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Showing posts from January, 2022

Spiral (Canada)

A mystery psychological queer thriller bordering on small town horror, tis small little film had a nice story to tell but it keeps getting lost in multiple repetitiveness and a heavy handed execution that make you question shot's really going on. Which in a normal circumstance is fine, but even if by the end of the film, if the questions go unanswered, then we have a problem. Mixed race gay couple Aaron and Malik move away form the city to a quieter suburban neighborhood with Aaron's teenage daughter Kayla who feels she has been abandoned by her mother. They moved because of Aaron's job. And Malik is stay at home, freelance writer, ghostwriting the book of an advocate for gay conversion therapy. But not everything is what meets the eye. We meet Tiffany, the very sunny neighbor, her work-from-home husband and their son who is trying to befriend Kayla. And then there is a weird old grandfather who lurks around creepily around their house. Malik feels there is something off ab

Voici venu le temps (French) [Time Has Come]

This is not a gay film and if you know me, I like to make some things clear right at the onset. The reason I am reviewing it here is that our lead is a gay man who is struggling a little with choice of his love and also because this film gets circulated in the queer library. But at its heart it has nothing to do with our lead's sexuality. The film is rural, rustic and set in a time period, which I am not very sure, because just when you think everything is in early years in rural setting, you see something modern and so you are not sure what's going on. There is a group called warriors, who help lords in catching of thieves, bandits, kidnappers act in the rural towns and jungles etc. When the most wanted bandit kidnaps the daughter of a wealthy landowner, who reigns over the shepherds of the area, its time to track him down. Fogo is the lead warrior who is pretty popular for his quick results. He teams up with two other warriors with other unique qualities to team up with him.

Tropical Night (Korean)

A Korean slow, moody film set in Thailand, this film had decent story but the treatment, editing and the direction of the film leaves a lot to be desired. As individuals we all are dealing with some sort of baggage in life, some accept it and some prefer to deal with it. This film focuses on three such individuals who are interconnected and how they are dealing with a trauma that joins them. Min-ki has just arrived to Thailand to look for his brother's boyfriend Jae-hee. We are told through series of flashbacks that Min-kiss brother was harassed a lot by his seniors in military. He couldn't take it anymore and committed suicide. Min-ki believes that had Je-hee been there for his brother, the outcome would have been different. Jae-hee on the other hand is spending time in Pattaya with his sick step-brother who is soon going to die. The trio just get into a weird dynamic where Min-Ki wants Jae-hee to apologize but he wouldn't. Eventually Min-ki realizes that what his brother

Boys Night

I am new to Mattioli Productions and I don't think I have seen any of their collection of short stories before. Bouncing around from genre to genre, this stellar new collection of short films from showcases some of the most cutting edge recent gay cinema from the United States and Australia. Overall, I really wasn't impressed by any single short film from this collection. Hopelessly (USA) Darren is determined to find a connection, no matter how many people he has to go through. When his girlfriend and his boyfriend don’t have time for him, Darren goes on an adventure to find love again. Explore a day in the life of a polyamory relationship, in all its awkward beauty. Innocent Boy (USA) Off a lonely Texas highway, a group of hustlers prey on the desperados who come for sex and drugs. As the boys begin to fall one-by-one, a young trans boys finds himself caught between a cowboys lustful rage, greed, and corruption. Mass (USA) Gay, HIV-positive and lonely in New York City, Trey (w

L'homme de désir (French) [Man of Desire]

This French movie came way back in early 70s when probably showing two men get romantically involved wasn't that easy. This film takes an interesting twist and adds the paradigm to what happens when a straight married man almost takes an obsession for a young hitchhiker and what happens thereafter. This is not really gay but more of a drama and that too with some psychological undertones. But having said that I can see why mostly only gay audience might appreciate the film, if at all. Driving one day, a much married man Etienne gives lift to a young hustler and hitchhiker Rudy, who is mixed up with a gang of thugs. Etienne takes instant liking towards the young boy and brings him home with him. Surprisingly his wife, Valentine also welcomes young Rudy in their home. They both seem to have some sort of open marriage and their luscious country home provides a very sensual environment. A weird and strange relationship develops between the trip. Etienne is clearly very obsessed with Ru

