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, July 31, 2014

In Bloom

So, I am not very sure what was the main crux of this film. Surely it is about breakup and breakdown of lovers after having spent a beautiful part of their life together; but why sid story of a serial killer and so much loneliness and boredom in everyone's life? We meet an estranged couple and journey back with them 7 month sin to the pat when their love was 'in bloom'. The movie explores the complexity of first love.

Kurt is a small time drug dealer who supplies pot to his peers, whilst Paul his boyfriend of two years has a dead-end job in a local grocery store that he can barely tolerate. When the long summer starts, they are having fun and very much into each other and seem the perfect couple. Everything had been going well with them until one night one of Kurt's good-looking customers puts the moves on him, and although he initially resists Kevin's advances does it opens his mind to the possibility that there is more to life outside of his cosy relationship with Paul. Some thinking on his part makes Kurt realize that its better to break up and enjoy life than being in the relationship and he breaks up with Paul, an impulse that he will only regret when it is far too late. We also have a back story of a serial killer who is targeting lone men, who ultimately ends up killing Paul's lonely store co-worker. The film starts and ends with Paul and Kurt meeting each other and they are at a stage where they can barely even talk to eau other.

The plot is steeped in innocence and full of well-meaning intentions but personally for me, the movie leaves a lot to be desired. I completely disagree that the movie is reminiscent of one of my fav films "Weekend". The primary actors do a well decent job, but lack the chemistry and spark of a couple. It is also painfully slow and I am still not sure of why the back story of the serial killer and what was the relevance to the story. It is an alright movie but it will take a lot more to keep people completely engrossed in the movie.

A good concept and focus on gay-relationship, how I wish, this film was more engaging and absorbing. (5.5/10)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Hot Guys With Guns

With a title like this, there is already high expectations. Not just about the hotness of the guys but also of some action sequences in the process. Unfortunately, this film falls short on both of these expectations. Its more of a comedy-mystery genre. To give the credit where its due, The makers did come up with an interesting concept, thinking out  of the box from the regular gay movies that we get to see otherwise but it could have been so much better.

Danny is a struggling black actor/waiter, and his ex-partner Pip lives a comfortable upper-class existence with his overly controlling mother whose racist tendencies are very evident. And this is primarily the reason for their breakup. Danny is taking a course in private investigation in preparation for a possible role. There are a series of robberies happening in gay sex parties but none of the victims is contacting the police for the fear of being outed. These are all profile people. When Pip becomes the latest victim, he asks Danny to take up this case. As pissed as Danny is about his playboy nature and insensitivity, the residual spark still between them motivates the actor to help, however reluctantly. They come up with ideas with the hep of Danny's teacher to uncover this suspense. The finale or the reality when exposed is not as exciting as one would expect, but nevertheless, I don't think that shocking the audience was ever the expectation. But Pip's current bf coming out as one of the culprits really doesn't surprise.

I thought the acting was a little amateurish by the leads, despite this being an attempt for a comedy-thriller. I think a little more polish from the lead actors could have made a huge difference. Nonetheless they were cute, specially Danny. The mother was the worst actor. Similarly, the reason for the loots and the actors doing it, doesn't seem very convincing or menacing. But if you look from the comic angle, the amateur bumbling of Danny and Pip, makes it funny while downplaying the violence. The movie is essentially a comedy in the guise of a thriller, finding room along the way for effective moments of drama, romance and insider Hollywood jokes. There are some funny dialogues but gets bogged down with too many characters and pointless detours from the main story.

Good concept and a better direction could have given this movie a possibility of sequels. Still not bad. (6/10)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Test

I don't whether its me catching up on movies, but it feels of late I have been watching a lot of movies set in mid 80s during the whole AIDS epidemic times. This movie. although set in 1985 in San Francisco, deals with something different and the presentation is also very different. The film captures the fear raging through the gay community as the AIDS epidemic begins to devastate a lot of people’s lives. After years of accepting promiscuity as the new normal, they have to rewrite the rules for their sexual and romantic encounters. There is not crying or anything but there is definitely hope.

