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

Thursday, 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)