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.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Brüder der Nacht (German/Romany) (Documentary) [Brothers Of The Night]

Only 10 minutes into this is when I realized that I was actually going to be watching a documentary and not a feature film. Not that I had any problem with it, but I feel you need to have a different sort of mental preparation to watch documentary films compared to when you do for feature films. I have seen a few films where the focus is on male hustling, especially, by the so called straight guys to make easy money. This documentary also focuses on this aspect.

From a story perspective, it is easy breezy. The focus of this is the Bulgarian Roma guys who are here working in Vienna and looking for living. None of these guys came to Vienna thinking of becoming a prostitute but its the circumstances that made them do it. All these guys get together in a bar/club every night which is where they find most of their customers. They are all straight, have wife and kid back home, even though they are all very young. They know they are young and good looking and they call it 'doing business' to make a clear distinction between work and pleasure. We hear different members recounting some of their memorable experiences where they met weird customers or made lot of money and how did it all start. Sure, there is no ray of hope in the end to get out of this work but they have learnt to be content.

Unlike most hustler films, this documentary focuses on connection rather than alienation. There is a ray of comfort in their feeling of togetherness with their pals, despite being so far from home. They are friends, brought together by destiny and work and they can share their dreams, stories and fears with each other. They are away from home, young, free and restless, but having responsibilities back home at the same time. They sell their bodies as if that’s all they have. The thing that warms them, so far from home, is the feeling of togetherness. But the nights are long and unpredictable. When the film started, I thought the guys were all arabic or middle eastern because they al had this very sharp looks but I guess Bulgarian Roma guys have the same look too.

An interesting insight and view point of how and why guys get into hustling business. I am shocked to see how some of these guys make thousand of euros. I guess there are all kinds of consumers. (5/10)

Against The Law (UK)

Yes, we all know that there was a time when being gay was illegal and crime and you could be put behind bars and tortured; but even now when you see films that focus on this, it still gives you goosebumps. It is really hard to imagine for us what it would have been like to live during those times and what people had to go through. It makes you think and thank and respect our seniors for everything that they have done to make the world a slightly better place for LGBT community to thrive and live freely (relatively!)

The film follows a docu-drama pattern, which after a while starts working. You need to watch the film with heart and not mind. Peter Wildeblood is struggling with his sexuality. His only companions are Lord Montague and his cousin who he can have discussions with. One night in 1952, he bumps into Eddie McNally, a Navy man, and begins a relationship that will lead to his arrest, trial and imprisonment for gross indecency and buggery. The arrests start with that of Lord Montague and Peter just becomes a pawn in a bigger game of aristocracy. Police gives immunity to Eddie if he confesses about the act of buggery with Peter and hence the he finds himself behind bars. The one year that he spends in prison is the time of pain and reflection. Because of this high profile trial, the government sets up a Wolfenden’s committee to re assess homosexuality laws. Even though the committee recommended the decriminalization of homosexuality in Britain in 1957, the actual law didn’t come to play until much much later. Peter Wildeblood was the only openly gay man in Britain who gave evidence to this committee.

The above film is based on the book that Peter wrote after he came out of jail. And the makers have done a brilliant job. My reaction in first few minutes was very objective and I thought this was gonna be just another one of those films. But my views changed when Eddie turns against Peter and becomes a witness. Peter is heartbroken and his face drops in disbelief. Did his love betray him or his country. And the scenes that followed showing his entry into the prison cell, discussions about all kinds of aversion therapies including electrical and medical were all unbelievable. The film caught my attention and I was completely engrossed. I mean how could anyone ever ever think of any such methods to make a man ‘straight’. The occasional memoirs from older men recounting their days living in Britain those times make so much sense towards the end and I am glad they were included. It made the impact much stronger. This film truly succeeds is in its combining together of past and present, drama and documentary. Imagine being arrested just for looking or smiling at someone. The loneliness, self-denial and shame is hard enough to comprehend, but the physical harm done to some of them is beyond that.

This film is an important piece of film that needs to be seen. We need to know and appreciate how lucky we are to be living in today’s time devoid of fear and guilt. (7/10)

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Where The Bears Are: Season 6

Its time, yet again, for another season of bear madness. and just like the predecessors, the idea is pretty clear. 4 bears, a murder trial, lot of sex and some stupid stuff. Although I have to say that this season was lot better in production quality compared to the previous ones and even in terms of storyline. But then these are the kind of shows, where you are not supposed to use your brain too much.

Nelson is being his usual annoyed self and is quite jealous of his co-star, who happens to be more popular than him. While shooting for a scene, Nelson shoots at the beloved TV star and he actually dies. The gun happened to be real and so now the trial begins. We also see a flirtatious middle eastern man, who is buying the Inquisitive channel that Reggie works for and they start being flirtatious. Wood decides that he wants to expand his business and venture into porn but soon realizes that maybe its too late for him to continue to be as popular but with the help of his associate George, he makes things work. And then we have Todd, who is being threatened by hi colleague for promotion. He refuses promotion because that would mean leaving Nelson for 3 years and as we find out later in the series, this has consequences. The banter continues and we finally see how Nelson is convicted and freed form the trial.

Season 6 continues to bring in more eye candy for the show besides our usual suspects, including the detective couple, who are turning out to be lot better than the four principal actors. The storyline is finally improving and so is presentation. I think the audience base of the bears is finally growing. One other things that I realized in this season was a lot more sexual scenes. Not that I am complaining, but its just an observation. George, the tiny little business associate of Wood definitely is funny and I wish there was more of him in the show. The new addition to Todd’s team (from previous season) was quite pleasant addition as well and he acted well, quite different from everyone else.

A courtroom drama with quite a bit of outdoor shoots, this series delivered exactly what you would expect. I don’t have much more to say about the series. (6/10)

Monday, December 11, 2017

Onthakan (Thai) [The Blue Hour]

The biggest problem with these kind of films is that you need to really spend time in trying to understand what the film director was really trying to say. Its definitely not in-your-face very clear story. In fact, you need to watch every scene very carefully to totally understand whats real and what maybe unreal. I have personally always struggled on what do I exactly feel about such films. You dislike it after the first viewing but then you discuss with friends, read posts online trying to decipher the film and then 2 days later, you feel, “OMG! That was brilliant storytelling!”. But was it really? If you had to spend so much time just understanding the film; was it really a brilliant piece of work?

Tam is gay and is bullied in school. His family also disapproves of him and constantly accuse him of anything that goes wrong in the house including anything stolen. Tam meets a much confident Phum at a deserted pool area. The two are looking for mutual physical satisfaction. Initially Tam is scared but the two form a connect, since Phum is the only real connect Tam has outside the bulling classmates and a hateful family. Phum informs Tam that the pool area is haunted. One day Phum takes Tam to a garbage dump on land that Phum says his family owns and that still could provide them a fortune. But Tam soon sees corpses and bodies laying around. This is when film moves to a darker territory. All kinds of images and scenes start appearing and in random places that as a viewer it becomes hard to place what’s real v/s what is really imagination of Tam’s psyche. This hide and seek game continues with Tam’s and Phum’s being together and Tam ultimately finds his whole family killed.

As I mentioned above, it is hard to understand what really went on in the film. If I had to interpret, I would say that Phum was Tam’s figment of imaginations. Phum was Tam’s stronger self, who gave him courage to fight odds. Or maybe Phum was a ghost who possesses Tam to get him out of his unhappy misery. There were a few scenes where we see them together and also Tam alone, which gave me that idea. Also, otherwise what would have been the point of Phum telling him that the swimming pool area was haunted. I dont know if others felt that way, but even the voice and tonal quality of both the characters was quite similar. You couldn’t differentiate one from the other. Film is shot creepily with dark undertones there by giving it a feeling of psycho/supernatural drama. The 2 boys look cute and act quite well but still the pacing of this film is really slow and could have been amped up a bit.

