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.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Marilyn (Spanish)

Don't let the title mislead you. This is a good coming-of-age story of a boy raised and living in farm that comes with its share of fun and tragedy. Based on true events, this film takes you in the psyche of its characters and shows homophobia and what it can do to people.

Teenager Marcos lives with his family on a rural farm. He is a very shy kid and we see him wanting to experiment with cross dressing. When his father suddenly dies, he has to share responsibilities with his brother and mother of the farm. On the carnival night, he dresses as a seductive girl pretending to be Marilyn. The town goon likes him and rapes him after the carnival, which I believe Marcos secretly was looking forward to. But because of this, his secret is outed to his family and his mother burns all his clothes. Fortunately, things take a positive turn when Marcos meets openly gay peer Federico at a convenience store in town, and the two begin a relationship. Federico's family accepts Marcos but when Marcos suddenly invites him for dinner at his home, his mother brutally beats him up. This scares Federico and also he doesn't appreciate lies told by Marcos. Marcos is now even more snubbed by his mother and brother and he takes the inevitable extreme step to possibly end his misery.

The rural farm environment forms a strong backdrop of the film and is very much a character. And hence, when the 5 minute carnival scene comes, you see the contrast to the mundane life that Marcos is living. He is dancing with joy, rhythm and vigor, something that you don't see him with in his day to day activity. The film is slow and definitely will not be everyone's cup of tea, but it did remind of the film "Harvest" that I saw long back just because of the setting and slow pace, but still beautiful film. There is a lot more silence here but every scene still speaks to something. Marcos, as an actor does a splendid job. Without saying much his face, his eyes and his body speaks volumes of what he is going through. The pain of his father's death, dancing as Marilyn in the carnival, his mother's anger and eventual possibility of love with Federico. You feel for the boy at every step of the way.

A true story, an unexpected ending and a quiet yet strong film. It's an indie arthouse gem if you are craving for something very different. (7/10)

Monday, April 27, 2020

Papi Chulo

After finishing watching this film, it reminded me a little of 'A Single Man'. Not that the two movies have anything in common, but its the fact that both films focuses more on the loneliness of a gay man and in both cases it has something to do with the loss of their partners.

Good looking weatherman Sean broke up with his boyfriend Carlos almost 6 months ago. After a breakdown on live TV, he is asked to take few days off. He decides to get rid of the bog plan from his deck, the last remaining memory of his ex, but then that means he needs to get his deck repainted. For some reason, he picks up Ernesto, a middle-aged hispanic migrant daily worker. There is obviously a language barrier, but intentionally, Ernesto becomes an ear to everything that Sean has to say, given his loneliness. A very unlikely friendship develops between the two. Sean takes Ernesto for hikes, rowing, parties, eateries, much to Ernesto's dismay on why this is happening but sensitively provides listening companionship. One day when Ernesto doesn't show up, Sean takes to drinking and shows up to his place drunk where his family takes care of him. He leaves embarrassed for his actions and few days pass till one morning Ernesto shows up with his kid to help them translate and to finish the deck painting job he started. The 2 friends are back together.

The story may sound very serious but it's actually done in a very light comedy manner. The chemistry between the leads is really good and you get to see how the friendship between them ultimately develops. There are very few films that show friendships between a gay man and a straight man, unless they have been friends from childhood, so in that sense it was something new. It was fun when Ernesto would call his wife everyday to tell him of all the odd things that he was doing and he doesn't understand why Sean is taking him to all these places. I didn't understand the reason why Sean picks up Ernesto? Did he look like Carlos or something else? May be it was just a chance! It was great to see the hot hot Sean also do a great job of acting and bring out the sensitive side of him. You could see the loneliness he is going through and the craving for friendship and companionship. Talking about flaws, the film dragged in a few places to be honest, and I found myself losing interest, but overall it was ok to see how the two men get used to one another.

A funny yet poignant tale of a lonely gay man, that shows that long lasting binds can be made in the unlikeliest of people. (5.5/10)

Sunday, April 26, 2020

I Always Said Yes: The Many Lives of Wakefield Poole (Documentary)

Documentaries need a very specific mindset while viewing them and thats why I feel they are usually a hit or a miss. You are trying to learn more about either a subject or an individual but it's also important to understand the pysche behind the process. Truth be told, I knew nothing about this man, except for the fact that he is one of the biggest gay porn film makers. This film gave a little more insight to what his life was all about before it and during and after.

Wakefield Poole was born in 1936. He was a very good singer in his childhood but when he reached puberty and his voice cracked, he got into dancing, ballet and theatre. As you would imagine, life soon took him to New York where he became a very famous broadway performer. During one of his visits in 70s to Fire Island he realized his eye for film making and together with his then boyfriend Peter, he made a gay erotic film, Boys in the Sand. He subsequently made a lot of "erotica" films. He still refuses to call them porn. Some of them succeeded and others didn't. He was surprisingly open about his lifestyle and sexuality. He also became internationally famous and his movies screened for years as examples of films that could be artistic as well as sexually explicit. He stopped making films after the AIDS situation.

I am guessing a lot of people like me may not be familiar with the name Wakefield Poole. But this documentary does provide a good insight who he was and why his films were so important, especially in the gay community. He did something that no one else was doing back in 70s for gay men in terms of erotica films. It was interesting to see Poole getting emotional about a lot of memories from all his days like how he got into dancing, when he came to New York, when he made hs first film and all that. Poole gets a lot of screen time to just talk about his life and work directly to the camera. It’s a simple approach, sometimes long, but obviously a very passionate artist and a person who is just a joy to spend time with.

