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.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Downriver (Australia)

By now I have a seen a few Australian dramas and films that follow the pattern of small mystical town where characters are mysterious, motives questionable and sometimes there is also some sort of sexual exploitation. This film has a nice premise on its hands but in my opinion is let down by a weak screenplay. It is so much all over the place, that its hard to keep a track of everything that goes on, and especially frustrating when the movie just ends and you have to spend next 30 minutes trying to decipher what actually might have happened.

James returns from juvenile prison where he was convicted of drowning a boy whose body was never recovered. He bids a tender farewell to his cellmate and lover and joins his mother who is reluctant to have him back in his life. James' uncertainties concerning the boy's death are made worse by his having blacked out at the time due to an epileptic seizure. He goes back to the area where the incident happened and begins questioning people. He befriends next door boy Damien and wants to meet his childhood friend Anthony who was also questioned for the boy's disappearance. Anthony is a creep who forces himself sexually on Damien and blackmails a local coffee shop owner for money because he seduced Anthony as a minor. Slowly James starts to uncover patterns and realizes that the secret is more mysterious than he thought and may have something to do with Anthony's mysterious family. Slowly questions arise on what happened to Anthony's little sister; why did the two young kids take another kid with them and he drowned. Was their sexual misconduct involved and why did Bettina disappear? James uncovers these secrets by eventually finding the bodies of the two kids.

The films follows a linear pattern with flashbacks thrown in, but is confusing at many points. Why does James visit the old lady with the dogs and what is her contribution? Whats the real story of Anthony's family? Was Anthony abused? Why does he sexually prey on Damien? What happened with Bettina and whats the exact role of Anthony's elder brother Jay? None of these questions are answered and the viewers and supposed to deduce the conclusions. And this is where the screenplay falters.  A slow-burn drama like this needs at some point to ditch the ambiguities and settle on clear motivations and resolutions. But the film never does that and it gets frustrating at the end. On a positive note, the cinematography of the film is brilliant. The mood of the film created goes very well in creating a tense atmosphere. Also sexuality is touched upon interestingly. James is gay and Anthony too (or is he just someone who likes to dominate?). In a small town like theirs, its never made an issue aside from a homophobic slur or two from the margins. Performance wise everyone does a splendid job. James performance as a guilt ridden adult who just needs to find the truth about the young boy is handled very well. Anthony's character remained not very clear to me. Maybe he is just overshadowed by all male member family.

I like mystery films and was hoping more from this, but sadly a lack of a clear story line makes this experience slightly frustrating. None the less, its not a bad film in this genre. Please don't expect this to be a gay mystery. The characters just happen to be gay and their sexuality has nothing to do with the central plotline of the film. (5/10)

Friday, January 17, 2020

The New 30 (Web Series)

Gay web series are an in thing these days. The creators of this series in an interview mentioned that they noticed lack of content about gay men in their 40s and their issues in life. According to them, unlike the popular belief that by 40 one has figured out what they want from their life, there are many folks out there who are still struggling as if they were in their 30s.

The 6 episode series follows Elliot and his diverse group of friends as they navigate their 40s and discover that life isn’t quite what they expected it to be. Elliott is still living with his ex for about a year now. He cheated on him with a guy called Diego, who incidentally shows up as the date of his best friend Reid. This trio goes through ups and down over the episodes on especially when Elliot and Diego get back together thereby breaking Reid's heart. We also meet another gay couple Preston & Aaron who have been together for a while and are thinking of getting married. They are looking looking to spice up their sex life while debating whether or not to have a child. we meet a straight couple who are good friends with this group. The newly dad wants to have another baby but the other has had enough and this causes some friction between the two. And we have Joshua, the Asian guy with whom Elliot went on one date and his ex boyfriend with whom he still leaves. The series ends with Preston & Aaron getting married and Elliot ex finding out that Diego is none other than the same guy with whom Elliot cheated on him.

First thing is that the production quality of this series is actually quite good. It doesn't look half-hearted at all and it does make a difference while you are watching it. As a viewer I tend to take things more seriously. The actors are all new and are quite good I must say. If I had to be critical, I'd say that Elliot needs to go a little easy on his tan and makeup. It is very visible and also I'd have liked to see more character build up for him. It wasn't very clear why did Diego disappear very suddenly when Elliot cheated on his boyfriend and how come Elliot and he still have this connection. This is especially weird when Diego pretty much professes his love to Reid. In the whole scenario, Diego comes out as an opportunist; which I am not sure he was or not. It wasn't very clear. Also the fight between Reid and Elliot seemed reasonable but Reid crazy reactions were not really called for. I doubt if thats really how it happiness. My favorite character of the show was Preston, a guy who is solved, knows what he needs, and is totally in love with his partner. And god!! He was HOT!

At almost 12-16 minutes per episode, this 6 part series is a very easy no-brainer watch. I don't think anyone would hate it but then at the same time, there is nothing really special about it. (6/10)

Friday, January 10, 2020

Macho (Spanish)

My first thoughts were that this film was a reverse gay comedy but as the film progressed, I felt that it kept getting more and more confused. Was it a farce, a wannabe comedy, a satire or just a comment on social expectations. What started off initially as fun, the handling of the gay portions of the film felt so regressive, which is completely unacceptable given the film came out in 2016 in Mexico.

Evaristo is a famous fashion designer of women's clothing. Apparently he used his gay-ness o gain more popularity than his actual designs. We soon find out that even though physically he comes out as very effeminate, he is not actually gay. In fact he uses this perception to his advantage to hook up with women. He is getting a documentary done on him to record his creative process. As there are threats to his prospective empire, his partner suggests that he bring a man in his life and hence he forces himself to date the handsome office boy Sandro (a handsome gay man recovering from the loss of his husband's death), so that it could help him squash the rumors of him being a closeted heterosexual. Series of confusions begins, and finally Evaristo is exposed of being straight guy with the pictures of his escapades with one of his favourite models Vivi all over the place. Though Sandro feels cheated, eventually he helps Vivi put up a great show for Evaristo who goes into hiding. All's well that ends well and Evaristo, Sandro and Vivi end up marrying.

Yes, the treatment of the film is as lame as the story is. It is a cheap attempt at camp LGBT comedy which so carelessly exploits gay stereotypes. Moreover it doesn't even help in advocating for a broader inclusion of the same diversity some of its protagonists so desperately want to represent. Its not to say that its homophobic, but its just stupid at so many levels. Why does Evaristo keep going back to Sandro all the time; why do Vivi and Sandro have this sudden connection, how can a famous person like Evaristo get away with pretending to be gay all this while while he has slept with over 300 women in last 2 years. There are many such scenarios that upset me, like Evaristo kicking Sandro for kissing him, or Sandro saying that sexuality is a choice (what?) and more. On a positive note, the film has a very rich and posh look. It looked like money and effort was spent to make this film very chic and fashionable, both in terms of good looking people and sets and clothes etc. Acting wise the lead actor does a great job, but somewhere the story misses the bus.

