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.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Goldfish Memory

This Irish film takes its title from the reported shortness of a goldfish's memory, which supposedly lasts only three seconds - enough time for it to swim around its bowl, and then its memory starts over again. "Goldfish Memory" could be described as a less pretentious and more natural "Love Actually": an ensemble cast forms a mosaic of love and sex in Dublin.

In Dublin Tom, a 40 something literature lecturer, tries it on with any of his female students that are gullible enough. Clara, his latest conquest takes it badly when he moves on and repeat the cycle with one of his new students and she decides to try women. The woman she tries is Angie a newscaster. Meanwhile Angie's best mate is Red, a gay guy who works days as a bicycle messenger. Our cyclist has romantic issues of his own as he becomes smitten with David the hunky but straight bartender whose girlfriend is giving HIM grief. The film progresses on various interactions between these people and how each and every one of them go through the whole gamut of emotional lifecycle including falling in love, heart break, realizing the true meaning of life and getting love back in life.

It is a light hearted merry-go-round of romantic entanglements and while none of the stories are terribly touching or new, they are passably written and enjoyable. The characters are charming and pleasant to look at if none too deep. The good thing is that the director discusses gay, straight, lesbian relationships with humor and tenderness, never being heavy-handed or moralistic. She clearly is not concerned about being too deep or serious, but still manages to create some smart dialogue. The characters were all charming and pleasant.

It is one of those romantic gay comedies that I like depending on mood and yes this time my mood was good. (6.5/10)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

October Moon

This film was disturbing and edgy at the same time. Made probably on a very very small budget (you can tell after watching the film), it does take some unexpected turns but a little simpler plot would have kept this film much more enjoyable. It started out slow and felt it could be one of those low budget really bad films, but the end result was not that bad.

Corin, a thirty year old professional, and his younger, party-loving boyfriend Jake have been together for a while but they are having their share of problems. While Corin has settled down and likes to spend quiet evenings at home, Jake still loves the "bar" scene, and often views his relationship with Corin as holding him back from enjoying his youth. At work, Corin is able to confide in his boss and good friend Nancy who is the only one who understands him. Due to workload increase, Nancy decides to hire an assistant for Corin. At first, Elliot is awkward and somewhat nerdy, but likable nonetheless. Corin learns that Elliot lives with his over-protective mother and is engaged to be married to long-time girlfriend, Marti. Corin begins spending some time outside of work with Elliot, inviting him home and to various outings. Before long, Elliot begins to develop feelings for Corin and realizes that he is a homosexual. This causes severe mixed emotions in him; his mother is deeply against this lifestyle because her husband left her years earlier for another man. With no real support for his new feelings, Elliot's feelings for Corin begin to become a dangerous and disturbing obsession, resulting in a dark, depressing climax which ultimately brings Jake and Corin back together.

The real drama in the film happens only towards the end. Till then we just witness the increasing obsession that Elliot has for Corin and how it develops over a period of time. His behavior gets more and more disturbing. You can see there is some psychic history behind it. Not to justify his actions to kidnap Corin, torture him but all he wants is to be loved and accepted. Whats wrong is that he wants to be loved by someone who is already in a relationship. From acting point of view, its a mixed bag. Sometime they are good and other times, they are outright bad to the extent that the film suddenly starts looking extremely fake.

A wanna be suspenseful film. It will be hard to keep your attention but give it a try. Its not great but not outrightly bad either. (4/10)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Shem (UK)

After a few minutes into the film (About 30 minutes or so), I could not take this movie any more. The lead character's meeting new a person in a different city, one after the other, was becoming too much of a problem for me. I just did not care anymore of where he is going to go next and who is he going to meet. And when you stop caring about what the characters do in their film, there is very little to hold your interest in the film.

Breaking off concurrent relationships with an older woman and her son, we are introduced to Daniel, as he prances around London thinking he's God's gift to man and woman. But his freewheeling existence is put into question when his eccentric grandmother, the one person he genuinely cares for, sends him on a wild-goose chase to locate her father's grave. Traveling through Paris, Berlin, Prague, Budapest, Belgrade in Serbia and Sofia in Bulgaria, he learns a thing or two about life. He meets new people in every country and invariable forms some sort of sexual relationship with them irrespective of their gender. He discovers that feelings of true romantic love can exist, even for someone who can't reciprocate. He also receives valuable history lessons about his Jewish heritage, which in the past meant very little to him.