The Bitch Who Stole Christmas

Ru Paul and a Christmas drag movie.. now that's something that will get most people excited. Now, I have a confession to make. I have never seen any episode of any season of Ru Paul's drag race and I have no intention of watching them either. My close friends swear by the show and always recommend, but it has not been my scene. Having said that, I did enjoy this campy, parody-is film about Hallmark kind of Christmas laced with almost 100 % drag actors in bits and pieces. Olivia works for a fashion magazine and desperately wants promotion. All her life she has always worked and never taken time off even for Christmas. Her boss RuPaul sends her on a mission to the tiny Christmas town of Tuckahoe, where it seems everyone is happy around holidays, in order to dig up dirt, smear the town’s merry reputation, and get her hands on Tuckahoe’s crown jewels. Apparently there is a series of competitions that happen around Christmas and winner team gets the crown. Olivia goes as undercover

The House Of Adam

This is one of those wanna be a thriller with supernatural edge kind of movies, but when you have actors who don't know what they are doing, and a director who is probably too much into his head, the final product is bound to be a product that's sub par. The production quality is pretty low key, the fundamentals of screenplay are missing. This is yet another unremarkable addition to the list of gay themed films that I have wasted my time watching and wondering why these were ever made. Adam works at a small town diner. Suspecting that he is robbing money, the owner asks his son Anthony to spy. But truth is Anthony has been stealing money. Very first day itself Adam tells Anthony that he is gay and he likes him. Anthony's bi-curiosity kicks in and they share a kiss. Guilt ridden father entrusts his house to Adam and soon dies. A year later, Adam and Anthony are living in this house and are lovers but Anthony doesn't acknowledge. This publicly since he is a police detecti

Hasahyan (Hebrew) [The Swimmer]

Finally a different film from the usual stories that I have been seeing of late in LGBTQ genre. A film that explores the unsaid but very prevelant discriminative tendencies in sports against LGBTQ people is something I can't remember if I have seen one. This movie shows us, in a subtle yet string way, how a sportsman learns to accept and love himself despite that. I am not sure how much of this is taken from someone's personal experiences, but it sure seems like it. 5 swimmers have been shortlisted for an elite swimming training camp. Out of these 5, only one will be able to represent Israel for Olympics. Erez is the newest member of the team, whose father is friends with the coach Dima. Erez is actually good and very son becomes a string contender, almost a given for finale. Amongst the two other string guys, Erez soon develops an attraction for fellow teammate Nevo. Nevo is from England and had no family here but there is some sort of mutual attraction, clearly more from Erez

Romeu & Romeu (Portuguese) (Web Series)

This Brazilian web series is definitely not the first one to be adapted by Romeo and Juliet for gay sensibilities, but surely I think from a web series perspective, its gotta be one of the first ones. Clocking at 10 episodes , each of about 25 odd minutes, it is a time investment and it take s couple of episodes to understand all the characters involved. Thankfully , the series doesn't imbibe all the death and tragedy aspect of the original Shakespeare story, instead it adapts it in a modern setting where you can be more hopeful of the eventual outcome. The two rival families involved here are Monteiro and Campelo families, about which the entire knows about. Their hatred for each other has been so long, that current generation doesn't even know whether hate each other. Romulo Campelo is suffering from Parkinson's disease and is openly gay and his family is very supportive of him including his elder brother Thales. In a party hosted fo this mom, he meets Ramon Monteiro and

Mia & Moi (Spanish) [Bringing Him Back]

