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, August 30, 2015

Toute Première Fois (French) [I Kissed A Girl]

I am finding myself having seen a very similar subject recently. There have been a lot of “coming-out” stories and many film makers are trying to attempt something different with what can be easily termed as “coming-in” story. We have seen many straight man turning gay, so why not explore the reverse affect where a gay man can turn straight. I personally don’t believe in this but what the hell, I am all up for exploring the subject for a film, especially when it is dealt with a bit of humour.

Jeremy finds himself waking up with a girl clearly remembering that they had sex. He is super confused because he has been living a very happy life with his boyfriend Antoine of 10 years. In fact they are even planning to get married. Jeremy’s family adores and loves Antoine. Not knowing anyone to turn to, he reaches out to his best friend Charles with whom he also runs his business abut consulting reports. Jeremy can’t get Adna, the swedish girl he slept with, out of his mind and this has affected his sex life with Antoine. On Charles’ suggestion that the only way to know what’s going on will be to face Adna again. Jeremy does that and finds himself getting immensely attracted to her. He can’t bring himself to tell her the truth. In his efforts to help Jeremy, Charles ends up giving Adna a job in the company which further complicates things. Now Jeremy clearly sees his strong feelings for Adna. At the same time Antoine just doesn’t understand whats wrong with Jeremy and tries to talk to him but without any result. As the lies pile up, Jeremy finds himself facing the big decision: stay gay and get married, or play it straight and screw up his life. At this stage the film could have gone any direction, but Jeremy decides to go straight. But its too late because Adna finds out the truth. He goes to Sweden in hope to win her back and of course there is a happy ending.

This film falls strictly in the category of rom-com. Everything is happy-go-lucky but also with a lot of humour. Jeremy’s parents bring in humour and so does Charles with his casanova antics and flirting with their secretary. Although his love story with her was just not justified. Why would he suddenly be so in love with her. Butane the bigger of the problems is how to justify Jeremy going straight. I bet the story writers must have had a touch time to figure out what way they would want the story to end. Because there is always a fear of eliminating maybe one segment of viewers. As much as I am ok with Jeremy going straight, the whole last section of making a trip to Sweden, all the way to the north just to win her was a little too extreme. The acting by everyone is very good but there was just no chemistry between the two lead actors. Someone having lived for 10 years together would have a lot more passion. Although filled with cliches, I did not find myself getting bored. The length of the film was just right. There are no lessons to be learnt from the film, it’s meant to make the viewers laugh. I chuckled here and there and that was that.

No great shakes but not bad either. Strictly an average film and you won’t get bored. (6/10)

Friday, August 28, 2015

Gay Short Films : 38

En El Mismo Equipo (Argentina) [On The Same Team]
A young rugby player is trying to keep in the secret that he is gay, due to conformity mostly, but he struggles with it almost everyday. He longs to be free, but what exactly is freedom to the young man? He isn’t so sure himself. Good.

Particularly Now, In Spring (Belgium)
This is a film about the dreams you have when you are young. A seventeen year old boy reveals his life philosophy of idealism, unity and friendship amongst his mates in the sports club. Yawn !

Góðir Gestir (Iceland) [Family Reunion]
New York artist Katrin struggles to come out to her relatives back in Iceland. She is struggling every minute at the family reunion about how her family is going to react. But when a very senior member whose birthday they have got together for reveals that he is gay and has decided to live with his partner together challenges all her assumptions. Things are going to be ok for her after all. Very good.

Saint (Belgium)
The story of a roman soldier who is executed because of his Christian beliefs from a gay angle. Bore.

Shabbat Dinner (USA)
William’s mother has invited two crazy hippies with their son for dinner and is doing her best to show off but he doesn't have much in common with their son Virgo. This changes when Virgo tells him in private that he has come out as gay and then he starts questioning Virgo about details of his sexuality and ultimately giving into his fantasies until the father catches them. Quite funny.

Trunks (UK)
He's straight, but under the water at his local pool he feels gay. Will he tell his ex-girlfriend the truth? Meh!

33 Teeth (USA)
Eddie has a heightened fascination with his attractive neighbor. Eddie observes his neighbor measuring his manhood with a comb and decides to use the comb to enact revenge after being made fun of by his neighbor's friend. Short and sweet.

Not Gay (USA)
Bromantic comedy about a guy who apparently comes out to everyone on a drunken night but can’ remember anything. He keeps denying that he is gay, until, he tries to kiss a girl and it dawns on him that h is probably gay.

43-44 (Brazil)
A young man has a fetish for flip-flops 43-44 used by attractive men. He goes around walking in the city, increasing his collection of these used flip -flops all the while fantasising about the sexy stuff he would be doing with those. Average.

Diumenge (Spain) [Sunday]
The school year starts, and Max joins for the first time to his new high school. Because of his sexual orientation, his integration is complicated. He confronts bullying and violence. Only Marc is willing to give him a hand, but it is not taken too well by his girlfriend. Marc gets a shock when Max tells him they have decide to move to a different city. Nice.

Pajas (Spain) [Jerk-Offs]
2 friends try to relive old days jerking off together while watching porn together, till one of them realises that the other one has secretly been filming them and this whole thing actually maybe a setup and not just some casual fun.

Gaydar (Brazil)
A hilarious film. Modern age where there is a physical gayer that you can point to a man and find if he is gay or not. This adds some funny situations when his best girlfriend’s father is revealed to be gay. But when he ultimately finds a decent guy, he can’t tell if he is gay or not because he turns out he has a gayer blocker. Too good.