As I mentioned before, the moviegoer might find himself trapped and wearied by this repetitively stop-and-go script. What could have been a point of focus feels almost hackneyed by the conclusion. Some changes in Daniel's personality are illustrated nicely. It humbles him to a point where he begins to take pride in his heritage and what his great-grandfather had done to help preserve it. Nevertheless, Daniel is quiet about his new consciousness. The actor playing the part of Daniel does his job fine but when the script itself is flawed, the actors cannot get above the rest. By the time the frustratingly silly ending arrives, it's confirmed that "Shem," which translates to "name" in Hebrew, is just as confused as its protagonist.

If you have been liking the kind of films that I like, then you might want to stay away from this one. (2/10)

Hello My Love (Korean)

Love is that queasy feeling in the stomach that only seems to be cured by alcohol until the queasiness turns to desperate sex. This film is a light drama that follows the above said principle. There are lots of ups and downs with a simple story. Different people have different views of love and how the equations keep changing between them based on this theory, is what this movie is all about.

Kim Ho-Jeong dishes advice to lovelorn callers in her radio program with heightened optimism. Her fiancee Yoo Won-jae has been away in Paris for 2 years and she is waiting for him to come back and propose to her. He arrives from Paris with another man Lee Dong-hwa who everyone thinks has come with Yoo Won-jae to start the restaurant business. Still hopelessly waiting for her man to propose her, Ho-jeong doesn't take long to discovers the two guys are a couple and her lover is now gay. After the initial shock is gone, she asks him for one more chance and date her for a month so that she can try her best. Of course, this doesn't help. In the meantime the 3 people start sharing a bond of friendship even though it is awkward. They all feel its love thats binding them together. On the eve of their restaurant opening, Dong-hwa's former lover arrives from Paris and hell breaks lose. Everyone finds out about Yoo Won-jae being gay and Lee Dong-hwa is forced to return back. Time keeps going on. Flash forward, a family emergency brings back the 3 people together. Yoo Wong-jae is single and very much in love with Lee Dong. Ho-jeong has finally moved on and is doing something worthwhile with her life. Lee DOng returns back from arrives to Korea but although they show him with his ex-lover, it is never very clear whether he got back with him or not. The film ends with he possibility that their friendship with wine is still pretty much alive.

Use of wine is very extensive in the film. Lee Dong is supposed to be the wine-guy , so the team is drinking wine is almost every scene. I really dunno whether it was all that necessary or not. The film started off as a drama but there were more than a few times where the drama seemed more comical. Ho-Jeong watching her ex running home in the rain, running home to be with another, running not walking, is a quick, quiet moment that firmly puts their recent past in the distant past. But at the same time we have scenes when she finds out and she is crying, seems so childlike and amateurish. Acting wise everyone was ok and I thought Lee Dong was very cute looking. Some scenes and dialogues in the film showed much more maturity than others but the film still has its shares of flaws. Regardless it is not boring.

There have ben better Korean movie but this one is still pretty decent romantic movie. (7/10)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tre Somre (Danish) [Three Summers]

Although this is just a 30 minute short film, it definitely deserved a separate entry in my blog. 'Cute' was the first word when I was 5 minutes in the film and it ended the same way. In between it had its bittersweet moments but in my opinion a very well handled overall theme. The interactions and relationships between two individuals who are very different from each other in every which way be it age, likes, sexual orientation and how it ends.

The film is kind of 3 acts and shows the three summers over a span of 3 years. Jørgen lives abroad, but every summer he comes back to Denmark with his wife. He invites, as usual, his neighbours and their teenager son,Thomas, for dinner at his place. Only, this time there is a strange tension in the air between the adults. After dinner, Jørgen and Thomas go to the beach for a walk. They discover that both have secret problems, and the fact they cannot talk about them is creating great stress. They decide to share a secret each. Thomas tells he is gay and Jørgen says that he wants to divorce his wife. With this a new friendship begins. Its the second summer now and Jørgen, now divorced invites his neighbors again. Thomas stays back to hang out with Jørgen. They are generally chit-chatting and the night ends up in them having sex. Finally , the third summer comes. Jørgen has met a new girl and is very happy with her and is having a party with his friends. Thomas shows unannounced. Jørgen freaks out but all Thomas wants is a final kiss for the sake of keeping each other's secret. Initially hesitant, Jørgen finally complies and Thomas leaves him very peacefully and quietly.

