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.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Gone, But Not Forgotten

This is one of those movies, which I would have tremendously enjoyed, had I seen few years ago and rated it very high. Nevertheless, it is still a very decent movie about falling in love, doing the right thing in your life and not lying to anyone or yourself about anything. Follow your dreams. Made very simplistically with bare minimum characters needed, the film goes right on what it wants to show and then it goes form there.

Drew and his brother Paul work as forest ranger officers. Drew saves life of a man who is now in a hospital. When he wakes up, he realizes that he has amnesia and can't remember anything. Drew pulls some strings to visit him and while introducing himself, The guy suddenly remembers his name as Mark. They get along very well and Drew starts paying him regular visits to the displeasure of his older brother. They share real chemistry. Realizing how bored Mark would be in the hospital, Drew requests to bring Mark to his home so that he can recover better. Paul reluctantly gives the permission and Mark moves in with Drew. One thing leads to another and we soon see that they are falling in love and ultimately they get into physical intimacy. Things are all going good until Mark starts freaking out a little that they are becoming too much obvious as a couple. At the same time, Paul is trying to figure out what mark's background is and that he might have a family to go back. When Drew and mark get into a fight, Mark leaves home and goes back to the hospital, where paul tells him that they have found who he is. Apparently Mark is married and his wife picks him up. Back to his original life, Mark doesn't feel good and he sees a weird hostility from his wife. When prodded upon further, Mark remembers that how his wife had him followed and found out that Mark was gay. Thats when mark had gone to the forest to take his own life in depression where Drew had saved him. When the reality hits all, Mark decides to take the right step and go back to his real love Drew to stat a new fresh life together.

The movie looks like you are watching a soap-opera. Thats probably because of the production standards. Even the acting seems like for a made for TV film and not really good. That doesn't mean that it was bad or anything but it was quite raw. Filmed in a small town setting, with probably a handy cam, the film is shot in real, picturesque locations which I really would not mind going to for a vacation. There are moments in the film that feel real and at the same time, some scenes feel a liftle OTT and unbelievable. The good thing is that the chemistry between Drew and mark is totally believable. The whole episode with Mark going back to his wife was like, 'Really?'. Couldn't you have thought of a better twist. Given that this was an independent film almost 10 years back, I would definitely not shot this movie down completely.

This is not a high end, well made movie but if you are looking for a decent simple straightforward movie, this is for you. It for sure doesn't bore you, even though the pace is very relaxed and slow just like the surroundings in the film. (6/10)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Hustling: Season 1 (Web series)

This is a 8 part original web series of about 8-10 minutes duration each episode. I had no idea what to expect but I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by the contents. Each episode though distinct, showed us the life of main protagonist and what he is going through.

Rod Driver has been a very famous gay porn star because of his huge asset and an escort since his twenties. But things are not the same when he is now 40. As his original self Ryan Crosby, he gets odd jobs here and there but he wants to change his life around. Suddenly he is worried as to what he is doing with his life and where is it going. Everytime, he wants to do something new and different, he gets pulled back in the word of escort and porn, because he needs money. No one lets him move on with his life, because he is known of sex and his appeal and no one would let him do anything except that. He ultimately discovers that cooking is his passion and he would like to pursue that further. But even in that, he has to compromise with his body and his porn star image in return to learn something. He also meets a girl who he gets along very well and thats when we find that Ryan is actually straight but he has been doing gay porn and escort job since that is big money for a straight guy in gay porn world.

Both as an actor and director, I think Sebastian La Cause, playing the title role, does a fantastic job. I mean, yeah he is great looking with an awesome smile. But that is not the only focus, when you realize that he is a pretty good actor too. He does complete justice to his role of an aging porn start trying to turn his life around. Did I already say that his smile is very infectious. He sinks in his character and does justice to all scenarios, be it dealing with his chef, his councelor, the threesome with a straight couple or shooting for a porn film. There are a lot of actors who keep featuring in every episode because every episode deals with different things that Ryan (Rod) is dealing with. They all fit well and I think I have seen most of them in their earlier works. Now I just wished that the episodes were not so short. I wanna see more. I guess I am gonna spend some time watching season 2 soon. (6/10)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Zurück auf Los! (German) [Return To Go!]

