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Showing posts from July, 2011

Going Down in La-La Land

This movie was definitely a surprise. Closing night film of the Q-Fest, somehow when I read the synopsis, I thought this film be more on the lines of a wannabe comedy but I was very wrong. This film was actually very realistic, to an extent scary as well specially for actors who wanna make it big in the big bad world of hollywood. It shows the dark realities of what goes on behind those closed doors, how people exploit one another and how once you get sucked in, there is no way out. Adam has recently moved from NY to LA and is living with his best gal-pal Candy, who once used to be a wannabe actress but all she now does is think of obscure projects to make more money. Her finances are stabilized only because of her fiance. Once the fiance storms out in anger, Adam becomes permanent room mate and now he needs to find a job. He tries a couple of jobs but none goes well. When he is cruised by Nick at the gym, he offers him an office job at a gay porn film office where Nick works as a p

Romeos (German)

The Q-Fest this year has definitely been better than last couple of years. Surprisingly, the number of lesbian and transgendered movies have also seen a raise in this years film festival and thank god that most of hem have been good ones. I will see these movies any-day over crap, really pathetic gay movies. FTM transition and a love story woven between this, the film is definitely a great debut from the director. This film shows us the mindset of people transitioning and how it affects their relations with family, friends and of course how they go about finding love. This has been done in a very subtle manner. Lucas is a 19 year old FTM. He is on hormone replacement therapy and still has breasts that keep him bound and hidden. He is invariable put in a female dorm while doing community service. He is stressed there and wants to move to male dorm as soon as possible. In this time, his lesbian friend Ine is always with him and keeping his secret safe with her. Lured by Ine and his new

Mangus!

I am still not very sure why was this film shown as part of the LGBT film festival in Philadelphia. A couple of characters are gay but hen that has become a very common phenomenon in recent films. It is no big deal. In any case, that doesn't take away from the fact that was a guilty pleasure to watch the trailer park white trash story which brings smile to your face and often brings the house down with laughter as well. I am glad they did make Mangus' character a pity boy.  Mangus has always had one dream; to play Jesus Christ in the musical spectacular in his high school drama thereby following the footsteps of his dad and grandfather. He lives with his father and step mom (who by the way is hilarious in a weird way in the film). When he gets selected for the part, he celebrates with his friends and get in an accident which leaves him crippled and thereby he looses the part to a gay flamboyant son of the mayor of the town. When his father has to leave town for war, the step mo

Auf der Suche (German) [Looking For Simon]

I read somewhere online that this is a thriller but of a different kind. I can't disagree more. This is nowhere close to being a thriller. It is a tale of a mother looking for her son and in the process discovering things about him, his friends and even her own relationship with her son. This film ultimately ends up being a soul search rather than a search for an actual person. Not sure how many actually this kind of genre in the gay cinema but nevertheless it was a decent viewing. Simon has been missing for only a week but it is enough to get his mother Valerie worried. She has travelled from Germany to South France and has also called her son's ex boyfriend Jens to help her out in searching for her son. High-strung and fearing the worse, Valerie has barely accepted her son’s gayness and having his former boyfriend around only adds to her stress. Jens has his own mixed feelings for his ex. He takes excursions in search of nightly casual sex where he encounters an Arab boy who

Tomboy (French)

Gender identity has rarely been explored with tender care and nurture in queer cinema before. This is such a sweet, heartfelt story of a young girl who just wants to be a boy. She doesn't understand the implications etc but just wants to be a boy. The film is poignant and humorous at times and filled with very believable performances.  Ten year old Laure, is moving with her parents and 6 year old sister to a new town. She spends time baby sitting for her sister because her mother is pregnant. She usually dresses up like a boy. Looking to play with the children from the same apartment complex, she meets Lisa to whom she tells that her name is Mikael. They both start hanging out and even with other kids of the building and a mutual crush develops. Mikael is now enjoying playing with boys, manly games and even taking his short off while playing. Soon her kid sister also joins the fun and addresses Laure as her brother in front of other kids. When the mother finds out about this, she

