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Showing posts from August, 2021

The Land Of Owls

This is strictly not a gay film and definitely not a film that's for everyone. Even for me, who does appreciate offbeat films, I found the film extremely slow and boring and unsure of where it was really going. 2 couples - one straight and another gay couple come for a retreat in Catskills mountains to work on this relationship. Through questions and workshops that ask “What do you need?”, “Who are you?”, and, of course, “Why are you here?”, the couples hope to sort out their issues. We are slowly told that both the couples are dealing with sexual intimacy issues. Through these sessions they hope that amicably they will be able to accept the issues and maybe work through it. The film is just a miss mash of random things and events where protagonists are going kayaking, jogging, hiking etc. The actual sessions where the issues are handled are very limited and even in that, it never goes to the depth that I would expect for someone dealing with issues. The gay couple figures out that

Jump, Darling (Canada)

I have very mixed feelings about this film. The film got a lot pf press for being one of the last films by the older actress Cloris Leachman, who by the way is absolutely amazing in the film. But I am a bot confused as to what was the film trying to say. Is it more about coming to terms with your situation or making amends in life, or more like just a slice of life story. Russell, a wannabe drag queen, breaks up with his boyfriend of many years and moves to the rustic countryside to be with his grandma. She has been living alone by herself and is absolutely against the idea of old age home. Initially Russell's plan is to take borrow her car but something makes him stay. In the only gay bar of the area, he makes some friends and starts doing drag for some money. He slowly starts to fall for one of the bartenders and their relationship is a bit all over the place. When Russell's mother shows up, she is aghast by the idea of her son taking care of the mother but eventually realize

Red Yellow Pink (Polish/German)

This was a very odd film to say the least. Sexuality of the children and its conflicts with parents is something that is shown in numerous films and is dealt well, but here, the makers have tried to cram in pretty much everything in a small film, making it a terrible mess. 26 year old Maciej lives with his very devout catholic mother in Austria. When he heard death of his friend (who was apparently his boyfriend), he asks her to move back to Poland with his father, to which she readily agrees. The very religious mother and the open minded Jew father never got along and things have not changed. The mother is very overbearing and wants her son to get married asap. Things change when Maciej meets David through a friend and they both instantly fall in love. When she finds out, she throws him out of home and the two men start living together enjoying their life as best as they can. Soon Maciej finds out that he has full blown HIV, almost AIDS and he doesn't have too long to live. Virus

Still 2gether (Thai Series)

I am again questioning the need for this sequel (or specials), a 5 episode continuation of Tine and Sarawat story. Either it was done to damage control for some backlash about season finale or just to show how the relationship has progressed between our lovable couple. There is pretty much no story here. It more like glimpses in the lives of a few gay couple's. Tine and Sarawat are now living together and still have their great friends and supporters. They are very much in love even after one year and living their sort of domestic bliss life still very much in college. They both get an opportunity to become their respective club presidents. From their story perspective, the show focuses on how they lead their clubs to victory, while everyone in college rooting for them and their love. They do have to live separately just a few minutes away for their respective practices which just makes their love even stronger. Of course, this couple really makes just 25% of the show. Ample space

Quem Vai Ficar com Mário? (Portuguese) [There’s Something About Mario]

It took me a while to figure out whether this film is going for drama or comedy or something in between. First 20 minutes or so, I was confused. The minute I would think they are going for over the top comedy bits, something serious would suddenly crop up to throw me off. But having seen it now, It was definitely supposed to be this comedy, over the top film, full off people, awkward situations, gags, laughter etc. Mario, a writer, lives in Porto Alegre with his boyfriend Fernando. He comes from a very conservative family, who think he is out doing his MBA. When he decides to visit home, he makes up his mind to come clean to his very conservative father. He confides in his brother of his plans. But to his shock, his brother steals Mario's limelight by coming out first at family lunch table, taking everyone by surprise. The father gets upset and kicks him out. Enter Ana, a consultant who was hired by Mario's brother to help the family's beer company. Oddly, Mario finds himse

Ben x Jim Forever (Filipino)

To say that this sequel would be a major disappointment would be an understatement. This was a major disappointment because most of the story didn't made any sense. This sequel is one of the things that was not needed at all, especially when you are not even sure, what is it really that you wanna tell and show the audience. Jim is now lonely and working in a cafe. He is on a social media detox. All the friends from before like Yana, that delivery boy, lo, Bogs etc are back and frequent cafe visitors. We are not told but Ben has been missing for 6 months and no one knows what happened. Jim is still sad and can't move on from Ben not knowing what happened. The cafe owner Val comes into picture and slowly starts to ignore some friendship and passion for life and himself in Jim. Meanwhile we see that Ben is living in some village along with another guy named Roy, ho has apparently been taking care of him. Ben knows Jim is out there sad but something happened between them. Towards.