Still not very sure, what was the exact messaging behind this film. Does repression generate anger, do troubled souls find a way to connect to one another? We will not know. But this film IMO is strictly a timepass fare. Maybe, I still haven’t graduated to a phase where I can start admiring and appreciating the “different” cinema. (4/10)

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Speechless (Mandarin)

The story of this film is interesting yet dumb at the same time. The characters seemed a bit unbelievable and awkward. The story is told via some flashback sequences , which just add a bit to the confusion. Thankfully the movie is not too long and ends after a decent time.

A foreigner is found naked by the police by the side of river. Unable to extract any information out of him, he is sent to the hospital. The male nurse, Jiang, forms a bond with this foreigner (Luke). When hospital decides to send this guy to mental asylum since he refuses to speak anything, Jiang decides to take matters in his own hands and smuggles him to his uncle’s village. When the foreigner one night calls a random number on Jiang phone, he tracks the number and meets a girl Ning, who is not helpful at all. But later Jiang finds out the real truth. It turns out that Luke had met Ning and her boyfriend Han at the college campus and they strike a friendship. Unaware to Ning, Han and Luke start an affair. When she finds out about this, she publicly outs Han, which leaves him mentally in a very bad condition and he tries to commit suicide and is hospitalized in coma. and This is the reason Luke has lost his speech. The final fate of the characters was somewhat confusing to me at least.

The story is novel but not completely thought through. Also thankfully this film shows the rural side of China/HongKong that I have not seen before. This was quite refreshing for me. Sadly the film execution felt a bit underwhelming. The whole reason for losing the speech and all was ok, but at least Luke could have written down things and explained himself. Rather than making the people driving him to mental asylum. We learn via flashback as to why Luke lost his speech but the problem with this is that the flashback is long enough that it changes the flow of the movie, and the transition back to the current story feels awkward. Was Jiang also physically attracted to Luke or not is still a  question that wasn’t answered. Interestingly the movie was apparently shot in secret because of the  stigma associated with homosexuality in the region. The acting by the characters was all good.

It may seem that I did not like the film, but it was strictly average. There are many better films out there. (5/10)

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Poster Boy

It is such a shame when a very promising premise comes alive on screen in a very naive and uninteresting way. Sure this film came back in 2004 but film-making wan’t so ordinary then. Such a film made in 80s would have been a lot more acceptable but I found the screenplay and the treatment leaving a lot to be desired. It seems that makers just wanted to incorporate all kinds of stuff in their film rather than focus on the core story line.

The film is told in flashback by means of the lead character Henry by a reporter and the events being discussed happened 6 months ago. Henry, a teenager, is the only son of Republican senator, who is up for re-elections. Being conservative, the senator condemns homosexuality, not knowing Henry himself is gay. The senator plans to kick off his re-election campaign at a luncheon at Henry's college campus and he expects Henry to deliver his introduction so that he can influence the youth of today. Henry doesn’t have a good relation with his father at all but somehow he is forced to agree to his father’s demands. We also meet Anthony, a gay activist who despises the senator. co-incidentally the two meet at a party and end up sleeping together just the night before this talk needs to happen. When Anthony finds out about who Henry is, he conspires with campus gay activist group to boycott the senator’s speech. On the day, after Henry reluctantly does introduction for his father, he just cannot bear lies after lies that his father speaks. He kisses Anthony in front of national media, outing himself before activists have a chance. By this time Anthony realizes that he has made a mistake but its too late and Henry soon finds out the truth too. Six months later now, Henry doesn’t have any relation with his father and hasn’t also spoken to Anthony since then.

Ten minutes into the film and I thought that the handling of the subject wasn’t very professional given that this is not a very old film. The lighting is crap and the camera work is distracting and shaky. The movie also had a lot of side stories which didn’t really add too much to the main story. The whole scenes when Henry’s mother sends an eager young Republican student head to Palm Springs to fetch the son after he runs away, was totally extended for no reason. I am not too sure what was the point in showing the camaraderie between Henry and the guy. Then we had Izzie who was Anthony’s room mate. Her role has HIV+ girls who recently lost her boyfriend started to get on my nerves. Again, I am not very sure what purpose was the movie trying to solve, when she comes under the Senator’s car and the couple takes care of her to the extent that they invite her to sit with them. Instead of broadening the scope to other characters, if the plot had Henry torn between his lover and his family. There wasn’t just enough drama. Thankfully, both the actors do quite a decent job of enacting their parts. Henry is charming and Anthony has his activist agenda but not enough ground is established between them to show sudden affection between the two men in a matter of just a day.

The film isn’t awful but could have been so much better with better production quality, better screenplay and better camerawork. (4.5/10)

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Taekwondo (Spanish)

Margo Berger, one of the co-directors of this film has a super knack of creating sexual tensions. In all his previous films, this was one of the common scenarios, even though the stories he tells are quite different. I remember not liking his first film ‘PlanB’, but I think I have started to appreciate his kind of cinema and vision I went back and watched that film again as well, I would like it. If you break it down to the story level, honestly there is nothing much to it but its the treatment and the homo eroticism that wins the game.

Taekwondo follows a group of friends who share an “all boys” summer getaway in a beautiful country house that happens to be of Fernando’s mother. The real soul of the film is however, the building friendship between Fernando and Germán whom he met at his Taekwondo classes, has known him for a year and invites to the vacation with his friends. We are soon told that Germán is gay and has a huge crush on Fernando and he has no clue about Fernando’s feelings. Even worse, he doesn’t even know if he is gay or not. All Germán has around him is straight guys pretty much naked or with just swimming shorts at best, he is getting confused more and more. Fernando is generally overall a nice guy and his signals are hard to read even though he knows that Fernando keeps looking at him. The film just moves about one day at a time, where we also see the relationship that this group of friends share and get to know a little bit about each of them and their life. Finally the weekend ends, everyone leaves except the 2 boys and at last Fernando asks Germán, if he can kiss him.

Firstly, nudity a constant presence in the film, and the camera purposely seeks it. We are confronted with copious close-ups of male genitals, and their bodies in a good way. And I smirked when Germán phones a gay friend for advice and expresses his frustrations, telling the guy that he would lose his mind if he found himself in the midst of such a non-stop tease show. Just like most of his other films, this film unfolds at a very slow pace, and there is nothing much to story. Its just like watching someone enjoying their summer week but you do feel the continuous tension between Fernando and Germán, who keep exchanging those ardent glances. Audience knows that Fernando is also gay but it is not made very evident. Both the lead characters do a wonderful job and their characters slowly are established pretty well. Germán has no problem being gay, but because he is unfamiliar with the other guys’ sentiments about homosexuality, he doesn’t bring it up. He is just careful but not pitiful. And Fernando , on the other hand is charming and nice person who is as comfortable being with his friends of many years and making sure he makes Germán alaso feel safe in the new environment. I absolutely loved the fact that his friends were so comfortable being naked around him. Heteronormativity is changing in today’s landscape. A gay man needs to be comfortable and be himself amongst friends and society without having to explain himself.

The makers do tease us this time till the very last minute but we know it will happen. Film, though slow, has this easygoing feel and playful camaraderie about it; not to mention the non-stop continuous flow of naked bodies around. Patient viewers like me will get used to the setup pretty quick and in fact quite enjoy it. Bring me more!! (7/10)

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Don't Love Me

My first reaction within 10 minutes of watching the film was that this film already looks like has a hangover from one of my favorite films “Weekend”. Too bad this film doesn’t even come an inch closer to the great film that it was. The basic premise was pretty much the same but over all this was a disappointing film. Ah! and I did all kinds of research but I could find what country this film is from (since it is English but set in Berlin).