Documentaries are not meant for entertainment but I have to agree that I did learn something about a film maker, a guy who pioneered the whole advent of erotica for gays and subsequently led the way to porn. (5/10)

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Ideal Home

This was a nice feel good film, something that we have seen before. From a concept and story perspective, there have been few films on the similar subject, so in that sense, this film doesn't offer anything novel, but keeping the proceeding light hearted and quick, this doesn't feel dragged at any point to take your interest away.

Erasmus is a TV talk show/chef, raging camp old queen who lives with his producer boyfriend Paul of 10 years. They live in a huge mansion in Santa Fe, and very out of touch with reality (at least that's the feeling I got). They are visited by a young boy of 10 years old Angel, who announces himself as grandson of Erasmus and that he is there because his father was jailed. Paul is shocked and thats when Erasmus tells how this happened. Neither of them is ready to take the responsibility of the child, but slowly and steadily they start it and in fact unknowingly also enjoy it. Paul becomes more of a caretaker while Erasmus still remains the fun loving friendly grandad. The bond between the three is tested when the kid's father is released and he takes his son back. Turns out Paul and Erasmus were dealing with their own little issues as a couple and Paul decides to call it quits, but he can't leave Erasmus. They work on their relationship while still missing the kid a lot. A freak accident by the father while driving brings back Angel in their lives and finally they get custody of him.

As a queer comedy film, the idea must have been, what can be more funny than two neurotic gay men as parental figures? Personally, I thought it was alright executed. Yes, Erasmus was over the top and Paul was the balancing factor but together I think they made it work. I believe you have you see and interpret the characters for what they are supposed to be. Yes, the film starts with them dealing with an unexpected kid, but later come to have a new appreciation for their partnership, thanks to the nurturing spirit brought on by Angel. There are all kinds of scenes with them trying to take care of a 10-year old that you can imagine. Waking up early, cuss words, dropping him to school, preparing lunch, visits from Child Services etc. Most fun comes from the never ending banter between the couple. They are really in their own world and find everything so odd when they meet "regular" people. They make the central relationship feel entirely believable, with the result that we truly come to care about them and the fact that we want the kid to stay with them. Yes, the gay couple is stereotyped here, but c'mmon; we can probably overlook some of these factors and just chill, enjoy and smile for a change.

A feel good, good-hearted film whose positive message about same-sex parenting is emphasized in the end credits, this will leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling. Don't expect great cinema at all. (6/10)

Friday, April 24, 2020

Gay Short Films : 72

La traction des pôles (France) [Magnetic Harvest]
From close up, Mickaël seems to move about in a cloud of desires: to find his missing pig, get his biological certificate, break his loneliness. But, further along, Mickaël seems instead to be a magnet for Paul.

Ostia - La notte finale [Ostia: The Last Night]
A dark story of desire and betrayal by a young rent boy, inspired by the events of the night of the brutal slaying of Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini.

Balloon (USA)
In the brutal battlefield of junior high, Sam has always tried to stay below radar--but all that changes when he discovers he has superpowers. When he cant take being bullied and called out names for gay, the teenager takes matter in his hands.

A Play (USA)
Two friends go to see a play and realize just how terrifying supporting the arts can be. This was hilarious.

Vi er okay nu (Denmark) [We are Okay Now]
Jonah a troubled gay teen hangs out with his straight best mate Demitri after a party. They have a history where Demitri feels obligated to take care of Jonah, despite him forcing otherwise.

Stav (Israel)
A young woman is looking for a teen she's responsible for and finds him hustling his body for making some money while she stands unable to do anything.

Dolfin Megumi (Israel) [Rubber Dolphin]
2 strangers meet for sex and once that's done, a discussion about masculinity, homosexuality, body image, sexual positions, intimacy and love happens. Will their attraction be able to stay through the morning?

After His Death (Israel)
After her father passed away, Ayelet finds out that he had an affair with another man. Although her mother disapproval, she decides to meet her dad's lover.

Las cosas que no decimos (Guatemala) [The Things We don't Say]
Imagine having an actual conversation after a one-night stand instead of just leaving after sex. 2 different scenarios leading to 2 possible outcomes.

Shlosha (Israel) [Three]
Udi agrees to go along with his partner Nimrod's proposal to have a threesome with another man, which eventually leads him to question his relationship.

Vandalen (Switzerland) [Vandals]
Two graffiti artists are in a relationship, one for sex and other for love. When a new girl in the group brings them a new work that needs to be done, the two realize that their reasons to be in the relationship might be more similar than they originally thought.

Jaded (US) - Ep 1
Jackson is navigating his friendships, a night out in clubs, and the relationship he can’t quite let go of.

A Trip to the Desert (Israel)
Three best friends take a trip to the desert, and their friendship is put to the test. Lior, who is openly gay, and religious Jew Elad, suddenly have to face each other's life choices. And where the hell is Yossi?

52 (USA)
A gay man's nightmare about aging. Constantly dancing between reality and fantasy, this fever dream has the punch of a heart attack and the heart of a punch.

Poof (UK)
18-year-old Aaron is stuck in a small town and gets into a secret relationship with Mike. The more he explores his sexuality, the more he begins to consider the impact this may have on the rest of his life.

The Big House (Australia)
Old time prisoner Williams takes new cellmate Sunny under his wing giving him protection for sex. What will happen when Sunny is released & a new boy arrives?

The Journey of Being Likeable (US)
Michael Henry beings us a 5 part short series on youtube about a gay guy, full of himself, wanting to be someone else, one that he thinks will make him better. The journey is seen through him and his friends. Funny!

A Night in Tokoriki (Romania)
An improvised night club "Tokoriki" is hosting Gianina's 18th birthday. Constant glances are shared throughout between her boyfriend Bebe and a guy named Alin. Little does she know that the 2 boys have a thing of their own.

2 Jungs (Germany) [2 Boys]
A guy newly moved to the city, alone and gay. A chance and a likeable encounter in the elevator changes everything with his neighbour.

