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.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Ma vie avec James Dean (French) [My Life with James Dean]

I did not know what to expect when I started watching this film. I didn't even know what the genre of the film was. But It was a nice breezy film, with some nice fun moments. The film wasn't great by any standards, but neither was it bad. The charming leads of this film and the quirky chemistry that the actors shared with each other made this film a worthy watch. This wont fall in a typical romantic comedy genre, but it comes pretty close.

Geraud is a young film maker who is visiting a small town that is showcasing his film “My Life with James Dean”. His phone gets stolen by a kid as soon as he leaves the bus. Although his hotel reservation is done, it turns out that there is absolutely no promotion or word about his movie being played in the local cinema on that night. When Geraud visits the cinema, the young projectionist Balthazar agrees to play his film and in fact watches the whole film and loves it. Geraud is anxious about feedback for his film but at the same time, something is also going on with his boyfriend (they are breaking up). Balthazar falls madly in love with Geraud after seeing the film and pursues him with directness and honesty. During this festival screenings, Geraud and Balthazar meet interesting mix of people including the hotel receptionist, the festival facilitator dealing with her own issues and Balthazar's family. Eventually, Geraud breaks up with his boyfriend, after finding out he has a wife. Balthazar is finally able to convince Geraud of his love for him and they both leave the town.

After researching on internet, I found that the film was shot in Normandy seaside village which adds a very nice rustic charm to the whole film. In fact, this town got added in my must visit list of places. Geraud, the actor had this very attractive charm about him and you can see why everyone who meets him would get attracted to him. And Balthazar has this very sweet and cute puppy love for him. The scene when he calls Geraud's boyfriend asking him to stay away form him is so cute, a sign of pure innocent love. Combined with drunken evenings with locals, mixed reaction to his film, dealing with his break-up and a young boy madly in love with him, Geraud's life has a roller-coaster ride throughout his stay in the village. The direction was actually quite intelligent, because throughout the film you would see a young man with a bagpack showing up in most scenes but its not till the end that he adds any significance to the film. On not a positive side, there are way too many parallel tracks happening and as an audience its difficult to connect with any single one of them. Also it wasn't very clear at the end whether Balthazar was really underage or not really. As per the film, it was irrelevant because the two men loved each other? I am not too sure about this aspect.

The film is sort of an old school gay light fun film which most people should enjoy. The 2 scenes where 4-5 people are following each other cracked me up. Keep your expectations minimal and this film is a small little fun ride. (6.5/10)

Friday, July 26, 2019

A Man, His Lover and His Mother (Swiss German) [Rosie]

This film is technically not a gay film to be precise. This is more of a relationship that an ailing mother shares with her children , especially her gay son. And since, the son being gay is an important aspect of the series, I am ok writing down a review of the film here. Originally titled as Rosie, I think the film's title was changed to attract more gay audience, because the gay son is definitely not the central character. Its the mother.

Rosie is old and lives by herself and one day falls and is admitted to the hospital. His gay son Lorenz who lives in Berlin, comes back to take care of her. Lorenzo, who is in his mid 40s, writes gay fiction but of late his books are not getting good reviews. He also has a sister who is herself dealing with her family issues. They both argue that neither of them can take care of the mother. But Rosie herself insists that she wants to stay independent and refuses any help. Lorenz struggles with her strong-willed mother but ultimately gives in and make frequent visits. Love comes knocking when he meets Mario, neighbor's grandson who is very attracted to Lorenzo. They have a great one night and Mario wants to see this grow into something. But Lorenz pushes him away and it becomes obvious he isn’t dealing with his own issues, let alone those of anyone else. Eventually the drama continues to built and some past family secrets are revealed that delve deeper into why the marriage between Rosie and her late husband was a disaster and how this has eventually affected the relationship between her and kids and why Rosie has become the stubborn person that she is. Eventually when Lorenz realizes his love for Mario after pushing him away many times, it might be too late to make any amendments.

As mentioned above, the film is not a gay film but it does spend sometime focussing on issues that Lorenz has with Mario who he still thinks of as a young man and that eventually his relationship will fail. The family dynamics between the mother and 2 kids is very real and it deals with some very relatable issues. At first Lorenz becomes frustrated with Rosie and sees her as stubborn but as the film progresses he begins to understand that accepting your limitations isn’t something that’s easy to do. Rosie was brilliant as an actress. She carries the film completely on her shoulders and has a charm. She also brings in some light moments and humor times. Having said that, the family drama was way too much for my linking and it felt stretched in a lot of places. Given the changed title, I would have liked to see a lot more focus on Lorenz and on his past and current life focussing more on Mario. There was a lot of scope there. Lorenz and Mario have good chemistry and you can see and actually relate to why Lorenz would try to push Mario away.

