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

Friday, December 31, 2010

Splendor

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Masahista (Filipino/Tagalog) [The Masseur]

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

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

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

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

Fucking Different (German)

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 27, 2010

Just Friends? (Korean Short Film)

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

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

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

Love unites and rules. (6/10)

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 24, 2010

Devoteé (French)

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

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

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

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Autopsy (French)

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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Just Say Love

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Friends And Family

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

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

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

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

Les Amours Imaginaires (Canadian French) [Heartbeats]

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Priest (UK)

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 3, 2010

El Mar (Spanish) [The Sea]

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

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

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

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