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Showing posts from 2022

Once a Year on Blackpool Sands (UK)

Apparently based on a true story and adopted from a stage play, this film ideally should have been a story of inspiration, triumph and hope. Sadly the film keeps moving from confusion to brilliance to outright disappointment in the sense that I felt the filmmaker couldn't figure out where exactly they want to focus on in the film an din the process they address way too many sub plots that just add to the confusion. The fact that I was not invested in the lead pair at all was clearly not a good sign. The film opens in 1980s where Eddy and Tommy, in their last stages of AIDS are surrounded by friends and a friends starts tor count the story of their youth. Its 1953 and living in a close knit mining community, Eddy and Tommy have been having a secret gay love affair. These are the times when homosexuality is illegal and community gossip could be deadly for both. Eddy comes from a troubled family and Tommy and his family has always stood by for him. Once every year, the community goes

It Get's Better (Thai)

Initially this feels like a collection of three unrelated short stories dealing with issues and problems  that trans-gender people encounter in society. Its only slowly that all the pieces start to come together. The film takes a very subtle approach than in your face drama and issues. We meet Saitan, an aging trans female who is just on vacation absorbing everything. She stops in a small town and soon she is flirting with a younger guy who is himself totally enamored by her beauty and charm knowing very well that she is older and trans. IN another story, a young boy's father catches his son dressed in his dead mother's clothes and dancing. He packs him off to go as a monk to a Buddhist temple. The kid is at first apprehensive, but when he sees a handsome young monk step out of the temple, something in him stirs, and the boy goes willingly. And then the third story shows us a young man returning to Thailand from abroad to oversee closure of his dead father's bar, which he o

Upstairs Inferno (Documentary)

It is actually a shame that I had no clue about this tragedy (almost the worst mass murder of LGBTQ people) that happened back in 1973 in New Orleans. This is way before the Orlando shooting of 2016. Here, through multiple interviews of people who escaped, and others who saw the community get back together after the incident, the director recounts the story of the friendly New Orleans gay bar and the night that ended in a devastating fire. He makes us care about the victims and tries to enlighten people like me on how much of a brutal attack it was. On June 24, 1973, someone set fire to the UpStairs Lounge in the French Quarter of New Orleans killing about 30 plus people of LGBTQ community. The gay bar, known for its little theatre in the back and hosting the MCC, was crowded that evening. It was aptly named, sitting at the top of the stairs, and there was a fire escape. The large windows had bars across them to keep people from falling out when they were open. Nearly two dozen bodies

Love In The Air (Thai Series)

Coming in with strong recommendation from my friends here, I was excited to watch this show but with optimistic caution so that higher expectations don't kill the fun. I have to admit I quite enjoyed the show and the two love stories. With 13 episodes (one additional special episode is supposed to come soon, but hasn't yet and I am hoping it won't change much of my thoughts), each of about 50 minutes, the show focuses on two separate love stories divided in 6.5 episodes each. I have a few thoughts on the format and we will discuss it further. The stories actually pretty basic. Rain and Sky are best friend in architecture school. We first meet Payu, a senior alumni of same college, very famous, as expected for his looks and his work. He works in a big architecture firm and also as a mechanic and has a passion for illegal motorbike racing. They meet in a typical BL fashion unexpectedly. Payu literally forces himself on Rain and in a bizarre twist Rain declares that he will ma

It's My Party

No matter how many films you have already seen on the whole AIDS situation, there are still films that you watch and they hit you deep. The film was probably tear jerker when it came out over 25 years back and it still is important in today's context. Unlike most other films that reveal the devastation of AIDS, and many other terrible diseases, this film focuses on two people who are far from perfect. Nick and Brandon seem to be the perfect couple who have it all. Nick is an architect and Brandon a is a film director. They’re handsome, in the prime of life, share a beautiful Hollywood Hills home and have been together for eight years. Then comes the day when Nick tells Brandon that he’s tested positive for the AIDS virus. Brandon surprisingly over the next few weeks doesn't take the news very well, and everyday becomes very overwhelming, so much so that Brandon forces Nick to leave their home. Almost a year later, Nick finds out that he has untreatable brain lesions that will d