TommyTeen18 (Netherlands)
Bridging the void between childhood and maturity, the 15-year-old Tommie loses himself in his search for male sex. A dating app seems to offer the solution.

Confessions (Germany)
What is it like to fall in love? How does the first kiss feel? And how to express all the thoughts in your mind about growing up? It is silent film about the magic of falling in love - no matter who this person is.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Honest Men : Season 1 & 2 (Web Series]

Wow! This series could be a masterclass in what bad direction and bad editing is all about. I really wonder who the audience for this show is, because I cant imagine why anyone would find anything remotely of interest in the show. Yes, the guys are hunks and amazing good looking and you get you see ample ass shots, but in todays time, you can see a lot more on porn websites. I saw 2 seasons of this (10+8 episodes) and really it was terrible.

The main story is about Colby whose best friend Andre is in the army. He has some attraction towards Andre's father Mark ever since he was 17. Now, with Mark being his neighbor, Mark shows up in Colby's life as a support when Colby's father dies. They both flirt while discussing the issues they both have in life. They come very close to having sex but somehow don't do it. We also meet JT, who is figuring out a way to make money for his son's prom party. He also has all kinds of hallucinations of him having S&M sex with some stranger. In between we also meet Colby's room mate with whom he had sex with, and also get to know that maybe Colby had a thing with Andre when they were teen. It turns out that Mark and JT are friends and soon Colby becomes a topic between the two of them leading to a possible threesome. In season two, we meet Ryan, a white guy who is suddenly one of Colby's fuck buddy. Here everyone knows everyone. Colby tells him about Mark and Andre and JT. Colby has become the sort of a person who enjoys being an object of desire for all kinds of men. Andre is back in the picture, JT has more hallucinations, there is another older guy who jerks off at any given opportunity, and more. Yes, we meet other random men in between all this, who add absolutely nothing at all to the story except some skin show and examples of really bad acting.

As mentioned before, this series had absolutely no substance or story to talk about. I am not sure what was the point of this whole thing. The men dont look any different when they are 17 or 24 or even in late 30s. They all look same and for some reason they are all always feeling themselves and thinking of sex all the time. They all come out as creeps. The whole idea of Colby hitting on almost everyone including his friends father and other older guy makes sense but maybe the focus could have been on Colby's issues. The series sort of glorifies his acts. Bad acting, wafer thin plotline, awful direction and editing are the things that are consistent in every episode. The men are hot, real hot and almost naked all the time and that is THE only thing thats good about this series. I cant think of absolutely anything else.

Absolutely do not waste your time on this one. Rewatch something that you have seen before and you liked or just sit idle but do not torture yourself and waste your valuable time on this. (1/10)

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Mariposas Verdes (Spanish) [Green Butterflies]

I would say that the central theme of this film was not really LGBTQ but about high school students, their life, the bullying that some students face and overall the discriminations that people face not just in the school but the society in general as well. In that sense, the story was interesting but it felt all over the place. There were way too many tracks going on and felt like more of a TV show sort of feeling. Although the film is set in Columbia, this could be true of anywhere.

Daniel and Mateo have been friend since they were little. Daniel has had an abusive father whose always beating his mother and Mateo comes from a broken family where his mother is forever working. The school they study in has a strict principal, who is very partial to her nephew Lucas , who is clearly the biggest bully in the school. Daniel has a crush on Mateo, and when Daniel see Mateo make out with a girl, he cant hold in anymore and tells Mateo about his feelings. Thankfully Mateo feels the same and they are both in a happy space in love. Meanwhile we see issues of Lucas and his friends bullying other students, like a obese girl, who Lucas ends up raping, a guy who likes to dress like girls, etc. Mateo joins a human rights group to protest against the principal but he doesn't get much support. when the girl who liked Mateo finds out about him and Daniel, she goes crazy and makes this information public. Daniel is too scared of his father so refuses to acknowledge his love for Mateo. Mateo eventually cant take rejection anymore and decides to end his life because he feels there is no point in living if you cant live the way you want to.

This could be an interesting study for adults. We need to love our kids, no matter what with unconditional love, unless of course they are rapists. You want Mateo to fight for causes and he does, but when he gets rejected by his ultimate love, he cant take it anymore. And this is not to blame Daniel. A lot of folks live in fear of their families, and this is a sad reflection of the arrogant and intolerant society that we live in. Young teens giving up their lives because of homophobia etc is not new but you feel bad when you see this happening. I wish the end of the film was more on a positive note which would at least give hope to young adults and not leave them in despair. This would be my one issue with the film along with the fact that the film was all over the place. I do feel though, that this could be a good portrayal in a digital series format because most of the issues shown are still quite relevant.

Don't expect a gay love story here. Yes, it is one of the themes, but the film is more about tolerance and high school bullying and discrimination, which of course talks about love between 2 boys at its core. (5/10)

Monday, April 20, 2020

Closing Numbers (UK)

Watching films during the AIDS epidemic time are never easy to watch. Even of the films are badly made, they constantly remind you of the horror that people went through and make you appreciate the life and flexibilities that we as queer folks have today. Despite having seen a lot of content set in those times, seeing something new always stirs up emotions of all kinds.

