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, March 16, 2018

Entertaining Mr Sloane (UK)

I am not very sure if this film should be reviewed here or not. Although one of the 3 main characters is gay and there are homo-eroticism undertones, the issue or subject is never addressed head on. But then, for a film that came way back in 1968, I guess this small step was itself probably quite a big achievement.

Kath is a lonely middle-aged woman living in suburbs with her ageing father DaDa. When she meets hanssome, young and very sexy Mr. Sloane sunbathing on a tombstone in the cemetery near her home, she invites him to become a lodger. When he accepts her offer and comes home, her father recognizes him as the man who killed their neighbor but is too afraid to speak anything. Eventually Kath seduces him. Meanwhile, her closeted, yet obvious gay brother visits him and also gets charmed by him. He makes Mr. Sloane his personal chauffeur (complete with a titillating tight leather uniform) of his pink convertible. Sloane takes delight in playing brother against sister and tormenting the elderly man. He gets Kath pregnant and a jealous Ed warns him to stay away from her. When Sloane murders DaDa to protect his secret, they blackmail him by threatening to report him to the police unless he agrees to participate in a ceremony where they both end up marrying Mr Sloane and now not only he is their sexual partner but their prisoner as well.

First of all, for a film being promoted as a dark black comedy, I did not laugh at even a single scene; and thats where I lost most of my interest in the film. Kath was funny as the sexually frustrated woman who seduces Mr Sloane. She delivers her cruelest lines with an underlying pathos. There is complete absence of any morality in any character but I think this is the way the script was designed. This may have been a good production way back in the day, but watching it in today’s day and age felt like work which I do not like. For me it was more like a campy film that you watch , if you are kind of person who was alive in 1968 and enjoying reminiscing old times. Otherwise, my recommendation would be to avoid the film. (2/10)

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Deep Water (Mini-Series) (Australia)

This is a 4 part mini-series, each episode of about an hour each.There aren’t many good thriller, mystery series which focusses exclusively around gay characters. The drama is based on the historical, unsolved hate murders of possibly 30 to 80 gay men in Sydney's eastern suburbs and beaches in the 1980s and '90s. Murder mystery, detective series and gay characters; now tis is a series that ticks off all the boxes that I like when I look forward to watch something.

One morning, in one of the apartments on the beachfront of Bondi, a mutilated body of a young man is found. Tori Lustigman and Nick Manning are assigned the case. They soon discover that this could possibly be a gay hate crime of maybe an ex-lover or a hook-up gone wrong. Their boss wants the case to be closed soon but Tori strongly believes that this goes much deeper. With a series of investigation, she suspects that these murders go back to late 80’s and 90s of gay bashings and sudden disappearances of many young gay men during that time. Interestingly, as we soon find out, Tori’s brother was one of such men who mysteriously died in that phase. After a couple more murders happen, Nick and Tori realize that the killer is using ‘Thruster’, a hook up app, to lure gay men and kill them. As they meet more victims from the uninvestigated past crimes, they become convinced that the current killer is somehow connected. In reopening the cold cases the detectives reveal the hidden truth about the past murders and uncover critical evidence leading to the serial killer. In doing so they finally give closure to the victims' families by bringing the killers, both past and present, to justice.

The ending of the series was deeply moving, especially when you see the families of victims from the past finally getting a closure, including Tori herself and her father who never accepted the fact that their son was probably gay. Tori is always shown as full of distrust on anyone and questioning everything that comes her way. Although her partner Nick also wants the case to be closed and truth come out but he is also shown as a peripheral character. He and Tori have a very interesting dynamics going on. The beginning of the show is very interesting but Tori’s finding of unsolved cases from past and her finding people to give the details sometimes felt too convenient. And at one point there were so many characters introduced from past that I was so confused with all the names floating around but I know that this is my personal problem. I feel that a murder mystery works when there is enough thrill and drama to keep the viewers hooked, but this was somehow missing here. The characters lacked the richness and complexity that would have involved me emotionally, in spite of the plot having the potential to do so. It was a decent watch but not a compelling one. The deaths and reasons for murders from past made sense but I wish there was more solid reason and story behind the present day killings. It just didn’t feel justified enough, in my opinion.

