Started in 2007 to keep a track of gay films that I watched, this blog has come much further than I had planned. There are tons of movies that I need to watch and review here. Through this blog, I want to give you genuine, my personal heart-felt review of the films that I see. These are my personal thoughts and opinions about the films and I would love to hear your thoughts on these films as well. I always reply to comments in a day or two. Please help me make my blog more popular by becoming a member, following it and by recommending it to your friends. As far as I know this is one of the very very few gay movie review blogs where reviews are not linked or copy-paste imdb summary. Enjoy and do keep writing your feedback.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Coming Out: Season 1 (French Mini Series)

This mini TV series features 12 episodes each of which is about 10-12 minutes long. The series focuses on a lot of characters based in Montreal, their life, their love, and how they deal with each other. In today’s day and age, managing and maintaining a relationship is not an easy thing and sometimes it can just be a mess. The characters in this series show us how they tackle love and friendship, in their own unique way and how much they're willing to risk in the pursuit of love and happiness.

Our main focus is on Mat, a gay fashion photographer, who is going through a slutty phase post his break-up with his now ex boyfriend, Ian. He still is struggling to get over him, when he resurfaces after a homophobic attack. He can’t decide whether he wants Ian back in hi life or not. hey restart dating but when Ian realises that Mat cannot make up his mind, he leaves asking mat to take a decision. We also meet Hugo, is is having a secret affair with a cop named Olivier. And we find out that Olivier is husband of Gen, who is Hugo’s best friend and co-worker. Constant pressure by Hugo to come clean to his wife makes Olivier’s life complicated. And when things to come out, as expected, it is only supposed to get ugly. Finally we have Teo, 18 year old street kid, living on drugs off the street. Social worker Caroline wants to help him but he won’t take any of it. This has started to affect her relations with her partner. Teo, as it turns out has AIDS and because of his drug abuse, is reached beyond control. We have few there additional characters but they just help the stories above move along. We go through the lives of these individuals and see what outcomes does life bring for them. Two dies unfortunately, Olivier and Hugo are trying to make things work while keeping Gen happy as well. Mat, is confused still, specially after he gets an offer to move to New York temporarily. The series ends when we don’t know if he leaves for New York or does Ian finally convince him to stay back.

The series is a bit confusing in first 2 episodes when character after character is introduced and you fail to keep a track of who’s who. But after that you get hooked on. The fact that the episodes are shot an quick, you never get bored; there is always something happening. The acting by principal actors is definitely above average and the production quality and directions also above par. But from a story angle, there could have been more depth in characters and their story. the break-ups are quick and the make-ups are even faster. I don’t think most people in real life will react the way the characters do here but then we have to remember that its a show. A good mix of sexy scenes, good looking men, decent story line and some light moments; makes this show a decent watch.

It is worth your time and does not leave you feeling like you wasted part of your life. (6.5/10)

Monday, December 28, 2015

A Reunion

This film is pretty much a road movie in which american landscape plays a major role. Over the course of few days, two friends will try to rediscover themselves while we watch them clumsily fumble through their emotional confusions.

Michael and Josh are college friends who lost touch when Michael took off to Japan without a word and Josh settled in Los Angeles. Michael is back in country for the college reunion and wants Josh to take a road trip from LA to Chicago. the 2 guys are very dissimilar. Michael is playful, peppy and a bit vague while Josh seems more settled, quite and lonely type. The exact terms of their past relationship are never fully divulged, it's clear from the sexual tension between them that a longstanding mutual intoxication still exists. They visit their college friend Lisa, who is now 6 months pregnant where Michale recounts the college time when they all had a threesome. Josh gets very mad at this, yet the journey continues. At one point they both give in to the sexual tension between them and spend the night together. Just when they seem to think their life could be good together, they visit Michael’s brothers home where it is revealed that Micael is set to marry someone soon. This pisses off Josh, understandably, who finally tells Josh that he is ready to make the move. It is upto Michael to decide.

The film according to me was quite lame and boring. It felt unnecessarily stretched for no reasons. Te dialogues seemed to be spoken without forethought or reason. Michael is really annoying. He is the kind of guy I would NOT want to take a road trip with. And on the complete contrast Josh is super quiet. But I guess thats probably to show his unhappiness at being lonely and later we find out his hurt at Michael leaving suddenly because Josh could never find a connection with anyone else in life. I don’t think the acting by the actors was bad, but I d blame the screenplay and direction. Also there was very little chemistry between the prime actors, which just completely spoils the fun.