Dirty Girl

First of all I fail to understand why would this film be shown in a LGBT film festival. Agreed that one of the 2 characters happens to be gay but still the story is primarily about Danielle, a perfectly straight girl. The gay guy just happens to be his side kick and yes there is a mall parallel track. I have nothing against the movie, at least not till I finish writing the review but I was disappointed by the choice of this film for QFest.  Danielle is a dirty 'slut' girl in the Oklahoma high school. She does not mind sleeping with every boy in the class. She is angry at the world specially her mother because she never mentioned to Danielle about her father. She meets Clarke, a fat and obese gay guy whose father gives him a hard time for everything he does and fail and specially anything to do with being gay, when the two of them are forced to do a school project as a team where they have to act parents to a flour bag and write a project report. Danielle suggests that they run

Longhorns

I dunno why but I had very minimal expectations from this film. Somehow the title, story or even the actors were connecting with me after watching the preview but of course I still had to watch this film. It was actually not all that bad. Set in 80's film takes a hilarious look at a group of friends. Agreed that this is no oscar worthy movie or anything but I have seen much worse gay cinema, so in comparison this one did not turn out to be bad at all. he setting is a Texas college circa 1982 where big hair, loud shirts and cowboy boots are considered high fashion. Kevin is a straight frat-boy who enjoys bonding with fellow schoolmates. He does not even mind helping out his friend Justin once a while. But things change when he meets sexy and charming openly gay Cesar. Kevin starts hanging out with him and his heart starts beating for him and of course Cesar is also falling for Kevin. Too many encounters suddenly make Kevin confuse and he sets out for a weekend full of beer and wome

eCupid

These brainless dead "comedies" are the kind of films that sometimes makes me wonder why do I come to these film festivals. This is an excellent example of a wannabe film. Except a few laughs here and there on some dialogues, this film is a pretty bad attempt at making something illogical and ridiculously absurd. Just putting in hot men, some hot scenes and a real life full on plastic surgery commercial actress in the end will not bring the audience. But at the same time I think that many gay men have not really branched out to see all the beautiful wonderful gay films out there that the expectation they have is very low and they enjoy these mindless , so called entertainers.  Marshall and Gabriel have been together for 7 years and now their relationship is getting stale. Marshal is cocky and very physical but Gabe always pretends tp be tied and busy and has to work. He is also turning 30 and needs some thrill and something new in life. He starts looking online and finds an a

August

The moment the producer of this film introduced this film is a full length feature version of the short 'Postmortem', I was super excited because I had no idea. That had been one of my most favorite shorts and for some reason had stuck with me. I was super excited to watch a feature version and when I saw that 2 of the principal characters were retained from the short, it was all the more better, The actors just suited the part so well in the short that I would have hated to see someone else play those parts. I would strongly recommend the short also to people to watch it.  Jonathan and Raul are a very happy couple of few years. They practically live together though Jonathan still has his apartment. Raul is married to Jonathan's best friend so that once the immigration goes through, they can have Raul stay in the country so that they both can live happily. Enter Troy from Spain who is planning to move back to LA. Troy and Jonathan were ex-lovers and apparently Troy broke Jo

Circumstance (Persian)

Set in modern day Tehran in Iran, this beautiful story focuses on two attractive rebellious high school friends. The girls dare to dream in an otherwise orthodox world. Watching this film definitely opened up my mind a little bit about some of the notions that I had about women in Iran. But at the same time there was so much hype around this film, that it ended up turning out low on those. This is what happened earlier too. I think that is why it is very important to watch films without expectations because they tend to surprise you quite a bit. Atafeh is a privileged daughter of an educated well to do family but her friend Shireen is not so lucky. Despite this they are very good friends. Over a period of time they have learnt about the vibrant maze of underground parties where they can be free, head uncovered, drinking, dancing, skin show. They once in a while have also defied the morality police and are enjoying and having fun. One night Shireen tells Atafeh that she loves her ve

Ausente (Spanish) [Absent]

