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

Monday, August 30, 2010

I Love You Philip Morris

I was shocked when the moie ended declaring that this was a true story. I had such a hard time believing it was true because some of the cons seens in this movie are truly worth applauding. Things that a man can do and extents he can goto to prove his love for someone are shown very very well in this film. And when you have actors like Jim Carrey and Ewan McGreor, the premise becomes even more interesting.

Steven Russell is happily married to Debbie, and a member of the local police force when a car accident provokes a dramatic reassessment of his life. Steven becomes open about his homosexuality and decides to live life to the fullest - even if it means breaking the law. Steven's new, extravagant lifestyle involves cons and fraud and, eventually, a stay in the State Penitentiary where he meets sensitive, soft-spoken Phillip Morris. This is where the love starts. His love for Phillip seems irrational and all-encompassing and when he is released he uses his powers of conman ship to get Phillip released too. After that his life is dedicated to earning or rather conning his employers out of enough money to keep Phillip happy. This sometimes creates tension between them because now it is not just about keeping Philip happy. Steven has now become addicted to money and con and he cons people one after the other. But every time he gets caught. He is now living his life sentence in a jail when he comes up with his final heist where he pretends he is HIV positive and makes everyone (including doctors and authorities) believe in his story and flees the jail ultimately just for his love for Philip Morris.

s an emotional and heartfelt love story that's driven by the on-screen chemistry between Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor. It's laugh out loud funny one minute and tugging at your heart strings the next. The good thing is that film never explains Steven's sexuality. It is integral to his nature and has been since childhood. Also the film focuses more on love between the 2 protagonists and I loved that aspect. It is sad that the film didn't get the acclaim that it deserved.

Strongly recommend for love and comedy and trust me, it is NOT romantic comedy. (7/10)

La mala educación (Spain) [Bad Education]

Pedro Almodóvar movies are always to watch out for. The way he blends two different storylines with the same actors, is worth watching. Though this film of his is a little different from others. The theme (child abuse) is darker. It is going to be had to review the film because there are so many twists and turns and it is a great work of art.

Enrique is a Spanish filmmaker who is having trouble settling on a new project when he's approached by Ignacio Rodriguez, who was his close friend when they were schoolboys. Enrique, who fell in love for the first time with Rodriguez, barely recognizes the man as his former crush, but agrees to read the short story he's written. The tale turns out to be an semi-autobiographical account of their days in a Catholic boarding school, in which a cross-dressing night-club performer named Zahara (also played by Ignacio) hooks up with a man named Enrique, who turns out to have been his first lover when he was a student. Recalling their school days, Zahara tracks down Father Manolo, one of his teachers from school with pedophilic tendencies, and threatens to expose the priest's attempts to seduce him and ruin his relationship with Enrique years ago. Enrique decides to use the story as the basis for his next film, and Rodriguez, an out-of-work actor, makes it clear he's eager to play Zahara. However, Enrique isn't certain if Rodriguez is the right actor for the role, or if he's even the man he claims to be. An angry conflict with Rodriguez leads Goded back to the real Ignacio's mother where he finds out that real Ignacio has been dead for four years and that the man who came to his office is really Ignacio's younger brother, Juan. When Father Manuel visits the set . he tells a bitter truth that shocks Enrique. Real Ignacio hd become a trasnvestite and Manuel and Juan had started a relationship. After a point they both wanted him dead and it was Juan who overdosed Ignacio. In the epilogue, it is mentioned that Enrique releases his film later which achieves great success. Despite the grief and guilt of his brother, Juan also achieves success, and marries a woman. Manuel dies in a car accident (caused by Juan and thus fulfilling his promise made earlier in the film).

The brooding drama of past demons returning to the present, about lost love, lost faith, and mistaken identity makes for a great cinema piece. The twists and turns that the plot offers is awesome. There is not a minute where the viewer knows exactly what is going to happen next and thats the beauty of the film. All the actors are very very good at what they do in the film. They are so believable.