It a slow, unnecessarily stretched film, despite trying to show something new. Crisp editing and make it a 30 minute short film, and this film can hold you attention for far more benefit. (4/10)

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Winning Dad

I was a bit confused about the title of the film initially but it makes sense now. This film specifically is about a man wanting to win over the love and affection of his boyfriend’s father, who, although has come around accepting that his son is gay, is still very anti-gay and in his own words “gets sick to his stomach with the thought of 2 men together”. You can imagine that with a situation like this, things are ever gonna be easy.

Coby and Rusty are a couple. Coby works as a chef and right next door to him Rusty works as a bartender. Coby wants his father to know Rusty and comes up with a game plan for this. Coby and his father go an an annual camping trip and this time along, Coby forcefully manages to get Rusty along, as the man with whom he wants to get into partnership for opening of a new restaurant. As planned, at the last minute Coby bows out leaving Rusty and his dad to spend some time alone. Colby’s sister and mother know all about this but his father is a touch man to crack. Surprisingly Rusty and Coby’s father get along really good at the trip which makes Rusty comfortable telling the old man about who he really is and that he wants to get married to Coby. The old man gets very angry , upset and says all kinds of nasty things making it very obvious he will never accept such a thing. To retaliate, Rusty goes about telling Coby’s father about the details of their sexual life which breaks the old man down. He calls his wife depressed and comes back home. When Coby finds out what Rusty has done, he doesn’t want anything to down with him and they break-up without giving Rusty a chance to explain. Not that he is going to forgive his father either. The father soon realises what a huge mistake he has done (after he sees his son sad, his wife depressed and other signs), he decides to make amends. Because of him the boys happily come back together.

For a film like this, the subjects need to have a good chemistry, which was lacking between pretty much every relationship. Coby and Rusty seemed like friends rather than lovers. The father and son had absolutely no emotional chemistry. And finally the family, the mother, the sister; they all seemed characters but had no family chemistry among them. This is not to say that their acting was bad, but unfortunately thats exactly what it seemed it. Acting! It didn’t seem real or natural or even remotely believable. Coby was definitely better among the 2 actors but his character was so poorly fleshed out. He is not a big fan of his father but despite that he decides to just break up with Rusty after hearing what happened. If he is a true lover, he would have given Rusty a chance to explain. And then within a week they are both seeing other guys as if few months have passed. The father can’t decide what he is more upset about, accepting his son is gay or accepting his sex and complete family life? The sister’s character was required to read books and argue with her father, just to show even more how stubborn the old man is. Mom’s acting was pretty good and she was the most believable among all the actors in the film. The landscapes and the hiking areas shown in the film are beautiful and the cinematography is nice; but overall I think the film was probably made on a low budget, which is quite ok IMO. I feel the story had potential but somehow the soul was missing in the way it was treated.

Its not a bad subject, however i directed with more passion and realism, this could have been really good. (5.5/10)

Monday, December 21, 2015

You and I (German/English)

Eventually after the film ended, I ended up liking this film more than how much I thought I would, while the film was going. Touted as a ‘post gay’ film (whatever that means), this film is slow paced but very watchable for the amazing chemistry by the two leads. There are no forced sexual scenes, nudity is natural, and no hostile environments. And thankfully the subject and film is not about being gay is be all end all. There is more to life and friends.

Jonas picks up his best friend Philip from the airport and they both head for a road trip through the countryside of northeast Germany. We learn later that they met in London and also lived together in a flat for about a year in London. Jonas is a photographer and is looking at this trip to also come up with his next subject. The first half just focuses on this trip with them driving around, swimming naked; basically just pure natural friendly chemistry. They are both quite relaxed with each other and physically close (not sexually). Midway their trip, they pick up a Polish hitchhiker Boris who knows the countryside well. On a drunken night is when we find that Philip is actually gay and may also have some attraction towards Boris. The three are having a good time but attraction between Jonas and Boris is strong and they both hook up. This upsets and irritates Jonas who feels left out and jealous that his friend is having a good time. Out of the blue he kisses Philip passionately, who is completely shocked and blindsided. Philip then asks Boris to leave and the film then ends with Jonas and Philip preparing for the photo exhibition with Philip’s arms around Jonas and tenderly kissing his neck.