This was a made for TV movie that came out way back in 1993. Anna and Keith are a happily married couple of many years. By accident Anna discovers that Keith has actually been having an affair with a man named Steve. Anna and Steve meet and talk about Keith and during these conversations, Steve asks Anna to get tested. He tells her that he always had protected sex with Keith but given that she may have not, it's better to know the truth now than later. On confronting Keith with the possibility, it freaks him out and he refuses to get tested. Anna eventually tests negative. But, in the process she ends up befriending Jin, Steve's best friend, who is suffering from AIDS and is in his last phase of life. We are also introduced to Jim's parents who at one point had completely disowned him. But now with the news of him being sick, the mother comes around, but the father doesn't cave in. Jim's mother along-with Anna take real good care of Jim with support from Steve. Jim is a very happy and content and a positive guy who always takes things in his stride, including what would be the closing number that should be played in his funeral. His eventual death, so very expected, shakes everyone to the core. Anna and Keith get back together, and from what I understood from the film, Keith probably has tested positive and now Anna will take care of him.

As much the film is about a couple breaking up over homosexual issues, I think the film's core is more about love and compassion. There are incidents that happens in one's life that define you and make you realize what defines yourself. Your priorities change. and this is what happens with Anna. It's not very clear as to why she decides to join into taking care of Jim, but clearly there is a connection that the two have. Maybe it was to understand what do some of the folks go through in the so called horror of being infected with HIV. The world in those days was fragile and sensitive but also evil when people would make life difficult for folks with AIDS. The whole breakup between Keith and Steve was as abrupt as was Anna's and Keith's but like I said , I believe that the films idea to focus on was the compassion and love and sensitivity towards individuals who are sick. Thankfully none of the performances are over the top and are all very nuanced.

It's a very watchable film, if you can keep aside your prejudices against HIV and AIDS. Actually if you still have prejudices against either of that, it speaks a lot about you as a person and maybe you need help and education. (6/10)

Sunday, April 19, 2020

What The Duck: The Series (Thai)

This Thai drama was about 20 episodes ranging from 35-45 minutes in duration, so clearly it took me a while to watch all of this. Like you would expect for most shows, there is a lot of side parallel stories and scenes that maybe don't add much to value but give a good credibility to character and story building. The series focusses on one main couple (aren't really a couple yet) and another gay pair primarily.

Pop has just joined a new job in catering for airlines at an airport where he befriends Oat. Oat is an orphan and has gambling problem. What begins as a joke to seduce Pop, starts becoming serious when Oat finds himself really liking Pop and wanting to be always around him and helping him etc. Meanwhile, he keeps saying that he is not gay. Pop has a girlfriend Mo, who works as a stewardess but is constantly being troubles by a group of fellow stewardesses who always are trying to bring her down. The pilot Nick likes Mo, but she tells him that she has a boyfriend. Mo, brother is Pree, who has just proposed to his boyfriend Rambo, but due to his father's pressure Rambo has to now marry a girl. This breaks both their hearts. They try to get back together a couple of times, but Rambo ends up cheating and they breakup for good. Meanwhile, it turns out that Pree has always liked and loved Pop since school days and so he tries to pursue him knowing very well that he is his sister's boyfriend. Oat's closeness to Pop starts annoying Mo, who watches the 2 boys kiss.. Meanwhile, Pop and Oat have this beautiful friendship and journey established that they both enjoy each other's company. Many times Pop thinks about who he loves, what this really means, is he gay etc; in fact the duo even kiss but it's never very clear what do both men want from this. Clearly they both love each other, but what will it mean for them eventually.

These kind of dramas are hit or miss and I had my apprehensions when I started watching it, but the great chemistry between the actors really has saved this series. Oat is undoubtedly the lifeline if the series. The guy is serious, loving, funny and everything and he has just done a marvelous job. Also, for a change he has a very different distinctive look, because otherwise all the gorgeous Thai boys start looking the same after a while with their perfect complexion and skin. His chemistry with the cute Pop is really good who also does a good job of showing all the confusions he is going through. These actors are age appropriate and totally believable unlike some of those high school BL stories that get supper annoying after a while. (This series had a few loaders for the cargo who were equally irritating). All the scenes between Pop and Oat felt natural and not forced. Their relationship has a gradual progression which is totally believable because Oat never gives up. Pree's and Rambo's relationship is a tricky one and very judgemental. They both have faults. Rambo doesn't standup to his father when he is being forced to marry and wants to keep both the girl and Pree happy. He cheats on him as well. And meanwhile, although Pree hasn't gotten over Rambo completely, that doesn't stop him from pursuing Pop, who happens to be his sister's boyfriend. The relationships here were way too messed up. It seems Pree and Rambo are the more popular characters in this show, which I am shocked because I must say I loved the bickering between Oat and Pop, and their story is very cute.

Remember, a lot of scenes will feel repetitive and slow; so watching this series in full is going to take pateince so be ready for it. This is a long time investment but its not bad at all. (7/10)

Friday, April 17, 2020

Nevrland (German/English)

When I started watching this film, I thought it had some good potential. But it totally lost steam half way. It turned into this self obsessed psychological trippy nightmare that was not my cup of tea. For a change, I don't have any recommendation on how this film could have been better. I am very sure that there are people out there who probably think that this by itself was a very good film, just sadly I dont fit in that category.

17 year old Jakob is a very shy teenager who lives with his father and his ailing grandfather. He starts working in the pig meat factory with his father and at nights he goes to these gay chat rooms to chat and watch porn and feel little bit alive. Jacob is struggling with an anxiety disorder that makes life increasingly difficult for him. One night, he meets 26-year old Kristian on gay chat and after a few times, they both decide to meet in person. The rest of the film is about the interactions between these 2 men, which I felt was an interesting take on reality v/s your imagination. Is Kristian real, is he part of Jakob's imagination, is there some link to Jakob's anxiety is what's tried to be shown but as an audience I didn't get any of those answers, sadly.

