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.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Me da igual (Spanish) [I Couldn't Care Less]

I dunno why but I had some kind of expectations form this film. Maybe because gay films from Spanish have historically been good. This film started off well and promising but after a while it was nothing short of wasting time to even finish this film. None of the character sketch was built properly and it just moved from one incident to the other, from one person to another, it was just odd.

Jorge, a wannabe writer is flatmate with Marta who doesn't like labels. She just has sex with men or women or whoever she likes. Jorge is also struggling that is he a bisexual. He fears that suddenly he will have feelings for men and wants to do something about it. He meets his ex-girlfriend Eva who is now running a book store. Marta introduces him to Alberto, his gay colleague. Jorge and Alberto hit it off well. Alberto offers to help Jorge in his struggle but Jorge is not sure. They do end up sleeping with each other but just literally because Jorge is not good with his drinks. Then there is Ines, a religious healer who gets liking for Jorge and wants to get him in her bed. Marta meets Mario in one of the clubs and they instantly fall in love. All these people randomly keep meeting in various bars, clubs or parties for no rhyme or reason. When Marta moves in with Mario, she realizes that he is too much of a drug addict and an abuser and she can't take it anymore. Also Alberto is suddenly now diagnosed with AIDS and he has few days to live. Film ends with everyone celebrating his birthday.

This film leaves viewers with so many questions. Why were Jorge and Marta never a couple when they liked each other so much. It a little weird to see both of them walking around naked in the house. It is different if Jorge was gay, which brings me to another question. Why does eevrytone think Jorge is gay and what is this weird obsession with 'I might turn gay'. It just doesn't make any sense. Ines and Eva's character were so useless (and so were others). Film could have been so much better with good focus on Marta, Jorge and Alberto rather than making a hocus-pocus out of various characters. And when an AIDS subplot made an appearance in the plot line I pretty much lost interest in this film.

This is not a film that I envision ever wanting to view a second time. (3/10)

Gay Short Films : 7

Dear Friend (UK)
Christian and James are bestest of buddies. Set in 1965, we see how Christian is falling for James and one night, when he can't control, he kisses James who completely freaks out. They have a huge fight and James calls him names. Knowing all this Chris' father interrupt and asks him to see a psychiatrist. He decides to leave home and cant take it anymore. I guess James realizes his mistake and comes back wanting to be friends again. We see them now both playing as happily they did when the film started. I am not sure of the intent behind setting the film in 60s but I can see a person reacting a in a very similar manner even today. Guys looked super hot. It is a nice sweet and short 15 minute film. (6/10)

Oranges (Australia)
This film shows the awkwardness of 2 growing up teenage boys starting to recognise and explore their homosexuality. After a cycle accident, a guy is taken in by his senior in school and he starts boasting about girls. The elder guy is eating orange but the younger one refuses since he has braces. They are hanging out and end of kissing each other when the younger one says his kiss tastes of orange. Things are back to regular routine. The senior guy ignores younger guy but now the young boy is eating oranges because that is the only way he can still feel the kiss. The ending of the film is absolutely brilliant and it was good to see the right actors of right age enacting the parts. (6.5/10)

Trevor (USA)
Trevor is a film many people will identify with. It takes a sensitive yet blunt approach to suicide. It deals with a young boy's thoughts about his sexuality at a very important stage of his life. When Trevor realizes that he might be gay, suddenly kids around him somehow seem to know and begin to mistreat him. At the same time, his parents refuse to really talk about it and send him to talk to a priest who is completely inept in dealing with it. As a result, it's no surprise that Trevor is on the brink of suicide. Presented by Ellen DeGeneres and brilliantly acted by the lead actor playing Trevor, t successfully manages to entertain the viewer at the same time. Trevor has a camp and very funny side. This helps makes the film all the more real. (7.5/10)

Boys Grammar (Australia)
Gareth attends a private school and is attracted to Nick. When Nick and others see him ogling at jocks naked bodies, the bullying crosses all levels and they end up raping Gareth. Gareth and Nick meet again at a private dinner where when Nick provokes Gareth asking him if he has become a man, Nick starts punching him but ultimately both men hugging and crying. I am not too sure of I completely understood what the end exactly was. I guess Nick was himself dealing with his own demons. Nice acting and very provocative. (6/10)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Fighting Tommy Riley

I am surprised that I had not heard of this movie before I saw it. It is such a fantastic movie specially about human relationships. It is not just a boxing movie as most would like to think, rather the film focuses very heavily on the protagonist and his trainer and this is what makes this film an experience to watch.

Tommy Riley is a young and gifted boxer, who has completely lost his self-confidence after a mistake in Olympic trails and his relationship with his girlfriend is now at stake. Concurrently we meet Marty Goldberg, an obese, has been trainer who left the ring because of a dark demon he harbors and has turned to teaching high school English. Marty is friends with Diane whom he saved sometime ago and is now a boxing promoter. When Marty spots Tommy, he asks him to call him so that he can train him. Things are going fine and the trust and bond between the 2 is impeccable. Tommy is starting to gain back his confidence. Before one of the big fights, Tommy and Marty go to Marty's cabin in the woods to train without distractions. After several days, during a rubdown following a workout, Marty touches Tommy inappropriately. Tommy reacts strongly negatively and Marty apologizes. They agree to ignore the incident but return to the city ahead of schedule. When Tommy wins, he wants to take everyone out but a big promoter at the same time takes them out which Marty refuses to go. The same night, he ends up in hospital. This is when Diane tells Tommy that when Marty was a fighter, people threatened to expose Marty's homosexuality, so he ended his career by putting his hand through a window and damaging it. He became a teacher and his influence led Diane to make herself a success. After his big win, one of the biggest firms offer Tommy a million dollar for a title fight but they want him to leave Marty which Marty also wants so that Tommy can go further in life. Tommy refuses the deal if it means leaving Marty. Marty tries to alienate Tommy and ultimately ends up killing himself. FInally we see Tommy going for his big fight regaining his confidence after he sees an image of Marty, his inspiration wearing his old ring robe.