I am struggling to tray and explain how to categorize this film . Laced with just 4 primary characters, the film is about family, more importantly the bond that a brother and a sister share with each other. We are not shared much history about any of the four characters, its all subtle and you have to sort of deduce things, but it does make for an interesting story, if not for a very slow execution. After their mother's death. Brother-sister dup of Mia and Moi decide to spend sometime in their family home in countryside. Moi is joined by his boyfriend Biel. Moi is dealing with some sort of mental, schizophrenia kind of issues and Biel is trying his best to be there for his boyfriend through thick and thin taking care of him, hoping he can being back the guy he fell in love with. The trio spend time getting rest and remembering old times and just taking things really slow in the countryside. Unexpectedly, Mia's ex boyfriend Mikel shows up one day. He is macho, a stoner and a tro

Fun Down There

This one is a pretty straight forward simple sweet (maybe) film. It doesn't really have conflicts or drama, instead it is more of a positive portrayal of a single man coming to terms about his sexuality, embracing it and a making a new life for himself in the big bad NYC. I feel like, some of this may still be true for a lot of people who come to the big city with eyes full of dreams trying to discover themselves.  Buddy, is a young man who lives with his family in Upstate New York. His sister always jokes about him being gay. One night when she discovers Playgirl magazine in his room and Buddy decides to move to NYC for sometime. ON his first night there, he has his first gay encounter by a guy named Joseph. In a sensitively handled situation. Joseph takes him under his wings and introduces Buddy to New York, get him his first room, show the gay scene, and also lecture and educate him about safe sex. He gets a job as a dishwasher in a restaurant and is pretty content in his life.

Mermaid's Jade (Mandarin)

This film was so confusing. There were a lot of scenarios and scenes put together without much of an explanation in between and the interactions and connections didn't make much sense at many places. I think I understood the basic plot but I am very sure there was a lot somewhere in between that just went above my head. Thankfully the whole Chinese fantasy genre is usually a delight to watch. We are told that there are two kingdoms: one with prince and all whatever and the other ones with mermaids (or merman's.. whatever). The regular kingdom keeps mermaids as slaves to make silk from their body among which Jade (the color of their blood) is most popular. The people, ethically, are not allowed to keep mermaids. When Yuanshan, the chief military guy of the kingdom and friend of crown prince encounters the mermaid Yixia, things change. Ideally he should have killed him but he decides to save him since Yixia saved the military guys life. Before you know the two are having a roarin

A Sexplanation (Documentary)

This is one of the better documentaries that I have seen in recent years. First things first, this is not a queer documentary by any means, but given its spearheaded by a 36 year old gay man, who is trying to understand why is America shell bent on shaming everything about sex and has been featured in multiple LGBT film festivals, I thought I should feature this here as well. There is a ton of misinformation in USA about sex—which might explain why the United States has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the developed world. Obviously, we have a lot of issues when it comes to sex. Filmmaker Alex Liu is on a mission to sort it all out by talking with researchers, educators, and Pornhub data analysts, who can give us the naked truth. As a gay man raised in an Asian Catholic household, Liu uses his personal struggles with his own sexuality to start this important conversation. We see Alex having multiple conversations with even a priest, sex researchers from Kinsey institute an

The Singing Forest

A gay love story with the theme of reincarnation. Now this is something I was really looking forward to. A love story well done is alway s pleasure to watch, and I personally am all about believing in reincarnation and past life and second life, so ideally this should have been right up my alley. Unfortunately, even though the story was quite decent, the execution was actually pretty bad to the extent that it just didn't make much sense. Christopher has recently lost his wife Savannah of 22 years and slowly getting alcoholic. But at the same time, he is also getting obsessed with the idea of past life ever since he interviewed a psychic for an article 'The Singing Forest'. He is convinced that he is reincarnation of Jo, a German resistance fighterhafged by Nazis for helping Jews. One day he gets an invite for his daughter Destiny's wedding. As soon as he meets her fiancé Ben, he is convinced Ben is reincarnation of Alexander, Jo's lover from the previous life. As Be