It is a very light entertainer but nothing that you would wanna go out of your way to watch this. Some of you may even take offense to a lot of things here. Choose wisely. (4.5/10)

Monday, January 6, 2020

Urbania

This film had received amazing reviews all over and I believe has also won multiple international film festivals. Naturally my expectations were high, and sadly they were not met. A non-linear format of story telling needs a lot of patience and somehow after 30 minutes into the film, I completely lost interest and was barely able to finish through the film.

Charlie is no longer with his boyfriend Chris. He prowls on the streets (either hallucinating or with dreams) of manhattan looking for a man he saw several months earlier.  harlie has other encounters with men who care but he finally meets Dean, who is unabashedly racist, sexist and homophobic. Nevertheless, Charlie, pretending to be straight, buys Dean drinks and smokes a joint with him. Dean takes Charlie to a gay cruising area looking for victims, but Charlie is able to warn away the intended target. We soon find out that  Dean and his buddies had murdered Chris several months ago in a hate crime and Charlie is here to take revenge. But is this real or still a hallucination? In dreams Charlie tells Chris that he has taken the revenge. Charlie is only finally able to sleep when he realizes that finally Chris' soul will find peace.

Because of the topsy-turvy narrative, the film is volatile and unexpected, which according to me was a huge detriment. The film is supposed to be an ode and study of love and loss but it somehow takes a long time to get there and in the process people like me lose complete interest to even care of what really is going on. There are some good performances delivered by an attractive cast scattered throughout but that doesn't help salvage the film in its completeness. Daniel is sexy and handsome and charming as crazy and one can just watch the film for only his sake, if at all.

It might be just me who hasn't liked this film. I am amazed having read all the glorious reviews all over internet but something failed to connect with me as an audience. I wonder if I was not in the right frame of mind. (4/10)

Friday, January 3, 2020

Boys On Film 19: No Ordinary Boy

Wow! This is the 19th film in this series. It sure has come a long way. As the last in its teenage years, we take a look at those unique boys; Boys who will go one step further, who excite, invigorate, and always impress. Boys who break boundaries, shape their worlds and are more than what they appear to be.

Michael Joseph Jason John (USA)
A single man imagines how life might be with a mysterious stranger he picks up on the New York City subway. A romantic thriller exploring one-night stands and the inherent thrill and risks of our hook-up culture.

Maacher Jhol (India) [The Fish Curry]
Having decided to come out to his parents, Lalit spends the day cooking his father’s favourite dish, Maacher Jhol. He pours his heart and soul into the meal before serving his father the delicious fish curry, but will his dish be more palatable than his confession. The film is in an animated format.

Blood Out Of A Stone (UK)
Because first impressions matter Michael sets Dan a challenge on their very first date together. But Dan is out of his comfort zone; he isn’t used to dates requiring such vulnerability. East London provides the backdrop to this intimate story of immediate “connection”.

Vi Finns inte längre (Sweden) [No More We]
After Hampus declares “There’s No More We” he feels total relief, the weight of their destructive relationship slips off his shoulders. For his fiancé Adrian it’s a devastating shock. How can they now help each other navigate the beginning of the end?

Between Here and Now (Denmark)
Visiting Copenhagen, Tony meets local boy Oscar at a bar. Initially cautious, Tony finds himself drawn to Oscar and their relationship rapidly intensifies; they want each other, they need each other, but can each trust the other?

Run(a)Way Arab (UK)
As drag queen Queen Za Dream prepares to go on stage, she recalls the joy of being an 8 year-old boy helping her flamboyant Iraqi-Egyptian mother get ready, and the transgressive moment that broke their close bond. Run(a)way Arab is a semi-autobiographical film from British-Iraqi director Amrou Al-Kadhi.

Meatoo (UK)
A naive actor auditions for a film which could launch his career. The things he’s asked to do make him more and more uncomfortable, until a choice remark from the director makes him see red. Based on a real event, MEATOO is an improvised film that was conceived and shot in a day.

Dusk (UK)
Growing up in 1950s England, young Chris Winters struggles to fit into the gender roles dictated by wider society. When Chris meets dream woman Julie, life lightens a little, but the growing feeling that theirs is a life half lived haunts Chris. They start to imagine what might have been.

Jermaine and Elsie (UK)
Elsie is fiercely independent, but due to a drink problem, is now reluctantly reliant on carers. When Jermaine, a black, sexually ambiguous carer arrives she gives him hell, but patient and caring Jermaine quickly wins her over. When Jermaine disappears without a word, Elsie makes it her mission to find out what happened to him.

Four Quartets (UK)
Raf is young, he’s fun and on the pull, but tonight is struggling to find his place among the crowd. Sometimes it’s that moment when you stop trying that magic really strikes.

After a few disappointing chapters in this series. this latest set of short stories redeems itself with some really touching stories and interesting characters.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

He Love Me (UK)

The idea on paper might have been interesting. A narrative to explore what happens when two gay men in a disintegrating relationship leave the city to spend some time alone, together in nature. But the end result in this case is a modern artsy soft porn lasting more than an hour long over a stretch on never ending monologue.

A couple hitchhike to a remote seaside beach hoping that a holiday away from the city will help them mend and strengthen their relationship. With a background narration by one of them, we get to learn how the couple met, how they fell in love, how slowly the insecurities of one of them with respect to money and career had started to bring distance between them despite the strong love that they shared. One man wonders if the other one truly loves him or not. The love is fragile and eventually the two of them have that big confrontation chat where the emotions are bared and the love that kept them together stays strong for the journey forward.

There are a lot of problems with the narrative. The dialogues don't really sync with the proceedings in the film. The visuals are about the 2 of them lazying around on beach, in their tent, most times naked, having sex and yet the story is all about their past; which makes it hard to focus. The narration is soooooo slow that it can induce sleep to anyone. A fast pace would have been better and that too in a short story format. The good thing is that the two guys are good looking, sexy with nice dicks that you get to see plenty of in full glory. The scenery of Greece and water is beautiful. The two men explore the unconventional nature of love and its ability to survive against the odds.

Besides a lot of nudity and graphic sex, the film is basically a narrated story of a sad life struggling to find happiness in a soft pornesque format. (2/10)

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Last Ferry

When the film started, I had high expectations from the film. The actors looked good and acted alright, the production quality seemed good and somehow I was getting a good vibe from it. But somehow just through halfway I could feel that the plot was getting convoluted and unconvincing. I feel somewhere, the film tried to deal with a few themes and in the process failed to focus on the mystery element which was supposed to be the core of the movie.

