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, March 31, 2015

Cucumber (TV Series) (UK)

These are exciting times for avid film/series watchers like me, specially the ones that focus on gay characters. It is time for another gay TV series from UK. I had heard of this series a few months back, but I am an impatient man. So I waited of the entire series to finish, so I could binge watch 8 episodes. By now most of you may know that this is a part of 3 web series along with Banana and Tofu, which essentially represent hardness scale of penis erection. The thought itself is so exciting that every gay man would watch this series.

Cucumber’s central character is a 45 year old man Henry and his life and his loves and his adventures. Henry is an insurance salesman and has been living with his boyfriend of 9 years, Lance. Interestingly, we find out that Henry doesn’t like anal sex and somehow he has convinced Lance of that. Lance is desperate to get married to Henry and end his virginity phase but Henry is more interested in his conversations with Dean (a black teenager working in his office) and Freddie, a delicious 21 year old hot working in cafeteria. Henry is totally smitten by him and just dreams of having him in bed at least once in life. In an unfortunate incident, Henry and Lance break up and Henry ends up moving in with Dean and Freddie. Henry eventually gets thrown out of his job, after supposedly causing the suicide of one of his colleagues. Henry starts making homoerotic videos with his nephew and his friend while Dean and Freddie continue with their sexual trysts. Meanwhile Lance gets totally smitten by Daniel, his co-worker, who keeps making sexual moves at Lance but seems like a bipolar personality. So while Henry drools for Freddie, Lance is doing same for Daniel. Lance eventually succeeds but it comes at a price of his life when Daniel in a fit of anger kills him. Some fingers point at Henry for cause of Lance’s death but he is equally devastated by Lance’s death. He needs to move on. His friendship with Dean and Freddie is getting closer even to an extent when Freddie offers to have sex with him which he refuses. When the trio along with many other are thrown out of the illegally occupied houses, Henry decides to take all of them to their home and make a Collective. But things don’t last too long and eventually everyone moves out. Time moves and few years pass when Freddie and Henry have a reunion of sorts. The reunion between Freddie and Henry was the highlight of the episode. I love that this show went from Freddie being barely able to tolerate Henry to actually having the both of them develop an understanding and respect for each other without either of them becoming a couple.

Cucumber has been a mixed bag for me. There are scenes and episodes that I completely loved but then at the same time, there have been stages where I have been left wanting more. The story idea and presentation is definitely novel and something new but I wished there was more detailing into some of the other aspects. At any stage, i never felt connected with any of the characters and this is where I think the series fails a bit. If nothing more, as a viewer, I should have found a warmth about Henry, but I don’t. On the contrary I found him a very selfish individual. Freddie adds the right mix of attitude by a hot gay guy who can have anyone who he wants and Dean as the goofy teenager struggling to find his own. The actors are all charming and have done their job well. Having been to Manchester and seen some of those places, I felt good. I know its not fair to compare but the show ‘Looking’ in US is far more better than this series. Gay television dramas need to be free to fail, and gay characters to be fully rounded human beings rather than walking issues.

I would still recommend this to everyone. My expectations were bit much higher than what I eventually got. (7/10)

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Last Straight Man

This was an interesting film. I have very mixed feelings about it and still can’t decide what to make out of it at the end. Hopefully while writing this piece, it will get clear in my head. the few things that come to my mind after seeing the film is that it must have been made on a ultra low budget. Because the entire film has been shot in one hotel room along with some pics here and there but pretty much every single thing happens there. So the production cost has to be really low. Keeping that in mind, the film has been done actually pretty well.

Lewis and Cooper have ben the best of friends for a while. At Cooper’s bachelor party, when he gets too drunk , he decides to just stay back with Lewis at his hotel room. More shots follow and Lewis admits to being bisexual or maybe even on path of being gay. Thankfully Cooper doesn’t over-react and since he has never messed around with a guy, they end up doing so. Thankfully again, no drama happens in morning and the friends part way still being the best of buddies. Soon we se that this now becomes an annual event, where the 2 buddies spent the same day in the same hotel to screw and catch up. Something that was supposed to be just fun, slowly is turning into something else. They both open up to each other sexually and emotionally that they had not thought of. Lewis is falling involve but part of it still bothers Cooper since he has wife and a kid. They meet again a few years later and then again. What we are privy of are the conversations that happen between the 2 men and how it brings them closer to each other. Five nights over a ten year period are depicted, showing how their friendship/relationship changes, and exploring the boundaries of sexuality.

