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.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Ga-myeon (Korean) [Rainbow Eyes]

When I started watching the film, I was excited to see that it is going to be a murder mystery but all along the way, I also kept wondering how does this film fit in the gay film bucket. My doubts were soon put to rest as the plot starts unfolding. The climax took me completely by surprise. I was not expecting it. I wish the movie had better subtitles because it seemed like a lot was being lost in translation. Not to be mean but it also took me sometime to get used to all the characters. They looked pretty similar, specially all the detectives (5-6 of them) an trying to differentiate on who's who takes up a lot of time.

Kyeong-yoon and his female long-term colleague Eun-ju work on an especially gruesome case. The victim has been stabbed multiple times and the crime scene has blood all over it. Although the killer has erased his tracks very carefully, the detectives find some evidences which makes them to believe that the victim could be gay and that the culprit must have blood type AB and is male. The detectives soon have found a suspect, but that pretty soon that person also gets killed in a similar gruesome manner. The case becomes a serial murder case and Kyeong-yoon loses track of any lead. Only by chance do the detectives find out that the two victims were part of the same military unit and have been transfered to another military base because of an unknown incident. There was also a third person involved in this incident, who could become the next victim. At the same time Kyeong-yoon is having troubles with his girlfriend Soo-jin. When during their investigation, the name Lee Yoon-su pops up, Kyeong-yoon's past is catching up with him. A truth he would have liked to repress forever crawls to the daylight again, and the investigation enters its finale phase. It turns out that the reason the 3 guys were transferred from the base was because of a rape case of a guy who happened to be a very dear and close friend of Kyeong-yoon. But Kyeong-yoon wanted him and the guy to be man enough and he suppressed the feelings throughout his life. The ending comes as shock in who is actually the main culprit for all these murders.

The film is super efficient, moves at at brisk pace, back tracks to causes and brings all the lines together. There's a lot of dialogue, but mostly plot points, so lot of subtitle to follow. The clues and the twist are given progressively to you so that he audience is as involved in trying to find the culprit. This is half the battle won for the film. It's not easy for the audience to sympathize with certain persons, something that becomes especially apparent with Kyeong-yoon, who becomes more and more unfathomable towards the end. And for those people who read it so far are still wondering how does this film still fit in queer cinema, you have to watch it. I would not wanna spoil someone's fun.

If you are looking for a decent korean thriller, then you will get what you want with this film. (6.5/10)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Beau Travail (French)

Another one of those films which needs immense patience to watch it. I have that at times and then there are times when I just can't wait for a film to finish. Unfortunately, when I saw this film, I was in the second category. Reading reviews online tells me that this film is supposed to be a masterpiece but I nowhere felt that. In fact I dont even know why this film is classified as gay cinema. Yes, there are naked fit men all over but that itself doesn't qualify it for gay cinema.

Galoup is an officer at a French Foreign Legion outpost in the Gulf of Dijbouti, where he enjoys a close relationship with the Commanding Officer and works with a team of fit young men who work hard all day and play hard all night. When Sentain, a new recruit, joins the troops, Galoup believes that it upsets the delicate balance between the C.O. and the other men. Sentain is well-liked by his comrades for his good humor and selfless nature, and his virtues make him the C.O.'s new favorite. Galoup is jealous of the attention Sentain receives, and he devises a plan to discredit Sentain in the eyes of the other men and have him drummed out of the service. Galoup's plot is found out, however, and Galoup is stripped of his rank and sent home.

Although the story is so simple, its execution is soooooooo slow. There are numerous scenes of recruits just training, walking in the city and just socializing. Agreed the idea was to give the film some authenticity but then there should be some pace to the film. If you can't even hold the viewers attention to wait to see what happens next, what is the point of creating artsy cinema where people are not even going to wait. It was never very clear what the actual nature of relationship between Galoup and his CO was. Was it sexual or just respect. What exactly was it that made Galoup jealous of Sentain. Sometimes I would feel that this film is some form of musical tones minus the music part. It is very hard to explain how I felt during the film and even after watching it.

My recommendation for people who have similar tastes like mine to avoid viewing this film but there are plenty of poeple who loved this film. (0.5/10)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Out In The Silence (Documentary)

"Out in the Silence" is an earnest work. The low-key film-making is not dazzling or kinetic; however, the subject is important and worthy of study. Yes, it is predictable but is surprising at the same time. How much ever we think we are growing in terms of our thinking, the fact is there are still so any small towns and so many people that would do anything against homosexuals.

Joe Wilson, a resident of Washington, DC, where same-sex marriage is legal, weds his partner. Perhaps in a conscious desire to stir the pot in his hometown, Oil City, Pennsylvania, he sends a wedding notice to the local newspaper. Predictable hate-filled letters to the editor are received and published. Help comes in the form of Kathy who is a mother of a young teenage boy CJ who happens to be gay and who is constantly bullied at school. They meet and Kathy tells Joe all the details about CJ and how suddenly he no longer is a school jock but just a faggot. Joe's interactions with local pastor is the highlight of the film on how even small changes in people's thinking can help. We also get to see the life of a lesbian couple who have been living in the same town for a long time and command respect. It seems people have problems when it comes to marriage and being out and open about their sexuality. The mother Kathy takes the school board to the law and finally gets justice and things start improving for CJ in life.

CJ brought a certain zing and liveliness in this film which could have been a little boring at times. His struggle and his mother's quest to get justice for her son was real. I am shocked to see that we are in 21st century. After watching the documentary, I wish I could something for the gay community and back in my country do something to make people ore aware of the whole situation. By God's grace my life has been relatively less harsh compared to some that we see in these films but if all of us could do a little bit, then lives of growing teenagers struggling each day of their life would be much more easier.

This documentary is definitely an eye-opener for all those who still think that being gay is against Jesus. (6/10)

Boys On Film 7: Bad Romance

Opting to explore the darker side of love, this collection of short films alternates between dark desires and sweet affection. Some of the works arrive with a twist in their tale, whilst others are somewhat low in gay visibility, if high in humanity.

Curious Thing (USA)
This film sets out to examine the lives of gay men in NYC in this opening part. Exploring the growing bond between two men, both straight to the world, but equally aware of their burgeoning feelings for each other, emotions are set to test the boundaries of their friendship when one realizes he is gay and other is not. I think this short was beautiful.

Cake And Sand (Germany)
Tim and Julian’s relationship would seem to be the envy of many. Yet behind all the smiles, lies the reality that their relationship spark is no more. Knowing such, both are determined to re-light the romantic flame, only are their loving efforts to be in vain? This poignant piece raises the question of when exactly does love die? Beautiful.

Watch Over Me (Israel)
Close to completing his final training, Eitan, a soldier enlisted in an elite army unit, is taken out by his team mates, only for their drinking session to be cut short upon the arrival of Shahar; an openly gay man. It is a situation that Eitan’s superior turns to his advantage, challenging Eitan to queer bash Shahar. Only has Eitan got what it takes to earn his stripes?

The New Tenants (Denmark/US)
This dark humoured piece tells the story of lovers Frank and Peter and their first hours in their new apartment together. Down on their luck, things are about to get a lot worse, when their welcome committee consists of a noisy neighbour, a crazed husband, not to mention the local drug dealer. Having just moved in, can they make it out alive?

Just Friends? (Korea)
Read Here Just Friends?

Mirrors (Canada)
Julien, a melancholic teenager who alongside his brother Antoine, arrive with their parents at the family lakeside holiday home. Only far from being at ease, Julien is soon rejecting offers to get up close and personal with the local girls, preferring instead the company of his musical neighbour Hervé and in turn his close friend / pianist. It is a friendship that is set to see Julien realise his path in life.