This film is not just a story about friends and friendship. Rather the film focuses on deeper issues of living with HIV, alcohol issues among gay youth and finally the challenges and insecurities that most people have in relationships, be it gay or straight. The film primarily focuses on these different aspects throughout the film where the central characters in my opinion are 2 friends.

Sam and Bastl are very close friends. After having diagnosed with HIV, Sam goes into depression and alcohol. Sam is an afro-german wannabe singer. He leaves his boyfriends house and find another place to live which is completely run-down. His friend Bastl deeply cares for him. We see that Sam meets another guy Rainer and completely falls in love with him because this guy likes him despite his HIV status. They break-up because Sam finds him cheating with another guy and throws him out of the aptt. He is trying to get his life back together and move on without the fear of Aids. Meanwhile, both Bastl and Sam are dealing with alcohol issues and dealing with hardships of live where they are short of every single penny. Enter Mike, who tally i sin love with Bastl and soon he moves in with them. They are all happy but poor. One day Rainer comes back to meet Sam. Unfortunately they get into an accident and Rainer gets blind for life. Sam takes him back home. In the meantime Bastl meets a hunky Arab guy in a club. As much as he loves Mike, he can't help get attracted to this guy and dumps Mike, despite Sam trying to reason him. Sam, Rainer, Bastl and Mike had a vacation planned which now the 3 of them go for minus Mike. This vacation time is the best time which brings the 3 guys more closer and the film ends with hope and positive spirit.

There are many good things about this film. Though initially I thought it was just an average film, but by the time it ended, I liked it. The core issue that it starts off with is HIV but we don't get to finally see the depressing side of it. Instead we see hope and positive attitude. I loved the fact the film was very realistic. The living conditions of the guys, the choice of actors, their interactions. WHen Rainer gets blind, I liked that the others still treated him norma and made him do work. It was weirdly funny.
Bastl's and Sam's friendship was also nice. They were straight with each other and what they felt and how they did things, which included all funny stuff, clubbing, and also serious talks. Acting wise it is a pretty good ensemble cast. All actors are on par withe act other and the requirement of the story.

You will not regret spending your time on this film. Just be patient initially and u will get into it. (6.5/10)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Kanrei Zensen Conductor (Japanese) [Cold Front Conductor]

This film was an odd mix of good and bad acting and a good and bad story. There were points in the film where I started to like the film and there would be times that I would think wtf! The movie apparently is a film adaptation of Fujimi Orchestra series. I don't know anything at all about it, so my views are solely based on this as a film and nothing else.

Morimura Yuuki heads a music orchestra as the concert master and he is the leader of the grip. The group consists of all oddballs and they all play for fun. Morimura Yuuki has a crush on this girl in the class. Enter Tonoin Kei as the conductor of the group. Tonoin Kei is supposed to be a very gifted young man fro a very known instate and everyone is surprised to see him as their conductor. Slowly under his guidance, the class' music starts improving. This girl is now interested in Tonoin Kei and asks him out for a drink. Tonoin Kei comes out to her that he is gay and is interested in men and that in fact he is interested in Morimura Yuuki. She tells him which he finds odd because he is straight. One day when Morimura Yuuki visits the conductor's home, he gets so bestowed that he ends up raping Morimura Yuuki. He is shocked and heart broken and doesn't know what to do. The girl keeps telling him that he should be happy that someone love him with all his heart but Morimura Yuuki keeps saying that it was a rape and that he can never be in love with a man. Their only connection is love for music and nothing else. No one understands the pain that he going through as a rape victim. He then decides to quit the company but before h can give his papers, the conductor quits. Morimura Yuuki feels bad and he goes to his place to coerce him to not quit and tell him that he can never fall for him. But Tonoin Kei loves him so much, that he can't take it and he decides to just leave the city. In the end we find out how Tonoin Kei had seen Morimura Yuuki one day playing his violin in a park and ever since then he had been looking for him all over. And the only reason he joined the orchestra was for him.