Overall not a bad movie, but please don't think of it as a gay film. This is a film about relationship of a mother with her kids where the gay son plays an important part. Its stretched a bit but doesn't bore you. (5/10)

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Night Scene (Documentary) (China)

I had to fast forward this film(?) to even live through it. I hate it when even after the end you can't say whether it was a real documentary or a drama film shot in documentary style. I guess we will call it docudrama or mockumentary.

The film essentially is about the male sex workers (gigolos) in Beijing, China. We see interviews with many young boys telling us their stories of how they came into this business and how they need the money. We hear how they go targeting their customers, what are the things they keep in mind and so on. But sadly there is no proper character development on any of the main protagonist. They could be easily interchangeable. The production values are really bad. Yes, you do hear the stories of these young boys and how these men have been forced into the business sometimes by hook or crook and most times just to meet their basic needs. This film seems to have been made just for the sake of it. If someone seriously wants to showcase the plight of male sex workers in Chinese society, we will need something that is a lot better than this. For now, this is totally avoidable. (0.5/10)

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Devil's Path

We should always give credit where its due. There are so many similar themed gay films out there that there story lines keep blending with each other. So in that respect the makers have definitely come up with an interesting novel storyline. Unfortunately, something that looked good on paper loses its steam and feels too stretched at many places.

The title refers to a hidden hiking trail in a wilderness park where gay men often go for cruising. A young man Noah is walking around with tarrot cards and starts following Patrick as soon as he sees him. They strike up a conversation but clearly Patrick is looking for just casual sex. On Noah's insistence, Patrick decides to stay little longer for him but when Noah is attacked from behind after wandering off for a minute and he and Patrick begin fearing for their lives. It seems the only chance for survival is to get back to the main trails and back to their cars. Instead, they spend the day running from the assailants in what turns out to be an ever-expanding piece of forest. The two get to know each other while they are running and we feel a layer of mystery and back story. We find out that Noah is looking for details of mis missing brother Michael who was last seen with Patrick on Devil's Path. Michael and Noah also have some childhood history of abuse and that Noah feels Michael has always been his soulmate.

The story is interesting because as an audience we are looking to understand what really is going on. But at some point things start getting repetitive. Almost half of the film is spent running with minimal dialogues. But on a brighter side, the two lead actors do a very commendable job. They have great chemistry as 2 guys who are on the run and keep audiences hooked but how I wish that was enough. The plot slowly loses direction and i just wanted them to come to the point. Patrick really didn't have to say 100 times that he is scared of dark. And a few such things like inhaler, or Noah's search for his soulmate and all. It got a big yawn from me. The film is more of a psychological thriller but both the reasoning for Noah's behavior and the abrupt ending takes away the fun.

Agreed that this film tries to do something different in this genre but I wish how they had done a better job. (4/10)

Friday, July 19, 2019

Otto; or, Up With Dead People (Canada)

This film is such a bad gay zombie movie (if thats even a genre of films in queer cinema). Right from the weird title of the film to a plot that doesn't make any sense whatsoever. The sex scenes with gay zombie was gut wrenching and not fun to watch at all.

Otto has just woken form the dead and doesn't know who he is and where he is going. He just randomly walks around till he is discovered by underground filmmaker Medea who begins to make a documentary about him with the support of her girlfriend and her brother Adolf. Medea is trying to finish Up with Dead People, the epic political-porno-zombie movie that she has been working on and convinces its star, to allow the vulnerable Otto to stay in his guest bedroom. Otto discovers that he has a wallet that contains information about his past life, remembering details about his ex-boyfriend, Rudolf. He arranges to meet him at the schoolyard where they met.

This film was utterly amateurish. The acting was pretty terrible to be fair and the camera work was at times clumsy. The sexual scenes sometimes seemed to interrupt the films flow. The weirdness of sex scenes took the film to a new low. I am really not sure if this was made as part of a college project or not, but even from those standards it was bad. The film was so slow that it kept testing my patience. This was such a waste of time and precious time lost that will never come back. I feel so disappointed that as it is I am not watching gay films, and when I am, they are all turning out to be terrible.

Please stay away, even if you are someone who is willing to give it a shot to experimental films. This is just bad. (1/10)

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The Cockettes (Documentary)

When I started watching this, I had no idea what I was getting into. To be honest, I did not even know that I was going to watch a documentary. So, to be honest, at. the beginning, I wasn't sure if I wanted to continue watching it but I am glad I did. After my initial apprehensions, the documentary did peak my interest and there was so much I got to learn and understand about San Francisco in late 60s and 70s when celebration of hippie culture, diversity, sexuality was at its peak. The documentary talks about the gender-bending San Francisco performance group who became a pop culture phenomenon in the early 1970s.