Kuroi gashu ~ shogen ~ (Japanese) [Black Art Collection -Testimony-]

This film was an interesting thriller. I am trying to think hard but a good queer Japanese thriller does not come to my mind. Forget good, I don't think I have seen yet. This was a good mix of mystery, thriller and drama but still done in a very typical TV movie fashion. The editing was very jumpy. Sometimes, some scenes would go on for long and other times it would happen so quick, that you on't realize what hit you. Teiichiro is a doctor with a wife and two adult kids. We soon find out that he is having an affair with a university arts male student who also makes pottery names Umezawa. Incidentally the actors wife soon joins a pottery making class where this student is her teacher. One day when a murder happens near the doctor's clinic, a suspect is taken into custody, who also happens to be an ex-patient of the doctor. But the suspect claims that he was not near the murder site and instead he was in a different area where he had met the doctor who can be his alibi. It tu

Beef, Cupcakes And Him (Vietnamese)

To be honest, I am not sure if this was aired as a film or a mini series, but I saw it as one full length feature with a total run time of about 50 minutes. We haven't seen many BL series from Vietnam but they are picking up a lot and slowly catching up. This series tries to nicely capture BL with some delicious food, but does it succeed, lets see !! Huy is a young chef lives with his sister in the city. When covid slows down, his restaurant reopens, but he is found to be laid off from the job. This is primarily because of the jealousy of the other chef. .Oblivious to they information, his mother sends his childhood friend from village, Thang, so that he could stay for a few days with Huy and help him find a chef job. When Thang knows about his job situation, he decides to leave but on his way back he gets mugged, so Huy asks him to stay back for few days. Together they come up with an idea of starting a business from home called 2B chefs and start food delivery. Soon they start ma

A Series Of Light (UK)

This is an anthology of short stories of sorts. Not sure how or why calling it a "Series of Light" makes sense or what's the idea behind it, but hey when its an anthology, little makes sense. According to the official website, this series explores the darkest sides of humanity, through technology, connection, intimacy and heartbreak. 1: Greenlight Former child star turned hearthrob, Sam desires a change of image, but is in for a dark surprise when his webcam is hacked. He is extorted from money when a video os him masturbating to gay porn is outed. Interesting story. 2: Redlight 17 year old escort Callam books an afternoon meet up with an older business-man Jimmy. Things don't go as planned and just after sex, the old guy dies because of drug overdose probably. The young guy does all he possible can to mess up the scene to show it as a case of suicide. 3: Whitelight 19 year old student Aaron finds himself falling for the straight guy Adonis Mitchell. When it's cle

Still Waiting In The Wings

I have time and again said that musicals are not my thing. Very rarely, and just a handful of these films have been able to hold my attention. This film is a true blue musical with OTT performances that you would expect in this specific genre, with predictable plot. Nevertheless, if I keep the music aside for now, it wasn't really that bad. It is a happy cheerful film otherwise with some real good eye candy, who also thankfully are not all that bad actors. Apparently its a sequel to Waiting in the Wings, which I have not seen yet, but I believe its more of a spin-off than a true blue sequel. Tony, an aspiring broadway actor works in the Broadway cafe, a restaurant that also does singing and dancing. He works there with his friend Rita, who is his roommates girlfriend. Things are ok till a new employee Bradley joins the cafe and around same time Rota's boyfriend gets a small part in a daily soap. Tony and Bradley keep finding themselves fighting over similar roles and in the pro

Oito Segundos (Portuguese Web Series) [8 Seconds]