As confused and a little frustrated I felt after watching the film, I now feel that director wants us to have our own interpretation about the relationship between the two men. The topic of close friendships between gay and straight males i handled interestingly slightly touching upon whether is there sex in the back of mind always. Even more, does sex define sexuality or is it the emotional connection? The vague ending of the film makes us question if they are now lovers or still friends or both. Are they now sexual or still just physically close but not sexually because we saw Philip kiss Jonas on his lips even before. Is Jonas now gay or bisexual, or is this a case of his falling for an individual rather than falling for men generally? What’s most interesting is that as an audience why do we even care for these answers? Why can’t Jonas be straight but have a very special bond with Philip? Why is that wrong? I personally know of a few such relationships, so trust me, this is entirely possible. Anyway, as I mentioned above, the slow pace of the film may deter a few but the natural chemistry between the two guys is infectious. You feel that these are 2 real close friends on a road trip doing everything that 2 close friends would do; it just so happens that one is gay and the other is straight. Jonas is really good looking too.

This film may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I would recommend to be patient with the film. Let the scenes and chemistry between the characters draw you in and question your own thoughts about stereotypical definitions of sexuality and gay life. (7/10)

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Gay Short Films : 42

Let’s Fall In Love (Italy)
The story of two boys in love, who opt to show their affection for each other in public by the simple, loving act of holding hands, only for one thereafter to have second thoughts about such a display of sexual openness.

April Fools (USA)
When a terrible April Fools prank goes terribly wrong, terrible things happen.

1919 (Canada)
The Winnipeg general strike as seen through the window of a bath house.

J Pee - I’m Not Gay (USA)
A comedic homo-bro rap song, in which J Pee (Jesse Pepe) performs all sorts of homoerotic actions as he claims he is NOT GAY-only to realize that ... he might just be lying to himself. Very funny !

Stand Up (Ireland)
Support for innocent teenage love by standing up in sovereignty with your gay friends.

Luigi and Vincenzo (Italy)
Years of a love story in clandestine, for shame, fear, thinking they do not have rights, no marriage, no family, neither walking hand in hand. But today on gay pride day, something changes.

Ha(r)d To Say (USA)
A speechless story of two men who meet one day on the busy streets of New York and all the things they have to say to each other.

Una notte ancora (Italy) One More Night
Feel the pain of the man who comes home to find his boyfriend leaving him. But is he really leaving him or is it a role-play that happens every day to forget and get over a very painful memory from the past?

The Rosa Song (Germany)
It is Not the Homosexual who are perverse, but the Society in which we lives. A group of men assemble to review, rewrite and restage the legendary final scene of the film.

Hookup (USA)
Two guys meet up on Grindr. But the young man loses interest after knowing that the other guy has a girlfriend, yet still meets guys online regularly and not accept his sexuality.

Sandanski (Italy)
A dance of passion, love, sex and fire. A unique love story.

Adam & Steve (USA)
Welcome in paradise; everything is nice and green but apparently there is a problem, instead of Eve there is a ... Steve

The Rain (Sweden)
The dance that slowly takes over, forming a pattern that none of the characters can see - they are all connected; the rain affects them all.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Guidance (Canada)

A classic example of how to live in continuos denial and self-appraisal; this film shows us that sometimes we can be our own worst enemies. Thankfully this film takes a dark-comedy route to tell this to us rather than being over dramatic. Also, it is worth pointing out that besides the lead character being closeted gay, there is nothing else gay themed about this film.

We meet David, a former child star who obsessively watches reruns of his hit television-show. He is drunk and has alcohol problems and is also flamboyantly gay. Although he is in denial about all these things including the fact he is gay, which no single person around him believes. When he is diagnosed with skin cancer, he is in denial of that as well. When he is on the verge of getting evicted from his apartment, he decides he wants to “help teenagers”, and studies for a high-school guidance counselor position as he would for a role.As luck would have it, he gets the job on temporary basis. Surprisingly, he becomes popular with a few kids, because he is ok drinking with them, having weed with them and having a ‘I don’t give a fuck” attitude. He is propositioned by the gym teacher but David is in denial of being gay, so doesn’t do anything about it as well. He specially takes a liking for Jabrielle, a guarded black student, who has her own problems at home. Soon David’s reality comes out and he is evicted from home. Around the same time Jabrielle also has had enough and runs away. The two of them steal a car and  lot of money from tanning saloons. But better sense prevails when David finally decides that Jabrielle deserves a better family life and that he should probably surrender to the cops.