Please watch it. I am going to find more Almodóvar movies and feast on them. (8/10)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Giorni (Italian) [Days]

This is a film about "living with Aids," how it can in some ways "robotize" one's behavior, cut one off and harden one in his interactions with others. How stupid and delusional is the one who gets infected, on purpose, because it's the more "natural" way to make love. It shows the problems that a HIV+ individual has in balancing his desire for freedom with his responsibilities and his long term relationship.

Claudio, a successful banker is HIV positive for a while and lives with his partner Dario while also being a caregiver for his sister and mother. Because of his condition he cannot enjoy passionate intimacy and this is building up tension within his psyche. Claudio has had a fling with a guy named Andrea. While Dario and Claudio are planning to move to Milan for good, Claudio meets Andrea again in the restaurant that he works and instant sparks fly again. When they go back home for sex, Andrea clearly says that he wants all natural and no condom because he loves Claudio (who at no point hide his status). They start an affair but Claudio at the same time is very scared and tells his partner everything. In the meantime, when Andrea gets sick (fever etc.), Claudio takes care of him hence ignoring his own health. The doctors mention hat he needs to take it easy. Survival instinct kicks in and Claudio leaves everything to go and live in another town all by himself. A year later he finds out that Andrea is dead.

This movie was wrong on so many levels. Why would the two main characters decided to engage in unsafe sex and were in love, although they'd known each other for little more than the act itself. If it was all about true love, then why does Claudio leave Andrea to die rather than being with him. On a positive note, the daily struggles of a positive man are shown in details. Claudio's hope for and despair of finding understanding and love, and his many unexpected losses and rewards are portrayed with the empathy of someone who has obviously seen the battle up close. But apart from all this, there was nothing much to offer in the film. Claudio's performance was very rigid. It is only Andrea who adds some life by his charm in the film.

Below average for me but some people might like it. (3/10)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Rainbow Boys: The Movie (Thai) [Right By Me]

This was such a immature film. Everyone involved was trying too hard but just the whole premise, the acting and the direction was very very amateurish. And don't even get me started on the parents of the teenagers. They were so ridiculously horrible that I wonder what prompted the director to have any of those parents to be in the film.

Nat and Tat are 2 high school friends. Nat is flamboyant and out to the world and the constant target of bullies because of it, with an unrequited crush on Tat. Tat is the nerdy studious one, on the college team. He is in closet but his parents hate that he hangs out with Tat rather than having some real friends. Tat's attention is drawn by Ek, the hunky college basketball star who has a girlfriend, but who shows up at an off-campus gay student meeting and - when he sees the others from his class - quickly claims that he went to the meeting "by mistake". But its apparent that Ek has interest in boys too. He manages to get Tat to tutor him . They get closer and in the process Tat learns about Ek's abusive father. Meanwhile, Nat continues to drop not-so-subtle hints to Tat that he likes him as more than just a friend, but is frustrated when his friend doesn't seem to get the message. Finally Ek gives in to Tat realizing that they are both very attracted to each other.

The film simply sticks to the issues in an understanding & affectionate way through the experiences & feelings of its three key characters. At the same time, because it doesn't include more graphic elements, RBM comes dangerously close to being an "afternoon special" bordering o 'boring'. I have already mentioned about the histrionics that the actors have put in the film. No one should waste a time on this. I can see this being a good story to read. Director probably needs some lessons himself.

Avoid at all cost. (1.5/10)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Rak haeng Siam (Thai) [The Love of Siam]

Yes, the primary focus of this film is love between 2 teenage boys but this film is actually much beyond that. It talks and also shows love between everyone and every relationship like grandmother and grandson, wife and husband, brother and sister, pure friendship; everything. Another aspect that the film had so natural and pure acting by pretty much everyone made this 3 hour long film watchable. It was long but you would be so immersed in the purity of love between everyone that you really dont mind the length of the film.