The film sounds interesting and thank god it doesn't end up with Morimura Yuuki suddenly becoming gay. I am glad, the film makers stayed on their grounds to not turn a straight man to gay even though he was raped. As much as it was hard for Morimura Yuuki to face the man he was raped by, he tries his best because music binds them together. I felt bad for the girl who doesn't get anything from anyone. Tonoin Kei did a good job portraying an arrogant conductor but it was not believable even for a moment that he was in love with Morimura Yuuki. This was not shown very clearly in the film. Morimura Yuuki tries too hard to be funny and other things. I think he was over doing his part which he really didn't have to. As I mentioned before the 2 guys do not end up together. Its just their music, that they both live for.

The film definitely has a potential for a sequel but I am not sure if I am looking for it. Better actors and a little tighter direction would definitely help. (4.5/10)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Les Amitiés Particulières (French) [This Special Friendship]

It was so refreshing to see a black and white film with an underlying gay theme, with such old world charm. Released way back in 60s, this film felt so much ahead of item time but then, I dunno at all what France was like way back in 60s. All I want to do is salute the producer/director for taking up the challenge of such a bold subject and treating it with respect, empathy and tenderness that it deserves. The film will be as relevant in today's time as it was probably when it released.

Georges, a 15 year old boy begins his boarding education in a catholic school. He is from an aristocratic background. He strikes up an immediate friendship with a fellow student of his own age, Lucien. On discovering that Lucien already has a close relationship with another boy, André, Georges contrives to get the latter expelled from the school. I am not very sure whether it is out of jealousy or whether Georges dislikes the idea of 2 men being so close.  One day Georges sees Alexandre, a young boy (probably around 11 years or so) at the prayer in school and he gets totally enamored and struct by his beauty and purity. To Georges’s delight, Alexandre enjoys his company, and the two boys become good friends. They exchange love poems and meet in secret; they can hardly bear to be apart. His friend Lucien knows about everything that is going on and is in full support since he knows what true "friendship" or love feels like. When one of the priests finds out about them, Georges uses his intellect to get he priest fired instead. Free from the fear of discovery, Georges and Alexandre pursue their perfect friendship, growing ever closer. But not for long. Another priest sons finds out about them and forces the yes of love for both of them. He forces explosion of Alexandre unless Georges returns back all his letters. In a sudden twist of events, Georges just goes back home for his summer break and Alexandre is so heart broken that he ends up taking his own life.

The love between the 2 souls is accompanied with lot of poetry and believability, something that you would expect from a regular male-female love story. There is no physical intimacy of any sorts that is portrayed and all is left on our own imagination. As viewers, you get totally involved with both the characters and we believe in their love and purity for each other. The scenes where they hide from everyone and exchange notes, meet in the greenhouse and protect each other was truly heartwarming. The acting by both principal actors is so real hat it brings the film to a raw and spiritual intensity. Agreed the subject line where an older boy falls for a younger big is very debatable, but I loved the fact it has been dealt with purity and lot of heart. The ending of the film comes as a shock and is so powerful, you almost cry. The beauty of the boarding school and its functioning is also captured beautifuly.

I strongly recommend this film. The joy and experience to watch a pure love grow between 2  boys in 60s is pure magical. (8.5/10)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Bite Marks

There are gay movies, there are comedy movies and there are horror/vampire movies. Now you just mix all these genres, and what you get is a miss-mash called Bite Marks. This film was so bad on so many levels. It is one of those films which are so so so bad that by the end they seem not so bad, if you know what I mean. The film is cheesy to the core, very low production values and overall a trash film.

Truck driver Brewster has to take up delivering a loa dog coffins to a funeral home because suddenly his brother goes missing. We also see a gay couple who are walking along the road, trying to make their relationship work. They hitch-hike with Brewster and some silly scenes follow, just involving the buildup, which includes a sex scene between the couple that Brewster watches and gets excited. The wrong feed in the GPS of the truck leaves them stranded in the middle of nowhere around a deserted junkyard. And then make the appearances by so called vampires and the silly fight the 3 of them out up against them. Of course, in the process, one of the guys of the couple ends up sucking off Brewster. Ultimately Brewster also end up becoming vampire. Finally good wins over evil. The couple comes out winner after successfully fighting over the evils.

