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

Monday, July 30, 2012

Beginners

A pretty good indie film with art-house character study, embellishes some great performances from its lead characters. Mad win s a very small budget. Christopher Plummer deservingly won the academy award for his supporting role in this film. The story of the film is very simple and straight forward.

The first half of the movie focuses on Oliver and his ailing father. After his mother's death, Oliver's father told him 2 things: first he has cancer and second he is gay. Oliver is shocked but he still tries to keep his calm and understand his father. Apart from his father's lover, he is always there for his father whenever he needs it, be it for any gay party, gay events or just taking care of him. We see a lot of incidents that Oliver and his father spend time with each other striving to cultivate their relationship and grow it. We also see Oliver's childhood in flashback where the parents are attempting to make the best of their marriage of convenience. After his father's death, Oliver tries to make a meaningful relationship with a french actress who is beautiful but has serious commitment issues. How do they sort it out in the end is something to watch for.

The film is slow and a a little confusing at times but it stand sour only for its performances.Oliver by Ewan McGregor speaks less and acts with his eyes showing us how sad and lonely he is. The relationship graph between Oliver and his gay ailing father is done greatly and with such empathy.. You feel like you are there and all Oliver has his father because he neglects everything else to be with him and now after he is gone, Oliver is all alone. That said, the film is not without its shortcomings. The plot peels its layer in a very different manner and after a while it is not too difficult to lose interest. And the whole girlfriend angle also needed to be explained better.

Watch it for excellent performances and a good indie flick. (5.5/10)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Gay Short Films : 13

No Soy Como TĂș ( I am Not Like You) (Spain)
A so called straight guy spends alight with a gay guy but refuses to accept his homosexuality. When city drama forces the 2 men to spend some time together, he realizes that he cannot suppress his feelings for long and it is time he opened his heart for some love. But its too late. (7/10)

The Tie That Bind Me (UK)
2 men, supposedly straight, get into a conversation on a rainy evening. Filmed in a theatre setting, it has only 2 characters in their whity tights and just talking. And it seems that in the end, one of the guys is coming out. Totally random film. (2/10)

First Time (Israel)
A young gay guy arrives in Tel Aviv. He is supposed to stay with someone but cannot find him. He is now stranded on the streets. Till he meets another cute guy on a bus stop and after their eyes meet, he just follows him. (3/10)

Keel (UK)
Two teenage boys get stoned in a boat shed, lie in a boat and make an imaginary journey, until moment of intimacy takes them both by surprise. One guy kisses the other and the other lad reacted in an interesting way and it seems as if their close friendship will continue. I have to wonder if anything else will change in their lives. (6.5/10)

41 seconds (Germany)
2 friends are talking when they get into an argument on who kisses better. What follows is the most passionate kissing scene for 41 seconds. Hot !! (6/10)

Implication (Spain)
A short, sweet and surprisingly effective piece in which a mother confronts the man who had her son sacked for being gay. The humour is brash and laugh-out-loud funny. The sudden transition into seriousness at the end, is perhaps a little misjudged, but hardly detracts from a simple, thoroughly exuberant short. (7/10)

Cold Star (Germany)
A boy experiences new desires while watching a man at an indoor swimming pool. Forced up the diving platform by a rowdy gang, he receives unexpected help. The film connects the emotions of a short with beats and lyrics of music. The film is an appeal for acceptance of your own and others sexual identity. (4/10)

Celebration (US)
Young boy comes out to his very large and very republican looking family, with a strange result. Everyone applauds as if they just witnessed a graduation ceremony. (4/10)

Like A Brother (US)
Nate's parents are getting a divorce and he is spending his time with his neighbor Andy and his family. After a couple of drinks, in a moment of passion, they kiss and they like it. But the next day when Nate approaches Andy, the jock, he beats him up calling him a faggot just because he is with his 2 other macho friends. (6.5/10)

Hit And Runway

Hit and Runway was a formulaic film school comedy. A film about budding friendship, it shows how friendship between 2 most unassuming people just naturally grows. The film doesn't take anyone's side. It just shows how 2 people from 2 different world in terms of ethnicity and sexuality are brought together with a common goal: to become a good screenwriter. All actors are pretty unknown and hence the film becomes more believable.

