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

Saturday, April 28, 2018

The Falls: Covenant of Grace

I really cant remember when was the last time I saw a trilogy of films focusing on gay theme. In fact, is there any other trilogy on queer theme out there at all? I have been so busy with work these days and haven’t had much time for movies but this was a good change or break from work. The last film in this series conveys a very important message. After focusing on falling in love and then individual journeys, this film focusses on what the ultimate outcome will be for the central characters. Their internal conflict versus the conflict from church and families. The two need to decide what their future would be like.

In part 2 we saw that Chris is now divorced. But RJ and him are still having difficulty  sorting out where their relationship stands and where it’s going in the future, especially as they’re living in different parts of the country. They decide to get together for the weekend in the hope figuring out where they stand and what should they do. RJ has largely rejected the church but Chris is still hopeful that he will find a way to balance church and his heart as a gay man. Untimely death of Chris’ mother forces the two men to meet again along with their fathers, prominent members of the church. Chris’ father initially rejects homosexuality and is not pleased to see RJ but eventually he gives in to their love and extends full support including talking to the church. The two men will finally be together.

The film continues to show us brilliant acting and subtle direction. The mood of the film is real and slow, something which is like the life of mormons and what they go through. RJ and Chris are brilliant as the previous films and I am just surprised why haven’t they done more films. The chemistry between them is electrifying. Even in the scenes where they are just sitting and talking, you see the connection that the 2 men share and this is really important in this scenario since the story expects them to be in love with each other for over 6 years. I give full marks to the director to raise the characters from closeted characters  to a happy, out gay couple ready, willing and able to face the entrenched dogma of their chosen faith. The makers give people hope. Hope based on the positive portrayal of healthy, stable gay married couple ready to live life with no regrets. Having said that, the film was a bit lengthy in my opinion. The whole track of RJ’s friend who has been pining for love for last few years was unnecessary. Maybe it was to show how faithful RJ is to Chris but I don’t think any of that was needed. Also RJ’s girlfriend was the complete odd person out in an otherwise sombre and mellow film.

The film asks us “How can you be a part of something that alienates parents from their children?” The ending of the film gives a nice conclusion to balancing faith and sexuality. A befitting end to a beautiful set of trilogy. (7/10)

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Drift

I am not too sure about this film. It was well made but something was really odd about the whole thing. I just couldn’t connect with the characters. When the lead says, no one understands him, I was in same category, because everything weird or strange in life was somehow oddly romantic for him, including someone’s rape. I mean, we have to draw a line somewhere. The film shows three different possible outcomes when a couple decides to break up.

Ryan is a struggling writer who has been with his boyfriend Joel for 3 years now. On their third anniversary, Ryan meets Leo, a college student and they hit it off immediately. Apparently Leo is the only one who understands Ryan’s off taste in movies, books etc. Though he loves Joel, Ryan feels stifled by the relationship's stability and senses that Joel doesn't appreciate his artistic temperament. Ryan decides to leave Joel and this is where 3 different scenarios are shown. In the first version, Ryan gets together with Leo and the two form a deep connection rooted in romanticism, sex and shared cultural references and Joel connects with a high school friend. In the second take on the Ryan-Joel breakup, Ryan realizes he's made a mistake and pleads with Joel for a second chance. In the third, Ryan pursues Leo, who actually has the hots for Joel. But Joel is not interested in him. Each time Ryan's dilemma is played out we see fragility of human emotions. In every scenario Joel makes a concerted effort to remain friendly with his ex.

Honestly the movie is not too bad, but its just very very dull and very amateurish. The dilaogues are so lame. None of the three scenarios actually stick with you and you just wait for the movie to end. The acting was strictly ok and was more like a college project, which I am willing to discount given that the film came back in 2000. The one good thing that I liked was that Ryan never cheated on Leo. Even though he liked him and there was a connection, neither of them did anything stupid until they officially broke-up.

Not only is the movie quite dull but also the major characters simply lack sufficient charisma to get and hold your attention. Spend your time on something better. (3/10)

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Gewoon Vrienden (Dutch) [Just Friends]

Gay cinema is becoming all too predictable and repetitive. I don’t mean to say that the films are not enjoyable, but I am craving for something new and different that I have not seen before. Till then, feel good gay-cinema is not going out of fashion and movie lovers like me are going to continue to enjoy movies like this. Luckily, we always have some good looking faces to admire and get some eye-candy. In case of this film, specifically, the print that I had was with the worst subtitles that I have ever seen. The translation was pretty bad and still it did give an idea on what the overall story was.