The series is shot beautifully and the long shots of Bondi beach reminded me of my time, when i just walked briefly on the beach. I wish I could visit again and spend some more time there this time. Overall this was a fine murder mystery, just a bit sort of becoming a real good one. It is still much better than a lot of gay trash films out there. (6.5/10)

Monday, March 12, 2018

King Cobra

If you are occasional gay porn watcher like me and have a few favourites, then Brent Corrigan is a name that you must be quite familiar with. This film is a true story and is based around him as the central character around an incident that became a big deal and affected his career and his personal life to a large extent. I didnt realize this until the very moment I started watching the film. Had I known this fact, I would have seen this film, right when it came out. And it has, the now famously ambiguous actor James Franco as well. Anyway, better late than never.

Bryan is a gay porn producer and he own Cobra films. He meets Sean Paul who introduces himself as Brent Corrigan for his porn name. Brent signs a contract with him and Bryan starts producing a couple of porn films. Within a very short time frame. Brent gains immense popularity and becomes really famous. On the other side, we also meet a low key porn producer Joe, who runs his company Viper Boys whose sole porn star is also his lover Harlow. Joe also occasionally rents out out young Harlow to middle aged man. The couple has weird intensity, almost destructive, about their relationship. Brent soon finds out that he is not making even an iota of money that Bryan is making on his behalf and asks for more money, which Bryan refuses. Brent leaves him and gets a shock when he finds out that no other producer would hire him because they want top use his name, which is now copyrighted by Bryan. When Brent finds this out, he threatens to expose Bryan for child pornography since Brent was only 17 at that point. Joe and Harlow are in debt and desperately need to make money to keep up their lifestyle , so the reach out to Brent Corrigan to make a porn video with Brent and Harlow which will be the best gay porn ever. Joe tries to reason with Bryan to give up the copyright on Brent’s name which he refuses. In a fit rage and pre-meditation; Joe and Harlow end up killing Bryan and then burn down his house. Although Brent is the first suspect, because of the under-age scandal; he ultimately helps the cops by producing evidence that it was indeed Joe and Harlow. Finally Brent’s dream of making porn films, producing and directing them himself comes true.

Despite a subject matter that solely relies on gay porn, this film is far from being porn itself. It shows the inner workings of the porn industry, refrains from showing unnecessary sex and solely focuses on the intersection of the above four main characters over the period of time. The acting by all the main actors is all around pretty good. There are scenes that show a little bit of what’s going on in the head of the characters. The scene where Brent is lured by Bryan into having sex with him shows the loneliness that Bryan is dealing with but also shows the helplessness of Brent who doesn’t want to have anything to do with Bryan sexually. In another scene with his mother, Brent confesses that he is not ashamed of being a porn star. In fact, he likes to do in front of camera and he is good at it. The intense and jealous and over protective relationship between Joe and Harlow is also pretty good. But they are also emotional, especially while shooting for a sex scene, Harlow is reminded of his step-father who used to rape him. And finally in the end we do get to see Brent’s famous tattoo on his ass albeit played by another actor. I really wish Sean Paul has played some part in the film. I missed not having him here.

The surprising thing about “King Cobra” is that it winds up being a sex-positive movie that’s sympathetic to Corrigan while also poking some gentle, loving fun at him and committed to fully exploring the sadder fates of the three other men who came to their doom in his sunny presence. I was hoping that the film would be cheesy, bad with needless sex scenes thrown in for excitement but I was surprised to see that it was made with all honesty. (7/10)

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Una Mujer Fantástica (Spanish) [A Fantastic Woman]

I had been meaning to this film for a while, even before it won the Oscar for best foreign language film; but after that it just peaked my curiosity. So a friend of mine and I decided to check it out in the nearest cinema. I am glad I saw it on the big screen, because somehow the impact was stronger. Also, since the pace of the film is a bit slow, I Have a feeling that I might have gotten uneasy at some points; which didn’t happen at the movies. This is a film about a trans woman fighting for simple human respect in a world filled with hatred.

