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.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Such Good People

I love over the top screwball comedies, specially gay ones. Watching these films is one of the few times, where you can leave your brain aside and just enjoy the proceedings. But the biggest problem with this film is that it is not funny and there isn’t any reason to laugh at all. The characters make stupid decisions, which are non-laughable (more on that later)

Richard and Alex are sexy, young gay couple living a blissful life in sunny Los Angeles. They have everything but are missing that perfect house where they can raise a family. When they chance upon a beautiful mansion, with a picturesque charm, they want it at any cost. They crash a party at that place and make friends with owners Jake and Chloe. We also meet Alex’s half sister who also wants that house. When Jake and Chloe pick Richard and Alex to house sit for them while they go to Bhutan to help orphan kids, destiny has something else in store. Jake and chloe get killed in Bhutan and Alex and Richard stumble upon a pile of cash of almost million dollar. Now the couple struggle between the right and wrong with the cash. What’s the right decision to be made. At the same time, Alex’s sister and brother-in-law are behind their tail and may be hiding secrets much more deeper than the gay couple is aware of. Going back and forth between wanting to donate the money to charity v/s buying  the house of their dreams, the brother-sister duo gets into a game of one-man-upmanship. In various twists and turns, secret of money is revealed, the sibling rivalry is tested and all’s well that ends well.

Seasoned and well known actors playing Richard and Alex helps the plot. They along with other cast members put in an admirable effort but the writing and direction leaves a lot to be desired. I did not laugh at any single scene and instead caught myself rolling my eyes. Richard (from Ugly Betty) still provides unique charm but Alex's acting leaves a bit to be desired. I expected a lot more. This whole thing could have been funny 5 years ago but common, we should update ourselves with time. The madcap antics by characters always seem unbelievable, and the plot never really gathers momentum. I am ok with a crazy logic in screwball comedies but this film just missed all the fun, energy and vibrancy that such films are needed.

Overall just an average effort. This could have been so much better. (4.5/10)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Gay Short Films : 31

The Ducks’ Migration (USA/Chile)
Two close family friends, Jeremy and Alphonse, spend a few weeks together in Brooklyn. Jeremy is confused about his love for his friend but doesn’t know how to react while obsessed with the ducks in the Prospect Park lake and finishing a school paper about their migration. Alphonse likes to ride bicycles and does not want to leave town. The ducks inevitably leave, Alphonse goes back to Paris, and Jeremy stays in his house. But thep process teaches everyone something, mostly Jeremy.

Mom I'm Gay (Argentina)
A man's failed attempts at coming out to his mom make a for a very short but hilarious viewing with all excuses he gives to her.

Furry Boys (Spain)
2 boys who wear fur of animals are trying to make love for a promo. Really short short.

Gorilla (Australia)
On a camping trip with his boyfriend, Joel questions when the universe will end. His boyfriend, Sean, plays a game, having Joel close his eyes and pick a random word from a book as his answer. The word is 'gorilla'. The next day, a mysterious woman arrives at their secluded campsite and Joel comes across a sinister gorilla mask in her bag. He hates her instantly but things change soon. When she dances at night with the gorilla mask on, Joel feels free and joins her leaving Sean totally bewildered on what’s going on.

Calypso
2 sea divers meet more gays when water current drifts them. BAD !!


Ratas (Spain)
Nico and Paul were together. Nico is moving out after many fights and now Paul is with a girl Nani. Nico and Nani hate each other at first sight. There are many things that separate Nani and Nico but a giant kitchen knife will make them realise that they have a strong bond in common: neither of them will stop at nothing to get Paul. Because love and sex are red. The extent that each of them will go to hurt the other person to have the ultimate claim of Paul is worth watching. This short film was fucking amazing and the guy Paul was so damn hot. I think the concept was innovative and directed and acted really well.

Wall (Spain)
Two young lovers meet against a city soundscape. The Spanish on the wall reads ‘I don’t want you any more’, and 'why are you a coward’.

The Invention(UK)
Brad is jobless, insomniac, alcoholic and probably in closet. Kevin is a research student working on a strange machine. After a chance encounter with Kevin on the street, things change for Brad. In his new job at a student;’s facility , he meets Kevin again. As Kevin approaches him for help, he can forsee that the outcome of this encounter will lead to his seduction. Brad now needs to decide between his old ways or man up and accept that he is gay. Is this all real or just a dream? Good acting but frankly a very confusing short film for me.

