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, December 23, 2013

Hunting Season (Web Series)

I am starting to very much like the idea of these gay web series. Firstly, they are easily accessible to the viewers and secondly, more often than not, they make for a good viewing and acting as well. Of course there are exceptions to the rule but they sometimes definitely turn out better than a bad bad gay film. This series was 8 episodes each of about 10 minutes each. Said to be inspired by a famous blog "The Great Cock Hunt", follows the romantic and sexual exploits of Alex and his small group of friends in New York City.

Alex is a single gay 20-something in Manhattan, a smart and successful blogger at Gawker by day, who turns the spotlight on himself and his friends and starts anonymously writing about his social life. The 8 episodes just show his encounters with random people in Manhattan. # of his other friends are also a regular feature along with Alex who form the group and show us interesting stories.

I watched the uncensored version and I must admit that I was quite taken aback by all the nudity in the show. But hey I am not complaining. I enjoyed every bit of it. Acting wise, Alex was a very good choice. Not only he is exceptionally good looking but he also did a good job at acting as well. I just wish he waa a little taller, which otherwise would not have been an issue, had they not shown every guy that Alex went out with, very very tall. All of Alex's friends TJ, Nick and Tommy are alright acting wise. There is no histrionics that is supposed to be proven with this show.

The focus is on entertainment and a little skin show and it definitely succeeds in doing that. Given the duration of each episode was very short, it is a perfect viewing. (6.5/10)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Down The River (Thai)

This film is more like an extended version of a short film. The essence and thought is nice to portray  a tale of love and longing and confusion between two young lovers but somewhere it misses to hold your attention.

Win and Krit are best friends from school. But while Win longs of the day he will start to raise a family, all Krit wants is to take his relationship with Win to the next level. Win may not think himself to be gay, but his relationship with Krit is an essential component of his existence and the two frequently spend long days hiking through the wilderness together. Krit even has a scrapbook filled with pressed flowers from their many hikes. One day, the lifelong friends take a hike with two women. In this specific trip that the film focusses on, Krit feels he is loosing Win to the girls and also in general in his life. He is heart broken. The film doesn't end on a happy note. Krit ultimately looses his love to a girl but he makes his peace with life.

Credit to be given where it is due, the shooting location of the film is fantastic. The ideal setting of an undisturbed forest & waterfalls and beautiful crumbling temples, makes the viewing dynamic but its the slow and lethargic pace that misses out on audience attention. The time flows like the waters of the river the boys follow, sometimes fast, sometimes slow, sometimes swirling back. Both the leading men acted well. You can see Krit as the young boy madly and deeply in love with his friend. At the same time, Win pot rays a guy who is afraid of getting into adulthood because he can't decipher what his feelings are for his friend and his confusion for a wife and a career. He is afraid to be gay but at the same time he can't reject his friendship.

Beautiful thought but how I wish this was a short film. I would have given it quite high rating. (3.5/10)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Bridegroom (Documentary)

Inspired by the popular 11-minute YouTube video “It Could Happen to You,” this super highly emotional documentary will have sympathetic eyes crying buckets as it recaps how Shane Bitney Crone and Tom Bridegroom came out, met up and faced prejudice before and after Tom’s unexpected death. Like most documentaries, the story narration style is very simple. It relies on interviews with Shane's family and the couple's circle of friends, who describe how these two closeted small-town guys clicked when they met in Los Angeles, quickly forming the kind of relationship that romantics everywhere envy: moving in together, get a dog, start a social-media consulting business and travel the world as a couple. But not every fairy tale has a happy ending.

Both young men find the courage to come out to their parents. Shane, surprisingly finds support from not just his mother but his father as well eventually. Tom’s conservative parents were more conflicted, reacting with anger and denial. But eventually Tom's mother visits the couple and actually hangs out with them giving the impression throughout that she is supportive of the couple. We are enjoying and loving the couple as we hear from everyone till the tragedy happens. Tom falls off a four story building. Thats not what the entire pain is. It is what follows after the fall and subsequent death. Everyone involved was stunned, especially in the days that followed, as Crone discovered how unfair hospitals, the legal system and funerals can be to unmarried loved ones. We see how Tom's family completely shunned Shane and his family members, not acknowledging their presence and even banning them from attending the funeral. The results are devastating as we see the results of marriage Inequality rear its ugly head. We feel the pain in a shattered relationship.

Hopefully, documentaries like this will continue to elicit peoples hearts into making equal marriage available countrywide. There will always be people that disagree with same sex relationships, but if you have a heart you cannot deny that committed couples all deserve the dignity of the protections marriage affords.Thank you Shane and Tom for showing the world what true love is like. (7.5/10)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Five Dances

Sometime simple is so beautiful. My first reaction while watching and even after the movie was, Wow man! those dances were amazing!!. I kept wondering that despite the film having a paper thin plot, why did i like the movie so much. Agreed, it may have something to do with the dances in it but then ballet is not my favorite form. I think it had a lot to do with the overall direction and performance from the actors. It was all very very heart touching.

The film is basically shot in a dance studio with 5 actors practicing series of 5 dances. Chip is our main protagonist, who is all of just 18 and arrived in NYC on scholarship for this performance.  Chip is so broke in NYC that he is secretly sleeping in the studio. That is until one of the girls' Katie finds out and takes him home. Katie just got out of a 7 year relationship. The other girl in the group apparently has had a sexual fling with their teacher and again ends up cheating on her husband by sleeping with him again. And finally we have Theo. Theo slowly gets attracted to Chip and not so subtly reveals his interest in Chip. Chip is shocked and reacts very hostile but eventually barriers are broken and they start dating. The final sequence of the film with moments of intimacy, wine, dance and hanging out between Chip and Theo make the end very memorable.

Like I mentioned before, the film stands out because of its beautifully choreographed and edited dances. The dances very beautifully also convey the interpersonal dynamics of the group. I can't imagine how difficult it must have been to come up with a narrative and dance sequences so intertwined. Chip is definitely best of the lot. Portraying avery vulnerable character, all of 18 years old, who is new to the city and broke; he is fantastic. He probably has some hidden story which we are not told. He is nursing some anguish inside which is briefly revealed in his conversations with his mother. Despite all that how he awkwardly accepts breakfast, coffee from his peers made my eyes moist. I can't imagine what and how would I do at 18. He may be a good dancer but he is still learning the art of interacting with adults in a social space. Whatever you write of dances is little. Breath-taking, mesmerizing and beautiful are just some words that come to mind. The flexibility that these bodies had, the synchronization and the tight dance bodies; it was a visual treat. I am so glad that finally someone had the guts to take a different take on a gay doing out story.

I am so happy and glad to have seen this movie. If you love dancing even itsy bitsy, you should watch this film. Agreed there is not much to the plot and focus is more on silence and dancing, it will still leave an impression on you. (7/10)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Nate & Margaret

First things first; this is not a comedy film. Its at best a character study of 2 very unlikely individuals who share a very unlikely friendship. our protagonist happens to be gay and him getting in to a relationship at one point leads to discord between the friends.

Margaret is 52. Nate is 19. They're neighbors in a Chicago building. They're best friends. They seem alone in the world. There is no mention of family. They like to do things together: Shop at the Goodwill store, have brunch, hang out. Margaret has never been married. Nate, who is gay, has never had a boyfriend or even been kissed. Margaret wants to become a successful stand up comedian (but truly she is pathetic) and Nate is a student at film school. He's directing his thesis film and has enlisted Margaret as his sound person. One night Nate meets James and after a couple of meetings, we see that the 2 young men start falling for each other. Margaret is not thrilled to learn about Nate's new friend, but bravely invites the two of them over for dinner. The dynamics of this scene are carefully modulated to allow the morphing of James into the jerk he really is. As Nate navigates his new relationship, Margaret begins to make real headway with her stand-up routine and their lives begin to head away from each other. The once upon a time closest buddies just grow apart, very apart.