Since the entire film is based on the conversations between the 2 men, a lot depends on the dialogues of the film, which to be honest range from moderate to decent to good to mediocre. Often I felt that the conversations were going no-where and the film was unnecessarily being stretched, which I still believe, and the film would have been much better with a tighter editing. But then someone could argue that it is necessary to show the dynamics changing between the 2 men. The performances between 2 men is quite alright actually. Neither great shakes but not terrible either. Lewis is mostly the logical one  and Cooper just wants to let loose having to live a life for 364 days a year that he probably doesn’t enjoy. What surprises me is that the film is shown over 10-12 years but the duo doesn’t change at all over the course of years. Just getting a french beard for one of the nights, doesn’t make a huge change.

A decent watchable  film but unfortunately it fails to hold at the attention of the viewers. It needs crisper editing. (5.5/10)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Looking: Season 2 (TV series)

Just finished watching the last episode of Season 2 and at the same time I also find out that the series has not been renewed for Season 3. Now that makes me upset, because e decent gay series are hard to find in the first place, and now HBO wants to take away that pleasure from us. Anyway, at least they are going to allow a special episode so that all the stories can be given a proper closure. Now I will wait for that.

Season 2 continues to focus on the 3 friends Patrick, Augustine and Dom. Patrick and his boss Kevin are now secretly dating. Initially hesitant, Patrick tells this to all his friends. Kevin has still not broken with his current boyfriend, so the things are complicated. Patrick initially is ok with this but can’t take it anymore forcing Kevin to take a decision. Ultimately patrick and Kevin end of moving n together but the end of season is not as rosy as it seems because it seems the 2 want different things form their relationship as far as monogamy is concerned. Augustine is trying to stay away from alcohol and meet a positive bear. For some reason, he has this instant liking for him and he tries his best to sort his life and see if he can finally make it with this new guy. H also joins him in his volunteer service of helping trans kids at a centre. He finally feels happy. And then we have Dom and his fag-hag roommate Doris. Dom is still trying to find out how to put his dream to reality by opening some sort of eating join. When Doris’ father dies, she is left with some money which she offers to Dom. At the same time, Doris also meets a black straight man, who is too much into her and too good to be true. She is struggling with balancing her friendly love for Dom and love for this new man because she wants things to work out for them. In between we see some side stories of other people around them including Rich who was Patrick’s ex boyfriend and also Dom’s older boyfriend whom he met in Season 1. Season 2 ends on a high not without putting any closure tony stories.

As in season one, my absolute favourite thing about this season is the performances. Every single actor, I mean, every single one of them is amazing. And the credit has to go to the director for this to extract such natural amazing performances. I also like that this season focussed on all three characters and not just Patrick. Augustine's character and story was developed further which was good to see. I think we still need to see more of Dom and Doris history. Although this season my absolute favourite was Doris. How I wish, there was more of her. Patrick’s character could use some more bot of fine tuning and a little more reactions. I loved the scene where he and Kevin plan for an overnight stay. The entire sequence is funny but so damn realistic. The entire premise is realistic and very life-like. You feel you are following your friends in real-life and watching them through a secret camera. The spontaneity of the actors is amazing. I wonder how much of this is rehearsed vs improvised.

I am sad that the series has not been renewed but maybe one day we will see a movie version of this. Meanwhile enjoy this and lets hope we see more LGBT theme series and films that are actually good. I am LOOKING :) (8/10)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Day It Snowed In Miami (Documentary)

The Day It Snowed In Miami, a documentary about LGBT rights and the 1977 Anita Bryant campaign in Miami-Dade County. The documentary’s title serves as a metaphor: the ordinance that sparked the outrage was debated by commissioners on an uncharacteristically frigid night and some opponents at the time remarked that the ordinance would pass "when hell freezes over." The morning after the ordinance was approved — Jan. 19, 1977 — Miamians woke up to snowflakes for the first and, so far, only time.

The ordinance and subsequent battle in South Florida between liberal supporters and conservative singer Anita Bryant's Save Our Children group, thrust gay rights into the national spotlight for the first time and the film documents the LGBT movement through the present. Banned by law from holding any public or private teaching jobs, as well as several other professions, and hounded by a state Senate committee headed by a former governor, Florida’s homosexual population lived in fear and solitude. After the ordinance was passed, A backlash quickly ensued, led by Anita Bryant. The documentary focusses on that aspect. Soon the focus shifts to the 80s AIDS crisis. Left without support, gay men and their sympathizers organized to fight the disease and to comfort the afflicted. This effort, according to “The Day It Snowed In Miami,” is what turned the tide. With improved organization and more research, effective treatment eventually followed. With treatment came longer survival times. With longer survival came a renewed need to focus on a future, and that future increasingly meant demanding acceptance as equals in society. The story ends when the motion to reinstate the county’s human rights ordinance was passed 6-5.

