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.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

2 Short Filipino movies

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





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

Boy (Filipino)

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Le Fil (French/Arab) [The String]

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

My Night WIth Reg (UK)

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 25, 2010

Crush

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dare

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

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

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

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

Capturing The Friedmans (Documentary)

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

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

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

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

Saturday, October 23, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

Better Than Chocolate (Canada)

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 22, 2010

Presque rien (French) [Come Undone]

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 21, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 18, 2010

Gay Short Films : 5

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



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





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








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





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


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

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

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

Since Adam Was A Boy (Australia) (Documentary)

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Plata Quemada (Spanish) [Burnt Money]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Apariencias (Argentina) [Appearances]

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

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

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

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

Three (Documentary)

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 15, 2010

Rodeu-mubi (Korean) [Road Movie]

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Gay Short Films : 4

Clay Pride - Being Clay in America
Steve, age 31, introduces himself to us: he's clay. He talks about the struggle of growing up clay, feeling different, picked on at school, thinking it was his fault. Steve discovers a support group, "It's okay to be clay," and he starts to come out and accept himself. His dad is there for him. This one was very very interestingly different to make people aware of being gay without putting in their face.

Daddy
A one-night stand leaves a young, single New York man shocked to find he might be pregnant. Although, one in a million case, he chooses to be pregnant and gives birth. One day he randomly again meets the man who could possibly be the father of the childI loved the film and the concept. It definitely makes you think. It shows a lot in little 5 minutes.




Le Bon Coup (French)
Elsa arrives to Oliver. She is ready to be seduced. But he is gay. All he wants is for her to pretend to have a loud orgasm so that his landlord thinks he is straight. He agrees but his lover is standing out the door and is now confused what's going on. Nice comic touch to the film and enjoyable short.







Lloyd Neck
Alex has a crush on her brother's friend, Jesse. But Jesse likes Alex's brother, Taylor. Alex knows something is up with her brother. Caught in an awkward position, Taylor takes Alex and Jesse to his favorite spot. A very very cute film. Shows the promise of a talented film-maker.

Love and Deaf
Joe can't find love because he can never shutup and stop talking. He one day finds his ideal man in a men's room when it turns out that the guy who just gave him a bj is deaf. This is one opportunity that Joe is not gonna give away. Very very nice.



That Thing We Do
On the cusp of coming out Kevin visits his family at their summer cottage. While there Kevin meets up again with his much younger cousin and the two recognize something in each other. A very touching and poignant story from both child's and the adult's perspective



A little better than the usual rating. (6/10)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Partner(s)

I saw this film few years ago and remember that it was funny film. I had to watch it again primarily because I had to review it and hence decided to watch it this time with my boyfriend who by the way hates romantic comedies and is not a fan of gay movies. With his apprehensions he started watching this movie, could not get too much into it. But me? I still liked it. Maybe not as much as I remember liking the first time but nonetheless it still wasn't a bad second viewing experience.

Dve and Katherine work in a law firm as peers and former lovers. After breaking up with his girlfriend, Dave moves in with his best friend Christopher who is gay. Christopher's next door neighbor is Lucy who thinks these two are boyfriends. Tables are turned when a case involving sex discrimination over a gay employee is to be assigned. Dave and Katherine vie for the assignment that will most assuredly result in being granted full partner ship in the firm. The company involved happens to be of Lucy's father. When she eyes Dave in the firm and thinks he is gay, she thinks he will be perfect to represent his father's company in the lawsuit. Initially Dave is surprised but agrees to play along the gay charade. He tells his company he is gay, wins the assignment leaving Katherine jealous, knowing that Dave is NOT gay. The remainder of the story revolves around the cat and mouse game between Dave and Katherine and Dave and Lucy's mutual attraction that interferes with his job. Lucy slowly starts falling for Dave and he also finally thinks that he might be finding true love but his career will be at risk if he tells the truth. We also have a side story of William (Katherine's boyfriend) who used to be Christopher's loer whom he still hasn't been able to forget. The story ends well, with the film being a vaguely funny if very superficial view of what being gay is all about.

My favorite part of the film is still when Christopher stops Dave to pretend to be gay and he gives all kinds of stereotypes about liking palates, Madonna etc and so he could be gay, and also the fact when Chris is explaining him different roles of top, bottom ,vers etc and Dave reacts saying that you gays have so much fun and choices. I liked that there was this true friendship between a straight and a gay man and thank god, they did not show the gay man falling for his straight friend. The friendship was pure and they were both very very comfortable with themselves and each another. There were some funny sequences involving 2 of Dave's colleagues who are homophobic and have their own theories of who could and could not be gay. The sequence when Dave's parents come to visit him to accept his sexuality was also very funny.

Overall a pretty good funny evening experience. (6/10)

Friday, October 1, 2010

I Don't Want To Sleep Alone (Malaysia)

What the f*** was this film. An almost 2 hour film with barely any dialogue, this film really tests one's patience. I recently saw a lot of gay asian cinema and liked it but this was torture. Actually this was not even a gay film.

2 stories run parallel. There is this young waitress who is taking care of this old paralyzed or in coma man. Her life is very boring. On the other hand, there is this group of Bangladeshi immigrants who one night find this Malaysian man beaten and passed out. One of the guys takes very good care of him, nurtures him back to health and sleeps next to him. This homeless man met the waitress and share the feelings for each other by following each other around in the neighborhood. The film ends as randomly as it started.

Most of the time it just seems like a hodgepodge of random (and meaningless) ideas pieced together. The relationships depicted here are so unclear (there's nothing apart from lust), and I find the characters hard to sympathize with. Please don't serve us anything in the name of art.

God help. Stay away. (0.5/10)