesy film but thank god it turned out to be a wonderful experience. By the way, the fact that both men were good looking does help too but their love, emotion, struggle everything is just pure and beautfiul.

I feel sad even while writing this. This film is a must watch. (9.5/10)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

You Should Meet My Son

Oh my God!! I haven't laughed so hard in a gay film. If you are an avid reader, you will see that most of my high rated films are usually romantic but boy this movie was a laugh riot. I was expecting nothing but it just turned out to be such a pleasant experience. I think specially when you watch with other queens, it is all the more funny. Comedy is contagious.

Mae is southern mother who lives with her sister Rose. They always invite Mae's son Brian every weekend and introduce him to a special girl but Brian always brings his special friend and roommate Dennis with him. Brian doesn't have the guts to tell his mother that he is gay. One night the sisters finally catch on – with the help of an "Is Your Son Gay?" survey in a magazine. The sisters then wonderfully change their course and try to find Brian a man. They’ve heard that the Internet is the place, so they ask a teenage neighbor to set up a computer for them. They goto manhunt to find the man but soon give up. They then visit a gay bar where they make friends with a gay couple, a couple of drag queens and a stripper who Mae thinks would be perfect for Brian. When she invites all these people over for dinner, Brian throws a bomb that he is marrying a girl because he wants to have kids. Mae then creates a whole plan where using the help of all these gays she met at the bar, she makes Brian realize that she loves him as he is and all she wants him is to be happy.

This is one of the sweetest and funniest movies in gay cinema that I have seen. Its remarkable that this is the director's first feature film. Mae and specially Rose were both fantastic and hilarious in the film. Everytime they were on the screen, you couldn't help laughing. ALl the scenes involving bunch of gays at Mae's house when Mae is trying to put sense into Brian to not get married are hilarious. I loved the two drag queens. Fantasia, he taller drag queen was superb. There were unlimited hilarious moments where Rose and Mae are trying their level best to understand what gay is all about and Mae keeps an eye on her neighbour's teenage gay son.

Strongly recommended. For whatever it was, I completely thoroughly enjoyed the film. (7.5/10)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Fluffer

Does the name ring any bell? I mean, what's the first thing that comes to your mind when you read the title? Nasty huh? Well, thats how the film was. It was an interesting concept of a common man falling for a famous porn star but the culmination was bad. In fact the whole story id told from a mature point of view would have been more interesting.

Sean is a young inexperienced gay man whose just moved to LA and is struggling to find his place in both his professional and personal life. While renting a gay X-rated film one night, he becomes intoxicated with its leading man Johnny Rebel. So he hightails it over to the company that made the film and gets himself a job as a P.A. This leads him to an encounter with none other than Johnny Rebel- who after some "difficulty" shooting a particular scene, carouses young Sean over to him and asks him for a little "help". Hence, Sean becomes a sort of personal "fluffer" for Johnny when he has this difficult moments from there on. After servicing him, Sean becomes even more enamored with Johnny whose life is spiraling out of control. When Johnny's girlfriend Babylon gets pregnant, Johnny's porn start status starts to decline. She locks him out of the house and his drug use is growing exponentially. The film takes unexpected turn when Sean helps Johnny get out of US to Mexico because he probably might get involved in the murder of a fellow cameraman. The film abruptly ends when Johnny runs away from there too leaving Sean all by himself.

The film might have had more impact if it had focused on the relationship between the two male leads and downplayed the more familiar aspects of the setting. Specially towards the end, the film takes complete downfall. The screenplay was a let down. Johnny's porn star dumb act was nice but Sean's star struck fluffer role was insipid.

This one can easily be missed. (3/10)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Boys On Film 4: Protect Me From What I Want

Steam (USA)
Moving between anxiety, reflection and fear, two strangers try to make sense of their predicament...stuck in a steam room. Heat increasing, they need to get out but can't find the door. What is this place and how did they get here? A very interesting, novel and new idea.