Marina, is a waitress and an aspiring singer. She goes on a romantic dinner date with hr much older boyfriend Orlando, who also happens to be rich. Later that night, Orlando wakes up feeling very unwell. Unable to stand up, he collapses and falls down a staircase. Marina rushes him to a hospital, but Orlando dies, apparently from a brain aneurysm. This is where the trouble begins where the cops and Orlando’s family both suspect her for foul play and if Orlando paid for sex. Orlando’s ex wife and son want her out of Orlando’s apartment as soon as possible. And if this was not enough, they forbid her to attend Orlando’s wake or funeral. The only person who is remotely empathetic to her is Orlando’s elder brother. All Marina wants is to pay her respects and be allowed to say her goodbye but what she gets isa humiliating physical examination, assault by Orlandos’ son and his friends. The exclusions have more to do with her identity rather than the death of Orlando. She's not only treated as a second-class citizen but as a non-Person.

The film has a certain calm and sensitive flow about it. The subject is treated with dignity, respect, sensitivity and empathy that a subject like this deserves. There are a couple of sequences where reality meets fantasy and others where there re long shots of Marina walking through the streets of Santiago all alone in her journey and survival in this big bad world. A good part of the film is also about marina trying to find what the mysterious key holds answers to which she finds in Orlando’s car, but the outcome is disappointing. Daniela Vega as Marina is absolutely fantastic. The pain and agony she portrays is really moving. She is in pretty much every frame of the film portraying her loneliness, fear, pain and agony of bereavement. This film is about a person asserting her right to be treated like a person. All the other characters also do their part with sincerity. It felt, sometimes, like watching an Almodovar movie, a bit poetic in certain scenes but it did hold its individuality. I don’t remember the film’s name but years ago I saw a film where the family doesn’t allow the partner of their son to say final goodbye to him just because world would know that he died of AIDS. The scenario is similar but with the transsexual angle, this becomes an even more sensitive.

A Fantastic Woman is a brilliant film and rightfully deserving an Academy Award. A richly humane, moving study of someone keeping alive the memory and the fact of love is not to be missed at all. (8/10)

Friday, March 9, 2018

Gay Short Films : 56

Antiman (Guyana)
Anil, an introverted young boy, is pressured by his father to become a cricket player the way he himself was years before. Although a skilled player, Anil refuses to play and takes refuge in his love for Dano, an older boy in the village.  In order to attend the local masquerade and see the boy he pines for, Anil must win the cricket tournament.

False Negative (Italy)
Luca is a shy and insecure guy and is hard to get along with. He has a problem with gay people: he is always very uncomfortable with them. One night, in spite of himself, he will have to face the problem and confront once and for all with himself.

Thirst (Israel)
Two friends go on a hike to the desert. In the desolate wilderness something hidden comes out in their friendship. From then on, the only way they manage to communicate is sexually and violently. While one of them wants more than the other, he expresses his frustration by making sure they get lost and have no water - anything to escape from awaiting reality.

The Violation (USA)
Fascination of a young man for his neighbor gets close to reality when they are needed to house sit. His secret will be revealed and totally backlashed by the neighbor boy.

Bølgene (Norway) [Waves]
A relationship between two teenagers bordering between love and friendship. It is also a movie touching the fear of growing up, becoming adult, becoming alien to each other.

Iridescence (Canada)
A contemporary dance performance to show the growing resentment between a 16 year old and his homophobic father after his mother dies. The boy needs to learn that some people need more time in embracing who they really are.

Daddyhunt: The Serial (USA)
An online 2 season show of a few episodes, each of a couple minutes duration. A young cub moves in and falls for the neighbor daddy. The episodes follows them, their interactions, confusions, love and fear of being for each other. The search for the perfect Daddy is anything but straight-forward. Short in duration, brilliantly acted and directed; I think this was a fantastic short and sweet show.