It is a pleasant film that has a few moments of drama, but is primarily a sweet story of a unique friendship hitting a rough patch. There is no over the top drama or emotions. It feels like everyone's day-to-day existence. There’s no huge setup, no voiceover narration explaining who the characters are or how they became friends. Performance wise both Nate and Margaret do a wonderful job. The scene wen Margaret invites Nate and James for dinner is little weird to watch because James acts as a real jerk. Margaret's jealousy should not be confused for closet love. When you see losing a friend, the jealousy is obvious irrespective of age or gender.

The movie is about: friendship. The film respects that and doesn't get distracted by sex or age. (5.5/10)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Unconditional (UK)

"Unconditional", presents the intense story of a severely repressed homosexual attempting to create his fantasy woman from an inexperienced, virgin, teenage boy. Effectively disturbing if not entirely satisfying, this tale of a handsome older man's infatuation with a teenage boy is a mix bag is terms of good or bad cinema. The unusual love-story soon spins off into strange territory as dangerous and dark obsessions take over.

16 year old twins Owen and Kristen struggle to make ends meet as they are full-time carers for their disabled mother. They make jokes about her dying, but also care about her deeply and their lives revolve around her. Enter Liam, a cool suit-wearing salesman who visits them to handle a financial loan inquiry. With his flash blue car and easy patter, he appears a charismatic intervention into the twins’ dull lives and Kristen especially is taken by his charms. But it is Owen that Liam has his sights on. He takes him out for a drink and the pair bond over beer, pool and food, with Owen entranced by his charms. Thinks move into stranger territory when Liam convinces Owen to dress up as a woman and the pair go out for dinner together. Owen  is inexperienced and impressionable enough to go along to an extent, it doesn’t take long for the viewer to realize there’s something very wrong with Liam, even beyond his needing to pretend Owen is a girl. Meanwhile Kristen thinks that it is her for whom Liam always shows up at their house. Liam sees his love for his ex-wife every time Owen dresses up as a woman. Liam becomes more and more romantically obsessed with him when dressed as a woman, eventually resorting to frustrated violence when he feels Owen moving away from him. He insists on Owen dressing as a woman when they are together and starts to promise a future and a ‘normal’ life together. “Indecision is for losers,” he tells Owen. “There are no conditions on love.”

The odd and complex relationship between Liam and Owen is definitely watchable, especially as it reaches a climax as the pair checks into the seaside Guest House and Liam’s behaviour tips over into frightening violence. The film is filled with very solid performances by everyone specially Owen. This has to be one of the most challenging roles for any actor. Liam acts really well although after a certain point when his actions go bonkers, as a viewer I fail to understand whats wrong with his tortured mind. Having said that, the story itself is intriguing and compelling and you want to know what will happen next.

Watch it for the performances. Definitely a decent film. (6/10)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Out In The Dark (Hebrew/Arabic)

What a lovely film. Yes, it is a dark film and very very real in terms of direction, execution and performances. I was quite positively surprised by the film and the subject. A gay love story between a Palestinian student and an Israeli lawyer is not the easiest to handle but kudos to the write, producer, director of the whole team to do this. The film really touched my heart and left a mark and something to think about for a long time.

Nimr is a young Palestinian man studying psychology. At night, Nimr avoids border patrols to illegally enter Tel Aviv and go to gay bars. His conservative family doesn't know about his sexual orientation. To top that Nimr's brother is a part of an extremist rebel movement who do not hesitate one sec to kill someone is he is gay. One such night he meets Roy, a handsome Israeli lawyer working at his well-connected father's law firm, and the two instantly hit it off. Nimr initially receives a student visa that would enable him to visit Tel Aviv once a week to take a course. However, the honeymoon is soon over for the young couple, when Israeli security forces attempt to blackmail Nimr by threatening to reveal his sexuality to his family unless he collaborates with them. Nimr's family ultimately finds out and disown him. His brother does not kill him but lets him escape to Tel Aviv and asks him to never come back. Hearing the entire situation, Roy tries his best to pull any strings he can to help his lover but comes up short. Nimr's situation keeps getting trickier and tricker. Roy finally manages to get a way out for Nimr from Israel to France and promises to meet him there. Here starts the cat an douse game between the 2 lovers and the secret service. What happens ultimately shocks you. Nimr manages to escape but Roy has to pay big price for it by being in prison.

The film's title is quite appropriate. The situation the protagonists are in forces them to run and hide, keep their love literally and figuratively in the dark, rather than celebrate it. The film shows the insane and crazy political situation in those regions in an so far unseen way. The love scenes in the film are touching, and surprisingly direct, but they were not at all intimidating or disturbing. The politics of the inherently tragic situation of a gay love affair in the midst of the Israeli Palestinian conflict is where the film really shines. The chemistry between the two leads is off the charts, gluing us to the screen whenever they share it. This is crucial, because it ensures we've invested in the fate of this forbidden romance. And the fact that the 2 leads are both good looking doesn't harm at all. As an actor, Nimr creates an earnest, charming, likable protagonist, who evokes our sympathy more and more as his situation deteriorates. Roy's compassion and care for Nimr is heart warming making us all want to have a Roy in our life. A crowd pleasing happy ending would have been unrealistic but the vague ending actually kept me satisfied.

This film is not about homophobia or the Israel/Palestinian conflict. It's about love and the desperate fight it must put up to survive in a world ruled by hate. (8/10)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Happy Sad

I was quite anxious to watch this film. I have been missing NYC quite a bit and this would have been one way to get back at those old days at least by virtue of locations. Honestly at that point, going to the OIA film festival, it wasn't really important for me whether the film was gonna be good or bad. A film about 2 couples, a gay and a straight, and how their lives intercept with each other, form the crux of the plot. The movie blends racial and sexual diversity into a modest exploration of hooking up in our modern world.

Marcus and Aron are a very happy gay couple who have been together for 6 years. Since its been a while, the couple decides to open up the relationship. They decide to not talk about various rules. The only rule is that they cannot fall in love with another person. Meanwhile, in the restaurant where Aaron waits table, we meet Annie who is there to break up with his 20 something boyfriend Stan because he is not stable in life. Unable to find a suitable excuse for break-up she says she is lesbian and wants to explore the other side of her sexuality. A series of co-incidences follow, which is weird but we will call in cinematic liberty. Marcus ends up meeting Stan on an internet date because Stan is heartbroken because of Annie. Annie starts gravitating towards her colleague Mandy who is dealing with her own family personal issues. Aaron meanwhile is having fun on the side with lot of men but does get jealous seeing Marcus with someone else. Things get to a complicated stage when Marcus starts falling for Stan. Stan and Annie meet after a long time and want to give it a try again but they both agree that they will not out any boundaries in the relationship and they are both open to explore their sexualities. Meanwhile Marcus and Aaron are finally falling apart. Marcus is totally in love with Stan and Aaron can't handle it any more and moves out. All the 4 characters in the film goes through a major change throughout and no one gets a proper conclusion.

The fact that there is no closure to any character is both a good and a bad thing. The film just ends and the viewers wonder what would happen. But I was ok because we can each then have our own interpretation. The acting by all characters is quite nice. They all seem very natural and comfortable which makes the viewing a pleasure. Stan was a cute twin with most beautiful eyes while Aaron and Marcus both acted very well. The film’s several sex scenes are handled with admirable composure, and the gay trysts are granted just as much attention as the straight ones. The film was quite straight forward yet complex. Was there anything extraordinary in the film? Not really!! But then it wasn't a bad film either.

I would keep this one as strictly average. (5.5/10)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Freier Fall (German) [Free Fall]

This is the first film that I was with 10 other friends in the Out in Africa film festival in Johannesburg. I guess this is the first time, I saw a film with such a large group. What was interesting is how all of us had different views on the movie. Some watched it for entertainment, some for romance, some focussed on nuances while others focussed on hotness quotient. It makes my belief even stronger that it os not necessary that whatever I like should and could be liked by others as well. We all have our own opinions. SUre there may not be novelty in the story but for me it was the  treatment that made a huge difference.