Protect Me From What I Want (UK)
Daz is looking for love. Saleem is looking for sex. Cruising at an underground archway, these two worlds collide. Back at Daz' bedsit, Saleem embarks on a dangerous, thrilling sexual adventure. Both characters disparate worlds overlap and collide to tell a tale of loneliness and longing in a city late at night. Reminds you of your teenage days. The end brings a smile on your face.

Heiko (Portugal)
A carefree young man really puts his foot in it with his obsessive lover when the old man obsessed with feet kills the young hunky man like all other men before and preserve their feet. Odd and weird but good direction.

Postmortem (USA)
Two ex-lovers meet after years a part and examine the painful break up and what they should do now. Romanticized as a fruit of desire and imagination, Postmortem plays out as a fleeting moment between two men who briefly reunite to reminisce and unload. One of the best shorts I have seen in the recent times. Acting of the characters was just perfect.

My Name Is Love (Sweden)
Love and Sebastian meet each other by a coincidence on a hot Swedish summer night. They happen to share the same secret. Seb takes Love home and literally rapes him. An innocent flirt soon turns in to a dangerously liaison. Interesting idea for a short.

Wrestling (Iceland)
Denni and Einar both practice the sport of Icelandic wrestling, which allows them to escape their daily routine, to express their true selves. Yet little do the wrestling spectators know, the men harbour a secret passion for each other. I can bet you have never seen anything like this before. Another gem.

Vandals (Germany / Switzerland)
The difficult balancing of two young graffiti artists trying to live their love without betraying what is closest to their heart: painting. Again a very interesting take on how some people handle relationships.

Trevor (US)
Trevor is a film that deals with the very real issue of one's self worth in the eyes of the people that matter in your life. It takes a sensitive yet blunt approach to suicide. It deals with a young boy's thoughts about his sexuality at a very important stage of his life. There s a little bit of Trevor in all of us. With a soundtrack featuring a bevy of songs from Diana Ross, Trevor is an uplifting and fulfilling cinematic experience. Apparently it is Oscar winner too. Great film.

Without doubt this has been the best collection of gay short films I have seen in the recent times. Each and every story is new and refreshing and has some story to tell. I am very very impressed. This 4th dvd in the series is way better than all the others. (7/10)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

La Mission

This story of a father-son relationship was very interesting in a good sort of way. The film has been handled with reality and tenderness with great performances by the principal cast. Set in the Mission district of SF and the thriving Latino culture there, it shows a father's struggle to accept his teenage son's gay tendencies.

Che, a recovering alcoholic and a reformed inmate is a powerful man respected throughout the Mission area for his masculinity and his strength. He is a bus driver who spends his nights and weekends lovingly restoring vintage low-rider cars. He hangs out with his friends who are all now into vintage cars and their families. He has a loving son Jesse for whom he wants to do everything. When the neighbor Lena comes to their building, he initially dismisses her but slowly warms upto her. Things fall apart when Che finds out that Jesse is probably gay and that he has been hanging out with a blonde guy at gay bars. Che reacts with anger and violence and this is when Lena supports Jesse. Jesse leaves him to stay with his uncle. Things go wild and once in some street fight Jese gets shot. Che takes care of him, brings him home but tells him that he still doesn't accept what he is. He tries to understand Jesse being gay but cannot and loses his temper again and goes back to alcohol. Jesse can't deal with this anymore and starts living with his boyfriend. Che now needs to adjust and make peace or he'll lose his son, his only family.

Che has given a really powerful performance in this film. The scenes between him and his on screen brother give us an authentic loving depiction of the Latino culture in the Mission. Jesse has also acted well as the teenage of today's time who is confident and comfortable with his sexuality and doesn't mind getting on with his father if need be but at the same time he also truly cares about the man. A tighter editing of the film would have helped a little.

The film is a small, intimate jewel that is both touching and enjoyable. (7/10)

Is It Just Me

After a series of not so decent films in the QFest film festival, the day ended with a decent film. The film was apparently shot in just 12 days (At least I was surprised to find this out). No where did the film leave an impression that it was such a quick job. The premise of the film was romance and comedy. Of course, like me you would also say that main character was dumb and he could have done much better but then who cares. Sometimes there is no logic. This film is a refreshingly witty take on one gay boy’s search for Mr. Right.