Made probably on a small budget, the film is supposed to be comedy but one-dimensional expressions , specially by Brewster make the film fall flat. The gay couple were just cute and nothing more. Most of the jokes were bland and would not evoke a laughter even though you can se how hard probably the dialogue writer tried. The try to see some f the cliches of the typical vampire films and sometimes not do it. The director introduces a new facet of seeing what you wanna see etc. which after a while gets boring. Its a silly nonsensical movie, which believe it or not, I can actually see some people enjoying.

It wasn't for me, and if you don't like things of this type, i'd suggest you miss it. (3/10)

Friday, March 15, 2013

El Sexo De Los ángeles (Spanish) [The Sex Of The Angels]

I absolutely loved this film. It was fantastic. Agreed, some aspects of it were a little unbelievable but still the story, the direction, the actors were just spot on. As a subject, the film is not easy to digest by everyone but I have reviewed a couple of film here on my blog before which talk about relationships between 3 people and not necessarily two. This film also explores a similar theme and the director does do the job with flying colors.

Bruno and Carla have been together for a long time. Bruno loves with Carla in Barcelona, whose parents gave her the apartment. A chance meeting with Rai changes Bruno's life. Bruno feels this instant connection towards Kai who is a karate teacher and a dancer. Starting of as a friendship, Bruno, can't control himself for long before he gives into Rai's seduction. But very soon we find out that it i snot about just seduction. The 2 men feel much more for each other. At the same time Bruno is very much in love with Carla. One day at gym, Carla sees the 2 men together and is heart broken and asks Bruno to leave. Rai can't bear to see Bruno like this and convinces Carla to take him back. They have an agreement that Bruno will live with Carla like before but he will keep meeting Rai occasionally. That way nothing will change. But things do change. Initially Carla hated Rai but soon they start becoming friends and before you know, they fall for each other too. Rai and carla are now having an affair and both feel guilty of not telling Bruno. Bruno is shocked and reacts strongly when he finds out about them but soon, sense prevails and all three of them realize that they all love each other. Their love for one person is no less or no more than the love for the other person.

There are a lot of side characters in the film, specially at the magazine office where carla works. They end up bringing a light feel to the film. They are all very good and the film shows some aspects of them as well. I loved all the scenes when Carla would think she is talking in private to her girlfriend at work and meanwhile the 3 guys in the office would always sneak up to hear hat's going on. Carla, Bruno and Rai are all great actors. When Bruno stars falling for Rai, his confusion is so evident and so is the fact that he is struggling but happy at the same time. Bruno does a marvelous job. Rai plays his part good with his moldering looks and his eyes. His character is quite lovable. Carla fits very well and does a decent job too. There were quite a few scenes in the film that I loved, specially the opening dancing sequence. All the moments when Bruno and Rai meet and are hanging, you can feel a weird sexual tension and finally when they do it, it is awesome. I liked that although Rai like Bruno, he did not want to take away the fact that Bruno was still in love with carla. It was interesting to hear that why do we have to live by social rules. We should do what we feel is the right thing to do. Bruno's smile is still etched in my mind. He was so cute.

I think the film was fantastic. If a film manages to keep my attention and don't let me get bored with good looks and acting, the job is done. Highly recommended. (8.5/10)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Faustrecht der Freiheit (German) [Fox And His Friends]

This movie shows a facet of life, which is raw and true. This film shows how people manipulate each other for personal gains. The film explores how this can affect individuals and how greed has no end. Made in 70s , this film also shows german gay subculture.