Joseph is a young naive gay lawyer from Manhattan who has just arrived to `fire Island for the very first time in offseason weekend for personal and romantic exploration. But he is soon drugged and mugged by a would-be hook-up and in his drugged state, it seems like Joseph may have witnessed a murder. He is found by Cameron, a young handsome sympathetic gay man, who's renting a big house along with his best friend Rafael. As Joseph gets to know Cameron and his friends and the two men have a mutual attraction, Rafael comes into picture after having broken up with his boyfriend. The mystery keeps increasing and soon Joseph feels something odd about Rafael and vice versa. Secrets come out when its revealed that Rafael had killed his boyfriend with the help of Cameron. The intent is never clearly explained and in a vague ending, Joseph flees from the house hoping to catch the ferry back to town while the two friends are still alive.

Let's talk about the goods first. The acting and direction if the film is overall pretty good. There is potential there and the film intrigues you in the beginning. Its the screenplay and story thats a bit of a letdown. Cameron's friends were just an unnecessary distraction and the film could have easily done away with all of them. Had the focus been completely on the mystery and thrill element, the film could have been so much better. The story has random disconnected threads that the makers try to connect but by then its a bit late. The vague open ending of the film doesn't help much to the case either. Its not very clear what were Cameron's real feelings for Joseph. Or the fact that whether Cameron and Rafael had some unsettled feelings and issues between themselves. The Fire Island was captured nicely and beautifully and to be honest I actually missed having not visited the island in a long kong time now.

The film had a huge potential but in my opinion, the makers got a little ambitious and tried to include a bunch of randomness. The film is really not bad but its sad when a film which could have been so much more just falls short. Thankfully the duration of the film was just right and wasn't unnecessarily stretched. (5/10)

Friday, December 20, 2019

Boys On Film 18: Heroes

This series comes of age with ten uplifting and powerful tales recounting the lives of everyday heroes with no special powers except striving for their own identities and fighting for the right for us all to be ourselves.

Daniel (UK) Read here

Buddy (The Netherlands) Read here

Half A Life (Egypt)
Pairing the intimate narration of a young, Egyptian gay activist with a highly stylized animation, Half A Life brings the streets of Cairo to life through this firsthand account of the increasingly oppressive social climate of Egypt.

Undress Me (Sweden)
When Micke meets Mikaela on a night out, he is immediately attracted to her, as he can sense that there’s something different about her. When Mikaela explains that she is trans he gets confused, aggressive and also curious. Undress Me examines and challenges our perceptions of gender.

The Colour Of His Hair (UK)
Based on an unrealised film script written in 1964, when homosexuality is still illegal, The Colour of His Hair merges drama and documentary into an impressionistic meditation on queer life before and after the partial legalisation of homosexuality in 1967. Confusing!

Silly Girl (UK)
Silly Girl is all about the first time you are noticed, that first time someone sees you for who you are and the transformative nature of that moment. It was a weird teenage film that didn't connect with me much.

An Evening (Denmark)
Frederik has had sex for the first time with Mathias, his friend from school. Whilst Mathias embraces what they have done and is keen to move forward, Frederik struggles to understand his own feelings and his newfound desire for Mathias.

AIDS: Doctors and Nurses Tell Their Stories (UK)
For the first time, doctors and nurses who cared for Britain’s first AIDS patients in the 1980s tell of the extraordinary situation they found themselves in and the rules they had to break to help patients forgotten by the state.

It's Consuming Me (Germany)
Read here

Mother Knows Best (Sweden)
A mother gives her teenage son some friendly advice on their way home from having met his boyfriend for the first time, but this innocent conversation leads to revelations that threaten to completely change their relationship, when the boy tells that his father has known all along.

Strictly average fare. these series are sort of losing my attention.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Gay Short Films : 68

Sisak (India)
A silent film, set in bustling Mumbai local train system, Sisak details a romance that develops between two men, slowly and intoxicatingly, nestled in the silences and quiet comforts of the end-of-day train journeys. A return to the unspoken, unsaid and universal expressions of love, on the path of subtlety and humanity, Sisak is the result of the belief that if love knows no bounds, it need not be bound with words, either. Absolutely Brilliant !!

Attention of Men (Canada)
Colt, an aspiring writer meets Ely, a wealthy man. Their relationship quickly evolves into a complex dynamic of father and son. As Ely's demons unravel, Colt tries to manage but fails. A random film about two men, their choices, fights, past, secrets and forms of freedom.

Bruderliebe (Czech Republic) [Brotherly Love]
A melancholic film about two brothers, an incestuous incident & obsession, abuse, and guilt.
Na Hory (Czech Republic) [On the Mountains]
Awareness film on how kids are blackmailed online by perverts but most kids dont confide in their parents. The film is part of the List project safely.

Knus meg (Norway) [Break Me]
Mansour, a boxer, is secretly in an affair with his best friend. But their love is put to the test when Mansour’s strictly religious father learns about the affair, and will do everything in his power to put an end to it. 
Le devoir (France) [The Duty]
A mother's illness sees two siblings returning home to face the closeted circumstances that drove them apart. The sister is secretly in love with the neighbor who was also the brother's first love.

Rough Trade (USA)
A hustler gets picked up by a man with a fetish for branding. The guy must decide to go back to the street or start a new life in leather. Terrible!

Guardian (USA)
Manuel is a gay Latino teen who keeps his sexuality a secret from his homophobic father. HIs mother cares but, she is only able to prove and instill her love through videotapes made from afar.

Matt (USA)
A short tale of two "Matts" - one has been around the block, the other a twink & fresh out of the closet. Matt invites Matt over for drinks, a movie, and a night that will mean much more for one of them than the other.

Stille (Denmark) [Quiet]
About to lose himself in shallow hookups and friendships, one morning the protagonist wakes up to a strange shift in his perception of reality. The film is a visual exploration of a generation's struggle to re-claim feelings of affection and intimacy. Weird!

Les îles (France) [Islands]
Characters wander through an erotic maze of love and desire. An absolutely ridiculous film.

Sabbatical (USA)
A couple grapple with the concept of taking time apart from one another, and dealing with the consequences of coming back together after a mutually agreed-upon separation. Does being apart strengthen bonds, or is it inevitably the first step in saying goodbye?

Ladies Day (UK)
A young, black lesbian spends the day in an Afro-Caribbean hair salon, full of gossip and laughter. Will she be able to deal with the casual homophobia?

Colla (Italy) [Glue]
Domenico is getting over his tormented relationship with Marcello. Domenico finds attraction and affection with Lallo, 14 year old brother of his best friend. A journey of discovery starts, between adolescence, maturity and desires of the two young boys.