I am not entirely sure of I liked the film or not, but I am quite sure I enjoyed the lead actor’s performance; who I believe is also the writer and director of the film. Its interesting how he lives in denial , which is summed up in a sentence when he says "I exist in the space between caring too much and not giving a fuck”. I wonder if one of the dead behind making this film was also to show the harsh realities of some of the child actors who get lost in oblivion when they grow up. Maybe!! The fellow teachers of the school were quite funny and some of the students that he helps get over with their awkwardness was also interesting. But overall the film failed to keep me entertained throughout. Something was missing. I am sure given the small scale, independent nature of the film, it will recover its cost.

Its not a bad film but nothing great to talk about either. It surely won’t disappoint you. (5.5/10)

Sunday, December 13, 2015

La Partida (Spanish) [The Last Match]

This film can easily be termed as gritty, shocking, very real and sexy at the same time. Set in Cuba, I am not sure how real is really is to the actual life but it the acting and story and content felt quite real. Its a shame that the things people have to resort to just to make ends met and enjoy simple pleasures of life. Life is hard, very hard and its even harder when you have to balance your duties with something that you heart years for.

Yosvani and Reinier are two young men who play in an amateur slum soccer team. Yosvani lives with his elder girlfriend Gema and his black-marketeer father. Reid lives with his wife, a small baby and her mother who is always looking for money and support from Rei, since he is the only male earning member of the family. She openly encourages him to be a gay prostitute since that will at least get them money. Reid meets a handsome man Juan visiting from Spain and hooks up with him occasionally. He makes him feel good and also awakens a curiosity in him of whether he is gay? At the same time, Yosvani starts feeling a strange physical attraction towards Rei and he takes his chances by kissing him. Their drunken kiss is a shock and intrigue for both of them and soon they are having an affair on a tall rooftop. You can see they both love each other but Rei has to continue to hustle to make some money. Yovani is doing ok financially because of his girlfriend’s family but can’t ignore a strong love for Rei. He is sad that Rei does hustling but he can’t help him. Thanks to Juan, Rei gets one opportunity to for a possible soccer career, he wants t focus on it. Meanwhile Yosvani’s situation turns for worse when his girlfriend’s father throws him out for his affair with Rei. Yosvani steals money from him, so that he can run some place far far away with Rei, but Rei has to take a call of what he wants to do. He loves Yosvani but would he choose him over his football career. What price will Yosvani have to pay for stealing money from a thug?

The way try is presented, you can feel that working class life in Cuba is not easy at all. The film is raw and real with brilliant chemistry and acting by the 2 lead. Yes, the film flaws in its narration because it becomes hard to see if Rei is really in love with Yosvani or Juan or is straight or may be he is really as confused as we feel as audience. The characters never really give in to their desire and take their friendship to a new level of intimacy. Having said that, some of best scenes involve Yosvani and Rei coming to terms with their feelings for one another, going from repulsion and disbelief to fun and love. A good mix of secret love, sex for hire, athletic aspirations, morality, hunger for survival; the film never gets over dramatic. I am not sure what the end scene was meant to be, something whose reference still eludes me. This film is a lot of things, from super sexy to a sad commentary on homophobia. The story will engage you, pique your interest and even anger you. The performances are electric, and the scenes reveal a side of Cuba that we outsiders rarely see.

An interesting film depicting a lot of emotions. Something that also shows that gay for pay is ok, but being gay for real is strict no-no. (7/10)

Friday, December 11, 2015

7ème Ciel (French Short Film) [In Seventh Heaven]

This short film was about 40 minutes long and therefore deserves its own review. This is a film that can be classified into gay drama, crime and poverty , depicts in a very short span of time about some of the life’s stigmas and a guys story of rediscovering himself.
It shows how society expects us to behave and belong and how some people are forced to live in a constant state of low self-esteem and self-rejection.

