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The Effect (Thai Series)

The way this series started, I thought 'The Effect 'was your typical BL story until the shocking twist derailed all my expectations. The show gets uncomfortable to watch but it does address a very important issue and trait that was so far being almost taken for granted. I appreciate the fact that makers kept the screenplay tight with only 3 episodes of about 50-60 minutes each. It knows what it wants to say, what it wants to present and doesn't waste much time in unnecessary side stories. Shin is a shy introvert guy who has just joined university. Initially forced to study together, soon the trio of him, Bright and Pramote become real close friends. Shin considers his college senior Keng to be his Ido since he is popular, studious and also school’s ambassador for their marketing campaigns. One day running out looking for tie to be able to sit in exam, the duo run into each other and an unlikely friendship strikes. We see that Keng had noticed Shin on day 1 and had taken an
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Unlocked (Filipino Anthology Stories)

Produced by GagaOOlala, Unlocked is an anthology of 9 short stories dealing with queer relationships during one of the longest lock-downs in the world in Manila. It aims to give an honest portrayal of dynamics of human relationships under depressing circumstances. Initially this was billed as six stories, which is even evident from the poster, but then it was extended to 9 stories. The hope of viewers being able to connect to some aspects of these stories to something personal, is to be seen. The stories are about 20-30 minutes each. These are the official synopsis from the website. Personally, I think the idea was well thought of, but none of the stories actually stayed with me. They were all done very amateurishly and somehow the fitness that's needed was missing in acting, direction and everything. I still, however, applaud the effort to try and bring something new to the audiences with some innovative stories to tell. 1. Andrew & Brix t's been months since Andrew broke

How To Get From Here To There

Its really hard to make sci-fi genre when you are extremely short on budget, which is a very normal thing for independent LGBTQ stories. Keeping that in mind and being very aware of it, this film still failed to keep my attention focused on what was unfolding in front of my eyes. A middle aged gay man goes home when his mother dies to arrange the cremation and pack up. Drinking heavily, he stumbles across the time machine he made as a kid and gets inside to take a trip. The machine will not allow travel back in time, but it will allow a look into the future. He sets off himself in the machine and arrives at a time when he meets and falls in love with a much younger, strong-but-silent type, unnamed man. How they meet, and why they connect so quickly, is not explained. During the course of three such trips into the future, the relationship blossoms and then starts to fall apart. At the end, when the loss of power of the time machine means no more trips forward, it's time for him to f

The Skin Of The Teeth

In the days of social media and dating apps, it's easy to pretend someone you are not and hide information about you be it age, your occupation, health status anything at all. All it takes is some hot pictures and need for sexual fulfillment. This experimental film tries to show us what happens if a person is forced to come clean and be truthful about themselves, are there repercussions to that? The plot is simple yet complicated. A young gay man named Josef goes over to the apartment of an older man named John for a date night. After taking a pill in John's bedroom, they both start dancing and soon Josef starts to find reality slipping. Next thing you know is John falls down and Josef is arrested for allegedly murdering John. Now he's forced to deal with two boxer-clad police detectives, a mask-wearing public defender, and all kinds of odd figures who come in and out of the interrogation room, trying to extract information about him and decide whether or not he'll be c

Gameboys 2 (Filipino Series)

Coming up with this sequel makes no sense. Gameboys The movie came out lat year which was actually a worthy continuation the much loved and appreciated origin story of Gav and Cairo. This season 2 is just the rehash of the film with some extended scenes. So my review is going to be really short and tiny.  I repeat, For those expecting a brand new season and storyline following Gav and Cairo, prepare to be disappointed like me. Season 2 ended up being Gameboys: The Movie, with some extended scenes (not that many really). Even the show ends as the movie did but I guess just for fans they also added a scene with a very happy ending. But the way it has been added also doesn't make any sense. You don't know if it's after Gav goes to NY and comes back, Cairo returns to the province with his family and they both meet later, or they never leave Gav's house in the first place. As audience you make your own theories and thats it. The makers had famously announced in an interview

Olly Alexander: Growing Up Gay (UK Documentary)