Everyone knows franz as Fox. He is a lower class gay kid who works in street fairs. He is addicted to lottery hoping to win day and win he does. Handsome rich Max just randomly meets him outside a public bathroom and introduces him to the rich gay culture. Max;'s friends initially despise him for his earthy looks, for his low class upbringing but when they find out that Fox has just won a lot of money in lottery, their outlook completely changes. One of the friends is Eugen who takes Fox as his lover hoping to get money out of him. He talks naive Fox into sponsoring his father's business, buying I'm a new house and a car. Eugen's parents tolerate their son's life with a low class fellow and ridicule his mannerisms but are more than happy to just take his money. Fox thinks he is being a part of the rich circle but he is never happy. Eugen is always pointing to his mistakes but Fox loves him dearly. Its only the shady bar/club where Fox frequently used to vista before he was rich, that he finds true friends and some peace of mind. When the business starts going down, Fox is blamed and more money is taken out of him. Self-centered Eugen makes sure that he has taken every single penny that he can from Fox and his friends are his partners in crime for this. When they break-up, Fox realizes that now without money he has no 'fancy friends', no lover, no security and his life becomes unbearable, forcing Eugen to take his own life.

The end of the film is tragic where in it is shown that even after dying, everyone just wants to take something from Fox. People just want him to pay whereas he just wants to go back to his old simple life where at least he had peace. Fox acts his part very very convincingly. It is difficult to imagine that there are people like Eugen in real life who will do anything for money. I am also glad that being gay is not made a big deal of in this film, considering it came out in 70s. They are gay, but lets just move on. There i smote to the story. One man falls in love and the other just sees an opportunity to make more money. There are not any love making or kissing scenes which makes this film very watchable even for straight folks. I just wish the length of the film was a little shorter.

Money can corrupts the chances of meaningful human interaction and this movie shows how that can happen. (6.5/10)

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Sassy Pants

I was looking forward to this movie for 2 reasons: the  title and i heard that the kid from sixth sense film was playing a major role as a gay man. I missed watching it when it was premiered at QFest last year but now I finally got time to catch up. The writing though smart and funny is a little unbelievable in today's time. Although we have seen stranger things happen in today's world. This is also not exactly a gay film. It's more about this girl with some major gay characters.

Bethany and her brother live with their domineering mother June. Just because her husband decided to become gay and run away with another man, ever since she has been shielding her children from the world by schooling them at home and essentially keeping them at house arrest. One days when she can't take it anymore, Bethany runs to her dad where she finds a new friend in her dad's young boyfriend Chip. He helps her with some clothes etc and eventually she even gets a job in a clothing store. Her confidence suddenly starts to build up when her mother comes up again and brings her home in the pretext of her grandmother dying. Life starts going back to square on when determined to do something with life, Beth decides that she will do everything to go to the fashion school in SF and starts saving her money.A few more misunderstandings happen and with the support of her father and her grandmother and her own handwork, she finally manages to change things for herself and the bitterness in the mother also eventually goes away.

Th opening scene with everything pink in Beth's room is a symbol of oppression. Her mother has been forcing things on her daughter who can't rebel even if she wants to. It is refreshing to see the grandma telling June what exactly she is doing. I can't believe that in today's world, a mother can actually just house arrest her children literally and don't let them go out. The scenes of Beth with her father and Chip, her boyfriend are hilarious.  Chip played by the young kind of'The Sixth Sense' wears short shorts, cowboy boots and acts the gayest anyone ever can. Performance wise Beth does a decent job and so does her mother.

The movie is decently good but not great. (6/10)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

I Want Your Love

I wrote my review for this short film here. Almost porn, I was very impressed with the short but never thought that it could potentially be made into a full length feature (which I hoped they did) and when I did see a full length version of it, I was really happy and excited. I was looking forward to similar things. Great natural acting and lot of real sex.