Communication (New Zealand)
Told from the reflective mindset of Jacob, we encounter this young man as he finds himself bequeath the estate of his former university lecturer Andrew. Taking a tour of a property once visited, memories come flooding back as objects on display vividly recall times past spent with a man only too happy to court the affections of a youth, struggling to reconcile his religious and sexual callings in life.

The Traitor (Israel)
What happens when love turns cold? Well in this dramatic, intimate, short showcases your seemingly everyday loving couple Tomer and Shmulik. Yet not everything is what it appears to be, as over dinner Tomer announces his intent to move out. Only is Shmulik prepared to let his lover go, without putting up a fight?

The Strange Ones (USA)
A man and a boy walk a lonely highway, until the boy chances upon a free swim courtesy of the outdoor amenities of a roadside motel, unaware that a female member of staff is watching them. Making her acquaintance, a faulty drinks machine takes up most of the time of the man, leaving the boy alone with the girl to tell her his alarming take of life on the road; a tale that differs to that told by the man. Weirdly funny.

Cappuccino (Switzerland)
Read Here Cappuccino

Another brilliant collection in the series. (6.5/10)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Nine Indian Short Gay Movies

This one has to be some of the worse acted and directed shorts that I have seen. Agreed, some of the story concepts are very interesting for short films but they are handled so amateurishly, that it is a little embarrassing to watch. The only high point is that at there is a start and Indians are starting to make shorts (maybe even features) on gay themes.

A Clouded Sky - A recently out gay man wants to commit suicide because he is fed up of everything. HIs best friend is trying to stop him but he gives all incidents which are reason enough for him to take this step.

A Hidden Identity - A young boy walks through his normal life but is in closet. When he comes out, everyone reacts very negative and he ends up taking his own life.

Astitva - A young eunuch boy is looking for identity. He ends up joining the eunuch group in search of his identity to see where he fits in the best.

Gay - 2 homeless men are shivering in blistering cold sharing just one thin blanket. The only way they have to keep warm is body heat.

In The Closet - A comic twist on how both husband and wife are cheating on each other with 2 different men and how their secret comes out when both their lovers are hiding in the closet, literally!

Incredible Adaption - A lazy, good for nothing man is shunned by everyone including his wife. He pretends to become a eunuch just so that he can get some money and respect from people around him. Pathetic portrayal.

Kalavana Kanavu (Stolen Dreams) - 2 friends are very close (maybe lovers). Their life changes when one of the friends is about to get married to the other friend's sister.

Malayalam (The Present) - When his wife leaves him because he is gay, our man hires a gunman to shoot him because he cannot commit suicide. HIs wife returns but it is too late to cancel no. He gets shot.

The Man who Loved Me - WHen your best friend tells you that he loves you and is jealous that now you have a girlfriend, things do not remain the same. IN heat of arguments, the man ends up dying.

Like I said, some concepts were interesting but execution was bad. You also could realize that it seems every story ends in a death. I bet things are changing now in the country. (2/10)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mannen Som Elsket Yngve (Norwegian) [The Man Who Loved Yngve]

What i liked best about this film that it was not your regular run-of-mill coming of age story. It was a film with maturity and a very authentic feel to it in which many of the scenes and the characters were handled. Till now it is very hard for me to say whether our lead character was bi, gay or even just straight. There are moments when you just fall in love with a person. There is no reason behind it, sometimes sex of the person doesn't even matter. You just feel a connection and this film tries to give us a portrayal of that.

Jarle is a regular teenager, who is a part of a band with 2 of his good friends. He also has a girlfriend with whom he is very much in love with. Enter Yngve, a new student in the class and for some strange reason, Jarle gets instantly attracted to him. He wants to do everything that Yngve does, so much so that he starts missing his rock band practices and even starts avoiding his girlfriend. Till this point, Yngve has not given any hint that his either gay or interested in Jarle. Things take such a turn that Jarle has to now choose between Yngve and his friends. In a strange twist of events, Jarle bashes up Yngve yelling that he is gay. This happens right after he tells him that he loves him. Yngve cannot take this anymore and he tries to commit suicide and is now in a rehab institute. Jarle visits him after days of struggle and cannot contain himself when he sees him. The ending though not positive, shows that Jarle really cared for Yngve. You will never know whether he truly loved him or not. If he did, why could he never have the courage to do so.

An engaging and tender story, this film also shows the struggles with admitting true feelings when it comes to a same sex relationship. Jarle fears violent retribution from his father and emotional disapproval from his mother. I wish the movie had a little more to offer during the whole length of he film. There is so much that happens in the last 15 minutes, that I personally wish the film makers had spent more time on etching out those details of Yngve's and Jarle's relationship. I liked the friendship that Jarle shared with his straight friend. Unfortunately in these kind of stories, the girlfriend is always neglected. I feel, someone should make a film of what the girl goes through when she gets dumped by a guy for being gay.

My first Norwegian gay film but overall pretty impressive. It could have been a better if treated a little different, more streamlined beginning with maybe a positivie ending but still it is one of the better films that I have seen in recent times. (6.5/10)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Father And Son (Russian)

Another one of the recent weird films that I have been seeing. This film has absolutely no plot and there are scenes that just go on and on and on for a long time without giving much push to the story. The camera loves the two lead actors to the extent that I simply could not figure out if paternal love was crossing over into incest or just homo-eroticism.

Father and the son live alone in a rooftop apartment in their own private world and are very close to each other. The extent of closeness is never fully explained. Following in his father's footsteps, Alexei attends military school. He likes sports, tends to be irresponsible and has problems with his girlfriend. But his girlfriend cannot fathom the closeness between the father and son. Enter another guy who is supposedly the son of the father's old friend. He enters their life and slowly their world starts to change wherein the father is first close to this new boy and then the son become the friend. The film goes on for a while and ends when the new boy is asked to come live with them. Th film ends abruptly as it started.

The lead characters and their male friends spend a lot of time urgently telling each other they need to talk and then staring into space, or down at their shoes, or at each other. Both the lead characters were very good looking but it always left me wondering what the hell was going on. Either the print I had something to do with it but there was no difference between the father's and the son's voice. The dialogue delivery was so monotonous as if it was just a reading of the script. Although the movie and scenes seemed to suggest homo-eroticism, but nothing ever actually happened to reveal this one way or another.

A completely useless film. (1/10)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Gay Short Films : 10

Real Fiction (USA)
Zack and AJ are a couple. Zack wants to make it big in the writer's world but to get his book noticed, he will have to sleep with an old guy Damien and continue till he succeeds. He takes this offer up after discussing with AJ but this soon starts to strain their relationship. The end is sad where AJ ends up killing Damien because of jealousy and gets arrested and meanwhile Zack has now lost his glory, his love and his family. Classic tale of ambition. I think the director tried to pack too much of a story in a short film. This story if done well could have ended being a full fledged film but the short story leaves a lotto be desired. (4/10)


Who Leads (USA)
Within a few hours, one couple ends and another begins. Adam is leaving Trent, ending their dysfunctional relationship. Jordan, a mover and recent San Francisco transplant, crosses paths with their roommate Spencer. Their intense connection is questioned as they watch the disintegration of Adam and Trent. Who leads when four men come together? Interesting concept but it took me a while to get a hang of what was going on and by the time I was there, the short was done. (4.5/10)





Oo! Fxxx!! (India)
A cosmopolitan girl falls in love with her college boyfriend (who is a fashion photographer) whom she happens to meet after several years luck by chance but when their relation grows to the stage of commitment the guy completely denies any seriousness. Apparently, the guy had been trying to woo her neighbor who happens to be a guy with similar sounding name and the postman is the person responsible for the missing connection. It is a very beautiful done short film about mistaken identities with a hilarious comic twist. I liked it. (6.5/10)




