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Showing posts from July, 2021

The Other Two: Season 1 (TV Series)

Creating satire is never easy. You never know what joke may fall flat v/s when you may go overboard or end up hurting someone's feelings. To that extent, I believe that the makers of this sitcom have done a very very good job at keeping the jokes and funny situations live, funny, real and scathing. At 10 episodes of 25 minutes length, this was such an easy breezy watch. The summary is pretty straight forward. The show is about a pair of siblings Cary and Brooke, who live in New York and what happens when their 13-year-old brother has become a Bieber-sized pop sensation. Cary is struggling actor, gay and very much in love with his straight roommate who doesn't leave any opportunity of flirting with Cary. Brooke on the other hand is a former dancer with no goal in life other than to “see 50 dicks this summer”. The sibling duo is a bit envious of sudden fame by their younger brother, but they also clearly love their little brother and are protective of him in the face of a showbiz

Stranger By The Beach (Japanese Anime)

Yay! My first anime gay film. I wasn't sure what to expect, and hence I tried to watch with an open mind. Honestly, anime is not my thing, so I have to apologize in advance because my review might be subconsciously biased. Thankfully with a runtime of just under an hour, it wasn't very long to watch. Mio is a high school, recently orphaned student, who spends every night sitting on a bench by the beach. Shun Hashimoto sees him every night while working at his grandma's cafe and decides to approach him. After initial awkwardness they are able to make a very small conversation. However, Mio's reaction towards Shun reaching out to him reminds him of the estrangement from his parents after they discovered his sexual orientation. Soon after, Mio moves to mainland to study but comes back after three years as a tenant in Shun's grandma's house. Mio, honestly confesses his love for Shun, but Shun is not very sure. Although after sometime he eventually gives in. Some tim

The Family Tree (Panama)

This film seemed like a very low budget, made for TV kind of a film. I haven't seen any gay themed film from Panama, and interestingly this was all in English. The storyline seemed interesting , so with very low expectations I started watching the film. We meet Victor and Alina, who have decided they are better off as friends. To cheer her mood during Christmas celebrations, Victor hires a singing telegram to boost her spirits. We meet Roy, doing. This odd job. The trio hang for a while and When Roy leaves, he is attacked by a homeless guy. Victor notices him on the ground when he comes out to drop off Alina and brings him home. He later finds out that Roy is a British national, who came to Panama behind her girlfriend who dumped him and as of that night , he was both jobless and homeless. After some thinking Victor proposes a gay civil union between the two to keep him in the country legally. After an initial utter shock, Roy agrees and they get married. They even have sex on thei

HIStory4: Close To You (Taiwanese Series)

HIStory series is definitely one of the better series that have come out of Taiwan. The stories they show are relatable and have something new and different to show to the audiences. This is why, I am a bit surprised as to how come they approved such a show for their fourth installment. This show has definitely plenty of issues which we will talk about later. The story is about three friends Li Cheng, Mu Ren and Xing Si who work together and are also roommates. When a new employee Mei Fang joins the company, Li Cheng remembers how she was his first crush and he wants to win her back. But it turns out she is not interested at all. When he finds out that she is a huge fan of BL stories, he pretends to like his friend Mu Ren, so that he can start getting close to her. He eventually tells that to Mu Men also, who unwillingly helps him out. Meanwhile Xing Si, leads a simple docile life as a single gay man who wants to settle down. He is in closet and left home many years ago in fear of his

Run (Filipino)

Gosh! At a runtime of over 2 hours 15 minutes, this film was way too long, too melodramatic and full of overeating and dialogues that were absolutely not needed. The story idea though simple was also novel to an extent but for whatever reasons, the makers stretched a simple story way way beyond it was totally necessary. Gene is gay which makes his father, who is a military man, completely furious. He leaves no opportunity to beat up his son because of his sexuality and his mother also can't do much. She says, even if they run away, the father will get them killed because he has strong connections. Eventually, when one day a video of him is circulated in the military, his father goes to kill his son, forcing Gene to run for his life. On his run, he meets the very kind Mark, an orphan who lost his parents few years back, who lives pretty much in the street doing odd jobs. Before you know, the two fall in love and start living a very blissful life. But Gene's father is very much o