Aceito (Brazil) [I Do]
In sunshiny Rio de Janeiro, Junior is planning to delight his long-term boyfriend Andre with a marriage proposal and has planned an elaborate surprise; but things don’t go quite as planned, leading them to some uncomfortable new understandings in this charming romantic short comedy. I absolutely loved the cute fights of the couple.

A Salvo (Spain) [Safe]
Victor and Hugo met through the ex-boyfriend of one of them, and they maintained an adjective relationship with insecurities and fears. The fear of a love over three years, counted in five mornings. How to move forward in a relationship while still feeling safe?

Beijing Beijing (China)
Two boys develop a relationship that is torn apart by family as one boy sacrifices their love to protect the other. Three years later they meet again. Even after such a long time, love will always see you through and bring you close.

Us Against the World (China)
Two school boys start dating and are faced with harassment, bullying, and violence. But in spite of all, this stage shows the face of love that can endure everything. You'll endure everything, sacrifice for the person you really love.

Promise You a City (China)
Two men are in a long-term relationship and struggle with joblessness and infidelity. If you can’t be ‘the one’ for the other person, would you at least let him go. Even if it's painful, even if it's the cause of your life, you will end your relationship with each other.

Baby Steps (India)
Communication is the backbone of any relationship. Dev’s catch up on skype with hi smom turns interesting when his boyfriend Ishaan joins. Dev comes out to his mom and th emother also has a story to share. Brilliant.

The Groomsman (China)
A happy gay couple celebrate their third anniversary but the relationship is threatened by a mother who wants her only son to have a proper family with kids. The other guy is willing to sacrifice the relationship so his boyfriend can be happily married to a woman. It hurts to think that you have left everything for him, but he'll will leave you too.

A Boy Named Noel (Germany)
At Christmas eve, Noel is anything but happy. He needs to hide a secret from his family.

¿Por qué no seguiste? (Peru) (You Should Have Kept Going]
A gay short that tells us about a boy's love for his best friend. What happens when there is a sleepover.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Driver (Thai)

Now, finally, a decent thriller with a gay theme. My last few attempts of watching a film with this genre has been terrible, so I was a bit nervous about this one. Actually to be honest, I did not even know that this was thriller when I started watching but pretty soon, it was obvious. For some reason, one thing that caught my attention in this film was the background music. Somehow it was just really good and perfect and went very very well with the film. I usually don’t even pay attention to such things but this was good.

Businessman Tae has not returned from his Korea trip and this worries his wife Kade. She asks her police friend, Tum , to help her out but he advises her to wait for a few more days, because some work emergency may have had come up. But Kade is restless and can’t wait any longer so she asks her husband’s driver Mac to take her to his office to see if she can find something. There she finds an electricity bill for the house she never knows he had. Kade makes Mac drive her to the house hoping to find her dearest husband there. But she finds a set of keys and a card with spa appointment. They then find out that her husband used to visit male spas. From there they also find out about a house where once Tae ordered home visit. Turns out that this was the driver’s apartment and pretty soon it is revealed that Mac and tae were lovers. Now begins the cat and mouse game between the wife and driver and who’s playing whom. Mac gets a shock when he realizes that Kade has known for a while that Mac was her husband’s lover and she knew this all along while pretending to search. Now its Mac’s turn to find out what Kade knows and where is she hiding Tae.

The film has quite a few interesting twists and turns and you are always looking forward to what’s going to happen next and this is the mark of a good thriller. Agreed that sometimes, it felt a bit stretched, especially after, Mac finds out that Kade knew all along but despite that the film holds on its own. The actors are all good looking and their chemistry is very believable. The fact that they are all good actors helps. I always fear, actors going OTT in such thrillers but it was amazing how Kade’s character is shown as clam and always in charge. She is not ready to taken for granted and she has got plans. I, to be honest, wasn’t completely surprised when it is revealed that mac was tae’s lover; I somehow expected that but the journey before and after was still quite interesting. It would have been nice, if it was explored as to why tae married Kade when him and Mac were already lovers even before he married. Was it just because of her money? I think that was it, but it still would have been good.