Gameboys: The Movie (Filipino)

The Gameboys series was one of the first BL series that paved way for many more similar series to come out of Philippines. Needless to remind that the series was a huge hit with its two leading actors , their chemistry, the newly stylized direction and its ability to stay within then current pandemic limitations. Naturally, I am sure , like me, many others were excited to see the film. Thankfully the film carries on from where the series left. Cairo is living temporarily for a few days with Gavreel in his house before he goes back home to his province. The newfound love between the two boys is at its peak and the boys are just figuring out how to take the next step of getting physical with each other. Out of nowhere, Terrence and Wesley (who also featured in the original series) end up coming to their house dealing with their own fights and trying to be there for each other. A surprise visit from Gav's Aunty Susan shakes things up in the house. She comes with his very conservative

Love Stage!! (Japanese)

Yes, I do understand that adaptations from manga are supposed to be over the top. By now, I have seen enough for me to get used to the over the top acting, but I can't help chuckle every single time, I see these sudden reactions and sounds that the actors make. It catches me off guard every single time. But that's just my personal issue, so let's move on from that. This film is mediocre at best. Ryoma is a famous big actor who still hasn't forgotten about his childhood crush. Ten years ago, as a kid he crushed on his co-star, a little girl, who helped him get over his nervousness. In order to meet his crush again, Ryoma arranges a re-enactment of the wedding commercial ten years later, using the same actors as the previous ad. To his shock, it turns out his crush is actually a man names Izumi, who was dressed a sa girl for the commercial. The new wedding commercial is shot and somehow Ryoma can't get Izumi out of his head, despite being very disappointed by finding

Port Authority

A heartfelt love story of 2 misfits and outsiders who are searching for a place, both literal and in the society in general. The title refers to the bus station of the NYC which is normally the first experience of the big city and how cruel it sometimes can be. In this situation our two protagonists also happen to meet here for the first time. 20 year old Paul comes to Pittsburg, natively thinking that his half-sister will provide him with a place to stay. Reality soon sets in when a guy called Lee saves him from getting beaten up in a subway ride. The two become friends. Lee helps him with getting a bed in a hostel and a job with what turns out to be an aggressive bailiff crew removing people’s possessions. Through one of the guy sin the hostel, Paul meets Wye, a charming dancer who is active in the New York vogue ballroom scene. Paul, inexplicable falls for Wye and pursues her. Its only when later he finds out that Wye is actually a trans female, he needs to fight with his own demons

Joe Bell

This is a very very very important subject and theme: acceptance of people who are slightly different to you and more importantly complete intolerance to any sort of bullying. As much as the theme is important, the subject material that the film makers have it on their hands is basic minimal. As a story idea, perfect; but as a screenplay and a full length feature film, there isn't much scope here, to be honest. Joe Bell, father of two sons, is on a mission of walking through the United States from his hometown, all the way to New York, where his son Jadin always wanted to live. Through flashbacks, we are told story of Jadin, a young teenager who was bullied at school. And when he came out to his father, how he was not there t o be his support system, when he needed him the most. Bullying goes to such an extent that Jadin ends up committing suicide. The driving father comes up with the walk mission more to give his son and also to pass on the message of bullying. Through his journey

Pray Away (Documentary)

One thing that still amazes me the amount of Christian organizations who still believe that gay conversion therapy is a thing that actually works. The fact that such organizations have qualified psychiatrists and doctors as part of their deal is equally damaging. And faith, fear and religion is a powerful tool that you can use to sway people into believing what you truly think is possible. In an interesting set of interviews, we actually meet those people who once led the charge of the whole gay conversion movement and who believed that was the right thing to do. It is a painful behind-the-scenes look at one of the cruelest endeavors undertaken by institutionalized homophobia. The primary focus is four such individuals and the documentary maker skillfully interweaves present-day interviews with archival footage of these prominent figures in the movement — all of whom have renounced their roles and are now living as out gays or bisexuals. I honestly don't know any of these folks fro