Though dealing with an important and emotional aspect, the documentary felt very preachy and long. The first half of the section was insightful and fit the title. When the film started going into AIDS epidemic and other things, it just felt that this is stretching way beyond what it was originally planned for. I agree that historically that is THE single most important piece of history that defined a lot of things for gay community, but it seems to me at least that it wasn’t supposed to be the focus of the documentary, which it ended up being. Also, for someone like me, who did not have any of this context before, it would have been better if the documentary was a little more simplified to understand. I felt a lot of political terms were used which did leave me a bit confused many times.

Overall, still a very important documentary which helps us understand another chapter in history of gay rights movement, this one focusing on Florida. (5/10)

Friday, March 20, 2015

Underage And Gay (UK) (Documentary)

In the documentary film Underage and Gay, shown on Channel 4 in UK, we meet bright, articulate, funny teenagers who tell their own stories during this interesting period of their lives. The camera follows queer teenagers for about 4-6 months to survey whether the world is now a more tolerant place? But even more importantly, what is the reality for LGBT teenagers in Britain today?

Become from Bradford is a 14 year old gay teenager who was never in doubt of his sexuality. The documentary looks at his desire to be out, open and honest while starting at his new work but at the same time dealing with threatening phone calls and abuive messages. Mykyla, 14, is a self-described ‘butch lesbian’ and as such has had issues fitting in with other girls. She attempts to meet more people ‘like her’ including a residential boat trip with an LGBT group. During the trip she finds out that she identifies herself being addressed more as a boy with pronoun ‘he’ but still wants to retain her body. Tamika , 16, is a sassy, confident lesbian. After years of fitting in, and keeping a low profile, Tamika has decided that her school prom is her chance to smash some preconceptions her schoolmates have about her by turning up in an elegant evening gown. Alex, 17, was born a female, but is starting to construct a new life as a male. After some domestic strife, he was placed in a hostel, away from a family that had always mistreated him. We watch as he attempts to build a new life away from them, and struggles with the realities of being a transgender teen. Finally, Cariad, 14, a Welsh lesbian who has suffered horrific bullying. She decides to let go off her tom boy look and embrace her girly-ness with her new look and new confidence.

All the teenagers in this documentary come across as intelligent, brave and obviously self-aware of who they are and how they want to live their lives. People question whether at such a young age do they really know who they are and what they want but it is a debate saved for another day. It was interesting to see what teenagers even in today’s day and age go through. Alex’s story affected me the most. For a 16 year old to start a life on your won without emotional support from family is got to be the hardest thing anyone has to do. The other also have interesting stories and the fact that the duration is just the right size under an hour, it keeps the viewers engaged and at the same time the message is passed across.

A touching and brave documentary about sexuality and gender. (6/10)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Gay Short Films : 30

A list of some really short films/programs that I saw with gay theme.

The Clearing (UK)
This short show an unidentified walker who is lured through the woods by the distant sound of a saxophone. He is drawn past inviting groups of gay men luring him into sexual acts, a woman picnicking, a boy eating an apple, before finally reaching the clearing. Good !

Alfalfa (UK)
Film introduces a gay alphabet, with the aid of images and music, which it is argued is a defence against heterosexual language. Yawn !!

Distance (French Canada)
A couple struggling in their relationship gets the last blow when the husband comes out to his wife as gay. Average !

The Navajo Nation and Same-Sex Marriage (USA)
The national debate over gay marriage, however, is prompting some Navajos to re-examine a 2005 tribal law called the Dine Marriage Act, which prohibits same-sex unions on the reservation. More documentary style. Yawn !

Black Gay Dads Who Blew Up Twitter (USA)
What did Kordale and Kaleb Lewis, the black, gay, Atlanta-based fathers of three young children do when they were faced with intense homophobia and racism after a picture of them doing their daughter’s hair went viral. Nice !

Kus me Zachtjes (Belgium) [Kiss Me Softly]
All attention in the family goes to 17 year old Jasper’s singer dad. He rebels by coming out to his family by kissing his boyfriend in the entire crowd. Comedy !