Blaine, a newspaper columnist has low self esteem issues. Unaware of how cute he is, he can’t seem to meet guys, let alone form a relationship. His beefy go-go boy roommate Cameron— who has no shortage of willing partners —can’t understand why he doesn’t pounce and enjoy some one-nighters. So one such night on internet, Blaine meets Zander, a shy guy who recently has relocated from Texas. They chat and talk on phone for few days for long hours and there is this instant chemistry. When the time comes to exchange pictures, Blaine accidentally sends Cameron's pictures there by starting tis train of confusion. For some reason (and this is where the fault lies), Blaine can't tell Zander the truth an din turn asks cameron to play along. This case of mistaken identity escalates when Blaine begs his roommate to go out with Zander. When it seems they hit it off, Blaine feels love has passed him by again but he finally gets it in his head and tells Zander the truth. Expectedly Zander feels cheated because he was getting no chemistry from Cameron. But all's well that ends well with one of the most romantic end of a gay film where Zander is singing a nice romantic song for Blaine.

The film had decent dose of love, romance and comedy. What was weird was why would a good looking man like Blaine have problems finding love. Chemistry between the 2 was good but as mentioned above, there was absolutely no reason for Blaine to not tell Zander the truth right in the first place. That's the only absurd part. One thing that I liked was gay roommates followed the code of conduct of not sleeping with their friend's date.:)

No great but had its sweet and romantic moments. (6/10)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Bear City

Now this film was a surprise. I had no idea what to expect from this film. The write up said that the film is a comedy but these kind of films can easily be a hit or a miss. Thankfully this was not a miss. Like someone says in the film, you just need to get to know the bears, they can be equally sarcastic and katty and katty they were in this film set in NYC.

Tyler is a young white man, a budding actor who is a bear chaser. He shares room with a twink Simon who is all after Tyler. Tyler meets Brent and hence Fred in an audition and then at a bear club. They introduce them to another one of their bear couple friends Michael and his Spanish lover. Introduce Roger, a muscle bear who apparently everyone wants to sleep with and who spends all his time with his gang banging group orgy friends. When Tyler sees Roger, he also has instant crush on him but knows that he probably is out of his league. WIth Simon's help, he tries various ways of getting Roger's attention and finally succeeds in it in the end. The film also shows us the lives of other two couples. Fred and Brent are trying to spice up their life by potentially getting a 3rd man in them which causes a lot of funny events in their life. Michael wants to get surgery done to get rid of his fat so that he can get a job but this makes his lover loose control because he likes Michael the way he is.

The film has lot of hilarious moments. For someone like me, who has no insight into the bear community, this film was pretty good and I got to know of some new gay scenes and terminologies. Tyler's friend Simon was the funniest among everyone specially when he finds out that Tyler actually doesn't like muscled men but rather prefers bears. The friendship between the men could be felt except the SPanish guy who was so OTT. Particularly funny for me was when Brent and Fred see the guy who they invited for 3some again and he has now lost his memory. Their reaction in that scene was priceless and all scenes involving Simon in the bear bar.

A nice funny film. At least compared to some other crap that I saw yesterday, this was better one. (6.5/10)

You Can't Have It All

Another film that I was excited about watching on the big screen in the Philly film festival, specially because the film has been set in Philly and I lived there. By the time the film ended, I was disappointed to the core. The film had some really bad acting and direction. There were some really funny one liners and scenes but they were so few, far and between that overall the film left very little impression on me.