The film starts with two guys having hot anonymous sex and only after that they introduce themselves to each other as Alex and Alexander. They feel they have some chemistry and decide to date while exploring the city of Berlin, sharing their stories, their secrets, partying; all in the city of Berlin. It seems like slowly they are falling in love. And yes, thats pretty much it that is to this film.

Firstly, this film could easily have been a decent short film finished in like 10-15 minutes. Every single scene was stretched and elongated beyond a point. We see Alexander skateboarding for like 7 minutes with a very patchy camerawork and then we see Alex walking again for like 4 minutes. They talk about mundane stuff which is not bad because the idea is that the two individuals are getting to know each other but the camera angles and the dialogues are so uninteresting. There are long shots of everything like cooking, showering, just sitting and watching a movie and those scenes go on and on. Both the leads act well but honestly I felt absolutely zero chemistry between the two. Although it is good to see a few penis and ass shots :) As per the makers, a lot was unscripted and the actors went with the flow which is a good experiment but then at least you could have edited the film and make it a likeable short film of 15 minutes. I can guarantee that trimming all that excess will make this film a lot better. A lot!!

Do not watch this film to waste your time. (1.5/10)

Romil And Jugal (Hindi) (Web Series)

These are interesting times for makers to explore subjects that were once considered taboo. Being native Indian myself, especially when it comes to bringing out anything with gay storyline is still a big no-no. So when I heard of this online web series of 10 episodes, I was surprised and happy that at someone took charge and dared to present a side of Indian society that most Indians wouldn’t admit to. Yes, I was a bit skeptical because I expected the subject to be handled in the typical carcaturist manner but thank god the makers did not resort to that.

The story is told from Ramya’s perspective who happens to be Jugal’s sister. The setting is a small town hill station where everyone knows everyone. Jugal is teenage son of an assistant manager, knows very well about his sexuality but only his bestest friend Mehr knows about it. She is his only true friend. Jugal dreams of the perfect boyfriend and his prayers are answered when he sees Romil, his new next-door neighbor. Romil is a macho dude who only talks about girls. After an awkward start, a nice gentle friendship starts to grow between the two guys despite the fact that both the parents hate each other because of the job situation and of course the big north-south divide in India. Anyway, one evening Jugal dares to kiss Romil and Romil beats him up only to later realize and accept that he is gay himself. Love blossoms and the couple decides to tell their respective families. All hell breaks lose when the parents find out and both the boys are thrown out of their home. With the help of Mehr and her mon (the only 2 people supportive of them), they both move to Mumbai to find jobs but neither of them can forget their families and they come up with a brilliant idea to bring the parents back close to them. All’s well that ends well, albeit bit of dramatic situations. Both the families finally come around and after a few years of dating and settling in jobs, the couple gets married. Of course there are many funny anecdotes and side stories of the parents , siblings and friends but core is still the love story.

This series is interpretation of Romeo-Juliet with a twist. It has the elements of a typical Indian film full of drama, music, comedy, romance and even dancing but I was so relieved to see that we are not treating gay characters as comic relief, but as important sensitive central characters. The screenplay was quite good but on the flip side, the momentum and charm that the first 4 episodes had, is missing somehow in later episodes. Moments shared between Mehr and Jugal were my favourite. Both the lead actors do a commendable job. They look good and have very good chemistry. Although I feel that Jugal had an edge over Romil because of is character. He makes the whole series watchable because of his raw emotions, honesty and bravery. In fact the acting by all characters is pretty god. You have to watch this as small town TV show, so don’t expect any Oscar worthy performances but things that are shown in Indian context are all pretty accurate. Initial refusal by Romil of his sexuality and how he ultimately feels comfortable accepting himself with Jugal’s help was shown very beautifully. The scenes where the parents react so aggressively was also very true to reality. I have known of families and friends who have dealt with very similar situations. The love between the couple is real, in fact that actors share a few kissing scenes too. This is not to say that there are no loopholes. Mehr’s character shows some change when she gets jealous of seeing Romil and Jugal together because she secretly loves Jugal. I felt that it was a bit far stretched given she was the one who knew everything about him. And a few more scenes but who cares!

My rating will be a bit high for this series, since it is a big step ahead in Indian context. finally there is something that shows how being gay is normal and their love is normal. It is a bold step to introduce Indians to the idea of homosexuality and how and why it is not a choice but just the way you are. We all probably have gay friends around us. I hope this series will help, so called straight people to get more empathetic to the whole idea. (7.5/10)

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Where The Bears Are: Season 5

I couldn’t resist myself from watching Season 5 of this series, just a few days after I watched season 4. After all, this is what guilty pleasure is all about. I was having a great holiday and watching a couple of episodes right before going to bed every night was like stress buster. No time to use your brain on why things are happening the way they are, but just chill, sit back, relax and enjoy.

Nelson and Todd are now married and after a delay of few months, have finally decided to go on their honeymoon. But it takes a dark turn when Todd suddenly leaves Nelson for a hotter man. Nelson doesn’t know what hit him and he calls for Reggie and Wood. Reggie has met this new guy and they have sexual chemistry and Wood just hired a nice model who surprisingly has eyes for his business partner George. when they also use the help of their fellow bear detectives to track down Todd, they find who’s the guy is that Todd is with. Nelson goes to confront Todd and thats when a big surprise is revealed. Turns out Todd has been hired by a national security agency and him flirting with this guy was part of a coveted operation that has now gone busted. Todd still needs to find the bad guys out their who are a threat to national security. Reggie, Wood and Nelson force their way into helping Todd to nab the bad guys and put an end to this story.

I have to give it to the writers, for coming up with something novel and different of this season. Otherwise the random murder and then investigation was getting too repetitive and there was nothing new being offered. So in that department, plus one to the writers. Sadly, the execution this time was not upto the mark. I think thats because the idea was too ambitious to be handled by a crowdfunded, smaller production team. I mean, to be fair, the team did the best they could within their constraints, budget and people and I am not complaining but this is just my opinion. In terms of acting, the main characters are pretty much the same as before. Nelson is still very annoying. But the supporting cast has improved a lot. I actually look forward to them in the mix because they add a very interesting flavor to the mix. Some more new hot eye candy characters were introduced this time also and that always keeps the proceedings very interesting.

Nothing but strict time pass. Not earth shattering, but you don’t get bored either. (5/10)

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Where The Bears Are: Season 4

Just when I thought that the bears were done after season 3, I find out that i was wrong, and I was already three seasons behind now, so I have a lot of catching up to do. And yes, I knew what exactly I was getting into, but to be honest, my work has been a bit crazy of late and I just needed some dosage of stupid madness, truck loads of beef muscled bears to look at and laughing at stupid jokes; and this show gives you all that.

So whose murder mystery are the bears solving this time? Lets see. Nelson and Todd have decided to get married. But at their wedding shower 2 weeks prior to the d-day, Nelson’s best friend gets poisoned and this is where the search begins. Even though Nelson never liked his friend because of professional rivalry of being an actor, he agrees that the culprit needs to be found. Reggie through his sources and his TV show agrees to lead this with the help of usual gang of detectives and his friends. My fav character Wood decides to open a sporting underwear store for which we do see a lot of hunky hot men and hence suspects as well in the process. A lot of new characters are also introduced so that we cant guess who the killer is including Todd’s brother with a drug background, Nelson’s fag hag and his parents and many others. While they still haven’t solved the mystery of the death, Todd is shot as well at the wedding and thats when the story is told in flashback. The mystery is ultimately solved but there is a little more to the story than just the mystery of the murder.

