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, June 28, 2012

Kawa (New Zealand)

I had no idea about the Māori clan in New Zealand. If nothing else, I at least got some information on Māori clan and the fact that they are natives from New Zealand. The Māori culture and language is strikingly similar to Hawaiian — indeed, the Māori name for their mythical ancestral homeland is Hawai‘iki. The film interestingly shows us family expectations and responsibilities, while being true to yourself.

Kawa is a mid 40s man. He has a secure job in a flashy corner office, a big house, a nice car, and a loving wife with two happy kids. However he harbors a secret. Yes, he is gay. He has ben spending some time away form his family because he needs time to think. Everyone including his wife and parents cannot figure out what has suddenly gone wrong with Kawa (since they do not know the truth). He is seeing this guy and is living in a portent on his own but still struggling. After some bathhouse trips and an affair, he realizes that he can't do this to his family and returns back hoping that his gay(ness) will not follow him and will leave him alone. When he visits with his family to his parents native house, his father makes him the leader of the Māori clan. This brings responsibilities for him. He needs to accept the truth and reality. He cannot suppress his feelings and decides to tell his wife and his parents. They are all devastated. After a lot of fights, disagreements etc, the family comes around and accept him for the way he is.

I was very surprised by the sudden change in heart in everyone. One minute everyone is giving him a hard time and next thing you know is because of the young girl, they all suddenly understand him and empathize with him. The end was a little abrupt for me. The relationship between Kawa and his lover was also not established very clearly. Kawa apparently was taking things slow but his lover was serious. Then how come, suddenly het gets a new boyfriend? But on a positive side, the film does show lot of things about Māori culture. The warrior dance when Kawa is crowned the elder was a great scene. It is interesting to see that Kawa never mixes his gay and straight life. He switches back and forth between the two, alienating those involved on either side. The film gets caught up in trying to present an “everyman” coming out story, when it would have been much stronger focusing on the subtle nuances and specifics of homosexuality and repression in Maori culture.

The film shows a fine line between selfishness and sacrifice when it comes to love, family, culture, and true happiness. Pretty good but could have been better. (6.5/10)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The War Boys

This movie deals with the subject of boundaries. Boundaries of race, of nationality, of sexuality, even generations. It pits father against son, American-born Mexican against an immigrant, an adopted sister against her older brother, and for one brief moment, a strong friendship versus romance. A small budget film, it does show the conflicts of stepping out from comforts of family to the unknown world.

Set in a small town somewhere close to US-Mexican border, the story deals with 3 friends: David, whose father Slater is rich and has something to do with cross border patrolling and who sent David away for higher studies to become a lawyer; George, an insecure boy whose father is cab driver and he has an adoptive Mexican girl, whom he never gets along well with and Gregorio, a young teenage of Mexican origin, now US citizen but still struggling every day to find his identity in US. These 3 men are part of the group called 'The War Boys' from college days where they do their own kind of patrolling, finding illegals and chasing them away. David has been suspended from college and is now home. Gregorio loves this older woman who runs a bakery shop. One night the guys decide to make money by stealing one of the trucks from border patrol, so that they can sell stuff bought illegally. They did manage to steal the truck but things start getting out of hand when cops are everywhere. They suspect Gregorio and his lady love (crush) because of their Mexican origins. Meanwhile David and George are struggling with their feelings for each other because they both love each other not just as friends but as partners. When they suspect that this truck has something more than just illegal stuff to sell in the truck , they decide to give it back but its too late. They find out that the truck actually had some illegal immigrants crossing the border Mexico to US and lack of water and air has left them dead. The boys are terrified. David's father comes to help but the boys refuse to leave because they feel guilty of being responsible for innocent deaths. David gets shot by cops and film ends with the boys surrounded by cops.

This is a courageous movie, full of stirring moments, sensuality, authentic emotions, love, hatred, ignorance, self-discovery. The way all the characters have been developed is amazing. I think this film can be an amazing mini series. The friendship evolving into relationship between David and George has been handled so well. I was warmly happy to see that. One of the best I have seen. Also Gregorio's fascination with the older woman and wanting to be with her is also shown great. Performances by every principal character is exemplary and worthy applauding. Most of all the credit should be given to the writer and director of the film. I loved the scene when david wants to come out to his father and he just shrugs saying that he is ok with it. It was a very casual scene but I guess the idea was that there are more important things in life to be concerned and worried about than someone's sexuality. As a society we have grown up.

An excellent young cast and a fine director make this a powerful little film that should not be missed. (7.5/10)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dunno Y... Na Jaane Kyun (Hindi/English)

What the hell was this? All this hype and such mediocre execution. The story had potential and if entrusted with an able director and better actors, this could have been something totally different. Touted as India's answer to Brokeback Mountain, I wonder if the actors feel really embarrassed when they go back and see this film and their association with it.