The documentary starts with snippets of interviews with some of the members of the Cockettes group that was an eclectic mix of gay and straight, black and white, men and women.. Story is centered around a NY based actor George Harris, a bearded man, who moves to SF, rarely seen without lavish glitter makeup, facial hair dye and resplendent thrift-shop couture. He moves to commune, gathers bunch of people, adopts the name Hibiscus and starts performing a series of sexual, spiritual, non-rehearsed musicals for audiences. The started to get popular locally and soon were performing for free at the famous Palace Theatre in SF. The were free, liberated and more often than not also nude. Over a period of time, commercialization sets in and Hibiscus decides to leave the group. Based on the high profile attention that they get from press, they are invited to perform in NY. Over confident about their act, their first show is a disaster. It eventually picks up, but they soon realize that they calling belongs in San Francisco. The documentary ends with remembering of the few members who were lost either to drugs or later to AIDS.

The film started off as a little sluggish for me, but very soon I was totally enjoying their world. How a group of 'misfits' in the society rose to fame with their over the top musical numbers and performances, not looking to make money was very interesting. I got to virtually experience a very different side of SF in 70s. The groups rise, fall , their fears, group love etc. are very well captures. It was the time when the first gay rights demonstrations were taking place, hippies were dropping acid on Haight Street and a revolution seemed just around the corner. You meet these people who are now greyer, in sportcoats and settled and what a crazy fun life they have lived. Stories that you only hear of and wish a life that you had lived free of any worries. Its like one of the members say, "We never worried about food or drugs. They both just somehow showed up".

“The Cockettes” is an befitting tribute to the popular hippie acid freak drag queens, who were immensely popular. A real look at people who were allowed to be who they were. (6/10)

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Strapped For Danger

I can't believe the amount of good reviews this film has received online. I understand that this is a camp film, wanna be comedy laced with over the top acting but there should be something to keep a viewer's attention. I caught myself rolling my eyes pretty much every 5 minutes. I mean, come on. But then, one look at the poster and I should have known what I am getting into!

Joey and Matt are gay male strippers and are underpaid. They also have a straight colleague Chuck. One night they rob one of their clients. When the cops come to arrest them, they take the twink cop Rod as their hostage and shoot his partner in the shoulder. The strippers bring the cop to a frat house That Chuck used to belong to to hide out and locate a stash of diamonds. This is where there are a lot of hazing scenes and random fuck scenes to initiate the frat boys. With the help of drag queen, Rod's partner is able to find these men at the frat house.

The story as you can see rests on a wafer thin plot, but having said that I don't think that the makers had set out to make a movie that was out of this world. They had their target audience in mind and it was an attempt just to please them. The acting is over the top by the men, although Matt and Joey were both gorgeous to look at and they had this naughty look on their face which tells you exactly what's going on in their minds. Chuck was quite frankly an annoying character. There is more than enough nudity with limp penises flopping around and a lot of nipple caressing. Thankfully the production quality of this film seemed much better than a lot of the trashy vampire/campus gay horror films. The film is full on camp and the actors seem to be having a good time. Some of the hazing scenes were funny but thats about it.

I am sure there are people who like to let their hair down and will actually enjoy this film, but stuff like this is so not for me personally. (3/10)

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Gay Short Films : 64

Ace (USA)
Ace, a shy newcomer is attracted to Z that he can neither ignore nor embrace. Though the attraction is clear, their inability to acknowledge and express their feelings for each other openly threatens to sever the bond that draws them instinctively to each other.

Made Of Sugar (USA)
A nostalgic portrait of a Cuban-American Family's evolving cultural heritage.

Als ik jou tegenkom (Belgium)
A very short quick story of a secret love that takes place in an art school. A love between two individuals, both lost in their secret lives in the bathroom of the school.

Room Closet - Truth or Dare (USA)
The classic truth or dare game is used by teenagers to express themselves. A girl thinks she is smart, but is upstaged when a boy gets to kiss his crush.

Due volte (Italy) [Twice]
Diego, only 17, is best friends with Antonio and has a crush on him. Antonio knows it but probably doesn't enjoy it. At one of the parties Antonio almost forces Diego to rape a girl which leads to an accident that is killing Diego and their friendship. A very thought provoking short.

The 50's (USA)
Attraction between 2 men on a beach in 50s when everything was so taboo!

Morning After (Canada)
When Michael return home after few years, his best friend throws a party which has 3 other people. Soon a sensual game of french kissing and chocolates begin. Michael will soon realize that his sexual awakening & interest in men is not a phase and his friends happy to help.

Wrong Side (Netherlands)
The film follows a young Romanian as he fights against homosexuality that people call ‘incurable’.