It's A Boy (Netherlands)
Teenage crush on each other while one of them is waiting forces sister in labour.

Death Of Gay Cliche (Portugal)
A happy gay couple and 2 strangers who tear them apart separately.

Teens like Phil (USA)
Phil, a shy, insecure teenager is struggling to come to terms with his sexuality. At his elite private school, Phil is picked on by his former friend and love interest, Adam. Adam frequently lashes out with violence against Phil and enjoys humiliating him in the locker room. As the bullying intensifies, both at school and at home, the back story of Phil and Adam’s ill-fated relationship is revealed, leading to a horrific final assault. This is apparently based on true incident and is indeed a shame such teenagers in todays day and age still have to deal with homophobic hatred.

The Course (Cuba)
A fellow transgender prostitute teaches her colleague on how to seduce men to sleep with them.

One Third The Terror (USA)
One Third the Terror is a beautifully shot comic spoof of the horror classic, Trilogy of Terror. Karen, a lonely transwoman with unfulfilled desires sets up a romantic evening with a blow-up midget sex doll. When the doll goes missing the evening takes a terrifying turn. She is raped and then delivers a midget with the help of her nosy neighbour. The acting by the lead actor is quite interesting and good.

You're Cute for a Black Guy. 
A docufilm exploring the real reality of race and racism that runs rampant in the black gay community. Answering few questions and comments that they experience, this helps to broaden the discussions of what it looks like to be a gay man in 2015.

Boner Breakfast
2 friends having breakfast and one cannot getup to fetch ketchup because he has morning wood.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

La Maison de Himiko (Japanese) [House Of Himiko]

This was an interesting film, unlike most other Japanese gay themed films that I have seen before. It was an interesting mix of drama, comedy, emotions. In fact, the film could also be a right balance between both gay and straight audience. A story that’s said to  focus on relationships (does it really?), it makes for something interesting on paper.

Saori is a young woman, with low self-esteem and always low on cash struggling for survival. Her father left her mother to live his life as a gay man. He started a bar for gays, which later closed. He then opened up a retirement home for gay men called “La Maison de Himiko”. Understandably, she holds the grudge against him through the entire movie. When approached by her father’s very young and handsome lover to work as an assistant at this home, she unwillingly takes up the job became of money involved. At first she’s very uneasy and finds the men that live in the retirement home disgusting. Slowly but surely she comes to like the men that are there and helps them through some problems as well as confront problems of her own. The film focuses a little bit of every individual older man in that house along with the patron and how their lives were and are now and maybe everything is not as rosy for these men as it seems to Saori. While she opens up to everyone in the home, she still can’t forgive her father, who ultimately dies. She joins her old job back but clearly misses the beautiful company and love she received at the home. Things change and with persuasion from the members of then house, she comes back to the home for a hopefully happy future.

Interesting storyline and executed a s a chick-flick with little bot of romance, sex, drama, comedy and everything. I enjoyed the film because I chose to ignore the loopholes but there were quite a few. Why is the young sexy guy with older man when she stops around for sex at every opportunity, why does he suddenly become sexually interested in Saori, how does the house make money to live such a good eventful life etc. The film does show that homosexuality for some folks is quite open while for others, it could be still a shame. The young boy who gets transformed from being a bully to the house to a actually helping them in cooking was a good side plot. In terms of acting, the guy playing the older father is superb. He has that carizma of a lady queen who you can imagine running a gay club where the richest and the famous came in old days. He had that positive suave attitude that you would expect from such a person. His younger lover was way too cute and also acted well. I sometimes felt that Saori was over the top. The plot twist of one the guys going paralysed etc was totally unnecessary in my opinion.

Al said and that, even though the film might not have been great, it wasn’t bad either. I didn’t feel cheated or angry at having wasted my time. Yes, the film had gay stereotypes but I am not complaining. (5.5/10)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Interior. Leather Bar.

Now this was an interesting film, if you can call that at all. It is a mix fiction, documentary, feature or you can call it docufiction film as mostly it is mentioned in its promotions. The film stars James Franco and Travis Mathews (also credited as the directors of the film) as themselves working on a film project which reimagines and attempts to recreate the 40 minutes of deleted and lost sexually explicit footage from the controversial 1980 film Cruising starring Al Pacino.