Ese Viernes (Argentina) [That Friday]
A guy walks us through his boring day at work ending up in a bar. He gets a very interesting young man there, starts having great conversations and even asks him to kiss him. This is all until he realises it was all a dream and finds himself waking up next his wife. Does he have secret desires? Too good !!

Jackpot (USA)
Before internet age, when closeted 14-year-old Jack Hoffman hears about a stash of gay porno hidden across town, he decides to brave the bully infested streets of his small New Jersey town, in hopes of getting what he wants. What happens over the course of the day will change everything. Brilliant

Prince and Ekaj (USA)
Two completely different gay latino teenagers find one another wandering the streets of NYC. Story about homelessness, prostitution and struggles. Weird.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Please Like Me: Season 1 & 2 (TV Series) (Australia)

Just finished watching 2 seasons this Australian TV Show and I absolutely loved it. Its quirky hour but that resonated with me. Th geeky, nerdy, awkward dialogues and situations is something right up my alley. An excellent take on a man’s quarter life crisis, its charming, real and extremely funny. Sure season 2 doesn’t live unto the enormous expectations that season 1 created but nonetheless it is still really good.

Just in time for his 21st birthday, Josh gets dumped by his girlfriend, kisses a man for the first time, and learns that his mom, Rose, tried to commit suicide. He lives with his best friend Tom of many years who is dating this girl who totally uses him. Claire forms the trio of this friendship group and is the girl whom Josh dated. Geoffrey is the man whom Josh kisses and soon they start dating. Meanwhile since Josh’s mother’s attempted suicide, he has to start living with her to take care since she is divorced. But Josh’s father, who is now dating May, an asian girl wants to help in any possible way he can. Season one follows lives of these people and their interactions including how Josh is coming to terms with his sexuality and whether or not he will be able to continue his relationship with extremely hot and good looking Geoffrey. We also have Aunty Peg, who is another interesting character. Season 2 introduces Patrick, a new room mate of Josh and Tom. Tom is now single and meet a girl. Josh adores Patrick but he doesn’t give him a second thought. Josh meets Arnold, a patient in a mental ward where now his mother is also spending some time. His father and May now have a young baby daughter as well and Claire is working in Germany. Josh still is leading a very aimless life doing nothing which worries his father. This season focuses on how these characters have developed further, lives of some patients in mental institutes, Josh’s relationships with Patrick, Arnold and even Geoffrey who comes back for one episode. Of course we also get to see what’s happening with Tom’s life and how is he dealing with his single status. Season 2 really doesn’t have a proper ending but at the same time, its not open ended either. We see changes in everyone’s life and how they are all individually dealing with it.

The best thing about this show is that it feel genuinely comedy without feeling like watching a sitcom. Major life events are given a touch of humour without making a huge deal out of it, specially when Josh comes out or when his mother attempts suicide. The entire series is laced with everyday conversations and humour. Josh’s character is so lovable and real; that I absolutely felt in love with him. And now I find out that he is even the writer of the show, which explains how he probably related himself to the character so well. His interactions in season one with his mother and trying to help her, or him trying to make his relationship wok with Geoffrey were easily the highlights for me. Most importantly I really enjoyed the camardierie that Josh and Tom shared along with Claire. Thats what friendship and friends should be like. It made me realise that maybe I am missing something in my life. Josh’s mother was my second favourite character in the overall series. Actually its hard to pick up because everyone does such a marvellous job. Patrick in season 2 adds nicely to eye candy but his character didn’t have much to add except Josh’s infatuation with him. Besides that I think he added a good eye candy. The dialogues are sharp and witty and humorous and real and that is what makes this show immensely likebale. Barring one episode where Josh and his mother go for hiking (a real bore episode), everything else is extremely superb and real.

I strongly strong recommend this show. It is brilliant. I, for one, can’t wait for season 3. I am keen to know what happens with Josh and his friend Tom and Claire, his mom and father; will Geoffrey resurface or will things go ahead with Arnold? (8.5/10)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Candid Love (Documentary)

What the fuck was this documentary. It was painful and embarrassing. I am all about “more power to indie film-makers”, but I think this one totally missed the boat unless I am the only odd man out who thinks this way. The story is about Jon and Daniel. Daniel’s father has just passed away and is in his hometown while Jon updates us about whats going in their lives. They are a bit of unhappy couple and are trying to deal with their issues. Jon is bipolar and Daniel is recovering alcoholic (perfect!). Daniel comes back after 2 weeks and then we hear his side of story , his past and where the couple is currently according to him. There is some more blabbering and by then I have completely lost interest in them. The film ends with the couple telling us thatchy have decided to go with long distance relationship since Daniel will move with his mom and Jon is not ready to move with him because he has a life.

First of all, when these are such trying times in their life; one has lost his father for God’s sake; using that premise to make a documentary itself raises all sorts of morality questions in my mind about the whole project. I felt absolutely no connection with either of them and to be honest I didn’t even feel that either of them had any love for each other. Their confessions and talks seemed real and true which makes me believe even further that were they even a couple. It seems their strings are already broken, so what’s the point. These 2 just stumble directionless and we all know what happens when people decide to go for long distance.