This 8 episode Brazilian gay web series is just a waste of talent and time for both actors and viewers. It is available on YouTube to watch but I hope no one spends time on it. I understand make shows and videos have become easy for people to make but there should be some logic and aim and plan behind making such series. We meet Gabriel, a YouTube and social influencer, who has recently come under trouble for tweeting some homophobic slur, despite him being gay. His agency manager and owner together decide that it might b a good idea for him to stay away from public life in a remote place till heat dies down. His manager sends him to his cousin Pedro's home in a remote town. Pedro is closet gay who is trying to make it with his girlfriend but arrival of Gabriel complicates thing and before we know, the two guys fall for each other. Meanwhile there is plotting and scheming going on between the agencies. When Pedro's mother dies in the city, the do come to city to deal with publi

A Wake

This film was such a nice pleasant surprise. A film like this, are needed in today's time. We never talk enough about mental health specially for families who do not even know or realize that they may be in crisis. Acceptance and love are universal tools for lifesaving during any such crisis in or outside a family. Mason and Mitchel are twin teenage brothers. Mitchel recently passed away the their younger sister Molly wants to do a memorial wake after a few months of his passing. The elder sister also comes to town and there is a surprise visitor Jameson, who was invited by Mason. Through multiple flashbacks we are told that Mitchel was gay, Jameson was his boyfriend and that Mitchel was going through some sort of depression. Its not made clear whether it was due to his sexuality or there were other reasons too. The majority of the family is in the dark about Mitchel’s life, and Mason is left to deal with the guilt and trauma of losing his brother. Slowly secrets come out during th


I wouldn't really call this a gay film. I know many folks would argue, but then sexuality is not the point of this film at all. Sexual fluidity is repeated across the film and yes, the character happens to be gay, but even if you left those things out the film, absolutely nothing changes at all. At its heart, its a musical and maybe queer coming out at the end. Thankfully, its not a C-grade horror film, as the title like this would suggest otherwise. A young chirpy mailman Phil is happy with his job but he also wants and dreams of becoming a writer. An eccentric old lady on his route, who eventually becomes his friend is the only one who knows about this dream besides his colleague and another friend Ronnie. One day when the older lady gets mysteriously murdered, Phil suspects foul play by her son and daughter-in-law and sees this as an opportunity to investigate and write his book. The reasons behind the disappearance and the eventual reveal is all pretty random and yawn. In all t

Taiikukan Baby (Japanese) [Gymnasium Baby]

This film had a cute story but somehow the way it is executed, it never manages to life above its below average status. Swim team romance, love triangle, teenage love; on paper it seems to have right ingredients but the execution is strictly average with some really bad editing happening here. Shibahara is high school who enjoys swimming. His father is the coach of the team and Shibahara was born after his father's affair with one of his students and hence his nickname is 'Gymnasium baby'. When he is diagnosed with some heart condition, he os forced to quit swimming team and his father/coach starts favoring another student Murai. Murai feels an affinity and attraction to Shibahara and asks him to become his coach. The two spend time together and soon enough one day Murai confesses his feelings and kisses him. This leaves Shibahara confused and runs away and tries to avoid Murai. Shibahara tells what happened to his best friend, Kato, who takes an overprotective attitude tow

Four Lives (Mini Series)

There is so much indifference to the safety of LGBTQ folks, how much ever the police may say otherwise. This recently released mini series shows us exactly that how few years ago, the Grindr killer was able to kill so many young boys who really didn't have to die if the cops did their job right. In fact the series at the end tells us that six of the 9 officers were in fact promoted instead of taking a disciplinary action against them. This is just so bad. Watching this series I snot easy. In fact it is unsettling and unbelievable to see what actually transpired and how things would have been way different. Oh! Did I say this is a true story of the "Grindr Killer". Set during 2014-15 time frame, we met Anthony, a young full of spirit young boy, a budding fashion designer, who works as an escort on the side. After one such gig, he doesn't return home and his body is found 2 days later. The suspect Stephen Port informs the police how he found the boy. The cops do an extr

When I'm Sixty-Four (UK)