I have never ever seen such a long scene of sexual tension built up as it was shown in this movie. And at the same time, I have never been in a theatre with such pin drop silence because there are no scenes that evoke laughter. You are just waiting and watching as to whats going to happen next. I dunno if it is right to call this film as a thriller but there is a different thrill that you feel while watching the movie. I thoroughly enjoyed it. 16 year old Martin finds his swimming instructor Sebastian very attractive. One day he fakes of an eye injury in the class, and Sebastian take him to the hospital. Martin has already planned in his mind a web of lies for why he cannot go back home and finally succeeds in getting an invitation from Sebastian to sleep at his house. But thing are not simple as they seem. The night seems pretty long where neither of them is able to sleep really well. Sebastian next day finds out that Martin's parents were looking for him all night. He also finds

Buffering (UK)

When I finished watching the film, I wondered what would this film have been like if it was done in US by an independent film maker. It would visualize a raunchy, really bad film , something like a couple of ones that I recently saw in the film festival. This is not to say that the UK version was any better. The film was simple but there was something about it that saved it from being a cheap thrill vs a decent attempt at a satire comedy. The story is pretty simple and straight forward actually. Seb and Aaron have been together for a while. Suddenly now they find themselves in huge debt because they both lose their jobs. Aaron has been hiding about his unemployment from Seb and has been engaging in internet porn for about 3 months now. This crisis forces them to channel in their entrepreneurial skills. Aaron secretly starts filming their sex life and uploading on internet. Soon he finds that people are actually paying to see them. When Seb finds out, he is initially quite disturbed bu

Gun Hill Road

The first thing after you finish watching this film is that the director has handled the subject with such compassion for his characters (all 3 lead actors). The film beautifully displays sensitivity towards a character whose sexual identity is evolving. The film is a wonderful emotional roller coaster, and shows how in a family when we love someone, we want to do everything that we think is right for them and we dont want them to go through pains in their life. Enrique has just been released from the prison after 3 years and he needs to keep his act in control be it drinking, smoking, drugs etc or he will go back to jail without any warning. He feels a little oddball between his wife Angela, who he soon finds out that she had been having an affair with another Latino and his son Michael who is in the process of transforming into Vanessa, a transwoman. When Enrique finds out about Angela, he warns her to not do that since he is now back home. They have their issues to deal with since

Hold Your Peace

You can have a very decent idea on paper and it does sound very exciting when you start working on it. But when it comes to execution, the impact goes completely missing. This is exactly what happened with this film. On paper, it would have sounded quite new and nice, and to an extent it came out fine on screen as well but in totally this film was missing a lot of things, the main thing being the connection with me. I just was not able to connect to the film. I will write more on why it failed to do so. Its been 2 years since Aiden and Max broke up but Aiden is still hung up on his old love. Meanwhile Max found Forrest and they are about to get married. When Max's best man bails out at the last minute, his only option left is Aiden who after initial reluctance agrees. He realizes that he cannot go to the wedding alone and he needs a boyfriend. With help from his female roommate Janice, he convinces blond, cutie twink Lance to go with him. But things are not exactly what they seem

Mi Último Round (Spanish) [My Last Round]

Some films just surprise you. You hardly expect anything from them and then they spring out like something totally worth spending your time and money on. This Chilean drama is beautiful poignant and even sad. It shows what love is all about, it doesn't have to by mushy but it is all about what you feel internally. Hugo has just lost his mother and leading a very mundane life. He soon becomes captivated by a boxer Octavio who is diagnosed as epileptic. Although Octavio keeps his tough and masculine facade, it is he who make the first move on Hugo. Life in a small town in southern Chile is hard for the two, for they can never be accepted in their community, and work is very hard. After Octavio finds out that if he boxes again he might die, Octavio and Hugo pack their bags to start a new life in the capital of Chile. Octavio gets a job as a barber and Hugo also manages to get a job. There he meets this girl who gets instantly attracted towards Hugo. Meanwhile, Octavio get s a boxing

Fyra Ar Till (Swedish) [Four More Years]