Wealthy 50ish bachelor Paul is finally retiring from work. His work was his only routine and so he has no idea and interest in either socializing or finding someone for his life. His socialite sister Elise is after his life to get married and determined to find him the perfect female companion. Elise is so interfering and disapproving of everyone else that she has lost the love and respect of her only son Brian, a buddy artist. Elsie gifts Paul a dog and now he has to take the dog for walks where he meets Andy who comes to the park to walk his own dog. Andy is comfortable with what he is and has no inhibitions in telling Paul about him. Andy slowly gets a strong liking for Paul but he knows that Paul is straight or at least he thinks so. Paul apparently has himself been struggling with is feelings. On the other hand, Elise thinks that Brian might be gay and so she is trying her best to accept that by attending PFLAG where she meets Andy. Andy's overprotective friend Roz is the best of lot who makes sure that Andy's heart does not get broken. After individual meetings when finally all of these people come together, it creates mass confusion and hysterical twists. Turns out Brian is not gay and Paul finally finds the courage to tell everyone and Andy that he loves Andy is his perfect partner.

Except Roz, everyone was sooo bad in the acting department. They were all overacting. There was absolutely no connection amongst the characters and they way they would say the dialogues was as if someone is prompting them to say something. The first 40 minutes were so slow and were used to just show Andy and Paul meeting everyday in the park and striking a chord. It can use some serious editing.

Had screenplay been better and acting good, this film could have been a funny film. (3/10)

Role/Play

I had high hopes with this movie primarily because of the actors involved in the film. I have seen other films of Matthew Montgomery which have been quite decent but this film was different, odd different. Real life couple play the main protagonist in the film. The chemistry s there but there is lack of script and storyline.

Hunky soap star Graham is suddenly outed when a sex tape scandal breaks out. Because of this he is seeking refuge at an exclusive Palm Springs resort and is planning about his next steps. ENter Trey Reed, a gay marriage activist who is now going through his divorce because apparently as per media , he has been cheating on his husband. After initial accusations to each other, a friendship and passion starts building between them in which each one questions the other of reasons that led them to the current situation. They force each other to confront their professional downfalls. As it turns out, Graham had personally himself leaked the info so that he could come out to the public to stop leading double life without the fear of having been thrown out by the network. As far as Trey is concerned, it turns out his marriage is actually a marriage of convenience between 2 friends because in his mind, that will give more value and merit to his whole gay marriage campaign. Of course, with a predictable ending both men decide to face the world and press with the reality and deal with whatever comes their way, as long as they have each other's true love.

As I mentioned earlier, the scripting of the film is weak. The film is pretty much these 2 men having long conversations discussing what's right and what's not. The owner of the resort is the other person that makes an appearance but overall it becomes such a drag watching the 2 men continuously on the screen. You wish something more would happen but it just doesn't. Acting wise the men were still ok.

These men have done better films. This one can be avoided. (2/10)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Howl

My first film in this year Philadelphia's Qfest and I am so excited. Although after watching the first feature, my excitement was a little short lived. I would actually this film more as a docu-drama style rather than a full fledged commercial movie. But hey when have most gay movies been commercial anyway.

The basic plot of Howl takes an interesting look into the life of Allen Ginsberg. A new information to me, Allen was one of them most noted writers of today's time but this film shows what happened when he came out with his first set of poems Howl in 1957. Apparently when the poems were published and confiscated for its obscenity. A trial then started for the publisher of the book. The film is back and forth shows scenes of the trial where prosecutors argue about why or why not is Howl obscene or is it just a freedom of expression. We also see that Allen is being interviewed by someone and he shares with us moments of his life that brought him upto this moment where a trial is in progress. In Black and White, we also get to see Allen and the 3 men who entered his life as friends and lovers. Jack, his friend from college on whom Allen had always a crush on, Neal who was married but then also to some extent was loved and used to love Allen and finally with Peter in whom he found true love and they stayed with each other until death put them apart. The reading of the poems is also segmented throughout the film which is accompanied by animation that tries to give some meaning to the poem. Th film ends with the decision that the judge made for the trial in favor of the publisher that ultimately made Allen a name what he is today.

