Started in 2007 to keep a track of gay films that I watched, this blog has come much further than I had planned. There are tons of movies that I need to watch and review here. Through this blog, I want to give you genuine, my personal heart-felt review of the films that I see. These are my personal thoughts and opinions about the films and I would love to hear your thoughts on these films as well. I always reply to comments in a day or two. Please help me make my blog more popular by becoming a member, following it and by recommending it to your friends. As far as I know this is one of the very very few gay movie review blogs where reviews are not linked or copy-paste imdb summary. Enjoy and do keep writing your feedback.

Friday, 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)