Both the lead characters are absolutely fantastic in their performances. Rarely as a film about sports been influenced by the presence of sexual preferences, but Marty's character does it with elan and dignity. And the manner in which Tommy finesses both the initial advances from Marty and then gradually alters his response in understanding his behavior is nothing short of miraculous acting. I loved the trainer's sense of caring and him personally, and it is one of the triumphs of this flick that Tommy Riley does too, in his own hetero way. More importantly, trust, character, and humane values are validated here as well.

There is a lesson here about intergenerational relationships, as well as how we sexualize friendships undesirably. (7/10)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

House Of Boys

Wow!! What a graph this movie had! This film is definitely an emotional roller coaster. No wonder the director very sensibly divides the film into three acts focussing on different aspects and emotions. I personally think that this was a brilliant idea because that way it kinds of set focus on energies for the act. Very few films have dealt with gays and AIDS in a very mature way and with sensitivity. This film definitely succeeds in doing that after Longtime Companion.

Sometime in 80s we see a young boy Frank who is very open about his sexuality and deals very bravely with his school mates teasing and bullying him. He is a free spirit, like to have sex and before its too late he leaves his parents house and runs to Amsterdam with his closest gal pal. When the gal pal decides to go back, he has nowhere to go. Looking for shelter, he quickly finds refuge in an all-male strip/show club called House of Boys. He gets both work and house to live in there with 3 other guys who work in this club. Madame, a drag queen is the owner of this club. He makes friends with everyone but has this huge crush on his room mate Jake. But Jake is straight and i sin club only so that he can save money to do something meaningful in life. He also acts as a hustler in the club. After a few is understanding between Jake and his girlfriend, Jake ultimately responds to Frank's love and they start sharing a very very beautiful relationship. Just when things are going fine, Jake is diagnosed with AIDS and is asked to leave the club. The final act of the story shows Jake dealing with sickness and how Frank with all his love and support remains with him through his last days and end.

The first act is very bubble, comic and fun stuff with usual gay melodrama of hot bodies, drag queens, bitchiness and all. The second act, we see love blossoming between the 2 men. The scene where they first kiss and make love actually is very sensual and has been directed very esthetically. But its the last part that you are not prepared for and it saddens you. You feel for both Jake and Frank. Both the principal characters and even others have done a great job of acting. The visuals clearly show the open-nes and joyful gay liberation in early 80s until AIDS strike and things change suddenly. This and photography with acting and sensitivity makes this film different from a regular boy meets boy and boy loses boyfriend to AIDS story.

It was little odd to see fluent English speakers in the film supposedly set in Amsterdam but I am not complaining. I liked the film. (7/10)

Dear Mr. Gacy (Canada)


This is a Canadian film, a true story and a much better watch that most crime dramas. Based on the true story of John Gacy, an American serial killer also known as the Killer Clown who committed the rape and murder of 33 teenage boys and young men between 1972 and 1978. The movie is based on the true story of a college student contacting John Wayne Gacy in prison before he was executed.

Jason is an aimless college student whose only real passion seems to be criminology. The impending execution of Gacy gives him an idea--if he could find a way to contact the convicted serial killer, earn his trust and friendship, and persuade him to open up and perhaps even confess, it would make for a kickass term paper. His family, professor and girlfriend advice against it but still he goes ahead. Jason contacts Gacy by mail and even sends him some provocative shirtless photos to whet his interest. After a little research, Jason is also able to say things in his letters which are designed to establish a sympathetic, trusting rapport with the killer. The plan succeeds beyond Jason's wildest expectations, with Gacy becoming his ardent pen pal and even phoning him repeatedly from prison for long emotional chats. But as the naive, overconfident Jason thinks he's getting one over on Gacy, he has no idea that it is Gacy who is using Jason for his own twisted amusement. This is especially evident when Gacy coaches him on how to read people and assess their traits and weaknesses in order to assert control over them. Gacy wants Jason to become like him and to a very large extent succeeds too. The relationship begins to insinuate itself into every aspect of Jason's life until it finally becomes volatile and threatening.

By the time the film ends, we end up experiencing is an intense and uncomfortable story that goes far deeper into the psyche of Gacy and anyone who came into contact with him than the usual fare. Acting from Jason Moss is great. We see him grow from a boy to man while doing his research on Gacy and in the process getting his brain all messed up and his inner dark man coming out. It’s hard to keep the stakes high in a movie where we already know the ending, but by approaching the story from a different angle and telling a tightly focused story, it is a different ball game altogether. I like crime dramas and this one definitely succeeded 100 % in doing that.

What is not shown in the film is that fact that Jason Moss ultimately ended up writing his memoirs in his book 'The Last Victim' which referred to himself when he was almost raped and killed by Gacy in the prison. 7 years after he published his memo, on 6/6/2006 Jason Moss committed suicide. The reasons are still unknown but after watching the film you probably can get an idea that anyone who plays such mind games with experienced serial killers are bound to do a lot of damage to their own personality.