Alex is a budding screenwriter but the reality is that he is not much of a writer. After his father passes away, he is forced to work at his family's cafe. He wants to write this major story but is hindered by his lack of screenplay writing abilities. He meets Elliot, a regular looking Jewish guy, at his cafe. Elliot is there to meet Joey, the server and part time actor on whom he has a crush on. When Elliot leaves his play for Joey to read, Alex finds it and recognizes that Elliot is the only one who can help him write his script. Overcoming his phobia, Alex and Elliot embark on this friendship which started because of work. Together they come up with ridiculous ides, crazy dialogues, borrowing heavily from what is happening in their real life. Elliot helps the Alex becomes a more insightful person and with Alex's encouragement, Elliot begins to develop some self-assurance. We have a few side stores where Elliot and Joey have a brief affair and Alex meets a plain Jane in his screen-writing class and falls in love or at least he thinks he is. When finally the producers agree to read their script, the lead actor wants to do the film that Elliot originally wrote as a screenplay. And in a major twist, the lead actor falls in love with Elliot (that was just like blah!!). Alex finally tries to get his life together and decides that he will use his real life experience and come up with a wonderful script.

I am so glad that this film did not fall in the same category of straight man realizing his gay side and falling in love with the gay man. This story is about the development of an accepting friendship between a gay man and a straight man without the issue of sexuality. As they collaborate on the screenplay they talk and learn important life lessons from each other. The dialogues are amusing and very realistic. I love Elliot's one lines that he keeps throwing off and on. A lot of side characters were not really properly build up but it was ok. Alex's romance was forced IMO and was not needed at all. But I guess for him to agree to Elliot's point of view, he needed a doze in del life for himself.

The film is not great and but is not bad either. Definitely watchable when you don't mind a brainless entertainer. (5.5/10)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Notre Paradis (French) [Our Paradise]

I am not too sure what the point was behind this film. Agreed the film had a lot of nude scenes, a few penis shots, decent looking boys. You could say the film explores or tries to explore the intergenerational relationships between gay men. Men in their twenties, thirties vs men in old age who rely mostly on prostitutes to get off. Also the constant murders and all were not really explained. Was this all for love pro for money?

Vassili is 30 odd something hustler. He meets old men and murders them. The motive is not explained. He meets Angelo, a 19 year old boy, who is beaten up in one such hustling incident. Vassili brings Alex home and they start falling for each other. They together prostate as a couple and sometimes when guys are not into Vassili because he is old, they just go with Angelo. He soon tells Angelo about the murders. Initially shocked, Angelo still stays because he loves Vassili. Once they are out in a club, they see an old man whom he had once attacked and thought that he killed him. To run away from cops, they run from Paris and go to the countryside to Vassili's friend Anna's house. She is a waitress and is bringing up his 10 year old son. Reliving their older years from Paris, Vassili, Anna and Angelo get into a 3some (so odd!!). Not to be a burden on her, they decide to go further in the countryside to a big house, which is owned by one of Vassili's old tricks who was nice to him and whim he did not kill. The old guy's young boyfriend does not take too kind to this uninvited guests and makes his displeasure clear. This makes Vassili angry and he kills them both too so that him and Angelo can take over their house and live in comfort. The film ends with them getting caught by cops.

Vassili's relationship with Angelo is loving, tender and caring. They both truly love each other. Other encounters are mostly about older men exploiting the young hustlers. The film doesn't judge the old for lusting after the young; in fact, it revels in it. There is not much story wise. Sex scenes. few encounters, a couple of murders and then running away. The whole Anna and his son episode seemed like a totally different chapter that could have been totally avoided but then the film could easily have been just a 30 minute short film. Acting by the lead characters is pretty good, not earth shattering but not bad either. It would have made more sense to spend some time in the reasoning behind dark side of Vassili.