City Of Queens (UK) (Documentary)

City of Queens takes an explosive look at the real lives of eight London drag queens. To be honest, you know that this film may not have anything new to offer than quite a few other similar subject documentaries that you have seen before which tell the unfiltered gritty human truth of their lives. The real stories of abuse, attacks, past trauma dealt with through unrelenting resilience behind the glamour, fun and sharp-tongued humor that these ladies present. The inspiration behind this documentary is when the director's drag friend got beaten up on a London bus simply for existing in drag. Next day the guy decided to come back more glittery, more fabulous inspiring the film maker. The eight drag queens presented here, each have their own story, on how they ended up doing drag, what motivates to keep them going, the message they are trying to give etc. Personally for me, the one person who stood out was an Asian, brown drag who also touched upon the fact that there is even internal

Hatsu-koi (Japanese) [First Love]

This is a small little indie film that was probably made with limited budget and feels almost like made for TV film. It is a bit naughty at. A few places with a couple of sex scenes.  Tadashi is a high school student struggling / figuring out his sexuality. He is in love with his best friend and is actually called names like pansy and stuff by the schoolmates which force him to go deeper in his shell. One day while he's riding the train, he sees a gay couple and he follows them just out of curiosity. While one of them goes for his job, the other goes home while Tadashi is following him and the gets in an accident. Since the couple is not officially married, the hospital calls his mother. If not for Tadashi running to inform his partner about the accident, he would never have known. There is also a plot line about the gay couple themselves, and how they feel like they are being treated by society, and their families. The gay couple also has a close friend who sleeps around and stays

My Ride (Thai Series)

I was thinking of a word that can describe this 10 episode 45 minute each show 'My Ride' and the word that comes to mind is adorable and warm. Sure we have associated these words with some other shows before, but I think these words describe the should of the show best. Most of the characters, especially the leads exude this warmth (like a hug on a chilly windy day) and the chemistry evolution feels very natural. Tawan is a young doctor, who likes to push himself at work because he is very helpful and caring. Tawan has had a crush on a senior doctor Por ever since he saw him five years ago, but since Por was with someone else then, nothing happened. Now that Por is single, he shows a lot of interest in Tawan and pursues him relentlessly which is like a dream for Tawan. They soon start dating, however owing to Tawan's busy schedule, and somehow unwillingness to get physical with Por, the relationship is not going too smooth and Por starts distancing himself from Tawan. One d

Lembro Mais Dos Corvos (Portuguese) (Documentary)[I Remember the Crows]

Filmed in a single all-night session, this documentary is an extended interview with the filmmaker's friend and collaborator Julia Katharine, a Japanese-Brazilian trans actress-filmmaker whose insomnia keeps her awake long enough to candidly spill stories of her childhood, family, romances, desires, self-destructive impulses, and—above all—love of cinema.  Transgendered Julia decides to spill her guts in this friendly made documentary. With her charming personality, Julia talks of everything. She tells us how when she was 8, she was in so called 'relationship' with her grand uncle, which only later she realized was probably child abuse but she didn't know then. She talks about school and bullying in school and how after multiple school transfers, there was no more school left to go. She tells us how her parents meet and how her mother was always supportive and never stopped her form doing whatever she wanted to do. We see how it was easy for Julia to fall in love, we he

Johan (French)

It is so hard to believe that this film came out back in 1976. The film is so sensual and so sexually explicitly charged, that its hard to explain. Sure, there is not much from a plot point of view. It feels it was made to express the voice of but one man,  the director's,– with additional characters introduced for the sole purpose of roles occupied within the filmmaker's life.But if vintage is your thing, the film has a non stop line up some of the most beautiful gorgeous ethnically diverse men in all kinds of acts of partial and semi and full nudity. I am amazed that the film came out at a time it did. The director was planning to make, and had acquired funding for, a film about his relationship with his partner, Johan.  However, before shooting could begin, Johan was arrested on fraud charges (cashing cheques that he had stolen from their friends) and was being held in prison awaiting trial. The director instead decides to make a rockumentary film where he searches for a rep