This is one of the best studies of serial murderers that I have ever seen. Strongly recommended. (7.5/10)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Prick Up Your Ears (UK)

Prick up your Ears is full of cheeky British humor and has enough pricks going up rears (if you know what I mean). My third British gay film in a row and one thing I realized while watching this film is how vastly different the British gay films are compared to the American counterparts. Another drama which is based on true real life characters, it amazes me how comfortable Britishers are with these subject sand their open-ness to make movies on these characters.

The film is based on the true story of Joe Orton (British playwright whose plays included 'Entertaining Mr. Sloane' and 'Loot'). Joe Orton was an openly gay playwright in a period of time in England when being gay was still punishable by imprisonment. His childhood in Leicester is explored as he wishes to become an actor. He moves to London where he becomes involved with one Kenneth Halliwell and lives in an openly gay, albeit bizarre love/hate relationship. Orton loves the dangers of bath-houses and liaisons in public restrooms; Halliwell, not as charming or attractive as Orton, doesn't fare so well in those environs. While both long to become writers, it is Orton who achieves fame, only after a six month prison sentence for 'indecency' during which time he writes his first play. When Orton and Halliwell are released form prison, Orton's star ascends due in part to the wise counsel and friendship of Peggy Ramsey, his agent. The film continues to focus on the relationship of Orton and Halliwell and how they can't stand each other any more. Plus the fact that Halliwell was getting more and more psychotic about growing popularity of Orton. This ends up in a tragic end where Halliwell ends up killing Orton one night with a hammer and then later committing suicide.

By the time the film ends, you have nothing but appreciation for the actors, the story and the director for daring to do something so good and different. Both the actors are mainstream but did such a marvelous job, specially Halliwel as over jealous over the top drama queen. The interplay between Orton and Halliwell is key; their's is an imbalanced relationship, but even if Orton leaves Halliwell emotionally devastated, they are too close after 16 years together to separate. There were no moments of boredom. The way the story was interwoven with interviews being taken, Orton's notes being read etc. made it all very very enjoyable and kept the viewers hooked.

I would definitely recommend this movie for this is one of those good pieces of cinema. (7/10)

Withnail and I (UK)

First things first, this is not a gay film. One of the side characters happens to be gay but that itself does not qualify this movie to be a gay film. So you might ask whey am I reviewing it here. Well, it is because i have had similar cases in the past and I will continue to write reviews here for movies which had an important character in it play a gay role. Its a film with subtle comedy nuances which not everyone can appreciate but considering it was made in late 80's in UK, I did appreciate the film better.

Withnail and Marwood inhabit a wretched, cold and dirty flat somewhere in the back-end of London, waiting (hopefully) for a call from their agents. They are totally wasted and do absolutely nothing with their life. Suddenly inspiration strikes; Withnail has an uncle, Monty, who just happens to have a little cottage in Penrith. They visit Monty, a somewhat eccentric, rich and randy old queer, who agrees to lend them the key, after some private persuasion by Withnail. Reaching the cottage in the middle of nowhere, the only way Withnail and Marwood see to keep themselves warm is heat the furniture. The next morning the situation just deteriorates -- farmers won't sell them firewood, their wives won't talk to them and they finish all their booze. A surprise visit by Monty that weekend changes things. Monty arrives and showers n them great food, wine and charm. Marwood hates him but can't do anything. It turns out that Withnail told his uncle that marwood is gay but somehow cannot accept it and that he loves Withnail but he cannot reciprocate. Monty tries to get sexually close to Marwood who then makes up the story that Withnail and him are actually a couple but Withnail just can't accept the truth. They soon head back to London and Marwood hears that he has got a lead role and moves out leaving Withnail drunk and drugged to deal with life by himself.

The performances of the 2 principal characters as wasted and depressed substance-abusers are fantastic, a joy to watch and so incredibly pitiful. The movie may be a comedy at heart but it's a desperate one, with the laughs born out of frustration, recognition and degenerate self-loathing. Although marketed as comedy, I personally did not think it was that hilarious. Or maybe just because I am seeing it almost 25 years after it came out.

This film touches the nerves of anyone that's ever struggled for something that seemed unobtainable. That naive part of youth that makes us feel invincible. The time of your life when you don't mind going without. The time of your life where your greatest memories will come from. The freedom and irresponsibility of being young. (5.5/10)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Fit (UK)

The movies is about what it is like to be gay, and how hard it can be to come out of the closet when you have homophobic friends etc. It follows the stories of a little group of students, who all participate in a dance/drama class. Watching this might remind you of the series 'Glee' but it has nothing to do with it. This film is more episodic in the sense that it focuses on one character at a time and shows their story.

The issues regarding homosexuality is brought to the class' attention when their new, gay teacher begins. All of the characters are dealing with emotional issues, both homophobic friends, family issues and school bullying. The film then shows us details of 6 different students who are dealing with this. There is tomboyish Lee who everyone thinks is lesbian. She doesn't care. Her best friend is Karmel. Lee soon finds out that Karmel is lesbian. Initially surprised, she soon accepts it and remains friends. Though Karmel is at the same time having a tough time coming out to her family. We also have Tegs and Jordan. Tegs is bullied in college by everyone and Jordan is his saviour. Tegs is labelled gay and is bullied. It turns out that Jordan is the one who is gay and loves Tegs but Tegs is actually straight. Their friendship still remains intact when Teg starts seeing a girl from the class and Jordan starts dating her brother. Last group is Issac and Ryan. They are the bullies of the college and gay bashers. Although slowly we are shown that Ryan is gay and actually likes Tegs but is so afraid of Issac finding out about his sexuality that he ends up supporting him to bash Tegs. Ultimately the whole group comes together alongwith the dance teacher to make both Issac and Ryan realize the truth and that their friendship should have nothing to do with one of their sexuality.