Film starts with Jesse, a 20-something gay artist who is moving from San Francisco back to his hometown in Ohio. He’s broke, recently broke up with his boyfriend and in an artistic rut, and needs a change. He’s searching for something and it becomes clear that he’s not even sure what that is – his father’s love and approval, artistic vision and motivation, financial security or just love and friendship. Keith, his neighbor and fellow artist is his closest confidence who tells him what he really thinks and doesn't sugar coat things. We also meet Jesse's roommate, a bear who is dealing with his own issues with his lover who is soon to move in after Jesse moves out. And then we have Ben, Jesse's ex, who is as nervous and Jesse to meet him on his last night at his going away party and is being hit on by a guy at the cloth store and again at the party. During various interactions and silent slow individual scenes, we do realize that  Jesse is actually looking for himself. He wants to know who he is or what he wants or what the hell is going on, and it’s hitting him hard.

Along with an interesting storyline, there is a lot of sex in its raw form. We see full on sex involving not just Jesse, but with Ben and his room-mate. It is almost pornography because there i soothing hidden but at the same time it involves a lot of emotion and real-ness in it. The scenes are tender, intimate and genuine unlike any porn film and is not uncomfortable to watch. we see moments of naked laughter only experienced by true lovers behind closed doors and it feels like you are eavesdropping on someone's private moments. There are a lot of silence scenes where we follow Jesse on his day trying to still figure tout what he wants to do. We feel for him. He is so lonely that he purposely misses his own going away party because he just wants to spend more time alone. We have some hilarious dialogues with the guy who hits on Jesse's ex Ben and they help to keep the film in a lighter tone at the same time. As much as people say that the nudity and sex was a total put off, I don't mind it because it is done tastefully. Jesse is a brilliant natural actor and I have high hopes from the director himself.

I definitely liked it and would recommend it. It will touch you in one way or other. (7.5/10)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Somefarwhere

OMG!! Somehow I had high hopes from this film. Something about the title and the poster made me think that this movie would be different and make sense. How wrong was I! Well, it sure was different but on the wrong spectrum. This was a total turkey.

We meet  price, a young American who is touring around Iraq border (or wherever the film was shot), looking at ruins with his guide, Marwan. Marwan thinks Price is hot. Soon we see that he is looking for his partner Bo, who is in marine and has been missing for a few days. We also meet Combs, with a southern accent, who randomly appears and disappears and is not very clear who he is or what he is doing. (Apparently he is CIA). Few erotic scenes follow and we also meet a few homophobic nationals, who randomly appear, threaten Price and go away. By this time, you are totally confused. Turns out that mar wan and Combs had a plan throughout but they tell that Bo is probably killed. But later they say, they have him. Bu this time you lose total interest in the film. Suddenly Price is captured by did knows who. He is rescued by Marwan and Combs. Some erotic scenes follow again and surprise surprise, Bo appears. wtf !!

The film is so full of itself. As a viewer I am tally lost within 10 minutes of starting but I give it time hoping that it is a thriller and things will start getting clear but nothing like that happens. The mess just continues with below average acting. The story borders on ridiculous where more attention is paid on how to exploit Price's hot body. People are homophobic , yet it seems everyone wants a piece of ass of Price and he gives it as well to get more information on Bo. Billed as a pseudo thriller-war, the film quickly keeps setting high bars for ridiculousness. You don't connect with any character or what they are there for. After a while all you focus os on more naked body and that's it. Good eye candy and decent filming locations is all this film has.

Totally avoidable. Not worth even for a good body cos there are plenty more ways to see it rather than sitting through an hour and a half of torture. (2/10)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Homophobia (German Short Film)

I usually do not write separate posts to review a short film. Rather I club them together but this one was actually really well done and I just felt that just a couple of sentences for this film would not be sufficient.

Michael, a gay guy serves in Austrian military. He has been away from home and isolated form friends and family. This isolation and the attractiveness of his fellow comrade Raphael, gets Michael attracted to him very strongly. Michael is very used to being bullied on a daily basis. Jürgen, the alpha male in the group, has found the perfect victim in Michael. During taking a shower Jürgen bullies Michael once more but this time something is different, Michael bring about Jürgen's downfall both literally and figuratively. The game is on and Jürgen uses his most powerful weapon - his knowledge about Michael's secret and in a fight ends up punching him. Michael is emotionally hurt that Raphael didn't rescue him. The same night on a mission, Raphael and Michael spend a night together at the border smoking a joint together and finally Michael's feelings reach to a point where he just blurts it out to Raphael.