There is a very strong gay undercurrent. In his dreams Jakob runs through this beautiful woods, almost naked. Yes, he is also looking for sex or maybe feel of it in the virtual world, but I am still not sure what was the whole issue that he had since childhood. Whats this fear that keeps looming over him. Like I said above, the film was going interesting in the first half but post Kristian's entry and their interactions, it just goes into this weird zone. You know Jakob is detached but why? and why does Kristian excite him? Whats the connection between them? What was the whole childhood piece in the end. I am still not sure. Kristian was just an enigma, albeit a good looking one. But in absence of proper character development; its hard to say if the actors were good in their craft or not!

This film had no substance but had too much style. If you like punky, different, art house-ish cinema that keeps you thinking for rest of the week, go for it, otherwise avoid. (3/10)

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Soldiers: Story from Ferentari (Romanian)

This was a very different film. Was it really good or bad, I will hopefully know by the time I finish writing this post. I do have to admit that a gay relationship between two 4-something very ordinary looking men is something of a rarity. This film is very rooted in the Bucharest slums, seems very real, mostly because of choice of actors and the location. Apparently the film is based on an autobiographical novel.

A man in his early 40's, recently dumped by his girlfriend, moves to the slums neighbourhood of Bucharest called Ferentari. He decides to move there to do his PhD in manele music, something that this neighbourhood is known for. Pretty soon he meets and befriends beer-bellied Alberto, an ex-convict. After a couple years of homelessness, he’s living with a wealthy crime-boss cousin as a glorified servant. He is not shy of sharing stories that he has had sex with men in prison and wont mind doing again for money. He also has gambling problem. Before we know the 2 men soon transition from friends to lovers. Since Alberto has no sense of responsibility, he taxes Adi for his already limited finances all the time. Though they both enjoy the closeness, the freedom, the fun; we can also see that their relationship can explode anytime. It's hard to say if Alberto is in it for money (which I don't think so), but he is definitely in for companionship and love. As you can expect after a few instances of fights, their relationship eventually breaks up. Their love may be doomed, but in a way, they’re just right for each other.

First of all, the film is way too long for the things it is trying to show in the film. it can easily be trimmed by 30 minutes and I don't think we will lose the essence. Instead, at least it will be easy to keep audiences attention. I understand that this is autobiographical, but I am not entirely sure what was the point of the film. Were we trying to make a statement or something? I mean, the raw charm of actors and the gypsy life style and locations was very interesting, but a half baked end didn't seem the purpose. Alberto was very good in his part. He showed the man who is dedicated and wants to get and give love but has very short attention span and has serious money issues. Unfortunately, we don't get to understand much of Adi's psychy? He is here for his PhD, so what is his motivation forgetting into a relationship with a gypsy man, lose his money and lose focus from his life. Maybe thats the kind of person he has always been, but we never learn the details. Also, while Adi’s disapproving flatmate warns that Alberto is potentially violent, the film never ventures into the dramatic regions you might expect from with the story of a middle-class man discovering street life at its harshest.

Clearly the movie is not for everyone. There are a lot of imperfections, but despite this, I think it could have been a much better watch than it actually is if we could do some serious editing for this one. (4.5/10)

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Triple Crossed

What are your first reactions when you see a movie directed by Sean Paul Lockhart (assuming you know who he is)? Well mine is absolutely no expectations. Brace yourself for the worst and maybe then you maybe able to survive what you are going to watch. There is just no other way to describe it. Someone please recommend me some decent films to watch because of late the films that I have been picking up are just atrocious.

Chris has just come back from war in Afghanistan and is looking for a job. He is hired by Jackie, who hires him to kill Andrew Warner, for property reasons , so she can have access to all of it. Reluctantly Chris agrees. He and Chris meet at various occasions during which Andrew tells Chris that his ex-boyfriend Tyler was also in army serving in Afghanistan. They both start falling in love but Andrew always has suspicion on Chris on why he carries gun. Upon confrontation, Chris tells Andrew the reality. Andrew is hurt because Tyler, who is now dead, was Jackie's brother. After his death Andrew got the property share and Jackie now wants it back by killing him. Together they plan to fake Andrew's death and they take money from Jackie who decides to show up and is surprised to see Andrew still alive. At this point Tyler comes out of nowhere, still alive (a fact known to Chris as well). Apparently, Tyler was looking for an opportunity to kill both Andrew and Jackie so that he can get all the money. Its Chris who was triple crossed in all this. Tyler shoots Jackie and Tyler is taken in by military police with hopes that Andrew and Chris can now be a loving couple.

The story sounds interesting on paper, but the treatment, trust me, is very very amateurish.  Acting is awful, and so is the direction, and many lines seem to be terribly improvised. The only saving grace is that there are a few nude scenes with very sexy men. Jackie is so annoying and over the top. Chris is the only one who does a bit of a decent job. Andrew played by the director himself is so fake. All his reactions come a few seconds later which totally tell you how everything is planned and rehearsed. There are 2 random sex scenes as a saving grace but of course they do nothing to the film as such. I guess SPL, trying to relive his porn days and image. He is damn cute man but please man, just admit that you cant act. Stick to what you do best.

Poor direction, bad acting and absolutely no chemistry makes this low budget film an absolute pass. (2.5/10)

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

The Ambiguous Focus (Mandarin)

I have mixed feelings about this film after watching it. I had no expectations, so I was actually pleasantly surprised to see the film. Shown from 2 different perspectives on what went wrong in a relationship, it was very interesting to see how most things in life are not black or white. There is a whole lot of gray as well and it all depends on whose angle you are watching things from.