Marc is in police training. He has a girlfriend and a baby on the way. During his truing days, he meets his fellow inmate Kay and during their regular jogs Marc experiences a never-before-felt sense of ease and effortlessness. During one such jog, the day ends up in 2 men getting very intimate with each other. Marc realizes his mistake and runs away. He is now posted with a unit and Kay also manages to get posted in the same unit. Marc is very upset and angry with Kay's move, because he just wants to focus on his girlfriend and the baby and life has some other plans. He, at the same time, also finds himself falling in love with another man. When he can't control much, he gives in and him and Kay start a secret affair, while Marc trie to balance his life waiting for his baby to arrive. His girlfriend notices behavioral changes in him but doesn't think too much. One day when Kay is picked up in a gay bar, he is outed to the entire unit in his police division and even gets assaulted by a fellow policeman on a couple of occasions. But he truly loves Marc and even professes his love for him in from of his parents after Marc's mother sees both men kissing. Afraid of lying anymore, he finally tells the truth to his girlfriend who moves out with the kid. Marc is also confused about Kay and decides that he would like to bring their relationship to an end. After hearing the truth and dealing with it for a while, both Marc and his girlfriend decide that they cannot continue like this and need to break-up. Marc thinks of going back to Kay but its too late and Kay has already left the city. Marc is left all alone.

There were two scenes that stuck in my mind even after the movie ended. The first time when Kay and Marc hook up while jogging and Marc realizes what just happened, he runs fast, very fast. I thought that was a very well directed scene. And the other scene is when Kay offers Marc the keys for his apartment. The look in the eye of both Kay and Marc of that love and trust to share the apartment keys is so blissful. Marc is falling in love and is slowly realizing what it is like to be in love with another man who in turns returns the gesture by sharing the apartment keys. The background music of the film gels really well and gives a very genuine real feel with the audience. Acting by all principal actors is quite good. We get to see Marc and his girlfriend go through various stages in their relationship and deal with them like adults. Marc's character shows us as he learns to submit to his free fall, of what does freedom mean and how easy or difficult it is tone yourself or to be with someone who likes to be himself and to live in a society which expect certain norms and principals to be followed. On a side note, it didn't hurt to see the good looking Kay making out with another good looking guy who also happens to be both policemen.

In spite of an overload of stereotypes and cliché's, the film seems acceptable and very watchabale. I would definitely recommend it. (7.5/10)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Sum Of Us (Australia)

I think I had seen this film over 5 years back and had been wanting to see it again, so that I can finally put up a review online on my blog. Undoubtedly, this mvid depicts one of the most beautiful father-son relationships I have ever seen in a film. It is the true love, respect and affection that they have for one another that makes your heart how warm. Sure, sometimes you may feel that this is not as close to truth but who are we to judge. If this sort of relationship could exist in every family, that would be just awesome.

Jeff lives with his father Harry. Jeff is gay and his father is more than ok in accepting Jeff's homosexuality. He is happy and proud of what Jeff is and supports him in every way. The father-son understand each other so well that hey can predict each other's routine and what they are going to say or do. Through some flashbacks we also realize that Jeff's grandmother was a lesbian and the purest love Jeff can remember is the one that his grandma shared with her partner. When Jeff meets Greg, a guy with a string potential of being his boyfriend, It is very hard for Greg to see how open , cool, nice and good Jeff's father Harry is. This is because his own father doesn't treat him well. In fact he even throws him out of house when he comes out. Difficult to take the love and openness between father-son, he steps back which breaks Jeff's heart. At the same time Harry find a divorcee woman through a match matching business. Very soon they come very close to each other but the moment she finds out about Jeff being gay, she freaks out, accuses Harry of lying to her. Harry suffers a stroke because of all this leaving him unable to walk or speak. Jeff cares for him as best as he can, taking him to the park for an outing one day. Jeff and Greg meet up in the park and agree to try and rekindle their romance, while Jeff's Dad, although unable to speak, gives his overwhelming approval.

I liked the fact that the film doesn't have any OTT drama and no one gets AIDS and stuff. Its a feel good happy film about relationships. love, fear and hope. I also loved the fact that the gay characters were not stereotyped by any means. He is just a guy but a guy that isn't afraid to be sensitive or tough without being wishy washy or macho. Russel Crowe just fits so well in the film. The actor who plays Harry is too good. Although some people can take his love for son and over eagerness to find a match for him to be too intrusive and overbearing, it ultimately in totality all fits in. Considering that the film was originally a play, this film is competent, entertaining, warm, and full of hope that the world is moving in the right direction.

I would definitely recommend it to watch on a nice lazy evening with friends for a feel good viewing. (7/10)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Rosa Morena (Portuguese/Danish)

This film was such a pleasant surprise. Having known nothing about the film, I was looking forward to actually another bad gay film but man was I proved wrong! And I am so glad that I was. I have watched  a few films about gay men trying for adoption and surprisingly they have all been made very well. This is yet another film falling in similar genre, again handled with lot of sensitivity, grace and realism.

Thomas, is a single gay man from Denmark. When he is unable to adopt a child in his home country legally, he comes up with an alternate plan. He visits his close friends family in Brazil hoping to explore the possibility of bringing back a child. He meets lawyers but there is apparently no direct ay to do this. A lawyer even suggests him to may be lure a poor woman with some money to buy the child. Thomas' friend very strongly try to reason with him son how he is being silly but Thomas is so bestowed with the idea of bring back home a child, he really doesn't care. He meets Maria through some contacts. She is beautiful, charming woman with 3 kids already, unmarried, lives with her sister and her husband in slums and is pregnant again with no money to support her unborn baby. The plan is simple, Thomas will pay Maria and bring her baby to his native country. But when do plans ever fall in place. Before you realize Thomas begins to get more and more involved in Maria's everyday life before and after the child is born. To the extent that he gets a small flat and moves in slums with Maria and her family to take care of the child. All this time his lawyer keeps reminding him to ask Maria to sign legal papers but she keeps finding excuses to not do so. Thomas doesn't mind this either because he also has fallen for Maria and is even having physical relations with her. Maria feels spoilt with all the money she is getting from Thomas and changes her mind to give the baby to Thomas. When Thomas finally begins to realize whats going on, he decides to steal the baby and take with him. He almost does it, when he realizes it is not right and returns the baby after the slum dwellers beat him up. Eventually time passes and Thomas is heart broken. Maria eventually changes her mind and gives the baby to Thomas.

From a story's perspective, the story seems lame and predictable. So what!! there is so much more in the film. The film is emotional, delicate and real, very real. Acting by Thomas is world class. Its just brilliant. Any gay man or couple who years to adopt a kid will be able to really connect with his character. Maria's character also goes through a lots of ups and downs, which in my opinion is very humane and real. How can a mother ever be so sure to give up her baby. She goes through similar doubts in her mind and doesn't want Thomas to leave because with him, now she has the perfect family she always dreamt of. All the shooting locations are spot on.

This is definitely movie that deserves a wider release and a bigger audience. (7/10)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Ethan Mao

This could be termed as one of those coming of age gay teenage stories. It could also be termed as something that holds your interest, except I believe that I am watching this film quite late in the game. I believe, if I had seen the movie earlier and maybe with a better frame of mind, I may have actually enjoyed the film. But hey, i can't have control over everything , so I will have to review this film as I felt after watching it.

Ethan Mao is living very comfortably in his suburban home with his chinese family. When his step-mother finds out that he is gay, she manipulates her husband and Ethan is booted out of the house. Ethan starts living off the street as a hustler where he meets Remigio, a part time hustler and drug dealer. For some reason Remigio take instant liking for Ethan Mao. For thanksgiving when Ethan Mao gets to know from his brother, that the family is going to be away for a while, he decides to visit home to get some of his mother's stuff but fate has something else planned. The family comes back and now Ethan Mao and Remigio are caught in the act. Believing that they have no choice left, Ethan Mao holds his father, step mother, brother and step brother hostage in home. In the following increasingly desperate hours, Ethan, his family, and Remigio are forced to confront their unresolved conflicts between each other. Ethan's father starts getting more calm, his step-mother turns out to be a sexually frustrated woman. Ethan's two brothers seem cool. iN the end the step mother manages to inform the police and the 2 boys are caught. But are they really caught or is it all a bad dream that Ethan was having?