A gang of 4 thugs are eve-teasing a girl. When she doesn’t react, this makes one of the guys Mobutu very angry. They beat up her boyfriend and Mobutu flirts with the girl. Sofiane is the only guy in the gang who tries to keep things under control. He comes back home to his mother and sister studying. When alone, he logs in to a gay website to meet guy. He decides to meet a young man for the night when he agrees to pay him money. Meanwhile his girlfriend Julie is trying to get in touch with him. We later find out that she knows what he does for work (gay for pay) and is not ok with it. She is the only one who brings a smile on his face. Meanwhile his father is giving him a hard time for not working. We then witness an encounter where it is Sofia’s regular customer who calls him and has a degrading sexual encounter. This is the time when Sofiane realises that how much ever normal life he tries to live, his homosexual urge begin to rise. He ultimately in a fit if disgust comes out to his girlfriend and leaves home forever to meet the same guy who he had met earlier. Possibly love?

Sofiane’s charter is quite complex. His father is playas after him and he hangs out with good-for-nothing gang. When his gay urges increase, it causes him discomfort because no one will accept him the way he is. He even goes to the extent of suffering in a disgusting sexual encounter with a dominant guy, only to realise that the only ray of love he actually saw was with the guy whom he had met earlier. His outburst to his girlfriend over the phone was remarkable and equally sad was when his sister realises that he is leaving home forever. Acting was quite good by all characters given the premise.

A short and lovely film showing harsh realities of life and how some people deal with them , specially when you add gay feelings to the mix. (6.5/10)

Thursday, December 10, 2015

London Spy (Mini Series) (UK)

I was quite excited when I found out about this 5 part mini-series lasting a total of 5 hours. Spy/thriller/mystery is my favourite genre and of course, by my blog you can of your tell that I do watch a lot of gay films; so this series definitely brought with it a lot of anticipation and expectation at the same time. BBC is known to come up with series and drama like no one before. Will it be the same this time or will high expectations kill the fun. I am going to try and analyse in this review here.

Based on the foundation of love story, we meet Danny and Alex. Danny is carefree, occasional drug user, party-goer young man. A chance encounter with Alex changes something in him. Is it the beauty or his simplicity. he would never know. He takes chances, makes a move to Alex and his love is reciprocated. They are 2 very different people but somehow complement each other. Their love grows and Danny finally introduces Alex to his best friend, mentor and guide Scotty who has been with him through thick and thin. Just when things are going well, Alex suddenly disappears. About 10-11 days later, Danny finds his body in mysterious circumstances. This is where a whirlwind of receipts and lie start and its difficult to imagine whats truth and what’s lie. Danny is made to believe that Alex had a secret life that involved escorts, S&M, drugs etc but Danny would have none of it. Despite being severely threatened by everyone for his life, he doesn’t give up on his search for truth. He had found a secret metal cylinder when he had found Alex’s body and now Danny has to find how to decode it. He is supported by Scotty in his search. He mets various people, including Alex’s parents, his so-called escort service, his drug dealer, mathematics genius and all that. After a whirlwind of events, all charges against Danny are dropped but he still wants to know the truth. Danny finally finds out that the metal cylinder was carrying an algorithm that could identify lying simply by examining speech patterns. It promised the “end of all lies”. And that is exactly what became the reason for his own death, a secret that Danny ultimately finds out courtesy Alex’s mother much later he has given up on the whole event. But at least, he can live content now that he nows the truth.

London Spy started off really good. After the first episode finished, I was hooked onto it. There was mystery, drama, love, emotions; pretty much everything. Episode two was even better, but to be honest subsequent episodes failed to keep the magic and thrill alive. It always happens when the beginning is so brilliant, it is inevitably hard to meet the expectations and give a befitting finale. At places I felt that scenes and characters were just thrown for the heck of it (like drug dealer, gay orgies, drug etc). I am sure there could have been a way to just circle around the main story line rather than trying to create more elements. Having said that, performances in this series are extra-ordinary. Clearly, the winner is Danny. His growth from a reckless young man to a lover to a mature men who would leave no stone unturned to find out the truth is amazing. He portrays the emotions of a loner, heart-broken lover with extreme conviction. The scariest part was when he realises he has been intentionally infected with HIV. I think it was because of this actor that the series was still a great watch. I am not convinced with the finale and the reason given for Alex’s murder but I can’t even think of what else could the makers have come up with. The end specially where the mother agrees to drive with Danny to tell the truth to the world was way too cliched. It is scary of think of all this, if you even remotely believe in the whole spy world.

