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.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Sud Pralad (Thai) [Tropical Malady]

What an utter piece of garbage this was. I mean common. You can’t just make anything in the same of visual masterpiece. In my opinion this is the height of self-indulgence. What use is a film, if only 10 people are going to watch it? I just read that when it was screened at Cannes, people left the screening and then boo-ed it but then later it was given jury prize and suddenly everyone started praising the film. This is just ridiculous.

Keng is a soldier assigned to a post in a small city in rural Thailand. Everyone likes him in the village but his heart is set on Tong, who he meets in a truck in the village. They start blossoming a friendship which slowly turns into romance. They have a connection between them and we just see the two guys taking random country trips and walking along jungles and killing time. Then suddenly film shifts into a second act, following some ancient Thai fairy tale. Tong has now disappeared and is believed to have become a ghost tiger. We then suffer through 45-ish minutes of Keng wandering around jungle looking for this spirit. This spirit of Tong taunts and bedevils the soldier, causing him to run through the woods and become lost and isolated himself.

The pace of this film is a major flaw. A languidly paced film does not always equal a soulful, moving film experience. I had to fast forward pretty much the entire second half of the film because there wasn’t anything happening. I do not need to watch a soldier wandering off in jungles for 45 minutes to understand whats going on. The same feat can be easily achieved in 5 minutes. This is not art. This is torture. Tong was good as a shy man who is getting all the attention from a soldier but Keng as a soldier did nothing for me. His body language and his voice were so bad. I just don’t wanna go on and on on how bad this film is and how utterly waste of your time it will be.

I really doubt, how and why are there positive comments abut this film. People need to get a life. (1/10)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

To Catch A Killer (Canada/USA)

Ok, so this is not a gay themed movie, per say, but the fact that it chronicles the true gruesome story of a homosexual serial killer who killed almost 30 young boys after sexually molesting them, makes it for a contender here. This was a made for TV film. At length of almost 3 hours, it doesn’t get boring because you are waiting to find what will the cops do to nail this criminal.

When a local teenager Chris Gant disappears in Des Plaines, detective Joe, is assigned to the case. His initial investigation makes him believe that local businessman John Gacy might have something to do with the disappearance. He assigns a team to find out evidences but almost overtime their evidences are found to be circumstantial and hence an arrest is never made. Things get worse, when he threatens to sue the police department and Joe for almost million dollars. Also everyone, including joe’s boss thinks that Gacy is innocent and is a respectable member of the society. Gacy and Joe then begin a sadistic game of cat-and-mouse as they both try to manipulate each other. Detective Joe is personally very invested in this case because he feels something is wrong. Eventually more evidences are gathered and after securing a second search warrant for Gacy’s house; they eventually find out not one but many many bodies buried under his basement. Gacy is charged with the rape and murder of 33 boys and young men and convicted, being sentenced to death.

Although it is quite an old movie and the production values show that, but the subject is quite relevant even today. Macy’s performance is simply superb as the respectable yet menacing man who is out for some mischief. We feel the pain that Chris’ parents go through. Thankfully, most details surrounding Gacy's crimes were left out. The sole focus was on how did the detectives go about nabbing the criminal, including tricks to make him break down. We don’t see any violence, gore, killing in the film. It is left to the viewer's imagination as to what happened to Gacy's defenseless victims. This film is not for thrill, rather it is more  semi-documentary style thats meant to show the evils of some of the respectable members of our society.

A terrifying film when you think of everything that a single man did to 30 plus teenage boys. A true crime representation. (6/10)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Secrets Of The Gay Sauna (Documentary) (UK)

Yes the title is very attractive and immediately catches your attention as a viewer but do not be fooled by the title. It is clearly chosen to attract more viewership on television.  Amore apt and suitable title would have been “Inside a Gay Sauna”. Just adding the word ‘Secrets’ makes it much more appealing to attract more audience and higher viewership on Television. This is made for TV documentary focussed on CS2, a popular sauna in Nottingham U.K.

For most of us gays, a gay sauna is not an unfamiliar term. But outside the community, not many may be aware of its existence, let alone what happens inside a gay sauna, commonly also known as “gentlemen’s relaxation zone”. People can tell you whatever stories, but men usually visit these sauna for one and only one motive; sex. Yes there are showers, sauna, jacuzzi, steam room but there are also dark rooms, sleeping rooms, porn room, glory holes, sling room and what not !! The documentary follows the gay couple John & Joe who run CS2 and who have been in an open relationship ever since they can remember. They also do not remember when was the last time they both had sex with each other. To make it more sappy, we are also witnessed to one of them proposing to the other for a wedding (which for me was clearly for the sake of this documentary). We also meet Narvel, man in his late 60s who is pretty much addicted to sauna and the idea of casual random sex. We also hear his partner’s views who has never been into saunas. Over the course of this 50 minute documentary, we will find out that for John and Joe, ‘owning a sauna is a lifestyle choice. They both are more than happy to mix business with pleasure’. We also meet the cleaner who has been working there for 6 years and happens to be a straight man. He doesn’t have anything against gay men but at the same time he is quite uncomfortable admitting to anyone that he works in a gay sauna.