The film though a little slow is quite engaging in parts. I wish the hostage scenes were reduced in length for more impact. It was very nice and refreshing to see the friendship and dedication of Remigio towards Ethan, although the film never explains the reason behind it. I never got the impression that Remigio was romantically involved towards Ethan, but something kept him loyal towards him. The little bit that I think of Ethan Mao as an individual, I can imagine how hard it must be for him. Barely 18, having to leave a very comfortable life, finding suddenly himself on the streets is the not the easiest thing. Acting wise, everything did a decent job. I must say, i am not much into asian men but there was something sexy about Ethan. The step mom was way over the top and i hated her character. The production is rough and patchy with a  very strong indie flavor. The flashback sequence where Ethan is dreaming is strategically placed and the viewers could be confused even by the time the film ends whether all this was real or dream.

Despite all the goodness, someone the film failed to leave a mark on me. At best, this is a strict average affair. (4.5/10)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Between Something & Nothing

Why do we waste money and effort in making such bizarre films. Supposedly this film is based on slice of life story of the film-maker himself. And when that happens, you end up making a film which is quite self-indulgent as this one. I don't mind weird artsy films, but they should have a purpose at least. This films lacks that and much more.

Middle class guy Joe joins the prestigious Rhode Island school of design. He is one of the few students who are not from rich families. He comes friend immediately with like-minded Jennifer who also is sailing on a similar boat. Joe becomes friends with a local hustler Ramon, in hope to find inspiration for his artwork. Jennifer and Joe go through a number of sessions of arts projects of weird nature. They also explore their dark side where they do shop-lifting, mugging, drugs, alcohol and clubs. They both get indulge in free booze and cheap unsafe sex. Joe himself gets ion hustling trying to figure out whatever that he is trying to figure out. One day he finds Ramon dead and thats when it finally clicks. Street hustling and hot sex and weir encounters with Jennifer ultimately succeed in bringing true artist in Joe.

The movie tarted of well specially since both Joe and Jennifer acted pretty good but from a story's point of view, there isn't much that happens because it is just encounter after encounter and some random events happening in their life. None of them lead to anything at all. The characters are not build. As an audience I don't connect to either of their character. The situations happen and then another event takes place. There seems to be no point in showing those because there is absolutely no connection between any of those events. Yes there are far worse movies but at least the acting in this one was not horrible. I will totally blame the story and director for making such bad piece of cinema.

I would not recommend this. I could have watched a better film. (3/10)

Friday, August 23, 2013

Accused - Tracie's Story (UK)

This is not really a film as such but an episode from a British television series. Each episode follows a character as they await verdict in the court and it tells the story of how they find themselves accused. Interestingly, Tracie's story episode very rightly fits in my blog requirements.

Simon is a bored English teacher who teaches uninterested teenage students by day, and becomes Tracie, a transvestite, by night. But trawling bars in Manchester dressed up to the nines, tottering on stilettos and ready to pull has not produced a lasting or truly fulfilling relationship. On one particular night out, Tracie gets into an altercation with some men out on a stag night. Tony comes to Tracie's aid and offers her a ride home, culminating in the pair having sex at Tracie's home. The pair strike up a casual relationship, with Tony confessing that his wife has died and he is a widower. They are totally smitten and their love affair begin. It is revealed, however, that Tony's wife is still alive when Simon walks past Tony in town and follows him. Simon tracks down Tony's wife's place of work and receives a makeover from her. When Tracie confronts Tony, he cries and begs and agrees to tell his wife but in the meantime his wife finds out about Tony's affair. In a brutal attack, Tony kills his wife because "he couldn't hurt her by leaving". He tells Tracie that he has left hi wife and asks Tracie to travel with him to the lake with Tracie unaware of his wife's body in the car. Tracie runs away, with Tony in pursuit, but Tony can't bring himself to kill her. Tracie is charged with murder but is found not guilty, and Tony is imprisoned for murder.

Actor playing Simon/Tracie was brilliant. It is never easy for  akan to play drag or dress up like woman and still do justice to the role. His portrayal of Tracie's rejection, abuse, defiance and hope was spot on. Not to mention how week Tony's character compliments Tracie's. The actor does a fantastic job in a tricky role of a lover but also a psycho maybe. At a short length of just about an hour, it is perfect length and captivating story that won't leave your attention. This episode also shows 'alternative lifestyles' is sort of brushed to the sidelines in society, and often gets washed up in a sea of ignorance and preconceptions.

Both unexpected and surprising, this was an interesting watch. (6/10)

The Falls

Your first reaction when you read the synopsis of the film is that why would someone try to rehash the evergreen 'Latter Days' about mormons and homosexuality but your doubts are soon put to rest as the movie proceeds.The movie could have embroiled into controversy as well because of the theme of exploring young missionary's personal journey but thankfully nothing like that happened.

A young 20 year old guy RJ Smith is sent away from home to perform his mission and spread the good Mormon word as part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. RJ ends up getting paired with Chris, a more experienced missionary, who becomes both a mentor and a friend to RJ. The two of them together give us a glimpse into the everyday routine of a missionary, getting up early, studying, praying, spreading the word. As RJ begins to learn the ropes and gain confidence, we see Chris having doubts in his beliefs. In the crisis of faith, we begin to see the real Chris as he becomes increasingly dismissive of his missionary responsibilities and bolder in matters of the heart. One thing leads to another and next thing we know is that The 2 men fall in love with each other. When they go for a second visit with a military man back from Iraq, we see the 2 men slowly loosening up. That whole scene is amazing where they even try drugs and do not hide their love for each other. Things take turn when they are discovered in bed by an elder. Eventually, the relationship between RJ and Chris comes to a head as they are forced to deal with their new perceptions, of themselves and of their religion, community, and family members, which they know do not deal well with “people like them”.

Comparisons with Latter Days are inevitable but it was very refreshing to see that the movie had not much in common with the former and could really stand on its own. The film was probably made on a shoe string budget but that did not stop the two lead actors from giving in a very good performance. The movie runs and unfolds at an even pace which some viewers may think of as slow but because the makers wanted to focus on what rely goes in an everyday life of a missionary, i guess it was necessary. I am glad I saw the film. It wasn't ground breaking but it wasn't bad either. The supporting actors were all ok as well. There was humor thrown in as well with the whole war veteran guy.

Overall, keep expectations low and you may actually enjoy this film. (6.5/10)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Walang Kawala (Filipino/Tagalog) [No Way Out]

Sometimes intentions behind a film are good. The plot is good, direction is ok, acting is decent, but still there is something that gets missed in connecting with the audience. Focussing on a very important issue of human trafficking and sexual slavery , there are ups and downs in the story telling. There are moments that you connect and are totally there with the characters and then there are other times, when you just feel things are just not going in the right direction. This film, with all right intentions, unfortunately falls in the second category.

Joaquin is a fisherman in a small village and is in relationship with his neighbor Waldo. When his wife suddenly arrives from her overseas job, Joaquin suddenly has to divert his attention on her because she just wants sex and get pregnant. Unable to handle Joaquin's behavior, Waldo, a young teenager, leaves for Manila in disgust. He is so hurt by his lovers behavior. When Waldo is gone, Joaquin realizes ho much he loves him and he comes out to his wife and also leaves for Manila to look for Waldo. Tracing his path, he meets few folks who in some way would have come into Joaquin's life including a gay bar owner, a restaurant owner and finally to Rufo, a bi-sexualcop who eventually turns out to be a devil and who holds clue to Waldo's disappearance. Rufo lures Joaquin into his home and introduces him to his submissive wife. A sadist by nature, Rufo turns Joaquin into a prisoner and sex slave. It turns out that he did exactly the same with Waldo and many other youn boys and girls . When Joaquin is finally reunited with Waldo, he discovers that Rufo is about to sell them like fish to an international sex trafficking ring, along with his personal harem of male and female captives. Finally with Rufo's wife's help, they manage o escape but in the process Joaquin is killed. Waldo takes his revenge after few months by killing Rufo.