I still can’t figure out why they allowed the camera to record everything they were going through. What was the intention behind making this documentary. It is like I can go and start filming some random couple’s life, do a bad editing job and put it out in the market. Terrible. (1/10)

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Boulevard

Boulevard is a movie about choosing truth, regardless of how many years may have been lost to a lie. Watching Robin Williams film attempt a very serious role was one of the reasons that got me attracted to watch this film. Most coming-out films talk about youth but this one is different because certain events in his life trigger the changes that lead to our main protagonists accepting the truth about himself.

Nolan, in his sixties, is a married man with a very routine & monotonous life. His days are spent in bank and at home his relationship with his wife is more of companions. They sleep in different rooms. He has a best friend Winston whom he occasionally spends time with. His father is in a care house and is dying. One night while driving home after visiting his father he accidentally runs into a gay hooker and befriend him. He starts confronting his closeted homosexuality. The young guy is Leo, who doesn’t mind spending just time with Nolan, listening to what he has to talk about and getting paid for it. But for Loan, it is confronting and accepting himself. We later find out that he has known ever since he was 12 that he was probably different but he never did anything for fear of God and his parents. As story starts unfolding, there is more to Leo’s character. We never know the real reason but he also starts depending on Nolan for money and financial and emotional support, because Leo gets bullied by some guy who expects money from him all the time. When things reach to a brink of Nolan almost losing his job, Nolan decides to break things up with his wife and just move on with his life, with or without Leo.

The whole suburban setup and a routine mundane life is something that we have seen before in the past. So there is nothing new but the performances of Nolan and his wife keep this film very real. It is very interesting to see how over the years the couple has managed to practice to not talk about issues that they both think would be uncomfortable to discuss. Many scenes where Nolan is probably lying and the wife knows, she choses to ignore. The film although offers something painful and true, the problem lies with pacing. I understand that for stories like these, you cannot just run through, but still, I found myself empathising with characters but completely losing interest in the film because of the pace. Had it not been a William’s film , I may actually have fast forwarded it and seen it quick. Also some other things were a bit odd for me, like why would Nolan wanna spend all that money on a hustler? Is it because he is the kind of person who loves to care? Nolan was never sexually interested in Leo, so why couldn’t it be that he had more father-son feelings for Leo. And the guy who bullied Leo, who was he? why did Leo owe him money and why would he just brutally accept his beatings. To be honest, now that the ilm is finish, I am not too keen on even finding the answers.

A simple film, with very slow pace, it is ok just because of Robin Williams. It could have totally gone south easily. (5.5/10)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Amic/Amat (Catalan) [Beloved/Friend]

I am not sure what category does this film fall into. The film came out in 1999 and focuses on the central character of a gay middle aged professor. A mix of psychological drama, sexual bramble. It also has a few parallel stories going on and how the lives of some of these people intertwine with each other. By the way, the poster of the film is quite misleading. This film is definitely not a sleaze fest.

Jaume is a middle aged professor who is dying (we don’t know of what). His best friend os fellow university friend Pere, who Jaume loved all his life but is now his best friend. Here has a lovely wife and a 19 year old daughter, who has just found out that she is pregnant. The child is of David, a rebel-without-a-cause kind of college student. Pere hates David while Jaume thinks that he is one of the most brilliant students, albeit a rebel and Jaume finds himself falling in love with David. He is shocked when he finds out that David actually hustles as a male prostitute to make money. He tries to get David focuses on literature and do something with his life but David is a rebel. Professor comes up with this brilliant plan of making sure that Pere’s daughter actually keeps the child and does not abort. He even requests Pere to keep the baby because that is the only way he will have some sort of legacy left behind after he dies. The baby will have the blood of the two men the professor has loved the most, and will be his spiritual grandchild. Of course, everyone thinks that’s is the craziest idea. At the sometime when Pere’s wife spends an entire day with her daughter since they found about her pregnancy, she realises she is no longer in love with here and she needs to do something more meaningful with her own life.

The film is essentially about these 5 characters with central focus on the professor. All these individuals are racing against the clock, arguing and hurting each other. Interestingly, unlike most films, all the characters are pretty much thinking only about themselves and do not consider the effects on others. It is a dense & dark film where the characters forget that  there's a fine line between wishes and making them possible with another person. Performance wise, everyone does a great job. Personally, I would have liked to see David’s character more developed. We hear a few times that his father committed suicide but beyond that we never get more details of the depth of the character. There is definitely a pain inside but what are the reason and why is he not letting professor make his life better, are still some questions that kept bothering me even after I finished watching the film.

Still, this is a good example of examining the intergenerational values: the reckless angry youth versus the sadness of middle age. (7/10)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Sugar Orange (German)

This was a weird film to understand. I tried hard and wanted to understand and was hoping that something logical will come out of it but unfortunately it didn’t. It doesn’t mean that film was bad or story was odd. The problem according to me is the way the treatment was done of the film. Constant flashbacks and pretty much no explanation of anything that happened in the past just adds to more confusion. Having to write the synopsis now itself is a task because that will completely depend on what my understanding of the film was. By the way, also it is not really a gay film. It might be gay interest because of Clemen's character but thats it.