Counting For Thunder

I heard someone say that this film was more like 'counting for minutes' and I couldn't have summed it up better. Apparently, a personal story by the lead actor of the film who also happens to direct the film; but fails to really engage the audience ins hat is it that he is really trying to say here. The story is simple and straight forward. Philip is a struggling actor in Los Angeles who is called back to his home in a remote Southern town of Alabama when his mother reaches Stage 4 of lung cancer. The rest of the film is all about him reconnecting with his family including father and sister and his two friends in town; while taking care of his mother. Enter Joe, a neighbor who is in town fixing his parents home and went to same school as Philip and who suddenly starts flirting with Philip. The film also shows their growing relationship with each other, while they both know it is probably gonna be short lived. As expected the mother dies in the end but he cherishes the recon

And The Band Played On

I have said time and again that movies based on the whole AIDS epidemic are hard hitting and can sometimes be difficult to watch. This film had been on my watchlist for a long time and recently when I saw the documentary 'Patient 0'; I was reminded of it again and decided on watch on this Sunday afternoon. I cannot emphasize on how important this film and how this is a must watch film for all of us, especially considering the COVID pandemic that our world has been dealing with for over a year now. The film, adapted by the book of same name by Randy Shilts, tries to documents everything that transpired from when the first cases were discovered to the social, political and medical impacts of the whole situation in the 80s. When a few cases of an unknown disease killing gay men is discovered between SF and NY, Don Francis joins DCD in their research to find out details of what's going on. With his experience in the Ebola outbreak, he could be of help, but only slowly will he d

Selda (Filipino) [The Inmate]

By now I have seen plenty of films which are prison based where a supposedly straight guy gets protection in prison by another man in return for sexual favors and the story goes on in some direction. I am actually stating to get tired of this genre. This is one more film in the same space, albeit slightly different in its approach. Rommel is young man who accidentally is responsible for death of a young boy and is sent prison for that. He makes friends with his cell mates including Esteban a tough but fair-minded man who is considered the unofficial mayor of the cell block. Rommel is raped one day and from then Esteban sort of becomes his protector. When Rommel sees the rapist torturing another boy, he kills humbug Esteban takes blame on himself. This leads to a sexual night between Rommel and Esteban. Rommel is released soon and seven years later, he is happy living with his wife and daughter in a village farming. When Esteban is released, he visits Rommel and unofficially starts stay

Country Boy (Thai Mini-Series)

Absolutely DO NOT waste your time on this one. This is NOT a BL by any means, do not get fooled by the poster. There is only a slight hint, but only if you, like me, are looking for it. A two part mini series of about 30 minutes each, the intention was probably nice but execution is clearly very amateurish with a pale thin plot suitable for just a short story. Thankfully the performances were ok. Four friends decide to go in the countryside for a short holiday and find a really remote rural homestay to live in. The son of the owner runs the place which is going through a rough time given the pandemic. Soon the boys find out that their boy and his mother owe a huge debt to a loan shark and if not paid in time they will lose the place. One of the four boys, feels a little drawn towards the village boy and helps him redesign the homestay and even helps him monetarily to save the homestay. They become friends and promise to meet again in future. With a little tighter script could have been

Las Heridas Del Viento (Spanish) [Wounded By The Wind]

Not every subject that is suitable for a theatre play can lend itself fine as a movie. I mean, if you are trying to make a movie , then make it like a movie. Why try to stage a play in the name of movie. As an audience that confuses me, especially when its just two characters only driving the whole thing. The story is simple. David, middle of the three brothers is wrapping up his father's estate after his death. Amongst other things, he finds a box of letters which have not been catalogued, which is very unlike his father. When he realizes that the letters are actually love letters written by another man, curiosity gets better of him and he wants to go meet this man and understand why his father was leading a secret life and was he really involve with another man. He decides to meet Juan, a meeting that doesn't go very well at first. Juan then visits David to read all letters and tells him the story of how they met and all. A black and white film in today's time with only t