Mew is a young boy who lives with his grandmother. Next door to them lives a very happy family. Tang and Tong are brother and sister who live with their very happy parents. Mew and Tong becomes good friends. Once when the family goes on a vacation, Tong brings back gift for Mew (a wooden doll) which is missing a nose. Tang expresses a desire to stay back with friends for few days and never returns. Saddened by sudden and so unexpected loss of their daughter, the family decides to move away. Of course the young boys are not happy. Fast forward few years when the boys are teenage. Mew has lost his grandmother, is all alone and is now a part of school band as a lead singer and their songs are very famous. Tong is still with his parents but his mom is so paranoid about losing him that she still drops him and picks him up from school. Tong and Mew one day meet in the market and start all over where they left. Tong's father is now an alcoholic because he blames himself for Tang's disappearance. The mom is doing everything to keep the family together but clearly she is so tired of everything that she can't take it anymore. A professional company employs a girl named June to take care of the band. When Mew sees her, she reminds him so much of Tang. He tells Tong about this and Tong and his mother decide to employ her to have her father pick his life pieces together. Tong and Mew are getting close. Mew discusses his loneliness which brings the 2 boys closer. At a party Tong's mother witnesses the first kiss between the 2 boys. She dreads that and begs Mew to not see Tong but Tong and his family sake. Mew wants to do whatever he can or Tong's family. Meanwhile June is trying her best to bring the father back to normal but he can't stop drinking until one day he sees how his wife eating cold food but doing everything perfect for her husband. This incident open his eyes. Then on Christmas, Tong asks his mom whether to pick a boy doll or a girl doll and when the mom says it is his choice, he picks the boy doll. You see that the mother is coming to terms but she also tells Tong that it is his choice but he should choose what is best for everyone. The film ends with Tong giving Mew the missing nose of the doll and telling him "I can't live as your boyfriend but that doesn't mean I don't love you". Mew accepts it and finally relieved to know that there is someone out there who loves him a lot.

There were many instances which were very emotional in the film. When Mew expresses his loneliness to Tong saying "he is so lonely, so terribly lonely, that he still couldn't stop missing his granny". He also says "he understood this as a part of life, but he wondered if he could stand it anymore to separate with somebody he loved most". and that's why when the movie ends the way it does, it makes him feel better that at least he has not lost Tong. Tong's mother' unconditional love for her husband and her son is also shown with purity. Tong's struggle to choose between his pretty girlfriend and Mew is also shown ice. In all this , there is also a girl who is madly in love with Mew and will do anything to get his love but when she realizes that it is Tong and Mew who love each other, she is heart-broken but accepts and salutes their love at the same time. One other very very good thing about the film was that there was no gay bashing or anything. When the band finds out about Mew being gay, they just make fun of him in the normal way as friends do which was so so refreshing, something similar when a young boy has a girlfriend and his friends tease him all the time.

I liked the movie when I saw it but while writing I realize that this film was a great film. It's a movie about accepting the fact that love can hurt & it's worthwhile to make mistakes out of love rather than choosing not loving or not doing anything out of love for fear of getting hurt. The only negative is the 3 hour length of the film. (8/10)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Nés en 68 (French) [Born in 68]

Almost 3 hours long, Born in 68 is three films in one. This is a very long film, punctuated with some wonderful performances between seemingly eternal interludes. Each act or film is marked by bookends, very similar scenes, which mark the end or beginning of the next act. This was a difficult film to follow. Time did not move in a linear fashion. At one part of the film, a day lasted 10 or 15 minutes, and then time advanced with no warning several years in a minute or two. It was very difficult to figure out how much time had passed. It was also very difficult to keep track of the characters.