Leo is Sugar, Clemens is Orange. Together, they are two ten-year-old boys who are inseparable, really close friends. Cut to current day, when Leo is all grown up, running a club and has jus stated a romantic relationship with Lena who turns his feelings upside down and awakens his inner child, the one still searching for unconditional friendship. It turns out that Leo has fear of being abandoned. The reason is that when they were kids Leo had an accident and his best friend Clemens left him all alone the entire night and Leo still can’t figure out the reason behind it. Clemens is now in a steady relationship with Leo’s’ elder brother who is an author. It seems that has also become the cause of Leo’s’ broken relationship with his brother. When his brother in in town for a book reading, he embarks on a road-trip with Lena to escape the possible arrival of Clemens. He goes to his childhood hometown. Between flashbacks, we are exposed to what Leo fears and what he is comfortable with. There are moments of fights and insecurities between him and Lena who sis trudging to find out what happened between once upon a tie best friends. The ending is a bit open ended when Clemens appears and him and Leo engage in a playful game while swimming. Is that just hallucination like previous times or is it reality? We won’t know.

The film has potential, story is novel but I think it would have added more character had it been a more linear structure. Also, a lot of things were left tour imagination and interpretation. Why did the best friends fall apart, why did Clemens leave his friend alone, did Leo had ore than friendly feelings towards Clemens, why is Leo bitter about the fact hat his brother is with Clemens, why does Lena go back to Leo even when he doesn’t treat her well and more questions like this? Also why does it seem that in all of his home town, there is no one else besides some 5-6 young men and Leo and Lena. Where is everyone else? For a long time in the film, I even thought that Leo’s bedroom was more of a stage setup and not a real thing. On a bright side, the acting by Leo was good and there was a very weird but sexy appeal about him and his character. It was intriguing and as a person I would like to know this character more and what is going on in his head.

Story had potential and acting is decent; its the non-linear screenplay and character structure that leaves audience feeling cheated and incomplete. (4/10)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Girlfriend Boyfriend (Min Nan / Mandarin) [Gf*Bf]

This Taiwanese film is more about political movement than a gay film, per say.  Set in 1980s Taiwanese sociopolitical reformation movement, it just happens to have a gay character who is also very central to the plot. Interestingly according to the director, he wanted to focus on freedom and in fact both politics and homosexuality represent that theme. I may not necessarily agree with him. But at least that gives an insight into his idea behind making this film.

Starting in 1985, we are introduced to three Taiwan high-schoolers Mabel, Liam and Aaron. All of them are activists rebelling against the martial law during the turbulent period of 1980s Taiwan. On the personal side, Mabel loves Liam a lot, but Liam doesn't really have a feeling for her. So she ends up falling in love with Aaron instead, who constantly pursues her once Liam tells him that she is not his girlfriend. Liam, in the meantime, is actually a closeted homosexual who's been longing for Aaron. Another few years pass and they have graduated from college and are working now. Aaron has a boyfriend who is also married but he still longs for Aaron. Aaron ended up marrying someone else but he and Mabel are also having an affair on the side. Among the trio, its only Aaron who thinks of himself and is practical while Liam and Mabel’s emotions rule them. Finally Liam makes a painful decision to stop loving Aaron after a confrontation following prolonged repression. He refuses to suffer anymore. And as a friend this is where he steps in for Mabel and makes her understand that she also has a choice. They are forever friends and their sublime love ends up Liam becoming the foster father for Mabel’s twin daughters, who happened to be Aaron’s kids as well.

This film is one complicated love triangle which will make your head spin upon watching the movie, but in a good way. The film is told in a more poetic style. Character evaluation of Mabel from tomboy, to daring college student a very sad woman is brilliant. Aaron and Liam are again brilliant actors. Apart from the 3 actors, there is an openly gay character who sees what’s happening between the trio, is a rational observer of life and always wants to help his friends. Its a roller-coaster ride of varied emotions ranging from happiness to heartbreak with such genuine affection. The film is sad yet beautiful
 and needs patience. You need to get into the skin of the characters and feel them. The only problem is that there are scenes that as an audience you may have to interpret, because they are not so obvious. Scenes like the one where Liam finally reveals to Mabel his affection towards Aaron, and Mabel is also devastated to realize she and Aaron can never be together during their college years is heartbreaking.

This film makes you remember your friends, how friendship can sometimes easily lead to love, how love is not always easy, how friendship evolves with time. Its essentially a poetic story tangles in the complexities of life. (6.5/10)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Der Kreis (Swiss German) [The Circle]

This was a very interestingly done documentary-drama that depicts the social scene that revolved around Der Kreis (The Circle), a gay publication in Zurich, in the 1940s and 1950s. The magazine was published from 1932 to 1967 and distributed internationally and was also used as a scapegoat for the murders of several gay men in the city. The docudrama primarily focusses on relationship of Ernst Ostertag and Röbi Rapp, which is told through documentary interviews with this sweet elderly couple and a conscientious dramatization of their courtship in the 1950s.

The Circle, is not a magazine but is also a gay community within itself. This is during the time when things in Zurich were a bit more lenient compared to anywhere else in the world. This is where Ernst and Robi meet. Ernst is a girls high school teacher while Robi is the main drag act performer for the club’s ball parties. We see how the two lovers meet and their story goes forward. Things are done in secrecy but it is still in control. Things change when a series of murders happen and suddenly the influential members high society are outed as gay who are killed by rent boys. This brings ‘The circle’ under scrutiny. Suddenly it is no longer okay to run the magazine and the cops take a very hard stand on the matters. One of their balls is raided and every member is asked to prepare a statement declaring their sexual identity. Things get hard for Ernst and Robi because Ernst wants to do something for the society , yet at the same time keep his job secure and be in closet. Rob on the other hand wants a normal loving monogamous life. But the two love each other too much and brave all odds. After 2 murder cases are solved, the third one takes a toll on the cops and the circle is shut permanently by the authorities. Zurich is suddenly now not as gay friendly as everyone thought it would be. The film later shows how the tow men later start a magazine and also then end up to become the first gay couple to legally get married in Switzerland.