There are very few gay themed thrillers, which are actually good. I will definitely recommend this one for a decent time-pass. You will not be bored for sure. (6.5/10)

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Geography Club

I don’t know why but I have been holding off to watching this film. Somehow the name did not seem  inviting enough for me to give it a chance. Finally I did and honestly it wasn’t that bad. Sure its a bit cliched and we have seen plenty of movies with similar theme about high school teenagers struggle with sexuality and coming out and what not, but even this film manages to hold on with its individual merit

Russel and Gunnar are best friends since kids. But Russel has a secret. He is gay and can’t even bear to tell anyone since his father has high hopes from him. For his friend Gunnar’s sake , he goes on double dates but is very frustrated. But his dreams soon start to come true when after a few meetings, he gets into a secret relationship with the hot and hunky Kevin, the school’s quarterback. At their first kiss, their classmate Min sees them and invites Russel to join ‘Geography Club’ which essentially is a cover for clandestine LGBT club. Initially reluctant, Russel does join the group and meets a few other friends there. When his sexuality is revealed to the school, by some random jealous girl, Russel, initially hurt, decides to do something about it. He alongwith Min decides that they will officially make their geography club as the ‘Gay Straight Alliance’ club, the first of its kind in school. Russel also tells Kevin that he needs to come out in open. Even though Russel loves him, he cannot do that because he is looking forward to a scholarship and this could hurt his chances. Kevin walks away and Russel and Min get a decent number of people for their club. Russel is super surprised by how supportive his best friend Gunnar is with the whole thing. Finally its about being there for oneself.

The film had interesting premise but a lot of things were just too convenient. The way Russel just out of the blue becomes part of the football team just so he and Kevin can spend more time together was a bit unbelievable. There are certain scenes that have been handled with extreme sensitivity while others are amateurish. There is not consistent pace. More than the love story of Kevin and Russel, I felt the friendship with Gunnar was given more prominence; which is actually not bad because kids need to know that there is a lot of support out there from people who they are close with. They just need to feel comfortable. Acting by all actors is thankfully pretty good but I would hope actors who actually look like teenagers were chosen. Kevin, though extremely hot, barely looks like a high school student. And that sometimes takes away the authenticity of it all. Interestingly, from the film’s perspective, the conflict comes mostly from within, rather than from school bullies or inflexible parents, as each of the characters must decide whether to go public with his or her sexual orientation.

It's a good movie, but could easily have been a better one had the writers taken better care on the screenplay. Not bad by any standards, I feel bad when a movie could have been so much more. (6/10)

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The Passenger (German)

There are just a handful of thrillers in gay genre, and most of them are not even good. This film is sort of thrillers but not strictly in gay genre. Regardless, it is difficult to put this in either suspense thriller or psychological mind fuck. Actually if you look at the film as a whole, I don’t really get the point it is trying to make but anyway. more on that later.

Within first few minutes after he kills one of his male lovers, our protagonist tells us how he is dealing with issues of lust and killing and he can’t control it. He comes as Nick to Berlin and rents a room from Philipp. Philipp loves his charm and good looks and also introduced him to his best friend Lily. Clearly both of them are charmed by Nick and at the same time Nick systematically seduces them both. Lily with his charm and love and Philip with his friendship, although clearly Philipp has feelings for him. Nick is also sad about this whole thing because even though he genuinely likes both of these folks, he knows he will eventually have to kill them. In between all this, he cruises a gay man and kills him in second meeting and also follows a girl and kills her. As expected in the end he kills Philipp and Lily as well even though he deeply regrets it. And he is onwards to Paris as his next destination.