Catherine, Yves and Herve are three students at the Sorbonne who participate in the events of '68. They are 20 years old and a loose erotic trio. Catherine gets pregnant and aborts putting her life to serious risk;in the meantime, the boys are involved in the Parisian riots. Somehow things get to a halt, and, with a group of revolutionary friends they go to Lot, to an abandoned farm, to form a community "outside the constraints of the capitalistic world". The sex happens, joints pass around, songs, running naked and giggling on the beautiful plain just below, and the thing starts getting stale, causing the gradual breakdown of the group. Things happen. Only Catherine stays firmly there, with her two children, Ludmilla and Boris, helped by her neighbor Marysa who has a son, Christophe, the same age to Ludmilla. Yves has returned to Paris, and Herve is in prison for an attributed murder. Then the next generation comes on the scene, and the agenda changes painfully. Boris and Christophe are dating each other. Family initially opposes the relationship but the young men that they are, they both soon get HIV positive. New political issues, unexpected and opened up by the events of May '68: the sexual revolution paved the way for the homosexual citizenship, but not for the AIDS epidemic Christophe and Boris suffer. Ludmilla on the other hand i dealing with her life after getting married to an Iranian Farivar. She questions her readiness for marriage since she was brought up in a very open environment. Christophe ultimately succumbs and does to Aids bit Boris miraculously has his health improving. Ludmilla is trying to improve her relations with Farivar and also her mother. The film ends with the election of Nicolas Sarkozy.

The story telling aside, this is a pretty movie. The scenery in Paris and the South of France is gorgeous. The actors are all very beautiful with their clothes on and off. The politics were nicely placed in the film. This is quite an ambitious film as it spans four decades of both political and erotic upheavals. Some of the incidents and chapters in the film dont make much sense but then like me, if you are not too aware of the political upheal in France at that time, it is very difficult. But just from a movie point of movie, I could see the efforts put in by the film making team.

Decent film. Be patient and ready for what you are getting ready to see. Of course, for me the second half when the boys grow up and the film focusses on homosexuality was of more interest to me. (6/10)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

M. Butterfly

You might need to know a bot of CHinese history around revolution to better appreciate this movie but nevertheless it makes for an interesting viewing. This is an artsy film about a French diplomat falling in love for a Chinese Opera singer. As he pursues his love for the diva he's attracted to, she toys with his foreign ignorance of the cultural differences between their Western & Eastern societies.

A French diplomat named Rene Gallimard is living and working in the China at the time of the Vietnam war. He goes to see the famous Chinese opera Madam Butterfly and instantly falls in love with the woman playing the lead roll. They start an Affair but the woman Song Liling is so modest that she won't let Rene see her naked. The affair is short lived. When the Communist Cultural Revolution separates the would-be lovers, the actress Song is sent off to prison and the diplomat is recalled to France where his wife divorces him. Several years later Song shows up again and tricks him into stealing government documents so as she says they can get their child back. The issue for the lovers is how much each knows about the other—and how much each keeps secret from the other. The secret is finally revealed when Song is arrested and he shows up dressed as a man in the court. Thats when it hits Rene, that that his love of last 18 years is actually a man and not a woman.

Although this is said to be inspired by a true story, I still just cannot digest the fact that how can a man not know that the girl he loved for last 18 years was actually a man. Isin't it so hard to believe. I was uncertain throughout what Song's real feelings for Rene were, although their encounter in the back of the prison vehicle seems to indicate that the feelings were sincere. It all led up to a very bizarre ending, in which Gallimard performs the story for fellow prison inmates, dressed as a woman. Performance wise I think the lead actors definitely did a splendid job specially Song in his role of the chinese opera singer. The movie was kind of split in 3 phases and sometimes was very slow.

An average movie. You have to be very patient and then maybe you would be able to appreciate this masterpiece. Somehow I dont think it was my day. (4.5/10)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Soundless Wind Chime (Hong Kong)

This film is a mish mash of reality and illusion. There’s a lot going on beneath Soundless Wind Chime’s stylish, deliberately arty surface. Unfortunately, it’s the filmmaker who’ll probably get the most out of Soundless Wind Chime, and not his audience due to the fact that his intentions are too unfocused, and aren’t bridged to the audience effectively. The main aspect that might draw you away is an attempt to blur the boundaries of reality, memories and imagination.

