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Showing posts from March, 2019

Falling For Angels (Web Series)

When you star watching this 6 part episodic web series from Here TV, you feel like this could easily have been 6 separate short stories, but they eventually all merge in the last episode. The biggest beauty is of the show is that it puts queer me of color at the center-stage. The common thread binding them all is LA and the 6 stories focus on 6 different neighborhoods of LA telling stories of a diverse, politically-active patchwork of gay and queer men as they fall in and out of love. Lasting at about 22-30 minutes each, they do manage to hold your attention. Ep 1: Boyle Heights A successful Latino lawyer has forgotten his latin roots until he encounters a fiery and sexy activist who brings about a cultural awakening. The coconut finally peels the layers. Ep 2: Koreatown A young Taiwanese-American man begins to have a different understanding of his heritage after meeting a Korean-American adoptee. Ep 3: Leimert Park A young African-American poet struggles to define what it me

Daayra (Hindi) [The Square Circle]

I had been trying to get my hands on this film for a long time now. Actually ever since the movie came out in 1996 but was never officially released in the country. Thank you to the wonderful person, because of whom I finally managed to see the film. If you can somehow manage to ignore some inconsistent direction and discontinuity, you will actually be pretty surprised at the bold concept of the film. This is not strictly gay but the story of an unusual friendship, journey and love between a transvestite dancer and a gang raped woman who begins to dress up like a man. A village girl is kidnapped on the eve of her wedding. She tries to run away but gets gang raped by 3 men. She meets a transvestite, an outcast, who has body of a man but is truly a female from inside and dances in villages to make ends meet; who ends up taking her under her wings. On the insistence, the girl decides to cut her hair and start dressing like a man and that would be the only way for her to survive. Henc

Gay Short Films : 62

Mi Hermano (Spain [My Brother] The news of his brother's sudden death forces Alberto (minus his boyfriend Nick) to come back to his oppressive hometown in Spain from Berlin. Only after arriving he finds out hat his brother committed suicide for not being supported by friends or family for being gay. Its time Alberto share his own secret. Gay Dude (USA) A funny short showing a guy coming out to his best girl friend. Cerrojos (Spain) [Locks] A very weird film where a guy is obsessed with his roommate and his anal bleeding. I felt he was also getting schizophrenic. The movie was long, weird and boring. Room Closet (USA) Teenagers Rafael and Dan explore the nature of their friendship when one of them shows signs of feelings that go beyond friendship. The Cream (France) A young man runs through the woods when he suddenly finds a man smearing a gel on his body. The boy will be surprised and trapped by the sensuality of the moment. Its a weird yet funny really sh

The Third party (Filipino/Tagalog)

A romantic comedy film, this film has a very interesting premise when started but somehow somewhere in between, I felt the makers were confused as to what genre did they really wanna focus on. It was primarily drama but the comic scenes or dialogues were thrown in at random places, and I as an audience was quite confuse as to what mood should I keep while watching the film. Max and Andi are a couple in college, but when Max decides to go to US for medical studies, she decides to break up with him because she doesn't believe in long distance relationships. 5 years later when he comes back home, he reaches out to Andi increasing her hope of getting back together but all her dreams are shattered when Max introduces her to his boyfriend, a fellow doctor Christian. Max convinces her that he i snot sure of he is gay but he knows that he loves Christian. 2 years later, the film gets in current time when Max and Christian have been together for 3 years and Andi is still struggling to

Tinta Bruta (Portuguese) [Hard Paint]

A melancholic film about a troubled young adult who is shy, hates going out of home and has troubles connecting with people and making friends. He is awkward and withdrawn but at night he is sexually provocative webcam dancer for gay men. This film is mostly about loneliness and yearning for company and love. There is a lot of social context from the point of view of the town of Porto Alegre where this is set in when apparently a lot of people are moving out. The film is divided in 3 chapters: The first one is dedicated to his sister Luiza, who so far has been his companion and support for everything. And now she is moving to another city for better prospects leaving our protagonist Pedro alone. An already awkward Pedro is happy and very sad for being left behind but hopefully through his webcam dance shows he will keep busy. Pedro's speciality is that he uses glowing neon paint on his paint while performing shows for his audience but soon he realizes that his audience is redu

Puoi Baciare lo Sposo (Italian) [My Big Gay Italian Wedding]