The film starts with the fact that Franco and his Travis are looking to recreate the lost 40 min censored footage from the film. The film follows their process of finding the actors, whats their motivation behind doing this film, a mix of gay and straight actors preparing for the role and this documentary. Everyone is apprehensive, some are doubting, some are questioning while others are condemning. The major focus is on Franco’s friend, an actor, who is trying to make mark of himself and is now being asked to reprise the role of Al Pacino. Very soon we find outfit we will actually not get to witness the 40 minutes of loss footage. The film is actually the footage of the process of making the film. Only towards the end did I realise that all the talking an interactions are all scripted (at most improvised). Even if all the actions captured by the filmmakers were truly spontaneous, you'd still question how "spontaneous" they were, because almost everyone onscreen is a professional actor.

I did not know anything about the 1980 film, but thats kind of irrelevant to this film. Even now, I personally fail to understand the motivation behind this film. It’s like a bait-n-switch. Yes there are 2 graphic sex scenes but whats the point. The scene where Franco and his actor friend discuss what is normal sex and why is gay sex considered ‘deviant’ was a good part but apart form that, I just kept waiting for something to happen. It just didn’t. "Interior. Leather Bar" is ultimately more an idea for movie than a movie itself and it feels half-baked by the time it ends.

The only good thing is that it wasn’t unnecessarily stretched. With the running length of just about an hour, it is bearable. (4/10)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Shortbus

Shortbus is definitely not a gay themed film. It revolves around a sexually diverse ensemble of colourful characters in New York city and since a couple of prominent characters are gay and gay relationships have been given ample prominence, I think I feel ok reviewing this film on my blog. Surprisingly Shortbus includes a variety of explicit scenes containing non-simulated sexual intercourse with visible penetration and male ejaculation with all combinations of partners- male-male, male-female, female-female.

Set in contemporary NYC, the film focuses on 3 main relationships/protagonists. Sofia is married to sexy Rob and together they have great sex. But she has never had an orgasm in life. She works as a couples/counsellor where she meets the couple Jamie and James. James is going through some sort of depression which is affecting the relationship between the two. We also see that a guy has been secretly watching over James’ every move. We also meet Severin, who is a dominatrix, who fulfils fantasy of her clients but in the process has herself never developed skills of human interaction. When James/Jamie find out about Sofia’s orgasmic condition, they introduce her to Shortbus, a weekly social/artistic/sexual salon. James wants themselves to open up their relationship and meet a guy. They meet a young guy Ceth and begin a relationship. Sofia tries anything and everything there to get to climax. Even Rob starts joining her because he feels, he ha failed as a lover in bringing her the orgasm. On the other side, Severin begins to help Sofia loosen up sexually; Sofia helps Severin achieve a deeper human connection than she had experienced before, including a sexual experience between the two but Sofia is still unsatisfied. We soon find out that the video that James has been making throughout the film was actually a suicide film and he wanted to open the relationship so that Jamie can be happy after he is gone. This is when Caleb enters, the guy who has been secretly watching James and helps him fight his inside demons. We see scenes that show us connections between the characters' emotional problems and their sexual lives. The film finds alogical conclusion when all characters somehow find a proper solution/closure to their issues.

First things first, yes, there is a lot of sex. Graphic real sex, far from being crude or offensive. But rather than displaying sexually explicit scenes for the sake of cheap titillation, "Shortbus" is provocative with an actual purpose. With sex as focal theme, the film shows how sex, friendship and love continually intermingle. The raw carnal need of every individual may reflect their mannerisms and need as humans as well. It conveys our motivations and struggles. Yes, this film will be remembered for its explicit sexual scenes but also for its beautiful emotional moments. As this is a gay blog, its important to highlight that the story of Jamie and James was handled really well. The opening scene of James trying to suck himself and drinking his cum, is a bit too much to handle initially, but later we get to see what really is going on between them. Emotional handled well with intimate sex scenes, it makes for an interesting watch nonetheless. But having said all this, the film does get quite slow at some points and you wish, something quick should happen. So in that area, a tighter editing would help. Acting by most people is above average.

Just like real life, the sex in this film comes from honest place and not for titilation. The film shocks you and makes you think. (7/10)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Banana (TV Series) (UK)

Banana is first of the two spin-off shows from ‘Cucumber’. The show focussed mainly on Henry and Banana, in 8 episodes, focuses on 8 different characters and journey of love, heartbreak, sex and drama. Some of these characters very prominently feature in Cucumber, while others feature in just blink an miss appearance. Nevertheless, it is a great idea to showcase some of these stories. Added to the fact that these stories have some sort of comic touch to them, makes for an excellent viewing. You may or may not agree to everything that is shown, but you certainly won't be able to neglect it.