This documentary traces the back journey of Olly Alexander, the frontman of the band 'years and years'. He talks about his journey from school bullying victim to diversity role model, while exploring the mental health issues faced by members of the LGBT+ community. The film came out in 2017, and now Olly is much more popular thanks to his leading role in hot UK series 'It's a Sin'. The documentary starts with Olly visiting his mother in the home he grew up in. He tells her the full extent of his depression and self-harm. Her reaction is to blame herself and wish she could have helped more. He meets his life-long school friend Georgia and she too admits self-harming and depression – only just recently having come out. Olly recounts the school bullying. And he says how this bullying leads to a spiral of feelings of loneliness,  insecurity, and a sense of unfairness. Two-thirds of LGBTQ+ teens will have self-harmed and many will have tried suicide. He meets Sean, a dan

Hook Up (Filipino Series)

First of all, actually I did don't really "need" to watch this series to get context on my latest reviewed Mini series 'Unguarded'. Yes, it does provide one tiny context but other than that, having to sit through 8 episodes, each of 20 minutes approximately to witness two silly strangers randomly falling in love started off ok, but really doesn't go anywhere until the last 2 episodes. Also, don't get fooled by the poster. It was just taken form one o the profiles form the dating app that the show uses but has nothing to do with it. Its pandemic time and Mark Lee is unsure about his sexuality. He finds himself being attracted tooth girls and boys. On insistence of his friend, he downloads an app 'Findr' to see where things take him. There he meets Henry and in their very first conversation Henry flirts with him a lot and mark Lee gets shy. Eventually they get to talking all the time and slowly love starts building up. Henry even risks one night to g

Unguarded (Filipino Mini-Series)

This series definitely has one of the most different twists that I have seen so far in any BL series. Sure its a short series with only 4 episodes of about 20ish minutes each, but the two leads keep the premise pretty engaging, even though the overall execution is a bit clunky. Apparently this mini series is part of a trilogy or something focusing on one of the main characters, but I am guessing these are pretty independent. But now that I know this, I will probably go and watch the other ones also real quick. Henry asks his best friend Lukas if he can take in his boyfriend Mark Lee in his house for few days since the latter's home is flooded. Initially reluctant Lukas agrees and Mark Lee starts living with him. Over the course of few days, two strangers start to become good friends and hang out all the time. Things change when Lukas confides into Mark Lee that he likes him and kisses him. Unsure where this is headed, first he brushes this away but eventually he figures Lukas is no

Die Konsequenz (German) [The Consequence]

It's almost impossible to comprehend that such a tragic gay love story came out back in 1977, almost 45 years ago. I mean, this has to be groundbreaking in its own. Its a proper love story filled with drama, love and tragedy and the homophobia that existed in those years (some things haven't changed despite all these years). Sure, some may question the taboo theme of an older man's love with a 15 year old boy, but I think its important to understand that the age on consent is/was probably lower in Europe, otherwise I can't imagine this film being allowed to be watched. Martin, an actor by profession, is in prison for having sex with a 15 year old boy. Martin agrees to stage a fellow prisoner's play and it is here that he meets Thomas, the warden's teen-aged son. Before you know, Thomas is completely smitten by Martin and they sneak here and there to spend time together, but the warden gets wind of it, so they wait for the time till Martin is released. Once relea

Finished (Documentary)

Finished is an experimental documentary by film maker William E Jones that traces his obsession with Québécois porn actor Alan Lambert. Lambert saw himself as a revolutionary, ultimately taking his own life in a misguided act of political transgression. Jones’s confessional film takes us from the politics of porn film industry to the consumer appeal of porn trying to understand what led to his muse take his own life. Alan killed himself at age twenty-five to keep from getting old and losing his looks. A last letter, several friends, and a handful of videos point to a contradictory, volatile Alan Lambert, who was very likely manic-depressive. There are no tearful talking heads, no shocking re-enactments, no lengthy excerpts of the suicide letter, and most pointedly, not a single glimpse of full frontal nudity. Alan Lambert's political convictions lead him to criticize the circulation of commodities and the alienation it produces, and yet paradoxically, he sold himself, becoming a co