Nan Zhang and Zhe Zhang have known each other since high school and its almost their 10th year anniversary. Highly introvert, Zhe is struggling writer while Nan works and looks after both of them not just financially but also at home etc. Zhe finds out hat Nan has been cheating on him with his colleague Jimmy. Despite ignoring that and pleading for Nan to not leave him, Nan leaves. His close friend and mentor Chunzi, who is struggling to find love for himself, is there for Zhe's emotional support at this time. A new guy Chao starts seeing Zhe who then soon finds out that Chao has also secretly been seeing Chunzi. Feeling that he owes his friend, he lets Chao continue dating Chunzi. He visits home where he finds Nan's father is in hospital and Nan comes to meet him as well. The 2 men reconnect as friends for a couple of days and go back to town. An altercation leads to Jimmy and Nan breaking up and the Nan and Zhe connecting over drinks with a possibility of reconnecting as lovers. Chapter 2 begins from Nan's point of view. We see how literally Jimmy had forced himself on Nan. Not only does Jimmy take advantage of financial needs of Nan when his father first fell sick, but he also blackmails Nan of coming him out to his father if he doesn't make Jimmy his boyfriend. He even hires a money boy to show him how given an opportunity Zhe will chest on him which he does breaking Nan's heart. But he is stuck and can do nothing about it. He still loves Zhe very much but jimmy has his full control over him. Eventually Jimmy gets in an accident and realizes what he did is wrong and comes clean to Zhe. Now that everyone knows the truth, Zhe and Nan are back to talking but they both know that they have come far enough to acknowledge that they both have moved on and there is no more love left between them. Maybe the love between them had already gone before Jimmy came into picture and that just became the reason for their split.

In addition to the main story, there is a side story for Chunzi and Chao , which shows the struggles of gay men in closet and their duties towards their family in Chinese culture but to be honest don't add much to the core story. While I was seeing the first part from Zhe's point of view I found myself getting frustrated asking so many questions like why is Nan behaving this way, why doesn't he say anything to Jimmy, why would he leave his love of 10 years for an obnoxious guy like Jimmy, why did Zhe cheat on him and why does the lovers life seem so boring and dragged. But when the second part started and we started getting Nan's version of the story; things started to make sense and I was very pleasantly surprised. This was no ordinary story and was being presented to us from two sides of a coin which suddenly made me very interested in it. The film is not over the top at all. Its more focussed on the struggles of a mature couple who have been in love forever and how they navigate life. You know sometimes you love a person and you have been with them for so long that they just becomes part of your routine or life and you don't even realize that you stopped loving them long time ago. I mean, you love them but you are no longer in love with them. And then an external part just becomes a reason for you to act upon it even though you may not want to. It has pros and cons. Clearly within Nan's shadow Zhe could never grow up. You see how Nan used to do everything for Zhe but when he is own his own, he eventually learns about life, how to make money, how to cook and how to live. So in all this sense, I have to say that this film had something very new and novel to say. On a negative side, the acting from leads was good but a little too restrained. You always feel that they are in some zone and why cant they talk to each other. I mean their life seemed so boring, that as an audience I would worry how did they even kill their time. I wish rather than speaking in their mind, they would talk to each other. Eventually everything boils down to communication in a relationship. I guess this has to do with more character development than the actual acting itself.

The film is almost 2 hours and is very slow, so it tests your patience, but I would recommend watching this because it offers something novel. It doesn't take sides but offers perspective. It shows you that sometimes you are so busy pleasing others that you forget your self identity which sooner or later comes as a breaking point in your relationship. (7/10)

Monday, April 13, 2020

Alpha Delta Zatan

One more movie gets added to the crappy movies that have been made and i have been stupid enough to waste my time to watch them and review. This is not per say a gay movie but every single scene in the film screams homoerotic what with continuous display of hot naked male guys and their ass and bodies on full display.

The plot of the movie is paper thin. There is a frat house. New and sexy guys keep coming into that house, keep walking around in their underwear and a masked killer keeps murdering them. Trust me, literally this is exactly what happens over and over again. The final revelation as to who is doing this dastardly deed and why is worse than anything else. i mean there is no single reason why anyone would wanna watch this movie at all. There is absolutely nothing at all, unless of course watching hot guys in their underwear is your thing. For sure there is plenty of that here. Other than that the film is not sexy, not erotic, no horror, no nothing. I really hope no money was spent on making this film because whoever invested that money has to be the most dumb person ever.

I mean, come on, at least give us a plot, even if you are going to do a poor execution of it. (0/10)

Sunday, April 12, 2020

I'm A Porn Star (Documentary)

An interesting documentary, this is not a thoroughly investigated journalism but it still provides an interesting perspective of the gay porn industry. And as the doc tells us that just the gay porn industry is almost 13 billion industry, much bigger than the music industry definitely deserves some sort of attention. This film focuses on stories of 4 major porn stars who were ok sharing their life stories.

The documentary starts with a quick recap of gay porn right from 30s. Those 10 minutes were most interesting since it was a very breezy, fast paced recap and i learned about the history of gay porn that I had no idea about. And then we are introduced to 4 gay porn stars one after the other and their stories. Our first guest talks about his evolving sexuality over time, how he is married to a transsexual who went through the whole change while they were married, how his relationship evolved with his family. The next 2 are more the gay for pay kind of stories where they both talk bout why they decided to go gay porn because of more money involved and more freedom. We are not supposed to judge them or their decision, after all its work for them. Finally our fourth guy is a charming Canadian porn star, proud and out gay, married to a man and having a very supportive family including parents who are supportive of him and his profession.

I was glad that there was no unnecessary titllation involved in the documentary, although there were more than enough penis shots. Still, I guess the ides was to educate how this is a totally legitimate business and how things actually run in a corporate-ish style, how stories evolve, how actors do their work and how money is made. It's not an old sleazy, porn business owner exploiting young boys kind of world anymore. The doc also talks about issues like barebacking, condom use, HIV etc and although it doesn't take a stand one way or other, it shows us perspective. Amongst the porn starts I found our first guy, married to a transsexual to be the most charming, honest and well spoken man. Rest were all ok.

