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.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

White Frog

Classic indies sometimes have solid, sometimes great, stories that are carried out with a very low budget. They have some half wannabe stars to keep it from complete obscurity and extended periods with actors who can't handle their characters. Fortunately, there's a great story to integrate all of the above in this film and it somehow all fits in well together. The start of the film is a bit choppy but it picks up soon by half way, mixing humour and drama well.

Nick Young is a high school freshman struggling with Asperger’s Syndrome who idolizes his perfect older brother Chaz Young. His brother dies when riding his bike on the highway because of a group of guys that were driving recklessly. Nick's friends attend the funeral and help him get through his loss. Nick's parents have no idea how to deal with or connect with Nick since Chaz was their perfect son. He begins to take comfort in his brother's friends, who take him under his wing as he learns more about his brother than he expected as he searches for answers and closure. Some friends welcome him while other's don't specially rich kid Randy, who it turns out later was Chaz's boyfriend and that Chaz was gay. Randy tells Nick how his brother spent, "his whole life trying to keep up this lie that you were a perfect family." Chaz had a secret dream, he went to a "community center" and he wanted to be a dancer. With the help of these friends, Nick locates the working-class neighborhood community center run by a lesbian where Chaz not only donated his sizable gambling winnings but also much of his time. Along the way, Nick discovers that Chaz was gay and that this information would have devastated their parents. But rising above all odds, he finds the courage to stand up to them and overcome his social difficulties and bring the truth in front of everyone because that is what Chaz wanted.

While earnest and endearing, “White Frog” can sometimes feel a bit unrealistic in its eagerness to be all-encompassing and accepting of what society may not necessarily open its arms to quite yet. On one end when you show that the Asian parents are church-going conservatives, while on the other end the extreme with the social issues it portrays in a positive light. Nick and the group of friends do lend much needed innocence in th group. Nick's soft features and dark eyes make him particularly vulnerable-looking, which adds to his character. I wish there was a little more story on Chaz and his relationship with Randy. The film plays on emotions and parents relationship with their kids and their attempt at understanding each other's world. Allowing oneself and others to be different. I feel, this movie shows exactly where our society is heading - hiding behind a veil of lies. Pretending to be perfect, where perfection never can be met anyway. And this is where the film fails to live up to a great movie.

It's watchable and can be nice, but don't expect something new or extraordinary here. The ending is well-done and warm with the parents accepting the truth behind their son after his death. (6/10)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Warm Wind

I started to see this film because i thought it was a gay film But its not. The main character just happens to be gay and there is oohing more than that about him being gay in the film. So why am I reviewing it here, if its not gay. That's because if I got fooled hinting this was a gay film, others to can. So maybe this can help others who read this. The film focusses mainly on troops and their life after war. Not a terrible film but not what I was hoping for.

Dave lives by himself in a house in Arizona, where there is a lot of natural beauty. His business is down and he is a little depressed. He hangs out with friends James and neighbor Seth but that doesn't bring much to his otherwise boring and mundane life. A call from his mother and he finds out that has dousing Buck has arrived back from Marines but he has physical disabilities and post trauma stress disorder. Dave thinks he should take care of him because they have grown up together and Buck's father is an alcoholic. Buck doesn't care that Dave is gay. Heated arguments follow when friends visit and argue that Buck should be government's problem. Things in the end turn out ok. Dave decides that he will make his home into a care center where he will take care of veterans with physical disabilities and his friends James and Seth help him along.

A Warm Wind is an odd case of poor production values and incredibly slow pace increasing the intensity of the message of the drama.This story plot could have been very effective short film with a very strong message. Dave looks good and acts well but Seth and James are a little OTT.  Buck is fine. But the pacing is so slow at time, you just don't know what to do except fast forwarding the whole sequence. There are long sequences of Dave staring at nature, swimming etc which I guess were needed to establish the boring and lonely life of Dave but after a while it gets on nerves. The good thing is that the director did not stereotype gay, drunk or narcissistic characters and trust me the film has all of those.

Good thought and intention but stretched way too long. And on top of that there is nothing gay in the film. lol (3/10)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Twist (Canada)

I was really looking forward to this film because I was going to watch it with a friend. The premise was so promising. A gay re-telling of Charles Dickens' classic Oliver Twist. How could this go wrong but somehow neither of us ended up liking the film. There were so many questions that were left unanswered, that I was forced to exclaim wtf by the end. The plot is moved out of the London poor house onto the streets of Toronto. The the tale is told not from Oliver's point of view, but rather that of Dodge.