The series was fun as always but as I have mentioned before, you need to know what to expect out of this series. There will be flat lame jokes, which y now you have got used to but still funny. The episodes are all small enough to watch them in one setting. Wood is still my favorite character and the whole episode of quiz game was quite funny. Nelson, still for some reason annoys me. I need to do some introspection. Todd and Reggie are quite good and the undercover CBI guy is super super hot. My recommendation would be to watch the movie version of the series because that will keep you more engaged.

The actors have gotten better, especially the supporting cast. I’d watch another season but wont be dying to watch it. (5.5/10)

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Man In An Orange Shirt (UK mini-series)

BBC Two, the erstwhile UK channel, has been celebrating 50 years since the partial decriminalization of male homosexuality through a plethora of documentaries, radio programs and dramas. This 2 part mini-series, each of one hour, was broadcast as part of this. The show chronicles lives of two gay couples in two very different time periods and we also see how the stories are connected. For people from the pre 60’s era, such shows always bring a nostalgic value to whereas for younger generation, I think we should all feel gratitude and thankful to be living at a time where my sexual orientation is not considered to be a taboo and a crime in most countries, if not the entire world.

Old schoolmates, Michael and Thomas are brought back together in war. Michael saves bloodied Thomas in one of the wars and nurses him to good health. Clearly, both men have feelings for each other and Thomas does the bold step of making the move. War ends and the men come back to London where Michael tracks down Thomas and they both spend a weekend together in Michael’s cottage home. But expectations bound Michael who ends up marrying Flora, as promised and even bears a child where Thomas is the best man. Flora soon discovers her husband’s true love and is devastated by it but to continue to be family and to prevent her husband from going to jail, she asks him to never get caught. Thomas meanwhile gets arrested for gross indecency and this is when Michael realizes his true love for Thomas but cant do anything about it. Years later they meet again but neither of them has the courage to do the unexpected acceptance of love for each other. Circa to part 2 set in modern times. Flora, now a grandmother, lives by herself and her 34 year old grandson Adam, who spends his time working or on online hook-up apps. There is something preventing him from opening up to other men or find true love. He is not even officially out to Flora but she clearly knows about it and totally disapproves. Adam meets Steve, an architect and feels something for him but finds out that Steve is already in a relationship. When Flora gives away the country cottage to Adam, he thinks of possibly redoing the whole place and invites Steve to do that. The two have connection but Steve is in another relationship and Adam can’t get past his addiction for hook-ups. With true love and compassion, Steve tries to bring Adam to reality and make him see the power of love and accepting who he truly is. Flora comes around slowly but surely. The film ends when Adam sees the letter that Michael (his grandfather) wrote to his love Thomas moons ago and how somehow the love and story between the two couples have similarities though generations apart.

As someone on twitter mentioned about their feelings on the show, I totally concur, that this is a very thoughtful contribution in this period of reflection on pre-1967 and post-1967 attitudes in the LGBT world. Its a moving and beautiful story, directed brilliantly and with soul and emotions. The acting and the screenplay is just brilliant. We clearly see two different eras and how gay men have had to deal with situation differently. Michael was superb and you feel for him. You wanna hug him and hold him because you know in the 40s, there is nothing that you can do for him. And then on the other hand you see the current times with John, an actor does a fantastic job of his character,, where yes the sex maybe easy but its increasingly difficult to find true love and to find the one who you can trust on and truly commit to. Both the couples are extremely likable and their love stories are impossible to root against. As such, the moments of loss, regret and pain within the show are extremely effective, as the audience empathizes - experiencing such emotions themselves. Both Michael and Adam are flawed characters, perfectly human in their imperfections and thus more realistic and compelling for viewers to follow. Michael cannot follow his heart and therefore is unhappy but thankfully, Adam puts his pride aside and hence opening the doors of happiness for himself. On the flip side, I feel Flora’s character should have been further developed. After all she is the one who most gets affected by things going around her.

Strong casting, great acting, marvelous storytelling makes this mini series must watch. It entertains audience and leaves them intrigued with ‘what if’ scenario. Must watch. (8/10)

Friday, November 10, 2017

Boys Briefs 4

And continuing with another anthology of short films in this series. Just like the cover says, this series is a collection of 6 stories about guys who hustle and this is the common theme. The hustler is a common figure in gay arts and culture who is simultaneously tragic, romantic, and heroic. Often his tragedies appear the result of dysfunctional if not outright abusive families, and are further tied to a general and pervasive societal homophobia.

Into the Night (Australia): This short deals with the need for companionship, as a lonely older man hires a street boy mostly for company, and also portrays a much younger boy just entering street life.

Boy (New Zealand): A young hustler learns the truth about the death of a young woman in a small town, and has to fight for his life when the town wants him silenced. This film is shot in short choppy scenes of 3 seconds each. It was a little bit confusing for me.

Gigolo (Germany): Offers a complex character who hint towards larger social problems. Karim isa hustler who is with a rich older woman. When she dumps him he find a a rich man but neither has given him contentment. He is a man shaped by French racism.

Build (Canada): A college student who quits his studies and turns to hustling goes through disappointment in a lifetime of failed aspirations. He needs to support his alcoholic mother and himself financially. When he is betrayed by his fellow co-worker whom he had a crush on, he has to face disappointment and somehow continue on.

Rock Bottom (USA): A sweet, overweight, 30-something, picks up twink street hustler Jason and takes him home where typical hustler shenanigans take place. Yet a real rapport develops between the two, and the film ends with Jason crossing his own hustler boundaries to kiss Billy, suggesting things might get better for both.

Gold (Canada): A nearly blind artist employs hustler Jay not for his body, but to assist him in painting new canvases. In teaching Jay about passion and beauty, he leads the young man to a kind of salvation.

I have to admit that in general the shorts in this series have been a lot better than the previous ones that I saw and hence it deserves a slightly higher rating. 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Boys Briefs 2

Boys Briefs 2 is the second in series of international short films about discreet gay love affairs. The collection of short stories in the first part was quite average, so to be honest I did not have too many expectations from this one in the first place, which is good because the films were really not that impressive.

Doors Cut Down (Spain): Has been reviewed here

Chicken (Ireland): A 3 minute really short film about one boy trying to break the ice with another and touch him just to let him know he was interested in him.

Backroom (Spain): This erotic short film is about a bunch of guys hanging around a backroom having sex with whosoever walked by. They never spoke to each other except in their mind fantasizing what they want to say vs what they actually say. Started well but then didn’t have much to add.

Breakfast (Germany): Story about 2 friends. One wants something serious while the other is more than happy to continue to have hook-ups with strangers. A promising couple together who just happen to ant different things from their relationship. Strictly OK.

Touch (Canada): A dark film which shows an 8 year boy kidnapped and abused for 8 years before he gets free. As a free man, he cannot adjust to reality and longs for love. But the definition of love is totally different for this guy. He still wants to be beaten and abused and seeks to find himself back in the abusive cage he came from. He is also hopeful that one day his lover (abuser) will come back looking for him. Its a evil dark fantasy of a continuously abused teenager.

Take-Out (Canada): A young 18 year old guy quite doesn’t understand his own sexuality. He is confused. and works as a delivery boy for a BBQ joint. A customer whom he regularly delivers to and who is gay man, makes moves towards the boy but he holds back. But, by the time he finds peace to pursue his desire, the man has sold his home and moved on leaving the boy questioning his own desires.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Getting Go: The Go Doc Project

This film was a very interesting watching experience. Filmed in completely documentary style of film-making; I can already see most people confusing this film to be actually a documentary. But make no mistake, this is a full length feature film which is just innovatively shot given the story premise and I have to say that more or less it works to a great extent. Story wise, to be honest there is nothing new or novel that this film offers but despite that this film proves to be an engaging watching experience.