I am still not sure what the whole point of the film was and how and when did murdering someone and chaperoning their bodies through buildings and parks became that easy! He easily kills his gay guy target in the park. He carries Philipp’s body, undresses him and throws him in a lake and no one notices. He take Lily’s body also in the park. The cops come out as whimps in this whole situation. I can understand from Philipp and Lily’s point of view why they are charmed with Nick. There is nothing alarming about him. This is what anyone in this situation would do, but what is the film maker trying to tell us? To be cautious and careful of strangers? There is no back story on why does Nick go around killing innocent people who are just giving him love. Some insight into killer’s mind would have helped rather than just an absurd monologue in the beginning about “lust to kill” is “connected to certain star constellations”. The audience spends the film with two likable characters just to watch them get needlessly killed at the end. To be fair, the subtle homoeroticism and charm is very well played and all the actors do a very good job of what’s asked of them. Sadly the  poor story takes away any credibility the actors brought into this film.

This film is cold and without any real motivation , reasoning or passion and that’s too bad. With a good charming starcast, and decent direction, it could have been so much more, only if everyone paid attention to what was the point of story. (4.5/10)

Monday, March 5, 2018

Nächte in Wilhelmsburg: Die Trilogie (German) [Night In Wilhelmsburg: The Trilogy]

This trilogy is actually a set of three interconnecting short sitcoms and was quite interesting to watch. Each of the story is placed an year after the previous one, so its essentially a growth of characters over a period of time. Wilhelmsburg is supposed to be Hamburg’s worst district, where a lot of immigrant population lives.

Episode 1: Eine Nacht in Wilhelmsburg
Martin, a budding actor, has a crush on Murat, who works in a video store, but doesn't know whether he's gay or not. One day Murat invites him over for dinner but Martin's buddy Christopher however is convinced, that Murat is a gay-basher as Murat lives in the worst part of Hamburg. Martin leaves Murat’s address with Christopher just in case. Love eventually finds its way between the couple but has a hilarious ending when the cops show up.

Episode 2: The Lucio Fulci Experience
Martin and Murat are going through a rough patch after being together for one year. Murat conspires with one of their friends to surprise Martin with a party for their first anniversary. But things don’t go as planned. Murat's protective Turkish mother and the drama of Martin’s friends make this a truly unforgettable evening.

Episode 3: Das Haus am Anfang der Strasse
Martin's friends Kay and Bernd want a baby, and looking for a surrogate mother. Martin unexpectedly makes a career as an advertising star, and Murat's sexy brother Can appears in the picture. All the characters are going through own craziness and come together in the end.

I had a very good time watching this trilogy. I had a constant smile on my face. The gags and the interactions reminded me of so many sitcoms with gay characters that we have seen in the past. It was just relaxing and fun to watch something whose purpose is to just entertain. You sometimes just don’t want to put too much effort into thinking random things. Sure, the production values were low, and acting was silly, but I dod not expect anything different. This was great as it is. I just wished that the Turkish hunk Murat was someone hotter, given the fact that those guys are so bloody hot. But besides that, watch this harmless fun trilogy for pure & silly entertainment. (6.5/10)

Sunday, March 4, 2018

&Me (English/ French/ German/ Spanish)

Oh god! Another one of those wanna be pretentious movies, where probably the film maker thinks that its the best damn movie ever made. Only if the wishes could come true. European movies have sometime gotten away with what some people call as “weird” or “different” kind of cinema but this film has such a poor story and screenplay that it is unbelievable. I have never seen a film where no work has gone in any sort of character development.

Eduard, possibly gay, leaves his good life in Berlin to move to Brussels to take up a big bureaucratic position in EU parliament. His sister and his friends can’t fathom why. Around same time, Edurne, leaves her over protective mother’s home in Sitges and takes up an intern job in the same building. They have a chance meeting and they start hanging out and pretty quick Eduard asks Edurne to move in. They have a strange connection, while Eduard is still struggling with his sexuality. We see he hooks up with a guy when she is not around. Edurne enjoys his company, for whatever reason and literally demands that he should never leave her. Enter Richard, a handsome young man, whom they met on a couple of occasions. He is a moving man in the same building. Both Eduard and Edurne are attracted to him and they ask him to move in also. They have a weird sexual tension between them and things are ok, till one night Edurne and Richard have sex. This breaks Eduard’s heart but he does nothing. Richard leaves home and despite their attempts, he doesn’t come back. And then Edurne also leaves and thats it.