Episode 1 focusses on office boy Dean, who has been complaining about he was thrown out of the house. Since he needs money desperately, he visits his home with his best friend Scotty.
Episode 2 shows Scotty and her obsession with an older married woman and how she stalks her. Armed with a fantastic support system, the scene where she tells the woman how beautiful she is, was just perfect.
Episode 3 focusses on a lesbian relationship between two different individuals, a relaxed party goer and a more focussed career driven girl. Despite differences, the relationship can still be worked out f you really want to.
Episode 4 focussed on trans woman Helen, victim of a jealous ex, who decided to share some of their intimate videos and pictures online when she spurned his attempts of friendship. The support that her family gives her in the end was incredible
Episode 5 shows a young teenager who is obsessed with Freddie after a hook up. It shows him attending his best friends wedding and try to make sense into her that there is more to life than just being married and not living her dreams.
Episode 6 introduces us to  adorably quirky and slightly paranoid Amy. She goes on a nervous but lovely date with policewoman Kay, who also found out was the woman to arrest Daniel for Lance's murder.
Episode 7 shows Aiden, a hunky guy and how a simpleton Frank wants to have a relation with him. They both feel a connection but Aiden makes it more than clear in no uncertain terms that a relationship between the two of them was never, ever going to happen.
Episode 8 is a strong episode that focusses on elderly lesbian and her cleaning empire. She realises a little tool ate that the girls she has been employing for cleaning, could possibly be being abused by their caretaker JonJon.

Every episode was actually quite nice and very informative, sometimes surpassing the parent show. My favourite has to be one with Scotty and then about Amy. Actually every episode was quite nice and very intelligently done. apart from Dean and Scotty, the other characters did not feature that prominently in the show, but it was still nice to see that the characters being built and some episodes being created around their life and support system. Great spin-off show. (7.5/10)

Friday, April 3, 2015

Lilting (English/Mandarin) (UK)

This film reminded me a lot about this Indian film ‘Memories of March’. I am not saying that the films are similar but I found that the basic premise was quite alike. It doesn’t take away the merits of this film. It is a poignant film and touches you at places. It’s not to say that it doesn’t have its shortfalls but given the duration of the film, its quite nice. A story of two people trying to prevail past not only with language gap, but also the intense privacy of their own grief, makes for an intense serious viewing.

Kai and Richard are long time lovers. Kai’s Cambodian-Chinese mother Junn is living in a London retirement home that she totally despises, because she feels lonely and also because she doesn’t speak ay English. Even more, she despises Kai’s “best friend” Richard because he came in the way of Junn moving in with Kai. Not so long ago, Kai died in an accident and both Richard and Junn are dealing with it. Hoping to connect with Junn, Richard pays her a visit but she makes her disliking for him quite apparent. Richard later comes with a friend Vann, fluent in Mandarin and English, as a translator to help Junn connect with a potential suitor Alan in the retirement home. But soon the dramatic engine kicks in as Vann begins translating longer, deeper and inevitably more painful conversations between Richard and Junn, quietly filling in the gaps for Junn about how her son lived while carefully withholding the true nature of Richard and Kai’s relationship. Both Richard and junk experience visions of Kai as a living breathing soul that stirs up their internal emotions. End may not be as exciting but we do see relationship improving between Richard and Junn and hopefully there will be a happy future for both of them.

The film is a very slow paced film and the way Richard and Junn deal with the grief is interesting. It shows us how it is not impossible to share true, meaningful moments with someone who cannot speak a word of your language. Although the Characters’ background stories are not very well established, the emotions are still vivid. While Junn is restrained, Richard does get his eyes wet on more than one occasion since he still cannot tell Junn the real honest truth about her son. The three-way bilingual conversations are paced and edited smoothly, with smart but not excessive reliance on subtitles. Richard is excellent in his role, but I felt Junn was a little too stiff. As a mother, I would have expected more reactions and emotions coming out from Junn. It’s Vann who surprisingly, in a supporting role, gives a great performance, who unwilling gets involved emotionally between the two protagonists while translating everything for them. Kai has limited role, but him and Richard make a great pair.

The movie is depressing, yet uplifting, but somehow I feel, it failed to reach its true potential. (6/10)