Overall the film feels pointless, more of an erotic fantasy and forced characters than a real story. (4.5/10)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

46-Okunen No Koi (Japanese) [Big Bang Love - Juvenile A]

This is a very new and different style of film making. A cross between cinema, play and musical setting, the whole arrangement of the film is different. The sets are minimal , modernistic theatre style. I thikn the film is set sometime in future. Even the narration style of the film is very different. Some of the scenes are randomly shown and then we see what happened that followed to that scene. Yes, it does you leave confused at many a times but still makes for a viewing pleasure. The movie has great potential if it is remade as a typical thriller movie with the same story but very different screenplay.

After a very artistic start and a very beautiful dance, we are introduced to the 2 lead characters. Ariyoshi seems fragile and passive. He has come here for murder. He murdered his innocence and a man who was using his innocence. He years for love. Kazuki is tough and aggressive and picks up fights with everyone.He acts first and talks later. He is full of pain. The 2 characters are similar but opposite. We see Kazuki trying to protect Ariyoshi in the prison. Soon we see Kazuki murdered with Ariyoshi strangling him and agreeing to his murder. 2 investigators come in and try to find the truth behind the murder. An investigation follows and individually a few characters are analyzed with what could potentially be the motive behind killing.

The visualization of the film is fascinating. There are few scenes with voice overs and not lip synch dialogues. The film is metaphor for evolution and faith. Kazuki feels that death is only thing that will make him happy , so when he gets an opportunity, he uses it to get himself killed. The fights in the film are raw and dynamic. The set for the jail is very very interesting and innovative. While the subject matter isn't easy to take sometimes, it is still commendable effort. Sometimes you might get bored and not care (like I did off and on), but you cannot deny the fact that artistic visuals have been amplified by the director who had to guts to make this film on his own terms. The 2 lead actors do a brilliant job and I would like to see them in other movies as well.

The film is pretty deep. The rocket, pyramid and everything else have deep meanings and it will take some philosophy to decipher it. It would be worthwhile to see this film again with director's commentary. (5/10)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Taxi zum Klo (German) [Taxi to the Toilet]

When you see this film, you have to remember that this film came out way back in 1981. Things were way way different then. Despite this disclaimer, I am going to review this film as what I felt today after watching it. What things left impression on me and what were the things that I was bothered with. Moreover, I strongly believe that the title of the film is just not suited for the story that was presented. Sometimes, the title make s huge difference.

Based on autobiography of the actor-director himself, the film shows the life of Frank Ripploh. He is in 30's, gay man and a school teacher. He hides his sexual orientation from school but then is very very active in his sex escapades. He is constantly thinking whom and where to meet next. In fact, he even checks student papers in toilet while cruising. During one such instance, he meets Bernd. Their one night stand soon turns up into a stable relationship. Bernd has eyes for only Frank but this is not the same case with Frank. He is addicted to sex and looks for multiple partners. Bernd knows about Frank's cheating ways but is to much in love with Frank. Frank feels suffocated by the relationship boundaries but at the same time loves Bernd and wants to stay in the relationship. During the course of the film, we follow their lives showing Frank getting into drugs and his sexual escapades. Berlin Queer ball changes many things when Bernd can't take it anymore of Frank's philandering ways and decides that enough is enough. This is also the time when Frank decides to be himself in school and shows up dressed in drag for his students. The film doesn't end with a clear note of whether Bernd leaves Frank or not but it seems Frank is ultimately left thinking about his future and how long can he go on with his sexual fantasies.

I really liked the scene when Frank goes to his class in drag. It is a simple scene but his interaction with his students was somehow real and nice. I would n't have expected it but I liked it. Filmed in documentary style, Bernd and Frank play themselves in this role. There is not much in terms of entertainment. There are a few very graphical sex scenes which you seldom see in a mainstream film. I under how did they manage to pull that off! If you can stick through the entire film, kudos to you. I did because I was hoping something nice would come up.