See, the story had potential. There could have been fantastic character development on trying to explain why the characters were behaving the way they were. There is absolutely no explanation on why Eduard leaves such a happy life in Berlin and then fall immediately in love with a woman even though he is gay. I mean, he is a handsome man, unless he has been in closet all his life. We just don’t know. I dont think he is in closet , because his sister acts surprised when she hears a girl’s voice. Edurne is another weird character. She comes out as clingy and so demanding asking Eduard to never leave her. Meanwhile there is no indication that they are sexually attracted to each other. As someone said, she just comes across as a demanding lunatic. Only good thing is Richard and the sexiness he brings and even his character is full of ups and downs. Initial scenes show him sexually aggressive towards Eduard and then he ends up having sex with Edurne. What was it that he really wanted. No reason on why he moved in, why he left and why is the couple so desperate to have it. The relationship between all characters end as abruptly as it starts. There is this scene when the couple is in bathtub and they cry and laugh at the same time. It was so amateurish that I felt embarrassed for the director. The only positive thing was Edurne’s mother. Her presence in a couple of short scenes would light up the screen.

The film had potential High production values and good looking cast. Sadly it fails in acting and screenplay and direction. Don’t waste your time. Oh! and btw, its not really a gay film besides Eduard being gay man. Such a disappointment after such high expectations. (2.5/10)

Saturday, March 3, 2018

The Journey of Jared Price

Dustin Lance Black is the name that became famous, at least for me, after his phenomenal oscar winning speech for Milk. So, when I realized that this film was directed by the said man, my expectations were high, but, to be fair to the man, this film came much before Milk came and hence I had to give him some slack even in terms of expectations. The film is actually a simple yet vulnerable story of a young man's search for independence and sexual discovery; the people who he meets along this journey, the deceit, the loneliness and perhaps a chance to love.

Young and very innocent 19 year old Jared arrives in LA from Georgia and books himself in a hostel. Jared’s room mate is hustler and he needs to use his room with clients often. Jared has no choice but to live with this arrangement. During one such time,, is when he meets Robert, openly gay, they become friends and even share a kiss but Jared is still an inexperienced man and doesn’t know what he wants. He soon finds a job as sitter and caregiver to blind Mrs Haine. He is hired by her son Matthew. Matthew is in a stable relationship with his boyfriend but is dealing with some issues. Things change when Matthew asks Jared to move in with his mom, so that he can better look after her. But the very first night, Matthew gets Jared drunk and the two have sex. Jared has no idea about Matthew’s relationship and he feels that if he gives his best to Matthew, his life could be good. When he shares this with Robert, he is disappointed but asks Jared to be careful.  One night Matthew thinks of having a threesome with his partner Jared, an idea that surprises the two guys, who till that moment did not know of each other’s existence and also an idea that disgusts both of them. Jared has now the tough decision on whether to continue his relationship with Matthew or just leave, ultimately being either homeless and jobless again? Mrs Haines guidance and wise words eventually help him take the right steps forward.

The movie and Jared’s character is very innocent and charming yet respectful at the same time. As a viewer you take instant liking for him. Even though the film comes out as amateurish, it has a old-fashion message at heart, ‘choose carefully between the lure of material goals and the joy of true love’. Jared’s growth as a character is shown really well, with the innocent young man opening his eyes to the ways of the world when Matthew tries to exploit Jared for his own set of issues with his partner. I thought that this was explored really well. But its not without share of issues. I am not really sure of the whole point of Jared making continuous recordings and spending all that money on cassettes. Performance wise, the film ably rests on Jared who does a splendid job with the right mixture of charm, innocence, and appeal. Mrs Haines’ stories and advices helps Jared to grow in the understanding of the world and how and why people take certain decisions in life. There were couple of sex scenes but nothing forced and done tastefully. I wish, there was a little more exploration done on Robert and Jared. To be honest, if not for the very amateurish production, I would have rated this film higher, but still, I think its a sweet tail of self-realization and sexual discovery.