The film is about a gay dancer named Frankie and his day-to-day life as a back-up for a dance company. He is passionate about dancing and is constantly being told to "dance like a man". We don't know if he does have a crush on Todd, the manly gay bad-boy dancer on the group but you can see there is some sort of sexual tension between them. This is the time when AIDS reports have stated to come out and the gays are living infer of whats next. The latest blood tests have also just been introduced but the guys are afraid to take the test. There is not much known about how the disease is caused and spread. Frankie lives in fear and keeps reminding Todd of being safe. Finally Frankie gets a chance to perform when one of the guys fall sick and he does brilliant work. He meets Walt, a guy in a bar and hook up a few times but Walt is moving away soon. Before he moves, he tells Frankie that he has been tested positive. This bread Frankie's confidence. Thankfully his test comes negative and so is Todd's/ The two were meant to be together. And they do get together towards the end.

Clearly a lot of portions of the movie were focussed on dance and the leads are dancers and they both do a good job of it. Trying to create emotions and what was actually going in people's minds at that point, the film succeeds and provoking that but as a whole there is a lot to be desired. There is not much happening between Frankie and Todd till the very end of the film. Frankie's other flings (with Walt and his room-mate) are not interesting and the narrative is a little underdeveloped. Clearly the focus was more on dances (which are good) but some sort of further story development and character detailing would have helped the film tremendously. Minus the dance scenes, the film could be easily short film.

The film does promote healthy and safe sex suggestion. A story that could have been much more likable leaves a lot to be desired. (5.5/10)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Southern Baptist Sissies

Originally set as a stage play, thesis the film version of the play. It means the play has been recorded so that viewers like me can also enjoy the film. The setup, acting, sets and everything gives you a feel of a stage play which could be good or bad depending on how much are you willing to experiment with movies. The premise mostly is about how being queer can be quite a burden and trying to be a Christian an even greater burden. Being queer while trying to be a Christian at the same time can often seem impossible.

The play follows story of 4 childhood friends set in Texas. Each one of them struggles with his sexuality in a varying way. Mark, who also serves as narrator, questions the Baptist church that preaches love and forgiveness while decrying homosexuality; Benny fully embraces his gayness, growing up to become a flamboyant drag queen entertainer; TJ (Mark's first love) desperately tries to deny who he is, eventually getting married to a woman; and Andrew, the most troubled of the group, wrestles with the conflicting demands of his faith and his sexuality with ultimately tragic results. In addition to these we have an older gay man Peanut and his best friend, an alcoholic Odette, who humorously discuss their lives and comment on the proceedings during numerous sessions at a gay bar. We see how the boys interact, trying to teach each other a thing or two, help each other, support each other; we also see families reactions and how ultimately it affects all their lives.

It i snot easy to sit through this long movie/play, specially when there are a lot of monologues that keep coming one after the other. But its the humour by the old friends in a gay bar that keeps the goings alive. We do get to witness the pain, anguish and sufferings by the boys and what they all are going through. It is a good mix of pain and humour. Sometimes the pain comes abruptly in the midst of the comedy, but it is the real pain known all too well by young queers trying desperately to understand who they are and what other people think of them. The message of Sissies is one of hope and healing for those who grew up in the church. An unflinching portrayal of the kind of damage the church continues to do even more strongly today. The performances by all actors is incredible and praise worthy and kudos to the makers for bringing out something so important to a wider audience.

The format of the play will unfortunately find a very niche audience for the film but sensitive performances and an important subject warrant a viewing. (6/10)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Torka Aldrig Tårar Utan Handskar (Swedish) [Don't Ever Wipe Tears Without Gloves]

Thank you so much to one of my readers on this blog, who suggested that I should watch this series and that I would like it. I had in my list to watch this series but if not for the feedback, I probably won't have watched it so soon, and I would have missed out on such a great series. Made as a 3 part TV series of almost an hour each in Sweden, This film brings us a very interesting, genuinely touching, heart- wrenching and important piece of modern history. It deals with the start of the AIDS epidemic in 1980's homophobic Sweden.