The title sounds more titilating and raunchy but the documentary is not. It takes you inside sauna, walks you through the premise and shows us perspectives of owners, workers/cleaners and of one of the frequent visitors of the place. As a gay viewer, nothing may seem new information to you but the documentary may (just may) succeed in shocking some people in what actually happens inside a gay sauna. (4.5/10)

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Gay Short Films : 36

Hofesh Hagdol (Israel) [Summer Vacation]
A family is on  vacation when the unexpected happens. Yuval is enjoying with his wife and kids when suddenly because of water pressure, he needs help getting out of sand. This is when his ex-lover arrives and saves him. Has he just saved him from bring buried or will he also save him from the suffocation of a pretentious straight married life, when truly is gay and struggling to come to terms with it.  Leaving an open ending for viewers to interpret as to what happens, but I really enjoyed the way and sensitivity with which the subject has been handled. I loved this short film. Acting, direction and story were brilliant. This has a potential of making into a full length features film on this subject by extending the story. (8/10)

Ray's Male Heterosexual Dance Hall (USA)
If you think business decisions are made strictly on the basis of profit and loss, you need to see this short little film. When our hero Cal is looking for a job, he is advised by a friend that everything happens by making contacts. An all male dance hall is the place where everyone goes. The film highlights the politics of the dancehall in the same way as making contacts in the business world. And as what happens in the corporate world, most of us of us dance to the tune that is chosen by those with power. I am amazed to know that this film won an Oscar for best short film in 1987. (7/10)

I quit (USA)
Finn Page, a 20 years old guy has recently ended his first relationship. However, he’s not dealing with it very well. He resolves that quitting dating is the only option to prevent his heart from breaking again. Now, its up to his friends to convince him that sitting on the sidelines won’t make him happy. And one of those friends may also happen to like him but Finn would have nothing of it. Following arguments, Finn realises that his friends only want the best for him. Shot in Philadelphia, it was like going back into memories for me. (6/10)

Anochecer (Argentina) [Nightfall]
When two guys move in together and the night falls, its time to face the first step of mutual attraction.

Spasibo (France)
Clément, a French actor, goes to Saint Petersburg to participate in a films festival. When he gets there, he realizes he has disappeared: nobody can hear him and see him. He meets Andrei, a Russian gay who lives the same thing. This film was made as a reaction to the censorship of a gay short film in Parisian season’s festival in St. Petersburg. The film denounces the social invisibility who are reduced homosexuals in Russia. The film is marked by urgency and spontaneity in which it was made. Spasibo means ‘Thank You’ in Russian. (6/10)

Félix et le Poisson (Mexico) [Félix and The Fish]
Felix is a young lonely guy. One day he finds a finds a young man by the beach, unconscious who hardly speaks anything. He takes him home to take care of him, he then realizes he has scales on his back. Is he a mermaid (manman). This guy loves water and feels close to it and happy but Felix now fears that he will go back and may never return again. He goes back between reality and dream, where one moment the merman is with him, whereas, the other moment he is not. Interesting concept but amateur acting and lame direction in my opinion. (4/10)

Calogero - J'ai le droit aussi [I Also Have the Right]
A music video of a teenager’s obsession with his friend and imagining him kissing the boy under various circumstances.

Naděje (Czech Republic) [Hope]
A poignant film about hope and survival. A young man is dying of AIDS and just can’t it any more. He wants to die but of course his mother wouldn’t let. When his estranged father visits, they dwell on the past. Father apologise for disowning him and he didn’t mean. And he was the proudest man, overtime the son would win a race. So, the question is if he didn’t give up throughout his life while racing, why giveup now when its time to die. He needs to fight for it. A sad tale and excellent direction and acting. This again has the potential to be treated as a longer duration film with some background on characters and what happens to the family after he is gone. (6/10)

What Grown-Ups Know (USA)
After splitting from her husband, Roy’s mother takes his car and leaves home with her son Roy but they are struggling to make ends meet with dead end jobs and fleeing out of motels in middle of night. A chance encounter with a man in public toilet makes him realise he might be gay. He then recognises him again as the owner of the caravan park where Roy and his mother have settled in. Roy wants the man but what does the man think of him. Probably a son, who was taken away form him years ago? or something more? When the mother wants to leave, Roy goes back to manager but comes back devastated and rejected just like Roy’s mother was from his father. Great acting and superb story and direction. Could use some production polishing. (7/10)

En Compagnie de la poussière (Luxembourg) [With the dust]
At the frontier between youth and adulthood, François is in love with Michel. Michel doesn’t seem to care. The arrival of Alice, a capricious young woman, threatens to disturb this strange balance. I am not quite sure of who was the dead body in the morgue and which among the two friends was now dealing with it, but it seems like it was Michel who had now become a doctor. I wish that was a bit clear. But apart from that. I think the film and the story had potential, but I personally did not understand bits and pieces of the film. (6/10)

Benny’s Gym (Norway)
Alfred is a teenager who gets bullied all the time by Benny and his friends, who beat him up. But when Benny is alone and spends time with Alfred, he is a different lad. The high school bully shares his secrets, his fears and hopes with the unpopular kid. An outlandish bond takes place between them. In high school, Benny keeps ignoring Alfred, but when they're together everything is different. One night, Benny kisses Alfred passionately. Alfred acts surprised but he had been longing for such a moment. When the bullying continues by Benny’s friends, will Benny just be a ute spectator or expose himself before the eyes of the others to save Alfred because the possibility of losing Alfred forever is more than he can bear. (7/10)

Antes de Palavras (Brazil) [Before Words]
A fragmented account of the growing attraction between Celio and Dario; two classmates who are brought together by a series of serendipitous encounters and their own naive curiosity. It is Celio’s girlfriend Sofia, who realises even before the boys that there may be some karmic connection between the two boys who want read the books that the other one is reading and also they both listen to the same music. She is the one to decipher the feelings she knows exists between the two boys. Absolutely brilliant short film. Great directorial debut and brilliant acting. Please please make a full length feature on this keeping the same sensitivity of the characters intact. (9/10)

Alguma Coisa Assim (Brazil) [Something Like That]
Caio and Mari, two teenagers are discovering Sao Paulo' s night. Something unexpected may just occur when Caio would realise he is probably gay and break Maris’s heart. Little did Mari know that her joke up pairing Caio up with a guy would lead to this.