The film does become quite brutal and sadistic in parts where they show Rufo. I am not sure whether it was demand of the scene of the film but the rape scenes and forced sex scenes are quite elaborately shown in the film, making it not suitable for all tastes. Sure its a gay film but it was also about the love that the two guys shared with each other. The scenes in the gay bar were also quite explicit but I think they were ok and didn't really affect anything. Those were the scenes where some basic premise of the plot and meetings with new people were shown. I have a feeling that film was as real as it could be. Joaquin acted really well as the lover torn between his wife and his love. Waldo was strictly ok. A better actor in that role could have done wonders in my opinion. Joaquin's wife was very very over the top , to the extent of even being comical in parts. The production values looked ok. Its a mature story but like I mentioned before, there is something missing that stops me from completely empathizing with the lovers.

It's definitely watchabale, given we have so much crap out there. (5.5/10)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Stonewall (1995)

Everyone involved in gay rights movement or remotely interested in it is very familiar with the stonewall story in NYC. Everyone who lived through that time has their own story to tell and this film just focuses on one such story. It is by no means a true story but is a story told by point of view of 'La Miranda', a fictional drag queen. How she, her drag friends, her love and others got through the Stonewall days.

La Miranda is a drag queen who goes through the torture of police once in while in the Stonewall bar. She meets Matty Dean, who has just arrived in NYC. He is somewhat naive and very young. They embark upon a friendship which soon turns into love. Matty Dean comes with enthusiasm to do something for gay rights and to make a difference but he feels uneasy about the way things are. He befriends another man who enlightens him about rallies and a peaceful march to Philadelphia. When Matty Dean has some issues with La Miranda because he wants to focus on making a change, he moves in with this man and start an affair but even here, he is not fully satisfied. He still sees a lot of problems in the place. There is another love story on the side between Stonewall owner and the head of drag queens. Of course, the owner never wants to be seen in public with drag queen and their love affair is a big secret. When the owner can't deal with this double life, he commits suicide. The film ends with the famous riot when the police tries to arrest all drag queens out of the club. The unbelievable but true twist on events is the cops including the NYPD's crack tactical police unit equipped for riots retreating into a newly emptied Stonewall Inn for their own safety is truly a sight to behold.

Stonewall is a brutal film that delivers a very strong message in a very straight forward, no crap, right to the point kind of way. The characters in the film are all adorable in their own way and you can really feel what they are feeling. You can feel the frustration that Matty Dean feels, specially when he can't even enjoy the time with his so called boyfriend at the beach on fire island. All La Miranda wants is love in life and doesn't want to deal with any shit from cops. The actor playing La Miranda is excellent. Matty Dean is so charming, effervescent and everything that you would want in your man including the dashing good looks. I wish a little more focus was done on the other love story. Why did the bar owner suddenly have change of heart and decides to publicly acknowledge his love story?

The film gives a sense of history albeit through fictional story. A great lesson of what people in history did for us to make our lives better in this present. (6/10)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

15 : The Movie (Hokkien/Mandarin)

This film is a provocative insight of the world of several disenchanted, tattooed youths rejected by their own families and sidelined by the mainstream of society, all 15 years of age. Shot in a disjointed MTV and voyeuristic style with mixed paces, this film is a semi-documentary of a lost generation.

The plot, consists of short stories which fell into 3 acts. The first, being the brotherhood between 2 friends who ponder the meaning of their aimless lives. They know that they are condemned in the eyes of society, and find solace in the company of themselves. The second act was a bit comical, as 2 friends helped an ex-enemy to look for a building to commit suicide in. And the last act continued with examining the lives and friendship between the same 2 friends.

There is really nothing more to the plot. I was solo ultimately bored with the concept, idea, direction and everything, I didn't even bother to know whats going on and what not!! I read all over favorable reviews of the film but I am sorry I really did not get the film at all. The film does show some stark realistic portrayal of the youth but there has to be something in the film to hold your attention. I wonder if an actual documentary would have been a better idea. It is wrong to even classify this film in the gay category.

If you like my kind of cinema, its best to avoid this. (1/10)

Saturday, August 3, 2013

L'homme est une femme comme les autres (French/Yiddish) [Man Is A Woman]

The film started off so promising but I think after a while the writer was sort of lost and wanted to cover up a lot of things and issues in a short time. There are not many films based on gay Jews , so it was refreshing to see one. The film positively shows how one man balances being gay and Jewish by having him marry for a bribe. It tried to show how a Reform Jewish family and an Orthodox Jewish family comes together to celebrate their children's wedding.

Simon is a young gay Jewish man living in France. He is out to his family and is in love with his Cousin David, who is getting married. His financial situation is not good and his uncle who doesn't have any children, offers him all his wealth and mansion if he marries a girl and keep their family name going on. Initially Simon laughs it off even arguing with his mother but when his uncle cuts all his finances, he has no choice left. Enters Rosalie' an awkward unhappy virgin Jewish girl who sings to earn money and who ran away from her traditional Jewish orthodox family in New York. Simon tries hard to woo her and she easily gets wooed. She takes him to meet her orthodox family. The family initially hates him but he owns everyone over. Turns out Rosalie's youngest brother is gay and tries to flirt with Simon but Simon cannot afford to lose this. When they come back to Paris, Simon cannot take it anymore and tells Rosalie that he is gay. That doesn't stop the girl from marrying him and they even consummate their wedding. Surprisingly Simon is suddenly happy in a married life and they are spending time together. No explanation on why the change. Meanwhile David is getting divorced and Simon's fascination starts growing again with him to no proper end is shown. Rosalie one day declares that she is pregnant and she cannot continue to stay in their weird marriage arrangement and leaves for New York.

As you can see, the film does touch upon varios subjects including how men and women can view relationships, how a gay man lives in straight world etc. but unfortunately comes up short on every account. The film resale doesn't explain any sub story and doesn't give conclusion to any of those. Simon's love for David and his monologue preparation to say it to David, his sudden enjoyment being with a woman and totally neglecting being gay and the original fact that he married only cos of money. If he doesn't need money anymore and can't have sex, why stay in marriage. The first 30-40 minutes of the film were quite hilarious. The whole sequences of when Simon is trying to ww Rosalie are actually quite funny and hilarious. His reactions to her sudden singing, humidifier in her house and that whole sequence is too funny. I loved Simon's eye rolling expressions. Pricelss!! Similarly scenes with his mother and Rosalie's orthodox family are quite good. I think if the film makers tried to make this a light hearted gay movie and focussed on detailing some of the sub-stories, it would have been a fantastic film. Acting wise everyone did a good job. Simon was excellent and extremely good looking and I think Rosalie was also very very pretty. The mother was also quite funny.

There were a few enjoyable moments but nothing exceptional. There was so much scope in this film. (5.5/10)

Friday, August 2, 2013

Totally Fucked Up

Ok. So I read some really glaring reviews of this film and thens elided to watch it. What a horrible mistake. I see folks saying how, you will really enjoy this film if you are a hard core Greg Arakki fan but why should i be a fan of a director and like all his movies. A movie should be good or bad regardless of who the director is.

The film is weirdly divided into 14 segments (for whatever reason) and we are taken into a journey of 6 odd gay teens in LA. It seems there is nothing really happening in the teenagers lives. All they deal with is boredom and other people's stories. The film was so bad that I am not even gonna bother in some of thee entail story but there was no real story. One guy feels all alone, smokes non stop, meets a guy and feels loved and then suddenly goes away. We have a lesbian couple who are mostly ok. In another relationship, one guy is very secure while the other wants to fool around. And then we have one more guy who also has some story but while watching the film, I was so bored and dis-interested that I could care less what his story was.

This really is a fucked up movie. The acting is awful, the cinematography is completely flat and uninteresting, and even though the movie is only 79 minutes long it drags more than anything I've ever seen. It felt like over an hour had gone by but when I checked my watch I realized I had only gotten ten minutes! The narrative structure also is quite bad and so are production values. The actors are so boring and uninteresting with so many close-ups that it gets annoying.

Absolute totally boring self-important rubbish. (1/10)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Sikil (Filipino/Tagalog) [Unspoken Passion]

A story about friends and friendship. A tale about childhood love. A boy falls in love with his childhood best friend, who happens to be a boy too, and he keeps his feelings secretly up unto his adult life. But will this love bring two people together or will this tear them apart. This is one of the many questions that this film tries to answer.