Ricky works at a local restaurant and delivers food. One day he meets a swiss guy Pascal who was being abused by his gay partner. Pascal is now on street with no money left. Ricky brings him home with him. Things are fine and they move out and start living together. The speed with which their relationship was going strong, it comes down with the same speed. The film clearly does not show the reasons for why this happens but there is clearly a rift. One day Pascal does in an accident. Ricky leaves Hong Kong for Switzerland to find the lost soul and the past of his dead lover, Pascal. He faces a struggle of memories, reality and illusion on his dreamlike journey. When he visits a beautiful thrift store, Rickey meets Ueli, a man that looks identical to Pascal, but has a totally different personality. Whether he is Pascal or not is left for the viewers to decide. Ricky faces a struggle of memories, reality and illusion on his dreamlike journey.

This whole aspect of reality vs imagination left me totally confused. Plus some things were just not explained right. What made the 2 men come so close to each other and why did their relationship start deteriorating. In addition scenes of Hong Kong and Switzerland were intercepted so sometimes it was hard to keep a track. I think in an attempt o make something lovable and poetic, the director lost his vision or the execution of the vision.

Wish I could understand what was going on. (3.5/10)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My Fair Son (Chinese)

Now this was a lousy excuse to make a movie. This movie was just torture. It was sooo slow and draggish. Even otherwise, there was not much of a stiry in the first place in this film. It was very odd. It could have been a good 10 minute short film but nothing more than that.

Ray, a thin, very tall and handsome young man returns to live with his father after having grown up with grandfather. He is angry and disconnected over his father's life because he never lived with him and he blames him for sending him to his grandfather. The dad has an employee Bo who works very closely for him. Ray enrolls in art school where he makes a new friends and starts a relationship with a another student. One morning, Dad discovers the two young men naked in bed and, after being surprised, must begin to understand his own feelings toward homosexuality. Then Ray meets Bo and sparks fly. They both get in a relationship. When the father finds out, he sacks Bo from his job leaving Ray behind all alone.

This movie had so many passe moments. There were scenes which would go on forever. Like 3 people eating at dinner, they are just eating and nothing else, Ray and Bo playing chess, Ray and his father playing chess, those scenes dont go anywhere, then Ray and Bo exercising and talking all about it. I mean why would you wanna have such scenes that too that just doesn't seem to end and go for on and on. It was never clear why is Ray mad at his father. What is it that the father is going through? Specially the end where the father goes and lies next to Ray. That was a very odd way to end the film.

Completely avoidable. Not worth anything. (1/10)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Hanging Garden (Canada)

This film has been directed in a different fashion. You will see past and present collide somewhere together. It is beautifully shown how memories of the past haunt a family to an extent that everyone goes through the same phase.

aving run away as a self-hating, obese and abused 15-year old, William returns to his parents home after 10 years to attend his sister's wedding. He's happy in his new life, with a partner, steady work and having lost all of his excess weight. Being back at home revives all of awful memories of his childhood: overeating because it's the one thing nobody can stop him from doing; being hit by his drunken and abusive father; being seen by his grandmother when he has his first sexual encounter with a male friend; his mother arranging for him to have sex with a woman while she sat in the next room. New revelations are in store however. After the wedding is over, he finds that he has a new sister Violet whom he did not know existed. He sees how his mother is struggling with everything in this dysfunctional family. She has to bear the brunts of father, take care of her mother in law and also deal with the sudden disappearance of her son. She has had enough and she just leaves home and disappears from everything. William now has to take care of his father. They try to reconcile. Meanwhile, His sister knows that her brother and now husband have an attraction for each other. She gives them a chance to relive their fantasies from their teenage days. The mother is found nowhere. Meanwhile, William also finds out that Violet is actually his daughter from the sexual encounter that his mother made him do. Having had enough, he just leaves the town with his daughter.

Oh boy!! This family was dysfunctional or what! I kept wondering how can anyone live in such an atmosphere. The quirk infested family includes a gay asthmatic son, a foul mouthed daughter, a wishy-washy mother, a senile old granny, the abusive gardener father, and a kid. Overall it is such a depressing environment. There were a few moments in the film that were touching and/or calm, but they were few and far between.