This is a beautifully told true story of love amidst a backdrop of lies, secrecy and fundamentally fear. It shows the hope and intellect of gay men in the 40s. It is a truly engaging film, and one to watch if you’re interested in knowing about the history of our gay culture and how much we take for granted today. I think getting real life interviews of Ernst and Robi and their friends and family along with full dramatised portrayal of the events made it even more engaging. The film makes it very clear how much hurdles a same-sex couple that simply wanted to be together had to clear in the 1950s and how the pioneering ‘The Circle’, helped fill a void but how its relatively low profile became a problem when a series of rent-boy murders shook the city.

Great acting an direction makes this film/documentary very engaging at the same time providing us with some good context history about what it was like to be gay in Switzerland back then. (7/10)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

DTLA (TV Series)

It was so embarrassing to watch this show. You know how sometimes the directions so flat, the interactions between the actors are awkward and hard to interpret and some sex is thrown in just for the sake it; this show is full of these cliches. I really would love to know what the actors think of this show if they were to watch all of the episodes in a marathon run. Sure, we have seen bad acting and direction before as well and it could also be pardonable to a certain extent, but these flaws are too in your face to be ignored in this series.

DLTA stands for Downtown Los Angeles, where the show is based in. The show is focussed around 4 so called couples, their lives and interactions. The central characters are Lenny and Bryan. Lenny makes good money but Bryan has no job and now they have to sell their downtown apartment because they can’t afford it. Bryan doesn’t even have any prospective jobs or is even looking for it, which makes Lenny piss and is starting to affect the relationship. Then we have Matthew, a struggling actor who just got a part in a gay play but wants to hide that from his boyfriend Marky, an amy man, because he has to go nude. But apart from that their relationship is new and loving and exciting. We also have Stefan, an arrogant cocky lawyer who is so full of himself, dating a younger guy and always putting him down because Stefan thinks he is the best. Finally we have Kai, a celebrity obsessed teacher, who is best friends with the mandatory fag hag SJ, whose married life is in shambles since her husband cheated. We see the lives of these people where Lenny’s paranoia that Bryan is cheating on him keeps increasing. Meanwhile, SJ helps Kai stalk an athlete who Kai thinks is gay. An old friend from New York resurfaces whom SJ used to date. Random events and scenes happen with no conclusive motivation.

The biggest flaw as mentioned above is poor choice of actors and really bad direction. Too many scenes just end abruptly. The actors are required to portray varied emotions but none of them is skilled to do so and clearly the director does the shittiest job of all. We never get really involved in any character’s life. You are supposed to empathise with him but his constant nagging towards Bryan makes you side more with him than Lenny who just comes off as nothing but a bitch. Most surprisingly, the sea scenes are so forced. Anyone can see that. They just randomly come out in every episode to show us more skin, as if thats what we are watching the show for. Times have changed and we expect the gay themed shows to have more depth , better acting and overall appeal but this show lacks the basic areas of acting, directing, editing and writing. No wonder this show never got a next season.

Dreadful story, bad acting, horrendous acting; you should watch this show only because you are dying to watch something gay themed. But even then, I can suggest you so many better shows and films that you don’t have to watch this embarrassing piece of production. (3.5/10)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Boys On Film 13: Trick And Treat

I am enjoying my time watching all kinds of short films. Like previous series, this one  surprises and delights with 10 new short films, exploring relationships, dark desires and confronting hidden secrets. As expected this one also turns out to be a mixed bag of sorts.

Surprise (USA)
After misbehaving at school it s time for young Jack to confess to his mother, but the solution to his problem is not like anything he could have imagined. This time its the mother who maybe has a surprise for her son.

Boygame (Sweden)
Best friends John and Nicolas aren t confident about having sex with girls, so to avoid embarrassment; they decide to get some practice on each other. This is one of the best portrayals of interactions between 2 boys trying sex with each other for the first time without being awkward or guilty.

Caged (Netherlands)
Read review here

Vis-à-Vis (Australia)
When a government official comes to inspect Richard and Martin’s relationship for visa approval, it is clear that all is not as it seems. Cue hilarious consequences as the two men will stop at nothing to hide their true identity. Will Martin get visa approval or will things turn out for the worst? One of the better films in this series.

Followers (UK/Australia)
When an elderly woman sees a vision of Jesus on the swimming trunks of a young African man at her class, she befriends him as she believes God has sent her a sign for him to free her of her loneliness. Only to real the guy out because he catches her staring at his dick.

Kissing Drew (Canada)
A dreary school day in 1992: Cool kid Drew is James' sexual fantasy, but Drew is also James' bully. In a single moment, James faces off against both Drew the bully and Drew the fantasy, but is it enough to reclaim his dignity?

A Last Farewell (Sweden)
A Last Farewell looks at an aging author’s sorrow over the death of his long-term partner. Haunted by visions of his late husband, and in conflict with his daughter, who is trying to renew the ties between them, how will he move on and find peace? This was hands-down a brilliantly acted and directed short film and can potentially be made into a full length feature.

Middle Man (UK)
After a misunderstanding, Nathan tries to get in contact with his hearing impaired boyfriend through a type-to-talk service. Will the middle man be able to fix the situation or will Nathan have to find another way to communicate? A very amusing yet simple film.