Friday, July 24, 2015

La Chatte À Deux Têtes (French) [Porn Theatre]

Was this is artsy film or was it just something else in the name of soft-porn; these are the arguments we can all have and never come to a conclusion. The makers could also argue that this is a study of human psyche. In either case, does this film provide anything for a viewer? Different people look for different things when they come to watch a movie. Thankfully, when I watch a movie, I try to not watch it with expectation and hoping to be offered something interesting. Unfortunately this film failed to do so.

We look at this old worn out porn theatre in Paris. It shows only straight pornography for a clientele of men of various types: military men, straight men look for gay sex, married men in need of exploration of their senses, transvestites, old men for whom such places provide the only sexual outlet, and the regulars who spend their evenings in the dingy darkened atmosphere for anonymous sex. The theatre is run by a single 40-ish lady, who by now has seen every aspect of sexuality and nothing surprises her. The film focuses mostly on her talks with the young straight projectionist where they are getting to know one another. Another piece of the puzzle is this regular visitor who the lady knows. During the course of the film the cashier manages to discuss her open views of sexuality with these two men and the three of them seem headed for a communal experience. And of course between all this, a major part of the film focuses on various acts happening inside the theatre. Bathroom group encounters, Transexuals, approaches and rejections and quick satisfactions. A lot of man-on-man action and a lot of nudity between them, qualifies for the film to feature on my blog.

Let’ be honest, the film does not provide entertainment but sparingly enough it make you a voyeurs into life of these people watching porn. We are curious know whats gonna happen to each of these people. While the interaction between the characters is touching, and their openness with one another seems genuine, the viewer cannot help but feel unnerved by the lack of sexual scruples of the audience members. As I mentioned above, it can be argued whether it is porn or art but these days anything can be made into a film. This was not a boring film but then at the same time, nothing much really happens. If you enjoy voyeurism, then you may enjoy it. For me, some of the happenings inside the movie theatre were way too long and I was hoping something more substantial to happen. But instead, we watch the regular ongoings and interactions between people, which to be hones, I expect is what really happens. The film doesn’t unnecessarily sensationalise it.

It is not entertaining but its not boring either. I personally could classify it as an artsy fartsy fair, a little too much on one side of the spectrum, which is not really my cup of tea. (4/10)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Boys of St. Vincent - Part 1 & 2 (Canada)

Horror, disgusting and unbeleivabale are some of the phrases that come to mind after you are done watching this 2 part mini-series / made for TV movie. Having been made in 1992, I can only imagine, how difficult would it have been to get it broadcast without repercussions. Based on some real life child sexual abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic Church, This is actually a 2 part film. The first film, "The Boys of St. Vincent", covers the sexual and physical abuse of a number of orphans by Brothers. The second film, "The Boys of St. Vincent: 15 Years Later", covers the trial of the Brothers that happens 15 years later as the title suggests.

Brother Lavin and 10-year old Kevin Reevey form the central protagonists of the story. St Vincent’s Orphanage is run by All Saint Brothers led by Brother Lavin. Their authority is overwhelming both physically and sexually. Brother Lavin fancies Kevin and sexually abuses him on multiple occasions including beating him up badly a couple of times. Another child Steven who is abused regularly also had a elder brother Brian in same orphanage. When a janitor complains, a detective takes the matter in hand and starts investigations when horrifying secrets are revealed. But the events are concealed and hushed by authorities, both fro the church and the judicial system. Brother Lavin leaves the church and a report is prepared minus any sexual references. First part ends with Kevin and Steve back in orphanage to deal with more. The second part moves 15 year sin future. Laving is now married with 2 kids and the case is suddenly re-opened and he is arrested. Kevin is now a young man but still haunted by his past. He refuses to stand at witness. A public hearing is setup for the case. Justice department, social services and church; they are all questioned. You still don’t see any regret in Lavin’s eyes. At the suggestion of the lawyer, Lavin starts seeing a psychiatrist and we get to know more about his past. But even still he has no regrets. He still believes it was his love for Kevin that made him do these things. Steven is also a grown up man but is now a drug addict. He is destroyed by the defence advocate, who reveals that he abused seven-year-old boys at the orphanage when he was 16. He dies of overdose which gives courage to Kevin to come out of his shell and testify against Lavin. His fate is left unanswered at the end for us viewers, even as we are left wondering like his wife, as to whether he ever molested his own two young sons.

These 2 part series is a highly powerful series. It is not a easy subject to watch. and even more difficult is to direct the subject with sensitivity and I think the makers did a splendid job. Acting by everyone is pretty good. Brother Lavin is pitiful yet vicious and ver dangerous at the same time. All child actors are superb. I am glad the sexual abuse scenes are now eroticised but at the same time, enough is shown for the viewers to know what exactly is happening. As hard and disturbing it is to watch this film, I think it i important for parents to watch this. The issue should not be hidden. We need to acknowledge and do something about this. At 90 minutes length of each part, this doesn’t fee stretched un necessarily. You feel exactly what the kids must be going through. The parts where the kids are playing also show that they did have some real child moments at times when they were not fearing getting abused by someone.