Margaret lives with her daughter in law Rebecca and her 3 grand kids - Ashley, Sam and Linda. Ashley is married to Jenny and have a daughter. Although the family pretends to be close-knit in front of the world, there’s a lot of tension between the members. Rebecca and Jenny hate Margaret because their ideologies don’t match. Rebecca's husband left her years ago in search of spirituality. Ash works in a MNC and Sam is looking for a job. Sam is in love with his sister in law Jenny and wants to settle down with her. One day suddenly Ash is shown to be gay and meets Aryan and they start dating. Then, one day, Ashley and Jenny have a fight and the latter walks out on the former. Sam makes the most of the situation, woos her and has a relationship with her. Aryan and Ash continue with their affair but just when Ash is about to break up with his wife, Aryan stops him because he doesn't want to break the household. The film gives very abrupt endings to every side story in the film.

The film deals with the happenings in the D’Souza household in the first half but it changes track at interval point so that the gay angle of the story takes precedence over all else in the second half. The story has all elements to shock Indian audience e.g., 2 men having sex and kissing , affair with sister in law and a mother dealing with a lll crude and vulgar passes made by her boss. The dialogues of the film are horrible. Most of the film is in English and the pronunciation is so bad. I could not stop laughing and giggling while watching this horrible piece. Even seasoned actors like Helen and Zeenat Aman cannot save this garbage.

The intentions were good but execution was horrible and even embarrassing to watch. (2/10)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Zenne (Turkish/English) [Dancer]

This was a fantastic film. Inspired by true events and story of Ahmed Yildiz who was murdered for being gay, this is a heart wrenching story. I am not sure how the whole gay scene in Turkey is like but I do know that all the military scenes that were shown for gays are pretty real. The fact that my boyfriend did go for the turkish military and had some interesting tidbits to share made this film a close to home film.

Can is a free spirited youngster, who is trying o avoid military and is hiding at his aunt's home. He works as a zenne (male belly dancer) in a nightclub. He is trying to hide from cops and thats the reason he works at night. We also have a German photographer Daniel, who himself is trying to run away from his past and is spending time in Istanbul. FInally we have Ahmet, a university student in Istanbul, born and raised in very traditional family in South-Eastern Turkey. As the friendship between the trip progresses, the viewers are shown some other facets of their life. Ahmet's mother has spies on her son because she is obsessed with cleaning and thinks her son is unto something. Ahmet and daniel soon become a couple and want to start a life together. But like it is mandatory for every Turkish male to do military, both Can and Ahmet are avoiding military. We go through Can's struggle, his longing for his family, his mother's desperate attempts to keep her son safe. On the other hand we have Ahmet's mother, who is so much into honor, that she would not mind getting rid of her son completely for being gay to save her family honor. In between all this we have Daniel, who wants to make a difference for Ahmet and Can both. After struggles and proving (a very degrading process for Turkish military) that they are gay, both Can and Ahmet are exempt from military. Ahmet comes out to his father and wants to break free and leave with Daniel to Germany but in a shocking turn of events, is killed by his own father, who as it stands has still not been put to trial.

The acting by all principal actors is very very good. You feel their pain, their anguish and struggles about just going through with their everyday chores. On one side we have a loving mother of Can but we also see a completely different side of motherhood in Ahmet's mother who would stop nothing short to keep her honor. Some of the dance scenes are well blended into the film using parallel editing with scenes. It was also good to see that Can's aunt's boyfriend's support to these gay guys. I think the film tried to show that there will be haters and there will be supporters for you being gay but there will be balance. There will be struggles but if you try, you can get through. Apparently Turkish military possess the largest collection of porn because of these pictures of gay men. Truly disgusting!!

I would strongly recommend. Although it describes Turkish society, it also goes far beyond, questioning generic values such as family, pride, tradition. (8/10)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Boys On Film 8: Cruel Britannia

This new and latest edition of Boys On Film introduces you to the queer and wonderful world of new British cinema. From the cliffs of the Isle of Wight to an abandoned swimming pool via a broken down lift in Lambeth, Peccadillo Pictures presents an eclectic mix of ten UK-set short films from scorching new British talent that depict LGBT characters in situations both funny and heart-rending, definitive and unique.

I Don’t Care
In the tumbleweed coastal retirement community of Porthpunnet, Luka cares for his bedridden mother. One day he meets Dan, a young manwho lives in a camper van and shares his interest in art. Initially he sees Dan as a kindred spirit until Dan proves to be gay. This film could have been much more interesting but I think a lame ending was the fault.