Overall just an ok film. It tries to be different (which it is) but not every enjoyable. (4.5/10)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Les Chansons D'amour (French) [Love Songs]

I remember a few days ago, I saw a French gay musical and liked it a lot. This is another French musical, although this one doesn't really fall in the gay category. This story is a perfect blend of playfulness, joy, sexuality and complete and utter tragedy. . All of this is weaved in through the story and, more importantly, the songs themselves which even though you don't understand the language, you can't help but fall in love with them.

Ismael and Julie are a couple. Ismael works a lot in publication with ALice. Instead of being jealous, Julie invites her over for a 3way relationship. Things are going fine betwen the 3 sometimes fun, sometimes jealousy but its all good. Julie seems to accept Alice in the trio to please Ismael, but she wants him to herself and regrets his refusal to have a child. Julie can't take this anymore and one night dies of heart attack. Alice moves out of the aptt because it is the right thing to do and also she wants to get away from Ismael's charm. Ismael is trying to move forward but Julie's sister Jeanne who suffers from survivor guilt keeps showing up in their aptt. To save himself Ismael goes to Alice who is now dating a guy. Though they don't go any further, this new guy's gay brother Erwann conceives a passion for Ismael and begins stalking him. Ismael realizes what Erwann's up to, though, and at first laughs it off and tells him to get lost. But Ismael is lost himself. He can't go back to his aptt because however hard he tries, he just cannot forget Julie. Her memory keeps haunting him. He is lost: doesn't know where he is going or even for his sexuality. Erwann finally convinces him of moving on. While making passionate love Ismael begs to be cleansed of the painful memory of his lost love. As the film ends, he's actually settling into what's become both a romantic and a sexual affair with the determined Erwann--one of those young gay boys who knows early on exactly who he is and what he wants--and begs him, in the film's final line, "Love me less, but love me a long time."

This is a typically powerful French film proving France as a great film making country. I am more and more impressed with French films. The more I watch them, the more I want to watch. Everyone is great in their performances. I loved the family interactions, the love and naughtiness everyone shares in the film. You could feel the pain that Ismael and Julie's family go through after her death. Specially struggle for Ismael after losing Julie and then finding Erwann. This film is just too good. It will make you believe in love, love between 2 people regardless of gender. As I am writing the review, I think I realize I liked this movie even more than I thought I did.

Please watch this one. And please suggest me more good French cinema. (8/10)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Cover boy: L'ultima rivoluzione (Italian)

The fall of communism in Eastern Europe in the last part of the 20th century, created a class of impoverished people whose only desire was to leave their native lands in search of a future in the more developed nations. The film shows friendship between a Romanian and his counterpart Italian in the post Communist Revolution.

Ioan is a boy of about ten, whose father gets killed in gunshot in Romania while trying to help a wounded person on road. Years later when Ioan's future is uncertain, his pal convinces him that there will be more job possibilities in Italy. Traveling with fake passport, the friend is taken away, but Ioan has no trouble continuing to Rome. Now facing the reality, Ioan cannot get a job. Michele, a janitor, surprises him using the facilities he just cleaned, and tells him not to come again. Ioan, who is desperate, gets an offer from Michele to share his apartment paying a price he probably he cannot afford. Michele, begins to realize that Ioan is a good person. In fact, Michele is an older homosexual who starts looking at his room mate in a different light. Eventually Ioan lands a job in a junk yard, that lasts for only a while because the police comes to check on the immigration status of the workers. Ioan discovers his Romanian friend one day, but is horrified by the fact that his pal is nothing but a hustler that works as a male prostitute. When a photographer, Luciana, spots Ioan roaming the streets, she is intrigued by the young man. She sponsors him in getting to model for the fashion designers, taking him to Milan. But she ends up using his innocent face to make a cover page of a man tortured in Romania. Michele thinks he has lost Ioan forever. Ioan, disgusted by the world he does not belong, throws everything away to return to Rome and his life with Michele, a little too late, for that matter.