A disturbing film dealing with very unpleasant issue that some people would rather forget about. I highly recommend watching it. (8/10)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Eat With Me

A gay them film that also enters around food is pretty rare, so in that context kudos to the film makers for making this. But then, in all essence the primary theme about he film is not about being gay. Promoted as maybe a rom-com for a gay couple, the prime focus is actually on the protagonist’s mother here. The film is more about acceptance, both for parents and kids. A film that focuses on the bonds between mother and son, husband and wife and also the fragility of a more fledgling relationship.

Emma has woken up to the realisation that she is in a lacklustre marriage. She only knows how to add spice to her life in one way, by squirting it from a bottle of hot sauce. The rest of her life is cushy but bland. When she needs the space, she moves in, unannounced with her gay son at his LA apartment. Elliot, is a cook, running his uncle’s restaurant. Emma’s relationship with him are  bit strained Emma’s inability to come to terms with Elliot’s sexuality. It’s not that she disapproves, she just doesn’t get it. So now they are living together but with awkwardness. Tense unspoken moments. Feeling lonely, Emma accidentally befriends the lady next door Maureen who's so eccentric that Emma's way over her head. When Elliot meets smart, funny and loving Ian, sparks fly and they both want more but something about his mother stops Elliot from pursuing things. Plus he is struggling to keep his restaurant open due to lack of payment of six months mortgage. Unable to communicate with words, they use the medium of food as a common ground. There is the possibility that the business can be saved, if only Elliot is willing to admit he needs help, which he seems unable to do. Finally things fall in place when Emma slowly gets educated about what being gay is, accepts her son for who he is along with his status quo with Ian. With right support from family and friends, together the mother and son just might be able to save the restaurant.

The film is no great shakes. It is a feelgood film with a strong ensemble cast and high production values. It’s sweet without being sappy. The awkward relationship that Elliot and Gemma share is something that a lot of people will relate to. It is freakishly real, which means that makers have done a good job of capturing the acting potential of individuals. Elliot’s struggle between doing the right thing for restaurant vs his mom vs Ian is real. Its important to address that the characters are Chinese American, where the family culture is important. It is because of family values, that elliott’s priority for his mother will always be higher than hi love for Ian. Emma is outstanding in this role. Her scenes with the neighbour Maureen are the highlights of the film and bring in much relief to the proceedings. The film never gets boring. But then at the same time, it is never explained, how doing one evening of dumplings will save the restaurant from 6 months of non-payment within a week. Also if Elliott enjoys cooking, why hasn’t he already broadened his skills and change the menu and bring some spice. Keeping these things aside, the film is easy and smooth.

It is a film for anyone that shares a love of food, a will to endure and also the capacity to love. Someone who cares for their family as much as they do for their love. (6.5/10)

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Big Gay Love

“Big Gay Love”, a phrase that you will hear way too many times during the course of this film, is a film about a overweight gay man coming to terms with loving and accepting himself the way he is, while also trying to find true love of his life. The concept is quite interesting and the film constantly kept reminding me of someone I know, but still there is a lot missing in the film to make it a good comedy.

Bob, a man in mid-30’s is a successful party planner and is doing well for himself but he is not too happy. He is very conscious of how he looks and believing that no one could ever fall in love with him. A thought that would soon change, when he meets a chef Andrew Darcy at one of the parties that Bob has planned. Andrew is not only good looking but is also nice guy, level-headed and is very curious about Bob. Because of his own insecurities, Bob cannot fathom why someone like Andy would be interested in him. He just fails to see that a hot man can also look something beyond physical appearances (as hard as it is to believe). Subsquent scenes follow, which follow the pattern of Bob self-loafing and wondering why Andy is with him and doubting and suspecting on Andy. The paranoia of maybe he broke up with Bob o maybe he set with someone else, just doesn’t leave him. His gym rat best buddies (stereotypical gay queens) and his once upon time pin-up-model mother doesn’t help much. Andrew can’t take it anymore when Bob accuses him of cheating, only to be seen that it is Bob who ends up cheating on Andy. The misunderstandings are ultimately cleared but Andy makes it clear that it doesn’t man they are back together. They will have to start from beginning at a place where Bob will have to love himself, be confident about himself and then appreciate having someone like Andy in his life.

A lot of things and characters do not make sense; but do we really care? Bob’s fabulous friends, the gay couple, are amazingly supportive of him but why the change is heart (or it seems like) when Bob actually finds Andy in life. Th mother’s character is funny but it is a two-dimensional character that contributes nothing useful to the story at all. Bob acts well but he seems to have this tired worn-out expressions on his face most of the time. The film has some forced and awkward moments like Andy recognising Bob’s mother. Another problem is that the film doesn’t have a smooth flow. It just moves form point A to B. Having said all that, the film is not bad. It doesn’t become boring at any point and the length of the film is just right to keep the interest alive. For whatever reason, the film is shot 80% at night time or in dark rooms, which I found was very disturbing, at least to me.

Nothing extraordinary about this film. I was expecting much worse somehow because of the cheesy title but it was strictly time-pass. (5/10)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Husbands (Web Series)

Husbands is a gay web series which has so far premiered three seasons. After the success of bringing 2 seasons as a web series, CWseeds picked up the show for the season 3.