Downing
Amidst a vibrant house party, John, the isolated local gay lad, finds an opportunityto exact revenge on his straight oppressor, the popular and handsome Daniel. Boykisses boy, drinking, fucking and regret: just another teenage party. This film was great. I loved it for a short film.

All Over Brazil
It's the summer of 1974 and Scotland face Yugoslavia in the group stage of the football World Cup. But Stephen seems more interested inthe world of Glam Rock than football. His father initially despises him and come around very soon. I loved the end when the father welcomes his sons d daughter home with some breakfast.

Man and Boy
A man invites a boy into his flat and offers to take pictures of him. But he does that because the boy literally forces himself on him asking for cigarette. To most this would seem suspicious in the extreme, to the few it is an innocent offer of friendship. Which way do you see it? Very very interesting take.

Diana
On the day after the Princess of Wales’ death Mohit, an Indian pre-op transsexual,goes on an emotional journey set against the backdrop of a day that shocked anation. He remembers how his family had shunned him and for them, he is still dead.

We Once Were Tide
Read Here We Were Once Tide

Spring
Read Here Spring

The Chef’s Letter
In the early morning hours, a chef struggles to write the letter that could overturn his ordered life. Entering his kitchen, he struggles to make abeeline for his sous-chef. I was al title confused by this film and what it was trying to say.

What You Looking At?
Two very different people in the London borough of Lambeth - a drag queen and a woman in a burka. Only in a lift would they ever crosseach another’s path. But these two have more in common than they first thought.

Nightswimming
Runaways Luke and Ellen are caught breaking into a swimming facility as they only want a warm place to sleep. The watchman lets them stay onthe proviso that they don't break anything, and so begins an emotionally charged situation between the trio.

Brillaint collection. I am in love with Boys on the Film series. (6.5/10)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Pariah

At the core of heart, "Pariah" is a street-smart story of an African American teenager's struggle to come of age and come out — to the father who still calls her "daddy's little girl" and the mother who quotes the Bible and buys her pink frills. It's hard to portray adolescence in film without nostalgia or fantasy. The film captures adolescence in all its awkwardness and tragedy.

The plot follows Alike, a black teenager girl, from home to school to the local gay social scene just a few bus stops from her Brooklyn neighborhood. We see her day to day life. She's an A student, a writer whose poetry speaks from her inner depth. She's wary of her classmates, but they seem merely curious to know the answer to the is-she-or-isn't-she a lesbian question. Certain about her sexual orientation, she's insecure about where she fits in as a young lesbian woman. Her closest friend is Laura, a very obvious butch lesbian who is hated by Alike's mother. Laura, in my opinion has feelings for Alike. Alike's mother is controlling while her father is tired and disillusioned. Alike's mother introduces her to the daughter of a coworker, in hopes of steering her away from Laura but things take a predictable turn, the two girls get in a physical relationship. Alike is happy for once but when she is told by the other girl that it was only an experiment for her, she is heart broken. Laura though initially dejected stands by her friends side always. Unable to take mental stress and her mother's control anymore, she finally blurts it out that she is lesbian. Her mother throws her out of the house. After a few days the father tries to come around and support her daughter but by then she has made a decision to go to college. Sadly, her mother thinks her daughter is dead to her.

First thing that stays with you after the movie ends is the acting by the lead actress. She is just too good. She's quiet, restrained, confused, scared before she finally gets confident and certain. Th emoter did justice to her role. I might not agree 100% to her character but she did what she was asked to do. Some things were not clear wrt why the couple were drifting apart? why was the father always out of him? The script and direction was definitely the highest points of the film. There is more to this film that just lesbianism.

Give this film a chance. You will definitely be satisfied with a meaningful cinema. (8/10)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

As Melhores Coisas do Mundo (Portuguese) [The Best Things in the World]

I liked this film lot. It was modern and yet contemporary and as a viewer I was very engrossed and eager to know what is happening and I was invested in the film. This according to me is a sign of a good film. Set in the city of Sao paulo, Brazil; the film tells the story of 2 teenage brothers, discovering greatest and most important things in life growing up. This is technically not a gay film but nevertheless it is ok to put this film here since part of there growing up years get affected by something major 'gay'.