A strange yet inexplicably compelling story, Danny’s character and acting makes it worth a watch definitely, despite the fact that the finale may leave you rather disappointed. But wth, at least we got to see something new and exciting. (7.5/10)

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Dōshitemo Furetakunai (Japanese) [No Touching At All]

Apparently this film is based on a short story by the same name that was quite popular in Japan. I haven’t read the book but my vies on the film are very average, for various reasons. We will discuss that further.

Shia is a young shy man. Having quit his last job, on his first day at his new job, he meets Togawa in the elevator who is brash and extremely hungover. Only later he finds out that Togawa is his boss. For whatever reasons, at least not clear to me, Togawa takes a liking for Shima and before you know an affair starts between them. Shima is still the shy one while Togawa constantly pursues him. Shia also makes a god friend with another guy in the office who is also close friends with Togawa. Shia has a history with his ex-boyfriend because of whom he had to leave his old job. So as much as he appreciates and likes and wants to reciprocate Togawa’s love, he is scared that this is just a phase for Togawa and pretty soon he will get bored and he will leave him. His worst fears come true when Togawa is offered a job in another city and he decides to take it. Togo really loves Shima and wants to make things work between them and does his best to explain to Shima that nothing will change between them. He moves to the new city, when Shima visits him because he realises that he is also truly in love with Togawa. The film ends with the duo trying to make things work between them.

The story is very simple and has been done ok. But really there is nothing much to it. Why is Togawa attracted to Shima is not very clear. Shima has this dead-exrpressionless face throughout the entire movie which gets annoying after a certain period of time. I think we needed some more back story on him, unless the makers were completely unable to bring out the difference between shyness and autism. :) Togawa’s character was interesting and charming and kept the film alive. He was a man who did what his heart wanted without caring for what others had to think about him. Besides this, I felt that the film was a bit slow. There could have been more energy in the film, or the films overall running time could have been reduced. The positive of he film is the story again. I like the idea of man who is shy & has some bad history finds the true love of his life and his love is ready to accept him and do anything for him.

A strictly average film. Slow paced and and drags at certain point. (4/10)

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Tangerine

What a surprise! I kept dilly-dallying to watch this movie but finally I gave in and what a wonderful surprise this film was. A quirky, wildly entertaining film about a day in the life of two transgendered prostitutes in LA on Christmas eve and the non-stop drama that goes on during the entire course of the day. Some people can also term it as a screwball, odd, buddy-comedy between the two prostitutes which has been told with a very daring quality.

Sin-Dee has just gotten out of jail after 6 weeks. She learns from her best friend and fellow transgendered  Alexandra that her pimp, Chester, whom she loves has been cheating on her while she was in prison with a white girl. All she tells is that the girls name probably starts with a ‘D’. Sin-Dee is mad and goes out on a quest to track down both Chester and this other woman, while Alexandra following her. They separate their paths at various junctures only to meet again. When Alexandra feels that there is going to be drama, she decides to leave Sin-Dee alone but son realises that since she more composed of the two , she needs to be with her best friend, before she has to make a stage appearance that evening. Sin-Dee finally finds the girl and drags her along with them both across the streets of LA. Alongwth this main story, there isa parallel, somewhat connected thread, of this Armenian cab driver  Razmik. After a few guests that he drives off, we find out that he is into transgendered prostitutes. Finally all these characters meet, and ultimate drama follows, and it does out that even Alexandra also slept with Chester. Meanwhile, suspecting of her son-in-laws weird behaviour, Razmik’s MIL sets to find out the truth and eventually discovers it as well. The film ends with all the individuals going their won ways and reflecting upon what has happened during the day.

Kudos to the main characters of Sin-Dee & Alexandra for pulling off an excellent team. They are so naturally compelling on screen, it is real, saucy, right attitude and a very strong self-assurance with which they carry themselves. These are two fierce heroines as they need to be to survive on the streets of LA by any means. I can’t believe the makers just found these two aspiring trans-actors. The movie could not have been same without them. Of course Sin-Dee takes a slight edge between the two. You cannot miss the high tempo high-energy background that follows each moves of these characters. It goes extremely extremely well with the film. At places I felt Si-Dee’s action were all over the top and her quest is getting tiring but it actually goes quite well with her overall wild, stubborn character. It was a very good decision to present the story in a more comic, pop-culture-ish way rather than going the dramatic route. I think more people will be able to relate with the premise that way. The photography, cinematography, lighting etc of this film were truly brilliant as well. There are multiple individual scenes that stand out and show the harsh realities of the actual life of street workers, including their interactions with the police officers with whom they are on the first name basis. The film has a lot of walking and more walking on the streets but the camera furiously follows and keeps it real. The characters of Razmik and Dinah also add their own reality and focus on the entire story. At any point it doesn't feel forced.