After six weeks of courtship, an actor, Cheeks and a baseball player, Brady travel to Las Vegas in celebration of a federal amendment for marriage equality, only to wind up drunk-married to each other. When the media explodes with the news of this along with speculation and judgement and fearing that a public divorce would be devastating to the cause, and their careers, the two decide to stay married. Also it doesn’t help that the Brady so far was in closet and is now suddenly out. All the three seasons basically focus on th embargo of these 2 highly unlikely individuals and how over a period of time they learn to live with each other and truly love each other. We also meet Haley, Cheek’s fag hag who provide her own share of laughs for us.

The 11 episodes of season 1 are barely a couple of minutes each but I was so hooked on as soon as I saw them. They were witty , hilarious, superbly written and acted. The one-liners by Cheeks are really to die for. After a long time I was watching something where in I was laughing uncontrollably at the one-liners. It was all too good. Season 2 followed up with only 3 episodes but they were all of longer duration and finally we saw season 3 which explored how after re-marrying officially, how are they living their life as a well settled suburban gay couple. There is a scare from Brady’s ex-fiance, which just makes the matter even more funny. Thankfully the series doesn’t sidestep the complexity of marriage equality. It just uses to address the issues with a comic flavour. The laughs keep coming interspersed with so many sweet, touching moments that anyone who has ever been in love can relate to. The chemistry between Cheeks and Brady is superb. You feel for and with both of them. You se they both want to make it work but at the same time trying to figure out what have they gotten themselves into.

It's funny, it's sweet and it's romantic. And most importantly , its hilarious as hell !! I loved this show. I would strongly recommend this series, because it has everything going for it. I hope they bring on the season 4. (8/10)

Gay Short Films : 35

All these are quick short films, most about 2-4 minutes.

100 crushes chapter 6 - They (Canada) - A bad animation introducing concept of addressing as pronouns rather than ‘he’ or ‘she’.

By way of love (USA) - A man discovers his lover has found another prompting him to enact upon a deeper, darker side of human nature.

Cruising Electric (USA) - A commercial for a cruising game Based on Al Pacino’s film.

Dunkin Love (USA) - A musical interlude between a trans and a man

Europe is Our Playground (Spain) - Suede music With a naked main jungle

Franz (Dominican Republic) - No dialogue. A naked man reliving his past love in dreams.

Golden Age of Hustlers (USA) - Interviews with Bambi Lake and archival projections from San Franscisco’s queer community in the 1980s.

Kahanne Bez Mežaў (Byelorussia) - 2 couples - one gay and one straight. Their delicate romance.

Maricón (Spain) - A young, aggressive-looking man wakes up at 3:00 a.m., lights a cigarette, throws on his clothes and goes out for the hunt.

Straight White Men (USA) - An experimental short that deals with stereotypes.

Último beso, El (Spain) [The Last Kiss] - After the break-up, he heartbroken lover gets his last kiss in a way that wasn’t expected by anyone.

Flames of passion (UK) - A doctor falls in love with a man in a train station after finding a photograph.

Ti sposerò (Italy) - A really great fantastic video showing a gay couple in love from their journey of love to wedding.

Homobros (USA) - A very cute parody of machismo, brotherhood and hombres. Brilliant !!

Honeypot (USA) - A restroom hookup leading to a dancing performance.

Ties that bind me (UK) - Two guy stalking about working out together, while one of them secretly comes out.

Verfuehrung von Engeln, Die (Germany) - A young man cruises through the nightly city. He meets all kinds of people and they all end up in a dim night club.

Work it out (Australia) - On a hot work day, two mechanics are at each others throats. What can they do to work it out?

Jie (China) [Boundary] - A man reliving past to explore boundaries of gay life. Yawn !

L'escale...1938 (France) - A musical where a young priest meets a sailor.

Concerning the events on the bridge (USA) - A brother wants to film his gay brother jumping off the bridge when he cries in pain after the fall.

Compañía (Spain) - In today’s world of rush and racket, keeping the balance between independence and solitude is difficult, for anyone.

Dickson experimental sound film (USA) - A film from 1894 with a man playing violin and 2 men dancing. The film was created to demonstrate a new Thomas Edison machine, the Kinetophone.

First kiss (USA) - A few couple, gay and straight, are brought together for their first kiss with each other.

Just friends (Canada) - A video exploration the theme of ‘Rejection’ in the world of dating. Lets be “just friends”

Oil (UK) - Through the mists of a Sunday morning hangover Richard looks back at a failed relationship.

On all floors (UK) - Stuck in an elevator, when people stat confessing, including a story about a man sleeping with a horse.

Time for change (New Zealand) - An animation film about who will be left standing on a old clock tower. Super brilliant !!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

G&T: Season 2 (Italian) (Web Series)

I was surprised to find that G&T came up with season 2. And it was a pleasant surprise. Although the season 1 had a definite ending, there is always a possibility of introducing new characters and new happenings in the lives of the individuals that can make for an interesting viewing. Although prime focus this time is also on G&T, there are a lot more new characters introduced and thankfully each one of them is given a good character sketch and something to build on. This time there was not a specific ending for the series, and I am expecting a season 3 may follow soon.