Mano is a 15 year teenager like any other. He concerns about going to school, playing the guitar, parting with his friends and trying to score the most beautiful girl in school. He tries to keep his life normal even if his relationship with his parents is falling apart. His parents have decided to separate because his father finally realizes that he is gay and does not want to lead a double life. Mano's best friend is Carol, a girl about his age who shares with him her feelings like being in love with her physics teacher. Mano shares the pain of his parents separation with his 17 year old brother Pedro, who is in a steady relationship with Bia, promising her of his eternal love. To make matters worse for the brothers in school, their lives are affected when their schoolmates discover that their father is gay and when Bia breaks up with Pedro. Pedro goes in severe depression to the extent of even an attempt to taking his life. The positive side is that Mano is growing up and is trying to find a right balance between things, including warming up to his father's boyfriend, spending time with his mother, making up for his mistakes to his classmates including his best friend Carol. With a sad story, we finally see a beginning of a happy life ahead.

This movie exposes so many subjects such as teenage sex, drugs, suicide, homosexuality, brotherhood, parenthood, friendship, love, innocence, secrets, music. This film also shows how the evolution of technology affects the lives of us. (the school blog exposing every student in school) It's impossible to not identify yourself after watching this film, to not have a nostalgic feeling for those who went through this age or for the ones who are going through right now. Acting was simply superb from everyone in the film. All principal characters including the supporting ones did a splendid job and the big credit goes to the director for this. Mano and Pedro showed two spectrums of teenage years and helped us viewers identify with the characters at some point or other. I feel, the only weak link was the mother's character. Her reactions were somehow fake and not what I would expect in an otherwise wonderful film.

Definitely recommended. This might not be a gay film per say but being gay is important part of it. (7.5/10)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Dimenticare Venezia (Italian) [To Forget Venice]

This effective drama about crisis and change in an unorthodox family is a film that was made way back in 1979. I don't know what was it, but the film failed to keep my attention for long. Maybe it was my brain wanting to get stimulated by actions and stuff but somehow the film felt too dramatic and unreal to me, even though now that I write this review, I am questioning why was that !

Marta, an ex-famous opera singer now live sin a country house near Venice. Her adopted niece Anna takes care of her with her girlfriend and childhood lover (?) Claudia. The usual routine life gets an uplift when Anna's brother Nicky arrives with his boyfriend Picchio to the house. Nicky and Anna are shown to have memories of the past. Anna has memories of her man-hating mother because her father left her mother, thereby turning Anna into a spiteful and stony woman. Nicky's memories are tender playing with his best friend and object of his affection and other happy times with Marta. The family is all having an excellent time but things change when Marta suffers a heart attack the next day, Anna and Nicky both go in desolation briefly before trying to put their life back together. Anna and Claudia leave for Milan in hope for a new life. Nicky decides to stay on at the estate and, while saying goodbye to Picchio, indicates his desire to give up the quest for eternal youth.

The performances in the film are consistent. They look good too if you see them form the 70s days. Some of the characters were not clearly explained and are left for the viewers to comprehend. I wished they had shown more of the relationship between the 2 couples but I guess I am just being selfish because I was hoping more gay romance but the film had everything but this. This film was more focussed on a brother and sister and their life. They just happen to be gay.

I was a little disappointed with the film but I had my reasons. I really would not make suggestions for you this one time. Go by your own instincts. (2.5/10)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Michael (German)

Some films are just made to disturb audiences. But if you think hard, most of this films have some sort of truth or reality hidden behind them. We all had heard of a story where a man had help captive a girl in Australia for many many years. I guess, that was the clue that the director used in this film with a twisted angle to this tale. At the end of the film you are left bewildered and amused.

Michael, is your average mid-30s man. He works for an insurance firm. He is good at his job, is friendly with his co-workers, gets along well with his siblings, and has a tidy home in the suburbs. But Michael is also a sexual predator obsessed with young boys, and he hides a ten-year-old child, Wolfgang, in his cellar as his slave. He frequently tells Wolfgang that his parents don't want him back, and while he takes good care of the boy, he also forces the child to have sex with him whenever he wishes. Michael follows the title character's double life over the course of five months, as he presents the image of an ordinary man to the world during the day and gives free reign to his ugliest desires at night. The film focuses on the relationship between the two characters. At one point,Michael tries to kidnap another young boy so that he can give Wolfgang some company. It is heart wrenching to see that the young big has no choice whatsoever. He is forced to spend his time with Michael cleaning house, eating and being raped. Destiny is cruel and one night Michael gets killed while Wolfgang is still locked up in the cellar. It is not shown what happens with the boy but it i snot difficult to imagine.

The film is full of little details and memorable moments which linger and is closed by an unexpected ending which moves from tense to calm then back to tense. The film shows how easy it could be to manipulate a child into being a complicit captive, and exactly how many basements out there in fact have a missing child within? The acting is very understated. Each and every moment and cation is shown in great details. Thankfully there is no sexual explicit scene.

It is a decent attempt but like I mentioned, it is disturbing to watch. This film is definitely not a pleasure watch. (5.5/10)