Doc is a regular student awaiting graduation, who spends most of his time online either jerking off for his fans or stalking Go (a go-go dancer in NY) because he has huge mancrush on him. One night he drunkenly sends email to Go pretending to make a documentary about the NY club scene and asking if Go wants to be his subject. Surprisingly and to Doc’s horror, Go replies and agrees to be filmed. The movie follows the next three weeks, as Doc tries to make a documentary about Go. They interact in a way that makes viewers feel it more like a documentary. We visit Go’s apartment, we get to know what he lives like, what goes through his mind when he performs and his intimate thoughts and desires. During this, as expected, Go and Doc come closer physically as well and start a relationship. Thankfully, Go knew that this documentary making was all a facade for Doc to get closer to him (which we find out only later in the movie) but it works for the film. Things move on and slowly Doc realizes that there is more from life that he wants. He doesn’t want to be a regular run-of-mill gay man in NYC. Instead he wants to be in country, farm and create his own life. Finally, Doc leaves his shell of online stalking and Go proves to be a lot deeper than the shallow facade he displays.

First things first, the film has only 2 characters and the whole film rests on them being engaging and likable. Thankfully both the actors are amazing in this department and thankfully both of them can also act well. So half the job of the film was done with the absolute right casting that keeps the viewers engaged with their half scripted and half natural dialogues. The film also dissects the gay culture vis-a-vis the conversations that the two have with respect to whats normal, acceptable or radical. Taking in two polar opposite characters, this task becomes easy. Doc is anti-social and feels comfortable in the recluse on his online world in the safety of his room. On the opposite, Go’s character brings certain expectations of who he is, but actually getting to know him is such a sweet surprise. On a flip side, the beginning 30 minutes takes time to like and is a bit slow. And then there are 2 long scenes which just go one forever: one where we watch Go sleeping and the other where Doc and Go are kissing all over NYC.

This is one of those films that seems fairly small and simple on the surface but reveals surprising depths as it unfolds, with interesting characters, some intriguing ideas and plenty of sexiness. (7/10)

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Silent Youth (German)

This film is slow, very slow… There are moments of long silence and hesitance in characters on what they should do next. The characters are looking for something but we don’t know what or at least I didn’t understand what. More on that later but I have to say that I didn’t get bored in the film. I was intrigued and wanted to know what will happen next and what will the plot reveal. Sadly it didn’t much.

Marlo is visiting Berlin during a break from his studies. After he arrives he goes into the city to talk around. There he catches the eye of another young man, Kirill, when they both cross the road and their hands touch. There's a flicker of interest. It's the kind of thing a more experienced person might immediately pick up on and pursue, but neither of these youths has that degree of confidence. Instead, they watch one another from a distance, meet again by supposed accident, start up an awkward conversation. They hang out and decide to meet the next day. Neither man knows whats in store. On their third day, when Marlo visits Kirill’s dorm, they do end up getting physical with each other. Its a moment of awkwardness because neither of them has done this before. Once the lovemaking is over, Kirill seems more distant and odder than ever. As a viewer I cannot figure out what’s with Kirill’s behavior. Thankfully the film ends with both guys walking together in the city of Berlin.

There is a lot going on unspoken on in this movie as these two men deal with discovering their sexuality and sometimes it really is not clear what it is. It does get frustrating at times because the film is too slow; even for my liking. I liked the portions when the 2 start talking to each other and get to know the other person. There is awkwardness yet intimacy between them. It's one thing to be open to the prospect of same sex activity; it's another to confess a desire for a particular person and negotiate everything that goes with that. Acting wise, both the actors are brilliant and do full justice to their part. They have to speak through silence and their eyes. The city of Berlin is also shown in background quite well while we see our protagonists making their own connection in this city.

Largely the film remains observational and mundane in its approach. Good and short duration, however, a tad too slow, which is a pity as the two boy’s characters had great possibilities. (5.5/10)

In Their Room: London/Berlin/SF

An experimental film (can this be called a film?), this is the kind of cinema that is totally not my type. I still fail to understand what’s the objective. The film shares nothing new with us, it shows every facet of living as a gay person and what you emotionally go through every day. All it does possibly is give us a moment to reflect on parts of our lives that many of us may not be very comfortable saying out loud.

The film is divided in three segments and 3 locations: San Francisco, Berlin and London. It documents the lives of gay men within the intimacy of their bedrooms, taking the form of observations of personal habits, sexual encounters and direct to camera interviews on subjects such as sexual preferences, attitudes to relationships and cultural comment. San Fransisco segment is about 20 minute focusing on 8 individuals in their home alone and naked most time exposing intimate details of their thoughts on love and sex. Second segment of Berlin is a bit longer and among other things also focuses on 2 couple: one who does silly normal things in their privacy while the other is between a German and an American who are just discovering the pleasures of dating and hookup. Third part in London continues with the same pattern but by now we start to feel a lot more lonely as single gay men.

As you would expect, there is quiet a bit of nudity in this. All characters were always naked and we also get to see some graphic sexual scenes. It is hard to judge or believe on how much of this is scripted vs how much is someone’s natural thoughts. Especially for me, its hard to imagine how and why would someone be ok going about their daily life with a camera in the presence. Blatantly put, I think this as more pornographic than a compelling human drama, given hat I already mentioned above that we all go through all these thoughts and emotions ourselves. Please do not waste your time on this. (2/10)

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Three: The Series

The age old big gay question "Can a long term gay couple continue to be in a monogamous relationship after being together for a few years?" I have seen a few films/short films on the topic and it has been a mixed bag. This is the first series that I am seeing that tackles this subject with the possibility of adding a third person to the relationship. This is a 6 episode series, each about 12-15 minutes each. As individuals and gay men, we all have our opinion on adding a third wheel to the system, so its interesting to see how the makers of the series deal with the issue.

Dylan and Patrick have been together for about 5 years now. On Patrick’s 40th birthday celebration, Dylan starts feeling that Patrick wants to open the relationship. On confronting, Patricks suggests brining in a third guy to spice up their sex life. Dylan very reluctantly agrees to it. He confides this to his best friend Elliot. They go through a couple of options where Patrick enjoys each time but Dylan still can’t get over his hesitation. Things are about to change when Jason comes into picture. First Dylan wants this to stop but after seeing young and very handsome Jason, he gives in,. They both have a good time with Jason and slowly he becomes their regular. In fact he moves in with them making this a polygamous couple. While things are going ok, hell breaks when Patrick’s brother visits them. Argument breaks between the two brothers on their relationship with Jason. This makes Dylan worry even more as to where the relationship of the couple is heading to. Getting into action, one morning Dylan asks Jason to leave them forever so that he can work on his relationship with Patrick. When Patrick hears this, he argues back and wants Jason to continue. This leaves Dylan with 2 choices: either stay with Patrick with Jason as the third or leave Patrick because Patrick definitely wants to have Jason in his life.

This series beautifully explores what happens to a relationship when a third person is introduced. Thankfully it is not all serious. There is ample dose of comic relief thanks to Dylan’s friend Elliot. The actors playing the gay couple are both really good actors. It does not look forced but looks natural. I can totally see these kind of discussions happening among gay couples and friends and how each and everyone of them has their own way of dealing with these issues. Jason acted pretty well also and of course he did look the part of being a nice gentleman while keeping his smoking hot looks. And thats why everyone including the couple wonder why he likes being with them. I cant really find faults with the series besides an open ending which we can all have our interpretations. Well directed, well acted, crisp editing and no unnecessary sex.