Its not a great film by any chance, but given that it came in 2000, made on a limited shoe string budget, and relatively new cast and crew, its a sweet and watchable film from content and acting perspective. But from the perspective of an overall film, this leaves a lot to be desired. (6/10)

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Mango Souffle

Oh My God!! This film brings back all kinds of memories. This was the first-ever gay film that I saw in my life. I was doing my masters degree and hadn’t come to terms in accepting my sexuality. I used to love to watch independent films and went to the only local theatre, where this movie was playing. I din’t know what to expect, but I remember being slightly uncomfortable watching the film since it was my first exposure to the gay cinema and I was suddenly conscious of people around me and probably judging me. The movie ended and I went back to my room, had to make up stories for my room mates because I couldn't have told them what film I just saw. Thankfully, 16 years later, a lot has changed in my life and I am glad for everything. But watching this movie again was a reminder of what my growing up years were like and what I used to feel and go through. It just makes me more empathetic to other people’s struggles and stories. Ok enough of that, and now coming to this film.

Kamlesh is a successful fashion designer, openly gay to his family and friends. One day he invites closest of his friends for lunch and they all are wondering what thats about. The friends are a mix bunch. His ex-Sharad, a catty queen who is still bitter about his breakup with Kamlesh; TV star Bunny, who keeps reassuring himself and everyone else that he is straight, to the annoyance of his lover Ranjit and finally the fag hag who somehow loves and cares for Kamlesh. The big announcement turns out to be that Kamlesh is moving to Canada and that he wants promise from all his friends to never talk about Prakash, a guy with whom Kamlesh’s love affair did not end very well. Kamlesh’s sister Kiran makes a surprise visit and her fiance Ed. With a gasp, the group recognizes Ed as the elusive ex-boyfriend Prakash. Through flashbacks we find out how Kamlesh had met Prakash and love blossomed but Prakash was never comfortable being himself. And it was Kamlesh who introduced his sister to Prakash one evening at a club, knowing little that his sister will fall in love with him. And since, Prakash doesn’t want to come out in open, Kamlesh has decided to let the couple be and move away from everything around. Soon enough, the groups conspires to make sure, they make Kiran aware of the double game that Prakash (Ed) is playing. They all give a hard time to Prakash for not being courageous enough to be true to himself and in the process both Kamlesh and Kiran decide to let go off him from their lives.

This film now or at the time when it was released may not seem groundbreaking to Western viewers but the novelty of this film in the Indian cultural context is applause worthy. I mean, way back in 2002, there was no way anything like this could have been appreciated or seen by many. But I am glad someone had the balls to make a film on this subject. The film is entirely in English, reflecting the upper class status for Indians in this group. I guess the idea was to cater the viewers in urban centers with large gay and Indian-heritage populations. The direction is not the most polished, to be honest but now that I saw this film again, I appreciated the honesty and intent behind making this drama. The film, based originally on a play, feels very theatrical but I was trying to watch it ignoring all those negatives in this film. An Indian film dealing with both gay men and closeted men haunted by others' expectations was not easy. And guess what, it is still not easy. It’s a shame that the film never got the attention it deserved. As a viewer, it doesn’t come to as a surprise when it is revealed that Ed is indeed Prakash. But that’s not important. What is interesting to see how family and friends collide and how a gay brother is ready to give up love for the well-being of his sister who already is with low self-confidence and low self-esteem.

It’s a shame that not many folks have seen or heard about this film. Like I said before, it may be hard for anyone to connect with this film, but given the Indian sub context and culture and the fact that this film was made back in 2002, My ratings are just for the bravery shown by the makers and actors to do something groundbreaking. Yes, both acting and direction could be a lot better but sometimes its just better to let heart take over your mind. (6.5/10)