Yad was a medical student in Amsterdam, but he was getting too tempted with the partying life, so he gets summoned back by his mother. Joris , on the other hand, is constantly at loggerheads with his mother, who has become very bitter ever since their father left them. He is now dead and all Joris has are his ashes in an urn. Joris is now supposed to find a job, and he starts as a cleaner in home care for an old lady, who incidentally happens to be Joris’ grandmother. There is an instant connection when the two young boys meet and pretty soon they start hanging out and soon fall madly in love with each other. Its the two different cultural worlds of these guys that create a rift between them. Yad is from Syria , whose parents migrated to Netherlands. They have to make a life for themselves, and having a white dutch muscle boy in their home is not acceptable. And Joris’ mother also on the other hand will not have a son-in-law of foreign origin. After a short argument, its the wise words of grandmother that bring the two boys together and give them an opportunity to reconnect and make their parents understand and appreciate their love for one another.

The biggest high of this film is the two extremely good looking guys and the chemistry between them is really really good. Its striking the way they interact, go for rides, look at each other and even kiss. It is electrifying and magnetic. The scenes of their growing love for each other are very well shot and it made my heart feel warm to see first love and pure love. The conflict in their relationship because of their families felt very forced to me and cliched. In today’s time when we have immigrant families everywhere, its not the fact that their son in gay which bothers the parents but it is about the person that they are with. This premise, to me, is a bit unconvincing. Their relationship and history is not really well dealt with and this is why it feels like it was just a scratch on the surface. I liked the grandmother’s part, who was witty and modern enough to understand her grandson’s love. The film shows love between boys, but it could have been stronger and more convincing, if there was more focus on their ethnic backgrounds and the reasons behind the challenges.

Ill recommend this film only strictly because of its lead actors. They do a very good job, are strikingly beautiful and the chemistry between them is something that you will wish you had. (5.5/10)

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

After Louie

This is the second film is recent past that references to the ACT Up movement. I think the choice of subject was quite interesting but unfortunately the development of both the characters and the storyline was not upto the mark. I am glad someone thought about the sort of tussle between the generation who fought for LGBT rights all their life while watching their friends die of AIDS vs the younger lot, who get it all so easy. There was a lot of scope where this point of view could have taken a very interesting shape but this film doesn’t focus on this premise primarily.

Sam is in his mid-50s, an artist and lives in his NY apartment. He lives in the survivor guilt, which becomes evident later, while he used to go to funerals twice a week in youth while his friends were dying of AIDS. He decides to make a documentary on his close friend who also happened to author the book called ‘After Louie’. But Sam’s friends have their own views about this project. One evening Sam picks up a 29 something Braeden in a bar and pays him money in the morning for sex. This is Sam’s way of escaping. Only later he spends more time with him (a combination of sex and hanging out), that he finds out that Braeden has a boyfriend and they are in an open relationship. Sam lashes out to Braeden accusing his generation of being ungrateful and casual and everything and in the fact that there is no more community left. Sam and Braden both put forward their views on being gay then and now and how things have changed but the bitterness and anger in Sam remains and its never clear what is he really upset and angry about. When his closest gay friends declare that they got married, instead of being happy for them, he is completely disappointed. With the help of his friends and mentor, Sam finally gets a hold on reality and himself and appreciates and thanks Braeden for being part of his life. Sam now needs to move on and accept that times have indeed changed and maybe its time for him also to move on.

Firstly, lets talk about performances. Every actor in the film acts really well, especially Alan as Sam. He beautifully portrays in a very controlled fashion the role of a 50 something gay man, who has seem so much and cant get adjusted to changes around him. He is trying to hold onto youth by being with younger guys for sex but he pays them so he can keep himself emotionally detached. Braeden brings a very interesting contrast, especially when he stands up to Sam by pointing out Sam's refusal to acknowledge that his struggles have in fact yielded progress, and actually expressing his gratitude. Braeden’s boyfriends character was something I would have liked to explore more. Why was he HIV positive, why was Sam not ok with that fact, and why does Sam actually hang out with him? There were a few places where the film seemed a bit dragging, unnecessarily, making m e ask my favorite question about whats the point behind all this. The scene where Braeden and Sam paint each other’s body or when Sam films Braeden and his boyfriend or in fact when Sam writes names of dead friends on a wall. As I mentioned earlier, the idea of the subject is very new and sincerer and I feel, the screenplay could have been much better. There is a lot of scope here and I would really like to see someone do a much better rehash of this.