Remission (UK)
Two young men and a boy roam the overgrown English countryside, seeking to escape a deadly virus. The two men are forced to take a horrific decision after the boy s behaviour puts them in increasing danger but is it too late to cheat death? Disaster, those didn’t make any sense.

Mirrors (UK)
In a toilet of a Manchester nightclub, two young men catch each other’s eye. As they reveal their feelings to one another, they find that their lives mirror each other in more ways than one. The only thing left to do is face the person staring back at them.

A mixed bag, so an average rating. (5.5/10)

Monday, August 10, 2015

Boys On Film 12: Confession

I had been waiting for this volume for such a long time. It had been a long break. As in other series, there is a theme that is followed. This volume exposes private lives, uncover secrets and present a choice - to conceal or to confess? Duration wise these stories are quite short and hence, overall is not a tiring watch at all. After a disappointing last 2 series, this one is a welcome break.

Home From The Gym (USA)
An unnamed, sexy man comes home, alone and starts to undress. The male form put forward in all its nudity, sexiness, full front and centre. What’s the point o the film? Don’t ask me. :)

Showboy (Australia)
A young football player, Julian Maxwell, finds himself struggling to support his unemployed, recently widowed father while fighting to keep safe the secret he once shared with his mother: He's not only gay, but performs a drag act in a local bar. Very good.

Cruise Patrol (Netherlands)
An animation film, this one explores what happens on a long and dusty road where a routine cruise patrol takes a strange turn and spirals totally out of control. It was cartoonist IMO.

I Am Syd Stone (Canada)
Lights, Camera, Action! When a much-desired Hollywood heartthrob returns back to his home town for a reunion of sorts, he expects to rekindle an old closeted relationship. But soon he learns that things aren t as they seem and secrets always catch up in the end. His friend who he thought ended up being straight is now in a happy relationship with his gay partner. Very well acted.

Deflated (USA)
Chris has come to the store with his dad to spend his allowance. His heart is set on getting a bouncy ball, but all of the balls in the ball cage are bright pink...except for one deflated green ball. Ultimately Chris must make a choice: is it okay for boys to play with the bright pink balls or will he take home the deflated green one?

Age 17 (Switzerland)
Matteo is a 17-year-old boy who has fallen in love with Don Massimo, a young who leads the local marching band in which Matteo plays the drum. Matteo sees in Massimo a person willing to listen to his fears and desires and for the first time in his life, Matteo feels ready to open up to someone. Absolutely wonderful and brilliant film.

Human Warmth (Belgium)
Antoine has a desire. His passion and his love is so overwhelming that he has to stay close to Bruno. He loves his warmth and he needs it. But as with any relationship, soon comes the time of detachment and what will happen if Antoine s body stops responding?

Tonight It s Me (USA)
Read the review here

Good Morning (Canada)
Good Morning comically examines the ideas of sexual identity and age anxiety via the story of a man who on the morning after his 30th birthday party wakes up with both a massive hangover, and a 17-year-old boy sleeping on his couch. One of the best acted and directed shorts I have ever seen. SUPERB!

Overall a very satisfying collection after a few earlier disappointments. (6/10)

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Blackbird

This film has his heart in the right place and could have been a very good film. Unfortunately it fails very short of that feat. The biggest problem with the film is lack of consistency. It never focusses on one single issue. The makers have tried to fit in every possible issue that needs to be addressed or talked about and in the process, any of those fails to register. Our main protagonist doesn’t get any space to explore all the issues that he is dealing with.

Randy, a 17 year old choir boy keeps having these wet dreams about making out with his fellow male singer and also a good friend. He is a devout of Jesus and prays everyday. But this is not the only issue. He lives with his mother who split up with his father after mysterious disappearance of their 5 year old daughter and now the mother is mentally not so stable. Fortunately Randy’s friends are all sweethearts and warmly embrace the possibility of him being gay, but it is he who keeps rejecting the notion. He ends up also becoming a part of gay version of Romeo & Juliet with his crush, his mate, who he still has a crush on and who seems to enjoy the attention equally. Things change when he meets Marshall, a 21 year old aspiring film maker, who hires Randy for one of his student films. Soon an affair begins which Randy’s mother finds out and blames his actions for the disappearance of their daughter. Randy feels responsible and wants to do everything for the family with the pastors help. In the meantime there are some side stories of teenagers losing virginity and unwanted pregnancy as well. As mysteriously as the daughter disappeared, she resurfaces and is found by police and the family comes back together. This time Randy is striker and makes it a point to see that marshall is also well accepted.

A coming of age film, this film can prove inspirational for young men struggling to come to terms with their sexuality but unfortunately fails to create a dramatic impact. It just gets lost trying to deal with way too many issues as mentioned above. And because of this,  as audience, we are not sure whether this was hard core drama or a high school camp kind of a film. The acting by everyone is pretty good, especially by father and mother. Randy is charming but a bit amateurish but on second thoughts, maybe thats expected of a 17-year old. I am not too sure. Only if the film focussed on a couple of main plots, it could have been that great film which it fails to become now. All issues like teenage pregnancy, gay musical, Randy’s sister, his friend getting STD, sexual violence; all are just touched upon and are dropped without any convincing conclusion. Barring these oddities, I still did enjoy the film. I wasn’t bored. There was always something happening, that kept you interested. But this film will fail to stick in miming for a long term.