This film shows the harsh reality of what goes on out on the streets of LA for working class transgendered people. It is entertaining for us and dedicated to the women who are actually working the corner. (8/10)

Friday, December 4, 2015

Gays In Prison (Documentary)

Ever wondered what is life really like for LGBT people in prison? Reading the title you would think that this is a generic documentary but to my disappointment, this documentary primarily focusses on drag queen Latrice Royale, who became famous after featuring in Ru Paul’s drag race.

We meet Latrice and go through her life on how she was molested as a child, beaten, why she ended up being in jail and what happened inside. We then also look at how, with support from her loved ones and friends, she was able to get back her life on track and is now one of the most successful drag queens. And then we meet some other 4-5 inmates who share their stories of living in prison as an LGBTQ member. They talk about forbidden love, finding love online, making pen pals, forced sex in prison, being raped by both guards and fellow prisoners, hiding their true identity. Some say it was sexual torture, for others it was a fabulous sexual experience. We also witness struggles on trans people. Interestingly most of these inmates came to prison because of drug-related issues and a good percentage turned to drugs after being damaged and rejected by their families. The documentary also focusses on how important yet difficult it is to find a normal job with a criminal background.

As I mentioned earlier, I was a bit disappointed in the overall content because I think this subject could have been a lot more hard-hitting and emotional but the makes failed to capture that. Also I may not know a thing about documentary film-making but I couldn’t help laughing wit the way all the subjects were introduced. They ere made to do these awkward walks across the hall, across pathways etc. It looked ridiculous, staged and so fake. And the same repeated scenes of them doing the same walk came every single time they would come on screen. Initially irritated, I was soon laughing at that. I personally would have liked to see more detailed story about other inmates rather than the just touching the tip of the iceberg. One of the inmates summarises it well. "There's all kind of sex in prison. There's people that are married to each other, people that are dating each other... There's all kinds of sexualities and all kinds of gender in prison that don't necessarily translate to the outside."

An interesting insight into this side of prison life and LGBTQ members. (4/10)

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Gay Short Films : 41

Hopeful Romantic (USA)
A musical film about one man's emotional journey through love, heartbreak, and healing. It's a universal story about loving, letting go, and holding onto faith that there's somebody for everybody. It is dialogue-free, completely musical. I wasn’t sure if I would like it but it wasn’t bad at all. (6/10)

Gokugoku futsuuno! (Japan) [Quite Ordinary]
When a student comes out to his teacher (who is himself gay), he internally wows to protect him and sees it as God’s plan for his love. Butte student loves another boy who rejects his love. A story with comic touch that shows some realities of how people react when you come out. (5/10)

Brookton Hollow (USA)
Story of true love. Kyle loves alone on a farm with his father. Their cow is his only best friend. The father gives Kyle a warning that with meat being low, cow would have to go and just then Kyle starts dreaming (or is it reality) that cow takes form of a young man to be with Kyle. To save the young man fro body of cow, Kyle has to prove his true love to him, which he does by facing his father when he is about kill the cow. The age old concept of love wins all. (6/10)

Here Now (USA)
A random film of 2 straight couples: one hot passionate and the other boring. A fleeting glimpse of possible gay man. Senseless short. (2/10)

Ça prend des couilles (French Canada) [It Takes Balls]
A young man waiting for a sex change operation is confronted by his masculine conscience, which tries desperately to convince him not to do it. It is an interesting concept though may not have been directed as well as it could have. It still leaves questions unanswered. (5/10)

Abrase (USA)
The fading love of two men, remembered by one of them in a long monologue. A relationship once vivid, now dissipating into a fog of partial remembrance; the memories of heartbreak and loss that bend and change as the years go by. (4/10)

6 no es un color (Spain)
Men are as diverse as there are colors in the lines of cities metro. Taking this theme, we go through a cursory glance in the lives of a few men in the city of Madrid. Some get a second chance and some don’t. Sometimes fate is capricious and decides a return to the same station. Nothing great. Plain average (4/10)