Enzo and Adong have been childhood friends. They are bound by the love that only comes from years spent frolicking as children and teens. Enzo has always had major attraction and love for Adong but the latter is completely clueless. But Adong doesn't feel the same and he elopes with his girlfriend. Five years later, Enzo has moved to Manila and like so many before him is working in the sex trade. Still young and beautiful he has no trouble earning a great living. Then one night, he is required to do a live on-stage act with another boy, one he as not met yet. Imagine the shock on the face of the 2 boys when Enzo finds that this other boy is none other than Adong. Adong's relationship with his girlfriend didn't worked out leaving him with a child. He lived in poverty and only survive by giving sexual pleasures to gay men in exchange of money. Adong and Enzo now live together in Enzo's house. The picture perfect setting doesn't last long as Adong's girlfriend comes back and petitions both him and their child for abroad. Enzo is devastated but accepted the reality that his most loved friend will be no longer with him. He returned to his family in the province and left behind the past.

The production quality of the movie is more like a TV drama series but I guess its majorly because of budget reason. I would not hold that against the film and its overall impact. The love between the 2 guys is very tender and youc an see how happy Enzo is when finally they have an opportunity to live together. Both male leads are hot, and able new actors. As much nudity was put in the film by the makers but you could sense the hesitation that the actors had to go full frontal nude. There are glimpses of a gay underworld that leaves me more curious than enlightened: a gay bar with elaborate costumed sex shows, a garden-air bath house with a what's-going-on cruising dynamics, a bondage torture event in what appears to be a parking lot or garage, a dingy movie-house inhabited by one regular joe pimp and fags loudly offering handjobs, a faux video scandal porn set helmed by an over-the-top director.

It ultimately is a story that aims at a great gay love and sacrifice and accepting the reality. (5/10)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

White Frog

Classic indies sometimes have solid, sometimes great, stories that are carried out with a very low budget. They have some half wannabe stars to keep it from complete obscurity and extended periods with actors who can't handle their characters. Fortunately, there's a great story to integrate all of the above in this film and it somehow all fits in well together. The start of the film is a bit choppy but it picks up soon by half way, mixing humour and drama well.

Nick Young is a high school freshman struggling with Asperger’s Syndrome who idolizes his perfect older brother Chaz Young. His brother dies when riding his bike on the highway because of a group of guys that were driving recklessly. Nick's friends attend the funeral and help him get through his loss. Nick's parents have no idea how to deal with or connect with Nick since Chaz was their perfect son. He begins to take comfort in his brother's friends, who take him under his wing as he learns more about his brother than he expected as he searches for answers and closure. Some friends welcome him while other's don't specially rich kid Randy, who it turns out later was Chaz's boyfriend and that Chaz was gay. Randy tells Nick how his brother spent, "his whole life trying to keep up this lie that you were a perfect family." Chaz had a secret dream, he went to a "community center" and he wanted to be a dancer. With the help of these friends, Nick locates the working-class neighborhood community center run by a lesbian where Chaz not only donated his sizable gambling winnings but also much of his time. Along the way, Nick discovers that Chaz was gay and that this information would have devastated their parents. But rising above all odds, he finds the courage to stand up to them and overcome his social difficulties and bring the truth in front of everyone because that is what Chaz wanted.

While earnest and endearing, “White Frog” can sometimes feel a bit unrealistic in its eagerness to be all-encompassing and accepting of what society may not necessarily open its arms to quite yet. On one end when you show that the Asian parents are church-going conservatives, while on the other end the extreme with the social issues it portrays in a positive light. Nick and the group of friends do lend much needed innocence in th group. Nick's soft features and dark eyes make him particularly vulnerable-looking, which adds to his character. I wish there was a little more story on Chaz and his relationship with Randy. The film plays on emotions and parents relationship with their kids and their attempt at understanding each other's world. Allowing oneself and others to be different. I feel, this movie shows exactly where our society is heading - hiding behind a veil of lies. Pretending to be perfect, where perfection never can be met anyway. And this is where the film fails to live up to a great movie.

It's watchable and can be nice, but don't expect something new or extraordinary here. The ending is well-done and warm with the parents accepting the truth behind their son after his death. (6/10)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Warm Wind

I started to see this film because i thought it was a gay film But its not. The main character just happens to be gay and there is oohing more than that about him being gay in the film. So why am I reviewing it here, if its not gay. That's because if I got fooled hinting this was a gay film, others to can. So maybe this can help others who read this. The film focusses mainly on troops and their life after war. Not a terrible film but not what I was hoping for.

Dave lives by himself in a house in Arizona, where there is a lot of natural beauty. His business is down and he is a little depressed. He hangs out with friends James and neighbor Seth but that doesn't bring much to his otherwise boring and mundane life. A call from his mother and he finds out that has dousing Buck has arrived back from Marines but he has physical disabilities and post trauma stress disorder. Dave thinks he should take care of him because they have grown up together and Buck's father is an alcoholic. Buck doesn't care that Dave is gay. Heated arguments follow when friends visit and argue that Buck should be government's problem. Things in the end turn out ok. Dave decides that he will make his home into a care center where he will take care of veterans with physical disabilities and his friends James and Seth help him along.

A Warm Wind is an odd case of poor production values and incredibly slow pace increasing the intensity of the message of the drama.This story plot could have been very effective short film with a very strong message. Dave looks good and acts well but Seth and James are a little OTT.  Buck is fine. But the pacing is so slow at time, you just don't know what to do except fast forwarding the whole sequence. There are long sequences of Dave staring at nature, swimming etc which I guess were needed to establish the boring and lonely life of Dave but after a while it gets on nerves. The good thing is that the director did not stereotype gay, drunk or narcissistic characters and trust me the film has all of those.

Good thought and intention but stretched way too long. And on top of that there is nothing gay in the film. lol (3/10)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Twist (Canada)

I was really looking forward to this film because I was going to watch it with a friend. The premise was so promising. A gay re-telling of Charles Dickens' classic Oliver Twist. How could this go wrong but somehow neither of us ended up liking the film. There were so many questions that were left unanswered, that I was forced to exclaim wtf by the end. The plot is moved out of the London poor house onto the streets of Toronto. The the tale is told not from Oliver's point of view, but rather that of Dodge.

Dodge works for Bill who works with various young boys as hustlers. Bill is an angry man who hurts boys if they don't bring enough money home every night. One night Dodge finds Oliver and brings him him with him. He takes Oliver under his wing and instructs him in the unforgiving arts of drug abuse and prostitution. Oliver develops a crush on Dodge and views him as his boyfriend, complicating their friendship. Dodge does not reciprocate his feelings, and reacts angrily to Oliver's kisses and other signs of affection. As Oliver's innocence dissolves, both young men confront their demons, and ultimately it is Dodge who finds he cannot escape his past. At the same time we have Bill's girlfriend who works in the coffee shop and is also a subject of Bill's abuses. Oliver meets an old man, who suddenly takes interest in him and who seems like he could be his real father. Also we meet Dodge's brother who comes back to get him. Dodge doesn't want to go back home because he blames his oder brother for not intervening when their father was abusing him. The film ends with a very dark scene between Dodge and his brother.

Like I mentioned before, there is a lot in the film that is left for viewers imagination. I felt none of the characters were completely developed. No explanations were given on the girls abuse, Dodge's history, the older guy who suddenly gets interested in Oliver but then same way just starts ignoring him. The writing is the biggest drawback of this film. Low-key, and very slowly paced, with long camera "takes", this bleak story would have been better with a little more substantive action. Giving where the credit is due, the actors do quite a good job of acting. But given that their parts were so underdeveloped, there was only so much that they both do.

This movie comes across as depressing, and with good reason. While more faithful adaptations of Oliver Twist have the uplifting quality of people trying to leave their bad conditions, this movie just shows people sinking deeper into the muck. Perhaps this was intended by the writer/director, but the execution makes the movie less than memorable. (3.5/10)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Behind the Candelabra

I don't know much about famous pianist Liberace except his name. So when I heard about this film, it came as a pleasant surprise for 2 reasons. First, that I had no idea about his gay side and second, how come it took someone such a long time to come up with a film on the subject. Making a full on film with big names like Matt Damon and Michael Douglas could not have been easy but this film is watchable for it is just because of the wonderful performances by these 2 actors. They both do a splendid job. More of that later.