Watch Me (UK)
David is being followed by a stranger recording his every move. As the stranger gets closer he sees more of the dark secret that David is hiding from his boyfriend.

Are We Good Parents? (USA)
When Lauren and Bill's 14-year-old daughter says she's going to her first dance with her classmate Ryan, they question their preconceived notions of her sexuality and their openness as parents.

A Normal Girl (UK)
The widely unknown struggles of intersex people is brought to light. It is common practice for doctors to perform genital surgeries on intersex infants on that don't conform to binary sex.

Sirene (Netherlands) [Siren]
Deep down inside, a fifteen-year-old boy feels different from the other boys around him. When he becomes friends with an enchanting girl, he gets more and more tangled up in his confusion.

Carlito se va para siempre (Peru) [Carlito Leaves Forever]
In the Amazonian jungle, Carlito, a silent young man, decides to leave forever because he is in secret love with another man.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Lost Everything

This could easily have been a simple straight forward film focussing on the closeted life of a famous movie star, but there are a bunch of ancillary storylines introduced here which, in my opinion, just introduce confusion to the overall plot and takes away from the focus of the main story. Also, I feel, ambitions of the film were too high but the treatment was done at a very basic level with minimal production qualities which fails to give it a realistic film at all.

Brian is a famous movie star who comes to Miami for a film shoot and is staying at a hotel. He has everything that one could ask for, except he is in closet and cannot be openly gay. The hotel bartender David flirts with him and they both start an affair. There is a journalist who is watching every move and is looking for the big story when he finds out that Brian might be gay. Then we have all these other ancillary stories of the bartender's best friend who is also gay and has a religious famous father, who has hired a team to find dirt on his son's boyfriend and to kill him off. The guy hired to kill him falls in love with the main, best friend who runs a local art store. Then we have Brian's manager, mommy dearest like lady who arranges for a girl Michele to play act Brian's girlfriend (except Michele and Brian are friends). Weird things go on and when David realizes tht this is not going anywhere, he decides to make money out of the whole deal. He makes a video of the himself with Brian and sells it to the reporter. When the reporter refuses to give the video to Brian, the actor ends up killing him thereby destroying himself completely. Michele steals all of David's money that he made selling his video to newspaper. All the ancillary stories have their own endings and one way or the other most people lose everything that they have.

The direction was strictly ok for the film. And the acting was very uneven throughout. David and Brain did a good job but everyone else felt a bit over the top, or somehow just not fitting into the film. The film is a wannabe thriller but instead it's a bit preposterous and its hard to take anything seriously thats going on. There is a lot of talk around the actor coming out and being a role model for the society but things are so fake that you eventually don't care. The movie is a melodrama trying to give lessons but fails on both accounts. The only good thing was some good eye-candy but besides that there is nothing much impressive to hold your attention.

Strictly below average affair which can be easily skipped. (4/10)

Monday, December 2, 2019

Analysis Paralysis

Its been a while since I saw a LGBTQ rom-com. This genre can be a hot or miss. To be honest, I used to be a big fan of this genre but with age, my taste is starting to get better. lol Thankfully, this movie wasn't outrightly bad. It wasn't amazing but given that the film has pretty much only the 2 actors playing off each other for the entire duration of the film, does manage to hold your attention besides a few hiccups here and there and we will talk about it.

Tyler is a young gay writer suffering from a peculiar medical condition called 'Analysis Paralysis'. With this condition, one cannot help but imagine all the possible ways that a possible choice or a situation could go wrong. And if not tackled head on, this condition will lead Tyler into a state of complete inaction. His therapist asks him to deal directly with it by facing his biggest fear, which in this case happens to be his crush on his neighbor Shane. Fighting his anxiety, Tyler manages to ask Shane out for a date and despite a flurry of imagined disasters, the date goes well, and Shane and Tyler ultimately become involved. Tyler confides in Shane of his disorder and he supports him well. The relationship keeps moving forward but not without the hiccups of Tyler imagining all things that could go wrong. Finally, convinced that Shane is leaving as a result of an uncomfortable interaction with Shane’s mom and dad, Tyler steels himself for what he sees as the inevitable rejection. But Shane has plans to propose him and be there for each other forever. But was this all a true story or did just Tyler imagine a whole life even before actually asking Shame out for a date?

Initially the repeated scenes every few minutes of situations that could go wrong got on my nerves and my expectations with the film went down, but eventually it started becoming funny. Some of the situations that Tyler would imagine were really funny and hilarious, especially of their first sexual encounter. The 2 scenes of their dinner and lunch outing with a very uninterested waiter were also hilarious. Shane was particularly brilliant in both those scenes. After a while the multiple scenarios got interesting. The reactions of meetings Shane's parents, of Shane breaking up with Tyler etc were quite funny. The film didn't feel stretched. And thankfully the 2 characters who are there throughout he duration of the film share an excellent chemistry and feed off each other very well. They are both good actors but I felt Shane had a slight edge over Tyler.

A good rom-com needs a good chemistry and some decent laughs which this film had. This is a decent time pass fun one time watch. My rating is not super high because the film doesn't have a repeat value and also there is nothing super great about it. Having said that, it does manage to bring a smile on your face, which a lot of films fail to do in today's time. (5.5/10)

Friday, November 15, 2019

Como la Espuma (Spanish) [Like Foam]

This is not a typical queer film as such. This is more about exploring one's sexuality. But given since our central character was gay, it does make sense to have it reviewed in my blog here. The film is essentially about orgy. Yes, that's correct, but by no means this is a porn film. The orgy serves as the setting through which we see about 10-15 characters besides the main leads and how they are deprived of affection.

Milo is paraplegic and gay. On his birthday he returns to his huge big old mansion with pool with his best friend Gus who was just trying for Milo to have a good time. To make his birthday memorable, Gus texts his sassy transgender friend to throw him a birthday party at the mansion–more specifically, an orgy pool party. And this is where it all starts. We meet all kinds of random strangers and slowly we see a few stories start to develop. A straight couple are going through boredom in their relationship. An older woman, looking for someone, is constantly hit on by a younger guy. A horny man into drugs in drooling over the trans girl who helped throw the party. We also meet a shy girl who recently broke up wanting to explore her wild side and she meets the orgy expert Jorge. And more. In this crowd we also meet Mario, who was apparently Milo's boyfriend from years ago. As Mario and Milo try to re-connect; Gus is still busy making sure Milo smiles and he arranges for a foam cannon because apparently that was one of Milo's favorite thing on his 18th birthday. Gus helps Milo learn to forgive Mario and give him another chance because life is too short to hold grudges.