This film provides a very different take on the effects of secret desire on public office in otherwise open minded Sweden and how it also affects the relationships of the individuals involved. A bold romantic comedy that pushes boundaries on several thematic levels, this i another brilliant gay themed Swedish film after Patrick 1,5 a few years ago. David Holst has just lost the election he was slated to win. His good looks, political savvy, and humor made him the front-runner for the Prime Minister of Sweden, but his lead has suddenly taken a downfall. It is during this time of disappointment that he meets Martin in an elevator and falls head over heels in love. Despite his marriage to his closest co-worker, Fia, and his professed heterosexuality, David pursues a relationship with Martin only to find out that Martin is the Secretary of State for the political party that beat him in the recent election. He is very confused on what to do. He tries his best but cannot control his desire

Eating Out 4: Drama Camp

I think this film is a pretty good follow up to the last 3 Eating out series. This film is a typical gay cheesy guilty pleasure film but trust me these kind of films are also needed in addition to some serious thoughtful cinema. Sometimes asa viewer I dont want to think too much and just want to be entrained. And this film very successfully did that. And not just entertainment, this film has a pretty good helping of eye candy as well which by now you have started to expect from the eating out films. In this series, the gang heads out for a special theatrical camp headed by experienced Dick Dickey, a weird dude who hasn't had sex for 7 years now. He has one rule hat there will be no sex on the camp for the duration of the camp which in turn only builds up the sexual tension. Casey and Zack are going through a rough patch in their relationship. The situation worsens when Zack has instant attraction for another camper Benji. Benji initially comes out too strong towards Zack but he p

Stadt Land Fluss (German) [Harvest]

This film is shot as realistically as you can get it. In the QnA, with the director, it turns out that all the people except the lead actors were actual farmers who ended up in the film as well. It is a sweet gay romance involving two young budding farmers but it is so subtle and devoid of cliches, that it make s a wonderful watch. Marko is from a broken home where his father left him when he was very young. He is studying to become a farmer and is doing apprenticeship as a farmer. He is a loner who doesn't hang out with other young students who are also working on the farms. He is just aimlessly going on with his life. Jakob, a new boy joins their group as an apprentice who quite his training as a banker and decided to become a farmer. Marko and Jakob start hanging out with each other. There is no apparent love shown between them. Marko doesn't know how to reciprocate Jakob's increasingly stolen glances at him. Something that he likes. They end up kissing one day but Ma

Drei (German) [Three]

This German film had a very interesting story to tell. We all have seen plenty films on adultery even when both husband and wife are cheating but this one has a very very interesting twist. German gay themed films can be hit or miss. They are very unpredictable but at least they are not outrightly bad and unbearable. This one was a fun watch. It had the right amount of tension, stress, sex and a story to tell. Doctor Hanna and Art engineer Adam have been together for about 20 years but they have not married yet. Of late they realize that they are maybe getting a distance between them and their sex life is far from being satisfactory. But they never talk about this and it is just a big elephant in the rom. They even sometimes do things on their own thereby giving each other enough space. In such an environment, Hanna meets Simon who comes to the hospital for some grant on a research. After a rocky meeting, they accidentally meet a couple of times and begin having a sexy torrid affair.

Quelques jours de répit (French) [A Few Days Of Respite]

Sometimes, a stillness in a film is all it needs to tell a heartfelt story. It does not have to be heavy on dialogues. I mean they help, of course, but sometimes you just have to let the viewers sink into the characters and their life and miseries. The film shows what 3 individuals go through in their heart, their pain, their heartache and longing and also some decisions that you have to take in life even unwillingly. A middle aged gay couple, Mohsen and Hassan flee Iran illegally to France to avoid a death sentence. They find themselves in a small village in France. They decide to travel separately for safety reasons. Mohsen, who speaks French fluently, meets an elderly Lady Yolande on the train and they strike up a conversation. In a spur of moment, she offers Mohsen a job in her house to paint. They both need extra income, so they stay in the village in a cheap hotel and Mohsen goes to work while Hassan stays in the hotel. The next day since Yolande is out, Mohsen takes Hassan to h