The film aims to portray fear of the unknown as the reason behind homophobia. We see that Raphael is so scared of returning his feelings to Michael because he is afraid. Not only that, the film also shows the fear of accepting yourself as gay. The direction of the film is fantastic and the camerawork does give a sense of claustrophobia that Michael probably is experiencing. Excellent acting and a touching subject and treatment makes this short films one of the better ones to come out in recent times. It can be a universal story of just about anyone. (7.5/10)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Melting Away (Hebrew)

The movie dramatizes the rejection and stigmatization of transsexuals, and the obstacles they face in simply trying to lead a normal existence. A beautiful film in not just acting but also production values, sensitive, background music etc, this film definitely deserves a wider audience. I have seen a few films on a similar subject but the sensitivity with which things have been handled here, definitely calls for applaud for the director.

Shlomo and Galya have a teenage son. When Shlomo discovers women's clothing and accessories in his son Assaf's room, , decides to 'teach the boy a lesson' and lock the home's door for him on a rainy night. His theory is the boy will learn fast and get back to house, get into studies and forget everything. Four years late, Galya comes to a detective to find her son since Shlomo has cancer and is dying. The detective son finds out that Assaf is now Anna and has undergone a sex change operation and she lives on her own and has friend close friends with her. The detective tells her the details about her father but doesn't tell Galya the truth. Starting next day, Anna starts visiting the hospital in the pretext of a private nurse sent from insurance company. Anna and Shlomo start bonding and they talk about things in their private life including Shlomo's closeness with his father and how he misses him. Soon Galya realizes that Anna is Assaf and is heartbroken. She reacts negatively but slowly starts coming around. Finally Shlomo passes away after asking Anna if she is satisfied with her life as a woman and then the truth is revealed that 3 years ago, he had changed his will to give his everything to his wife Galya, brother and Anna.

The end was pretty interesting when it is revealed that Shlomo all along knew that the nurse was his son turned daughter. I can imagine how hard it must be for parents to accept these changes but what is even harder is the individuals who have to go through this. In a chilling scene where the parents lock Assaf out on a rainy night is shocking. I can't even imagine anyone being in that position and not knowing what to do. The scenes thereafter between Anna and Shlomo are heart-warming too. I also liked the angle of Anna's friend and his boyfriend and the mother. The scene where her friend comes out to her mother as gay, is one of the best in this film. Though it directly doesn't contribute much to the film, but I think in terms of the reaction from the mother, this one has got to be one of the best coming out scenes in terms of emotions. I hope they had elaborated a little more of that couple as well. Story was novel and the execution was also perfect. The actor playing Anna, though female herself, does a great job. Although, the movie would have been more compelling if the audience could have seen a true transsexual in the role.

Hatts off to the producer to make such a brilliant emotional film. Its a shame that not many people are aware of it. I just happened to lay my hands on this and I am so glad that I did. (8/10)

Friday, March 1, 2013

My Beautiful Laundrette (UK)

I know a lot of people have loved this movie over a period of time. I saw this film , I guess 6 years ago and vaguely remember not being too impressed with it. But now, with time gone by and my experience with gay themed movies being much broader, it was time to revisit this film for my blog. Sadly, despite some decent performances, the film still did not manage to rise beyond average in my mind. It is quite possible that I amassing seeing something in the film that the others are.

Nasser and his ally Saleem have a number of small businesses and are doing very well for themselves. Meanwhile his brother, a once famous journalist  and now alcoholic Ali, lives in a seedy flat in a poor neighborhood with his son Omar. To help his brother, Nasser gives Omar a job doing menial labor. But Omar, with bigger plans, talks Nasser into letting him manage Nasser's run down laundrette. Enters Johny, a friend of Omar's since they were kids who has been a street punk for a while. Omar invites him to change his life and essentially work for him. The two together think they ill be able to make something out of heir life. It is not very clear when or how, but it turns out that Omar and Johny are not friends but lovers. And Johny is ready to do anything and everything for Omar. He loves him dearly. Nasser tries to marry off his daughter to Omar but they both don't want it. Saleem becomes a pain in their plans when the other street punks take a revenge against Saleem and in the process end up causing damage to the launderette but this incident brings Omar and Johny back closer from the stressful days that were driving them apart.

