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Showing posts from February, 2022

The Secret Path (UK)

What a beautiful dvd cover but contrastingly it is a massively confusing storyline and a simple concept stretched beyond 70 minutes for no reason. The audio quality of the version Is aw was so bad, that it was really hard to understand what the two leads were talking to each other. The eerie woods and their non stop walks, with some sex scenes in between, made absolutely no sense at all to me. This supposedly period drama, shows two lovers who have escaped navy and are on the run now, hiding in the woods near a huge mansion. They are trying to make a life on their own terms while just aimlessly navigating through woods and having sex. During all this time, one of the lads has dreams about a guy who he knew warning him about the devil and the need to get away as the evil place they’re in. Is he just losing his mind or is there really something to be scared of? This film is not a straightforward film and makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Much of it is strange, rather creepy and it’s

I Am Syd Stone (Canadian Series)

A Canadian gay web series!! How exciting!! I am glad to see more and more countries are producing some quality queer web series exploring multiple subjects. Having said that, The subject of this series is not novel at all actually and is something we have seen plenty before, but somehow it is still very relevant in today's time also. Comprised of six episodes that range between twelve and eighteen minutes, the series forges outstanding emotional connections thanks to a primarily charming lead actor. Syd Stone is a popular film actor, whose popularity is slowly fading. He is in a town shooting for his next film and staying in a hotel. You can see he is struggling with his career and also probably with his sexuality. He is dodging his agent and his girlfriend and is somehow consuming himself in alcohol. One night he meets a charming lawyer Matt at the hotel bar and they get to talking. Sad finds it exciting that Matt has no idea who Syd is and soon enough a torrid affair starts. Even

Jaque Mate! (Spanish) [Check Mate]

This film was apparently Dominican Republic's official entry for 2013 Academy Awards. The film wasn't bad actually. The screenplay was quite tout and the film moved at a god place without any unnecessary drama, but still I feel there was something missing. The motive behind the crime wasn't strong enough, at least in my opinion, for anyone to go through the lengths that the perpetrator does in this film. David is the well-known host of a popular fictional game show, “Jaque Mate” (Checkmate). The show has a segment in which he answers calls from audience members. One day he receives an anonymous call, telling him his son and his wife have been kidnapped. The kidnapper threatens him with killing them if he doesn't follow his instructions, making David play his game on live television to reveal some of his secrets. The cops show up at television station and at David's home too to control the station, but the kidnapper manages to broadcast live feed even from David'

Vincent River (French)

This French film is actually a filmed theatrical play and the shortcomings of this are very obvious when you watch it on your TV screen. Its a serious subject, but also a story that I have at least seen twice in other settings. But he treatment here is theatrical which makes a huge difference and not in a good way, especially when all you have is two actors mouthing heavy dialogues for 1.5 hours straight. A 50-something Anita is packing her bags before leaving her flat. A young, pale and jittery Dave has been following her for days before Anita finally allowing him to enter her home. He introduces himself as the guy who called the police informing him aboutAnita's son's brutal death. There is a cat and mouse game with lot of back and forth, with Anita admitting that her son was found dead in a gay causing park beaten to death in a homophobic attack. Initially struggling with his homosexuality, it comes out that Davey is actually her son's boyfriend and together the recount

Markova: Comfort Gay (Tagalog)

I wasn't very excited by the title of the film, but it wasn't half as bad as I thought it could be. This film is kept together by some brilliant acting by its leads, both the younger and the older version of the same character. The film and dialogues are sharp and funny yet emotionally touching too. The story wasn't just focused on the gays as comfort gays but it also tell a story of a great friendship, being true to yourself and acceptance. "Comfort Women" were women who were forced into sexual slavery by Imperial Japanese army. Markova is an older flamboyant gay man who lives with other older gay men in a home. One day when he sees a documentary about comfort women, his past rushes back to him and he decides to tell his story. He manages to find a reporter his story, his family and friends. Growing up as Walter and one of the four siblings, his older brother used to bully him and beat him for him so flamboyantly gay. But Walter never understood why it was being

Love Is All You Need?