Como Esquecer (Portuguese) [So Hard To Forget]

This Brazilian film is an honest portrayal of a woman, consumed with grief, taking baby steps to get her life back in shape after the loss of her partner. This film could easily have been a story of a man or a straight couple even, but I am glad that the film makers did not decide to go through the regular route instead focus on a lesbian aspect. What is most fascinating that even though the lead character happens to be a lesbian, that is not the story focus of the film rather than it is on her individuality. Julia is 30 something professor in college. She has just lost her partner Antonia of 10 years in an accident. It seems that she has now completely lost interest in life and is completely overtaken by sadness. Any slight memory or sound makes her even more sad and she is almost on the verge of depression. In comes, Hugo, her long time friend whom she helped and was there for her when he was overcoming loss of his partner. Hugo decides that it is time for both of them to move on an

The One

I absolutely loved this film. There are more than one reasons why I did. The story is very close to my heart and it was handled so beautifully. Not once did I feel bored in the film or wanted it to end. It might not have the highest or best of the production values but it was 100 times better than the usual crap US cinema throws at us in the name of gay cinema. The story is pretty simple actually, something you have seen before quite a few times but the treatment is very different here and so many surprises thrown, it is just too good.  Openly gay Tommy, reconnects with his old classmate from college Daniel in a sports bar. Tommy always had a thing for Daniel and surprisingly one that day they end up sleeping with each other. Tommy is happy but soon Daniel announces that he is engaged to Jen and will definitely marry her. Daniel has a perfect life with perfect job, parents, career and soon to be wife. He cannot screw that up. Tommy is now head over heels in love with him. He also happe

Órói (Icelandic) [Jitters]

Jitters is a coming of age drama set in Iceland. This film is like watching a group of teenagers through a secret camera and following the happenings in their life. The incidents can be positive, tense, romantic, eye openers or whatever but it does provide a fun , positive look at today's youngsters focussing specifically on Iceland. This is a group of trouble proned friends lead by Gabriel. On a 3 week English Immersion trip to Manchester, he shares a room with Marcus who is free spirited. He brings some character in life of Marcus and on their last day, they share a kiss. It is a short lived romance as it ends when they both come back home. They do keep sharing text messages though. Friends and family notice a change but he decides to keep a secret. We also get to know the lives of all of his friends. His best friend is having troubles with his girlfriend. He wants to score with her but she is not so easy to budge. We also have Greta, who just cant live with her mother anymore

The Perfect Family

I dunno why but I have always liked well made films on dysfunctional families. This one falls in the same category. And when the film mixes comedy and religion which makes people sit up and take notice, laugh and think at the same time, the director and the writer's job is well done. The film was house full for the only screening in the LGBT film festival and it was very good to see a good mix of men and women to enjoy this thoughtful, hilarious and poignant comedy.  Eileen is a god fearing woman who is all about Church and being catholic. She has devoted her life to this. This effort is noticed by the parish and she is nominated for the 'Catholic woman of the year' award which suddenly becomes very important to her. All the work she has done so far definitely vouches for her being the right winner but she faces a hurdle when its the time for interviewing he family with the bishop. She is now finding out that her perfect daughter Shannon is lesbian, is 5 months pregnant and

I Am (Hindi / English) [Documentary]

I am so glad that I did go to watch this documentary film in the ongoing LGBT film festival in Philly. This was such an eye-opener in many different ways. There is no way that this film will not touch your heart. You will be able to connect with the film in some way or the other. It gets emotional too at some points. If you are like me who can certainly relate to few of these incidents shown in the film, you will love it. I was so glad to see the director getting a standing ovation after the screening. She deserves every bit of it. 'I Am' chronicles the journey of an Indian lesbian filmmaker Sonali Gulati who returns to Delhi, eleven years later, to re-open what was once home, and finally confronts the loss of her mother whom she never came out to. She starts hr journey wondering how her mother would have reacted after knowing t he truth about her only daughter's sexual identity. In the process she also meets, discusses and interviews various other gay. lesbian and transg