It was a simple film that never took itself too seriously. It never got too deep into exploring the issues of these people that we get to meet and interestingly they all are given a happy ending. It was mostly an intriguing story of a long bizarre day in the life of a group of strangers. Being a person who is not at all into clubs and parties, this film was a fun, non-nonsense entertainer for me. I don't think the makers were trying to give a message or anything. The purpose was to entertain and to look at life a little more positively. And to this, each character seemed to became a little more sex-positive and free. All actors have done a great job. I just wish that Gus and Milo's friendship was explored a little more because somewhere I felt that maybe Gus had feelings for Milo but he just learnt to be happy with the way things are.

A simple and enjoyable, light-hearted and flamboyant film that is likely to be a feast for the eyes and keep a smile on your face. (6/10)

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Golpe de Sol (Portuguese) [Sunburn]

I would call this film more of an arthouse film in the LGBT genre. The film doesn't judge you for your sexuality, in fact it keeps it fluid, without asking or providing for labels. The film is more about friendship, love and issues that we all have in our lives and the past we can't bury and the future we wanna get.

Four friends are spending a relaxed weekend in a summer house: Francisco owns the villa and is supposedly straight (or bi), who is with Joanna. Joanna is best friends with Simao, a screen writer, secretly writing his next film on the lives of himself and his friends and finally Vasco, a romantic at heart who doesn't believe in hook-ups and has been in an online relationship with  married man, who hasn't met him yet. In morning, they are all surprised to individually have received a call from an old friend David, who is in town and wants to visit them all. We gradually learn about their reasons for being excited and/or scared by his announced visit. David seems to have let each of the four down in a uniquely personal way. And for all the damage that he has previously wrought, each of them secretly hopes that David is coming for them. Francisco and David were lovers when they were teen and decided to take a break, David and Simao brokeup because David wanted a family and kids. He also had a brief relationship with Vasco. The interactions between the four of them change from fun, to whispers to fights to apologies waiting for David who takes almost a full day to come (for a distance that was only supposedly 2 hours).

The film is visually beautiful. Good looking actors who can also act quite well, gorgeous house and pool and a neutral luxury and warmth. Sadly, the character buildup of all these individuals is very little and all we know about is their mutual relationships which also for no reason keeps going up and down. It is hard to relate to the intensity of the issues that they are going through because they all seemed to be hurt by David in some way, but what is it about David, that even after 10 years it a subject of sore discussion and why cant they all forget him even after 10 years. Keeping the sexuality aside, even the whole treatment of the film is very artsy where a whole lot is left to the audience to interpret. I didnt understand why Francisco and Vasco fought, why did Vasco have a random hook-up, why did Joanna get in a fight with Francisco or most importantly why suddenly Simao feels suicidal. I have a lot of questions unanswered.

The film is pretty and stretches too much in its long duration with silences and pool. This film is gonna need a lot of patience but ends up being frustrating because it just keeps going in circles. (4.5/10)

Friday, November 8, 2019

Gay Short Films : 67

Thomas14 (Short Webseries) (Denmark)
14-year-old Thomas has just moved to new school. In his new class, he meets Mads and Emma. Mads thinks Thomas's drawings are cool, Emma is more interested in Thomas himself but Thomas feels huge surge for his sexuality thanks fto mads and Emma's hot brother.

Portret Izgubljenim [Lost Souls of Tommorow]
In this Slovenian film, Tom and Noah discuss their friendship on the last sunset before Tom leaves. What they wanna avoid is to talk about that one drunk night.

Never Again (Thailand)
Nhai keeps switching boyfriends who never last more than a month. When he meets Tae, things are not the same. He feels different. He worries that Tae will dump him because his karma will get back to him especially since Tae happens to be friends with one of Nhai's ex. At 40 minutes long, this film addresses that love can happen more than once, you just have to look. Thing work out eventually.

De Vuelta (Spain) [Back Again]
The story of two childhood friends, Alex and Jordi who meet after two years to celebrate the Night of San Juan. When the storm kicks in, they will have to take refuge in an old mansion, where their feelings will come together reminiscing the old times.

The Feast of Stephen (USA)
A boy gets bullied by boys for being gay. But our man secretly likes it.

The Best Men (USA)
Moments before his best friend's wedding, Peter gets one last chance to rekindle mutual feelings long suppressed, but not abandoned. Sometimes the perfect reminder of first love's passion is but a simple kiss from the best man.

Boundaries (USA)
Jared takes drastic measures in order to gain the attentions of his ex-boyfriend.

Papercut (Australia)
Two closeted actors on their way to their first high profile awards ceremony fight both expectation and each other, as intimacy and insecurity collide in the back seat of a car. It really does show the struggle public LGBTQ people face and it leaves you thinking.

For Better: “Jimmy and Aaron” (USA)
Aaron and Jimmy’s relationship insecurities are brought to the surface on the drive home after dinner with their friends who recently moved to the suburbs.

Lavender (USA)
A raw and realistic portrayal of a young gay man as he grows increasingly entangled in the marriage of an older couple. What started off as a casual hookup becomes a heartbreak for young Andy. A beautiful film with a tender, poignant look at an unconventional relationship as it blossoms.

A Prayer In January (Israel)
On one warm Saturday, a young man is forced to choose between his gay lover and submission to his religious identity. Nice and warm film.

Reforma (Brazil) [Renovation]
Francisco, a plus size gay man recounts his recent sexual encounters with various partners to his female friend in an attempt to improve his own body positivity. Interesting take on insecurity but whats the point when he is not willing to do something about it.

American Male (USA)
A gritty look at rigid gender norms, and how they shape us. Scary sad but true.

Bliss Point
Two boys row silently through a Dutch water landscape. They dock on a remote island where the rest of the world does not seem to exist. A place where a tender love emerges in all vulnerability. They take the time to come closer together until the inevitable takes place.

Three Days & Two Nights (Philippines)
When a millennial gay tourist comes to a an island, the tour guide boy's life changes. Will he be able to accept the changes brought in by the openly gay tourist?

Call Me By Your Maid (USA)
The Perlman's maid has strong reactions when an exchange student comes to stay with the family. This is a hilarious spoof on the film from the maid's pov. Especially the scene when the 2 boys get confused on whom to call by what name.

Bortom (Sweden) [Distances]
A complicated mother-son relationship. Son is deaf and gay and mother had moved back to her birth country. Time has created a weird distance between them.

The Dare Project (USA)
Dare has been my all time favorite short and I have seen it multiple times. This short shows us the same story but also takes the journey forward. Its been 15 years since the swimming pool incident, The 2 boys are grown up and meet at a pool party since high school. The are uncomfortable yet a sense of familiarity and connection they had. Their interactions, playfulness and everything surrounding it is just so real and heart warming that I can't find a fault in it. And the kiss finally happens. MUST SEE !!