My thoughts are mixed on the film. Although the basic premise was good and the narration style was new and impressive (something I have not seen before), the poetry sometimes got a little too heavy. I personally have no interest in poetry and on top of that the poetry in Howl is too ambiguous for a common man to understand. The animation was good in the sense that it try to make sense of he poetry and give some idea to the viewers. The trial scenes are fascinating with the constant questioning by the prosecution as to what certain lines or words meant. The various literature advocates and professors who came on the stand and were faced with various questions did a fantastic job. The court room scenes were the only ones that actually held my attention the most. Performance wise I would say James Franco as Allen Ginsberg did a good job. Although the movie had him only either reciting poem or giving interview but the proceedings were made interesting buy his acting. All the other actors also did a pretty decent job.

The film is different, very different. Decide for yourself whether you like it or not. (4/10)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Wasabi Tuna

The film could have had an interesting premise and it actually did start off well as well but somewhere it completely lost the steam. The film started to drag and the scenes were unnecessarily extended to the extent that my interest in the film starting to loose. It would have been better with a crisp script.

It s the night before Halloween and everyone is trying to finish their costumes for the annual Parade! Fredrico, a hot young Latino spinning instructor; Dave, a successful African-American stockbroker; Evan, a stylish young interior designer; Harvey, Evan s equally fabulous business partner and boyfriend; and Emme, a quirky young woman obsessed with style and vintage movies, have been waiting all year for this day to come. Originally they decided to dress up as Wasabi Tuna but then ultimately they decide to dress up as gangsters and this is when a full on comedy of errors with many more people involved Evan & Harvey unknowingly have been dealing with a drug dealer Anna. A gangster and his moll is also involved with whom the group exchanges their car, a bunch of Anna Nicole Smith drag queen impersonators and a pair of cops trying to bust the drug dealing. The whole evening goes so bad and rough that finally once the ordeal is over, the group ends up dressing as Wasabi Tuna to attend the halloween party.

Evan and Harvey were the only enjoyable part of the movie. For the longest time, viewer is confused whether Fredrico and Dave are straight or gay because their character was developed as gay but they kept flirting with girls. The drag queen were annoying. There were too many characters who somehow are related to each other and it becomes a chase between various people to the extent that it looses it charm.

It was just an alright film. A crisp editing could have made the film much better. (3.5/10)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

And Then Came Summer

Sometimes when you watch a movie, the context makes a lot of difference. This movie if made in the 90s would have appealed much more to the audience than it does having been made in 2000 for the reason that it tackles a very basic view of an individual coming to terms with his sexuality because of fear of parental pressure. The story is good but the in today's context just does not fit well.

David and his little brother Ricky have traveled with their divorced father Brian from their big city home to Brian's beach hometown to visit Aunt Lillian for the summer. There Brian reunites with his old buddy Tommy who has taken in his younger brother Seth as a favor to his family. As Brian and Tommy re-bond, both having losses in their lives since their boyhood, David and Seth get to know each other and gradually discover an attraction that goes beyond friendship. After a tender and quiet kiss at night on the beach, they acknowledge their attraction, only to be betrayed by the threat young Ricky poses as he declares he will inform David's father of his brother's perversion! The boys confront their feelings with the David's father and Seth's brother and find acceptance and unconditional love from families mature enough to accept them. Seth reveals his several month's history of 'rehabilitation clinic for gays' experience which led to his moving in with his brother Tommy and the bigotry and tragedy of that event solidly bonds all of the families during the summer.

The producers heart was in the right place but the script is an unsubstantial mess, with no build or interesting dialogue. The acting is really poor all the way around - either totally wooden or completely overdone, often times both in the same scene. And don't even get me started on the actors who showed up for a scene here or there. They were atrocious.

My ratings for the right idea but poor execution (2.5/10)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Nine Lives

Nine Lives takes us through the lives of 9 men who are interconnected by the fact they are all participants in the roundelay of casual sexual encounters. The technique used is that of each actor speaking to the audience about his background and how each ended up in the rather sad state of living in which they find themselves.