The series starts with a shocker when we see that Tommaso & Giulio have broken u and are not staying together. It turns out that at some point Tommaso cheated but we don’t know the details until later. Giulio has now a new boyfriend, a guy with who he has worked for a long time, is a perfect gentleman and had a crush on Giulio from before. Tomes regrets and wants to make things better with Giulio but G doesn’t want to have any of it. Clearly there is tremendous love between the two, but the bond trust has been broken. Giulio’s friend Sara who was dating the bar owner Gianluca, is also not together anymore. Turns out that Sara lost her baby while Gianluca didn’t even know about the pregnancy. She now has a room mate, who she wants to convince herself is gay but he is not. He is actually very cute. Over the course of the series, we see possibility of Sara and Gianluca coming back together but the new guy also fits in as a third wheel very happily. Meanwhile Tommaso’s elder brother is quite jealous of Tommaso’s seriousness about work and is scheming along with Tommaso’s ex girlfriend Serena to get a lot of money from company insurance putting all blame on his brother. They almost succeed towards the end. It turns out that Tommaso just had a kiss with Serena in a drunk state and that was the reason for their break-up. Pretty stupid if you ask him, considering that they were about to get married. Some more interesting new characters are introduced, like Gianluca’s brother who is coming to terms with his sexuality and has left home and is looking for acceptance. Giulio’s parents are back and add a lot to the story. There is a lesbian couple also in the mix and some secrets are revealed about Serena’s past with her parents. Things get better. Trust and re-established when Giulio’s father has heart-attack and he explains to his son what true love is all about. The two get back together but get a shock of their life when cops show up anther door one night arresting Tommaso for the fraud done in their company.

As I mentioned, there is clearly a scope for season 3 here. There are many loose ends like Tommaso’s arrest, Serena’s past, what happens to the company, and Gianluca’s younger brother. Season 2 still had great production values and excellent acting. I am still wondering how come and why is this a web series? Given the content, acting, story, it should have been picked up by some major TV network by now. I just hope that the makers are making some money out of it. Tommaso and Giulio continue with their roles and are still quite good. Though I have to say that the reason for their breakup was not convincing enough. If you love is strong, which apparently the two had, just one kiss (even with an ex), cannot make you throw away everything. If we forget that aside, everything else was quite nice. Sara is still the party and life of the show. he way she talks, her dialogues, her acting; everything about her is just perfect. A lot of detailing has gone in her character and the girl totally takes this opportunity to outshine everyone around her. The new guy as Sara’s room-mate is pretty good looking and ho with a very infectious smile. I think th best among all male cast of the show. This series also continues going into flashbacks every now and then; but then thankfully the past stories of all characters slowly open up layer by layer and it starts making sense of why things are happening, the way they are.

I am quite happy thatchy came up with season 2 of this series. It met all the expectations and beyond of what I had from original season. (7.5/10)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Gay Short Films : 34

Andamio (Spain) [Scaffolding]
Eduardo, a snob and grumpy journalist, and David, a shy literature student, are neighbors in a building under maintenance. For six months they have never greeted each other. A scaffolding is put up for the renovation of the building, which provides them with a platform to finally socialise with each other. We see the two characters break the ice by talking about scaffolding, then they smoke, drink coffee, play cards. And that's it. I am not even sure if this is really a gay short film. (3/10)

It's nothing / Less Than Zero
A collection of 7 real small (a couple of minutes or more) clippings focussing on nude performances, videoart etc. , most focussing on nudity and not necessarily queer. (0/10)

Escapade (Netherlands)
The film is about 2 friends, living as neighbours. They are both dealing with having a hard time at home.  Their parents don’t like the way their kids are living and are constantly mad at their children. One of kids os completely controlled by his parents who are busy in their own life. While the other guy’s single father just doesn’t care about his son. The boys decide to run away from home and go live their own life. Sometimes, you have to make your own decisions, and that they make your life great, although they may not always sound the best. (6/10)

Bug chaser (USA)
Nathan’s one-night stand ends abruptly when his date finds an alarming growth around his ass. As it rapidly gets larger, Nathan gets sicker. He looks to alcohol, the Internet, and a needle for help, but to no avail. Drunk and desperate, Nathan finally reaches out to an unlikely source: a former hook-up, a nurse, who can’t believe what he sees. A well made with a real scary feel to it, but a lousy ending :( A lot of hot guy on guy kissing and full frontal male nudity but freaky and scary at the same time. (7/10)

The Single Mother (USA)
A young gay guy loves kids and wants to have a baby. With the unfortunate predicament of being unable to conceive himself (but not for lack of trying), he pursues increasingly desperate means to procure a child of his own. Things change when a single father moves in his neighbourhood and he not only finds a child but also love of his life. (6/10)

Tonight It's Me (USA)
A hot young hustler finds himself in uncharted waters when he spends the night with an unxpected client. The night that started just as a fling between a hustler and a trans woman, slowly starts becoming a night of love. Love that appears as soon as a wall between you and other person starts crumbling. You know this because of the 2 explicit gay scenes - one motivated by money, and another one for love. A very very interesting short film. (7/10)

Sirenito (Spain) [Little Siren]
When little Saul announces that he wants to dress up as Little Siren, early parental fears start to build up. They take him to psychologist and are now convinced that there little one is gay. They start forcing him to play with dolls and shaping his future, including getting him a red dress with lace for fancy dress competition. Little do they know the Little Siren was a fireman. (7/10)

Tout n´est pas en noir (France) [All Is Not Black]
Two young black men live together in France. When one decides that he’s pregnant and the craving that he has for caviar must be satisfied, his lover goes in search. While he may not be pregnant he does reward his boyfriend upon his return for being such a good provider. Very short but sweet. (6.5/10)

The Pool Date (Canada)
A 'big' Canadian man who is on vacation in Brazil has a surprising encounter around the hotel pool, a moment that is filled with desire, curiosity and acceptance. When he puts his towel on a chair and comes back from the pool, he finds a young hot man already there. He decides to just sit. Hilarious, unspoken yet very caring moments follow between the 2 men including sharing personal space, drinks and even a fan to dry themselves off.  The film examines the themes of intimacy, social interaction. (6/10)