An interesting, entertaining and sexy look into the world of gay porn. It's no great shakes but still not the worse thing I have seen. (4.5/10)

Saturday, April 11, 2020

The Gays

When the opening of the film itself is so disturbing, you should know better whats in store for you. But, that was just a teaser. The rest of the film was so much more worse that in my wildest dreams I cant imagine and fathom why would anyone wanna make such an atrocious film, which is not funny by any means or standards. Agreed that the film doesn't take itself seriously, but I take offense to the fact when film makers take audiences taste and brains for granted.

The "Gays" are a family of four (Yes, their family/last name is Gay). A gay man, his transsexual wife and 2 gay sons, who according to the parents have been painstakingly brought up to be gay. When a new guy Kevin moves into the town, he meets the elder son Alex Gay who tells him stories about his family. The stories include how to seduce your friends into having sex with you, how to prepare your ass for fucking, how to sodomize, how to cruise in parks and streets and how never ever fall in love and much more. Their treatment is as disgusting and revolting, which is hard to write here.

Agreed this is supposed to be a comedy, over the top, but come on. No one in their right mind would have any reason whatsoever to watch this film. I can bet that no one can sit through the entire movie without wanting to just shit it off and just go away. I managed by continuous fast forwarding to see if something of essence would come up (not that I was expecting it). The gay stereotypes that are discussed and celebrated in this film are done in a very sick and raunchy manner thats hard to digest. The acting as expected form the film of this nature of over the top.

"The Gays" are in your face, doing stuff... with stuff... and talking about other stuff... using stuff. I am all about independent cinema and freedom of expression but this one just takes everything to a whole new level. (0.5/10)

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Almost Love

You know, there is nothing out of this world extraordinary about this film if you look from a story perspective. But having said that there is something very warm, very real and something that you can instantly connect to as an audience with this film, and I think this itself gives the movie an added advantage. There are no silly trying to be funny moments. There are characters, a group of 30 and 40 something individuals trying to live through their life in New York city in search of love and belonging.

The film is centered by this gay coupe Adam and Marklin coming up on their fifth anniversary. Marklin is a very successful social media influencer, documenting most moments of his life to make a living. Adam on the other hand is a ghost painter, who paints on behalf of a renowned painter, except she is the one who makes money out of it. The couple is going through an itch and neither can pin point to where the problem is. Is it their love, is it their career, is it marriage or something else. We also meet their gal pals and delve a little bit into their lives. Haley  is a tutor for an underachieving teenager who’s in love with her and she is trying her best to not cross the line with him, and her friend Cammy is dating an itinerant homeless man because she has low self-esteem. We also meet Adam's best friend Elizabeth who has been with her boyfriend for 15 years and discusses pros and cons with Adam. In all this we find that Marklin is still the caretaker of his ex-bf, who is suffering through a terminal illness. This forces the couple to tackle their issues head on and with maturity.

I am sure, we all know someone out there who are in a situation like our main actors. A couple who has been together for a while, questioning their life, their choices, are they with the right person and what's next. They want security but not the one that comes with marriage or children. So what does that mean? The film doesn't give answers but it manages to connect with so many of us. Sure they have intimacy issues after having been together this long and they talk openly about this with their friends individually, but none of them give an answer. And that's ok, because there is no right answer. We all deal with our issues as individuals. Whats right for me maybe totally wrong for someone else. How can we judge? As actors, everyone does a good job. Haley and Cammy are hilarious and al their scenes are magical. The one liners that Haley comes up are the best. Similarly, I am glad Elizabeth's character was shown with some maturity. A close confidant and a forever friend for Adam, she brings calmness in his life. Adam and Marklin make a good couple. It's refreshing to see they both acknowledging issues but then never going over the top to come to solutions. Talking like mature adults is the only way out.

As mentioned before, This film is no great shakes by any means. it's a simple warm comedy but something in that connected with me. It may or may not do the same for you, but I think it deserves a watch. (6.5/10)

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Matthias & Maxime (Canadian French)

By now Xavier Dolan has created a niche for himself in the film industry. Most of his films some sort of human emotions with an undertone of sexuality or queerness. This film falls in a similar category. It will be absolutely wrong to classify this as a queer piece of cinema but its somewhere there. Is it about sexual awakening or not, I am not sure but the undertones are there between 2 main protagonists and a sexual tension that's never gotten rid of.

The film starts of as 5-6 group of friends hanging out in the summer. Matt and Max are two closest friends. One of the friends' sister is making a short film and 2 of her actors back out leading to Max and Matt acting in the film. What they don't realize is that they will have to kiss in the film. An event that could just have been laughed off, becomes a big point of contention between the two. It ignites long suppressed feelings that both of them have for each other (or at least thats the idea). Clearly that kiss has affected both of them in different ways. Max has been looking after his sick and troubled mother all this while and can't wait to go to Australia for a couple of years away from all this. Meanwhile Matt has a girlfriend and is trying his best to go up the corporate ladder. The incident has clearly affected Matt more than Max. The two friends avoid each other as much possible but at one of the farewell parties they both finally give in and get into a very passionate kiss and slightly more but Matt soon chickens out. The film ends at a very interesting will-they-won’t-they ending where we see Matt standing outside Max's door just before he is about to leave for Australia.

This film is interesting in the sense that it's an interesting take on how two individuals are forced to confront their feelings. Maybe the feelings were never there or were always there, but a kiss forces them to introspect and neither is comfortable with what they feel. Their friendship with each other is on the line and in fact their friends around them get affected too. There is no homophobia as such, so what surprised me was their reluctance to acceptance who they are in Canada in 2019. Its a very accepting world today, so why hesitate? I am not too sure. The two actors do a phenomenal job of showing us a wistful, low-key love-and-friendship study. The guys are handsome, and have great chemistry and suit the part, but I wish there was more of a backstory so we could relate to why their reactions were they way they were.