How over the course of three summers, a friendship starts and how the relationship develops is shown in such a beautiful manner. The first time they both share a secret was such a nice, simple scene. It could have been from anyone's life when people much more comfortable sharing secrets with strangers. The intimate scene in the second summer was also handled with sensitivity but it was the finale which was superb. Some people might judge the fact that a middle age man is getting sexual with a teenage boy but you need to see the whole chemistry with an open mind. How Jørgen is scared, how Thomas is heart-broken but then finally they are both at peace by just a simple kiss. They both know they need to move on and they do.

One of the best short films that I have seen. Wonderful. (8.5/10)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Pretty Boys

It is very surprising that there is no entry for this film in imdb, especially since the director of this film has made other prominent gay films and some of them are really good as well. This is a retro film set in early 70s when rock and roll was in. The film definitely carries that look and you feel you are there (which was not too hard, considering 85% of the film is set in rooms and indoors).

A young drug runner Dondo accidentally becomes the assistant to the manager of a glam rock bank while they are finishing their last song for their new album. Thanks to their manager Vangela, who recruits Dondo because he helps him cure the craziness of their lead singer Pagan who is a drug addict. Pagan, Dondo and Vangela are enjoying the drugs and sex life together. Things change when Pagan's partner Craig dies of drug overdose. Vangela wants Dongo to help her, so that Pagan doesn't find out about Craig's death. She wants him to focus and somehow finish the last song of the album. More drugs and sex follows. 2 girls drug Dongo and kidnap Pagan, because they are into some kind of black magic, something to do with rockstars. The film keeps going and suddenly people change. Dongo sees sense and somehow manages to convince Pagan to record their last song. After that Pagan finds out about the death of Craig which leaves him devastated. Leaving a trail of drugs, sex and demonic delusion the band has traveled the ragged road of collaboration and passion right to its end.

The film started off well and I thought it would be interesting but as the film progressed, it became a little hard to keep my attention. The director did a great job of depicting scenes when the characters are high on drugs and how people can do all kinds of things when they are under the effect but these scenes were too much and too detailed. From a story's perspective, there was a lot to be desired. It was never explained if Dongo was already in love with someone, why was he working with Pagan? Acting wise, thankfully everyone did a decent job. I think Pagan was completely in his character and did great. Even otherwise no one seemed to overact, which is a good thing.

This is a very different film with a weird drug theme. If you maybe watch with lot of patience you can get through. (3.5/10)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Wire In The Blood - The Mermaids Singing (UK)

"Wire In The Blood" is a TV series that was aired in UK. This particular 2 part series has a gay angle to it and hence it qualifies to be viewed and reviewed here. Additionally, this particular story is also available as dvd on its own. I loved the film because I like murder mysteries in general and this was definitely one of those edgy intelligent, quirky, mystery that keeps you hooked throughout the duration. You are eager o find out who the killer is.

Someone is killing off young men in fictive city of Bradfield, UK. The killer uses medieval torture instruments in the most sadistic way, and detective inspector Carol Jordan seeks help from clinical psychologist Tony Hill. Tony Hill is an intelligent, sensitive and excentric man who has a rare ability to penetrate the criminal mind and understand it. He's fascinated by those he examines, but never fails to empathize with their victims. Although some in the police force are opposed to his involvment he manages to stick with the case courtesy Carol. Lots of loopholes within the police department are uncovered in process and maybe a tiny little bit love blossoming between the two characters. Tony Hill almost gets successful in profiling the killer, but what he doesn't know is that he, himself, is the next target. How he uses his skills as a psychologist to deal with the criminal when he is almost on his death bed is worth watching.

The Mermaids Singing is a very good thriller you could possibly watch. It is compelling and intense. Although most of th emurder scenes are pretty gruesome and not for the squeamish. The ending contains a graphic torture scene that makes you sit on the edge of the sofa. The acting is absolutely brilliant, and I loved the character played by Tony Hill. It is very hard to not like the confused character that he plays in the series. He is warm and funny and yet sensitive and vulnerable. His monologues are among the best parts of the film; enchanting and stunning!

Fun stuff for lovers of mystery crime drama. (7/10)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sibak (Filipino) [Midnight Dancers]

This was such a weird film in every sense. I have not seen so many people in a movie being ok with sexuality. A wife being completely ok with her husband having a boyfriend, a mother ok with her sons being call boys, 3 brothers dancing naked together etc etc. The list goes on. The director probably wanted to show us what some of the poor lower class people have to go through to make their needs meet in life but he could have shown that in a much nicer way in which viewer will empathize with characters a little bit. This is not to say that film was bad but it could have been treated better.