I am sure the idea behind this film might have been novel and to educate people and be tolerant towards LGBTQI+ folks, but somehow I personally found the film distasteful and could just never wrap my head around it. To top it, since the film goes shifting around multiple scenes, at one point it was difficult to follow. Something that could have been shown in a crisp educating manner took almost 2 hours and by the end of it, even though the intention was otherwise, siding with heterosexual victims felt weirdly non ethical. This film takes places in a society where being homosexual is a norm and heterosexuals are bullied and frowned up. They are called names like 'Ro' and gay and given a very hard time. The story is focussed on two (or three) protagonists. The star player of college football team Jude is in a happy relationship with her girlfriend, but when a male college mate who is a sports journalist comes into picture, she starts feeling something she has never before and soo

La folle histoire d'amour de Simon Eskenazy (French) [He's My Girl]

This film was actually a very pleasant surprise that Iw wasn't expecting. I did not know much about the film, so sometimes that helps. But some very charming actors, a decent storyline (which is probably not taking it too seriously) and a duration of under 80 minutes, this film was a lot of fun to watch and I had this happy smile to my face which hasn't happend for sometime especially while watching a film. We meet Simon, a clarinet player and openly gay man. He is having an affair with his 'straight' student Raphael and they meet secretly, but he is also seeing French-Arab cross-dresser Naim on the side and he enjoys both their company. When Simon's mother breaks her hip, she has to come live with Simon, who actually doesn't care much for her and is very self centered. Somehow Naim makes hey way into Simon's house as the mother's full time nurse pretending to be Habiba. They get along really well and somehow Simon's dwindling intimacy with Naim gets

Gay Short Films : 95

Atomes (Belgium) [Atoms] A massively atmospheric study of knowing-your-place and abusing it...and, the frailty of the alpha-male. Hugo, 34, an educator at the boarding school, finds is daily life disrupted by Jules, a provocative teenager. Jules is doing everything he can to seduce this teacher who also happens to be the warden of the school. What a predicament for both the student and the teacher. A wonderfully made short film. Lucky Fares (Spain) A simple story about innocence, appearances, fears. Two guys, one of the Three Kings and Santa Claus spend Christmas in jail, talking about what their future will be like in a world like this. The innocence of one of them. The cynism of the other. A film about youth in clash against a not easy to understand world. A beautiful film which ends in a very passionate and loving kiss. Ecstasy (Canada) He would do anything to be touched by his former lover once more. Ecstasy is an exploration of the coalescence of love and violence. A short short o

Lovely Writer (Thai Series)

Another day and another review of a new Thai BL series that Just finished. To behest, I have very mixed feelings about this show. At the surface, every series tries to show they are going to bring something new to the table, which in a lot of cases in not entirely untrue, but when you look at the execution, it is the repetition of the same hot messs that you have seen again and again and again. Boy falls for boy after some drama, then we find out some history about them, then they accept themselves, some external drama happens and they then get back together stronger than before. The basic outline of this story also follows the same pattern. For a change the series tries to show some of the dark sides of what actually goes behind the scenes of making a BL series from treating if cast members to some toxic environments (which I am guessing isa hint from some of the real life situations that have happened in the past), but still the story never bothers to lift itself completely away from

Hard To Give Up (Mandarin)

Don't let the very cute poster fool you. The direction of this otherwise decent script was really bad. The film could have been something because it has all necessary elements to make it a good gay romantic ilm, but it feels that the makers mid was all over the place. The first 5 minutes of the film which has upcoming scenes intersected to give us an idea of what's coming is so badly done and edited that it gives you a headache at the onset. You are thoroughly confused because you feel three parallel stories are going on, until you realize its only opening credits and the story hasn't even started. A painter has an upcoming exhibition and is looking for an inspiration. He finds one in a young boy Er Meng, who desperately needs money and agrees to be the nude model. The painter finds himself getting more anymore attracted to the young boy, leaving his agent, the girl, bit miffed. She is secretly in love with the painter. She has never confessed her feelings but she is jealou

El cónsul de Sodoma (Spanish) [The Consul of Sodom]

This film is the biography of celebrated Catalan poet Jaime Gil de Biedma, which celebrates his life and work both marked by sexuality and eroticism. The firstling that strikes you while watching the film is that you really need to have. Love for language, especially poetry to appreciate this film. The fact that people like me watch it with subtitles, makes it even more complicated. But regardless, Jaime's life is so colorful, with multiple lovers laced with sexual eroticism, the film still makes for a wonderful viewing. The film starts with an impeccable and presentable Jaime in Manilla seducing local boys in Manilla for sex with his charm and money. But back in Barcelona, his father,  is concerned about the impact of Jaime’s lifestyle on the reputation of the family’s tobacco empire, particularly since the cops are not being very polite to commie sympathizers. Jaime has a lover who is good for him socially but Jaime is refused membership in the Communist Party because he’s openly

