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

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Lichtes Meer (German/English/French) [Radiant Sea]

Now this would be a first for me. An entire film about journey based in sea, essentially a sea trip (not a road-trip) movie of coming out and finding love along the way. Almost entire narrative happens in sea. The film is actually shot in a very documentary style like where even the conversation between the 2 characters is told to us as a monologue from one of the protagonists point of view. An interesting experiment I would say!

Marek is helping out his mother on her farm an dreams of going to university to Berlin. But plans change and instead he decides to follow his dream of becoming a sailor. While waiting for his boat to sail, he meets Jean, a fellow sailor, youngest on the boat and they befriend each other. Marek’s first introduction to Jean is when he sees him getting intimate with another man. In the ship while Marek is training, a bond starts to develop between the two men which eventually leads to occasional sex sessions. But, alas, Marek is looking for a long-term boyfriend and Jean, who has been a sailor since he was 16, doesn't seem to have any desire to tie himself to one person. Realising this Marek starts to distance himself from Jean and even refuse to have sex with hi, something Jean was taking for granted so far. When the ship docks on an island, Jean offers to show Marek around and between arguments, fight and love; the boys open up to each other. By this time Marek has decided that he doesn’t want to continue on the journey anymore, which upsets Jean but in a beautiful ending, we see that both men have moved on after a night of compassion and intimacy.

There is a very affecting story being told about two very different individuals who look at love and sex in diametrically opposite ways. Thankfully, the director doesn’t judge either of the character. They both have their individual point of views and considering that they are both young, they will eventually learn about love and life. Th biggest positive about the film is how beautifully, naturally it is shot. You want to be in that ship. Having said that , the big negative is that the film moves at a snails pace. The core narrative is rather sparse and almost non-existent; which could have easily been told in a 20 minute short film. So it feels like a documentary on what happens in cargo ships wit a gay story thrown in. :) But then it would not have given us an opportunity to connect with the protagonists like we have done in this case. The guys look good and act week and depict the loneliness of working on the ship beautifully. Jean specifically is gorgeous. This film would be so much more in my opinion, if the pace was bit faster and the scene where Marek is mumbling edited out. There is a whole lot of time in the film where really nothing is happening.

Nevertheless, if you can be a little patient, this film still rewards you with a very different experience. (6/10)

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Holding The Man (Australia)

Timothy Conigrave’s bestselling memoir Holding the Man, an intimate account of his 15-year relationship with lover John Caleo, was published in 1995 and adapted into an award-winning stage production in 2006. This time the script gets moved into a cinematic version. I have neither read the book , nor have I seen the play , so I will be able to judge the film as standalone. Even if I thought the movie was a little confusing, it does give you a feeling of what AIDS involves and how it effects loved ones.

At 16, Tim, a budding actor has hots for his classmate John, who also happens to be this aggressive soccer player. This is in 1976 in Melbourne when being gay was probably not the easiest thing. Anyway the two start having an affair and are really too much into one another. Their parents soon find out, when John’s father discovers a love letter written by Tim to John. They are forbidden to meet each other but true love knows no bounds. Time moves and they are in college and are very happy with each other. But this is when Tim feels that should they take a break from each other or at least see if they can have fun with other people; an idea that is completely rejected by John. So they take break from each other. Tim join uni and has lots of fun with many guys around him but soon he realises that his true love is only for John. Years later when the AIDS epidemic hits country, the two men are devastated to find out that they are both positive. They have been together 15 years by now. Both John and Tim think that it is probably John who gave them the virus until later when we find outfit it was probably Tim who got it first. John’s condition deteriorates at a much faster pace. We see how the parents of the both the boys have come around about their relationship in private except for John’s father. Ultimately John succumbs to death and at his funeral Tim is reduced to just his ‘friend’. John decides to move to an island in Italy, writes his memoirs and dies 10 days later.

