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, September 20, 2019

B&B (UK)

There are very few gay thrillers out there which are even half decent. The few that I have reviewed were years ago. And of late, the ones I have seen in last couple of years have been horrible. So, I had my reservations while watching this film. Thankfully, it was not terrible as I had begin to expect from movies of this genre, but it wasn't also super exciting that I would go back and watch it again.

Marc and Fred are a married gay couple returning to a bed-and-breakfast after they won a court battle exactly a year ago against Josh, the owner of the establishment who is too religious to accept queers. There is an obvious tension when they check in and do not get a very warm welcome. Josh's teenage son Paul confides in Fred that he is gay and he has to deal with lot of issues because of his homophobic father. Tensions get higher when a mysterious Russian comes to B&B. Marc thinks he is gay but Fred believes that Josh has invited him for gay bashing. Meanwhile somehow Paul and the Russian decide to go out for the night at gay cruising park and now Fred is worried about the boys safety. In moments of heat, its not very clear if Russian was going to attack or not, but an argument leads to Paul killing the man. Now a cat and mouse game start where Paul tries to put the blame on Fred and the coupe try their best to get out of the mess. Some contrived scenes follow and eventually Josh takes the blame of killing the man and goes to jail. A year later the gay couple return to find Paul now running the B&B and now supposedly in a straight relationship with a woman because his father showed him the path of righteousness.

Its still not very clear to me whether the Russian was actually someone who harmed people or someone who was just a voyeur. The second half of the film felt very complicated and I was unable to comprehend a lot of scenes. Whatever be the case, the other big problem I had t he film was I wasn't able to connect to any of the characters. Be it Marc and Fred, who wanted their right to stay in a B&B, but clearly Marc was a dickhead who wasn't even bothered about the safety of his husband. All he cared of was being right and having the last word. He was so annoying that I couldn't understand why a reasonable man like Fred would be with him. Then , its difficult to understand how did Paul and the Russian make a plan to meet when he didn't even speak english. It was so random. And then finally when Josh was so against the gay couple, why would he hand himself over to the police for his son's crime instead of maybe accusing the gay couple. A lot of actions didn't make much sense to me in the film. The one thing I got from the film was how it was all about Marc's ego. Maybe he wanted to fight for his rights but there are ways to do it without being a dickhead, but then thats my personal opinion. All the actors thankfully did a good job at acting. You can tell they are good actors but lack of character development constrained my liking for any of them.

The film wasn't terrible but wasn't anything much to talk about. If you are looking for something that is not stereotypical gay, go for this film. It does offer something new. Sadly, the new is not that good. (4/10)

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Love @ First Night: Season 1 & 2 (Web Series)

I found this web series while randomly browsing on Youtube and I am surprised not many people know about its existence. I have to admit that. initially it took me a while to warm up to the characters and the over-the-top acting by its characters, but slowly I got sucked into the lives of the characters and must say I thought it was quite decent. There are few shows that show show queer African American community the way this show does.

Our main actors are Spencer and Jayden. They meet one night at Spencer's roommate Alex's birthday party and hook up. Its only the next day they realize that Spencer was actually the blind date that Alex had invited over. Alex is a player and just sleeps around but after this incident doesn't leave any chance to make Spencer guilty of stealing his potential love. Jayden and Spencer meanwhile are getting close and quite like each other. We also meet Jayden's sister, who is very supportive but is also dealing with own personal men issues. Alex and Jayden are slowly growing apart because of Alex' bitchy nature and also mainly due to his other friend Gary, who keeps giving all wrong advice to Alex. Gary hatches a plan to bring into picture Orlando, who is Jayden's ex partner who uses to physically abuse him. Exactly a year later on Alex's next birthday, he presents Orlando as a surprise pretending to not know who he is fully intending to take revenge and hoping Spencer and Jayden would break up. Season 2 starts with Jayden and Spencer dealing with Orlando's sudden arrival in their lives. Meanwhile Alex is slowly falling for Orlando, who clearly wants to sleep around and want to have an open relationship. This season we see more of Jayden's family background including his sister's issues. With the arrival of Spencer's mother, whom Spencer hasn't come out to, and with Spencer's co-worker hitting on him, the two of them go through their ups and downs but still managing to communicate. The season ends with Gary's true face being exposed but also with a question mark of what else is Jayden hiding from Spencer.