19-year-old Rasmus, moves from rural hometown to Stockholm to attend university after graduation. As soon as he arrives in Stockholm he begins to seek out the gay community that he was always suppressing in his small town. He meets and befriends Paul as soon as he arrives in the city. At a Christmas dinner party in Paul's apartment he eventually meets Benjamin, a young man who is struggling to come to terms with his homosexuality (Paul helps him) and faith as a Jehovas Witness. There is instant connection between the two men and they start dating each other. Benjamin is still not out to his family but despite this they soon move in together. Their friend circle is Paul and some of the other close friends who they hang out with Paul. Their tradition is a family christmas dinner.  AIDS has started to spread among their friends, end eventually it also reaches them. They are losing their friends and everyone around them. When Rasmus is found HIV-positive, Benjamin finally decides to tell his parents and church elders that he is homosexual, in order to fully support Rasmus. This leads him to being shunned by the church, and forces his parents to stop all contact if they want to remain in the congregation. We see Rasmus and Benjamin struggling with things and others as well. We get glimpses of families not acknowledging that their sons are dying of AIDS or the fact that they were gay. When Rasmus in in a worse condition, Bejamin asks his parents to visit who visit and are the most nicest people. But after his death, just as others Rasmus' parents refuse to accept Benjamin's request concerning Rasmus's funeral, although they had been deeply in love and Benjamin had remained by Rasmus' side throughout. 20 years later, Benjamin is still surviving and dealing fine with support of memories of his love and their time spent together with friends.

The series fundamentally seeks and shows truth of the situation and in what actually happened; yet truth is coupled to the intensity of a well-crafted script and beautifully acted roles, something the pure documentary approach lacks, something that allows the story to become universal, outside time and place. The entire 3 episodes go back and forth with Rasmus' and Benjamin's childhood memories, their growing up times and days, their interactions with their family and surroundings; their current lives and in the last episode, the future life as well. The title of the series comes from an act of kindness when a nurse is wiping tears from an AIDS victim but as per the theory any human contact, even if it’s intended as the smallest act of kindness, risks passing on the infection. This film shows response across society to these extreme new circumstances. It beautifully shows the couples relationship growing, their joys and tribulations, how their contact with their blood families reduce and their new friends-family increase. There are moments on the screen that are emotionally very strong and need a strong heart to watch and sit through those. The fathers crying when Rasmus dies, the families not acknowledging, Benjamin watching everyone dying slowly, Rasmus' reaction of finding out he is positive and dying, Paul's funeral in the end and finally the old Benjamin's outburst when he finally gets to see the place where Rasmus grew up. There were so many scenes where I had a touch time controlling my emotions. Thanks god that the characters and their situations are treated with respect, according them dignity even when life has done its utmost to take that away. The 2 lead actors give honest, moving, raw and believable performances, fighting for their love and acceptance from both their families and society. The actor playing Paul was also very good and he stays happy until the end and keeps the group together.

An important series that shows the dangers of ignorance and prejudice during the worse times of AIDS epidemic; the importance of love, acceptance and remembrance. We who were not in that time period, need to sit back and reflect on those tough times and empathize with people who lived through it. Imagine how emotionally string they would have had to be, when I can't even watch it without crying. (9/10)

Friday, July 11, 2014

Geoff and Pavel

When I started watching this, I kept wondering why does this give a TV series feeling rather than watching a movie! And when in the first 5 minutes itself, the scenes were abruptly changing, I had to pause and look out what was going on. It turns out that this is not a film. The scenes were extracted from several episodes of the Irish TV series Raw. The result is a pretty decent watch (sometimes lethargic). It is not the usual youtube amateurish crap but it is not professional either. Overall a decent gay love story with a lot of stuff going around.

Geoff is the au-chef in a restaurant run by Tanya and her husband Max who is the main chef. People come for Max's cooking but his eccentric behavior more often than not, leaves Geoff in charge. A young Czech waiter Pavel has recently started at the restaurant. Like he does for most people, Geoff shouts at Pavel and makes fun but slowly starts caring for him. In the meantime there are a lot of side stories happening in the restaurant: drug dealing, restaurant not doing well and employee troubles. Geoff thinks he should be a partner because he works his ass off but Tanya doesn't agree. max really doesn't have much say in what happens or not. After hanging out a few times with Pavel, Geoff and him eventually hook up but for Geoff its another one-night stand. He starts treating Pavel even badly in the restaurant and that makes him hurt. Finally things start falling in place when everyone comes together to make restaurant a success. Geoff realizes his mistake and makes up with Pavel and they try to start a beautiful relationship together.