Roommates of Poongduck 304 (Korean Series)

This 8 episode Korean series (of about 30-35 minutes each) was surprisingly a warm, charming and engaging watch. It had occasional cheesy humor, some real slapstick comedy but also love story that felt real. The love between the two leads didn't happen just out of the blue, but there is a natural progression of their friendship and relationship over a period of time. The title of the show comes from the apartment address where our leads live as roommates. Ji Ho Joon is the son of a rich and wealthy chairman of an industry. One day he gets an ultimatum form his father that he needs to learn to survive and make a life of his own and start as a team leader and show some profit in the company.  He gets kicked out and starts looking for an apartment. But he is very particular about  water pressure. When he sees an ad for roommate, he sees the house and likes everything and becomes roommate of Jae Yoon (the landlord). Next day in the office it turns out that Jae Yoon is actually an inter

Two And One (Filipino)

Made by the creators of GameBoys, this film had my attention with this knowledge. An interesting outlook on three-way romances, this film sadly has many flaws (including being unsure of where it really wants to be), but thankfully with a realistic ending and compelling performances, this intriguing storyline is still worth a watch. The duration of almost two hours although is stretching into much. Tino and Chan meet on a bus and Tino flirts shamelessly with Chan and pretty soon they become a romantic pair, in a seemingly long distance relationship. Tino has lesbian mothers and one of them returns back home after many years having left the other mother. This triggers emotions in Tino who leaves the house and together with Chan they go on a holiday. This is when they try to get sexual and realize that they are both tops and sexual compatibility is going to be an issue. They try to make it work, till Tino suggest why not go for an occasional threesome but with rules and only together. The

Love Stage!! (Thai Series)

The original Japanese Love Stage adaptation from the manga was not great in the first place. It was strictly below average, so I was kind of surprised to see why a Thai remake of it was made. Maybe there is a huge fan following of the original, but this remake had absolutely nothing new to offer. The story is sort of silly and a bit amateurish, but the charming upbeat tone is a bit of a savior. The series has 10 episodes of about 45 minutes each. University student Anda comes from a family of celebrities, including his elder brother who is lead singer of a band. He has no desire to be famous. IN fact he has severe stage fright and all he dreams of is drawing for mangas. When he was a child, he was made to dress up like a girl since the original actress didn't show up and his co-star was Ryou for a wedding commercial. Anda left a strong impression on Ryo, who harboured a crush for many years. Yet, Ryou has no idea about Anda's actual gender. Ryou is now a very popular celebrity.

Apostles (Mandarin / Cantonese)

If you have been following gay films for as long as I have, I bet you have come across the name SCUD before. He is an experimental film maker from Hong Kong. His films are very experimental and weird (for lack of a better word), and I have personally never enjoyed his work. Sadly, not much has changed even with this film. Look, I am all up for experimentation and film makers getting freedom to express their thoughts and ideas in a manner that speaks to them, but if there is no audience fo sit and no one understands what you are trying to say, then is it worth it? In “Apostles,” a scholar claiming to be an apostle to Socrates and Plato, finds it hard to face his end. With the help of his wife and his ex-partner’s family, he recruits 12 young men to come to his secluded manor to pursue the exploration of death. Philosophical discussions aside, the practices encompass climbing the volcanic summit of Mt. Fuji, bondage, sexual activities, and even living sacrifice. Throughout it all, these

Silent Pioneers (Documentary)

Contrary to the public stereotype of a youthful homosexual community, gay men and women do grow old. Silent Pioneers presents an upbeat focus on the lives of these people today, showing them living full and diverse lives and sharing concerns on ageing, health and housing, with other senior citizens. It also considers how support networks within the gay and lesbian community have enriched and strengthened their individual lives. The documentary takes us through many conversations and chats and interviews where these elderly gay folks share their experiences growing up at a time when many homosexuals considered homosexuality shameful, of their efforts to make peace with their deepest inclinations and their responses to changing times. It is a diverse sample that includes a male couple who have been together for 54 years, a black great-grandmother, a former Catholic monk who has become a rancher, a German Jewish refugee from Hitler. Every single one of these people found their way out of