Such Is Life (India)
Depicting one of the faces of still in closet homosexuality in India and how some people misuse it. This short shows a guy traveling in a bus when another guy comes and stands behind him. While the first guy thinks that the other guy is trying to get physical with him thereby making him happy and excited, him bubble bursts when he realizes that actually the guy stole his wallet and now he doesn't even have money for the bus ride. (5/10)

Brotherly (USA)
Based on a true story, this film shows us how due to lack of any care and love from their mother, the 2 brothers turn to each other for support. When the younger brother even at 12 keeps wetting his bed, the older brother takes him to his room to clean him up and they start sharing a bond. Sexuality irrupts strongly for the child who experiences his first erection as he feels his brother's body pressed against his. Soon they get into incest but the film never really tries to judge why that happens: lust, love, breaking social norms or security. This is for the viewers to decide but the director does a good job of keeping true to the subject. (7/10)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Randy And The Mob

This film was supposed to be a low budget comedy with mob plots. It could have been interesting but there was something that was missing from the film. Maybe I will figure that out by the time i have finished writing this review. I would also like to mention that this is not primarily a gay cinema. There is an important gay couple and an important character but that itself does not make this film qualified for gay cinema but I can still review it here.

A good old boy from the middle-class suburbs of Atlanta becomes indebted to the mob. Randy is about as American as baseball and apple pie. Randy's wife is a clinically depressed baton teacher who also suffers from a painful case of carpal tunnel syndrome, and his identical twin brother, Cecil, is openly homosexual. When Randy runs into financial trouble, he seeks a quick fix by borrowing money from some local mobsters. Unfortunately for Randy, all his businesses are still making very little money. Franco, a loan shark for the mob, wants to collect the mob's money, but Randy can't deliver, and Randy is now in deep trouble. However, the mob has a plan to use Randy's business to move some of their goods. Franco sends the mob enforcer, Tino, to run the operations. Tino begins to make all the businesses very profitable. There is only one problem; Franco must drive down to the small Georgia town to collect the mob's money. The movie ends with how ultimately Randy ends up bridging the differences with hi gay twin brother and return the mob's money.

Firstly, what was Tino's deal. Why did he keep behaving like he was a robot. I still dont get it. Randy acted pretty well as twin brothers in completely contrasting characters. The movie and the story was funny to an extent thanks to the southern stereotyping. Actress playing Randy's wife also did a decent job of a clinically depressed patient. I just dont feel like writing anymore because i cant really think of any more positive points for the film. I just wish the screenplay was a little sharper and explained better things that were going on. I have a feeling that lot more people might find this film funny, which I did too but not to a great extent. (4.5/10)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Donne-Moi La Main (French/Spanish) [Give Me Your Hand]

This movie was a sort of road-rip movie. Hitchhiking, walking, on road, running etc to their destination, the principal characters take us through their journey. A film of very few words, the film is shot beautifully but it could definitely had been better. The writing of the film left a lot to be desired. The director spends way too much time showing the boys walking down a road, walking through a forest, walking through a field, walking and more walking. A little bit is ok but when it becomes to the extent of self obsession, that harms a film.

Antoine and Quentin, twin brothers and both young, stubborn and determined. They want to hitchhike to their mother's funeral in Spain. Antoine finds occasional pleasure in girls but Quentin keeps himself busy in his drawings. The hardships of this trip starts to take a toll on the already strained relationship of the brothers but they both agree to working in a farm the necessary days to pay for a train ticket to Spain. One night, Quentin finds in the fields a young man that looks very interested in him. They go skinny dipping and afterwards they have sex in the middle of the woods. Antoine, worried about his brother's absence goes out looking for him and finds him naked with the other boy. Antoine cannot bear to accept the fact that his brother could be gay. Angry, mad and disgusted he betrays his brother. in a cafe, when a man shows some interest in Antoine, he offers Quentin to him for 100 euros. Quentin tries to save himself and run. When Antoine returns and only thing he sees is his brother's backpack, he realizes of the mistake that he did. He looks for his brother and continues his hike and ultimately reaches his mother's funeral with the guilt in his heart that his brother might also be dead.

There was little character development during the entire film. The series of events that occurred during their journey, mostly sex with strangers didn't have any real purpose to them. The ending is furious and rushed, and it seems like it was thrown in there as a last ditch effort to create tension. Only good thing about the film was the directors attempt to show that even though they were twins , they did not have anything else in common apart from their physical structure. Although the director shows lack of communication, loneliness and true desperation using with strong images, beautiful visuals and almost zero dialogues, the films fails to hold your attention unless you are a very very patient man.

This film is more for "art film" lovers. I used to think I am but I am starting to question now :). (4.5/10)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Le temps qui reste (French) [Time To Leave]

This film very beautifully addresses that earth-shattering moment of being informed that death is imminent and shows us how one character copes with that information and how it changes his remaining days and his history of relating to others. It is touching, empathetic, very loving and at some or the other point, you will be able to connect with this film with some event from your own life, maybe someone whom you know.

Romain is a handsome and successful fashion photographer who lives with his lover Sasha, but is somewhat estranged from his family. For some reason he cannot relate to his pregnant sister Sophie despite his mother's pleading and his father's distance. During a fashion shoot Romain faints, is taken to the doctor who informs him he has metastatic cancer for which there is little hope and that he will live past a few months. Romain opts to go without treatment and begins to face his remaining life with silent gloom. Romain decides to quit his job, tells Sasha to leave, separates from his family, and visits his beloved grandmother Laura who shares her philosophy of living and dying and bonds even more closely with the grandson who mirrors her own life. Romain, alone, travels about France, meets a sweet couple in a café who are unable to have children and after consideration Romain consents to comply with their request to impregnate the wife but only if the husband is also a part of the process. The couple discovers Romain is dying after Jany becomes pregnant and Romain for the first time is able to show tenderness in his relationship with them. Somewhat changed in outlook Romain returns home, has a tender talk with his father who accepts his son's sexuality, attempts a reconciliation with Sasha unsuccessfully, and even responds to a letter from Sophie. His missions completed and he travels to the ocean where the film ends in one of the most beautifully subtle, tender and genuinely realistic ways.

This film was so touching that I can't even begin to tell. Yes, the story might sound cliched to some but it is the execution of the subject that makes the whole difference. All the actors are particularly outstanding. I loved the relationship that Romain shared with his grandmother. In every way this film is satisfying. I would have personally liked to understand better why did Romain share such a estranged relationship with his sister. As Romain slowly but surely makes his way towards the adamant death, there are flashes of his childhood which arrive in his mind. Maybe, they help him to accept his own death. Moreover, it is often said that old people behave like children.

A brilliant, quiet, immensely satisfying film. (8.5/10)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mon Voyage d'hiver (French) [My Winter Journey]

If you insomniac this movie may be the cure you're looking for. The narrator is driving across Germany. During the drive he talks and talks. If his ideas aren't enough to put you sleep then his voice will. And then he stop talking for a few minutes and you can see some nice scenery with a soft music. Basically this formula repeats itself.

Vincent Dieutre is accompanied by a close friend's teenage son on a trip to Berlin and in the process reminisces about his life as a gay man in this 2003 autobiographical documentary. Dieutre and his traveling companion, Itvan, visit numerous friends and landmarks, all holding special meaning to the 40-year-old filmmaker as they make their way to the German capital. As the pair grows closer as friends, Dieutre also takes on a paternalistic relationship with the boy as he details his own journey of self discovery -- partially to assist Itvan with his own adult transformation, but also as a means for Dieutre's own legacy to endure.