The mysteries of male desire are profound, as we all probably know from our own personal experiences. Sadly this film doesn't do much to bring us closer to solving that, but nonetheless it is a good piece of cinema work that needs bit of petience from Xavier Dolan who deservingly so is making all the right moves and is getting all the right attention. (6/10)

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Temblores (Spanish) [Tremors)

Religion and sexuality has been explored in many films to date and we have already seen a few versions out there. This film is slightly different in the sense that rather than focusing on the coming out process itself, it is more focussed on the repercussions of it. Whether self-identity is defined by what people are, or what they are not or by people around you? Is the fear of loss more profound than the search for love? Whether the happiness to be himself is worth the pain that will come with it? All interesting questions and lets see how well do these situations get explored.

Set in Guatemala city, Pablo is a man in 40's, a pastor and a consultant by profession (his entire family is big time into church) with a wife and kids is outed somehow that he is gay. He doesn't deny it and leaves home despite being coaxed by all his family members. He moves in with his boyfriend Francisco, a man from a very different social strata and a nurse by profession. Pablo loves his children very much and wants to see them but the family, including his parents warn him that this can happen only once he denies it all. When the family realizes that this is serious, The family uses their power to get him fired from his job, publicize him as a paedophile and have restraining orders against him for his kids and family. This leaves Pablo heartbroken and he can't decide whether he is being too selfish to think about himself while everyone else is suffering. Francisco tries his best to cheer him up, with regular parties with friends and even managing to have Pablo's help Rosa send birthday messages for their father, but its not enough for Pablo. He eventually gives into his family's ask of him to go for the gay conversion therapy provided by the church, in the hope that at least this will help him get back to him family and the kids, the people who matter to him the most. Pablo is desperate for God’s love, the redemption it promises, and the community that comes with it.

The film's title comes from the nature of natural earthquakes at the city feels at regular points. We see the very first one on the night all hell breaks loose for Pablo and his family. And of course, if we looked metamorphically, its all about how it feels like the world is trembling under your feet every time you go through difficult phases in life. The film in itself was a mix of some great parts v/s just being ordinary in my opinion. As an audience we are thrown in right in the midst of what Pablo is dealing with. The film has moved on 30 minutes by the time we realize what really the problem is and who is Francisco with whom Pablo is sharing an apartment. Pablo and him barely have any romantic moments or kisses or touches or anything at all until much much later that could make us believe they are a couple. They just had no chemistry. It was more like friends who were there for each other. I wish there was more to their back story, but I do understand and appreciate that the makers idea was to focus more on what happens after. The degree of prejudice experienced by LGBT+ individuals in daily life is never satisfactorily established. I was shocked to see the lengths the family would go to disrupt their son's life just so that they can force him to come back. I guess you never know, but it was shocking for me to see that. The film deals with things as an overall issue and in the process miss out on going into details of certain aspects. Like what will now happen with Francisco who stood every step of the way with Pablo. And the ending with the whole gay conversion therapy being completed and Pablo finding love back from the community and the family is not the ending I would expect. It does not send the right signals. Instead this is going to lead to more confusion in people's mind.

The makers wanted to deal with a sensitive issue and they do that for most part by walking around on eggshells. The deeper issues and its actions are never really looked at depth. I think an opportunity was missed here. (5/10)

Monday, April 6, 2020

Impossible Choice

Another one of those poorly scripted, acted and directed gay films that have absolutely nothing to offer to us an an audience. Granted the film came out few years back, but still the film is all over the place and takes forever to get to the point and in the process loses the viewers interest, at least it did mine.

The main story is of a 2 friends who get intimate with each other on one hiking weekend. They both are close to a third male friend who also takes acting classes and are actors. A parallel story plays where a cruise company is trying to come up with a special gay cruise to increase their revenue. One of the boys of the couple happens to be pastor's son who completely loses his shit when he finds out that his son is possibly gay. In the process he tries a murder attempt on the son's boyfriend and god only knows what happens after that, since by then I had completely lost interest.

Firstly, I am not sure at all as to why there was this 10 minute play within the movie. According to me that added nothing to the story. Exactly like the whole gay cruise line parallel track. It was just there, adding no value rather than tirelessly increasing the length of the film. The actors were decent with just alright acting. The screenplay is the biggest problem. The characters come in and out for no reason whatsoever, like that asian couple auditioning for something. WTF! This film was all over the place. The film could have been so much better if it focussed on the couple, their struggles and their pain to be accepted in their small town community but alas, I am really not sure what were the makers of the film trying to say.

Definitely avoidable. (2/10)

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Siempre Si (Spanish) [Always Say Yes]

There is alway s a fine line between pornography and making a sensible meaningful erotic LGBTQ cinema. Even though this film comes with warning of having explicit sexual scenes, this is nothing but porn.

Hector travels to Mexico City from Hermosillo alone after his friend Carlos decides not to accompany him, with the hope of posing naked for photography collective Feral. Now he is on his own, young and very horny, he walks through hallways if his hotel and the streets of mexico and bathhouses looking for sexual experiences. He enjoys sex with 2 different guys in sauna an d then again with his hotel neighbor. He goes partying and meets a stranger there. Next day he gets called that since the guy he was supposed to model for had a party and is too hungover to shoot him naked. Hector is sad but eventually makes the most meeting new random man and eventually finds an artist who is interested in his naked body.

I understand and can very well relate to a weekend of ravel exploring your sexuality and having sex and fun but I wouldn't think of making a film on it. Especially, when all you are going to do is add just sex scenes after sex scenes. How do you even describe someone's acting in such cases. I wonder if I wrongly got this is a gay "film'. It is really porn, and that too of not a good quality. Do not say yes for this one. (1/10)