Beneath The Shadow (Japanese)

This arthouse film felt too obscure for its good. Unfolding the story of loneliness of our lead character, the film just doesn't go anywhere. There were so many places that I felt that something substantial will happen now, but it just didn't move. I mean, a lot is happening, sure, but this sombre film should have. Emotive to go somewhere. And at over 2 hours of length its too much of a commitment for it to eventually not lead anywhere. Konno, is a single (gay) man in his early 30s, is quiet, introvert. He is content in his monotonous life and daily routine at his work. Things change when he meets his co worker Hiasa, a rebellious guy. A man shrouded in mystery who doesn’t seem to have much regard for societal conventions. The duo start to bond over drinks and fishing. You can tell that Konno desires Hiasa but you see no such thing form him. One day Konno is shocked to discover that Hiasa suddenly quit his job at the company one day. The two of them don't stay in touch afte

Love Beneath the Stars (Filipino Series)

This 6 part series is the sequel to the much loved Filipino movie 'The Boy Foretold By The Stars'. I actually remember enjoying the film and had been looking for this sequel ever since I heard that there was something in pipeline. Not sure why this was made in a series format, but the characters, the soul and heart of the show is exactly same way as its predecessor. But at about 30 minute each, the overall length of the show is pretty reasonable. The story picks up from where the original left off. Dominic and Luke are entering a new phase of their school life. They have decided to trust in their love, even agreeing to attend their grad ball together as each other’s date. However, their romance will take a huge turn as, one by one, major issues arise that will test their love, as predicted by the fortune teller. Being in love in an all boys religious school is not going to be easy. After a few hiccups in terms of jealousy and friendship, the biggest hurdle comes when it comes t

A Slice Of Terror

This a queer anti-bullying horror movie can be best described as the porn horror genre in which almost last 30 minutes or even more is just porn. The acting and the direction of the film was so bad; even college students can make better movies for their project than this weirdness. Do not let a sexy inviting poster fool you. Zaffo is a geeky, part time high school janitor and pizza delivery boy. He is bullied by the high school cool kids, other employees, and even the pizza clients. According to his insecurities and sexual fetishes , the worst bullies are a group of high school jocks. During a particularly fraught incident, the high school coach catches the jocks mid-bullying and lines them up against the wall for a dressing down laden with homoerotic tension. Despite the coach’s punishment, Zaffo exacts his own revenge by kidnapping a bunch of the boys, hypnotizing them and forcing them to perform sexual acts on each other against their will before he covers them in cheese and kills t

Required Field

Todd Verow should just not make films. Just like many of his previous films, this film is an utter waste of timed self indulgence in the name of art. It feels like a random travel vlog with sex scenes thrown in between for good measure. Serial killer ‘NO1KNOWS’ managed to elude the police for years. In fact they didn’t even know he existed until, by chance, his video and audio recordings were found. By examining the recordings police were able to solve a number of murders around the world - although many men featured in the recordings were never found and it is unclear how many other victims there were since most of the video and audio recordings were destroyed (presumedly by NO1KNOWS himself). This film had absolutely nothing to look forward to. Had I not read the synopsis online, I wouldn't even understand what really is going on here. It is classic example of sheer waste of money, resources to waste audience's time. A self made video dear, this is something that the director

Man On High Heels (Korean)

This 2014 film had an interesting premise and an entertaining take on modern masculinity with some world class action. The story of a tough transgender detective whose tangles with the mob jeopardise his plans for a sex change operation seems very good on paper and honestly, it is to. Great extent. But there are so many unanswered things in the film that I felt lost at few places. Also in a lot of places the motives and actions by a few people are quite questionable. Yoon is a no nonsense cop who is known for ruthlessly taking down criminals with violent methods, famous for his fighting skills and general manliness. However, Yoon hides a secret from his admiring colleagues, struggling with his gender identity and having long nursed a desire to become a woman. He has bene trying to save money to his operation. But things are not same when he launches a crusade against a criminal which lands the mob boss in hospital. His brother decides to take matter in his hand and a cat and mouse game

Au Delà de la Haine (French Documentary) [Beyond Hatred]