There is no plot and no advancement of anything. Some movies are badly produce, or the writing or the acting is bad but they can be seen as a movie. This is not a movie, there is no acting, no story, basically it's some guy recording his boring thought combined with some European scenery. (0.5/10)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Friends And Lovers

There have been quite a few films that depict loneliness in a gay man's life. There are also films that have shown a gay man's obsession for a straight guy. This film combines these 2 elements and tries to present something different. How I wish, the director would have succeeded in doing so. There were so many questions unanswered and so many scenes that did not fit in which we will talk about in a little bit more detail further. Lets talk about the story first.

Jim is a pretty lonely man with a man of routine. He has somehow accepted his life which also includes his disapproving father and continue with it. A change comes in his life when he meets a waitress Claire at the restaurant where he frequents. They have instant connection in arts and start hanging out. Jim fears a strong connection with a woman and when Claire declares her love for him, he sinks deeper into isolation and loneliness. Around the same time, when his car breaks down, Jim meets Tom, a mechanic, a man of openness and a passion for life. Jim’s instant liking for Tom becomes an awakening of the spirit. They start hanging out together and become good friends. Quick to see his potential as an artist, Jim convinces Tom to visit museums. As the two become friends, Tom’s initial resistance to taking his art seriously begins to change and, in the light of Jim’s encouragement, Tom finds the courage to fulfill his own potential. The problem is that Jim is now falling in love with Tom. He somehow assumes that Tom loves him to but is heart broken when Tom tells him he is straight. His friendship and love both backfire and now Jim will do anything to the level of obsession and madness to get Tom's love.

The story as you see is very interesting. There were few things that I really appreciate. When Tom figures out that Jim is gay and that is why he was befriending him, he does not lose his control, instead he gives Jim a friendly hug and says that he will forget everything and would still wanna be friends with Jim but it is Jim who reacts in a weird manner. He wants either love or nothing (which in my mind was avery absurd thing to say). Jim is lonely. Rather than coming to senses and prevent the friendship threads falling, he in turn forces Tom and himself to start avoiding and even hating each other. It is very clear that Tom wants friendship. I wonder if the film maker was trying to show that Jim was a mean character. Because the way he treats Claire and leaves her high and dry and then his obnoxious behavior with Tom, makes me question Jim's character. If that was the director's idea, then I must say that he did not do a good job of bringing that out.

Acting by principal characters was quite decent but overall the movie does not hold attention after a while. (3.5/10)

A Lower Power

This is another one of those films whose premise looks and sounds very promising on paper but the final product is far fetched from that. This so-called gay coming-of-age comedy film is nothing short of boredom and height of indulgence.

Thibodeaux lives with his parents and can't wait to get out of there. His parents are very open about their life. When neither the geeky, introverted sanity of his friend Steve nor the advice of torturously heterosexual stud buddy Mas provide an easy answer, Thibodeaux sets off on his own to college, where he hangs with bubbly Emmy and seeks a sexless social life. But Thibodeaux's chastity strategies meet their match in Todd, a cocksure biker and Old English scholar who teaches Thibodeaux the power of passion. Even as Todd unleashes Thibodeaux's appetites and old friends come back into his life in surprising ways, Thibodeaux's repressive reflexes connect sex to misfortune and humiliation, until his contorted logic drives away his friends and the mythic man of his dreams.

The film was pretty boring and I am not even going to waste any more time talking about any potential pros and all the cons of the film. Avoidable (1/10)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Change Of Heart [Promises & Lies]

In 1998, when this film was released on TV, I am sure it must have made a good impact. In those days, being gay was not talked about openly (at least not that I know of). And to top that, it is not about a struggling teenager. Instead the drama is heightened by the fact that the lead character is a happily married man. The film is apparently based on a true story.

Elaine has been happily married for 20 years to Jim. A successful doctor, she has two beautiful teenagers, a stable career and two houses: one in the city and one in the country. However, her life is shattered in an instant when she discovers that Jim is having an affair with a man. She reacts very strongly to the whole truth and so does her colleagues. It is not only their personal lives that gets affected but it is also the professional life of both the characters. With this realization, both the teenage son and daughter are no struggling to accept the truth. The mother initially heart-broken tries her best to keep the family together albeit minus the father. There is an episode where a teenage gay bashing happens and it turns out that it is the teenage son who did it because he could not accept his father's homosexuality. Finally he pleads guilty in the court because now the anger in the system is out, and it is a hint that every member in the family is going to try their best to make things better.

The movie pictures in a very believable way the reaction a wife can have when discovering after twenty years of marriage that her husband is gay: the reaction of her colleagues was also portrayed in quite a realistic way. There's hurt, and anger, and tears, but it doesn't sink into sap. Elaine acted really well and was super convincing in the part of cheated on wife and struggling mother trying to balance things out. Her speech to the board of directors where she and her husband work was brilliant. There were some regular cliches in the movie but it is all relative. In today's time when you see the film, you might just roll your eyes but for that time, maybe it was the best that the film makers could do keeping the censors in mind.

It is a decent film depicting the struggles of a wife and mother dealing with homosexuality and makes for a decent watch because of the lead actress' acting. (5.5/10)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

KickOff (UK)

This film could have been one of those guilty pleasures fun gay ride but the film was bad on many grounds. I think the film-makers tried to squeeze in a little too much into this story. They wanted everything - nudity, hot guys, every guy's story, gay liking straight, straight closet gay etc etc. Overall the impact is pretty minimal and leaves a lot to be desired.

This is the best and worst day of Archer’s life.  Finally captain of his own gay football team, this ex-soldier has the chance to break boundaries and stereotypes. But his rebellious team has brought along a posse of flamboyant supporters plus his well-meaning but clueless boyfriend has designed a neon pink team strip... size Xtra small. And they up against hardest most cheatingest team in East London for their first match. On the other side, captain Adam is having his own problems: A twitchy goalie on the run from the feds, a coke-fiend midfielder and a Beckham wannabe pretty boy strker with the ball-busting bitch girlfriend from Hell. Desperate Adam drills his team on the crucial importance of playing a gentlemen‘s game - unaware that they are up against a panicky gay team who’ve decided to come out swinging and win this game by any means necessary. Elton, the first time referee, is struggling with a rulebook that is swiftly becoming a work of fiction as both teams get down and dirty. The drama escalates at a breathless comic pace until we reach the grand climax.

If you are expecting it to be a film about football then you'll be disappointed. Indeed the game starts and stops so many times that anyone trying to follow the match itself will be frustrated. Think of this football match as some sort of common thread which joins up each of the characters. Probably because of budget, they couldn't even field a full team, just five to a side! The plot made little sense, and the dialog was flat. It could have been a totally different movie if they focussed more on relationship aspects and take it seriously or maybe just focus on comic football side. Trying to cramp too much into one was a huge mistake.