Its not a bad film at all, but had the potential to be much more. Great performances but a weak storytelling keeps the fils a bit underwhelming. Still, The makers honesty in dealing with something like this is still remarkable. (6/10)

Monday, April 2, 2018

Love, Simon

This is the kind of gay cinema that I look forward to and my hunger keeps increasing for such movies. A lot of people would say that this film about coming out of a gay teenage is as cliched as it gets and to be honest its true; but there is something about this film that really will connect will adults and teenagers alike. Its an emotional yet funny film about sexual identity, a film that I found will be much appreciated if promoted well. I am so glad I got to see this on the big screen.

Simon is your next door teenager with loving parents and a younger sister. He has a happy life with his closest friends from childhood Nick & Leah and a newcomer Abby. Everything in Simon’s life seems to be “normal” except he hasn’t told anyone that he is gay. One day a student with a pseudonym Blue posts an online confession about how he feels lonely about being gay in school. This gives Simon a channel to discuss his feelings with someone and he starts correspondence with Blue using nickname Jacques. One of the annoying school students Martin finds out about the secret and he blackmails Simon to help him get close to Abby. The correspondence between Blue and Jacques keeps getting more intimate and personal and Simon starts feeling close. All this while Simon also tries to imagine various people around him who could potentially be Blue, including his friend at the halloween party, the waiter at the diner and another classmate in the drama class. When things don’t work out with Abby, Martin outs Simon and his life changes forever. Blue now knows the identity of Jacques and since he is not ready for a up-heal in life, he decides to disappear. Simon comes out to his family and bravely faces everyone at school. His friends, are initially mad at him for using them to save himself but eventually they get around. Finally, Simon puts a confession on the same website declaring his love for Blue and asking him to come forward and meet him on the ferris wheel in the school carnival. The whole school waits with baited breath and finally we get to meet Blue. Life is now going to be good forever.

As I mentioned above, the film initially feels like full of cliches. I mean its 2018 in suburban Atlanta and the teenagers today are very much aware of things around them, so I found a bit odd on why Simon would not come out when he knows pretty well that everyone around him would be expecting but my views change later when he tells Martin that only he can decide when and how to come out. No one should take away his right from him. The film has its share of drama but thankfully nothing ever goes over the top and a light funny tone is maintained throughout. Myself alongwith many people in theatre laughed at loud on many dialogues and scenes and I fell that its important to not make a film very heavy. Simon as actor is brilliant. He is not ashamed of being gay. He just needs time to figure out. I liked how he handles everyone at school pretty normally and besides the two asshole students making fun of him being gay, the film doesn’t show any other unpleasantness, thereby, re-iterating the fact that people are much more tolerable this days. The focus here is more on romantic story and about friendship. All of Simon’s friends also act really well and add credibility to the story and surroundings. The movie ends with a sense of equity for each of its well-drawn kids. How I wish there were movies and education and material during my days where I could have been as open about sexuality and live it and embrace it rather than hiding it till all the way in my late 20s.

I am happy that a major big studio backed this film. We have many films on first love. Now all I need is a film that shows my gay life today or in near future. There are so many more stories to be told beyond just coming out. And hopefully those movies when made would also reach a much wider audience. Till then, everyone does deserve a good love story. (8/10)

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Love Me Anyway

Its times like these that make me frustrated. After a gap of few weeks, this is the film that I end up watching, while quietly questioning myself at every step, why am I watching this and what’s the point of this film. The whole film is in conversations between the principal characters and those talks have no meaning or reason. They are pointless. Th film is pretty much nothing about no one.

Esme is having an affair with her girlfriend. We soon find out she is actually married to Eddie. Eddie’s brother Danny, who is gay, is coming to town. He is a porn film maker. So she invites one of her friends Devon, a recent surfer and a newly import to town. Eddie and Esme are going through their issues in marriage despite both in love with each other. Eddie has no idea that his wife is having an affair with another woman. Danny hangs out with Devon but he finds it difficult to read Devon to know whether he is interested in him or not. Mundane conversations continue over the period of time in the film, including time that Esme questions her sexuality and whether she wants to continue to be married or be dedicated to her new girlfriend. And meanwhile Danny is still figuring out what’s going on in Devon’s head. Film ends (?) with Danny going back to his city and Esme decides to break her marriage.

Film’s narrative is quite wobbly and pointless. All the conversations are random, mundane and superficial. Rather than making audience feel connected to the characters, the film does exact opposite. It's hard to care, as a viewer, about where these five characters are going to end up -- together? Apart? Happy? Devastated? Every issue between the parties involved was left unresolved which left me feeling totally frustrated and annoyed. On a brighter note, the actors actually did their job with sincerity. They all have huge potential but the uber close up shots of all of them throughout the narrative and a bad script really restricts their potential.

A completely pointless film, which is a shame because the actors have real potential. (2.5/10)