Scott Thomas is a young gay man who grew up in foster homes. When he goes to see Liberace perform with his friend, he gets to meet the man himself. The flamboyant artist invites Scott and his friend to his house and soon gets attracted to the young man. Using his wealth and charm Liberace offers a job as his secretary to Scott just so that the 2 men can live together. In Scott, he finds the guy who can listen to him and be with him in his lonely times. When Scott starts gaining some relationship fat and Liberace starts looking odd, he comes with an idea of  plastic surgery. Liberace goes under knife to get rid of wrinkles and Scott starts taking pills for California diet (essentially drugs). Scott also goes under knife because Liberace wants Scott to look like younger him. The torrid affair which starts and last for a few years soon starts taking a toll. Scott is not allowed to go outside most time which starts suffocating him. He starts getting too addicted to drugs. All this makes Scott rebel against things. He also starts getting paranoid about Liberace sleeping with other younger men, which is not entirely false. Ultimately he seeks legal help after he is forced thrown out of the apartment. The film ends when Liberace dies of AIDS virus and thats the last time he meets Scott.

Michael Douglas stuns with his effeminate mimicry in the film as the world-known pianist, a flamboyant closeted-man, a selfish control-freak obsesses with his complexion and his tabloid news. He is just brilliant in delivering a strong, restrained, measured and complex performance. He does not get over board with it We get to see his loving caring side, his lonely side and finally the side where he just needed a new man every few years. Matt Damon as Scott is another wonderful act. Looking as a 70s hooker, he just fits into his role, also showing his ass more than just a few times through the duration of the film. His role just hives on his relationship with Liberace and lives in the moment. You can actually feel how stressed the character is being in a relationship with someone who truly loved and understood him but wanted to manipulate him. The make up though gawdy fits the premise of the film and the characters and the era. It was funny yet real to see Liberace's flashy clothes, pianos and even cars. I also like the fact that the romance between the two men was not all about sex.There are tender moments and a bond which ultimately leads to Liberace wanting to adopt the young man. Yes, the man was bizarre, specially when he wants Scott to undergo surgery to look like him but hey we have all sorts of characters in this world.

Its a shame that the film was premiered on TV and not in cinemas. Directed with sicerety, this film is a good watch, though not fully entertaining. (7/10)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Vicious (TV Series) (UK)

I have no idea how did I end up getting my hands on this show. Funny! Brilliant! and superb witty dialogues are some of the things that come to my mind after watching the show. Just 6 episodes, each of 25 minutes each, you see same faces, familiar situations and dialogues and they just make you break into laughter.

The premise is quite simple. Freddie and Stuart are an old gay couple who have been together for nearly 50 years. Their lives now revolve around entertaining their frequent guests and hurling insults at each other at every opportunity. Ash is a young handsome man who is their new neighbor. Their long term single friend Violet who is looking out for a man in her life. And then an old lady, who just keeps forgetting everything every minute and finally another guy who no one just cares about.

I can imagine that not everyone would like the show. You have to have an appetite for dark sometimes even morbid humour and be a fan of sarcasm. The dialogues and the sarcasm that is in Freddie's character is simply outstanding. And every time Stuart's mother calls him, that is superb too. My favorite is every time Stuart introduces Ash to Violet. Thats hilarious. Stereotypical characters in a brand new light. Excellent casting, perfectly matched the roles and the actors. The witty and snappy comments compliment the new character types not too often seen on TV. Original script with lines you can use in an everyday life. Agreed that the show is hammy and over the top but I think that's what I liked about it most. It's ridiculous and I think the ridiculousness is what makes it so brilliant.

I think the job is successfully done when a viewer doesn't mind watching something again and I would definitely not mind watching this show again with friends. It was simply funny. (8/10)

Update Jan'14: Just saw the Christmas special episode. I think my expectations were way too high, so I was a little disappointed but it was still very very good. Violet definitely is my fav character in this show.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Gay Short Films : 16

Pool Days
This is a very interesting short film. It can be rightly put in the category of teenage coming-out stories. Justin is a 17 year old teenager who gets a summer job at a health club. He notices he is getting attracted to some hot men in the club but keeps denying it. One budding swimmer in the club helps him get over his anxiety and help him realize who he really is and be ok with it. It is a good film that shows the struggles that most teenagers have coming out and how maybe some of us help them get over their anxiety. Acting by both the principal characters is actually very good and real and I must say that they are both very good looking and easy on the eyes. Justin specially looks good and does his job very well. A duration of about 25 plus minutes keeps this film at the right length where as a viewer I get enough of context to not imagine things on my own and at the same time, it doesn't feel too dragged. (7/10)

Summer Blues (Norway)
This was a very interesting short film. Mads and his girlfriend are fighting over some issues. Enter Kristian, Mads best friend who is back for summer break. The 3 of them with another girl go to a summer home for the weekend to a nearby lake. Mads is getting way too drunk to handle his girlfriend's situation. Rumour from his friends is that she might not be entirely faithful to Mads. Kristian sees this as an opportunity to explore his feelings for Mads while he is sleeping. Not only he explore his bare chest with his lips , he even goes south. The shock comes in the morning when Mads tells him that he was indeed awake and also Mads works out his issues with his girlfriend. It is too embarrassing an awkward for the 2 friends to be together now. That still doesn't stop Mads from giving him a goodbye peck on his cheek. (6/10)

Platero (Argentina)
Its summer time and a family of four is entertaining their kids friends for the day. Walter and Analia are siblings and its their friends visiting. Walter has hots for Analia's brother, whose nickname is Platero because of his dick size. The film just focuses on sexual tension when everyone is dealing with extreme heat, swimming in pool and eating. The friends engage in all sorts of conversations. Walter watches his sister giving bj to Platero which excites him. When she has to leave midway, he tries to take a chance with Platero but gets snubbed. The sexual tension was so real, that I could completely feel what must have been going inside me. Very very good but it can test your patience. (7/10)

Weak Species
Its almost a 30 minute movie. The film explores George and Steve. Both are high school students. For student, it gives him a sense of power to seduce his fellow classmates, have sex and then reject them.When Steve sets his sights on the school star athlete, he starts a cat and mouse chase which could ruin him and his idol. Rejected by Steve, George finds himself in dangerous situations where he goes on dangerous sex encounters beyond usual S&M, which could be critical to his life. When the star football athlete dies in an accent, his mates bash up Steve and around the same time George barely manages to save his life. The 2 unlikeliest of guys get together and hope to find love in each other. Some of the scenes are very disturbing and graphic to watch in the film. This film is definitely for the weak heart but is definitey an interetsing concept. Both the lead actors act really really well. (6/10)

Gingers (UK/Portugal)
Gingers. Redheads. Fire crotches... It is an incredibly sexy, erotic and beautiful short film in which a group of redheaded, mainly European men are interviewed in their glorious nakedness. They talk about their bodies in really what is very intimate detail - their fur, their hair, their cocks, their skin - as well as what it feels like to be fetishised for being a redheaded gay man. Each body part is lovingly lingered upon by the camera - faces, chests, pubic hair and cocks including an amazing sequence of each of their cocks growing from soft to hard in speeded-up time. Really, it is just a hymn of praise to the stark and outstanding beauty of redheaded men. It was a very interesting and sexy short. (6.5/10)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I Do

Even now, while writing this review, I really can't make up my mind if I liked this movie or not. Hopefully by the time I finish writing this, I would have a clue. The story is not very novel. We have seen the premise before but this one like every film has something different to offer. The one definite good thing about this film ws that it is set in New York and being away from my city for about 2.5 months now, kit definitely made me nostalgic about the city.