Sunday, November 3, 2019

Perdona Bonita, Pero Lucas me Quería a mí (Spanish) [Excuse Me Darling, But Lucas Loved Me]

This was a nice clean fun feel-good film. No over the top comedy, but a funny situation which gets comical with some good acting by its leads and actors. It feels the film was made a on a tight budget but as long as the actors do a good job, who cares! The gags are good, the pace is consistent and a ridiculous but funny plot makes this film quite delightful and enjoyable.

3 gay best friends live together. Carlos is over weight and is conscious of it and struggles to find love, Dani is young and good looking and works as a tourist guide and finally Toni, who works in a karaoke bar. The bar singer Estrella is Toni's friend, married to Miguel whom Toni likes. Threatened by their landlady for not paying rent, they look for 4th guy and in comes Lucas, a hot and handsome muscular guy. The three boys fall head over heels in love with him, and rivalries soon develop. When Lucas is discovered dead one night, panic follows. While the boys decide what to do, their maid Juliana arrives. They call cops pretending to be scriptwriter but a female cop Clara arrives with her sidekick. We soon get to know that Lucas was her ex-boyfriend. One by one the three boys tel their version of the story with Lucas. The maid also has her own version involving her daughter. It turns out the police assistant also knew Lucas and his address. While they are struggling to put pieces together, suddenly Estrella arrives, hinting at her having an affair with Lucas. Eventually since all of them could be potentially a suspect including cops, they decide to get rid of body and move their separate ways. The end of the film gives us the hint of who the real killer is.

There are a lot of funny scenes in the film. Everything involving Clara's assistant clad in mini skirt and learning the ropes of being a cop or anything with the maid were all hilarious. It was funny how each of the 3 boys would make up story of how they and Lucas were in love and how its the other person who could have killed him. The chemistry of the 3 friends is awesome and casting of Lucas was perfect, a man who anyone could fall for, boy or a girl. There are no awkward silences and the movie moves at a fast pace with actors feeding off each other's energy. It never gets really over the top which is always a fear in such a genre. I had a constant smirk and smile on my face while watching the film. The ending does come as a surprise but thats because i wasn't expecting it at all.

A fun filled silly & goofy but enjoyable ride. (7/10)

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

One Of Them!

At less than an hour, this tiny little film came out in 1998. I guess it was made for TV but I could be wrong. Anyway its about two flamboyant gay teenage boys (who totally are in denial about their sexuality) who can't wait to grow up and get out of New Zealand take a trip to Rangitoto Island and recall their friendship.

Jamie and Lemmy meet at school and become fast friends after a rather weird gay bashing teenage incident. They both are rather effeminate, yet neither self identifies as gay yet. They are rather rebellious, often cutting class to go on adventures. Their families find their friendship odd but they really cant do much about it. They are both drawn to homosexuality but then they both always make lewd and horrible comments about gays and how they should not be here and all that. In fact they even go to public restrooms to create troubles. They fight it to the point of doing some horribly obnoxious things to those they suspect are gay. However, when they start examining their own desires, what they find is most disconcerting, and their struggle becomes one of self acceptance.

Although the film is about self discovery of the teenage gays, I am not sure was it really necessary to make the characters so darn annoying and obnoxious. It prevents to empathize with them as an audience and when they actually accept they are gay, you don't really feel much for them. Sure the argument could be that rather than internalizing their demons and struggles, they took it out on others but it doesn't justify IMO.  The acting is okay. Both boys turn in believable performances, and do a decent job with the material they are given. The ending of the film, where both boys admit to being "one of them" is sudden but done well. I mean its not clear what made one of them finally admit to being gay.

Its not the worst thing in the world but nothing great to write home about. Watch this if you really have nothing else to do and are really looking for something quick and easy no brainer short-ish film. (3.5/10)

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Sweet Boy (Thai)

Of most of the Thai LGBT stuff I have seen, they have few things in common. Cast usually has a lot of really cute boys and also they take forever to come to the point. Additionally, they also have plenty of side storylines that don't do much justice to the overall story line in progress. This little film is a very cute feel good love story with its share of ups and downs. It focuses mostly on love and friendship and how it evolves overtime.

Nack is a 17 year old boy living with his single mother. His focus is solely studying so he can get in a nice university. He has close friends but he still feels quite lonely. And now also feels pressure of studies. An openly gay boy in his class for some reason bullies him indirectly. As time passes, Nack starts to understand the feeling of sex and love. Especially when one of the cute guys (supposedly straight) makes a move on Nack in swimming, but that goes nowhere. Enter Toy, the class Maths topper who take a fascination for Nack and slowly they start getting together really close. They dont have sex or anything but clearly its so much more than friendship where Toy comes as a friend, moral support and everything for Nack. But Nack's mother sees this as a digression from Nack's focus and also worries if her Christian son is now gay, asks Toy to stay away. Sudden rude behaviour of Toy breaks Nack's heart but with the support of his friends he gets over it and eventually after a gap of one year and focusing in studies enters university and gets back with Toy.

Some things in the film are good like silent eyes talking. When Toy and Nack give each other lobe glances, or hugs and cuddles and also when they give gifts to each other with. a very well thought meaning behind it, they all make sense. It shows human touches make a lot of difference. The interactions between Nack and Toy are also adorable and sincere as you see them get to know each other and go on cute dates. The conflict if the film is very predictive and you know whats exactly going to happen which makes it not so much fun. It also left me confused as to the motivations of Toy's character and whether his character was trying to be friendly or romantic. It's this confusion that creates a conflict of it's own between the two main characters and it just doesn't make much sense. The cast was good , acted well and was cute but i am still not sure what the actual relationship of the boys was. Slightly better storyline and direction could have easily taken this film to the next level.

I'd say this movie makes a good one time watch, without you having to think too much. It is strictly ok IMO. (5.5/10)

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Flyover Country

I am not sure why this film is being targeted as a romantic comedy drama about coming out. It is actually neither of these things. No comedy or romance as such and definitely not coming-out. If anything, its a story about friendship between a gay and a straight man and where does life and situations take them through over a period of a year of their friendship.

Todd and Russ are in the same literature class and soon become friends. Actually Todd is gay and has a crush on Russ and secretly hopes that Russ is gay too. But thats not to be the case. They bond over their common interest of foreign films and jazz music. Things go south slightly when Russ realizes that Todd is openly gay and that he has crush on him. Todd tries to explain but the friendship gets sour only soon to be mended around when Russ' grandfather passes away. None of Russ' friends and family approves of Todd as a friend and in fact even Todd's sister and her family don't approve. But they stick true to their friendship and by now Todd realizes that he can never have Russ as a boyfriend. A couple of times Todd meets possible suitors and boyfriends and they all get jeopardized because everyone thinks Todd is still obsessed with Russ. A misunderstanding soon follows and their is a big falling out between them. Todd finds a boyfriend and moves to California. A year later when he visits, they apologize to each other and revisit their good old days.