I absolutely loved this film. When a film manages to keep a constant smile and feel-good emotions inside you throughout its runtime, it already has done its job to a large extent. And to top that, me laughing out loud in a couple of scenes was just icing on the cake. It takes a lot to make me lose my inhibitions and loud out loud, so in that department, this film was a total winner. Yes, this is not a path-breaking cinema, but with right mix of comedy, emotions, family and drama, this film is something that everyone would like and enjoy to watch. Oh! and did I say how beautiful the town of Civita is. Antonio is in a very happy relationship with his boyfriend of three years Paolo. Just before visiting his hometown for Easter, Antonio proposes Paolo. Antonio has a female roommate who he is good friends with and they just get a new room mate , an older man who has discovered his happiness for cross-dressing. The 4 of these travel together as a group now to celebrate easter with Anton

At The End Of The Day

Only if thing and people were so easy and simple, life would be so much better. This movie comes with very very good intentions and to a large extent addresses a lot of issues that it wants to focus on (thankfully it doesn't go all over the place); but ending is so convenient, but religion in every country is so powerful, that this could be a mere wishful thinking. Dave is a young teacher in a very Christian college, who has string resentment against LGBT people, even more stronger since his wife left him for another woman. He is asked by his dean to go check out this group of outcasts, who are in the process of trying to purchase a property that the college also wants to acquire. When Dave finds out that it is an LGBT group, he is initially shocked but continues to visit thereby getting exposed to a very loving community of individuals and what are their challenges. He meets Samantha, a straight girl and activist helping this group for this property, whose brother was brutall

Ka Bodyscapes (Malayalam)

I had heard of this film so much, that I was very much looking forward to watching it. Created in Indian subcontext of Kerala state, this film was in news for long struggling to get itself a decent release in the home country. The film touches upon various subjects and pubic debates but in the end, IMO, fails to properly raise a message against any of these issues. There are two parallel stories here. Haris is an artist, photographer and painter and is gay and proud. His best friend Vishnu is his muse and model. Vishnu is staunch hindu and besides regular fooling around between roommates doesn't think much about Haris's affection though is close to kissing him a couple of times. One of Haris's close friends is Sia who belongs to a very conservative Muslim family. She is a rebel who wants to make a place for herself and other women and raises a voice against her employer when a woman is humiliated for having her periods. Of course neither goes down well and Sia struggle

Plastic Boy (UK)

This film was shot on an iphone with a budget of approximately 5k pounds. Unfortunately, that shows, and by that I don't mean production quality but I mean lack of investment in a properly flushed out screenplay that could have done justice to a decent story idea. I believe, this film is intended to be a comedy but not once did I feel like even smiling, forget laughing. On the contrary, I did find myself rolling my eyes quite often. The story is about Sam, a guy probably in late 20s, who clearly is bored at his job and doesn't even try to do something about it. His room mate is his best friend Zoe, who constantly reminds him to get his life together. All Sam cares about is two things: first getting attention of one of his co-workers (a cute guy), and the other, somehow getting together back with his ex-boyfriend, who constantly keeps inviting Sam for sex. Zoe and Sam soon find themselves drifting apart. And they both lose their apartment as well. A tiny prospect of having to mo

My Brother's Shoes

This film is another one of those independent film trying to tackle a "new" theme in the gay world. Sadly, not every idea turns out right. And it has nothing to do with low production values. It is mostly to do with poor acting and not a good direction. We have seen some really funny movies that involve such a thought but sadly this one doesnt come close at all. Primary story is around two brothers: Austin is younger, gay and is struggling for love and making his ends meet. His dream is to won the miss diva beauty pageant. Elder brother Dallas, is supportive but not completely used to with Austin being gay. He is stressed at work and at home he is trying to have baby with his wife. Each brother thinks the other “has it so good.” By a strange twist of fate, they switch places. They know they have switched but no one else realizes this. Only person, who believes the story is Jackie, who is Austin's best friend. Now Austin needs to save his brother's job and his fam

Paper Boys (Web Series)