Out Of Body

Touted as a gay paranormal romance, this film was clearly 40 minutes too long than what it should have been. Despite basic production value and below average acting, the premise started off well and it felt this would go somewhere, but it got very tedious and tiring pretty quick. There was a lot of unnecessary drama and overexxagerated scenes that just didn't help that already stretched out narrative. Its halloween and Henry has invited a few friends over including his best friend for 12 years Malcolm. Henry has feelings for him (and so does him) but neither is ready to open up fearing they will lose the friend. The friends are playing on an Ouija board with an orb. Before the night ends, Henry and Malcolm end up kissing and Malcolm sleeps. Th next day Henry finds Malcolm gone, but in reality Malcolm's spirit is still there is the room. Neither understands what's going on. Slowly using internet and spiritual healer they are make a connection that Malcolm's spirit is in

Rūrangi (Web Series)

Rūrangi is a drama from New Zealand which is an empathetic portrait of a young trans man on a literal and spiritual return to his New Zealand home town. It was originally released as a five part web series, but has now been assembled into a feature for the festival circuit. I saw it as a five part series, and I have to say this has been one of the most satisfying viewings. There is no BS in the show and is very to the point. Its focused, it feels like it know what it wants to say and portray and is very clear how it wants to go about giving that message. We meet Caz, who we are later told is a trans man, helping out trans people in community with various activities. People look uptown him. His lover is a famous sportsman, who is actually married. After his unexpected death, even after months, Can is heartbroken and doesn't know what to do. This is when he decides to move back to his town Rurangi to reconnect with his origin. It's been 10 years since he left the town. He is scar

Squirrels

What an absolutely ridiculous and horrible film. I mean, this film would have been remotely acceptable maybe 20 years ago in late 90s, but this I merely three-four years old. There is no excuse for such a paper thin plot, such bad acting and lazy direction. The story is about how difficult is to find a place to rent in New York. Three young artists: a trans DJ, Tariq, a middle eastern performance artist and Eddie, a gay film maker share a tiny apartment but they struggle to meet ends. They can barely afford rent. They scrimp and save to survive in the city and come up with the idea of putting the apartment on airbnb. We see a few instances where they make money from the rentee and then with Eddie or Tariq seduce them and steal their money. Soon, their scam is exposed. Meanwhile Eddie is in love with Tariq, who is also being hit on by a fellow actor friend. As expected the rent soon increases and now the trip need to move on from this cozy place. The film made no sense at all. As a shor

Yaji and Kita - The Midnight Pilgrims (Japanese)

This film is absolutely insane. The treatment is nothing like I have seen before. With a mix of period piece, with modern rap and dance numbers, the characters move from one period to another in a jiffy. The insanity of the film trying tomato itself a cult or something of sorts with showing off the wild whacky side of the characters, this film is absolutely not for everyone. Yaji and Kita are two samurai men living in Edo period Japan who are in love. One is married, the other is a drug addict. Yaji wants Kita to kick off his drug addiction. They decide that in order to make things better they will go on a trip to Ise Sanctuary, where its presumed, everything will be made right. What happens once they get on the road is the movie and its as wild and wacky as anything your likely to see. On their way they meet various gender bending characters laced with gay jokes, romance, spoofs of films and music (and musical numbers), trips through time and space etc etc.  The film actually started

Dzi Croquettes (Portuguese) (Documentary)

“Dzi Croquettes,” was an all-male dance and theater troupe that had a moment of fame in the 1970s in Brazil and then Europe. Lennie Dale, a virtuoso Broadway dancer and émigré to Brazil, founded the 13-member group in 1973. Their productions were lavish explosions of creativity and imagination that had wide audience appeal. Interestingly, the group flourished in Brazil at a time of extreme repression under a harsh military dictatorship. The documentary gives us a brief history of how the group started, what was the situation in Brazil at that point and most importantly how did a group like this which was all about sexuality where male performers, in full display, out and proud of their bodies, fill of hair, wigs and makeup managed to survive and even more importantly create a name for themselves. We see interviews with 5 of the surviving members reliving their glorious days. It tells the story of the troupe’s life cycle: achieving notoriety, then being torn apart by fame, then being de