Sonny and his older brothers, Dennis and Joel work as go-go boys in a sleazy sex emporium called the Club Exotica whose upstairs cubicles are reserved for paid assignations. Through prostitution, the boys are able to keep their closely knit family from starving. The 3 brothers essentially think of themselves as heterosexuals but do not mind doing things to get some money. Joel has a wife and child; he and Dennis are saving money to buy back lost family land. Sonny has dropped out of university and sees dancing as a way to make money for now. Joel has a regular boyfriend as well; Sonny spends time with Michelle, a transvestite; Dennis and his pals steal car radios. Most of the movie revolves around the brothers and the family's struggle to meet their needs. Their life changes when they give shelter to a young boy who turns out had some gang connection. In the process, Dennis gets killed and to take revenge the 2 brothers kill 2 guys and now they have to run from their family to hide themselves. As the film ends, Sonny observes that although people say that when men prostitute, they dont lose anything, but he doesn't agree. He definitely feels that something is lost.

First some negatives. I do not understand why did the director have to focus os much on the actual dancing and club scenes. We understood what's going on the first time but to show that again and again was not really adding to the whole crux of the story. And then again, everyone in the family taking things so lightly was a little odd. Maybe I just don't understand some cultural aspects. On a positive note, I thought the scenes between Joel and his boyfriend were handled very nicely and sensitively. The homosexual element is not really the main focus.It depicts a general working class family's daily life. Its just hard to digest when the brothers repeatedly identify themselves as straight, why does Joel have a boyfriend and Sonny dates a transvestite.

The film was sometimes engrossing but most of the other times would make you feel as if you are in a club with not much happening with the story. (4.5/10)

Mary Lou (Hebrew)

I have time and again said that I am not a big fan of musicals. Its even harder when the language is not your first language because the subtitles really don't translate that well. But there are movies at time which make you sit and take notice of them. You might not understand the language but the music and the acting are so engaging that you, for a change, dont mind of the subtitles are not doing complete justice to the film as such. This film, was originally a 4 part TV mini series but it fits perfectly well as a movie.

The story is based on songs of Israeli pop legend Svika Pick. Miriam is an adoring fan of Svika Pick. She dreams of being a famous singer. She calles herself Mary Lou based on famous song of Svika Pick. Following her dreams of singing for the legend, she mysteriously abandons her son Meir on his tenth birthday. Meir starts making stories about her mother. Only Shuli, a girl from his school believes in him and they become best of buddies. Time passes and before their graduation in school, they both fall for the same guy Gabi. When Gabi publicly humiliates Meri for his unwanted public display of love for Gabi, he leaves for Tel Aviv in search of his mother. He meets Ori there who falls in love with Meir but Meri is not. He joins a club of drag queens and slowly himself becomes a very famous singer all along continuing his search for his mother. Along the journey, we witness what happens to Shuli, Gabi, Ori and other drag queens in the club with enchanting music backing the excellent story. When finally Mier thinks he knows what happened to his mother, he gets a shock from his father who then finally decides to tell the entire truth to Meir. But it helps Meir finding himself and becoming a grown up better person.

The film is backed up by excellent singers and performers as actors. The film has pop music and good picturization but it also encompasses sorrow, pain and longing. Meir not only carries the entire film on his shoulder but he also brings an emotional resonance to all of his scenes. He is ably supported by the entire cast. You actually feel for all the characters. I think they were all developed with just the right information and to a certain extent, they were all given a proper ending too. I felt really bad for Ori. I loved the line "We all want what we can't get". Isin't that so true? The singing in the film is passionate though at time I wished that there wasn't a song and the film would just proceed faster.

Apart from a little drag towards the end of the film, I completely enjoyed the film. It was still an engaging, damn near irresistible flick. (7.5/10)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Le Clan (French) [3 Dancing Slaves]

This is a very interesting film and take s a little while to hold audience's attention. Initially it did not seem a movie with gay theme but then it was definitely a very homo-erotic movie. After sometime, when the viewer starts getting deep into the story, you find out there is much more to it and actually there is a gay theme as well.