A very wannabe campy gay version of any regular football movie. (2.5/10)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Gay Short Films : 9

In Between Men (USA)
In Between Men follows four friends in NYC who live "in between" a gay world, whose cliches they don't relate to, and a straight world they don't belong to. They are successful, professional men not defined by their sexuality. Through wild adventures, racy story lines, joys and pains, underscored by the pulse of New York City. From acting to story to presentation, this one is pretty bad. It is nothing but a guilty pleasure but at least it did make history by being the first gay web series. (2/10)






Eu Não Quero Voltar Sozinho (Brazil) [I Don't Want to Go Back Alone]
I absolutely loved this film. 15 year old blind teenager Leonardo is good friends with Giovana. She is his best friend and drops him home every evening from school. A new guy Gabriel joins the school and Leonardo's life changes. He starts accompanying them and Leonardo starts to have feelings for him. Giovana has o struggle with finding out about this new found feeling of his best friend and in his own sweet way Gabriel does reciprocate to Leo's feelings. Beautiful and very touching. Excellent acting by everyone. (8/10)






Postcard (South Korea)
Another beautiful film. A post office clerk mistakenly thinks that a customer is trying to get her attention by writing open love letters on postcards he sends out. After fighting with her co-worker , she finally decides to go and meet him. Little does she know that his love letters were actually being written to himself to catch the attention of the postman who delivers his mail and on whom he is developing a crush. A very interesting short story of teenage crush and how hearts are broken. Very touching and nice beautiful film and very well directed. (8/10)




Brookton Hollow
Kyle is a young farm boy who lives with his father. They have a cow Willis. Kyle is so lonely that the only pleasure he gets is being with Willis. One morning at breakfast the father announces that their meat supply has come to an end, and he will have to kill the cow. That night Kyle hears Willis' cowbell off in the distance but when he goes to see, he finds a young naked boy wearing just a bell who disappears in the morning. Kyle soon realizes that it is his cow who i sunder curse of being a man in night and cow during day. It will be now only Kyle's true love that can save the farm Brookton Hollow from this curse. An interesting innovative story directed decently. (5/10)


Burning Palms - Buyer's Remorse (USA)
This is one of the stories from the burning palms segment. Tom and Jerry are a well to do couple in West Hollywood. They are anticipating their daughter Mahogany whom they ordered from remote part of Africa. When she comes to their custody, they realize that she doesn't speak and prefers to stay in the bushes and fields rather than comforts of home. After repeated attempts, the couple gets frustrated, leave the girl in the jungle and instead buy a dog. This is supposed to be a black comedy and is a little funny in a weird sense of way. (4/10)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Before Night Falls (English/Spanish)

The fact that this film had Javier Bardem was the primary reason for me to watch this film. I had no clue that this film was based on a real character of that of late Reinaldo Arenas, Cuba's most charismatic literary voices. The film is made in a documentary way and it touches on his childhood, but concentrates on the '60s and '70s, during which time Arenas was considered a counter-revolutionary by the Cuban government because of his writing, as well as his homosexuality.

As a young man, Arenas is singled out by his teachers and encouraged to further his skills as a writer -- no easy task, considering the Castro regime's censorship of any work considered to be subversive or anti-authoritarian. Still, the author manages to smuggle his work out of the country through friends, who arrange for one of his novels to be published in France. Not only persecuted for his creative beliefs, the openly gay Arenas is jailed on a bogus sex charge; he escapes internment only to be captured and persecuted later for his contraband dispatches. In 1980, Arenas is finally allowed to leave Cuba for the United States, where he achieves freedom of expression but not prosperity.

Because the film is based on a memoir, it proceeds episodically, following the young Arenas from his boyhood to his early accomplishments as a poet and novelist through his imprisonment and later his escape to the United States during Castro's 'purge' of undesirables in 1980, when criminals and homosexuals were invited to voluntarily expatriate to Miami so that the demand for basic resources in Cuba under the US-led embargo could be relieved somewhat. The film spends considerable time reflecting on Arenas' sexual initiation and his gay lifestyle, which is slightly problematic in that it suggests that Arenas was persecuted solely for being homosexual, which is at best a half-truth. Though Arenas himself was probably persecuted less for his lifestyle than for his public criticism of the regime, it is probably not inaccurate in its portrayal of the turn against art, life, and experimentation taken by Castro's brutal totalitarian ethos. In any case, Arenas ultimately makes his way to New York with his friend Lazaro, where in 1987 he began to suffer symptoms of AIDS. He died in 1990, after which his memoir and several letters condemning Castro and the failure of the US to rescue the Cuban people from his tyranny were published, to wide acclaim.

Javier Bardem's performance was definitely worthy of an oscar nomination. Johnyy Depp features in 2 vastly diverse roles. I wish I had seen the film knowing a little bit history about the writer and his life. That would have made me appreciate the series of events and the film even more. It is sad that there have been so many people who have sen so many hardships in life to reach to a position where they are today and here we are complaining of slightest of things.

Watch it for the performances, information and a serious piece of cinema. This is not entertainment. This is art. (7/10)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Finding Mr. Wright

This one was a pretty lame movie. I am so glad that I did not waste my time in the Philly QFest on this film and rather watched it in the comforts of my home on dvd. At least I was able to take breaks and yawn and be amused at stupidity and absurdity of the film and the characters. The acting was so pathetic especially for Eddy, it just blew my mind. As much as I would like to promote indie films, it is senseless films like this that just dont cut the deal with me.

Clark is a work-obsessed gay man who seemingly has it all. Not only is he one of the hottest young men in West Hollywood, he has managed to turn his first client, Eddy Malone, an eccentric party girl, into one of the most sought after actresses in Hollywood. He throws a dinner party at his new condo and invites his friends and colleagues, including TJ, a powerhouse lesbian publicist, who's quickly losing patience with Eddy's wild ways. With TJ comes longtime friend, Pierce, a slightly awkward, down to Earth, spiritual life coach who becomes infatuated with Clark at first sight. However, Clark is far too wrapped up in Eddy to notice, especially when she pulls a stunt that threatens her career and forces TJ to drop her as a client once and for all. Hoping to win Clark over, Pierce makes a deal with TJ. He'll take Eddy and crew on a wilderness therapy retreat, so he can convince her there's more to life than parties, and TJ will give her another chance. That weekend, the group of them head to a cabin in the woods, where Pierce hopes to give not only Eddy a new perspective on life, but Clark as well. After quite a few twists and turns and sudden change of heart on Eddy's part (when she realizes that Clark also deserves a life of his own), everything magically falls in place. Clark and Pierce get together and her career is back on track.

Matthew Montgomery is getting typecast in the kind of acting he does. I have liked him so far but this film was a huge letdown. It is probably not all his fault because the overall direction and execution was so lame that I could hardly believe what I was seeing unfolding on the screen. Its a shame how some film-makers take audiences' intelligence for granted and present them with such.

Just about ok. Better than a lot of crap but still leaves a lot desired. (3.5/10)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ssang-hwa-jeom (Korean) [A Frozen Flower]

This movie was a visual treat and complete with all emotions of love, romance, drama, betrayal, angst, war, everything. The costumes, the sets, the acting, cinematography, everything was spot on. I had absolutely no expectations from the film but I must say that I was completely bowled over by the film. As the story was progressing, more and more surprises were thrown and it completely kept me hooked. The story though fictional was very new and something that I always appreciate.

The film is set in Goryego dynasty. The king when younger had appointed personally selected 36 young boys to be trained as bodyguards. When they get older, king gets fascination for Hong Lim and he favors him. Hong Lim is the chief of the bodyguards. Him and the king some a lot of quality time together including sleeping with each other. With the arrival of the queen, pressure mounts on royal family to produce an heir, otherwise a successor from outside will be appointed. But the king is completely gay, doe snot get an erection and hence cannot do the job. The only man he trusts is Hong Lim and asks him to sleep with the queen and impregnate her. Of course Queen objects but because of her duties towards the king and the country she does it. These couple of forced encounters arouses uncontrollable sexual awakenings in both Hong Lim and the queen. They start meeting up secretly. The king never makes it obvious but he gets an idea that something is going wrong. Quite a bog part of the film deals with the growing relationship of Hong Lim and the queen and how slowly he is probably betraying the king. The king is totally in control now and one day finally he question Hong Lim of his loyalty towards the king. He is very ashamed of himself and promises that he will never meet the queen. The king is ready to forgive everything and start their relationship all over again because he really loves Hong Lim. Hong Lim tries his best to stay away from queen to fulfill his duties but when he finds out that the queen is finally pregnant, he meet the queen. The king catches them red handed while having sex and gets really mad and orders his men to castrate Hong Lim. He still tries to put sense into him into loving just the king but now its too late. Hong Lim doesn't fear anything. In the final battle between the king and Hong Lim, they both end up killing each other.