The harsh realities of what people have to work when they flee to eastern Europe are depicted well in the film like Ioan's friend, resort into gay prostitution, selling sex for a price. Ioan, on the other hand, is different. He does not see what Michele's intentions are. At the same time, Michele is afraid to do a wrong move that will end his strange relationship with Ioan. The acting is good and the scenes credible and well observed. But the movie at some points just doesn't move. Scenes aren't linked well together and where dramatic things do happen, they are not developed in the scene, the film just quickly passes on to something else.

From an entertainment point of view, the film did not have much to offer. (4/10)

Rag Tag (UK)

I had good expectations from this film. The premise sounded promising of 2 close friends who are separated in childhood and they meet back in adulthood but according to me the film just lost it somewhere in the middle. The whole thing of going to Africa carving a place for their love was totally not needed.

Raymond and Tagbo meet when they are eight and who are from totally different worlds. Raymond or Rag is from a single parent West Indian home and Tagbo or Tag is the only child of middle class Nigerian folks. The two have been inseparable until the teen years when social services takes Rag away and he has to move. Ten years later, Rag comes back to find Tag and they see that they still want to be together. They are now both 23 and their friendship has changed as well as their personalities. Tag is finishing law school and having a rough time finding a position. Tag has a girlfriend who is white but she is not good enough for his parents. Rag realizes that he does not stand a chance with Tag but he still wants his man. Rag sees even less room for himself in Tag's life when Tag's friend Olisa flies into London. Young, rich and shady, Rag knows Olisa is trouble. When Rag and Tag are invited to Nigeria for Olisa's Chieftaincy ceremony, Rag is determined to save Tag from his machinations. As expected the film ends on a positive note when both men realize how much they need each other

The film is quite bold and genuine but the movie suffers from poor direction and editing. The performances are good but the film has large gaps in it and the characters and some of the ideas are not fully developed. I was enjoying the film but then it started dragging to an extent that it never recovered.

This one can totally be a miss. A great opportunity lost. (2/10)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

El cuarto de Leo (Uruguay / Spanish) [Leo's Room]

Aha!! Now this movie was interesting. The topic of an individual struggling with his sexuality still intrigues me. If done in a unique and interesting way, this topic can still manage to hold one's attention and this film managed to do exactly this. It was a very interesting idea, developed differently, a bit slow but the lead man Leo was so attractive and good looking, it doesn't harm to watch the slow pace of the film.

Easy-going but secretly troubled college student Leo is thrown when his girlfriend – fed up that he can’t get it up – dumps him. He knows he’s gay or at least he thinks so but can't admit to himself forget admitting it to his psychiatrist, his supportive mother or his stoner roommate. One day he meets his old female friend from primary school Caro and they both become very good friends. Caro looks a little messed up but soon a friendship starts growing between them. In the meantime Leo also meets a handsome man Sebastian and they start a beautiful relationship which usually doesn't go outside Leo's room. Initially its fine but soon Seb gets frustrated because this is an example of Leo not accepting who he really is. Leo is scared, very scared. Seb leaves him asking him to first figure himself out and then come back to him. In the meantime, Leo finds out that Caro has been taking depression medicines and wants to find out the reason which he soon does. Apparently when Caro's nephew died, she was with him and her sister blames her for the death. After Leo's visit to Car's sister, things change and the sister forgives Caro. She is cheerful now. Leo feels better. The movie ends with Leo taking a break and wanting to do a road trip to figure himself out.

While dealing with topics of sexual suppression and self-awareness, the film remains light and often hilariously funny, specially by the presence of Leo's stoned out roommate who knows a lot more than he’s letting on. Leo has done a fabulous job in the film as a man struggling with himself, with his mother and his found true friend. The film keep you intrigued and you want to know what's going to happen. I thoroughly enjoyed the film. I want to see more of these kind of films.

Must watch and a very good experience. (7.5/10)

Monday, August 2, 2010

My Brother...Nikhil (Hindi/India)

So, I finally got to watch this movie a second time after trying it twice before and getting a bad dvd each time. It was still as beautiful , emotional and touching as I remembered it the last time, though When there is too much crying in the movie, the audience doesn't cry much. But still it choked you and took you back to the old days in India (Goa) when AIDS was just being discovered.