Few Random Shorts
These videos were with homoerotic images, naked men dancing but no narrative as such.
Cherushii, A Study In Choreography for Camera, Midnight Swim, Another Me, Figure Scrub, Morning Sweat

Después del invierno (Spain) [After The Winter]
3 lives in extreme situations of pain, hurt and anger (one of them being a gay man). We witness the human ability to go through these challenges, bear the pain and still go on a and eventually succeed. (4/10)

La Mirada de las fotos (Spain) [Staring Pictues]
A young couple needs some place to have intimacy, so they use Arturo’s grandmother place, but Carlos has a problem: he can’t do ‘it’ in front of the pictures of dead relatives. His boyfriend makes fun of him, but some months later he is the one who feels the picture’s gaze. I think this one was totally bizarre. (4/10)

Dottie Gets Spanked (USA)
In 1960s America, a young boy is obsessed with Dottie Frank, wacky star of the eponymous hit sitcom The Dottie Show. While his mother gently encourages the boy’s fixation, his father grows increasingly frustrated by his son’s apparently “sissified” interests. Interesting concept but stretched too far. (4/10)

Papa’s Prince (USA)
A young girl with two dads tells the story of how her parents met to a new friend, trying to expand his knowledge of love. Full with singing, animations and imagination. (4/10)

Serene Hunter (Paris)
A randy gay Parisian moves in with his new boyfriend - just as an old flame from Los Angeles comes back into town. The man can’t keep anyone happy or satisfied including himself. He wants to have the cake and eat it too. Where will it take him or will he remain eternal hunter? (5/10)

Plan Perfecto (Mexico) [Perfect Plan]
A couple who are no longer in love comes up with a perfect plan to breakup individual but only one of them is able to execute it. I think this was quite funny and interesting. (6/10)

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Paternity Leave

Yes, the premise about a gay man finding himself pregnant was really interesting and it was an excellent opportunity to make it a good fun watch. Unfortunately, a real bad screenplay and an average direction just makes this film barely watchable. Also the film title really doesn’t justify the story. In the beginning we witness a debate about paternity vs maternity leave when a woman asks why men should get such long paternity leave when woman does all the work. And this issue is never discussed again.

Greg and Ken are a couple and very happy with each other. On the night of their 4th anniversary, they have to cancel their plans and baby-sit Greg’s nephew. Greg is bit neurotic and always worries about his weight but doesn’t do anything about it. Ken, on the other hand is a normal-isn guy. who works as a lawyer. On their anniversary night, Ken feels he wants to top Greg and so he does but few weeks after that they realise Greg is showing signs of nausea and other symptoms. On doing multiple check-ups its established that Greg is pregnant. Everyone including doctors are surprised and Ken convinces Greg that its a good thing to become parents. But when the news comes out that this has become a normal phenomenon and other gay men are also having babies, Ken doesn’t feel special anymore. Now he doesn’t want the baby anymore but Greg has to live with the baby and his neurotic attitude. Greg , being alone now hires a man Thomas, who can help keep a check on him and also help him through his pregnancy. Ultimately Ken comes around, joins Greg back at home. There is a normal delivery and the couple lives happily.

As I mentioned before this film doesn't delve into any of paternity leave laws as the title would suggest. It's merely a drama about whether or not Greg and Ken even want to have a baby at all. If the intent f the makers was to make this film funny, it was not. It wasn’t drama either. It was something in between The acting was just average by the two principal actors. Greg scored a little over Ken. Lot of things in the film were forced and I felt it had absolutely no bearing whatsoever to the entire plot. Example, the whole backstory of Greg’s ex-boyfriend wasn’t needed at all. The side story of Greg’s friend having a stroke and going into a coma, serves absolutely no purpose whatsoever to the main story line. Ken’s attitude of not anting to have a baby anymore because now they are not that special couple seems quite forced and sudden. On a positive note, Greg’s one-liners are funny in places. Most of them are references to pop culture appropriated by gay men. And the random cat songs that he keeps singing is also fun. Thomas was o in his brief role and thank god! of not showing anything romantic between Thomas and Greg, which in normal scenario seemed like an obvious thing to do.

The film is just okay. Not earth shattering but not bad either. Few years bak I would have  rated it higher but not now when there is a lot more quality films out there. This was a decent attempt. (5.5/10)