This film reminded me a lot of the Hong Kong film Suk Suk, which was also about growing love between two elderly man. Of course, this film came much before Suk Suk and also differently executed, but at the core of it, you can't help but think of the similar setup. BBC has given us some interesting made for TV films and commentaries involving queer storyline and this is another one of those stories where the message is that you are never too old to make changes in your life. We are introduced to our two protagonists. Ray is retired can driver, but also an aging footie thug who loves to get involved in brawls. He has two kids and multiple grandchildren. His kids are very much part of life, but ever since his wife died few years back, he lives on his own and his family and friends are his only company. And then we have Jim, who has just retired from teaching in a public school where he was also a student. Fate brings them together when Ray takes Jim from school in his cab on the retir

I Want To Get Married

Oh God! Such an awful film and unnecessarily stretched for no reason with all kinds of side stories for whatever reason. Set against the time of Prop 8, this film featuring Matthew Montgomery, who has done plenty of gay movies, just looks awful  showing the nerdy side by quivering lips and making faces, which according to me is really insulting. Paul runs an advertising company. Seeing two of his lesbian friends getting married, he also wants to get married. Given that Prop 8 biting is gonna happen soon and gays may no longer be able to get married (this is 2008), he wants to do this, while he has an option, except he has no boyfriend. He sees Jim at the friends wedding and they both like each other. On the side, one of the biggest client that Paul has is a huge supporter of anti LGBT right and pro conservative people. And somehow the money from the client is blinding him from doing the right thing. Also his mom has run away from home, which we only later find out why, and Paul is tryi

Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui (Hindi)

Its quite surprising to see Indian mainstream films coming up with queer friendly subjects. Recently we saw some gay friendly films and this is probably the first that a film introduces to a trans character in a Hindi film. I have seen a few films from the south talk about this with utmost sensitivity and respect, but it would be a first for a big budget mainstream Bollywood film. Our lead man Manu is a bodybuilder and an owner of a struggling gym. His friends and business partners hire a Zumba coach Maanvi, hoping to attract more customers. It does happen and gym becomes popular. Manu is preparing for a competition and injures himself, and Maanvi gets him to the hospital and then home, where she meets his overbearing sisters and his widowed father and grandfather. Manu asks Maanvi out and they gradually become friends, then lovers. A steamy romance ensues, and before you know Manu proposes Maanvi for marriage. This is when Maanvi tells him that she is actually a trans woman. Manu is h

I Am Samuel (Swahili/English) (Documentary)

This Kenyan documentary is an example of how few are the stories that we have heard or seen about the marginalized sexual oriented folks from the African continent. Sure, most of the countries there have some very strict laws against homosexuality, but how I wish there were more brave film makers who dare to take a chance. I know, its easier said than done. This documentary chronicles the life of Samuel who lives with his partner Alex and his relationship with his parents. Filmed over 5 years, we meet Samuel who is in a stable relationship with his boyfriend Alex. But while we ar introduced to them, the scenes of a man being brutally beaten to death are juxtaposed on our screen. This guy was Samuel's friend and we immediately know that this is a brave step for these boys to bring their story to life. Samuel has grown in a small Kenyan village and has slash struggled with his sexuality, until he moved to Nairobi and finds friends and people like him. But family is still important to

That Certain Summer

Given that the film came out back in 1972, I can only imagine how utmost have been a bold movie for the makers to release something like this. Admittingly, there is no direct reference to the relationship or any intimacy scenes but even to address the subject of someone being gay, that too for a supposedly straight man who was once married and has a kid must have definitely been path breaking. The storyline of the film is simple. 14 year old teenage Nick is looking forward to spending tie in the summer with his father in San Francisco. His parents are divorced and he lives with his mother in LA. When he reaches SF, he has a good time with his father on day 1, but when he meets his 'friend' Gary, he is not very sure. Gary has moved out temporarily to accommodate Nick, but Nick feels there is more to the relationship. When Nick finds evidence that Gary and his father are indeed a couple, he runs away and spends time exploring SF and makes him mother come to SF. Of course, the one