This series premiered with 6 episodes on Dekkoo, each of about 15 minutes in duration. So it was an easy pleasant watch. The series is nothing out of the ordinary but it a nice slice of life episodic watch with a twist (a good one). Cole arrives in SF from NYC to attend the engagement party of his best friend Darren. Trying to save money, he is staying with Darren and his fiancé Rebecca. Cole has not been completely honest with Darren about his visit to SF. He has actually moved out of NY and is looking for a job. We soon find out that one of the reasons he did that was perhaps to get closer to his ex-boyfriend Max. The first night Darren Darren confides that his engagement was an accident and asks Cole to help him tell his fiancée Rebecca that he doesn’t want to marry her. Following one incident after the other, Cole soon realizes that whatever sketches he has been making, they are coming true. Using his power of sketches, he and Darren think that maybe they will be able to overc

Dear Ex (Mandarin)

On the surface, this film seems like yet another film about conflicts. But this is so much more than that. It is a dark comedy, an emotional roller coaster, where things are not really black and white. Given the nature of the story, you will struggle to take sides. You are supposed to, given that nature of the film, but you will be able to appreciate why the individuals did what they did. In fact, this is a very very emotional film about love. It talked about boundary between hate and fear. By the end of it, I had a lump in my throat by the overall story line and how beautifully and emotionally some of the scenes were handled with the dignity they deserved. Liu is angry and bitter that her husband left her and their son for another man Jay. Now that he is dead, she finds out that Jay is the beneficiary of his insurance money and demands that he return that money for her son's future. Jay is a young hippy-ish man who is spending his time attempting to direct what appears to be

Vergot (Italian) (Documentary)

These days when everyone is trying to make a realistic film, it took me 5 minutes to realize that something is off in this film. It was NOT a feature film, rather it was a documentary. duh! I felt stupid. Maybe it was also a bit of dramatization but I am not sure. The story is primarily about 2 brothers living in a farmland. Alex and Gim are brothers and love each other very much. Their farmer, belonging to a family of farmers, is very rough and exuberant. Life in hills is hard and people are who they are. When Gim tells his family that he is gay, things dont go down so well with his father, who self-admittedly says that he would have killed Gim three years ago, without even giving a second thought but could not since he is his son. This is where Alex finds himself stuck between modern changing world and supporting Gim, while also trying to change his father's attitude. In such an exasperated context is hard to recognize the love hidden behind. The father eventually comes arou

Al Berto (Portuguese)

So, I did not know anything about the film when I started watching it. It felt as if it seems like a true story, a biopic of sorts, with scenes moving along at a fast paced. It felt, as audience we were supposed to know the context of the area and the times. Thirty minutes into the film, I decided that I need to read a little bit more about the film before I continue to watch. And I am happy I did that because suddenly the film started making a lot more sense. Al Berto is one of Portugal’s best-known poets and the film focuses on his youth immediately after the Portuguese revolution of 1974. in 1975, Al Berto decided to return to his childhood town of Sines as his base to become a writer after spending time in Brussels. He stays in his family mansion which was seized by authorities during revolution and is now empty. Once there, he starts befriending like-minded individuals who are into poets, arts, eccentricity and sexuality. He meets João Maria and the two men have an instant co

Hazlo Como Hombre (Spanish) [Do It Like A Man]

I am seeing a gay comedy after a long time and it felt good to laugh. Yes, the activists would feel hurt about stereotypes and that this is regression but you have to remember that you are watching a sort of satire. The film opens with a warning that opens with a mock advisory warning that its protagonist displays behavior that should not be repeated at home. And that pretty much sets the mood. And to top of it all, the film is not about gay love, but its about friends and friendship and how strong these bonds really are which can't easily be broken. Raul, Santiago and Eduardo have ben best of buddies since childhood and have led a very happy and "masculine" life. Raul is married and is expecting a baby soon but confides in Santiago that he actually sleeps around with other hot women but justifies that sex and love is different. Santiago is engaged to marry Raul's sister Nat, who complains that they havent had sex in the longest time and is a bit of a nutjob. Edu

Aus der Haut (German) [Shed My Skin]

This decent little German film is not path-breaking but is definitely a film that holds your attention. Its far from perfect but there is something relatable especially for teenagers who are going through their usually growing up and identifying themselves phase. Sure, it does handle some topics in a very cliched way and by the end of the movie, you are slightly puzzled as to what's the message that this film is trying to give, but does it always matter? Milan is a 16-17 year old teenager who has a crush on his best friend Christoph. One evening while getting drunk, Milan kisses him which freaks out Christoph. Afraid of what just happened, Milan gets into his parents car drunk for an attempted suicide but is thankfully saved. We find out that Milan has history of drugs, depression, aloofness and possible suicidal tendencies. Things are not easy at school when Milan is now completely snubbed by Christoph. One evening, Milan has a chance meeting with an older guy who he later ha