Definitely recommend. This is no path-breaking piece of work but is definitely very good, handled well. Short , simple, very well and sweet. (7/10)

Monday, October 16, 2017

Make It Right: Season 1 (TV Series) (Thai)

This is season 1 of Thai  boys’ love romantic comedy series featuring 12 episodes each of about 45 minutes each. So you can see that it was quite time consuming to watch all of this. The story revolves around young boys’ budding relationships and how they deal with their feelings within themselves and in front of the judging society. The primary story(s) takes place in a high school institution where most of the characters go to study.

The story of this series is paper thin. The primary two characters are Fuse and Tee. When Fuse finds his girlfriend cheated on him, he finds solace in Tee, a young boy who shows immense interest in him, but Fuse is confused. Doesn’t know what he wants. Then we have this other couple Book and Frame. Frame is outgoing guy who sleeps around while Book is this really shy guy. They have a chance sexual encounter and how this changes the equation between them forms the crux of their story. There is a whole load of other characters as well who add to the story. Frame’s sister who does cosmetics business, her lover, her admirer. Then there are other boys in the school, and each of them have their own story going on. We also have Rod, who has a huge crush on Fuse. Anyway, there is not much to the story necessarily, and the series just follows their day to day activities of love, heart-break, jealousy and friendship.

I am not sued to Thai series, so I maybe reacting a bit weird; but I found the acting, especially people’s reactions to any situation very dramatic and over the top. In fact the boys look a bit awkward. Sometimes, the reactions made me laugh out loud. I blame all this to the directors but then maybe this is how thai series are. I will have to watch more. Also the series is way too long. There are many side stories and even the main stories drag out. Each of the episode should have been of about 20 minutes each and crisp. I think that would have added a lot to the merits of this series. Book and Frame have good chemistry which was completely lacking between Fuse and Tee. On a positive note, the boys were all very cute. It was surprising to see how comfortable everyone in school is with anyone’s sexuality. It was never shown as a big deal being gay. Is that Thai culture really that advanced? I doubt so. Interestingly, none of the young boys’ parents were shown and it felt, they all belong to affluent families with constant junk food eating, buying cosmetics and hanging out with friends. Nothing wrong with that but just an observation.

The story and the plot is promising but I am highly disappointed with a teenage like execution but then I guess its the teenagers who were the target audience for this series. (5/10)

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Better Half

Aah! The stab you feel when you see a wonderful story and idea and paper and see it blow up in execution, not just in one department but various aspects of it. I will talk about it more in details later but to give the credit due where it belongs, the story is pretty novel and had huge potential if this was in a capable director’s hands.

The story is about a gay couple Tony and Leo. Tony is a social worker who works with lower section of society (drug peddlers, convicts, hospitals, abused women etc.) and he is very passionate about his job and very dedicated. Leo, on the other hand is a financial advisor and is very much into career and money. They have been together for a while. In one of the many cases, once a woman leaves her stillborn baby in a hospital. While taking care of the kid, Tony gets really close to the baby Dylan. When Leo proposes marriage, he accepts but also asks if he would consider adopting Dylan. Leo is very reluctant because he has barely accepted the idea of marriage. Ultimately he gives into pressure. But because of gay adoption legalities involved in the system, Leo has to adopt baby as a single parent with Tony later applying for guardianship. Tony becomes a full time home maker while Leo is fully focussed on his job. But Tony’s old cases come to haunt him and he gets killed in a gun shot. Leo’s world is turned upside down because he was never ready to take care of baby. In fact, he wants to run away from the baby. But with support from his friends and Tony’s colleagues, he gets over the fear and finally accepts Dylan as his own son.

So clearly the story has enough potential, but where do I even begin with the flaws. The beginning is flawed. We see 4-5 different scenarios completely unrelated to each other before we can even figure out what’s going on. And the camera angles are so weird with completely focussing on head shots of the characters that it gets very distracting and flat and annoying. The photography is very uneven. The lead actors had potential but the director IMO didn’t do a good job of extracting performances from them. An independent film has its constraints and I do understand that but there is no excuse for bad timing and really poor editing. Talking of which, the film is pretty long and totally lacks professional creativity. The makers could have gone into the details of bureaucracy of adoption for gay parents but instead they focus on personal tussle between the couple. A welcome effort in terms of story but totally thumbs down for execution.

Watch it only if you don’t have anything else better to see or if you have money to use the same story and adopt it better. (4/10)

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Gay Short Films : 54

Coming Out: Best Gift Ever
A 23-year-old, Russian-born violinist Artem Kolesov posted a YouTube video in which he comes out as gay. Instead of creating an anonymous contribution, he chose to share his name and face, his story of abuse, depression and suicide attempts, to let fellow LGBT youth in Russia feel less isolated. Despite the possibility of arrest, he has no regrets, because LGBT Russians & the world will hear the voice of a gay Russian.

Out of Exile: Daniel's Story
In August 2014, Daniel was confronted by his family who disapproved of his sexuality. Daniel recorded the event on his phone. This VR video using the technique of videogrammetry uses the original audio and plight of LGBT who end up being homeless because their family abandons them.

Grindr Killer (UK)
For over a year the London police failed to properly investigate the deaths of four young gay men and link them to a serial killer. During this time one man repeatedly tried to raise the alarm. Finally the killer was sentenced to life imprisonment. This short BBC documentary is about those events.

En La Azotea (Spain) [On the Roof]
Adrian and his friends climb every afternoon on a roof to watch a girl who sunbathes. But this afternoon will be different because Adrian will also see a naked guy on the roof. Challenged by his own sexuality and his friends query, he has a quick decision to make.

Längs Vägen (Sweden) [Along the Road]
Two truck drivers have a secret relationship. They meet up at a rest area along the road, but both of them are longing for something more.

Barcelona, nit d'estiu (Spain) [Jordi & Marc]
Jordi and Marc are team-mates in a local soccer team. Jordi has been offered a contract with one of the biggest soccer clubs in the world. But the club wants him to keep his sexuality a secret. This brings a bone of contention between the two guys because part of Marc wants him to not go and be away from him although football club is the right thing for Jordi. What would be the right thing to do in such a case? A very beautiful and well acted emotional film.

Shower (Norway)
Showering after his swim, a young man finds his interest piqued and his self-image challenged by a strange sound. He gives in to his instincts but rage takes over when caught by a stranger. Classic case of closet homophobia !!

Reel (Sweden)
It is the last day before Victor has to move to another city. So he and his best friend Robert do all the things they like to do together including skateboarding & spraying. But this time, there will be a kiss too.

Seminarista (USA)
A young Colombian conservative seminarian struggles to choose between his faith and his sexuality after he has a steamy encounter with a free-spirited guy during a trip to the US.

He She We (USA)
When a handsome young man decides to leave his older female lover his escape plan is foiled when her early return coincides with his new lover's arrival. A classic set up for disaster and heartbreak? Or perhaps there is another possibility of the trio getting it on?

Truth or Dare (USA)
2 couples decide to play the game but the instigator will soon realize that some deep waters may have been better left uncharted with her boyfriend. Done to death!

HerzHaft (Germany)
Felix is secretly in love with Ralph. This doesn't seem to be the biggest problem, but Felix is fifteen and Ralph is his thirty-four-year-old soccer coach. They meet every day in secret. One day, Felix's mother finds out and Ralph has to decide between feeling and reason.

Dos Chicos Adolescentes (Argentina)
2 young adult boys meet at one of the guys home on a hot day trying to control their passion and feelings.

Without A Mom (USA)
Two gay Dads fumble to provide their straight son with meaningful support after the loss of his first real love. They both constantly question if their decision was right given there is no female at home but their son assures them he is very happy to just have 2 Dads.