I would say avoid but if you del a little voyeuristic like me, watch it for a few explicit sex scenes. (3.5/10)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Wise Kids

I am not big into religion but at the same time I do not judge anyone at all for what religion they follow and what their beliefs are, as long as I am left to do and believe what I want to. I don't judge and i do not want to be judged. I am not an avid or devout churchgoer but I would like to believe that this film touched upon some very real issues of faith in a way that were both authentic and unique.

A group of high school students who are members of a church youth group are preparing to begin their adult lives in South Carolina town. We follow 3 close friends: Brea is the minister's daughter, Tim is an aspiring film maker and Laura who is totally devoted to God and religion. Tim realizes that he is gay but hasn't acted on it. Brea is very comfortable with this fact but when Laura finds it out, she is shocked and frightened. She tries to help Tim reconcile between his sexuality and religion. At the same time, Brea is questioning her faith and prayers. Then we have Austin and his wife who help with the church. Austin is closet gay and has feelings for Tim but he cannot do anything about it except showing your run-of-the-mill expressions and telling gestures like touching. He is devoted to his wife but cannot convert it into physical intimacy which is driving his wife insane. She almost goes about cheating on her husband but stops herself. She suspects that something is wrong with him but doesn't question him. Time moves on and Brea and Tim goto New York for their college. Laura moves on and find s anew boyfriend who's believes in religion like her.

The film shows that we all go through problems. Religion or no religion, we all will deal with various issues at various stages in our life. The kids in this film are wise because they deal with the reality of the world through logic and reason instead of through man made doctrine. The subject matter is brave. I loved the way Tim's father deals with his son's homosexuality. He gives a very heart warming speech on Tim's birthday on how he has been a great son. It was difficult and I am very sure realistic too to see Austin and his wife's relationship because I bet you that there are many women and man out there in non compatible marriages unable to take drastic steps. Acting by all kids and characters is good. My one problem with the film was too many characters. For a small budget and clear film, I don't think the film maker needed to introduce so many characters. Nevertheless, it was a nice movie.

This film is a reflection on issues of personal identity and choice for which there are no easy answers. (7/10)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Straight Jacket

Set in 1950's, this film is one of those over the top, romantic gay comedies, which I probably would have rated higher few years back. It is funny how perception on a film changes from an individual's perspective within a span of few years. My tastes in movies has also changed accordingly. These days, forced comedies don't do much for me and this is where this film also failed to keep my attention. It wasn't boring or anything but I just didn't get any laughter from any of the scenes shown.

Guy Stone, is a matinee idol and macho star who hides his homosexuality and leads a double life. He is the perfect bachelor for the outside world. In his private life, all he is looking for is the next male hunk who he can sleep with. Desperate to get the lead role in Ben-Hur, on the studio head's persistence, he agrees to marry the head's secretary Sally who is completely in awe of him. Everyone knows it is a sham except Sally. Some funny scenes follow with the closet husband and more than sexually eager wife. Guy then meets Rick Foster, a budding writer. Initially Guy just wants to hook up but Rick makes him realize that there is more to life. He makes Guy realize that the life he is leading is not worth it. They both spend as much time together eventually falling in love and discovered by Sally. What follows is as expected. He loses out on the movie and lives with Rick but in an unexpected turn of events, his agent as always comes up with a new plan and Guy is back in Ben-Hur, happy with his love.

Guy Stone acts really well. He suited the part of over the top budding actor very well. The way he would drool over every hunk on the set was very funny. Sally was annoying, to say the least. I just could not understand, how a woman who could not even speak in from t of Guy would suddenly dictate terms in the household (even though it is supposed to be funny). Rick is alright. He is supposed to be sexy but I somehow did not like him at all. I think he was a little misfit in that role. The woman playing Guy's agent was funny. The sets and costumes and flow of the film are quite well done, successfully transporting us to the dazzle of the Fifties and the many mindless motion pictures that flooded the screens.

A simple entertaining, easy on mind, fluffy gay date movie. (4.5/10)