I Promised You The Moon (Thai Series)

I Told Sunset About You was probably the single most liked series of year 2020. I have not heard of anyone not liking the show. It was so refreshing and different from other BL shows in so many ways; so when I came to know about. This sequel, I was naturally super excited. But also part of me was nervous because plenty of badly made sequels have successfully ruined the story that we came to love so much. Teh And Oh-Aew are both students in Bangkok now studying in separate universities. After initial adjustments moving to a new city, the duo have gotten adjusted and are officially a couple. Oh-Aew has made a set of new friend, a quartet of four very friendly people, whom for some inexplicable reason The doesn't like very much. On the other hand Teh has joined a drama club which keeps him very busy with his friends Top, Khim and Jai. Top is a famous teen actor and Teh's idol. As days pass and because of their work schedule, Teh and Oh-Aew spent less and less time together. When O

Toutes les vies de Kojin (Kurdish Documentary) [Kojin]

A very novel subject for a documentary makes half the battle won. An openly gay young man in Iraqi Kurdistan who is willing to share his story on camera, sounds like a perfect subject for making a very compelling documentary to show the world a side which you would normally not get to see. Sadly, what I felt that it just touches upon just the surface and fails to go deeper into many aspects of the subjects life. The film starts with how the director over a period of time became supporter of LGBTQ people and decides to make a documentary. He was eventually able to find one person, Kojin, a 23 year old gay friend in Iraqi Kurdistan who as willing to share his experiences. The doc follows Kojin and the maker talking to multiple people in the community including everyone in the directors family, a spiritual healer who can fix any problem, a group of randomly selected men from various social statuses of life of the Kurdish community. The goal of the journey and of the film is to respectfull

Young Royals: Season 1 (Swedish Series)

I pretty much chanced upon this series totally by accident. The name sounded interesting and I was on a lookout for a new show to watch. Knowing absolutely nothing, I went into the show with minimal expectations but boy was I waiting to be surprised. As the name suggests, its about royalty in Sweden showcasing teen angst, friendship, social divide, sexuality, coming-of-age. The show is a cross between The Crown and Elite (a Spanish Netflix show, which is another total guilty pleasure of mine) and you have a show waiting to be seen. Prince Wilhelm, the younger son of the Sweden royal family get embroiled in a fight controversy, who is then sent to the prestigious Hillerska boarding school as a punishment. Its the same school where his elder brother Erik, the crown prince studied. Erik/Wilhelm's cousin August is final year student, who rules the upper-class men of this boarding school. Initially awkward Prince Wilhelm finds himself to be lost till he meets Simon, a commoner who is st

The Shortest Distance is Round 3: Fallen Flowers

Continuing with the weird trilogy of "The Shortest Distance", I am so glad that finally I am done with part 3 and won't have to deal with this again in future. Thankfully, as of now the makers have not announced any further parts; which will save all of us on this earth from the embarrassment of watching this in near future. After the first 10 minutes are used in sort of recapping bits of first two parts, the story moves forward. Haruto is now starting to have feelings for Ruka, the mysterious pole dancer from second part. In a fit of rage, Ruka ends up killing the goat man and to save him and Haruto, Shibahara asks them to go underground. Meanwhile Shibahara continues the search for Seiya (the guy who had cut off Haruto's penis). It turns out Seiya is now also taking care of the original club owner from part 1. Both of them were released after they had informed Shibahara of Aoyama's secret location. Shibahara tortures Seiya's boyfriend leading to Seiya killin