As I said before, my first reactions were, Oh ! My God! why are the characters so loud and over the top but after a few episodes, I got used to it. I have to say most controlled acting was by Jayden followed by Orlando. Jayden's sister was the most annoying and so was Alex. I think there could have been a decent balance of a loud character v/s showing him just a bitchy queen who has not grown up. Coming to Spencer, he was all over the place, sometimes he was too good and other times just random facial reactions and expressions would totally catch you off-guard. On a brighter side, no stereotypes are made of the fact that characters are African-American or the fact that they are gay. Its a regular story where no bones about both of the things are done and thats a very welcome change. Also the scenarios that have been shown could be happening in our everyday lives so connecting to them is easier (minus the loud reactions to everything). A few changes I would recommend is that it was only Jayden's apartment that looked like someone actually lived in .rest all other locations are so minimal furnished and used, its clear that they are being used just for shooting. I know its a trivial thing but the sets does make a difference.

Apparently Season 3 is in works and I for one would look forward to what's happening next. This is no great shakes by any means but its not bad either. Just get used to the theatrical Over the top acting style and you will be good. (6/10)

Friday, September 13, 2019

Soft Lad (UK)

At its heart, this film seems like a coming-of-age family drama centered around a love triangle. On paper this is a good story with a lot of drama and opportunities for conflicts, but good actors and direction makes all the difference. This is not a bad film at all, but needed a more mature film maker who could have done complete justice to the story.

David is a young 22 year old dancer who has just been accepted to a dance company of his dreams. He wants to go but is hesitant because he has feelings for Jules, who is a married man that David has been having an affair with. It turns out that Jules is actually married to David's sister Jane. Slowly David starts to understand that Jules cannot reciprocate the love that he expects of him and as a rebound hooks up with a guy Sam in a club. They both get along well and as David is starting to get serious with Sam, Jules misses him and wants to do something about it. He becomes irritable and picks fights with Jane all the time. Jane can't understand what's going on. Meanwhile, Sam and David want to get serious and they decide to go for HIV test. Turns out that David is positive and Sam is fine. David is heartbroken and confronts Jules on why he gave him the virus. This is when truth comes out that secretly Jules has slept with some other guys. David forces Jules to come clean to Jane, which of course puts a split between relationship that David has with his sister and family. Sam, initially can't understand how David could do that to his sister, but ultimately decides to give all the support that he can to David for him to continue a happy healthy life.

I am not sure why different characters keep addressing David as "soft lad". It was a bit annoying. Also, despite the fact that David's and Jules' affair started with a few drunken nights, David should have known better. Thankfully Sam is the only one who asks him towards the end on how could he ever do this to his sister. No one can ever get so blinded by love and lust. You can understand that Jules is a douche bag but why would David get mad for Jules not leaving his wife for him. Thats just being selfish. Because this clearly doesn't prove that David loves and cares for his sister. The acting and direction felt more theatrical than a film setup. and things just happened very conveniently. How can a young man like David have slept with only Jules or Sam; how does Sam and Jules fall so much in love with each other so quick and suddenly the husband goes from thinking he is straight to being gay. Overall, the makers were missing the point. Were they trying to educate the people about affects of HIV or is it love or is it something else? It was hard to say. By the way, it may sound weird but the accent was getting to me after a while, especially Jane. I wanted to feel bad for her, because in all this, she is the one who gets hurt the most but I just failed to connect with her character.

The film did little to develop its characters and towards the second half I would skip the film so I could just move along. Good scope from a subject point of view but an average direction fails to lift the movie to anything that you would remember the film for. (4.5/10)

Monday, September 9, 2019

The Male Gaze: First Kiss

I just reviewed the second in the series of the Male gaze recently, so I went and looked for part one to watch and review it here. This collection of short stories brings together five shorts that are based around men experiencing romantic and/or sexual interaction with other men for the first time. From regret to introspection to fighting back and all-out laughter, a confection of emotions await.

Naked (Sweden)
Straight friends Erik and Anthony sleep together after a night of drinking. In the aftermath Erik continues his relationship with his unsuspecting girlfriend while Anthony starts to consider that he may not be the person he’d always thought he was. Its time to confront his true feelings and likings.

Pria (Indonesia)
This is reviewed earlier here.

Walk With Me (USA)
While walking his dog, Eric bumps into the confident and carefree Ryan. Taking a nervous leap, Eric accepts Ryan’s invitation to walk through the city en route to a concert. In the next six blocks, the two men discover that intimacy through anonymity also exposes one another’s flaws and insecurities. Will they make it to the concert in one piece?