Since the film was episodic in nature, it really did not have a set story to show. It also got a little too preachy and educational at times specially during the scenes of gay group sessions. It was initially hard for me to believe that the film as recently made in 2010 because some of the reactions of the teenagers were more like late 90's, I think (hope?) that people's mentalities are much more mature now than it was few years ago, specially in countries like UK. Acting wise everyone was ok. Dancing was the center point that brought all these characters together, though so many gays in one single class looked a bit extreme. The film ties to show that some kind of resolution, even if not yet found, is possible.

Accent was heavy but aimed at teenagers, the film might be good for them. (4/10)

Drama (Spanish)

This film was so so heavy. Few minutes into the film and I realized that this is not going to be a simple regular watch. There was very thin line between real and surreal and acting vs reality. After a while I just gave up trying to understand where the whole film was heading and what was real and what was acting. I also gave up trying to figure out what they characters actually were.

Three theater students, influenced by a charismatic professor and French theorist Antonin Artaud's acting technique, begin to experiment with their own lives, searching for real emotions and situations to bring onto the stage. Blond and bisexual Mateo, luscious Maria and conflicted gay Angel. Their obsession with becoming better actors leads them to their darkest sides, surpassing boundaries that neither they nor their teachers could ever imagine. The professor gives them various exercises which lead them to go to places in the city that they have not seen before. Each loves the other, and each urges the other to overcome his or her inhibitions: The normally retiring Angel not only consorts with the gay hustlers who congregate at the village square; he allows himself to be "sold," more or less, until Mateo rescues him. Mateo, meanwhile, flirts with the homoerotic, even though it seems to be against his nature, because how can he be a real actor otherwise? Maria, psychologically stressed because Mateo never stops acting, dresses like a prostitute, and it becomes unclear whether she is one or not - only that Mateo's battle with her client brings matters to a breaking point.

The truth is that the 3 individuals are trying to find themselves through the performance in relation to one another. The ending got me a little confused when Mateo is trying to co-relate whatever is going on with what happened in his mothers life (which apparently is somehow a true story and is related to Chilean history). I will do some research and try to find more about it. The acting of the principal characters was good and the chemistry they shared was also good but the film completely failed to connect with me as an audience. Anything can happen, and this film certainly accepting various alternatives.

It is an intense film. Of course, this can be for better or for worse. (3/10)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Morrer Como Um Homem (Portuguese) [To Die Like a Man]

This film is a bizarre collage of scenes put together to make a movie. I mean, the movie definitely has a story but there is so much extra noise that has been put in addition to the main plot that the film drags so much so many times that viewers can't help but say "Enough already!". I can see the director's intention but oh boy, did he miss the bus or what.

The film is the story of an aging drag queen Tonia. Her love of life is Rosario, a drug addict half her age. For some reason she has fallen head over heels in love for him giving him lace to live, money, food etc knowing very well that he is not going to change his habits of drug and abuse. Tonia is getting old and has competition from an upcoming drag queen. At the same time, she is not too sure if she wants to undergo the sex change operation. The film randomly keeps following these characters and a host of other characters which have absolutely no bearing to the script or story of the film. FInally when Tonia gets infection from breast implants. The surgery is done and the implants are removed, and Tonia dies like a man exactly like she was born. Rosario overdoses himself and he gets buried next to Tonia which makes us believe that they must have shared a deep bond of love for some reason.

The opening sequence of the film with military men fornicating in woods and on a mission has no bearing to the film. Neither does the sudden emergence of Tonia's son. Worse is when Tonia and Rosario are on a road trip and get lost in the woods and they meet a drag queen living in middle of woods all by herself and another drag queen to serve her. These and so many more scenes have no bearing at all to the relevancy of the film. The other weird thing about the film was long drawn scenes and some where the characters are not shown, they are just heard. It becomes annoying after sometime. There is along scenes of Tonia just staring outside on the road in the car and singing, another one where she is walking in the woods. Then there are scenes where Rosario and Tonia are talking and camera is completely focussed on dogs. I mean , wtf !!

A confused collection of random interludes makes this film watching experience very frustrating. (1.5/10)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Uomini Uomini Uomini (Italian) [Men Men Men]

This is no great cinema by any means but it is not bad either. It may show stereotypes in certain cases or incidents but the film still manages to hold your attention and you want to know what will happen next in the lives of these 4 men. It is true that a gay man's family is his friends, and this films shows the bonding that these men share with each other.

The film shows lives of 4 very successful people who are close friends with each other and spend a lot of time together. Vittorio is a successful architect who is madly in love with Alex, one of his employees. Tony is into garment business and his mom lives with him. Dado is a doctor and lastly we have Sandro, a film producer who realized late in life about his sexuality. He is divorced and also has a son. They also have their fag hag Simonetta who is obsessed with beauty treatment. The film follows the love-hate relationship between these 4 men and also about potential lovers in their life and how ultimately everything ends. Alex decides to suddenly marry a woman leaving Vittorio alone, who in turn handles the whole situation gracefully as everyone expects of him. When Tony starts sexual relationship with a military man, Dado has to come to his rescue when he proves that this man is actually a hustler by sleeping with him. Finally we have Lucas who joins Sandro as a production assistant. Simonetta and Lucas possibly have a relation going but when he is threatened for his sexuality by the 4 men trying to rape him, Simonetta leave them. Not one of the four principals ends up in a satisfying relationship. Instead, by way of conclusion, they are given a successful career, a dog, clandestine afternoon encounters with a married man, and death.