Eersgeborene (South Africa( [Firstborn]
The short film explores identity and sexuality within the Afrikaans minority through a tale of two brothers who descend into matricide and madness on a remote farm.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Romeo & Romeo

Oh My God!! I hope no one ever has to go through the torture of watching this film (if you can even call it that!). Horrendous! Horrible! Pathetic! Really bad in every single department. I mean what was someone thinking. I cant believe this little piece of shit was made and then the makers even expected that someone will actually watch the ilm or even applaud it. This is so bad, that even having to write this review feels like an utter waste of time.

As per imdb summary, Zak Lawson was a pop star who came out of nowhere, and reached the top of the billboard charts at the age of 14. He met bad boy Trent at the peak of his career, bad news. Trent dragged Zak down a road full of drugs and alcohol. He spiraled out of control, and his career was over. Years later Zak faces the past head on, finding out buried secrets which test his sobriety. In his journey he has a friend, his mother, his caretaker (Trent’s sister) at one point and some other random people.

Bad! Bad! Bad! acting and direction. I mean I have seen enough bad films in my life but nothing beats this film. Unnecessary screaming, usage of F word totally random, boobs hanging out for no reason, two long drawn sex scenes for just eroticism; where do I end the list? Direction is bad, execution is bad, acting, loud music, story.. everything everything is terrible… Please please do not waste precious time of your life that will never come back!!. (0/10)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Monster Pies (Australia)

Yet another high school coming-of-age stories. We have seen plenty of these by now and can guess in most cases on what’s going to happen, but occasionally we also do get something interesting to watch. The film was recommended by one of my followers here and Iw as really looking forward to it and wanted to like it quite bad but sadly, I think over expectations killed this movie to an extent for me.

Mike, is our main protagonist, a gawky and nerdy teenager in high school. He lives with his mother at home and works at a video store. He is constantly late to school and is bullied by school guys and is called faggot occasionally. A new hot and good looking student Will joins his class and a class project brings the two guys together to present their own interpretation of ‘Romeo & Juliet’. The duo decide to give a spin to the story with Frankenstein’s monster and the Wolfman as two societal misfits who want to be lovers.   The two boys slowly get very close and we also get an insight into their lives. Both come from broken homes. Will’s father is drunk and abusive and his mother is in a nursing home, barely conscious and doesn’t even recognize her own son. Given such situations, When Mike approaches Will with his love, he first pulls away but slowly comes back. The two are now together slowly struggling with acceptance amongst themselves. The duo doesn’t get enough love at home and these are the moments that they have each other. The family situation doesn’t improve any more and just like the project they were working on, their love story also has a tragic ending. Will ultimately takes his own life leaving Mike to accept the reality and never forget his first love.

This film has received excellent reviews and have taken people back to those innocent times when cellphones were not there and people used to watch videos (probably early 90s); but I still feel there was something that was missing with the film. I can’t pin point to what it was but I was just unable to connect with the characters. I think they acted really well, especially Will, as the confused kid with abusive father. But I felt their chemistry lacked passion and felt more like friends. Mike was quite awkward , portraying exactly what his character demanded. Thankfully there are no unnecessary explicit sex scenes just to titilate us. The story was quite interesting and the direction was good too. A little bit focus on editing and background music would have helped this film quite a bit. I did not understand any reasoning behind all the video store scenes which were a couple of them.

Either I was not in the right frame of mind or my expectations from a film are very different from a general movie-going audience but I was a bit disappointed with the overall result. (5/10)

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Teenage Kicks

Transitioning from a teenage to adulthood is never easy and we have seen quite a few films, mostly coming-of-age kinda stories that shows us what goes on in an individual’s mind. This film is a bit different, because our character is not only going through this phase and struggling through his sexuality; but also he has to deal with guilt, grief and identity. At this point, I do have to mention that the title of the film is neither inspiring nor flattering for the kind of story that this film brings to forte. The film is definitely not about teenage romp, instead it is a drama that leaves you thinking.

Mik lives with his elder brother and migrant parents. He is questioning his sexuality and finds himself madly in love with his best friend Dan, with whom he indulges in masturbation while watching lesbian porn. The duo have plans to escape their homes in search for better life. But sudden death of Mik’s brother Tomi (partly because he is running away from Mik who watched him naked and got aroused) in a car accident brings further havoc in Mik’s life. His parents are indifferent to him, his father never considers Mik worthy of his son, and we find the secret later. To add further to his problems, hi smother wails about how he’ll never be half the man his brother was. Dan, meanwhile finds a girlfriend and Mik finds himself further lonely. He son finds solace with Tomi’s heavily pregnant girlfriend. Mik is so confused about what he wants that he tries to slip in his brother’s shoes by trying to sleep with his brother’s girlfriend. Mik is tormented. He goes to stranger’s home, indulges in drugs and random sexual encounter with both a guy and a girl. Things further go south when he tries to convince Dan that his girlfriend doesn’t deserve him and kisses him. Shocked, surprised and outraged; Dan ends up raping Mik only to later repent on what happened. Mik still doesn’t understand why everything bad happens only to him. Some family secrets are revealed and finally Mik realizes that he needs to stay back and take care of his parents and stay back and he will have to look for love and care with someone else outside Dan.

One thing that the film clearly shows is the uncertainties that Mik’s like keeps bringing him. Truly everything seems to go wrong for the kid. The guy playing the character of Mik does an incredible job as a frightened and confused teenager who feels responsible for his parents unhappiness, for his sibling’s death and scared of losing his best friend to a girl. His struggle with his identity is very real. On the other hand his best friend Dan tries to be there for him every step of the way until he gets to know that Mik is in love with him. The parents reaction was a bit something that I didn’t understand. Surely it wasn’t Mik’s fault for who his father was but both his parents treat him very bad for no reason. He is given no love and is even made responsible for his brother’s death. The film was intense because you just did not know what else is gonna go wrong for the boy and you just want to be there for him. The film doesn’t hold back on the struggles that come with such a sexual awakening.

An interestingly unique and different film though quite heavy. You need to be in the right set of mind to understand and really appreciate this film. (7/10)

Monday, September 4, 2017

When We Rise (Mini-Series)

This is a 4 part mini series that aired on ABC channel, which is a dramatization of the real life San Francisco centered fight for LGBT rights from 1972 to 2015. The LGBT community which arguably has had the most numerous organized campaigns against them of any minority group to suppress those rights in the United States during that time period; is shown with some real life snippets thrown in for people to relate to it better. In totality it is a long watch but absolutely essential for us to appreciate the fights that our seniors have fought for us to get us the rights that we have today and live relatively stress and hassle free.

The series focuses on the advocacy and other supportive work of three primary individuals, Cleve Jones, Roma Guy and Ken Jones, whose experiences focus on different aspects of the issue. At the center we have Cleve Jones, a gay teenager barely surviving on the streets of San Francisco, who eventually goes on to become one of the most prominent figures of the gay rights movement. He forms alliance with Roma Guy, a feminist activist who discovers her own sexuality in the process of agitating for the rights of her friends who are lesbians. Ken Jones is a black Vietnam veteran whose story is a bit alienated from the movement itself but it does focus on loss, addiction, and spiritual crisis. The intersections of sexuality, race, gender identity, and economics is all handled beautifully in this section of the series. We also have Diane, who is Roma’s partner and he own struggles to bring up a family and still be neutral without jeopardizing her career. The initial 2 parts show how hostile the entire the entire SF institutions were towards the gay community and how we did not have support from any section of the society. But just in the time when we the movements start and the heat starts taking place, slowly men start to get sick and suddenly the country in engulfed in AIDS crisis. Ken, who had won a hard-earned enclave of peace, ends up bereaved, homeless, and an addict. Ken and Roma need to move from political activism to fighting for their and friends’ life. Right from the days of Harvey Milk upto the very recent DOMA and Prop 8; we get to witness everything through the lens of these primary characters.