One Night Only (Australia)
A young confident man Tyler crashes a party with best friend Erika to check on a guy. BUt once dejected by him for putting on makeup, Tyler has to decide, how to get hold of his self esteem and  move on.

Tapette (France) [Mousetrap]
A builder Michel finds himself aroused by co-worker Thierry, which doesn’t go down very well with his long-suffering and totally unconvinced girlfriend, Charlotte. Nevertheless, Michel goes out into the night to a gay club to explore his new desire.

This set of shorts were actually pretty good and interesting and I had fun watching them. I would definitely recommend. (6/10)

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Steam Room Stories - The Movie

Its films like these that reaffirm what most people think: most gay films are trash. Apparently this is one of the most popular LGBTQ web series on youtube (surprising I have never heard of it before), but not every webseries can translate into a good film. Making a spoof is not an easy job.

Sally Fay's cosmetic business is not doing well and she spends all her money to find out the eternal fountain of youth. Unfortunately that sits under the steam room of a local gym. The steam room has a group of hot hunky men (straight and gay) who discuss random things. Sally sends her assistant to find dirt on the gym and soon the boys realize that they need to collect 25k USD to save the gym and hence the steam room. The film just goes downhill with the trashy ideas (and even worse execution) to collect the money. The assistant falls in love with one of the men and does right by the group by supporting them in raising the money. As expected the money is raised, Sally bears the brunt and loses the cosmetics company to the board and the boys are happy to be back in steam room.

The film is supposed to be funny but it is neither funny nor entertaining in any way shape or form. The only thing going for the film is the 6 pack abs of all the 5-6 men sitting in the steam room. They are easy of eyes and don't shy away from exposing but as an audience we need something more to keep ourselves entertained. It's a complete and utter waste of time, money and space. The only decent acting was done by Sally's assistant. Rest every character was forgettable.

The writing sucks, the acting sucks, the directing sucks. Watch one of your earlier favorite films on repeat rather than wasting time on this. (2.5/10)

Thursday, September 5, 2019

The Male Gaze: The Heat of the Night

When darkness falls, temperatures rise in these six stories about late night confessions, intimacy for sale, high speed hookups and full moon frissons.. This is a collection of short films from various countries.

Thirst (UK)
A young man delivers a stream of monologue with his wish list of the urban gay hook up life and dreams of his ideal future with the man of his dreams. Can gay men really overcome their internalized shame, when what they want is different from what they pretend!

According To Mateo (Spain)
This is a dark depiction of deep sexual desires, although its a bit unclear at times. Mateo and his boyfriend bring home a guy but Mateo leaves them both to go with another guy on street to have a more darker and harder sexual encounter which he is not getting at home.

Hardcore (Israel)
An encounter between two Israeli men and a German tourist, where they find themselves way above their head as he asks them to engage in extreme fetishes with him. Partly funny yet dark, snappy and definitely not sexy, this is a sarcastic exposé of dark sexual desires.

Beast (Sweden)
A young reclusive man meets someone he falls in love with, but as they become closer, the more scared he is for his secret to be revealed: why he has to live alone. A subtle-fantasy horror, where we sort of only know what may happen because of the title of the film.

Petit Ami (Belgium)
An encounter between a young sex worker and an enigmatic older man at a seedy motel but they connect at some level. This story of a fleeting connection between two men is a moving reminder that we can find solace and human intimacy in the most unusual of circumstances.

Skai Blue (Belgium)
Story about a man who meets an asylum seeker from Cameroon, we see the difficulty of gaining asylum in Europe for LGBT people through the eyes of a Belgian man who just wants his lover to stay.

The films are dark as the title suggests and none of them is boring. They make for a decent watch.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Tatuagem (Portuguese) [Tattoo]

This film was good and I wanted to like it, but I feel that some where this film will connect more with the Brazilians more than the international audience. There are multiple reasons for it IMO, a lot has to do with the political situation in 1970s in Brazil and how theatre in Recife specifically was perceived at that point. Sure the film gives us an idea and I admired it but I believe I would have been able to appreciate a lot more, if I was aware of the political and the cultural sub-context of the country at that point. Surely this is a gay love story but the surroundings and situations are all so contextual that it helps. Also, this film weirdly reminded me of the documentary "Cockettes" that I had recently seen; I guess more an anarchist theatre point of view and all the colorful characters we get to see.