The men have acted very well. Although I wish they did not stereotype all 4 of them with girly manners. That wasn't needed. Also the attempted rape scene with Lucas was embarrassing. That could have been one of the better situations in the film showing straight and a gay male friendship but it was completely ruined but I guess that then becomes the changing point for the characters. All the scenes were done in a very humorous manner and light vein.

The movie was neither boring nor dragging although by the end you feel that it could definitely have been better. (5/10)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cavafy (Greek) [Kavafis]

Cavafy is the biography of one of the most prominent Greek poets, Constantine P. Cavafy. The film revolves around desires and senses of Cavafy in a way that Cavafy's sensualism dominates the film and his poetry gets little scope. Not that I am complaining because even with all this the film progresses at a snail's pace. This film is a classic case of a gay art film. You might like it or not like it.

Cavafy is counting his remaining days and is in the hospital which will soon be his last day. He is visited by a young writer who wants his approval to publish a study on the poet's life. The poet begins a journey back in time, gradually remembering all the incidents and all the people that left their mark on his life. Alexandria, where he grew up and was raised and he also worked there his relationship with his mother, his trips to Constantinople, Athens and the awakening of his personal sensuality and hidden sexual preferences are once again being reminded to the aged and exhausted poet. He sees his past lovers, those who were the Gods of his poetry, those who were the objects of his dreams, his carnal desires and pleasures. He is lost in his frustration, his guilt and his grief caused by such turning points of his life as the death of his mother, the denial of his erotic propositions by potential lovers. Finally, for the last time he has visions of all the young and beautiful men he hymned in his poems. With these final erotic memoirs, Cavafy finally breathes his last.

Cavafy and his poetry were deeply influenced by his passions and his unutterable desires. These desires and the guilt inflicted upon the poet are the basis of this film. The film is heavily dominated by silence, thoughts and melancholy. Ot is dangerously slow in action and dialogues which can lead to some one like me go in a nap zone. So, definitely not a film to watch after lunch. Th ebiggest saving grace were all the hot Greek men that they showed in Cavafy's thoughts.

This is one of those films whose review will differ from person to person. For me it could have been more interesting. (3/10)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Gay Short Films : 6

Time off (After) {Israel/Hebrew}
With a running time of about 40 minutes, this film is definitely a real gem to watch. It's a story of an Israeli Army unit in training and on short leave, of it's lieutenant leader and, most particularly, one of its young soldiers. The film focusses on the tense interaction that happens between these 2 men. Young soldier Yonathan is finally realizing he is gay and like his liutenant leader. For some reason the leader always picks o him and always makes him do extra work. On their afternoon break, when Yonathan sees the leader in a park, he follows him to a rest room where he finally sees that the lieutenant is no saint. He is having sex with another man. Because of this he reaches back the camp late and the lieutenant punishes him. On repeatedly being asked why is he late, he does not respond. The film ends when Yonathan finally hands over the lieutenant's id that he left in the men's room. The expressions on both men's face is superb. Wonderful film. (7/10)

Lonesome Bridge (USA/English)
A very interesting 12 minute story with a twist if you really understand it. Gay boy falls in love with his straight room mate. He has only one friend who is a girl and she is having hard time to get him out of his infatuation with the straight dude. Straight dude finds that gay guy fantasizes him and is shown talking to a goon. Next we know is that the goon beats the crap out of gay guy. Our gay man is heart broken and finally confronts him on why did he do that. He has finally gotten over him. Twist in the story is that it was his girlfriend who paid the goon to beat up the guy because nothing else was working to make him realize that the straight dude is not gonna love him back. I will have to give it to the story writer and the director to attempt something different specially avoiding being a stereotypical "gay boy loves straight boy" story. (6/10)

Say My Name (UK)
A short 7 minute contemporary Black British gay love story. When Chris' boyfriend RIcky ignores him while walking on the street because he is afraid of being 'outed' causes conflict between the two. Ricky now has to answer whether he is ready to be out or not. Does he love Chris enough love him enough to break taboo and go against community, tradition and the laws of the ‘street’? (3.5/10)

Manuela y Manuel (Spanish) [Manuela and Manuel]

I loved this film. There are very few gay comedies and if there are they are usually romantic comedies. This was comedy and drama and I absolutely loved it. I have a feeling if this film was in English, it would have lost its charm. I am so glad that I saw it in the original SPanish version with subtitles. Something about the Spanish language that makes this film even more interesting and a whole lot of fun to watch.

Manuel has always lived as Manuela, a drag queen full of energy and talent whose job in the local nightclub is secure along with his fellow 'lady performer' Fararona. But in private his heart is broken because the love of his life Tono has left him. His landlady DOna Rosa is the mother figure in his life who although bitches, looks after him as her son. Her life is spent waiting for a letter from a man who she alway loved. Her niece also now lives with her whose husband Ramon left her for another woman. His best friend Coca confides in him that she is pregnant by a soldier off to war and wants to keep her child, asking Manuela to act as the father of the child when she confesses her problem to her parents. Manuela is very confused but Coca is his bestest friend and he agrees to play her boyfriend. Fate though has something else in store. Coca's father proposes marriage right away. What started off as a short joke has now taken a completely new turn. Initially reluctant, Manuel agrees to it to keep his promise to his friend. Dona Rosa helps Manuel with masculine clothes. When the final D-day arrives, all manner of hilarious mistaken identities occur and secrets are revealed. Fararona comes with her boyfriend who turns out to be Ramon who also happens to be the real father of Coca's baby. Dona Rosa and her niece also come and turns out it is the same man who left her niece. The 'marriage' opens many doors to the 'superb' finale and a fantastic ending.

