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, May 30, 2019

377 Ab Normal (Hindi/English)

There are only a handful of gay themed films that have come out from India. Most people are aware of section 377 of Indian Penal code in India according to which  being gay was criminalized. This film is a fictional dramatization of the historic September 2018 ruling from India Supreme Court decriminalised homosexuality and reinstated the fundamental rights of the LGBTQ community.

The film starts with final arguments being given by the two lawyers in front of the bench of supreme court judges. To support the argument, we are shown a bit of LGBT history, starting with Arif Jafar, the first man to be charged with Section 377 in 2001. Although an AIDS activist, he is taken to jail and gets sentenced for few years. We get to see his ordeals there. Next we see stories of some of the other individuals, who are primary in the petition that gets filed in Supreme Court. We meet Pallav, a teenager coming to terms with his sexuality but being rejected by his family reaches out to counselors. Shalmali is lesbian and even though her mother is psychologist, she struggles to come to terms with her daughter's sexuality. Rounding them off is a rick guy Keshav (apparently based on a real character), who is pushed to fight for this discrimination after the Orlando gay club shootings. The film ends with the historic judgement form the supreme court.

This film needs to be told and people need to be made aware of what happened but sadly the film overall is a huge letdown and disappointment. The story is half-baked, the direction is shoddy, characters are one-dimensional lacking depth. The film barely touches upon the arduous and difficult task the actual real life petitioners took to bring justice to the country's LGBT community. The lesbian story seems forced and so does Pallav's story. Keshav's character is never really clarified on who he is and how exactly did he lead this whole petition and drove it. All of these petitioners just sit in silence and we never actually get to hear their voice. Acting, I would say is below average from most people making them sometimes look caricaturist (including stalwarts like Tanvi Azmi). This film seems to have been made in rush, so as to no one beats them to make something similar before these folks. As I said before, its an amateur attempt but brave at the same time, because this story needs to be told.

The five petitioners, who actually took this case up to the Supreme Court in real life in 2018 and landed a historic verdict that would overturn 150 years of oppression, are modern day heroes who deserve a better film than this. I really really hope some really capable director does absolute justice to this very import historical event for LGBTQ community in India. (4/10)

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Hustling: Season 2 & 3 (Web series)

It has taken me s long time to get to watching Season 2 and 3 of this amazing gay web series. I watched season 1 almost 5 year ago which is reviewed here. But something or the other kept coming and finally I managed to finish watching this just now. With 10 and 9 episodes of slightly longer duration that the debut season, thankfully the series has maintained the quality in terms of production values, acting, direction and story.

We continue with the journey of Ryan who still wants to move on from being a hustler. He becomes assistant to one of his clients who is starting to teach him all about being a chef, which has been Ryan's dream. One one hand, he is doing well there, on the other hand, he is still struggling with his sexuality. The girl he has been dating has been cheating on him with a wealthy man and ultimately ends up marrying the guy for money. Eventually Ryan starts this underground supper club which caters to only rich and famous and eventually starts getting famous but at one point or the other, he really cant give up being a hustler 100%. Season 3 focuses a lot on Ryan's rise to fame and then eventual downfall because he trusts a newspaper writer to come up with an interesting article on it. Meanwhile, all he does is expose Ryan's past secrets and his affair with a senator's daughter who actually invested in his underground supper club. We also see a lot about Ryan's closest friend going completely south. The guy who would always advice Ryan to get out of prostitution eventually gets lured into the porn business and hustling. Of course, his ex-girlfriend has her own agenda with her husband who is now cheating on her with her best friend and she is looking to get out of marriage by making some money. We also have a side story of his mother and his Bolivian landlady who is suddenly threatened by immigration.

The series has a great cast who has done a fantastic job. Every single person except Liv (Ryan's girlfriend) does a great job. There is something about her character that just doesn't sit right. As with first season, we do get to see some amazing mouth-watering food preparation. Unlike season one where pretty much the entire focus was on Ryan, in these 2 seasons, the stories spread across all the characters and you see lot more happening. The ending (last episode of series 3) felt a bit rushed. I am not sure what the reason was but probably the makers wanted to keep it a finite series, which by the way, I am a huge fan of. I can guarantee you that if you thought season 1 was good, these 2 seasons definitely take the series one notch higher. You will not be disappointed. (7/10)

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Code Name: Dynastud

Satirical and spoof films are not easy to review. you need a very different sense of humor and idea of a lot of pop references and film references that are used throughout to make it appeal to the target audiences. Most people found this film to be quite bad yet very funny at the  same time. Unfortunately, my feelings just stayed at the former. It was pretty bad.

Set in futuristic times in 2024 and its illegal to be gay. Gay bars are underground and hidden. The newly elected right wing president is worried about his daughter sleeping around with everyone. On his advisors insistence, he decides to marry her off to a young gay man Bart who has been recently arrested for being gay. If he fails to produce the senator a male heir he will be killed. On his wedding night he is rescued by Dynastud. They have instant sexual connection but Dynastud has his history and cursed superpowers. He literally explodes the man's head who is having sex with when he has orgasms, so even when he is attracted to Bart, he doesn't want to have sex. According to a prophecy, Dynastud needs Bart's semen to awaken his lover Bruce Li so they can make love and make the world a better place for all the gay men and women. In all this confusion there is the president and his daughter trying to find Bart and Dynastud. We all know very well how this is going to end.