First things first, acting is pretty awful by all characters. Main actors as well as every single character that comes in and out is horrible. Everyone has to extreme reactions to everything that it gets painful to watch. There are so many random things that happen in this film. How come, Todd's sister only finds out after a decade that Todd is gay! Why does everyone think that Russ is gay, just because he hangs out with Todd. His grandfather, friends, colleagues, classmates, everyone hates the idea of homosexuality and after a while its a joke to hear them giving a lecture about Jesus and christianity combined with the really bad acting. It was also weird (making me roll my eyes), that how every guy who would approach Todd would talk just about foreign films and jazz music and as if these were the 2 most important things that one needs to be interested in for a meaningful relationship. It was very odd. The movie set in Omaha was super low budget and a terrible one all thanks to a poor screenplay, direction and acting. Thankfully it wasn't as bad as some of the recent ones I have seen but it is still pretty lame.

I would recommend watching it ONLY if you have nothing better to do in life other than look for ways to waste 2 hours of your life. The similar premise with an able director has a potential to give us a decent movie to watch. (3.5/10)

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Memorias de lo que no fue (Spanish) [Boy Undone]

This is one of those films thats stretched beyond reason and the story could easily have been told in a short story format. In this film I can easily snip off almost 60m minutes worth of scenes and as an audience you will not miss a single thing about the film. Long minutes of silences , awkward advances and just random memory flashbacks. I guess I am not going through a good time of watching decent films.

A young man finds himself waking up to no memory. He is at Miguel's house and he doesn't remember a thing about who he is, where he is from and how did he get there. He starts to panic but after being calmed down he decides to stay in the apartment as he attempts to piece his memories back together. Almost an hour into the film and 3-4 days later is when the young man asks Miguel on how he got there. Miguel tells him that they met at a nightclub and he come home with him , had sex and slept but the young man remembers none of it. Flashbacks to sexual encounters and violent confrontations begin to surface and Fernando begins to put the pieces back together with the help of Fernando. It turns out that some of his so called friends are responsible for this state who suspected that he was closeted gay.

I am trying really hard to think about anything positive about the film. IN fact at almost 2 hours the film was stretched beyond imagination . The acting by the leads was strictly ok and had absolutely no chemistry. There were so many sex scenes, almost soft-pornish thrown in every now and then which was very uncomfortable to watch. Then there is a scene when Miguel goes to meet a creepy old man who for no reason goes on and on for almost 10 minutes on Mexico's existential crisis, which had absolutely no relevance to the film. The director tried to make a homoerotic thriller but this was far from it. The idea had potential had it been done right.

Bad direction, ok acting, endlessly stretching storyline and moments of silences. This movie is without a doubt a miss. (2/10)

Monday, October 14, 2019

Thirty Years of Adonis (Mandarin/Cantonese)

I understand when film makers think they know every thing about art and they wanna use a new medium to show us what their version if art is, ultimately becomes very exhaustive for audiences. And when you take a gay theme subject on top of that, the line between soft-core porn and pompous art-house cinema grows ever finer. This film is nothing but a sensational film making.

The story is pretty thin. An aspiring gay actor Adonis has blind trust in his agent. He has an ailing mother and he is also supposed to take care of her. Keeping faith in agent, he agrees to work as a nude model a few gay art films which ultimately gets sold as porn films. He eventually joins porn and prostitution as well since he has to make money. We see various "artistic" scenes including Adonis getting raped by some 30 odd men for a film. Once his mother dies, he opens a bar with his agent to serve gay clientele and he also meets a caucasian man and falls in love. A tragic end awaits for Adonis when he is mercilessly murdered right about when he is thinking of leaving the country for good.

I really am in loss of words to write down how bad the film was made in the name of art. There was a LOT of nudity which wasn't needed. There were sex scenes, cum scenes and full on erection. There were scenes shot in artistic manner to somehow show link between life and karma and religion and faith and what not. I just did not understand the point of the whole thing. And why was Adonis so blindly trusting of his agent given that he got him in so many troubles. He would just give in to whatever he says. It was bizarre. The only saving grace was Adonis was quite good looking and acted quite good. Mr Scud or whatever you are called, please stop giving us your artistic BS.

Don't waste your time on this piece of garbage in the name of art. (2/10)

Friday, October 11, 2019

The Gay Bed and Breakfast of Terror

From the very first dance number, I knew this film was going to be bad. But I wasn't sure how bad it will be. It was very over the top as you would expect from a movie of this genre and a poster like this. I wonder if this was supposed to be a trashy spoof comedy, because it would have been so much better. Sadly, I had to bear the ungodly story, acting and the overall premise for almost an hour and 45 minutes.

The mother-daughter duo of Helen and Luella run a gay bed and breakfast far away form the center of the town. Its the weekend of the biggest party in town and we meet 5 gay/lesbian couples who are forced to stay in this BnB because they did not make prior arrangements. We have all stereotypes covered. A leather daddy and his boyfriend who happens to be the drag queen, a twink with a richer and older troll, an upscale gay couple with their annoying fag hag, an entrepreneurial lesbian couple and finally a singer and a tomboy lesbian couple. Luella also likes girls but Helen wants to use this opportunity to find a nice gay man and convert him to marry luella. We keep hearing about Manfred, who it turns out is the son/monster of Helen with 100 other men in an orgy. Slowly couples are cheating and we see murders start happening in this place. Secrets are revealed about why Helen is doing what she is doing, why Luella is the way she is. Murders continue and the film ends weirdly with everyone dead except the drag queen and tomboy girl who decide to take over the Bed and Breakfast place.

This film is very much aware of its B grade movie status. It tries to be a mish mash of comedy, terror, spoof, religious and christian bickering etc. Trying to be too much at once, it fails to keep any single focus and fails miserably in my opinion. All the gay couples cater to some sort of gay stereotype and are obnoxious not just to each other but others as well. This is a typical gay camp film which probably I would have tolerated 10 years ago but not anymore. Its my fault that I am watching the film more than 0 years after it came but still! I heard people say that its offensive but I really doubt it. I mean when the story and concept itself is so silly, who in their right minds would get offended by any of this, be it religious people, homosexuals or republicans.