Queer As Folk (Series)

Queer as Folk , way back when, was one of the shows that introduced me to the whole world of gay movies and TV shows and I never looked back. This is maybe a year before I started writing reviews here. So that will always have a special place in my heart and I hav many find memories. When I heard about this reboot on Peacock TV, I had my reservations and I was both nervous and excited. I was curious to see if this is going to be a rehashed version of the same characters or something totally new. It is new for sure, but they have tried some essence of the original characters. But there is something distant about this version. I tried, but at no point was able to connect to any of the characters. Despite their emotional upheavals, they all felt very self-absorbed, very superficial and very hard to understand beyond the labels and a cover that they all had put on. None of them have enough warmth or depth. More on this later. Brodie is a 20-something charming yet arrogant and full of himse

Why R U - Saifah Son Story (Thai Mini series)

I guess I should have watched the complete Why R U series first before watching this side mini series of 3 episodes of about 30 minutes each. Having said that, its actually pretty independent and even though I haven't seen the original series, I didn't think I was losing any context here. So I will review this as an independent story. Zol, in her BL novel has included the story about Saifah and Zon (her brother). Son ad Saifah had kissed after a music concert but now Zon is worried that everything that was written in novel may come true, so he starts avoiding Saifah and asks him to stay away. With the help of his friends, Saifah comes up with a plan to confuse Zon that maybe the kiss never happened and that they barely now each other. Zon doesn't like this and finally Saifah comes clean to him. They finally start their love story. As I mentioned before there is not much of a story here, but whole lot of fluff and cute moments. I am sure lovers of the parent series would app

Kasal (Filipino) [The Commitment]

I had absolutely minimal expectations from this film, but the film, despite its flaws, manage to surprise me in a good way. This normally happens when you keep your expectations super low. The film, in its own small independent way, tries to carefully present an argument on why gay men have been fighting for basic right like marriage. Sadly, the director does get too swayed in self indulgence where some scenes go on and on forever thereby diluting the impact that they were probably going for.  Sherwin, a lawyer by profession and Paolo, an indie film director have been in a relationship for a few years. Still dwelling on a cheating episode by Paolo more than a year ago, they are still together. But when Paolo suggests that they should get married, Sherwin refuses the proposal because he knows that the law of marriage here in the Philippines was only for men and women couples and as a lawyer he must abide by the law. We meet Paolo's family who are every welcoming of Sherwin as his pa

Desert Migration (Documentary)

Desert Migration is a documentary that tells the story of a generation of HIV-positive men who have been afforded new life through the introduction of AIDS combating drugs, but still struggle with a number of internal and external problems associated with the virus. The film follows the stories of about a dozen HIV+ men in their 50s and 60s who are currently living in Palm Springs, California. It focuses on a group of men, who had given up on life when they were diagnosed until medicines started showing up that could help HIV converting to AIDS. While these medicines gave these men a new lease of life, but now suddenly all these men have to plan to live and put back their life together, something that they had given up on. It follows a sort of day-in-the-life of these men, watching them as they eat breakfast, brush their teeth, take medication, smoke a cigarette, go to the gym, do yoga, paint, have dinner with friends, or go out drinking and dancing at a bar. They discuss wasting, fati

You Are Ma Boy (Vietnamese Series)

A low budget quick web series of just 6 episodes, this is a small addition to Vietnam trying to come up with their set of BL shows for viewers like us. The show was bring promoted as love between two straight boys, but I think that sort of promotional material is misleading. Why do the makers think that they will get more viewers just by bringing in the 'straight' angle. That way I do appreciate Thai shows where most folks are shown to be sexually fluid and fall in love with a. Person and not the gender. Duong is your regular boy next door who works in a cafe. He goes with his best friend, a girl co-worker to take signature of a famous singer Nhat Nam and make his acquaintance. Next day when Nhat Nam comes to the cafe, he is followed by his fans and Dung helps him get out. They exchange numbers. Somehow Nhat Nam takes a liking for Duong but Duong is very dismissive of the whole thing. Eventually they start becoming friends. Clearly Nhat Nam has feelings for him, but Duong is un