The acting was so spot on by everyone in the cast, it was unbelievable. I would specially like to mention the scene when Hong Lim tries to sleep with the queen for the first time, the kind of expressions that queen gives and her reactions are so overwhelming, it gave me goose bumps. It was so good. The film talks about love between man-man or man-woman. Many people put the king in a wrong position but i dont thin it was entirely his fault. He loved Hong Lim very deeply. In fact he was the only one whom he ever loved and how could he see Hong Lim betray his love? In fact Hong Lim was also in love except that he didn't know he could love a woman much better than the king. Actually, maybe he just confused love with his loyalty and duty. He just did not know better because his whole life growing up, all he knew was the king and his love. As far as queen is concerned, she falls in love with Hong Lim because she missed that throughout with her husband. Its interesting when the king asks the chief is he was in love with queen or was it just lust and when the chief says it was lust, the king is ready to forgive him. But in the final when chief admits his love for the queen, he is so mad and upset on losing his only love. There is a good dose of sexual scenes in the film, though mostly heterosexual but they form an important part of the story. The film also has some very strong moment of bonding like the one where the king is painting him and chief together riding. One point that I di dnot like was when chief says he never loved the king before the king dies. Not maybe it was loyalty but it was clearly love as well and I wish he told king the truth because the king was not wrong at any place. Like everyone else, he also wanted love to be at his side.

The film was just beautiful, wonderful, sad, slightly depressing but with everything that makes for a wonderful royal queer cinema. Though a little lengthy, this film is not to be missed at all. (9/10)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Amphetamine (Cantonese)

I had heard a lot of good things about this movie. A lot of people who saw it at the Qfest said nice things about it. I purposely did not see it in the festival since I wanted to watch it on dvd. For some reason this film looked to me like a more homo-erotic film rather than a one with stories and emotions. The film kept going in and out of being good to bad to doesn't make sense. But it still was an interesting view into the Hong Kong gay life.

Daniel, an openly gay banker can't decide whether to stay in Hong Kong or return back to Australia until he meets Kafka. Kafka is a straight swimming instructor. Somehow the 2 men develop a bond of friendship, admiration and even love for each other but Kafka cannot get physically intimate with Daniel which he doesn't mind because he is in search of true love. Kafka is a rebel and has a troubled past which we later find out that when he was trying to save a girl, he was raped by 4 men and left to die and this is the reason he cannot reciprocate Daniel's love. Kafka is slowly introduced to drugs by his brother who makes and sells amphetamine. Kafka really loves Daniel but he needs time, he needs to get through drug problem, so that he can be with him. Daniel is trying his best to be the best support he can for Kafka even to the extent that if he cannot take his drug problems away, he himself starts taking drugs and enjoy those moments with Kafka. Slowly the drugs completely take over Kafka and he ends up jumping from the top of the building.

The direction of the movie is a little odd. There are some time jumps and the narrative is filled with sexual scenes. But hidden in all this is also sadness. Kafka though straight loves Daniel and likes being with him but cannot reciprocate his sexual desires. Daniel truly loves Kafka and is ok with not getting intimate and wants to heal his drug problems. I think the 2 men acted really really well in this film. My problem was mostly with direction and the way the story is narrated. Some of the supporting characters act very weird throughout the movie. Somehow the director in this film leaves a lot for the viewers to decipher. His idea is challenging but direction leaves a lot to be desired.

Decide on your own. My rating is just average. (5/10)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Gay Short Films : 8

Cappuccino (Switzerland)
Despite his marginal and extrovert looks, Jeremie is a shy teenager who keeps a heavy secret: his homosexuality. While trying to find his way between his classmate and sexual fantasy Damien and his very generous but protective mother Gina, his life is about to change. A mother's love, despite her own misfortune, is expressed in a very subtle way. The title of the movie somehow did not go that well with the story. (4.5/10)






Caught (USA)

In 1962, police use camera surveillance to capture sex deviants in a public park. Based on a true story set in Ohio town that filmed gay men when film surveillance was very new. Lester visits the public restroom and tries to make friends, while on hidden camera by the police. A lot of people get arrested by the cops but some lucky people like Lester get lucky. (6.5/10)







Little Love (USA)
This film explores what happens when a new guy to the town gets very friendly with a gay couple and in moments of heat/friendship ends up sleeping with one of them. What happens is that each of the 3 people lose something while trying to find passion in life and they all try to pursue their own truth. (6/10)








Verona (Canada)
Inspired by William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Verona is the story of two young lovers separated by their rival fraternities. Set in a small college town wherein young men are groomed for corporate success in All-American hyper competitive fashion, Verona presents the fate of star-crossed lovers in a society that condemns the very nature of their love. Very high production values, this short film was made to get funding for a full length feature film. Now that will be something to look forward to. (7/10)




Sweat (UK)
Simon's first time in sauna and he meets Tim, but soon going through the ups and downs of bath-house and meeting random people make him forget about Tim. Further into his journey, an experiment with poppers and some very public sexual displays, leave him wondering what he came for, and possibly leaving none the wiser, albeit with a phone number and a wry smile. (6/10)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Férfiakt (Hungarian) [Men In Nude]

The title of this film cannot be more misleading. Not only was there no nudity wrt men (by which I mean , no frontal nude shots), the title itself had absolutely no relevance to the film. I took a break from watching gay films after the Philly film festival hoping that when I start watching movies again, I will pick the ones which will be meaningful, entertaining and relevant. This film clearly did not belong into any of these categories. I am hoping the results will be better next time.

Tibor is 49 year old aging writer married to a narcissistic actress who is out for work most of the time. One night he surprises himself by taking home an effeminate young street thug / hustler named Zsolt who comes out of nowhere and literally forces himself on Tibor. Always straight, there is something about Zsolt that he cannot resist and they start having an affair. Things start taking an awkward turn when his wife comes back. They need to find new places to meet. Because of this love, passion and secret affairs, a new creative spirit awakens in Tibor who starts writing o book on this. What Tibor doesn't realize is how risky is this whole thing filled with blackmails and someone who is just after money. His wife ultimately finds out the truth by reading his book and confronting him. Their sexual life is so bland that one day even she ends up cheating on him. For Zsolt, Tibor is just another guy whom he uses for money. The movie just abruptly ends as it started with Tibor and Zsolt's meeting.

The acting I would say was alright by the lead characters but things were just not explained right. The scenes would get randomly cut, the sub plots would be truncated randomly. And what was the whole point of those drug scenes in the so called 'red' flat where Tibor used to visit to meet Zsolt. If Zsolt was using Tibor for money and passion, how could he have been so idiotic and stupid o not realize what he was after. I feel that at some point even he wanted Zsolt to be with him since he had to finish his book and only Zsolt could keep his creative juices flowing.

It is a weird film. I would really not recommend this one. (3/10)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Going Down in La-La Land

This movie was definitely a surprise. Closing night film of the Q-Fest, somehow when I read the synopsis, I thought this film be more on the lines of a wannabe comedy but I was very wrong. This film was actually very realistic, to an extent scary as well specially for actors who wanna make it big in the big bad world of hollywood. It shows the dark realities of what goes on behind those closed doors, how people exploit one another and how once you get sucked in, there is no way out.