Actually while writing this piece I realize it wasn't as bad. There were some genuine funny moments. They made me smile a little but not laugh. The films of this nature expect over the top and loud/bad acting and I have to say that the actors were spot on in this department. The film is shot in very vibrant colors and as said before has intentional clown like screenplay. Even the whole last 30 minutes in a spaceship is so OTT. Campy spoof is not for everyone. So be very careful what you are getting into before watching this film.

I can see why a lot of people will thoroughly enjoy this movie. In fact, I feel maybe I might have slightly enjoyed this movie had I watched this with other people in a theatre or something but in the comforts of my room, this film was just a OTT gay spoof drama that just didn't do it for me. (3/10)

Saturday, May 25, 2019

A Heaven For Queers

The makers tried to make a simple low-budget film that could address a few issues at the same time - homosexuality, coming out and Christianity. Unfortunately it was quite bad. This film would have been ok had it come like 20 years ago but it came out in 2011. Agreed it is slightly dated but 2011 was still quite upbeat, not just in technology but also about script writing and other aspects.

Matthew and Brandon are best friends and form a part of trio. They are all teenagers. When Brandon discovers a gay magazine in Matthew's room, they both come out to each other and confess their love. Unfortunately, Matthew's father sees them together and forcibly sends him to a mental institution. A few years later both the boys are sent to gay conversion camp, where they try to obey the rules as much as they can. When the camp ends, Brandon decides that he cannot pretend anymore and is thrown out of home by his mother. He is 18 now but Matthew is still few weeks short of 18. Despite this he also decides to leave home to be with Brandon. After being homeless for a few days and being very sure that they are not going to hustle in a gay bar, they meet an older man Tommy who gives them shelter and food at his home expecting nothing in return. Eventually Brandon gets a job at the bar and enrolls in college and Matthew starts training at Tommy's saloon. The film ends on a sweet note where Brandon proposes to Matthew for marriage and to be together always.

As mentioned, this film was shot at a very low budget but thats the least of my issues with the film. A lot of time transitions in the film are shown through animation and musical numbers which test your patience. I was just rolling my eyes and fast forwarding the movie to reach to some meaningful point in the film. Each and every dialogue was unnecessarily stretched. The unnecessary long musical numbers were getting on my nerves. The acting was below par but that I blame on the director. I feel the boys had potential. The way the dialogues were being said felt as if some reading session was taking place. Also, a film that on one hand is trying to give a message about coming out and still being a true christian had these out of nowhere sexual dialogues between the two boys which felt totally out of place.

The film needs some serious editing and cut it short to 30 minutes and it would be barely watchable then. Till then, it is completely avoidable, unless you are bored out of your mind and have nothing better to do. (2.5/10)

Friday, May 24, 2019

Ein Weg (German) [Paths]

This film is an an interesting and a very cautious approach to the traces of a long relationship. Sadly, the outlook is really slow and sometimes tests the patience of the audience. There are brief moments of absolute brilliance but they are very few far and between. Most times, we keep seeing the events on how the couple came together and how the relationship has evolved over the years.

We meet Martin and Andreas as a loving couple who are very much in love. Andreas works in a workshop and creates furniture, and we are not sure yet what Martin does. Next we see they are a bit older and their 19 year old son Max is leaving home to go to college. And then we see that the couple is dealing with issues which escalate further when they decide to take their annual vacation at the sea. This is when flashback shows us how the couple met, instant attraction, how Andreas slowly tells Martin that he was once married and has a son Max. We share with them some beautiful moments of the three of them sharing life together and Max slowly just becomes part of their life. When Martin grows up, we see that Martin is struggling with his job situation and even Martin is just making his ends meet. Work related stress and various misunderstandings slowly start creating a rift between the two. The two struggle to communicate and agree on any anything at all. Eventually they decide to go their separate ways. They are both terribly hurt by the decision but there is no option. Max continues to keep a balance between the two. Finally we move a couple more years and see that Martin and Andreas meet again when they both happen to take their yearly sea vacation at the same time. Thankfully they are both mature enough to be decent humans and ex-lovers, reminiscent on good old times and accept their current situation and try to be friends going forward.

The film shows love between a gay couple and various facets of it. What is the force that causes two people out of billions to decide to spend so much of their lives together? And what makes couples decide to part after such a long time? These are some of the questions that the makers have tried to address and show. Most things in the film natural and that makes it slightly interesting. Thankfully there are no unnecessary explicit sex scenes but the focus is more on their tender love with each other and their son Max. The life situations, work situation, finance situation etc and some of the reasons the couple start disintegrating. But sadly, in trying to portray a picture of years of love a gay couple. the story moves at a very very slow pace and that overbears everything else. you wanna connect with the characters and you do it to a good extent except how I wish the editing was tighter. If you read my blog, you know that I am all about experimentation and don't mind slow narrative as long as it still makes sense, but I think this went way too far. Performances were all quite good and I am glad there was never anything over the top.

This is strictly an average movie. Beautiful locales of shooting and good performances but the film overall struggles to keep your attention. (5.5/10)