This film bites off more than it can chew but still you can be assured, its not a bad film either. (6/10)

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Gay Short Films : 37

13 Ans (France ) [My 13]
Jonathan is in love with Julie, the most beautiful girl of his school. However, Julie doesn't even know him. He becomes friend with Charles, Julie's brother. One day, he sneaks in Julie's room to steal her diary and finds a drawn heart, with the quote "I love Jonathan". He is overjoyed until he finds out the diary is not Julie’s but it is of Charles. A refreshing and sensible short film.

Message Sent (USA)
Michael Collins has a perfect set of friends and life as a teenager including a girlfriend. Except for the fact that he is gay and wants to come out. He decides to send an email describing truth about himself to all his friends.

A Cuestas Con Mis Padres (Spain ) [Nowhere Without My Parents]
Ever since Pedro confessed to his parents his sexual status, unable to remove it from the head, even he imagined his parents in the most embarrassing situations, like his parents telling him what to do and how to do when all he wants is a good fuck.

Nörden Och Kärleken (Sweden) [Nerd In Love]
Daniel and Måns are Warhammer-buddies. But maybe there is something more between them than home-painted plastic soldiers. Both of their hearts beat for each other. Who will make the first move?

Tony and Kevin (USA)
Tony and Kevin's wedding day preparations and video. Meh!

The Feast Of Stephen (USA)
Stephen watches a group of boys playing basketball. When he gets noticed by the boys, he becomes a victim of their homophobia. A parallel is drawn to a group of guys gang banging a guy and the film ends with Stephen smiling. Maybe thats what he really wanted?

A Christian Boy (USA)
A mother experiences a spiritual awakening through Christ. Her son experiences a sexual awakening through a man who looks like Christ.

Self Service (Israel)
A young man meets a teen-aged boy in a public launderette.

Boys Grammar (Australia)
Bullying is taken to extremes at an exclusive private boys school. Gareth is raped by Nick and his friends in school. When they meet in the evening with the professor, they keep teasing on how beating helps them become a man and this was for his own good. A deeply disturbing film about homophobia and bullying.

Cabalerno (USA)
A young videographer is fascinated with filming a hunky skateboarder.

Mon Copain Rachid (France) [My Friend Rachid]
In this funny exploration of youth, race, and sex, a nine-year old boy works through his obsession with an older boy, his Arab friend Rachid. Specifically his obsession about the sizeable penis of his older friend. How Rachid exploits this to get from the boy, yet there is something inherently close and friendly about the two despite age difference. I think it was a very good short film.

Ballen (Netherlands)
22-year old Teun has to move back home after being diagnosed with cancer. His house-mates have organized a farewell dinner for him. To show him their support, they all go bald and remember old times. Not strictljgay, but more fraternity style.

Uitgesproken (Netherlands) [Caged]
David is torn apart when he finds out his best friend Niels is gay. Homosexuality isn't tolerated in their group of friends and they shut Niels out. Will David side with the group or choose for his friendship with Niels instead? A wonderfully shot and acted gay film.

The Monkeys and the Elephants (USA)
This short comedy explores the nature of relationships, and the interplay between different genders and sexual orientations. How gay men make advances and how it is no different to when a straight guy makes advances to a girl.


Sqaured (USA)
A one night stand gets competitive when two guys find out they are both tops. They play various games to decide who should bottom. Soon they also discover that they are both bigots who buy into stereotypes about each other’s racial identities? They sound the night as companions with a possibility of seeing each other again sometime in future.

Out Of The Closet (USA)
One man's dreams are suddenly broken when his lover decides to dump him for a girl and making a career in the city because he can't let go off his conservative roots.

Ronny & I (USA)
One of the bets short films I have seen. When a teenager tells his best friend he is gay and comes to terms with the fact that he is in fact love with his friend, the support and love that the gets fro his best friend is amazing and unbelievable. Ronny is open to showing his friend that he is also capable to love and show him the ropes. Its not clear if Ronnie is gay too but that doesn't matter. Shot in a format of hand held camera, this is brilliant scripting, acting and directing.

Gay Problems (USA)
A stereotyping account of some of the common complains that gay men seem to make all the time.

Toeing The Line (USA)
Two guys, jock friends from high school years before, reencounter each other during a group lunch at a café. One of them starts asking the other questions about sexual desires in high school and how open one would be to cross the line. Exploration of the ambiguity of sexual desire leads to crossing of the line where the 2 men explore each other’s bodies.

Kimchi Fried Dumplings (Canada)
Carls the eldest of three brothers  and gay and is expected to be a role model for the family. He wants to show his family that he made the right choice to move away. However, youngest brother Adam's unexpected hostility reveals the problems with Carls choices.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Cupcakes (Hebrew)

Sometimes you just want to watch a film for escapism, to have a smile on your face, and to not have to think too much about the complications of life. The director Eytan Fox is known to have delivered some really hard-hitting but good gay Israeli cinema, so this film is also a huge change for him. A musical comedy, this film is charming, simple and good fun to watch.