As mentioned This is not a film but scenes extracted, so as a viewer you will have to ignore when sudden scene jumps do not make any sense. Just keep focus on restaurant and Geoff And Pavel. To be very honest, there is not much to their love story either; jut a couple of interactions here and there but overall its still quite decent. Acting is quite decent by the cast. Again remember, this is supposed to be a TV show, so accordingly things just fall in place.

Overall a decent mash-up when you don't have better things to do and are looking for something strictly time pass. (4.5/10)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Hoje Eu Quero Voltar Sozinho (Portuguese) [The Way He Looks]

I was so excited when I saw that this cute short film (one of my favorites) has been made into a full length feature film. I was really curious to see what the makers can come up with when it comes to an entire length feature. Unfortunately, my expectations were not met completely. Don't get me wrong, it still is a fantastic film but can it match the humongous expectations that were set by the short film? Probably not! Maybe what the makers wanted to achieve versus my expectations didn't match  at a certain level. I was hoping the makers would focus on romance angle more (purely for selfish reasons), but makers tried to infuse the bling guy's struggle to be independent.

Leonardo is blind from north and is best friends with Giovana, who walks him him everyday from school. Leo is often picked up at school but he is used to it by now. The dynamics change after entry of Gabriel, a new student in the class who ends up sitting in proximity of Leo and Giordana. Gio probably likes Leo but can't do anything about it. She also wonders if Gabriel is interested in her. But Gabriel and Leo start becoming close friends. This is the first time Leo has found company in a male guy of his age group and unconsciously he ends up ignoring Gio in certain cases. She starts getting jealous of the close proximity between 2 guys. One night after a party Gabriel ends up kissing Leo but they don't talk about it anymore to avoid awkwardness. Leo clearly likes Gabriel but Gabriel says he doesn't remember anything and starts spending more time with another girl in the school. Gabriel also tries to make sure that misunderstanding is cleared between Leo and Gio, which ultimately happens. This gives Leo courage to tell Gio that he loves Gabriel. Initially shocked, Gio ventrally comes around and the film ends on a very positive note when it turns out that Gabriel has similar feelings for Leo.

You know as I am writing this review, I am realizing that barring a few issues that I had with the film, I pretty much liked most other things. Let's get over the negative first. There were quite a few scenes and dialogues where Leo wants to go to a different country and be on his own. His struggle to not always be helped but rather be independent. As a viewer I felt cheated because despite having spent so much time on discussing the issues, it was never given a proper closure. Although Leo riding a bike on his own in the end does show a sort of freedom that he gets. All 3 principal actors are simply terrific. Their performances are noting short of amazing and heart warming. The way these teenagers show emotions of love, jealousy, rejection, care & sensitivity is mind blowing. There is something endearing about the film that makes it worth the watch. The movie is very "go with the flow" and you feel a part of the film. Discussions between Leo's parents about their protectiveness for him were also handled with dignity and not pity. Actor playing Leo is superb. I was 100% convinced that he is blind in real life. Gabriel is so cute and adorable that I could eat him up :)

Complemented with a great musical score, this film is definitely worth a watch and highly recommended. (8/10)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Gay Short Films : 22

These short films are all less than 4 minutes in duration. Therefore, I am combining these all here.

Dear dad, love Maria (Spain)
Maria, a young male-to-female transsexual, writes a letter to her disapproving father the night before her gender reassignment operation. An exploration of memory, loss of innocence, growing up, and being who you are.

Seven sins: Greed (Canada)
A young couple sings from their apartment windows about the unshared bagel that ended their relationship. And the guy finds a male lover.