I loved each and every moment of the film. First and foremost I have to applaud the actor who played Manuel/Manuela character. He was spot on. And the dances he has done in the film are absolutely fantastic putting any girl to shame. All the scenes between Dona Rosa, her niece and Manuel are also very funny. I laughed like crazy when the niece seeing Manuela dressed in her husband's clothes thinks Manuel is Ramon and just pounces on her. It is hilarious. Similarly when they think that Dona Rosa is dead. Coca was also good but truly the heart of the film were Manuel and Dona Rosa according to me. One other very good thing about the film was that each and every character was properly sketched out. There was nothing half-baked. The audience could even connect to Fararona who had a very small role.

Strongly recommend the film specially very few gay films actually make you laugh without making an issue about an individual being gay. (7.5/10)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Rivers Wash Over Me

This film was a mix between an interesting story-telling to could have been a wonderful film only if the director or the writer could have tried to not show too many things. Had they focussed on certain fewer aspects, this could have been an even better film. There are so many under or even undeveloped characters and sub plots that you have a hard time keeping a pulse on the main story line.

Sequan, a black teenager, has to move to rural Alabama from New York when his mother passes, to live with his Aunt (not sure what the exact relationship with her was). He is coming to terms with the new place. The town is all about black folks, drugs, guns etc. Sequan is bullied at school and is also raped by his cousin Michael who is a basketball star and doesn't want to accept the fact that he might be gay too. Enter Laurie, who for some reasons take a liking to Sequan and that's when he first confides in someone that he is gay. Meanwhile in the town a gun is robbed and a black boy is killed. The sheriff who also happens to be Sequan's uncle is having a hard time finding the culprits since no one in the town is supporting. Sequan meets Laurie's brother and they just embark on a beautiful relationship when suddenly the sheriff raids the school , tries to find the culprit and in the entire process Sequan ends up getting shot and Michael is arrested.

Just as we begin to root for the two boys and their budding relationship, the film abruptly ends, leaving us bewildered. Like I mentioned above, even Sequan's character was under developed. You never really felt sorry for him because you just didn't know enough about his past. Acting wise, Laurie and Sequan stand out. Everyone else is just annoying. Jake (laurie's brother) has a small part and does well.

Strictly an alright film which could have been so much better. (5/10)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Straightman

Oh My God!! This movie had so much talking that it is unbelievable. The two lead characters can talk and talk and talk forever. Its not all bullshit talk or anything. In fact it seems very real life like, the way pauses are used or the language is used but it just tests your patience. You want something more meaningful to happen in the movie and it does but at os own pace when the viewer is already yawning away.

The story is basically of two best friends David and Jack. They are very very close to each other. David likes sleeping with women and Jack is having some problems with his live-in girlfriend Rebecca. When she can't take it any more, she decides to move to California. This is when Jack and David decide to move in together. David wants Jack to get back to a normal life meeting women but Jack is struggling internally. He has been in closet and is now finally sleeping with men. One night he tells David about this who takes it very positively. Life goes on. David meets a couple of women who he cares about but the women don't and similarly Jack meets a guy with whom he wants to get serious with but the guy doesn't want to. All through thick and think the friends are together until finally when David decides to move to a different city to do something more meaningful with his life.

So as you can read above, the story/screenplay is bare minimum. The film is more like improvisation where the director probably explains what the scene is about and the characters are asked to improvise however they can. As it is, the two men talk on and on and on. Scenes are too long and the drama goes from feeling fresh to feeling forced as each of the lead actors has to pile on dramatic moments. While the actors do not stink, they are not noticeably talented, either.

I am sure there are better films out there about friendship between a straight and gay man. (2.5/10)

Swinki (Polish/German) [Piggies]

The topic of child prostitution is one of the hardest to grasp on the camera and my admiration goes to every director who has taken a shot at the topic so far. This is the kind of topic which if handled in the wrong way can come out across as very very cheap and vulgar. It needs to be handled with maturity and sensitivity.

Tomek is a 14 year old boy interested in astronomy and he lives in the area around Poland and Germany. One os his close friends from school works as a prostitute. Child prostitution apparently is huge in that area in that time.He meets this teenage girl Marta at a club. To keep her happy and meet her continuing monetary demands, Tomek now needs to work. After attempting a lot of honest way to make money, he inevitably finds prostituting himself to be the only way to make what he needs. Feeling he has nobody to turn to, Tomek falls deeper and deeper down the ugly path so many of his peers have already gone. One such evening he ends up going to a client who loves to beat the shit out of the kids. This incident changes his life. He becomes stronger. HE informs the police about the leader of the prostitution racket who gets jailed and he himself ends up becoming the boss of the area at the tender age of 16. When his close friend from school for work, he sends him to the same client, who likes to beat kids and as a result this time the kid ends up dying. Tomek is shaken and doesn't know what to do. Meanwhile the boss is back from the jail. What will happen next? WIll Marta stay with Tomek or is she with him just because of money?

All the young actors in the film present the right amount of professionalism and amateurism needed for their characters to be believable. he story initially was not going anywhere. It was only later when something major was happening. It was so weird to see how a little 15 year old like Marta would use Tomek for each and every penny of his for her own benefits and pleasure and when Tomek can't give her that, she just moves on to a rich big boy. It was incredible. Also was surprising the sudden growth in the boy with just one incident. That is still acceptable but then he suddenly becoming the boss of the prostitution racket was unbelievable. The director took a little too much liberty here.