Primera Vez (Argentina) [First Time]
An 18-year old meets a man of 29 in a chatroom and decides to have his first experience with him. Pretty good !!

Mies Etsii Miestä (Finland) [Man Seeking Man]
An old man gets a surprise when he mistakes his estranged son to be the hustler who he had advertised for and was expecting to show up around the same time. Awkward !

No Particular Night in Fun City (USA)
A young boy running away from the law ends up in the back alley, only to bump into a leather jacket daddy, who hates faggot. Conversation between them reveals that the boy ran away because he bashes a man whom he thought was trying to blow him when he was taking a leak. Bad acting !

Cara O Cruz (Spain) [Head Or Tail]
Heartwarming story of 2 very close friends who know they are not gay and talk about it but would rather be with each other than choose that over any girl or their further education.  Excellent short film !

You're Dead To Me (USA)
As she prepares to receive family members on an important anniversary a mother cooks, cleans, and fights with her trans teen over unresolved differences that left them estranged. The argument reveals some rifts in their relationship and resolves itself in an unexpected and touching climax. Very good !

Former Inmate On His Time In LA Jail's 'Gay Wing' (USA)
A former inmate ( a British producer) walks us through his experience of spending time in the gay wing of LA prison and what things you have to deal with as opposed to politics of normal wing. Interesting !

Victor (France)
Victor is a young man of good breeding, who keeps his dead parents in the bedroom of their sumptuous family cottage. The new status quo opens the door for new discoveries in curing a threesome with his maid and his hunky boyfriend.

Orange/Milk (Romania)
The story of two friends whose relationship is built around the obsession for voyeurism and for each other. A better direction an this film would have been fantastic. Alex was HOT !

Monday, March 9, 2015

Cuatro Lunas (Spanish) [4 Moons]

Films with multiple parallel tracks can be a hit or miss. Some stories gel well with each other while others don’t. Each film-maker has a different way to present these stories. Some keep them totally separate while others try to bring in the characters into each other to show some form of relation between the stories. There is no right or wrong between these two styles. As long as the viewer is still sufficiently engaged and enjoys, nothing else matters.

This film also follows 4 parallel stories. We meet 11 year old Mauricio who has a secret crush on his dark haired cousin. Rather confident of his feelings, he manages to act on it with his curious cousin only to be later humiliated in public by the cousin’s curiosity-turned-homophobia. The young boy’s first brush of crush will leave a deep impact on his life including how his parent’s react to the entire situation. In the second story we meet Fito & Leo, former school buddies as kids who reunite in college again. Spending time with each other makes them fall in love and they are both surprised by it. But soon Leo starts fearing to be found by family and friend. His first boy-friend or love is no longer important but sense soon prevails and things are green again. Third story is about lovers Hugo and Andre who have been together for 10 years. They routine life has induced boredom in Hugo, who secretly starts seeing another man. Andrew wants to hold on to Hugo and do everything it takes to salvage the relationship but will that be enough. Maintaining a relationship is as hard as finding love in the first place. And in the last story we see a retired professor and poet with wife, kids and grandkids, propositioning to a ripped hustler in a gay sauna. He ends up stealing his grandkids christmas money to satisfy his curiosity but the change of heart in both of them in second half just looks forced.

Each story in this film corresponds to one of the four phases of the moon: new, half waxing, full, and half waning; and each has a gay protagonist at a roughly corresponding time of life: late childhood, late teens or very early 20s, middle 30s, and old age. Each protagonist faces challenges typically faced by gay males at those times of life, but presented in entirely original ways. Acting by pretty much everyone is actually quite good and good direction. My absolute favourite story is about leo and Jito. It is really endearing and heartwarming. Their interactions, first time cuddling and sleeping, their attempt at first time sex and everything else is just pure and magical and captured very very well on screen. How I wish now that someone takes specifically this story with the same actors and weave a full-length feature on justice section. Sadly the last story about the old man feels completely the opposite. It was stretched beyond meds and the scenes where he s hanging out with his daughters seemed completely out of place and unnecessary. The other 2 stories were equally good and they all teach us something. How a kid goes through adolescence and will it scar him for life that he is gay. The scene where he goes to church to ask the priest if he ha committed crime, gives us a glimpse of what could follow. Overall the film was quite engrossing and I can definitely admit that I did not feel bored of the film and can see myself revisiting it at some point in life.

The stories grab your attention till the end. Overall a very pleasant and satisfying movie. (7.5/10)