Be Loved in House: I Do (Taiwanese Series)

Time for reviewing another series from Taiwan which surprising is not from HIStory series. Although truth be told, this could have been part of the same. I don't think that series follows any specific pattern as such. The starting of this series was so well. Almost first 5-6 episodes were going alright (although pacing was still an issue), but then I don't know why and how, my interest kept dropping in the show. It felt the things were being stretched unnecessarily. More on that later. She Lei works in a workshop that makes metal accessories. The workshop which was on verge of bankruptcy is suddenly taken over by a new group and a new director, Jin Yu Zhen, shows up. He asks for a strict rule of being single and no dating, which annoys She Lei and others in the workshop including a straight couple who were just about to propose. The director also moves in the apartment that She Lei was sharing with an intern thereby forcing the intern to move out. Luckily he is taken in by Gang

Gay Short Films : 91

O Bando Sagrado (Brazil) [The Sacred Band] In the cold light of his computer, a young man makes dozens of nude photos of desire and sends them to anyone, in order to share his body and his solitude. This was a very odd film. (A)Normal (Spain) [(Ab)Normal] A trans man is struggling with letting people know the truth. One day in gym locker things get out of hand when one guy goes on and on on how guys walking around naked is not cool. Surprisingly that gives our man the courage to be himself and proud. Being Me (Korea) High school students, Jae Nam and Seo Hyun, are happy just to be together. However when accidentally one confesses his love for another, his mother asks him to move to Seoul, but true love can't be kept apart. One of the more beautiful short love stories I have seen in a while. Good actors, short story and perfect chemistry. Glances (USA) Emotionally driven story of two strangers who lock eyes in a cafe and have to deal with unexpected feelings. GUO4 (Hungary) A confro

Ngôi Nhà Bươm Bướm (Vietnamese) [Butterfly House]

A remake of the classic film "Birdcage", this Vietnamese version started off really well. But somewhere during the course it started to lose steam and I found myself losing interest, which is sad. Because when it started, Iw as really looking forward to it. Some of the beginning moments were very engaging. I was actually looking forward to it. Cuong is a gay nightclub owner who is in a vey happy and take relationship wit his husband Han who also performs as a drag queen in the club. They go through the usual couple banter throughout their day. One day their son Hoang comes home and announces that he wants to get married to his girlfriend , but his parents are from a conservative family and may not understand the whole family situation of theirs. Politely they ask Han to probably stay away from the home when she and her parents come to visit. The girl's father is a teacher in school and is up for promotion as the principal. Heart broken Han swallows his pride and decides t


I am so glad that the subgenre of trans identity is getting more and more visibility in the film world and film makers are exploring this theme from an emotional and family angle as well. Every time someone questions or tries to break free of the traditional values and expectations, the journey is never easy. This films gives an interesting perspective to that. A right film at the right time. Troy and Sally are married and their 11 year old daughter Joe. We soon see that Joe is actually transgender who identifies himself as a boy and when he asks his father to take him away from his unaccepting mother, the father-son get on a journey through wilderness and nature on a horse eyeing for the Canadian border. Slowly through flashbacks, we see what really has transpired to this event. As a kid Joe has never identified himself as a girl. The mother thinks of Joe as tomboy but the father eventually gets it when Joe has a heart to heart within one night. The father's intent of wanting his

Sex And Water (Documentary)

I feel much better after having read that this documentary was actually done as a school experiment project, because trust me when I saw this, I had all kinds of questions and concerns in my mind. The idea is actually pretty straight forward. Of the many sexual hook ups that we as gay men have, who many of those have actually left a memorable impression on you that you very clearly remember the entire situation to the complete detail. To explore this further, our documentarian interviews an older gay couple, who take him through their individual experiences in 50s as closet gay men; how they met some guys and even taking him through the details of those sexual encounters. Towards the second half, we also hear the story of how they met, feel in love and are still together. Told through flashbacks and also with dramatization of their sexual encounter stories, the documentary does make for an interesting watch, but I also feel that what is the point behind. it. We are not told why this sp