Every year 6 friends get together to watch UniverSong contest on TV, an ode to EuroVision. This year should be no different. The group of friends include middle-aged baker Anat, whose husband has recently left her;  gay schoolteacher Ofer, who likes to entertain his kindergarten class by performing musical numbers in drag; shy blogger Keren, whose interactions with the world are primarily online;  lesbian singer/songwriter Efrat, whose career is limited to coffee shops; former beauty pageant winner turner lawyer Yael; and repressed Dana, who works as an aide to a conservative female politician. But today is the day when Anat’s husband has left her, so ti cheer her up they impromptu get into a singing gig and even make a video. When Ofer’s closet boyfriend sees the video, he jokes about why not send it to UniverSong. What starts off as a joke, becomes serious when their song gets selected to represent Israel in UniverSong. The group is initially angry with Ofer to do such a thing but when they see their friends and family make fun of them for doing this, they take it up a s challenge and now they wanna prove something for themselves. They are ‘groomed’ by the Israeli bigwigs to prepare them for the big contest in Paris but the group soon realises that in doing so they are losing their natural simple charm which got them selected in the first place. They take matters in their own hand, make a trip to Paris on their own. They don’t win, come at a second place but they prove to others and themselves that its important to be true to yourself.

As I mentioned before, this film is simple, funny and emotional at the same time. The title comes from the bakery that Anat runs. What connected me to the film was to see an unlikely group of friend, coming together for each other and themselves indulging in doing what they all love. As explained in the opening scene,  "we all want to be part of the normal world and not fight it for once." The film is colourful, jazzy and laced with good music. Friendship is given respect, relationships are treated fair and however stereotypical it may seem but i loved the gay relationship between the two guys. One who is completely openly gay while the other, in closet as ever, because he could be the head-honcho of a big business.

The film is meant to entertain and make you feel good and it does exactly that. Whats to complain then. (6/10)

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Last Weekend

Throughout watching this film, i kept being reminded of one of my all time favourite christmas films ‘The Family Stone’. I don’t know why but it kept feeling that this film was a wannabe ‘Family Stone’. There were lot of similarities, which I don’t know were incidental or on purpose but regardless I couldn’t help but subconsciously compare the two films. That doesn’t take away from the merits of this film at all. I would also like to mention that this film is not a gay-themed film at its core. One of the main characters happens to be gay and his short story line is just part of the main story.

The film is about a wealthy family’s gathering over a labour day weekend  at their beautiful stone home on Lake Tahoe. Mom and Dad have decided to sell their home but have nettled anyone. Painstakingly, the mother has prepared and panned for entire weekend and wants to make it special. They have 2 sons. One of the sons, Theo, has just been fired from his job with a financial firm over an expensive clerical error. He is in a bad mood. His girlfriend keeps looking for approval from the mother. Roger, the second son is gay and works in the film industry, has brought a boyfriend/date with whom he is forming an attachment that doesn't quite feel like a relationship. He is simply embarrassed by his mother's shallow, acquisitive behavior. Roger also has some other friends who have come over. We witness the family dysfunctions over the course of three day weekend. Things happen including their home help getting hurt, Theo flirting with Roger’s guest friend and everyone else keeping their secrets. By the time film ends, neither the kids share their secrets with parents nor the mother tells either of son that she's planning to sell their beloved summer home. Weekend ends, Kids go back their way and its time for husband-wife to be alone once again.

I ams till struggling to figure out, what was the central aim behind the film. Was it to how a gap gets created between parents and kids, once they grow up. Or is it lack of communication? Or is it about family secrets? Is it about a eccentric mother? What is it? There are scenes which talk about the mother being very nit-picky about spending money but then in one scene we see her just throwing money over buying baskets. She complains about not getting enough time with her sons, but at the same time, she spends all her time withe in kitchen and later at hospital. The relationship between Theo and his boyfriend is not clear. If it was supposed to be only one night stand, why are they together? There is absolutely no chemistry between the couple. What was the point of adding Theo’s friend and her boyfriend. If they were removed from the film, absolutely nothing would have mattered.  Scenes like this and some others kept me wondering why was the film made? It feels like just a slice of life film. Thankfully, acting by the mother is the backbone of the film. Rest everyone is pretty ordinary. Neither good or bad. By the time the film is finished, your impression is very neutral.

There is nothing worth remembering about the film but at the same time, thankfully it doesn’t bore you either. A strictly average film.  (5/10)

Breaking Free (Documentary)

There are very few films or documentaries from India that touch upon the subject of queer-ism. So I alway forward to anything that comes out. This documentary delves into human rights violation and lives that got affected because of Section 377. Although the maker ays that its his personal journey, I disagree. We actually don’t see anything personal about him. But what we do see and hear is much more dreadful and real and scary.

Travelling across various parts of the country and talking to various individuals over a period of seven years. We hear individual stories from gays. lesbians, hi-res etc who have been assaulted , blackmailed and a lot of times even sexually abused by police and cops by using the fear of section 377 to the individuals. We hear some horrific stories. We also meet a lot of activists from Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai , Delhi etc and also the lawyers who have been fighting with community to get 377 repealed. Since it is filmed over a period of 7 years, we do see the fears of individuals at the beginning, we then also get to see hope and happiness when Delhi high court decriminalises gay sex only to be criminalised again by the supreme court. The movie brings out the real sufferings of the community at the hands of the law and why we need to break free from the medieval law.

After seeing the film you will realize that what the LGBT community is asking for is a basic human right, to live and love with dignity. This should not be  denied to anyone in any country by any law. It is important to understand that gays also want love, passion and companionship and not everything is about sex. Thankfully the documentary doesn’t try to sensationalise anything. It relies on true events, views of lawyers and activists an their fight for basic human right. Watching this documentary gives people hope again that maybe the government will do something about this. Soon !! (5.5/10)