A delicate subject, watch it for something different. (4/10)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

99 Days (Hong Kong)

This is actually an 8 part gay drama series that was telecast in Hong Kong produced by GayRadioHK in partnership with HongKong Aids Foundation. The serial revolves around the lives of 8 gay guys and cover topics like coming out, safe sex and the important of regular HIV testing. The drama is amateurish but maybe reminiscent to some of the people in the country.

The story revolves around the gay community in Hong Kong. It depicts the dilemma and problem faced by most queer during their adolescent or when they started to enter the gay circle before settled down. There are stories involving gay being bullied, isolated by family, unable to find stable relationship, too attach to previous relationships, and many more. Ben is a matured guy who is still in grief on the death of his boyfriend, Zac. After Zac's death, he opened a blog entitled 99 Days. Mike has failed in his previous relationships, he ought to fun instead of love. Jerry is deeply in love with Mike, despite being very famous among the gay community in HK. Don, friend of Tom, victim of bully in his school after he came out of closet. He is very comfortable with his sexuality and don't mind showing his queer's side around Tom. Tom has been hiding his sexuality from his family and friends. Tom and Don love each other but since they are best friends, are afraid to talk about their feelings. There are few other characters. There are couple of stories where Do becomes a big fan of Ben's blog and almost falls in love with him. But Ben is an older guy and he explains that he probably loves him more like a brother. Meanwhile Tom is trying to come out to Ben and uses radio to come out to him and also to tell him how much he loves him. And then there are a couple of random side stories that play which make no sense.

Like I said, this was so amateurish that sometimes I couldn't believe I was watching the crap. Maybe it did make a statement in HK. I mean, I would like to applaud the efforts of the people involved to bring the issues of gay and their problems out in open but please give it some credibility as well. Otherwise the best of intentions can get lost. This is what seems to have happened in this case. And my ratings are hence gonna be based on comparison with other gay cinema that I see.

Completely avoidable. (1/10)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Edge Of Seventeen

Edge of Seventeen is a wonderfully realized coming-of-age film about the one teen trauma John Hughes never touched: coming out. Set in Ohio in mid 80's it cleverly shows how the youngsters in that age would struggle with their sexuality and how they would have to brave all odds for that true love. The best thing about this film is that it remains true to most of the events and try to be very realistic.

Eric is your usual teenage boy who is discovering slowly that he prefers being with boys rather than girls. His best friend Maggie, who is not very sexually aggressive but she dreams of making love to Eric and being his girlfriend. It bothers Eric's mother to see the changing behavior of Eric but she feels helpless. Chris takes up a summer job at an amusement park cafeteria and meets Rod. Instant attraction leads to sex and now Eric is even more confused. But Rod has to now go back to university and Maggie and Eric have to go back to school. Eric comes out to Maggie who is heart broken but will still support Eric. Eric starts exploring gay scene in his town and starts frequenting a bar headed by Angie, a lesbian but more like a motherly figure. Eric is in love with Rod but distance makes this relationship go kaput. When Eric is forced to come out to his mom because of her growing suspicion, things don't improve. Eric meets another man in a bar who drags him to parking lot for a quickie. Both these events leave a bad impression in Eric who turns back to Maggie hoping that sex with her might change things. BUt as you can imagine, things dont change and it just leaves Maggie humiliated further. Finally Eric accepts who he is and is now ready to come out and be who he is.

Edge of Seventeen is a good movie with a dynamic cast. Considering the act that the film is set in 80's, it does a good job. Eric plays his part very well. He rapidly escalates fear and sense of being different and the confusion of his nice but conventional girlfriend and loving but uncomprehending parents. he movie doesn't shy away from touchy subjects and could-be uncomfortable moments either but they are dealt in such great manner that they are not uncomfortable to watch, and make you think about what is going on. An amiable little film which takes an honest look at its youthful subject, it is a good watch if you are very new to watching queer cinema. After a while, you then start for craving something fresh.

It has rough spots, but overall the film is very good, and definitely worth watching. (6.5/10)

Grado 3 (Spanish) [Phase 3]

Now this was definitely a "different" film. God or bad? Thats for you to decide, but for me it was pretty lame. You know how sometimes people make movies just for the heck of it. There is really no reason or motivation to make a film , you just do it. This is one of those categories.

The film shows 5 stories told simultaneously is 3 different phases which according to me are the introductions, talk about going into sex and then finally the actual sex. We have a gay guy and his girlfriend who keeps insisting that he might be gay because he has never tried sex with a girl. She wants to get him out of routine. Second, we have a young married couple whose sexual life has become a routine. They are coming up with ideas and finally find something that they both like. Third we have 2 ex lovers. When they meet again, they start having these sexual feelings and each one thinks that the other one is trying to get him/her in bed. Whats the truth? Fourth is a hooker. She goes to this old man's house as a birthday present. Initially reluctant she agrees to spent time with him and is pleasantly surprised by such a gentleman and such an animal in bed having his viagra kicks in. Finally we have 2 room mates. When one the guy's girlfriends come, he wants his room mate to join in and work his fantasy. He wants his girlfriend and his room mate to do what he wants them to do and he just wants to sit and watch.

This film is very light weight, supposedly a comedy. The stories have nothing original, the overbearing end up exhausted and in one other time. The most interesting one according to me was the story of the couple bored with their sexual routine. Obviously, the film tries to reflect reality, the playfulness and warmth inherent be Chilean, but little is achieved when the story loses all force as little more plot development than large-screen sex.

The film is very forgetfull. There is nothing worth remembering. (2/10)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Fruit Fly

This movie is a desperate wannabe. It wants you to like it so bad that it tries to have a mix of everything possible. But with constraints of actors, time, budget etc it just doesn't live upto all the expectations. Agreed it is a musical but I have seen hundred times better gay musicals. This one just seems to forced in every single department.