Brazil is still under dictatorship. We meet Clecio, who runs an alternate theatre group that shows sexuality, nudity, political issues, in all campy but entertaining. The star is Paulette, an immature and young transvestite who couldn't care less about things. Clecio is a teenage son with a girl form his earlier days and both of them occasionally hang out with Clecio and his group. We then meet Finhina, an 18 year old young soldier, who is seeing Paulette's sister and happens to visit the theatre group and instant sparks fly between him and Clecio. Finhina is also struggling in military because of constant gay bashing by one of his sergeants, who himself may have sexual issues of his own. Paulette doesn't take this very well but eventually her and Clecio sort things out. A torrid affair begins between Clecio and Finhina starts gradually with some misunderstandings. But theor love is genuine and Finhina even gets a tattoo to show his love but rest of the team is worried that Finhina may be military spy. Things are clarified, The theatre group gets banned from performing by the government and Finhina is expelled from the military. The ending is where the two men are on their own individual paths hoping that one day they can reconnect.

The film is filled with at least 3-4 instances of full on lengthy shows themselves. It is good that they celebrate the diversity, and spirit of those times but for non Brazil folks, this becomes an overkill. Subtitles can never do justice to such elaborate sequences and after a while you want movement to happen in the story. Double standards of Brazilian society during those times are exposed while carefully reminding us that no one is completely gay or straight. We are fluid and it all depends on who we fall in love with. The way the first interaction between Clecio and Finhina is filmed and showed is so pure and true that I loved it. You see nervousness in both of them , with excitement of what may come and feelings of that first dance, first kiss and first sex. It was awesome. Somewhere in between it got confusing in terms of what kind of relationship they had since we see Finhina sleeping with other man but also struggling with his military days. But ultimately in the end things start getting clearer that the love they share is for each other but at the sam time neither of them owns the other person. They have a genuine chemistry and the graphical scenes be it the sex or the shows is a proof to the liberation spirit of what people expected.

A very colorful film that needs to be seen and appreciated. Unfortunately the very local subcontext hampers people like me to fully appreciate the film to the extent that it deserves. (5/10)

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

J'ai 2 Amours (French) (Mini Series) [I Have 2 Loves]

I absolutely loved this 3 part mini series. This series really had everything going for it. Love, romance, drama, light moments, emotions, uncertainties, fuck-ups, friendship, families and overall how we all do mistakes as humans. This is definitely one of the better series that deals with interesting aspects of bisexuality and love. This doesn't mean that the series was flawless. It did have loose ends and made me question logic at certain places but then sometimes you just have to sit back and get entertained, which this series did plenty of.

Hector is a doctor in emergency room and has been in a very happy and committed relationship with his boyfriend Jérémie for 5 years. Together they are trying to have a baby with their best friend Anna. Enter, Louise, who apparently was Hector's first love in school/college days. Sparks fly again and hector finds himself getting attracted to her charm again and he starts having an affair with her. Anna's trial to get pregnant with Hector's sperm fails twice and but succeeds when on a drunk night Jérémie and Anna have sex. Meanwhile Louise also gets pregnant. Hector tries to unsuccessfully juggle both his lives but is getting tired. Jérémie feels there is something odd but cannot put a finger to it. He feels guilty of not spending enough time with Hector and having lied to him about having sex with Anna. When he tells Hector the truth, now Hector goes in guilt and decides to introduce Louise and Jérémie to each other. The meeting doesn't go very well and as expected, they both don't wanna have anything to do with Hector because they both feel cheated by him. Both babies are born and its been 3 months and Hector has not seen babies yet, Jérémie and Louise both miss him. Eventually, they get to talk and at least start getting civil with each other where Hector gets to see and spend time with babies. The movie ends on a positive note where it seems hector, Jérémie and Luise will be able to work something out between them.

The series explores homosexuality, bisexuality and poly love all of it in some way or the other. Thankfully the series addresses some fo these issues head on. for example when Hector is accused of choosing to be bisexual, he reminds Jérémie that its not his choice. Its who he is. He did not choose to be attracted to both sexes. Most folks fear that if their partner is bisexual he/she will eventually go for other sex whereas the truth is they are as much of a monogamist as anyone else. Yes Hector doesn't come clean to either of them for fear of losing them but we all know sooner or later that will happen. We do see some good fun moments while Hector is trying to juggle two lives with the support of his colleague. An interesting relationship is also slowly established between Jérémie and Louise because they both 'share' Hector. As actors everyone does a fantastic job on their parts and never once I hoped anything different from the series. You could see Jérémie and Hector love each other so much that neither of them is actually capable to going for another man and you feel their pain after the break-up. For some reason, in al of these I felt most bad for Jérémie but I think at some point every character loses out in one way or the other and sadly that's life.