Three brothers live with their recently widowed father in a small town near the Alps in France. Marc is a rebellious youth, into drugs and petty crime and at constant contention with his overbearing father. We follow his life where he hangs out with his friends, gets into all kinds of trouble because of drugs and is finally forced to kill his own dog for not paying the dues. The eldest brother Christophe is recently released from prison and is trying to live straight by starting from the bottom in a pork factory and working his way to the top. Prison life has tamed him and he has now accepted the realities of life. Marc was counting on his brother to return from prison to take revenge from the goons who were after him but Christophe refuses. He very quickly moves up the ladder in the factory that he is working and has kind of settled in life. Olivier is the youngest and though tattooed and quasi-rebellious is the sensitive one whose gender issues are just beginning to focus. He doesn't find himself fitting in his bother's world but at the same time they are his family. Olivier finds love and passion with Hicham, Marc's friend, who is North African and repeatedly dances the capoeira, a slave dance, for his own expression and his need to connect with Olivier. They start a relationship but soon Olivier breaks up because he knows he needs to spend more time with his brothers as a family and his own personal feelings and needs will always be a lower priority for him.

Despite the differences in these young men there are repeated encounters that signify their bonding. Through each brother and 3 different segments we paste together a family disrupted and needy. There is a lot of nudity and bare bodied men which is very pleasing to the eye. Despite the differences in these young men there are repeated encounters that signify their bonding. One quiet scene shows the father awake, sitting and watching the troubled sons asleep, naked, entwined in each other's bodies: it should be clipped for a still shot as it is very beautiful. The acting by all cast members is very nice. Everyone's part has their own reasons for being the way they are. In the end, the slave dancer Hicham is free enough to take a principled, self respecting stand to end a demeaning relationship, yet the three brothers who look down on him are enslaved to their past.

A haunting and heart wrenching film with more than enough eye candy. (7/10)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

7 Short Stories

En Colo (France)
This is a such a sweet short film. I think this has to be one of my favs. Maxime; an introverted youth who his friends are beginning to suspect could well be gay, courtesy of a truth or dare boy-on-boy kiss with cutie Mathieu that Maxime seemed to have enjoyed a shade too much. But that doesn’t mean he’s gay. Or does it? When their teacher (Coach) tells them that he is gay as well and just because he doesn't look like gays people expect, doesn't make things funny. This one incident changes so much. The students can see more openly now and best for Maxime, who probably will now not have to deal with homophobia which otherwise he would have. (8/10)

Ronnie (India)
Ronnie is a troubled teenager grappling with questions about his sexuality and secretly suppressing strong feelings for his best friend, Aziz. He knows he is different on the inside and constantly feels unsettled by the disgust his father expresses for his lifestyle. In this loneliness, Ronnie develops a tentative friendship with a reclusive fisherman, who is also grieving for his estranged son. The story explores how their unusual companionship encourages Ronnie to come out of the closet and helps the fisherman to make peace with his son. The subject has been directed with utmost sensitivity. Very impressive. (7.5/10)

Un Beau jour un coiffeur (France)
It is a great little movie in that it focuses on what people do for love. A happy young guy suddenly finds himself falling for a hairdresser in his town. He will go to any lengths for him but it turns out that he is in love with a girl. They end up being friends and our man finally has a ray of hope when he potentially meets another guy. A very sweet film and the subject has been handled very nicely. Good actors and lovely script. (7/10)

My Uncle Mario (Israel)
A young boy delivers food in the summer vacation for this mother, who has some sort of a restaurant. Suddenly his uncle Mario, who lives in Italy, visits them by surprise. The boy's life changes when he follows his uncle one night to an appointment. After that night things will never be the same. Uncle Mario is gay and maybe the young boy is too but the mother doesn't want to take chances and sends back the uncle. (5.5/10)

306 (USA)
This is an interesting short film. Showing us a day in life of our lead character, we see him studying and then taking up a job as a male escort, getting fucked (literally) and then go back to bed with his girlfriend as if nothing ever happened. The film questions on how much do you really know a person with whom you spend so much time with and what are usual social ethics. Only thing that confused me was the title of this film. I still cannot figure that out. But I think, the film maker shows promise in this short film. (6.5/10)

We Once Were Tide (UK)
Set on the Isle of Wight, the film tells the story of Anthony and Kyle, and their last night together as Kyle moves away leaving Anthony to look after his terminally ill mother. Poetic in nature, the film is concerned with exploring the intimate and often unspoken moment in which we give something special away. I think it is a very touching film with a heart and definitely recommended. (6/10)

3 Lads, An American Fool And One Night (USA)
On the eve of his anniversary date with his girlfriend, Greg gets an unexpected visit from 3 strangers who claim to be his friend's friend. This event which ultimately makes him question his sexuality and his life, when one of the guys and Greg have this instant connection and one night stand but nothing happens beyond that. (6.5/10)