Os Sapatos de Aristeu (Brazil) [The Shoes of Aristeu]
The body of a dead transvestite is prepared for the wake by others transvestites. The family, after receiving the body, decides to bury him as a man. A procession of transvestites heads to the wake to say goodbye. The shoes are put on. Death is nothing but a window. Good acting and very sensitive direction. (7/10)

Lo que quiero de ti (Spain) [What I want from you]
Dario is obsessed with a Victor &. Victor is obsessed with all the guys. An erotically dark short film that reminds you to be careful who you fall in love with - they may not be all they seem. None of the individuals maybe what they seem to be. They are both dealing with issues, but which one of these will ultimately have to pay the price? (7/10)

Tomorrow (USA)
The film takes place on New Year’s Eve 1999, when a love triangle emerges between college-bound high school students. Trevor is determined to win his girl friend Sarah’s affection, while Clark struggles to express long-unrequited feelings for Trevor. Things happen when Sarah kisses Clark and Trevor sees it. In anger, Trevor ends up kissing Clark but it is Clark who feels guilty of breaking the bond. The people and emotions are real. The struggles, specially with teenagers, to come to terms with their own sexuality is brilliantly portrayed in this short film. (8/10)

Cock N' Bull (USA)
Wes invites his best friend Chris over for a night in after being dumped by Henry. They attempt to blow off some steam by prank calling strangers, but soon realize that may have been the worst idea ever. Funny yet terrifying. Superb acting. (7/10)

More Of Last Night (USA)
Three friends go camping at the end of their last summer in college. But that drunken night threatens their friendship as well as their plans.They have to face the harsh reality of their inebriated decisions. Was the couple really a couple? Have the lines between straight, gay and bisexual just been erased? What kind of love does the trio share? Was the night just a one off thing or can it be something more meaningful? This film shows how sex and sexuality can confuse even the best of friendships. Brilliant story, acting and direction. (9/10)

Saturday, July 11, 2015

John Apple Jack (Canada)

Touted as a comedy, 'John Apple Jack' supposedly brings East and West together to create one sumptuously heart-warming dish. Unfortunately, I will end up remembering this film for how annoying and irritating the characters were, pretty much all of them. I mean, how to expect that with a wafer thin plot line, stereotyping asians, bad over the top acting, can actually make people laugh and appreciate the film. Trust me I have sen worse films; so giving a balanced opinion, this film is not terrible; but it sure is very irritating.

John, a handsome young gay man lives a privileged luxurious life. He is a playboy who beds anyone. Jack works as a chef in one of John’s restaurant. Barring an incident hat maybe the two boys had a crush on each other in childhood, there is no other scene that shows that either had a crush on the other. Maybe to a certain extent Jack had crush on John. When Jack finds out that John is marrying his sister Vivienne, he is confused. Meanwhile, we also suddenly see that Vivienne and John have a 10 year old son. By this time, I am totally confused as to what the hell is going on. John thinks that Vivienne should not be marrying Jack because he is gay. Or maybe because he finally admits to himself about his feelings (love) for Jack. When his father cuts off John to push him to make something of his life, John gets more focused on life and even confesses his love to Jack. A fake marriage for Jack and Vivienne is arranged to have some fun, but finally John and Jack unite.

The film is as confusing and irritating as it may have sounded while reading the synopsis. There is no mention of how long have been Jack and John in touch. How and why did John not know about Jack working in the restaurant. Why did the 2 men even lie each other. They had nothing in common. Vivienne’s angle and her need for family was totally ill-fitted. A weirdo mother in the family might have been added for comic relief but even that doesn’t help. The only good thing is good looking guys and perfectly toned bodies. But the screenplay is TERRIBLE. The gross depiction of certain gay activities with john’s boytoy Mario are pure annoying. The dialogues are awkward. In my opinion, the actors were not bad but the screenplay and the direction was all over the place.

Low-budget albeit good and crisp production values; I would only recommend of OOT comedies are your flavour. I was thankfully able to sit through the whole film without needing to fast forward it but i found the overall experience annoying. (4/10)

Monday, July 6, 2015

Vicious : Season 2 (TV Series) (UK)

I feel sad about what I am going to write but I can’t help but be objective. When I hardhat Vicious was returning for Season 2; I was incredibly ecstatic. I loved the season 1 and recent;y saw the entire season 1 with my closest friends when they were visiting me. We were all laughing uncontrollably, so I knew that even they were liking the show. Naturally my expectations were quite high even for the second season. But sadly, I was disappointed. By both writing and a bit of acting as well.

The setting is still the same and it seems the stories just move on. Stuart and Freddie are still together. Although Violet is now married to Jasper, who mysteriously disappeared 3 months ago after wedding night and has since not returned. Her flirtations with Ash continue who is dating her ex-girlfriend again, to re-breakup with her. The six episodes of season 2 continue to show brickbats between Stuart and Freddie, they being vicious towards Violet who hasn’t changed one bit and Ash, who is still as useless and jobless as before. We see Stuart and Freddie helping Violet to deal with her “rick” sister at her surprise visit, them join dance classes and then gym and finally ends with focussing on last 3 episodes on Freddie and Stuarts wedding. They propose, they fit, they break-up and they ultimately re-unite. Oh! And I finally find out that Mason is actually Freddie’s brother. Violet was my favourite in season one, but I have to admit that it is Penelope who steals the show this time. Her screen presence might still be less but she leaves a lasting impression with her forgetful antics, specially in the last wedding episode. The series ends with the couple finally getting married but Stuart’s mother passes away on that day. To reflect this sad loss, the closing credits rolled to complete silence.