Bethesda is an adopted Filipina who comes to San Francisco to pursue her performance art, which is inspired by her search for her biological parents. She is lucky to find a commune occupied by a gay man, Windham, who becomes her best friend and with whom she spends a lot of time in a gay nightclub; two lesbians, who have this on off relationship; and a petulant runaway. The film just shows their time spent, their interactions with each other and random singing and dancing thrown away. Bethesda’s agenda is never really explored. Instead we get a rag-bag of tangential sub-stories including her setting up blind dates, getting horrendously drunk, and trying to find a theatre to perform her one-woman show in. To make matters worse, the film ends abruptly. There is no particular story that Perhaps the strongest virtue of the film, a production of the Center for Asian American Media, is the diversity of its characters.

The music is so bad and utterly forgivable except the 'Fag Hag' song, which was kinda funny. Then there was this song, where when the 2 gay men on a blind date realize that they are both bottoms start describing musically, and explicitly, their preferred sexual practices. I couldn't believe it. It was so crass and embarrassing to even watch that song. Fruit Fly unfortunately falls flat on its face even though it’s trying its hardest. Maybe if there was a firmer storyline, more believable and relatable characters.

Save your time. Don't let it go waste like I did. (2/10)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Heights

Heights is one more of those multiple stories somehow connected kind of films. The biggest problems with suck kind of films is always that the characters are not completely sketched out which was party the case here too. Also, the film after a while gets too predictable. Spanning twenty-four hours, Heights follows these four New Yorkers challenged to choose their destiny before the sun comes up the next day.

At the center of the movie is the about o be married couple Isabel and Jonathan. Isabel is a talented free lancer photographer who is not too satisfied with her career and wants to make a difference. She gets a job but it means postponing the wedding which she at least wants to think of but Jonathan doesn't. Jonathan is himself carrying some secret with him. When Peter comes to town to do a story on a gifted photographer known for bedding his male models by interviewing all the models, he gets in touch with Jonathan as well. Then we have Diane, a famous actress who happens to be Isabel's mother. She knows her husband is having affair with one of the students but there is nothing she is doing about it. During auditions, an upcoming actor Alec catches her interest and she sees in him the passion she craves and invites him to her party that evening. Alec, fearful of his chance at his 'height', hesitantly accepts. All these people meet at Diane's party that night where slowly secrets are revealed and lives are changed. Alec leaves the party early because he has 'plans'. When Isabel leaves the party, she goes to the roof of her building where she meets Alec who is waiting for someone with champagne. Soon she sees Jonathan and Alec kissing and her world is shattered. As it turns out that Alec and Jonathan have been having an affair. She is kinda relieved that now she will be able to take a decision with regards to her impending marriage and move on.

I liked the movie. Though the characters might not have been described in details, it wasn't very difficult to relate to them. You could see Jonathan's frustration keeping the secret inside that he did, Isabel's frustration with her career. Most deep was Alec, because all he wanted was love and commitment. He didn't even care for his career because he loves Jonathan so much that it now hurts him to see him about to get married. The acting is generally understated and simple, with a few intense moments. The musical score could have been more sober. I wish there were some more details on Alec and his relationship with Jonathan but I am just being greedy here.

I would recommend it for some good independent cinema watching. (6.5/10)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mambo Italiano (Canada)

I loved this comedy film. I had seen it before long time ago but got an opportunity to catch it again and get a chance to review it on my blog. Based on a statement that there can be nothing worse than being gay and Italian, this film uses this thread to spun a story around it and what a story! I must say. Thoroughly entertaining and keeping viewer's interest alive all the film while keeping a smile on face, this film is worth sending your time on it.

This is the story of Gino and his family. His parents migrated to Canada right after their wedding. Anna and then Gino were born. Apparently Italian's dont move out of their house unless they get married or they die. Fearing this, Gino decides to take some action and move out. This comes as a huge surprise to his family and there is this whole melodrama. After moving out, Gino meets his childhood buddy Nino who once used to be very good friends with him but started ignoring Gino when Gino became the butt of all jokes in school and everyone teased him for being gay. Things have changed now. Nino moves in with Gino and they become lovers except Nino doesn't want anyone to know about this except the 2 of them because he too is Italian. Gino can't hide things anymore. When Anna suddenly discovers her brother in bed with Nino, Gino decides to tell his parents. They in turn tell Nino's parents. More emotional melodrama. Because of all this humiliation, Nino decides to move out and start dating a girl from school and decides to get married. Gino's heart is broken but he decides to move ahead in life despite that and meets a nice guy. Meanwhile, Nino does get married and there is a hint that he is still closet gay. Gino's parents finally come around and are proud to accept their son's sexuality.

The plot is thin but its the stereotypical Italian references that make the film so funny and watchable. The interactions between the neighbors, the hitting on head by parents for their children etc. It vaguely reminded me of 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' but thats only because both the films showed a typical stereotype family. The film avoids showing or depicting any uncomfortable gay scenes between the 2 men so that people of all orientation can enjoy this film. The sets are visually rich and appealing, and are always colourful and carefully constructed. The character development is great, and we care about the characters in the film. Anna, as the neurotic sister is hilarious. The arguments of the parents are very lively and funny, and are entertaining to watch. I loved it when the arents decide what to do to RSVP for Nino's wedding. The church confesion scene towards the end of the film is also hilarious and so are so many other scenes. Gino was cute though I really didn't care much for Nino.

You really have to watch this film to enjoy it. (8/10)