As I have mentioned above, There is a lot of stuff that has been tried to show and cover in this four part series, and in the process I felt a lot of it left more to be desired. Some fights felt left unfinished, especially in todays time when we could be so close to losing it all that we have achieved in past 50-ish years. The reality is that everything we see in this s real and actual people helped us achieve our goal while many of us just sat and did nothing but are enjoying the benefits. We really need to appreciate and feel gratitude for what we have today given to us pretty much without having to fight for it. The series may not have been the best rendered because 5-6 hours is not enough time to show everything that needs to be covered but is still super important.The acting by all actors is simply amazing. I personally felt the younger teenage actors were more in sync with the character than the adult versions. Also the connection between the actors within the same character felt missing but I guess. who cares! Guy playing Cleve Jones younger version is the best of the lot. I personally learnt a lot about the feminist movement as well in SF. This was a very good reminder for us and our history and now I am curious to read and see more about what happened in other parts of the country especially NY and the world.

We did have a long journey behind us whose rewards we are reaping but will this continue to be the case. I felt asking this question without any convincing answers. (7/10)

Friday, August 25, 2017

Speech And Debate

I dunno exactly how I felt after this film finished. This was a very average film, where conveniently strained situations are created and by the end of it all life goes back to being very rosy; which all feels too good to be true. Touted as a teen comedy, I personally did not laugh at ay point and I couldn’t really connect with the actors either.

Three oddballs in a school ultimately come together: Dan is a new boy in the neighborhood, openly gay and wants to start a gay straight alliance but the school board would not allow. We then have Diwata, an aspiring outspoken wanna be actress who is heart broken when she is not selected for a school musical because she is against the changes made to the story to suit the sensibilities of the conservative town. Finally we have Solomon, who has a lot of thoughts and topics that he wants to write about but the school newspaper is heavily censored because of board rules and hence he is also frustrated. Among the only options available to them, the make/join the ‘Speech & Debate’ club because they feel this is what will give them a platform to showcase their talents and fight against the outdated rules of their school. After a few weeks, they make a disastrous attempt to participate in a Portland competition, and get into some big-city trouble when they miss the bus home. They then come up with a master plan to use the board meeting to make people aware of their problems and hoping that with the use of media, things will finally improve for the three of them, for people like them and for the entire school and town.

My biggest problem like I mentioned above is that, this film never connects with the audience. It fails to make a convincing case. If you look from a point of view of brainless entertainment, maybe this is good but then I doubt this was the intention, since a lot of issues have been tried to highlight in this film. Hypocrisy, teen pregnancy, closet gay teacher, homophobia, social media craze, bullying, freedom of speech, and other general teenage issues; and because of this, it never does justice to anything. On the bright side, the acting from all the three main characters is amazing, especially Diwata. Actually she did crack me up a couple of times. Dan was gorgeous looking and gives in a very restrained performance of a city gay boy trying to adjust in a small town. Solomon was also good and added a charm to the story.

A strictly time pass film which I would say as below average. Good looking cast but a weak storyline. (4/10)

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Kept Boy

After a long time i saw a gay film whose subject wasn’t run of the mill. Complexities of living with a sugar daddy is something new, maybe it has been handled in a few short films or side stories but a full fledged film on this subject is a great idea. Sadly personally for me, it didn’t translate too well on screen as I would have liked to, and I will write more details about it but nonetheless I really appreciate an interest in bring something new to the table.

Good looking and hot Dennis lives with his sugar daddy Farleigh who works in reality TV production. Dennis has never worked in life and has enjoyed his time as Farleigh’s kept boy, and unfortunately his production is not doing too well. So on his 30th birthday, Dennis is asked to look for a job to support himself a little bit. This comes as a shock to him since he has never worked in his life and his circle of friends also include Lonnie & Paulette who themselves are living with a much older woman and a man respectively. In between all this, Farleigh starts giving a lot more attention to the new pool boy Jasper, including making him the design assistant for his show. Dennis now has to do everything that he possibly can to win back Farleigh into his life. Dennis and Jasper try to overdo each other including when they all go to Columbia for vacation. The climax and all seems pretty contrived and convenient where Farleigh dies and it seems life for Dennis is going to be more independent and happier but who knows.

The film is touted as comedy but to be honest I didn’t laugh at any single instant. Instead I felt that it was handled more like drama and what really happens and thats what got me more excited about the subject. It is hard to say whether Dennis wanted to stick with Farleigh just for money or did it include a bit of love as well, probably latter since he rejects an offer by another rich old man, who happens to be Jasper’s uncle. But then , anyone with even little bit of dignity would wanna look for some self-respect when clearly Farleigh is more interested in Jasper now. He spends the entirety of the film trying to win Farleigh back and nothing works. The whole climax of Jasper and Dennis hooking up to win Farleigh back was also bit weird. And what about the end? The two kept boys are now together or was it a whole planned affair? Anyway, besides these screenplay grudges, as far as acting goes, Dennis was the star. He portrayed his character exceptionally well. I thought Jasper was a bit confused and not natural. And of course, I am not complaining about some hot nice ass that you get to see in the process.

An interesting insight for people who think they can have a carefree life finding a sugar daddy, it is very easy to be replaced in such scenarios. Overall a decent film. (6.5/10)

Monday, August 21, 2017

Bear City 3

And finally the third and the last film in this bear trilogy, brings back all principal characters back from the first two films and continues to what’s the latest happenings in everyone’s lives. As enjoyable as the first two films were, I was looking forward to this film as well. Though it didn’t disappoint, it also did not bring anything new to the table.

Lets look at all the major characters and couples that we are introduced to and will watch. Fred who has started making a documentary on bears, is now about to have a baby with his husband Brent. While Brent has completely taken over the responsibility of doing all preparations for the arrival of the baby, Fred is busy with his documentary, making Brent feel that Fred is not taking the baby’s arrival with as seriousness as it deserves. Then we have Michael, who although still mourning the death of his past lover is building a new relationship with Dalton. Dalton’s daughter Emma, a very tough teenager and very protective of her father,  comes in to the mix a year into their relationship and the trio is going through their own tribulations. And then we have Roger, who has not only lost his love in part 2 but also has now lost his job and apartment. The entire group is now going to the bear campground for the weekend or something and Roger also goes hoping to rekindle love with his ex Tyler. But Tyler now has Jay, a fireman and they are both very much in love with each other. Each character goes through their ups and downs, laughters and cries, hopes and wishes and start to redefine ‘family’ in their context, especially after Fred & Brent have their baby two weeks early in the camp. Each learns a valuable lesson about tearing down misconceptions, building relationships, rebuilding one’s self, and finding more than enough love in their hearts.

I dunno what was it but the film didn’t excite me as much as the first two did. This could be a combination of expectations and the fact that the film really did not have anything novel to offer unlike the first two. I mean, there was nothing wrong with the film but then there was nothing outstanding either. Like most films, each couple had their share of misunderstanding which gets resolved by the end of the film. We all know exactly what the outcome is gonna be. I think it was the expectations that left this film a little short in fun quotient for me. Acting by all principal actors was still pretty good with Brent still taking an edge over the others. Roger’s character in this chapter, according to me was quite irritating and unlikeable. I wonder if that was the intent but besides that I was happy to see that all characters were given equal prominence including Fred’s sister who is also the surrogate.

Not bad at all but not great either, This film is an alright conclusion to the trilogy of the gay bear life. Now lets look forward to something new. (6/10)