The Kapoors have lived in Goa for a long time. Their son Nikhil is a swimming champion and also have a lovely daughter Anu. The entire family share a wonderful bond with each other. Anu soon gets engaged to Sam and Nikhil hangs out with his friend Nigel. Soon Nikhil is diagnosed with HIV. Entire town including his parents disown him. We are not told how he got it because it is not important. We are told Nigel and him are actually lovers. Nikhil is thrown out of the swimming team and soon arrested to be kept in isolation till further notice because of his status. They hire a lawyer to fight for the case and eventually after lot of hard work win. He has the freedom to live freely and lead a normal life, like any other person. Now, he has no parents, no job, and no life. Only support he has is of his beautiful caring sister Anu, Nigel his Boyfriend, and Sam his Brother In-law. By the time his parents accept him, it is already too late and Nikhil is already gone.

The film is about celebrating life. It doesn't focus on why and how Nikhil got AIDS. We can all relate to it in some way because one moment can sometimes change your life completely. Don't we all have a brother or a sister who can do anything for us just like Anu. Movie shows courage, strength, and weakness in all characters and is filled with beautiful moments. My favourite is the end when Nikhil's parents finally accept Nigel as their own. Sanjay Suri and Juhi Chawla as siblings are perfect. Their chemistry is great. Juhi Chwla ozes happiness and hope and courage in the entire screen she is present while Sanjay Suri plays the role of closet gay infected with HIV with elan. And Nigel, the man who ultimately is going to losse evrything was eually brilliant. His eyes spoke his pain.

Very emotional and touching. Must watch. (8.5/10)

Ander (Basque/Spanish)

I guess this film can easily be classified as art house cinema. Shot in the beautiful locales of Spain Suburbs (it is really really beautiful), this film drags in terms of pace. This 2 plus hours movie could have been easily finished in an hour.It had an interesting story to tell but there is a thin line between cinema and realistic cinema. This one was so slow and realistic that you felt you were actually there with those people and watching their life drag.

The valley of Arratia in August 1999. Ander, a farmer well into his forties, lives with his sister Arantxa and his old mother in a remote part of rural Basque country. His is a monotonous life filled with nothing but farm work and a job at the local bicycle factory. One day Ander has an accident and breaks his leg. His limb will be in a plaster cast for two months and his sister's wedding is in next 20 days. Against his mother's wishes, the family decides to employ a Peruvian immigrant, José, in order to help out. The arrival of the new farm hand has an influence on interpersonal relationships within the family. The old woman, who barely speaks any Spanish, refuses to communicate with José, but Arantxa and Ander soon get to know José quite well. Ander particularly welcome him because this brings some joy to his otherwise monotonous life. Ander likes José but doesn't know what it means. After attending Arantxa's fiancés' stag night the men both wind up having sex with a prostitute, Reme. Reme gets quite close to José to the extent that she even realizes that Ander probably likes José. At Arantxa's wedding, at a completely unexpected moment, a sexual encounter occurs between the two men. That makes Ander question who he is. He needs a while to let it sink in and the process is complicated by the sudden death of his mother. After a quiet but at the same time eye-opening conversation with the man his mother was in love with, it is Reme who convinces Ander to be himself, simply by asking him what he will have left after his leg will have healed and Jose will no longer be required to help out. Ander, now alone requests both José and Reme to stay with him forever.

The story has very very few dialogues and most of the film is t through actions. The slow pace of the film mirrored the slow pace of rural life, and the stunning scenery helped too. But after a while pace started to make the film boring too. Acting wise everyone was good. Ander as a bored man and then later as a single alone man struggling to decide what to do was played very well by the lead actor. José was fine too and their relationship as friends and as master-worker was also shown beautifully.

Watch the film if you are ok with the draggish pace of the film. It t ends on the boring borderline. (4.5/10)