The Love Patient

The unanimous reaction after most of us walked out after the screening of the film was 'It was so bad'. A few of us looked at each other and remarked how could this film have been in the top 10 favorites of the festival committee but then hey everyone has their own choices. But it seemed like most of us belonged to the category where they questioned this American indie comedy. The story of a self centered executive who will go to any lengths to win his ex-back just did not go well with me and quite a few others.  Paul, an ad-executive now realizes after almost a year of breakup that he might have lost something very good with his ex Brad. Since Paul is a self centered man who just thins about himself, and is not used to losing, he wants to win his man back. Brad on the other hand is now dating another colleague Alex who is bisexual. Paul comes up with a plan with his doctor friend Burt. Burt needs a lot of money to save his clinic which Paul offers to give him if Burt plays alo

Blackmail Boys

The best thing according to me of this film was that no one had a gym perfect body and your 2 main protagonists were your usual run of the mill guys. There was nothing out of the world with them be it look wise, body wise or talent wise. This is what makes it more believable. But why are directors hell bent on shooting a film guerilla style where camera is shaking half the time. I understand your passion to show the proceedings as realistic but dude, it gives the audience a terrible headache. Sam and Aaron have been in a long distance relationship for over 3 years now. Aaron lives in Chicago. Since he has monetary problems, he soon starts hustling in his apartment which I guess is ok with his boyfriend Sam. One day Sam decides to pay visit to Aaron and they have a good time. When one of Aaron's regular good payer client comes, Sam recognizes him as the the famous author Andrew Tucker, anti-gay activist who uses social networking sites to spread his message to teens. He is pissed

La Robe Du Soir (French) [The Evening Dress]

We have all gone through the teacher crush phase in our life. It is a sweet memory that we cherish when we grow up and just laugh in a silly way about it. But when the crush becomes borderline obsession, this is when an interesting story starts to build up. The theme of the movie sounded interesting and I decided to go and watch this film in the ongoing Philadelphia LGBT film festival. Juliette is a 12 year old young teenage tomboyish girl. She has huge crush on her French grammar teacher Hélène Solenska. Actually most of the class has that. Hélène might be old but she has amazing dress sense. She is witty, humorous, popular and takes pleasure in giving lessons in life and love to the class specially to the boys. Since the boys get all her attention, this makes Juliette a little bit jealous. What particularly bothers Juliette is the special attention that Adrien gets in the class. He is the most good looking boy n the class and gets most attention from Hélène. Now Juliette starts beco

Leave It On The Floor

Let me first say that I thoroughly enjoyed this film today. Initially I was 2 minds about whether to watch this film or not in the film festival but since I had nothing better to do, I decided to go for it and I am o g;ad that I did. This movie had pretty much everything that I like: BBW, ghetto accent, black attitude and lots of mmm hmmm... The audience and also me were laughing so hard in some of the scenes, it was just he perfect way to end my day today. The film is all about African American ball culture to which I recently was introduced and it was exciting to get to know more about it through this film.  Set as a musical, film starts when a young man Brad is thrown out of his house by his mother soon after she discovers that he is gay. Not that there is any love between the mother and son anyway. Now living on the streets, he meets Carter in a pickpocket incident. SOmething about him attracts Brad who follows him to a club which turns out to be a ball club. Once there he is sedu

Judas Kiss

Wow!! I guess I have been so busy that I haven't had time to watch too many films but here I am back and plan to watch a lot more films in the coming days. I just came back from the opening night of Philly LGBT film festival and saw this film. It is very hard to say at this moment whether this film was the right film to open the festival or not because unless I watch some of the other films, it will be very hard to compare. But still it was a decent effort. The story line is definitely very novel and I must admit, I could not have thought of it but not every story turns out well on screen. This film also defied some general logic but more on that later.  Zack is a 30 something failed film-maker. He was a wonder film maker in his college days but hollywood glamour and partying brought him from fame to dust and now he makes wedding videos. On his best friend's insistence, he returns to his college to judge a film festival for short films made by students to choose the winner for