The film is definitely moving and touching. Tender love stories which had to got through the horrific phase of AIDS epidemic , if done well can still strike a very emotional chord with the audience and this film certainly did that with me. The story is moving, well crafted and the two men have very likeable chemistry. Having said that I felt that not enough moments were shown between the two men together that could give us a better insight into how their relationship grew over a period of 15 years. Another issue with the film was the non-linear narration. It didn’t seem to serve any purpose. In fact this film should have been told linearly to have much more effect. Back to positive side, the actors did a great job with great chemistry and the direction was handled very sensitively without over-dramatising anything. Neither love, nor parental opposition, nor the homophobia; which I liked. I have seen more than a few films which depicts the horror of the emergence of the HIV/AIDS virus in the gay community. This film is definitely one of the better ones.

Don't be afraid that this film may be too hard to take on - it's holds your hand all the way through. Pretty good! (7/10)

Monday, March 14, 2016

Naz & Maalik

An interesting idea and thought to showcase a day in the life of two closeted gay Muslim teenagers in Brooklyn. When I read this one-liner summary, I was definitely intrigued because there is so much that can be done in this subject and space. So I was really looking forward to it. I would summarise this film as a very simple indie film that gives you a glimpse into something that you may have not experienced first hand.

Reserved Naz and outgoing Maalik have formally taken their friendship to the next level, though the religious teens have yet to declare their sexuality to family or friends. They make money by buying lottery tickets, oils and other small items from a local convenience store and hawking them on the streets for a profit. At the start of the day, an innocent encounter with an undercover cop selling guns catches the attention of a FBI agent. The outrageous unfairness of her harassment of them loops into the larger theme of Muslims in New York becoming accustomed to surveillance ever since 9/11. Anyway, ultimately towards the end of the day, the confusion is cleared with the FBI agent, who ultimately understands that they are just two teenagers who are trying to hide their love. The sub-plot of killing a live chicken to prepare hall food for Maalik’s mom goes awry, when an innocent man gets into an accident. The film ends with malice considering that he should come-out to his family and see what happens.

The rapport between the two boys is easy, sometimes tender. They discuss about all kinds of things including “last night”. They hide in alleys to kiss. Overall pretty normal teenager stuff. The intense focus on the two lead characters emerges as both a strength and a weakness. There’s a lot of walking and talking, and what begins as rather charming ultimately turns tedious and tiring. On a positive note, the bustling New York City sidewalk feels have been captured really well like, its energy, chaos, casual hum of activity. That made me miss New York even more. The 2 boys have acted quite natural. There is a friendly chemistry between them which is very obvious. They are always honest, and gentle with that honesty. When one talks, the other one listens, really listens.

The film does a good job of showing brewing teenage love between 2 boys who happen to be muslims, but somewhere it doesn’t do to much justice on the racial profiling that ha suddenly crept up all over US post 9/11. (6/10)

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Some Of My Best Friends (TV Series)

Some of My Best Friends (a terrible name)was an American sitcom shown on CBS shown in 2011. The series was inspired by the film Kiss Me, Guido. The show was cancelled after season 1. Its a shame that it was cancelled because guess what, despite full of stereotypes and caricaturing every character, this is still funny. I personally would have been very interested in watching what happens next but I guess we will never find out.

Warren is a gay man living in Manhattan. When his bf leaves him, he needs to find a room mate to pay bills. Italian guy Frankie replies to his ad for GWM looking for roommate thinking that it means ‘uy with money’ instead of ‘Gay while male’. The two end up sharing an apartment, alternately clashing and learning to respect each other. They are surrounded by an assortment of secondary characters who are all hilariously funny. Frankie’s pushy mother, his browbeaten father, his dumb straight best friend. Then we have Warren’s sister and his closets gay friend and his neighbour who is always in their business (the funniest character in my opinion). The 7 episodes follow a different story each time with able support from other characters and bringing the two room mates closer in a respectful manner.