The Shortest Distance Is Round 2: Rain and Soda

First of all, this is a true sequel, unlike many sequels out there. Its deeply connected with what happened in part 1 and hence if you have not seen the original, this one would not make sense. Having said that, its very clear that the story line is really paper thin and to stretch it out for a full length feature, even lot more sex scenes have been added from the first one and many of them just for the heck of it. Aoyama and Haruto are now together. But the day they had decided to leave for good, Aoyama disappears. Enter Shibahara in Haruto's life who claims to know everything about Aoyama. Shibahara tells him that he was school friends and lover with Aoyama and taught him everything about the gay hustler life and how Aoyama came to be who he was. He also tells Haruto that Aoyama is dead since he was planning to steal the money of the gay club. He offers Haruto an opportunity to run a new club "Rain and Soda", like the one he used to work in. HE also offers one of his bo

The Shortest Distance Is Round (Japanese)

This is apparently first of the three films so far in the "Shortest Distance" series. I really don't know as of now whether this is supposed to follow a certain story or pattern or general theme. I guess we will find out. Surprisingly for a Japanese film, this has way too many kissing scenes and explicit sex scenes (of course, without showing you the genitalia) and I was quite shocked by whole of it. Despite that, its definitely not a pornographic film. Haruto is a lonely student without any friends. The new school teacher Aoyama take liking for me and they sort of become unsaid friends. One day when Haruto is sick, Aoyama kisses him shocking Haruto. He complains of sexual harassment and the teacher is expelled. Three years later, Haruto is now Yuki and is a prostitute. He gets into huge debt with his owner and runs away. He meets Aoyama , who is now homeless, who helps him with some money to pay off his debt. But since the money is not enough, Yuki's owner introduces

Adam Side Story - Roommate (Vietnamese) [Roommate Adam]

This cute little series was made by CIF-TV from Vietnam. Think of it as really amateur stuff released on YouTube, but prepared to be surprised. Keep your expectations super low and you would maybe end up laughing at quite a few places with all the absurd silliness that's happening around in this show. The series is primarily about a young gay couple with a series of really short sketches, some funny, some weird and some inexplicable ones. At 6 episodes each with 3-4 short snippets, the total runtime is just under an hour. Nom and Dang are a cute young couple living together. In the first couple of episodes we watch their cute loving romance which includes texting each other form same room and other cupid stuff like that. It's silly but cute. Things take a turn, when Nom's ex-lover's sisters shows up unannounced attire apartment and starts living with them. The outgoing Dong doesn't appreciate the situation and some hilarious events follow, which eventually make the

Nobleman Ryu’s Wedding (Korean)

I am guessing this was a historical drama given the whole noblemen, dynasties etc. But the thing is that when you are attempting to tell a story rooted in history, you have to do better research and fleshing out of not just characters. To enjoy this, you have to assume thatches is a make believe world, and as a viewer, you have to stop looking fo logic or even validity of how something like this can happen. Only if you do that, you would be able to maybe enjoy this. Nobleman Ryu Ho Seon is getting married to Hwa Jin, but on the wedding night he finds out that his bride is actually a man Choi Ki Wan, who was the bride's brother but replaced the bride as she ran away on the wedding day. Choi Ki Wan convinces Ryu to keep up his charade for the sake of family honor both sides and as soon as the sister returns, she will take back the place. Needless to say, Ryu quickly tries to annul the marriage, but looking at his ailing mother decides to stick with the plan. The husband wife just hav

The Third: Season 1 (Series)

I have always liked the whole polyamorous relationships based films and series. There is always a curiosity in that, and since Personally I don't know anyone in that space, its always intriguing to me what different aspects of a throuple would a certain show or film show. For a change this series keep referring to this arrangement as 'triad' instead of 'throuple', the more common term. One thing is for certain that arrangements/relationships like this always come with their set of problems. The story is really very simple and straight forward but its the nuances that take you by surprise. Carl and David are a married older couple. They meet Jason, a younger guy and soon enough the trip are enjoying each other's company. Jason really wants to be with them and before you know the three are in a triad. Despite warnings by his friend, Jason moves in with these folks. Keen to make things work, Jason grows concerned when he realizes that Carl and David have deep-roote

Nos Années Folles (French) [Golden Years]