Dodge works for Bill who works with various young boys as hustlers. Bill is an angry man who hurts boys if they don't bring enough money home every night. One night Dodge finds Oliver and brings him him with him. He takes Oliver under his wing and instructs him in the unforgiving arts of drug abuse and prostitution. Oliver develops a crush on Dodge and views him as his boyfriend, complicating their friendship. Dodge does not reciprocate his feelings, and reacts angrily to Oliver's kisses and other signs of affection. As Oliver's innocence dissolves, both young men confront their demons, and ultimately it is Dodge who finds he cannot escape his past. At the same time we have Bill's girlfriend who works in the coffee shop and is also a subject of Bill's abuses. Oliver meets an old man, who suddenly takes interest in him and who seems like he could be his real father. Also we meet Dodge's brother who comes back to get him. Dodge doesn't want to go back home because he blames his oder brother for not intervening when their father was abusing him. The film ends with a very dark scene between Dodge and his brother.

Like I mentioned before, there is a lot in the film that is left for viewers imagination. I felt none of the characters were completely developed. No explanations were given on the girls abuse, Dodge's history, the older guy who suddenly gets interested in Oliver but then same way just starts ignoring him. The writing is the biggest drawback of this film. Low-key, and very slowly paced, with long camera "takes", this bleak story would have been better with a little more substantive action. Giving where the credit is due, the actors do quite a good job of acting. But given that their parts were so underdeveloped, there was only so much that they both do.

This movie comes across as depressing, and with good reason. While more faithful adaptations of Oliver Twist have the uplifting quality of people trying to leave their bad conditions, this movie just shows people sinking deeper into the muck. Perhaps this was intended by the writer/director, but the execution makes the movie less than memorable. (3.5/10)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Behind the Candelabra

I don't know much about famous pianist Liberace except his name. So when I heard about this film, it came as a pleasant surprise for 2 reasons. First, that I had no idea about his gay side and second, how come it took someone such a long time to come up with a film on the subject. Making a full on film with big names like Matt Damon and Michael Douglas could not have been easy but this film is watchable for it is just because of the wonderful performances by these 2 actors. They both do a splendid job. More of that later.

Scott Thomas is a young gay man who grew up in foster homes. When he goes to see Liberace perform with his friend, he gets to meet the man himself. The flamboyant artist invites Scott and his friend to his house and soon gets attracted to the young man. Using his wealth and charm Liberace offers a job as his secretary to Scott just so that the 2 men can live together. In Scott, he finds the guy who can listen to him and be with him in his lonely times. When Scott starts gaining some relationship fat and Liberace starts looking odd, he comes with an idea of  plastic surgery. Liberace goes under knife to get rid of wrinkles and Scott starts taking pills for California diet (essentially drugs). Scott also goes under knife because Liberace wants Scott to look like younger him. The torrid affair which starts and last for a few years soon starts taking a toll. Scott is not allowed to go outside most time which starts suffocating him. He starts getting too addicted to drugs. All this makes Scott rebel against things. He also starts getting paranoid about Liberace sleeping with other younger men, which is not entirely false. Ultimately he seeks legal help after he is forced thrown out of the apartment. The film ends when Liberace dies of AIDS virus and thats the last time he meets Scott.

Michael Douglas stuns with his effeminate mimicry in the film as the world-known pianist, a flamboyant closeted-man, a selfish control-freak obsesses with his complexion and his tabloid news. He is just brilliant in delivering a strong, restrained, measured and complex performance. He does not get over board with it We get to see his loving caring side, his lonely side and finally the side where he just needed a new man every few years. Matt Damon as Scott is another wonderful act. Looking as a 70s hooker, he just fits into his role, also showing his ass more than just a few times through the duration of the film. His role just hives on his relationship with Liberace and lives in the moment. You can actually feel how stressed the character is being in a relationship with someone who truly loved and understood him but wanted to manipulate him. The make up though gawdy fits the premise of the film and the characters and the era. It was funny yet real to see Liberace's flashy clothes, pianos and even cars. I also like the fact that the romance between the two men was not all about sex.There are tender moments and a bond which ultimately leads to Liberace wanting to adopt the young man. Yes, the man was bizarre, specially when he wants Scott to undergo surgery to look like him but hey we have all sorts of characters in this world.

Its a shame that the film was premiered on TV and not in cinemas. Directed with sicerety, this film is a good watch, though not fully entertaining. (7/10)