The Wedding dance (USA)
Guests are leaving their love message for the newly wed couple specially groom, when he invites his parents for the first dance. The parents happen to be a gay couple. Fantastic !

Ageless (USA)
Love, sex and relationships are seen through the eyes of two men; one in his 50s, the other in his 20s. Their common struggles about wanting just sex or something more emotional, prove to be ageless.

The Closet (USA)
An old man recalls the moment that defined his life when his parents found out about him. A touching end when a little girl helps him tie his laces and goes with her gay dads.

Kaghaz-e Sefid (Iran) [White Paper]
A portrait of stick-figure kids who don’t fit in at home; they bring their rainbow of colors out into the world and meet each other.

De Kinderombudsman (Netherlands)
A shout out to stop bullying when  kid recalls how he was beaten and not helped by anyone.

Nakenlekar (Sweden)
A funny story where 2 guy are watching porn and suddenly one guy says that he wanna go for guys now because he thinks its too much of time waste to woo a girl. Guys are much more easier.

Samesies (USA)
Another funny tale from previous times, I guess where they show the probability of how there were only gays and being heterosexual was later then forced on them.

So God Made a Gay Man (USA)
Just a 2 minute run down on how gay men are goo and there is a reason they are in this world.

Tapin du soir (France) [Night Hustler]
A young man (not a hustler) is picked by a man and pays him 40 dollars for a blow job. The young man asks for the favor in return for money. He then says that he is just lonely and wants some company. This romantic short is well-made and to the point.

Waking up (Israel)
A guy wakes up to a happy morning with his partner and their kid and suddenly he finds everything close to his heart disappear.

Steam (UK)
Camera focusses for about 2 minutes on a perfectly ripped body of a man drenching with sweat who in the end is shown to be ironing his underwear.

An Act of Love (Italy)
Men are arm wrestling in an arena when two bears suddenly decide to stop it and start kissing. Everyone in the arena follows the suit.

Adam: Next Generation Robotics (UK)
A call to people to not be like robots: Never be controlled, suppressed or silenced.

Znelka (Slovakia)
A train full of prisoners, when a passenger years for a cigarette from a soldier, he passes the smoke in a lip to lip kiss.

Best (US)
2 black friends get together one last time for a quickie before one of them gets married for good while the other just watches.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Matterhorn (Dutch)

This was a very confusing film for me. I read this film has been featured in many comedy film festivals, which is weird because there is not a single comic scene in the film. I still am not very sure what was the point of the film and what was the exact message that the makers were trying to make in the film.

Fred is a widower, devout and religiously conservative Dutch man. Being a good Christian, Fred decides to help reform a homeless man Theo and teach him a few things about responsibility and the importance of work. Theo seldom talks or initiates conversations and is more like a slow-witted robot—doing things Fred tells him but seeming to have little in the way of intellect. Sometimes he makes animal noises and is more interested in hanging out with farm animals than people. And, sometimes Theo puts on Fred's deceased wife's clothing. Despite this, both men come to care for each other over time. In fact, eventually Fred comes to love Theo and is convinced that God has answered his prayers for a new wife in the form of Theo. One day telling his story of how he proposed to his wife , he says "Will you marry me" to which Theo replies and says yes. But soon Fred finds out about Theo's real life and that he has a wife (or an ex-wife). He drops Theo at his home and returns back only to find Theo again at his doorstep after a few days and he is back to being very happy. They get married in a church and decide to live together.

I have a few problems with this film. I think a man marrying a mentally child (even though with big body) irrespective of male or female is questionable, considering that he is from a very strong religious background. There is no proper build up of why is their marriage important. Its not as if Fred really proposed to him. Is there a guilt that Fred is dealing with and was he a closet homosexual or is he doing this for his son, who it turns out if gay and was thrown out of the house by his father. And what was the whole story about Fred's neighbor. First he accuses Fred of taking his love and marrying her and then he accuses of taking Theo from him. This film was nothing but a bunch of confusion. Despite major flaws in the story, the acting by all primary actors is very strong specially Theo.

There's no humor, there's no tragedy, the characters are bland. You don't get bored because you are waiting for something to happen but nothing ever does. (3.5/10)