First things first: This is NOT a gay film. If anything, this film is more an attempt to talk about theme of gender, sexuality and identity. At the core of it, my take is that this film is about a toxic love story. Two lovers who are very much into each other, willing to do anything but their actions eventually make the relationship quite toxic. Apparently this is based on a true story. Louis, working as a seamstress is married to Paul. For WW1 he has to leave for war, but clearly is too much for a fragile Paul. When he gets into an accident and loses one finger, he gets depressed and homesick and runs away from the infirmary. Louise hides him in her grandma's basement, since military will be looking for him to punish him. But both Loiuse and Paul get very tired of this arrangement soon. Louise comes up with the idea of having Paul dress as a woman when he ventures outside. Initially very reluctant with the idea, Paul son gets that this might be his only way and starts dressing as

The Boy Next Door (Korean Series)

This is exactly the kind of show I needed right now to watch and just de-stress myself. 15 episodes, each of barely 5-6 minutes keeps this series very crisp, focussed and most importantly very light hearted, breezy, something you can laugh and giggle with and just not take it too seriously. Some people get offended just by a mere idea when either someone pretends to be gay or people misunderstand them. But, trust me, this show is in no way offensive at all. It has ben approached with a sensitive yet humorous way, while keeping a concrete storyline in every single episode. Thanks Sailor Mann for the recommendation. Kyutae and Gijae are two awkward neighbors, who don't really get along well with each other. They have a friend Minah common between them, who is currently dating a guy, who turns out to be closet gay eventually. Back to the two boys, an accident in Kyutae's apartment, forces him to start living with Gijae. Gijae is a very messy person while Kyutae likes everything cl

Killing Patient Zero (Documentary)

Its been after a really long time that I enjoyed and liked a documentary like this one. Most times, documentaries become this very focused thing on one such subject, which I understand is the whole point of the thing, but to make it equally engaging and interesting is not easy. Based a book, this documentary is a compelling exploration of how a French Canadian flight attendant, Gaetan Dugas, came to be branded by the media as ‘Patient Zero’ and was widely blamed for bringing the HIV virus into the US. This documentary take an approach to clear his name, after his reputation was badly destroyed in Randy Shilts’ groundbreaking book 'And the Band Played On'. The film focuses on , if at all, the man should be celebrated for his continued support to CDC in helping, preventing and finding the causes and probable solution for the whole HIV/AIDS pandemic time. The doc features plenty of folks and we get to see very personal portrait of Gaetan Dugas. It first starts with the whole cultu

Candy and Kiss (Japanese)

One really good thing abut this film is that its just under an hour, so its an easy watch. Don't expect anything earth shattering from this. Its a pretty basic simple love story, with some conflict thrown in, eventually leading to a happy ending. Watch it with zero expectations and you may actually be ok with it. Maeda-kun works in a fashion store. The guy is with the lowest self-esteem you hav seen and considers himself very ugly and not worthy of love. He does have a crush on Yagii-san, who is a manager in the mall hat hi store is in. An unexpected kid from Yagii makes him think that maybe he has a chance. Much to Maeda-kun's surprise; Yagii-san confesses his love for Maeda and soon they begin a relationship with Maeda still being very awkward. Their happiness is short-lived since Yagii is transferred to another branch in Osaka for four months. Lack of confidence on himself, causes mistrust issues for Maeda while Yagii is trying his best to make relationship work. It turns ou

Enfant Terrible (German)

In the spirit of transparency, I am not familiar with the name Rainer Werner Fassbinder, a very popular avant grade film director from Germany of 70s who started in underground theater and soon jumped to film, telling sexually and politically adventurous stories of past and then-present Germany. So when I started watching this film, which is his biography os sorts, I had no clue whatsoever of what to expect. The film moves at a very fast pace. We see his earlier days in theatre, how he manages to befriend a few people dreaming of making films. He moves from different actors, characters and people while terrorizing everyone on the sets to make a movie the way he wanted it to look. We see how he was openly gay, sexually very promiscuous, a man who wanted to defy all norms of film making and a drug addict. You know that the film is not going to end well for a person with al these traits. With a life dedicated to cinema, churning out three to five films per year, a devout cinephile, promis