Stud Life (UK)

Our leads are charming but I feel the direction of the film here is so half hearted, that you fail to connect at any given point. The story of friendship between a 'stud' lesbian and a gay man and their navigating through life in London could have made for a very exciting story, but sadly the execution lacks fitness and maturity. JJ is a black lesbian, ‘Stud’, who is best friend with the gay boy Sen and together they work as wedding photographers. Their clients are wide, weird and wonderful. JJ and Seb are both looking for love but in the wrong places. So, when JJ falls in love with the beautiful and mysterious Elle, JJ and Seb’s friendship is tested for the first time. Seb fully believes that Elle is ‘bad news’. Meanwhile Seb keeps rejecting the flirtatious advances of their local drug dealer because he is too busy lusting after a straight-acting man, whom he found online. JJ and Seb’s relationship is pushed to breaking point, and JJ herself is pushed to breaking point when sh

Gay Short Films : 94

Non riesco a dormire (Italy) [I Cannot Sleep] Claudio and Riccardo. Two boys who, suddenly, are forced by their parents to live in the same house as half-brothers. Soon, however, both will have to face the birth of something more than a simple fraternal relationship and only by overcoming their fears and the prejudice of the people can they be free to be together. O Inferno (Portugal) [Hell, or Pool Keeping] A pool attendant is having an affair with baby sitter and maid of a kid. To not his father the secret, the young kid asks the pool guy to show him his penis fully hard. Is the kid blowing gay or what's the story, is not very clear in this short film. Shanghai Night (Switzerland) Two lonely customers meet in an empty Shanghai bar late at night. They seem attracted to one another yet unable to really connect for long. This is a silent film with no dialogues. Dirty Laundry (Canada) During a train ride across Canada a young gay Chinese man reflects on his own sexuality (as piqued b

Naomi Campbell (Spanish)

I still don't know this film was actually fiction or a documentary. Either way I was hoping to see more content or drama to explore the purpose behind, but I saw neither of it. I would have liked to see the issues and lengths that our protagonist goes to get her sex change surgery, but instead all we get to see is her going about her daily life doing things that she likes to do. Meh! Thirty-year-old Yermén is a transsexual woman who works as a spiritual adviser and fortune teller. She enjoys filming her neighbors and street dogs in her neighborhood in the suburbs of Santiago de Chile. Her unclear identity frightens the people she meets. She dreams of  sex change but doesn't have enough money to go for it. When she hears about a reality TV contest, she signs up for it because  the main prize is the plastic surgery of your choice. There she meets an enigmatic immigrant who wants to get an operation to look like Naomi Campbell. Rest of the film is all focused on Yermen going about

Don't Say No (Thai Series)

You probably remember the characters of Fiat and Leo from the TharnType series. Fiat was this cute guy who literally forced himself on Type. The series focusses here on relationship between the playboy Fiat and his lover Leo. This series is actually true blue romantic series, which is a bot of gamble, which we will talk more about. The show is about 12 episodes each 45-55 minutes. The very first episode starts with Leo proposing Fiat to be his boyfriend. Their friends record the clipping and soon the entire university knows about their love, which they are both ok with. The first few episodes focuses more on the awkwardness of the 2 people who are gradually turning friends to lovers. They are both shy, awkward, nervous to make the first move and insecure in their own ways, on how to get into physical intimacy. The next few episodes focus on their love and relationship being tested by Fiat's past constantly interrupting their life. Since Fiat used to be a player and would sleep arou

American Vagabond (Documentary)

​​ American Vagabond is a documentary film about runaway queer youth living in the shadows of the promised city. As interesting as the topic sounds, let me assure you that it is very heartbreaking to watch. Its not the visuals that you see but the story in the background told to us by the protagonist about his journey anyhow he became to be homeless and what happens thereafter is what breaks your heart. James, barely 18 leaves his hometown forever with his boyfriend Tyler who is a year older to him. His father's constant threat to put Tyler in jail because he had sex with James when he was under 18 is the last straw that prompts him to take this step. With opes in their eyes, the two boys move to San Francisco. But it's no mecca for them. It's expensive and jobs are scarce. The gay men in the Castro look down on the scruffy, penniless, hungry boys. They mostly sleep in Golden Gate Park where they hide from the police with other gay vagabonds. Sometimes they are so hungry th