Ronnie is something of a sex addict; an HIV-poz man who uses random encounters and booze as narcotics, to dull the pain of memories of lost happiness that has faded from his life, and the stark reality of his limited future. Connected by him and his story, we get to meet a twenty-something Latino handyman who met Ronnie through a website and get to know his story. Ronnie works for an upscale and unhappy gay couple. He occasionally sleeps with both of them on an individual basis without the knowledge of other. One half of the couple has a personal trainer who is also a hustler whom he sleeps with. The trainer once tricks for free with a drug dealer who has a disabled brother he has to take care of. The drug dealer services a crystal meth addict who had lost his lover and as he was getting to know another person in his life, he died too to 9/11. Finally we have a casual sex partner of the meth addict - a well-to-do black businessman with a pregnant wife, who also tricks with Ronnie's character, bringing us back full-circle.

The nine characters range from loneliness to unpleasant to drug addicts etc. Each individual has their own agenda. The fact that they talk to you in the camera takes a while to get adjusted. Some of the stories didn't make sense if you start putting logic to it and there are some inconsistencies. The last man who is married and showing a typical African-American couple was cliched and totally unnecessary.

I would suggest to stay away and save some time and money. (2/10)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Penis Envy series (UK)

Episode 1 | The Perfect Penis
For some men bigger - whether by mechanical, herbal or surgical means - will always mean better. The penis is the organ most central to a man's sense of self, and the quest for penile perfection has driven some men to extraordinary and dangerous lengths. This programme meets the Russian surgeons who chopped off a man's penis and re-grew it on his arm, the man whose penis has real pulling power, and the man for whom too big is just not big enough.

Episode 2 | Chopped Off: The Man Who Lost His Penis
In 1993 one short brutal act guaranteed John Wayne Bobbitt a notoriety he can never shake off. His wife Lorena sliced off his manhood with a kitchen knife, drove off and discarded it in a field. What followed - one the biggest live TV trials of all time - turned the former marine into an unlikely celebrity. Twelve years on, after a brief porn career, a job as a Las Vegas minister, a stint as a limo driver for a brothel and a spell in jail, film-maker Vicky Hamburger went to find out what happened to the man with the world's most famous penis.

Episode 3 | The World's Biggest Penis
No doubt about it, society celebrates the big penis. Seen as a sign of adequacy, virility and manliness, those lucky enough to be well endowed are heralded by both sexes and all sexualities. As women have always maintained, and men have always thought, size matters, but not in the way that most of us imagine. Sometimes having a 'Big Johnson' is more of a problem than you'd guess. Meet the men, including the man claiming to have the world's biggest penis, who reveal there is a bittersweet side to nature's gift, and who lift the veil on a taboo subject to show the reality of what it's like to have what all men dream of.

Interesting and informative. Nothing entertaining about it. (2.5/10)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Dang wo men tong zai yi qi (Taiwan) [Go Go G-Boys]

I have seen much worse gay films, so it will be wrong to call this is a disaster but it comes pretty close to that. Specially when you have talentless actors, lousy plot, shaky, grainy camera and not so good direction. You dont expect great shakes. It could be a mindless comedy (or was it?).

Hong and Shin have had a special friendship since childhood. As adults they have drifted only in that Hong holds a menial job and likes girls while Shin is a rock star and likes boys. Hong has now discovered that his self absorbed girlfriend has run up a hefty amount of debt on his credit cards and all the world is after him. In order to raise the money to pay everyone off he enters the G-Boys Beauty Contest. Of course the only problem is that all the entrants have to be gay. To help him get through the ordeal, Shin also enters the contest. Our two heroes are joined by a crew of hot, handsome asian guys all vying for the title of G-Boy of the year, and the million dollars that goes with the crown. Unknown to them there is a mad bomber out there trying to destroy the contest and a spy trying to disrupt the proceedings from within their midst. Well as expected alls well that ends well. Hong finally realizes that his girlfriend is there only for money and he also realizes his true love for Shin. A very cliched and expected ending.

I have already mentioned poor acting above. After a while the film just becomes embarrassment of sorts. On top of that they keep running the same song over and over. Its a colorful, outrageous bad plot with equally bad acting.

Do yourself a favour and avoid it. (1.5/10)