Strongly recommended. You will not be disappointed, I promise. You may not agree to how Hector deals with situations but you wont be able to deny that we all know someone who has fucked up in a similar-ish situation in life. (8/10)

Monday, September 2, 2019

An American Hate Crime

This movie is a good example of how bad direction can completely spoil a very important message and a good narrative. For this film, I will not really blame the actors, because I do think they had potential but the direction was bad. It was more theatrical and very amateur, because of which a film that should be more widely seen may not really get the audience.

Jake is a troubled teenage frustrated with life because he feels there is nothing going for him. He gets suspended from community college, has a dish washing job. To top it all the company he keeps is nothing to talk about. The 2 of his friends are homophobic and they convince Jake to join them in homophobic attacks on gays. They download a gay dating app and bash a couple of guys. Jake is not totally convinced but he goes along. On the third attempt, they badly end up beating a young 13 year old boy Noah. We then see Noah's story of how he is coming to terms with his sexuality, and also his first love and how his family has been nothing but super supportive of everything. When Noah goes to hospital after the crime, does Jake find out that the guy his group bashed up is actually his younger brother Noah. The guilt is killing him, so he turns himself to police and his friends get arrested too. After few months, Noah gets better and visits Jake in the jail with his boyfriend and forgives him for his actions.

Like I said, the story was very good and something that needs to be told. But in this case, I feel a docu-drama approach would have been better. Or some changes in screenplay with a better director could have changed things drastically around and would have made a much stringer impact. Hate Crimes are real and they still happen in today's time. There are as many people who hate Gays as there are who support. And the haters can sometimes go to any lengths. So to this, I applaud the makers to deal a delicate subject, but unfortunately they didn't do a very good job of it. It would have been nice to understand why Jake is so angry when he had such a supportive family around him. The entire story of Noah and his love was so cute and it would remind everyone of their teenage crush and love. Both those guys were super cute and they did their part very nicely, so did the mother. Jake's friend were quite annoying; not just as characters but also as actors.

I wish someone makes a more gut wrenching, hard-hitting film on this subject because hate crimes are not going anywhere sadly. Sadly, the bus has been missed in this attempt. Its not an American problem, Things are much worse in other parts of the world and the world just needs to be more tolerant and let people love. (3.5/10)

Sunday, September 1, 2019

The Rainbow Bridge Motel

Nothing about this film was good. Too lengthy, flat jokes, over acting, stretching a topic, LGBT stereotypes, mix of jewish humor. This is a classic example of a film-makers over indulgence in a subject that could easily have been a very funny short 20 minute film.

Darren and Dean arrive to Niagara Falls for their wedding. Alas! because of an online blunder, the hotel that they have booked for the occasion is totally rundown and instead of view of Niagara Falls, they are sandwiched between chemical factories. Dean, the diva of the two, demands Darren to fix everything for their wedding before the guests arrive. Sadly, because of a convention going on, no alternate place is available. The motel owner tries his best to convince the duo that things would be fine. While planning for the ceremony, Darren realizes that his ex-wife has not yet signed divorce papers. Which is even more of a shocker since Dean didn't even know that Darren was once married to a woman Maggie. Luckily she doesn't mind driving down to sign the papers. Bigger drama unfolds when Darren's parents come and his overbearing mother wants to control everything including trying to convince Darren to not divorce Maggie. Random misunderstandings follow, supposedly funny moments later, the couple succeeds in getting married with the backdrop of Niagara Falls.

Some of the big problems with this film are that the jokes are overextended, the plot developments frequently forced and the production values poor. This film is sufficiently lacking in passion that one would struggle to believe the central couple love each other if they didn't keep saying so. I mean, how can Dean not know Darren was once married. How can Dean not get involved in any planning whatsoever for he is wedding when he is clearly the more excited one and the passionate for the event. Both Darren and Dean overact but I blame that mostly on the bad and poor direction and of course the script that's stretched beyond limit. Darren's mother comes out as an even annoying character, where the makers probably thought that she would bring the house down with laughter. Also when the motel just hosted a lesbian wedding why was there so much fuss around a gay wedding!

This film is a let down in every aspect. The only redeeming factor could be editing it really short. (2/10)