Adam has recently moved from NY to LA and is living with his best gal-pal Candy, who once used to be a wannabe actress but all she now does is think of obscure projects to make more money. Her finances are stabilized only because of her fiance. Once the fiance storms out in anger, Adam becomes permanent room mate and now he needs to find a job. He tries a couple of jobs but none goes well. When he is cruised by Nick at the gym, he offers him an office job at a gay porn film office where Nick works as a photographer. Adam is pressured constantly to work in front of the camera. Still hoping for a legit career, he holds out at first but eventually consents to a photo shoot, then a solo video, then a regular porn feature. This eventually leads him to become an escort in hopes of meeting a director who will give him work one day. Things change when he escorts for a John, the closeted star of a mega-successful sitcom. John offers to take Adam on as his personal assistant, a good gig that might open doors and definitely encourages the romantic liaison between them. Unfortunately, Adam's brief porn past results in a tabloid-fueled scandal for Adam and John. By this time, Adam is madly in love with John. Of course, love wins when John makes a bold move to invite press and openly confess his love for Adam.

The director, who also played the role of Nick in the film did a fabulous job. You get to see the stark realities of the filmdom. You see how Adam has no choice eventually but to get into the porn industry and slowly become an escort. It hurts, he doesn't want to do it but somehow has no other option. People around you can make you believe in things that you know are wrong. John and Adam made a good couple. The side story of Nick and Adam's romance which eventually ends up because of drug usage was also handled with sensitivity. The film had good amount of humor thrown in all the scenes featuring Candy. She was funny, I must say and all her scenes with evoke laughters in the theatre. The film has several surprising cameos which adds to the fun of the film. In the end, audiences will connect with Adam, not for his beauty, but for the fact that Adam is genuinely a nice, down to earth, good guy and and in LA-LA Land, a nice guy’s dream, can come true!

I would strongly recommend this film. A good example of a book translating into a movie. (7.5/10)

Romeos (German)

The Q-Fest this year has definitely been better than last couple of years. Surprisingly, the number of lesbian and transgendered movies have also seen a raise in this years film festival and thank god that most of hem have been good ones. I will see these movies any-day over crap, really pathetic gay movies. FTM transition and a love story woven between this, the film is definitely a great debut from the director. This film shows us the mindset of people transitioning and how it affects their relations with family, friends and of course how they go about finding love. This has been done in a very subtle manner.

Lucas is a 19 year old FTM. He is on hormone replacement therapy and still has breasts that keep him bound and hidden. He is invariable put in a female dorm while doing community service. He is stressed there and wants to move to male dorm as soon as possible. In this time, his lesbian friend Ine is always with him and keeping his secret safe with her. Lured by Ine and his new friends, he starts hanging out in the gay life where he meets Fabio, a cocky, dark haired extremely good looking gay hunk who beds whoever he pleases. The two are opposite but somehow strike a friendship. There are many beautiful scenes of friendship. Soon Fabio starts making romantic moves but Lukas holds back. One evening when Lukas' parents are visiting, his younger sister spills out his secret which Fabio hears. They start ignoring each other. In the meantime, Lukas moves to male dorm. Fabio decides to keep his secret and eventually they start talking again. Fabio now becomes his friend, his guide into the male world and very soon, his lover as well.

First things first I have to mention about Lukas' performance. The guy has done such a fantastic job, it is unbelievable. INternet search revealed that the actor who played Lukas is actually a man and al scenes with breasts etc were prosthetic makeup (which I must say could've fooled anyone). Lukas plays his part of a FTM with conviction specially in the scenes where he is interacting with other trans people over the internet. The film thankfully devoid any cliches and shows the positive side of things and hope in Lukas' life. Fabio also played his part very well of a cocky all-man gay guy and he looks pretty hot too. There's a nice, tender moment where we get to meet Lucas' mother and father and how they interact with him. The film also showed how over a period of time the friendship of Ine and Lukas progresses and how Lukas' transition affects not just him but people around him as well. I am still remembering the film and how much I liked it while watching it.

It is a small film but a big gem in the world of queer cinema. Please watch it. (8/10)

Mangus!

I am still not very sure why was this film shown as part of the LGBT film festival in Philadelphia. A couple of characters are gay but hen that has become a very common phenomenon in recent films. It is no big deal. In any case, that doesn't take away from the fact that was a guilty pleasure to watch the trailer park white trash story which brings smile to your face and often brings the house down with laughter as well. I am glad they did make Mangus' character a pity boy.

Mangus has always had one dream; to play Jesus Christ in the musical spectacular in his high school drama thereby following the footsteps of his dad and grandfather. He lives with his father and step mom (who by the way is hilarious in a weird way in the film). When he gets selected for the part, he celebrates with his friends and get in an accident which leaves him crippled and thereby he looses the part to a gay flamboyant son of the mayor of the town. When his father has to leave town for war, the step mom very cleverly drops him off to his mom Cookie's trailer who lives with a very young man Buddy and Mangus' elder sibling Jessica. Mangus gets friends with Buddy but the siblings hate each other. When Jessica is forced to baby sit Mangus one day, they come closer and she comes out to him as lesbian. Now hell bent on getting his dream role back, they plan to scare the gay kid away but the plan goes wrong and the siblings have to run to save their life. Meanwhile the committee calls back Mangus to play the part because the other child has met with an accident. A series of comic incidents happen but Mangus finally gets to live his dream. His mother Cookie and father get back together and four of them are a happy family back.

The synopsis might sound a little slow and boring but the way the film is directed is very funny. I loved the southern accent, the trashiness of the people and how it is portrayed and all the characters in general. Even the drunk Buddy was fun specially when he takes Mangus to a strip club. Both the moms were funny. Dad was alright. The drama instructor brings the house down every time he comes to the screen. The movie succeeds in maintaining its light-heart comedy feel despite there being major ups and downs in the story. This is probably a very very low budget film with low expectations and that is why you dont feel cheated because you never went in with any expectations whatsoever and you come back with a smile on your face.

It is like watching one of those reality shows which you love to watch but would never admit that you actually see it. (5/10)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Auf der Suche (German) [Looking For Simon]

I read somewhere online that this is a thriller but of a different kind. I can't disagree more. This is nowhere close to being a thriller. It is a tale of a mother looking for her son and in the process discovering things about him, his friends and even her own relationship with her son. This film ultimately ends up being a soul search rather than a search for an actual person. Not sure how many actually this kind of genre in the gay cinema but nevertheless it was a decent viewing.

Simon has been missing for only a week but it is enough to get his mother Valerie worried. She has travelled from Germany to South France and has also called her son's ex boyfriend Jens to help her out in searching for her son. High-strung and fearing the worse, Valerie has barely accepted her son’s gayness and having his former boyfriend around only adds to her stress. Jens has his own mixed feelings for his ex. He takes excursions in search of nightly casual sex where he encounters an Arab boy who recently had an affair with Simon. Through him they find out that Simon probably had booked a trip to Morocco with the Arab guy but did not go. The search is leading nowhere. After a week, Simon's body is found in an empty apartment, death by drug overdose.

Both Valerie and Jens are essentially sketchy figures, simply caught up in the search for Simon in the atmospheric French port city and revealing little about themselves. It is very hard to gauge where each of them is coming from. It doesn't really look like they were really interested in searching for him. The drama here is all in Valerie’s head – and her stubborn insistence that something might have happened to her son is a less-than-subtle reminder that he might not be missing, but she surely misses him. Obviously not content with the fact that her son is gay, she is trying to cope with and understand his homosexuality. The actors have played their part well but there were lot of questions unanswered in the film. The film was supposed to solve mystery and give answers but when the film ends you are left with more questions.