Jack is a Brit gay man living in NYC. When his brother unexpectedly dies in a car accident, he starts taking care of his wife who is pregnant. Years have passed and his niece is now 6-7 years old but Jack's life still surrounds his sister-in-law and niece. He works with a photographer with his lesbian best friend Aly. When Jack finds out that his visa renewal application has been rejected, his lawyer suggests that getting married is the only option left with him. He coerces his friend Aly to marry him. Things are going ok until Mano comes in Jack's life. Mano, of Spanish origin is the perfect guy that Jack has been waiting for. The perfect marriage has now has a twist even though Jack and Ali were never in love. Mano and Jack start staying together and Mano soon becomes part of the family. Aly is always scared that immigration would catch her and put her in jail whereas Jack is not as serious. When an unexpected visit from INS happens. it freaks Aly out completely and she wants out of the marriage. Jack gives in but is depressed and now very unsure of what his future will be. Mano offers to marry him but lawyer tells them that gay marriage is not recognized at federal level so there is no point. In the meantime Mano finds out that his father is critically ill and now he would like to move back to Spain. He offers Jack to move with him but Jack doesn't want to leave his niece and refuses. When his sister-in-law puts some sense in his mind, he finally understands that its time he start thinking about himself. He decides to take the plunge and move to Spain to be with the love of his life and with a promise that his niece will visit him every few months.

The film slightly touches upon the DOMA issue but very little. It plays with emotions on very different subjects as there are several unexpected twists and turns throughout. The over-all premise is a sophisticated urbane justification for gay marriage, but it is presented as a family of friends drama with quite legitimate and compelling emotional drive. The film also brings up a few 'what would you do in that situation?' subjects, which promotes conversation with friends and family. In terms of acting Jack did an alright job. He was acting but somehow the emotional connect to his character was missing. I could hardly empathize with his character. Specially when subject is like this, you want audience to connect. Another big failure was Mano. The way his character was shown was a little shady in my opinion. There were times in the film when I got the impression that Mano was a fraud kinda person who was playing with Jack's emotions. Also the way he would look at Aly and give her the look while they were married was odd. Anyway, I might be going into too much details but thats what my observation is. Th little girl in the film was the best part.

All in all, this is still a pretty decent movie and worth a try. For an independent film, it will still satisfy you. (6/10)

Monday, May 27, 2013

Any Day Now

My movie watching has slowed down soooo much. Work is getting busier. Anyway, I am so glad that I saw this movie after a long break because I know I would have been really disappointed had a I ended up watching a really bad gay film (the chances of which are really high) but I am glad that I did not have to deal with the situation. This film thankfully does not deal with gay stereotype stories and movie that we have all gotten used to Instead, it touches on a very important subject of adoption and deals it with sensitivity.

Apparently based on a true story, the film is set in 1970s. Rudy Donatello is a struggling musician and drag performer in a gay nightclub in 1979 West Hollywood, where he meets Paul, a closeted district attorney. Returning home to his apartment, Rudy finds Marco, a 14-year-old with Down syndrome, left alone after his mother, Marianna, had been arrested. Rudy takes in the abandoned boy, but Family Services intervenes and takes Marco to foster care. On Rudy's insistence, Paul agrees to help him get custody of the child. All this while, quite quickly, Rudy and Paul have become close lovers. The two visit Marianna in prison to coax her into signing the temporary guardianship papers, which she does. After a rigorous court case, they are finally allowed to get the custody of the child and everyone is quite happy. Until one fine day, Paul's boss gets a hang of the fact that Rudy is not Paul's cousin but hi solver. Paul ends up losing his job and his boss files a case on him regarding the custody after coercing Marco's mother to take back her consent. The two men are devastated after constant battles in the court and the court not allowing them the guardianship. The film ends on a shocking note which leaves audiences devastated and stunned.

I did not see the ending coming. I expected it to have a happy ending but I am glad that it was more realistic. Sure, it seems that Rudy's and Paul's affair happened all too quickly which is even mentioned during the court case but I guess sometimes love just happens and you do not question it. The tender moments they both share as a couple taking care of Marco are so hear-warming. All the court scenes are done very very well and are very realistic. Coming to performances, Alan Cumming does a splendid job as Rudy. His performance needs to be applauded and the film needs to be seen because of him. Paul also acts well. The film i snot dragged unnecessarily and comes straight to the point very quick and keeps the focus in tact.

Overall a very entertaining and touching movie. I would not regret watching the movie twice. (7.5/10)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

In Between Men - Season 2 (Web Series)

A sequel to supposedly popular gay web series, this series continues from where the last one left over. Its not really a sequel in the true sense but the same characters have been taken from the first season and new stories webbed around it. This season has 9 episodes, that continue to focus on some aspect of the lives of these A-list gay New Yorkers.

The life of the 4 friends continue after the death on of one of the friends. New characters are introduced. We are introduced to a straight black man who is the girl's dousing who starts sharing the apartment of one of our protagonists. The doctor guy is still under low self-esteem and ends up dating either drug addicts or sorta losers on life one way or the other. The macho guy is all about just sleeping with anyone and everyone who he can find. (Reminded me of the dude from Queer as Folk). Of course, the straight italian lover for one of the guy is re-introduced but they keep their relationship open. At the end of 9 episodes we get to see different episodes that occur in their life and different events with the final episode focusing on where they end up wrt love.

Compared to season 1 , this season was a tad better. Acting and production values had nth considerably improved. One thing that was consistent though was still bad acting. Apart from the straight black guy, everyone was quite fake and was looking like 'acting'. Agreed the is a web series but it can be done well with really good acting like in 'The Outs'. Credit is due for the writers who came up with interesting scenarios but the acting really was flat. I just failed to connect with any of the characters because they were all pretty shallow. The entire episode of the friend's death and all a looked soooooo fake. The boyfriend of the guy who dies, was so bad. He has like no emotion. So you can imagine if this was improved acting-directing, how bad the season 1 would have been.

In any case, I have so much worse that in totally it is not a bad time pass. (4/10)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Boys On Film 9: Youth In Trouble

The ninth edition in this series comes in with a very interesting title. Most of the shorts in this series focus on youth in various stages of emotional crisis. Unfortunately, the previous series have all been a lot of fun and interest but somehow this one lacks a punch. Barring just a few, most of them somehow did not manage to hold my attention.

Deep End (Canada)
When Dane's older brother comes out, Dane doesn't react very well. But soon after he has to choose between siding with his homophobic classmates or fighting to support his brother. The film has very few dialogues but I think it was very realistic. One of the better ones in the series.

Family Affair (Brazil)
The short shows a young man briefly escaping the masculine energy of his father and brother for a smoke-infused dalliance with one of his brother’s friends. The smoke ends up in a very passionate kiss followed by one of the best reactions that i have seen by a guy after his first kiss. The mix of pleasure, happiness, cockiness and everything else. This short film was priceless just for the guys reaction of "I did it".

Together (UK)
One month after moving in together David and Mark come home to find a key in the lock of their front door. They check the house and it all seems clear, until they slowly start to realise that they are not alone. After a rosy, fresh beginning, the shades of horror film mutate the story. Definitely not my kinda short.

Easy Money (Spain) [Dinero fácil]
When a handsome rent boy shows up at a mysterious client's hotel room, the boy quickly learns that sex appears to be the last thing on his clients mind. It’s an interesting glimpse of the entanglement of prostitution and violence, both involving payment for a very physical act. Brilliantly acted and directed. This one also has a very interesting twist.

The Wilding (Australia)
Juvenile inmate Malcolm is in love with his cellmate Tye, but their relationship is confined within their cell. When Malcolm is offered a shot at parole, he finds himself torn between his rare chance for freedom and protecting the one he loves. I just did not get the film much. It was too abstract for me.

Colonial Gods (UK)
A complicated friendship between a Somali man and Nigerian man unfolds against the chaos of gentrification and displacement in the small immigrant community in Cardiff known as Tiger Bay. This film just does not fit into a gay short series film. I still don't know why this was put in.

It's Not A Cowboy (France)
Last night, Brokeback Mountain aired on TV. Vincent watched it and found himself emotionally compelled by the story. Whilst chatting with a classmate in the school toilets, he takes advantage of the break to describe the film as only an adolescent can. This was a very good short. Highly recommended.

Prora (Switzerland/Germany)
In this deserted former Nazi holiday camp and communist military complex, teenagers Jan and Matthieu embark on an adventure that could change everything. Whilst exploring their surroundings they confront their identities and ultimately put their friendship at risk. But the ending is thankfully friendly and positive. Just a decent flick.

Like I said before, I was a little disappointed by the odd mix because generally they are all very good in this series. (5/10)