F. est un salaud (French) [Fögi Is a Bastard]

Someone has said it rightly that when you fall in love, you really can't see anything else. Love sometimes has the ability to give sense to an existence which has no meaning. Some love stories can be dark, disturbing, sexy and damaging but you ask people in the situation they will tell you a different story. This film from almost 25 years ago is one such story of first love, first sex and also how love can manipulate you. The story is simple. A young fifteen year old Beni is infatuated with Fogi, the lead singer of a rock band. When Beni confesses his love to Fogi, he takes Beni along with him on various road trips for band performance and also seduces him sexually. Beni's first love and sex with Fogi is like a dream come true and Beni is madly in love. But Fogi is a drug addict and also sleeps around. Beni, hurt initially, soon gets used to the arrangement. But slowly, knowingly and willingly (as a minor), Beni also starts getting deep involved in drug abuse. When Fogi's c

Ossan's love: Love Or Dead (Japanese)

Its all about expectations. Having just watched the show and more than enjoy it, I couldn't wait to watch some of the sequels that are being offered and was very much looking forward to it. Not that the film sequel is any bad or anything, but for me it never matched up to the humor, comedy and the silliness and goofiness of the original. Now I am even more worried of what the Hong Kong remake would feel like, whenever I get to watching it. The story Strats one year after Haruta comes back to Tokyo after spending his time in Hong Kong. A slight misunderstanding causes Maki to have cold feet about his relationship and he gets himself transferred to the HQ, just as they swoop in to take control of a huge redevelopment project. His replacement Justice is a nice distraction for Haruta, who still very much cares for Maki. But an accident leads to selective amnesia for the chief boss , who finds himself, falling over Haruta all over again. As happens in the original series, the battle to

Ossan's Love (Japanese Series)

An overtly dramatic, over the top exaggerated premise and acting; this may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I had a blast watching this show. The OTT reactions and humor is what actually makes this show special and very watchable. If this as done in a drama format, I doubt the message and beauty of the show would have gone across the viewers. This is 7 episodes of about 40 minutes each. Young, messy and goofy Haruta works for a real estate company but lacks the zest and specialty to succeed at his job. His boss Kurosawa, who is happily married, for some real develops an inexplicable attraction and infatuation for Haruta. When Kurosawa confesses his love for him, Haruta is both confused and disturbed. To complicate things, his room mate Maki, who is his age and also is co-worker is also secretly in love with him. Maki is the reason that some stability has finally come in Haruta's life. Suddenly faced with two romantic suitors, Haruta finds himself caught in a messy love triangl

Sexual Tension: Volatile (Spanish)

Wow. This was a surprising collection of stories. Sometimes that little bit of tease, sexual tension is all that takes to get one going. This collection of six stories take us through an erotic ride of scintillating experiences of men in various forms of male bonding. Ari A young man who heads to a tattooist for the first of a series of appointments to create a design on his stomach. The intimacy of having another man’s hands on him stirs things and he starts to fall for the tattooist, but does the other man realize what’s going on? It’s a neat little short that doesn’t add up to an awful lot, but certainly manages to create a sense of sexual tension. El Primo [The Cousin] When a guy visits his friend for summer, he finds himself getting attracted to his friend's cousin, whose bulge seems to be constantly on display, but tries to keep his feeling to himself. In terms of creating sexual tension, this is probably the strongest of the six and I could feel it in my bones. It intriguing

Love Mubarak (Hindi) (Short Film)

This series / short film can be a very good example and case study on why amateurish film making can sometimes do more harm than help to a subject that still considered taboo in a country like India. Nothing, absolutely nothing is good about this 45 minute short film. Story line is perfectly straight forward. Riya and Sunny are roommates. Riya's mother has been trying to setup her daughter Riya with a man for a while and enter Canadian India Roger, who is visiting India for some business. He stays with these roommates for sometime. Slowly Riya starts to fall for him, but it turns out Roger is gay too and before you know, Sunny and Roger are an item. Riya is initially sad thinking Sunny stole her man only to realize that Roger has always been the way he is. Where do I even begin on how horrible this was. Starting from really bad acting by everyone. Riya was the worst of all. And then that made up accent from Roger. I mean, it was so fake that every time hw would open his mouth, I ju