Silverlake Afternoon (USA)
Michael is 33 and he's never been with a guy. His first encounter is going to be awkward and also kinda great when he is invited by a man "in between" houses. after initial seduction and sex, the guy just asks him to leave but Michael is now happy.

Last Night (Israel)
An awkward meeting between a 16 year old hustler and a shy man who has hired him for the night but doesn't feel comfortable doing anything.

It's Still Your Bed (USA)
David has just came home from college, but his parents let their newly hired farm hand, Brent, to stay in his room. The mutual attraction is there, but, both of them are hesitant to make the first move. Love and compassion is what they both need.

The Lost Ring (Vietnam)
Xiao is an employee at Quan's house, both have disagreements, but despite the strong personality of Quan, he ends up having feelings for Xiao.

Kiss of the Rabbit God (China)
Ever fallen in love, in love with someone you shouldn’t have fallen in love with? THis is a film about a Chinese restaurant worker who falls in love woth an 18th century Qing dynasty god.

Love at First Degree (Singapore)
A gay boy has unconditional love for his straight best friend without any expectations. Little does he know that his feelings that he shares with a stranger online may help him come closer to his love.

La tempête (France) [The Storm]
Leo fantasizes about his weather forecaster. His obsession may be realized when he meets Luca, who resembles weatherman. The night will take them through desires and doubts & love?

La tapette (France) [The Mousetrap]
Baptiste is a gay man who can't stop dreaming about a woman who works at a local pub. His desire for her makes him go on a journey of unprotected sex.

Netuno (Brazil) [Neptune]
The film shows a growing obsession of a man to another man who he sees in his swimming club.

Caída libre (Colombia) [Free Fall]
Out of the hunting shadows of sexual underground Medellin, sixteen-year-old Jhony is excitedly hopeful about a date with they boy he loves. Beautiful film.

Sr. Raposo (Brazil)
A staged documentary about the daily life of Acácio, who found out he was HIV+ in 1995.

Enter (France)
During a night of drinking, a guy arrives by chance in an apartment where an orgy takes place. Embarrassed, he locks himself in the bathroom where he will find a sleeping guy he knows pretty well.

Ocaso (Brazil) [Sunset]
Late in the afternoon, a student and a construction worker sit on the edge of the bay and leave traces on the landscape.

Friday, July 5, 2019

A Queer Story (Cantonese)

This film was surprisingly a very pleasant watch. I wasn't sure what to expect. Even though at time the film felt a bit stretched, but wonderful performances by its two lead actors made sure as an audience you are never bored. The story is a little all over the place and too many issues have been tried to be dealt with, instead it would have been better to continue to focus on the core couple.

Law, a 40-ish man, and a counsellor is in stable relationship for 8 years with his younger boyfriend Sonny. But due to a very unhappy incident in his childhood, he has deep buried the secret of his sexuality and no one except his boyfriend knows. On the contrast, Sonny is happy and proud to be who he is and is deeply in love with Law. Law has a childhood sweetheart and they are very close but he is even afraid to tell her the truth. His father's pressure to get married is always looming over him. When one of his clients force to go with her to mainland, he is approached by a hustler and Law gives in to the urge. Meanwhile, Sonny, who is a hairdresser, who likes attention by his client goes out with them on dates but never hooks up and always tells Law the truth. as more characters are added, we meet Law's aunt who is now lesbian. The only people who know about law are 2 of his close friends who are a gay couple , who incidentally have to face the wrath of family when one of them dies because of AIDS. In between all this, Law's childhood sweetheart, who has always believed that they were a couple, wants more of a commitment from him but deep down secretly she knows that he is probably gay. When Sonny finds out about Law's cheating with a hustler, he is heart broken and he leaves home. Law is sad too but he gives in to his father's demands and proposes to his girlfriend for marriage but on the wedding day she makes him realize how important it is to love and be true to it and reminds him that he loves only Sonny. The lovers ultimately reunite and Law also comes out to his parents.

Some of the emotional scenes in the movie are handled very intelligently and with also some comic relief. The two scenes when Sonny meets Law's girlfriend are both funny. Similarly when she make s a graceful exit on the wedding day, it speaks volumes of her love for Law but also not forcing herself on him. There are a lot of characters jammed in a single film and the film feels dragged at some points. Acting and direction is superb throughout. The star is undoubtedly Sonny, who is clearly madly in love with law and possessive about him but at the same time is also very confident about his own sexuality and doesn't hide it at all. He lovingly called Law as Moustachio because he has a think for men with hair. Law plays the role of a man torn between family, traditions and being his true self very well and you can empathize with him. Personally I don't understand why he would randomly propose to a girl just because he has been caught of cheating.

The film probably was way ahead of its time in 1997 when it was released and it still relevant. Be patient, and this film could make you feel good. (6.5/10)