You'd think that having so many stock characters in the same sitcom would be a recipe for boredom, but a quick pace and smooth performances all around make "Some of My Best Friends" work surprisingly well. The gay best friend and the straight best friend adds a whole new dimension in the comedy. My strong recommendation is to watch this show or humour and don’t take it too seriously. I am just surprised that I had never even heard the mention of this show till almost 15 years after it was originally aired.

Give this a try. You will laugh your ass off and won’t be bored. I promise!! (7/10) 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Gay Short Films : 45

The Image (UK)
The image being painted by an artist comes to life to terrify the life out of him (and us). The imagery is stark and disturbing, & the sound effects oppressive. The film presents the shockingly homoerotic relationship between a painter and the young man who was his inspiration. An homage to the impossible love.

Julekveld (Norway) [Christmas Eve]
it is Christmas Eve and Emil is coming home for dinner with his family after a long absence. His family is in for a big surprise. The family is a mix of transexual, gay, transgendered. When Emil comes home with a biological female as his girlfriend, all hell breaks loose.

De vuelta (Spain) [Back Again]
Alex returns to his village after long absense and goes out with friend Jordi to celebrate San Juan’s night. In summer storm they take shelter in an old abandoned house where they used to play when they were kids. There they have to face conflicts from the past, where the games were also of sexual nature.

Baby Cake (Australia)
In this delightfully funny silent short from Australia, a gay couple and a lesbian couple come together for a very important task: to make a baby; the old-fashioned way.

My Gay Roommate (Web Series)
A comedy YouTube series about funny tales of a straight and a gay roommates relationship. Season 1 follows him through his college freshman year, second season involved Nick’s time at home for summer and season 3 is about a new roommate in NYC. The roommates learn to love, accept, and support each other through hysterical challenges.

Nuts (USA)
Two roommates dramatically discuss the condition of their kitchen sink, leading to an unexpected kiss after eating peanut butter forgetting that one of them is allergic to nuts.

One year lease (USA) Short Documentary
You expect less space and high rents in NYC but what is not common is the most eccentric of landlords...directly above you...with an itchy speed-dial finger. Told almost entirely through voice mail messages, “One Year Lease” documents the travails of Brian, Thomas and Casper as they endure a year-long sentence with Rita the cat-loving landlady. The calls get scary and bizarre.

Contact (USA)
A dance video by choreographer Adrien Ouaki based on a music composed by FREON. Amazing!

Drowning (Australia)
Things are changing for Mik. His world has been turned upside down by the sudden death of his older brother forcing him to redefine his place in his family. The one solid thing in Mik's life is his best friend Dan. But Dan has a new girlfriend and that scares Mik. This is a story about friendship and the transition into adulthood.

Ljósið (USA)
To overcome the restraint of his fears a man embarks on a journey towards discovery through life, love, and self through a dance performance.

The Big House (Australia)
The movie is about a relationship between two men in prison, introduced in early scenes as non-consensual sexual exploitation. William ‘big man’takes care of ‘Sonny’ and asks for intimacy in return. This isn't some formulaic men-on-men fantasy. It's a realistic depiction of a kind of intimacy that those of us "outside the big house" are likely to have a hard time understanding.

Xavier (Brazil)
Upon discovering his 11-year-old son Xavier's attraction to boys, Nicolas follows the growth of his son in a respectful way. Over their shared love of music, the film culminates in a simple proclamation of a father's unconditional love.

Érintés (Hungary) [Touch]
Tamás rents a male escort for the first time. The documentary chronicles the unraveling of two male strangers who meet for pay and more; giving us a glimpse of the service and of the lives it touches.

Breathe (Ireland)
An Irish traveller becomes increasingly concerned with his nine-year-old son’s femininity and sets about toughening him up. Does he have  the capacity to change or accept him?

Virgindade (Brazil) [Virgin]
A man recounts his growing up years in his old city and things he did while he was sexually awakened in his teens.

Out Again (USA)
Made by the kids at Reel Queer Youth, this film shows 16-year-old Sam attempts to come out to his crush Jordan in various cycles.