Curious (Australia)

This movie was simply soft porn and nothing else. There is no way you can get around to defending this film in anyway. Beth and Ryan are engaged but a fight leads to them wanting a break Ryan is passing through a gay bar and curiosity gets the best out of him. Next one hour is spent on multiple sexual encounters filmed in much details that Ryan has with various people inside the club, thereby making him realize what he truly wants. Beth and Ryan become best friends. Trust me, there is absolutely nothing besides what I just wrote here, The sexual encounter scenes with Ryan sniffing poppers way too extended that it makes me feel this was an extended audition for porn films. The acting was poor and there is absolutely no point in making this film. Completely avoid. The half star is just for Ryan's good looks. (0.5/10)

Beneath The Skin (Canada/UK)

Low budget amateurish movies can be a hit or miss. This film could have had a good potential but somewhere neither storyline nor direction was upto mark. That combined with slow pacing and random nature scenery thrown throughout tests your patience. On a brighter side, the two teenagers are good to look at :) Movie starts with we witnessing Jay getting abandoned by his Alabama parents for being gay. He is taken in his wing by a straight guy and his girlfriend who are moving to Halifax Canada to open a tattoo shop. Forward one year, and we meet Joshua, who is being shipped off to Canada from England after his mother's death to be with his biological father. He starts getting bullied at school and is saved by Jay on the streets. The two boys immediately connect and fall in love with each other. The bullying continues to an extent that Joshua punches the guys in his school and is therefore expelled. Social services decide to send him back to England. Completely heart-broken, both

Happiness Adjacent

First five minutes into the movie and I was starting to doubt whether its gonna be a big mistake watching this film and wasting my time like most trash queer films out there, but thankfully it did spring a pleasant surprise on me. It wasn't earth-shattering or game changing in anyway; but it did manage to hold my interest in the lives of our protagonists. There i a lot of improvement that can be done in this, but more about that later. Hank is now taking the week long cruise alone, because his best friend had a last minute family emergency. Aboard, he meets Kurt, vacationing with his wife. Since Kurt's wife is sea-sick, the two men hang out all the time, and there is some connection. At the end of day 1, Kurt ends up in Hank's room and they both have sex. Thankfully, the next morning is not about guilt or snubbing but taking it one day at a time. Hank is not sure, why Kurt os doing this and if he is just a vacation fling. But on the other hand, Hank is also here to get

The Cakemaker (Hebrew/English/German)

Israel, more often than not, surprises me with the films that they make (or maybe it has to do with the films that I have seen). The Cakemaker is a provocative, unexpected and finally very moving work is as unusual a love story as you are likely to find. The film is shot in Berlin and Jerusalem and very minutely shows us about love, relationships, exploring sexuality in a world where no one takes time to enjoy the small pleasures of life. The primary focus is Thomas, a reserved German pastry chef, who is content in his life. Oren, a married Israel guy frequently visits Berlin every month and they fall in love for almost a year and are pretty serious about each other. A freak accident kills Oren and Thomas is devastated. Thomas is now longing to find out details and decides to visit Jerusalem to meet Oren's wife Anat and his son. Anat, not religious herself, runs a cafe in Jerusalem but is also kind of controlled by Motti (Oren's brother) who is still strict about religion

Giant Little Ones (Canada)

On the face of it, this movie feels like just another coming of age teen drama, but there is so much more to this film. For the first time in queer cinema, I saw a story that deals with sexual fluidity. Its not about labels but about curiosity as growing up during teenage years. Its about love, friendship, acceptance and today's times. Franky and Ballas have been best friends forever and are also a part of the swim team. Ballas is older of the two and has a steady girlfriend and enough sexual experience. ON Frankie's birthday night, the boys ending up "experimenting". They both are slightly discomforted by the whole thing but Ballas completely freaks out. He spreads the news in school that Franky initiated the encounter and that he is gay. News spread and suddenly the school is against him. Its also important to know that Franky lives with his mother and sister and his father left them when he is realized he was gay; which is something that Franky doesn't wan