The show continues as a 70s-style sitcom with a very uncomfortable blend of coarse humour and hence the name vicious. This time, the filming is not limited to just the flat. There is some outdoor shooting of the street that the couple lives in. We even get to see Ash’s flat. As I said, sadly the humour is not as vicious as the season 1 and invokes less laughter. I also felt there was too much make up for Stuart and Freddie to make them look a bit younger. Don’t forget, we love them as they are because  its their acting that saves this incredible series. Some of my favourite lines from last episode specifically were: Mason to Violet “Why are you dressed like the bride? Shouldn't Stuart be wearing that?” and when they all laugh. It was howlarious. And then when Stuart’s mother tells Ash “I want a little gay boy to walk me down the aisle”.

There was something new, raunchy, ludicrous and outright nasty humour but perfect humour in series 1. This season lacks that. It got a bit refined, still sarcastic but in the process lost its charm, at least for me. Its the acting of every character that still kept is watchable. (6.5/10) 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Tiger Orange

What a beautiful small gem of a film ! I had never heard the name of the film, but something about the title and the cover seemed intriguing. And within few minutes i was hooked. Tiger orange, the color, is meant to be “the loudest thing on the block”. The small time setting, the silence, the acting etc. just caught my attention. A setting with 2 brothers (both being gay) though uncommon seemed very believable in this case. I think this director will be someone to watch-out for; at least in my list.

Chet and Todd are two brothers and we get to see bits and pieces of their childhood life in flash backs. We find out that they are both gay and at some point, Todd had run away to live in LA, because he though their father didn’t approve of him being gay. On the other hand, Chet decided to stay back in the small town taking over their father’s hardware store business after his death and doing his best to downplay his sexuality.. When Todd is moneyless and jobless, he comes back to town to meet his estranged brother.  Tensions rise a bit when Chet envies his brother’s freedom of life and expression, something he cannot do. And on the other hand Todd feels that Chet had their father which he did not. Even when Brandon, an ex classmate of Chet, returns back to town from NYC; he finds it difficult to go after what he wants. The two brothers work on mending their relationship and what each of them want from life. Is the small-town if so bad, do they both have right to live the life that they want to. The ending of the film is open to interpretation.

The thing that stays back with you after you watch this perfectly duration film are he performances and the sensitivity with which the film and the subject has been handled.  The story itself is simple enough, but the richness of the film comes in the themes, the characterisations, and the performances. It is very evident that it is Todd, whose character stays with us. Efficiently played by a former porn star (damn! he can act), he plays a rogue, free spirit, energetic, asshole and a dreamer with equal glance. He has a great screen presence and charisma. Had I not read online, I wouldn't have guessed that this is first film that this guy was acting in. That makers took a gamble probably with casting him, but it paid off. Todd was excellent. Compared to him, Chet feels a bit sidelined but its well explained because of the nature of his character. A shy guy who is forced to live hiding his sexuality and bit frustrated for not being able to do what he wanted to. All the supporting cast is very well fitted in. Brandon, the guy who Chet likes, is yummy and fits into the scene really well. There were small flaws with editing where clearly a scene should have been put in before a certain scene but only a major film connoisseur would be able o find it.

An intriguing contrast between its main characters, some strong performances and an unpretentious smoothly crafted film; this is a very strongly recommended. (8.5/10)

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The 10 Year Plan

A gay rom-com. We have seen a few before and I am sure there will be a lot more coming out. Nothing wrong with rom-coms but at some point they need to be amusing and interesting or at least be sexy in case of gay themed films. This films just partly holds attention in all these attributes. This film may not be one of those underdeveloped badly made, produced and weakly acted so-called gay films which fail to enthral or impress. But at the same time it is no great shakes that could be talked about or even referred to our friends for a funny evening watch.

Myles is a successful lawyer but also a hopeless romantic, who is looking for the perfect Mr Right so he can settle down into romantic marital bliss. Brody is his handsome best friend, a Los Angeles police officer, who beds every man he crosses paths with. Why are these 2 men friends, we won’t know. One night when Myles get dumped on a date (yet again),  the two make a pact that if they are still single in ten year’s time then they will settle down with one another as boyfriends. fast forward 9 years, 11 months later, neither of them wants to be each other’s last resort. Brody decides he needs to find Myles a boyfriend and may be even teach Myles that it is ok to hook up. When it looks like Myles may have met a guy, that leaves Brody in a state of jealousy, something that he is not too keen to admit. When a misunderstanding threatens to question the friendship of two friends, Myles decides to move to NY to get a change. Its time that Brody either excepts his true feelings for Myles and make sure he thinks the same way or probably lose him forever.

The big problem that I felt with the film is the unreal characters. Myles, as a hopeless romantic goes over the board even just in first meeting. Thats just not normal. Brody as a gay cop always talking about sex with his straight partner is another unreal character. The film could have been scripted better. Mot scenes did not bring any laughter or smile on my face although they were meant to do exactly that. There's the potential for humor when Myles and Brody both end up sleeping with the same guy, but the explosive comic climax that we anticipate never materializes. The best lines and scenes unfortunately are with Myles fag-hag and Brody’s partner at work. Thankfully both Myles and Brody are pretty good looking actors and make for a good eye-candy but somehow lack the charisma. ( Although what’s up with this terrible DVD cover! The guys look horrible.)

By the time the inevitable happy ending arrives, we're too dispirited to care about the outcome. Just a very average evening fare. (5.5/10)