This documentary reminded me so much of the whole Matthew Shepard story in the US. Somehow I wasn't familiar with this story that happened in France in 2002. Three French skinheads happened upon Francois Chenu, a 29-year-old gay man and beat him viciously to death. With no explaining voiceover, this French documentary plunges us into the grief of Francois' father, mother, and sister "730 days after the murder." They are still having a hard time coming to terms with the loss of Francois and the violent and senseless way in which he died. The documentary arrives at essential truths about suffering and loss through abstract means. At a coffee shop, François’s sister relives the day she told her parents about her brother’s death. But the mother corrects her, probably with a hint of bitterness that suggests resentment for not having learned of her son’s death first or, more likely, an attempt to compensate for the fact that she will never know the full extent of what her s

Cherry Blossoms After Winter (Korean Series)

This 'mushy' Korean love story surprisingly is the kind of BL show that I like and prefer to watch. No unnecessary drama, no unwanted side characters who are thrown in just increase the show duration. Here the focus sin on the leads, their love journey, how they get together snd ultimately the love wins. And at 8 episodes of about 25-30 minutes each, this was a very easy watch. Sure, the love angle may seem a bit to mushy to some, but I actually quite enjoyed it. Xxx became orphan as a child and was adopted by his mother's best friend, who treats him with love and kindness. She has her own son Tae Seong who is similar age and the two kids form a close bond and somehow grew apart over years despite living in same house. Tae Seong is now a handsome and very popular school student in the last year whereas xxx is timid and gets bullied by other students. In the school final year when they eventually happen to share the same class, Tae Seong finally witnesses xx being bullied an

Leçons de Ténèbres (French) [Tenebrae Lessons]

What an absolute bizarre film (or was it a documentary?). The version that I saw either had some really bad subtitles, or it had the kind of English that made absolute no sense to me. It was extremely poetic using words that just didn't make sense together. Given that the film is supposed to be a homoerotic journey through a modern day Caravaggio painting, I'd have to say the dialogues were meant to be artsy. Maybe they make more sense in local language, but in language I ket scratching my head on what really is this film trying to say. The plot as per online resources is this. Set in three geographically distinct chapters that take place in Naples, Utrecht, and Rome, this drama follows the wanderings of a middle-aged man as he mopes his way through the sex clubs, concert halls, bars, and streets of Europe. Voice-over reflections on love, art, and death are abundant.  In a cross between a diary and a baroque play the film reconstructs the fragments of a fateful journey against

NR. 47 - Season 2 (Swiss German) (Web Series)

Nr. 47 is a Swiss web series with four seasons. No. 47 refers to the address of an apartment block in Bern where several young adults live. The series shows her life and addresses the concerns and fears of young people in their early 20s. Over 3 seasons it takes one individual and tells the story from their point of view. There is a gay storyline in season 2 of the show which focuses on Dominic, a closeted gay rapper over 5 episodes. Someone posted the edited version of all scenes including Dominic and I am glad I got to see the high level love story of Dominic without having to sit through details of all 4 seasons. Dominic is closed, unapproachable and often follows his thoughts over texts. He is a rapper, part of a band and lives with his friend. He has not yet revealed to his friends and family that he is gay and he is also trying to keep this secret to himself. So far, this has also worked well. But things change when one day he meets Tim, a bartender at the place where Dominic goe

My Secret Love (Thai Series)

I will be repeating myself for like the hundredth time saying that this is a series that could have been wrapped up sooner. In fact the show had a perfect story and a conclusion in Episode 7. The makers could have easily ended the show right there and it would have felt justified, but they go on stretching the sho w introducing complications, misunderstandings, time jump etc. I am not sure what the fascination to make shows of at least 12 plus episodes. This one was also 12, each of 45-55 minutes. Beside the mandatory main couple here, the show focuses on three more love stories there by making it slightly more watchable. Kim is the president of student council running an initiative against hazing with his 2 closest friends and is determined to make it a success. Then , we have Mek, a senior tin same university famous for making prank videos with two of his friends. Mek even pranks Kim, which doesn't go down too well and he threatens disciplinary action. In an attempt to sabotage h