It is not bad but nothing great about it at the same time. It is strictly alright. (4.5/10)

Tomboy (French)

Gender identity has rarely been explored with tender care and nurture in queer cinema before. This is such a sweet, heartfelt story of a young girl who just wants to be a boy. She doesn't understand the implications etc but just wants to be a boy. The film is poignant and humorous at times and filled with very believable performances.

Ten year old Laure, is moving with her parents and 6 year old sister to a new town. She spends time baby sitting for her sister because her mother is pregnant. She usually dresses up like a boy. Looking to play with the children from the same apartment complex, she meets Lisa to whom she tells that her name is Mikael. They both start hanging out and even with other kids of the building and a mutual crush develops. Mikael is now enjoying playing with boys, manly games and even taking his short off while playing. Soon her kid sister also joins the fun and addresses Laure as her brother in front of other kids. When the mother finds out about this, she gets completely furious and makes Laure wear a frock and goes to Lisa's house to clear the air. Laure/Mikael is devastated but her mom explains that he had to do it because soon people in school will find out anyway. Lisa is shocked by ultimately comes around and sticks with their friendship. Now the air is clear but Laure still dresses up like a boy.

The film makes an excellent watch just because of the kids. They are just superb. Each and every kid is great but how can you ever forget the charming performance out in by Laure and her little sister. Their chemistry in the film is something that i have never seen before. I just cannot forget the scene when at dinner the young sister tells her parents how she played with new friends and how some boy called Mikael is her favorite and how he takes care of her. That scene is just so natural and remarkable, it is incredible. In fact the tenderness and understanding present in that relationship extends throughout the family as well: the film is filled with quiet, intimate moments shared between them. Although quite a bot of film's portions just shows bunch of kids playing around but they are best scenes. they bring genuine laughter with their antics. Towards the end when Laure's identity i being revealed, you feel for the girl but at the same time you also understand why a mother is doing so. She doesn't have any problems whatsoever with her daughter being the tomboy but she needs to tell the truth until she is grown up and can decide what she wants. Thankfully the films ends on a positive note.

Great direction, beautiful performances by the 2 girls, makes this film a very worthy watch. Thank you Qfest for this film. (8.5/10)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Dirty Girl

First of all I fail to understand why would this film be shown in a LGBT film festival. Agreed that one of the 2 characters happens to be gay but still the story is primarily about Danielle, a perfectly straight girl. The gay guy just happens to be his side kick and yes there is a mall parallel track. I have nothing against the movie, at least not till I finish writing the review but I was disappointed by the choice of this film for QFest.

Danielle is a dirty 'slut' girl in the Oklahoma high school. She does not mind sleeping with every boy in the class. She is angry at the world specially her mother because she never mentioned to Danielle about her father. She meets Clarke, a fat and obese gay guy whose father gives him a hard time for everything he does and fail and specially anything to do with being gay, when the two of them are forced to do a school project as a team where they have to act parents to a flour bag and write a project report. Danielle suggests that they run away to find her father, Clarke hesitantly agrees because he cannot take the bullying and abuse anymore. The two pals take off in Clarke’s dad’s car; their trip will see Clarke lose his virginity, Danielle soften and both learn about themselves while Jean, the flour baby, looks on. Meanwhile their respective mothers fearing the well-being of their kids go in search of them. Danielle does find her father who never knew about her existence. She feels much better now after meeting him. She comes back home a much changed girl.

This is one of those high school comedy type movie which might be lapped up by teenagers but I think I am past those kind of films. The film has filthy language and ample sex talk but it is just not enough to hold a film together. The film is full of cliches. There is decent amount of time given to Clarke , how he meets a very cute hitchhiker to whom he loses his virginity etc but still the film does not do much for me. What is weird is when suddenly towards the end the film suddenly becomes all serious.

It is a strictly ok road trip movie with a dirty girl and her male fag. (3/10)

Longhorns

I dunno why but I had very minimal expectations from this film. Somehow the title, story or even the actors were connecting with me after watching the preview but of course I still had to watch this film. It was actually not all that bad. Set in 80's film takes a hilarious look at a group of friends. Agreed that this is no oscar worthy movie or anything but I have seen much worse gay cinema, so in comparison this one did not turn out to be bad at all.

he setting is a Texas college circa 1982 where big hair, loud shirts and cowboy boots are considered high fashion. Kevin is a straight frat-boy who enjoys bonding with fellow schoolmates. He does not even mind helping out his friend Justin once a while. But things change when he meets sexy and charming openly gay Cesar. Kevin starts hanging out with him and his heart starts beating for him and of course Cesar is also falling for Kevin. Too many encounters suddenly make Kevin confuse and he sets out for a weekend full of beer and women with his best friends from old times. Random events including Kevin helping out his pal jerking off or even sucking him off are shown , all the while maintaining it is all about helping out a buddy. In the meantime, homophobic Justin gets over his phobia of Cesar, becomes friends with him to get close to a girl. The weekend is over and Kevin realizes that he actually might be gay and is now all in love with Cesar.

The film had a lot of nudity. Never before you will see men supposedly straight drop their pants to get buck naked, bed hop, 'help out' buddies etc. Every action was gay except they all said we are straight. Kevin is a very good find. He was a very lovable character in the film and it was his charm alongwith Cesar to an extent that made the film watchable. Kevin's friend from school for the weekend were annoying specially the guy ho plays the role of always horny guy. I think directors aim was total entertainment of the viewers which he succeeds to quite an extent. It i again one of those guilty pleasure films which you probably secretly had fun but are not quite prepared to admit it.

It is an alright film with a lot of eye candy and humor galore. (5/10)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

eCupid

These brainless dead "comedies" are the kind of films that sometimes makes me wonder why do I come to these film festivals. This is an excellent example of a wannabe film. Except a few laughs here and there on some dialogues, this film is a pretty bad attempt at making something illogical and ridiculously absurd. Just putting in hot men, some hot scenes and a real life full on plastic surgery commercial actress in the end will not bring the audience. But at the same time I think that many gay men have not really branched out to see all the beautiful wonderful gay films out there that the expectation they have is very low and they enjoy these mindless , so called entertainers.

Marshall and Gabriel have been together for 7 years and now their relationship is getting stale. Marshal is cocky and very physical but Gabe always pretends tp be tied and busy and has to work. He is also turning 30 and needs some thrill and something new in life. He starts looking online and finds an app called ecupid which promises to help him find true love. The app suddenly takes over his phone, his computer and in fact his whole life. Marshall tells Gabe that he’s bored via a text he didn’t send; a surprise hustler arrives at the door; and a party planner plans spontaneously. He is also getting a lot of attention from a new trainee at work. Things go downhill when Gabe walks out hurt by everything that Marshall is doing. Series of incidents happen back and forth where they both justify their acts. Marshall is getting attention from all hot guys but still he doesn't find them half as stimulating. End is happy as always when they realize that true love has always been there and you just have to look and work for it.

Pretty lame if you ask me. The message from the director is good that it’s easy to get distracted from the love that’s right in front of us, especially in an age of texts, apps and technology but the presentation is not even half as good. The acting from the lead characters is good but that chemistry is missing that you would expect form a couple of 7 years. There is enough sex appeal from all male characters. The constant phone buzzer and ecupid voice was becoming so annoying after one point that I just could not take it anymore. I think i would have liked the film if I saw it is isolation and had not much to compare to but there is so much good gay cinema out there that in comparison this film falls so behind and thats why I said this is more a wannabe film.

It depends on what cinema you like. My opinion as pretty bad of the film but I can bet, I can find you people from the same screening who absolutely loved the film and enjoyed it. Its all relative. (2.5/10)