The film depicts life in 80s and how immigrant Asian communities and Brotishers treated each other. The film thankfully doesn't get overboard in any aspect. Be it street punks or Omar and Johny's relationship. It is surprising, considering that the film came out in 80s, their relationship is shown as any normal relationship would. They are not afraid or shameful or shy. They are just being themselves. Their love scene is gorgeous. When you first see Johnny he seems so rough and coarse and low class, but as he begins to seduce Omar while Omar talks about the past he suddenly seems powerful and sophisticated. I think, for whatever reason Johny truly loved Omar because he even says to Salem once that ' In my opinion it is always worth waiting for Omar'. Despite all of their differences both Omar and Johny seem to have a profound respect for one another, which will hopefully enable them to continue their relationship, although the ending is left rather open. The film also gives us an insight into how first generation immigrants have to deal with the in-between feeling. Every actor performs really well. Seeing Daniel Day Lewis as Johny is very interesting considering he recently won his third oscar.

Despite this long review, I still feel there was a lot left to be desired and a lot of questions unanswered as a viewer in my mind. But I can't even imagine how ahead of its time it must have been in 80s. (6/10)

Soldier's Girl

I have to first thank one of my followers from my blog, who recommended me this film. The film had been in my backlog list and if not for his recommendation, I probably would not have seen it sooner. This film will challenge your definition of gender and redefine love. The fact that the film is used on a real story makes it even more heart-wrenching. To see that someone actually has to go through all this, just because he was in love which the social norms don't accept!! Its a shame.

Barry Winchell has just joined army is becoming friends with people around. His room-mate is a little crazy and takes pills for something which we still don't know about. One night, 5-6 folks from the army go to this gay club where they see drag queens performance. After initial joking around, we see that Barry gets interested in one of the performers Calpernia. His room-mate realizes this but he himself is quite fucked up. Love soon blossoms between the two. Calpernia can't believe her stars because Barry is as straight as anyone can get and she is scared to see how truly wonderfully in love he is with her. Barry is not shown as gay. He just chooses to be in love with a woman who is in her transitioning phase. His room mate cannot deal with the fact he is being ignored and Barry doesn't spend enough tie with him. With the help of one of younger comrades, he first spreads the rumor that there is a gay guy in the unit and soon one of the leads begins the quest of finding the man, even though don't ask don't tell policy is applied. Stress soon begins to engulf Barry's mind but  things just don't stop here. The younger comrade is also a little fucked up in his head just like Barry's room-mate and one fateful night on the room-mates provocation, he ends up killing Barry. He beats him to death. Its the same night when Calpernia is real sing her dreams of winning a pageant. Yes the culprits finally in real life go to prison but the pure love of Calpernia and Barry never got the due. Barry was just 22 when he died.

The cast of the film is spot on. The actor who plays Barry gives a very restrained and subtle portrayal of the soldier. You can see he is in love truly but also stressed since staying in the army is really important for him. Calpernia is no ordinary transsexual performer. She is smart, beautiful and a true woman inside and thats what attracts Barry to her. Is is shocking that a male actor can perform such  a character which such élan and grace without making a mockery of it and still keep it gracious. The male actor walks, talks and portrays the young fragile heart of a woman with grace. Other performances by the actors is also pretty good. This film definitely deserved a bigger reach than just being released on TV. It is not difficult to not get emotional watching the film. The subject was great. That doesn't mean it did not have flaws. Some of the explanations were not very clear. What was Barry's room mates issue. Was he mentally sick? Was he attracted to Barry? I also wish that there was more buildup of romance and love between Barry and Calpernia. But despite these flaws, the film is still pretty strong.

Its a shame that a young man, whose only crime was love had such a tragic end to a wonderful and beautiful simple life. (8/10)