My advice would be to strictly stay away form this, unless campy movies are something that excite you or you are drunk with 5 other friends and want to watch a non-brainer. The acting is horrible and every every scene lingers on way too long. (2.5/10)

Thursday, October 10, 2019

New Queer Visions - Men from the Boys

A compilation of short films exploring first love, revenge, new beginnings and more are unwrapped in this exciting collection from first-time directors from Portugal, Taiwan, Belgium, the UK and the USA. This collection, as expected is a very mixed bag of short films. None of the films really stood out for me.

CIGANO (Portugal): Wealthy young Sebastian finds out he has a flat tyre and ends up accepting help from a Gypsy passer-by. When Sebastian offers to give him a ride home, their expected destination is not what it seems. I am not sure what was the gay connection here.

TALKING TO MY MOTHER (USA): A young Asian man is trapped in a culture clash where traditions stunt his quest for personal happiness. He has a boyfriend but is expected to marry a girl who also is a close friend. The film shows the struggle to open up to his mother with the truth but maybe its too late now.

DAWN (USA): On an evening commute, Tye detects racism from another passenger's glance. In revenge, he decides to follow and confront the man. But things will clash when Tye will find a connection with his assaultee.

SPILT MILK (UK): An unconventional and highly moving love story between two teens leading up to the night of their prom as they begin to understand the differences and similarities of love, sex and gender and sexuality.

DINNER CONFESSION (Taiwan): In the hilarious and sweet 'Dinner Confession', Che is having dinner with his mom, but all of a sudden, she takes out Che's secret magazine and starts to question him about it. However, she is interrupted by the unexpected visit of Che's close friend, Chun-Hao, who is actually his lover.

PITTSBURGH (USA): An intimate, emotionally turbulent yet occasionally light-hearted look at a young deaf man's relationship with his boyfriend, who isn't quite ready to come out of the closet. Wonderful!

KISS ME SOFTLY (Belgium): 17-year-old Jasper lives in a small town. Jasper finds it hard to come to terms with his father’s career and also struggles with the problems of adolescence, but eventually he musters up the courage to be true to himself and those around him in this heartwarming coming of age tale.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Seat In Shadow (UK)

Don't let the poster or dvd cover of the film fool you. This is a very unconventional film. Sadly, not a very good one. It is very artistic with less focus on story but more on the unusual treatment given to it. Its a case of style over substance, disguised with wordy dialogue and random narrative turns. It was really hard to keep your interest intact during the narrative.

Albert is an ageing and eccentric painter who lives by himself in a very old and dirty house. He is visited by his friend who asks him to help her troubled grandson because he seems very sad all the time. I guess Albert is also a psychiatrist. When Ben visits Albert, we find that he had a boyfriend Adam, who dumped him and thats why he is sad, lonely and depressed. Albert tries to help but also at some stage is afraid of being alone himself. He knows he is growing old and through Ben, he tries to hold on to his youth. Using unconventional methods, he tries to cheer Ben and actually make a friendship. Albert even forces himself to go with Ben to a nightclub to meet Adam. Its not very clear if Albert is interested in Ben sexually or he is using him to relive his youth. The ending is bit weird where a few guys from the club come back to Albert's place. They have an orgy while Albert watches in awe and then he tries to give Ben a chance of an Australian experience.

If the summary sounded weird, its because the film actually was. Only some of the banter between Albert and Ben is ok, but most of the times, it just made no sense at all. Its not very clear whey Ben is depressed and sad. It can't be just because of Adam. There has to be more reasons which I wish were explored. Similarly, its not really clear who Albert actually is and why does he keep doing those random long momologues. The two characters are an odd match and to be honest it’s baffling why Ben’s grandmother would even entertain the idea of getting Albert to help her grandson as he hardly seems capable of looking after himself.

The film is very artsy with a wafer thin plot and its films like these where I struggle to understand what's the kind of audience who like these kind of films. (3/10)

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Hwanjeolgi (Korean) [In Between Seasons]

Though I have seen a similar themed film in the past and reviewed it here, this film does work on its own merit and sensibilities. This is a very sensitive film, that some may find slow, but its a beautifully directed and scripted drama without going over board at any stage. A beautiful setup of two main characters who come close to each other but then there is an invisible gap that comes between them and how it is handled.

The film starts with an accident, in which Soo-hyun goes into coma. His friend Yoon-hoji survives and then we go into flashback. Soo-hyun lives with his mother whose husband left her and it was 4 years ago that Soo-hyun introduced Yoon-hoji to his mother as his friend. As the friendship grows, Soo-hyun's mother soon finds herself to be a motherly figure for Yoon-hoji also. Time progresses during which individually both the boys spend time in college and then Soo-hyun goes to mandatory military service, but during these times, Yoon-hoji makes a point to meet the mother and also both Soo-hyun and Yoon-hoji make sure to spend some time with each other. Only slowly we realize. that the two boys are actually romantically involved as well and it was during one of their romantic weekend trips that this accident happens. When the mother accidentally sees the boys together on camera after the accident, she understandably shows a restraint and distance from Yoon-hoji and asks him to not meet her son Soo-hyun who is still in coma. At one point, she flatly asks him not to come to see her and her son again, and she subsequently moves her son to a facility located in some remote rural area. Few weeks later Yoon-hoji finds out where the 2 shifted and he decides to show up despite the mother's refusal. By this time the mother is also tired taking care of her son all by herself and reluctantly becomes a little more relieved than before as Yoon-hoji willingly helps her taking care of her son. The distance soon transcends between the mother and Yoon-hoji. She wants to know more about her son's relationship. Soo-hyun eventually opens his eyes and soon strats recuperating with love and support from his love and his mother.

As mentioned above, this film could easily have been your average over the top melodrama, but the movie wisely goes for quiet intimate drama instead of resorting to sappy sentimentalism or overwrought melodrama. And this is what I loved the most about the film. Not even a single instance is shown uberly dramatic. There is only one scene where the mother gets frustrated and lets out anger but even then the film continues to engage us with small nuanced moments to observe. The pace of the film is consistent and not all cards are laid out in front of us. We find out slowly the details which also helps us understand better where everyone is coming from. The story is not new but the treatment and sensitivity is fresh. I liked the non-linear narrative and acting by all the actors, primarily Yoon-hoji and the mother was really good. Yoon-hoji's co-worker's track was completely unnecessary and that could have helped trim the film a little. I got a warm feeling seeing the love between the two men and how they both also balanced their love and respect for the mother and not putting themselves in her face all the time. Both Yoon-hoji and the mother have their own emotional journeys as a lover and a mother, but its their interaction with each other which makes this film very endearing.

This film shows us how complex human relationships can get especially when they have someone common binding them. Be patient and this film can actually surprise you with the maturity with which the subject has been handled and delivered. (7/10)

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)