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Showing posts from February, 2023

Leslie Jordan: My Trip Down the Pink Carpet (Standup Show)

Many people knew Leslie Jordan thanks to his its bitty roles, but most popular of it being the Beverly Leslie character in Will and Grace. His popularity went sky rocket during the pandemic thanks to his short videos he posted constantly and his followers grew exponentially. But few months back , he unexpectedly died in an accident, leaving a void Beijing in the gay comedy scene. So, this was a good time to remember Leslie recounts the trials of being a gay, southern man with aspirations of entering show business, with his signature southern drawl and self-deprecating humor back in 2010. This one man show happened in midtown theatre, Jordan dishes out hilarious memories of growing up gay in the South and as an emerging actor in 1980s Hollywood. The stories keep coming. His theme is that of a hopelessly immature, politically incorrect lover looking for respect. He is, he claims, "a high school cheerleader stuck in a 55-year-old body." He takes every opportunity to regale the a

Reminders (Thai Mini-Series)

A Thai mini series with only 3 episodes! For a moment, I thought I was missing something. I have surprisingly not seen 'Love Sick' series which was apparently quite popular when it came out. I believe this short series was made more as a promotional material for follow up seasons of Love Sick, keeping the main couple from hat show as the center here. The series tries to explore, in a quick way, life of three gay couples, going through romance, relationship issues and forging friendship bonds while navigating the pressures of school. Son and Pin are a couple. While driving on their way to dinner, they meet a short accident with Noh and Phun and in the process end up breaking their guitar. At hospital, Son thinks this could be a good opportunity to learn guitar from Noh in secret to surprise his boyfriend. But in the process this leads to the boyfriend think that Son is probably cheating on him. In the meantime, we have another couple Two and Wish, who are also trying to navigate

Tom Of Finland (Finnish / English)

If you are gay, the chances of you not heard of or know of 'Tom of Finland' is very unlikely. But you may not know of the man behind those drawings. Touko Laaksonen was the Finnish advertising designer who, under the name Tom of Finland, published drawings of hyper-muscular, well-endowed men and became famous for expanding perceptions on the portrayal of gay life in art. This film is his biopic and let me just say it, why an absolute pleasure it was to watch this film! Such highs and lows and everything in between. I am surprised how did I miss this film and it took me this long to catch up on this one. Touko returns home after the war as a Lieutenant in the Finnish Army traumatized. He is gay and made some friends in war, but now he is back to a society where not only being gay was illegal but so was the creation of his now iconic works of art. He has been inclined towards piano and creating art. He lives with his sister, who suspects of him being gay but never encourages it.

Spin The Bottle

A delectable character study, I am almost sure I have seen this film before , but probably much before I started writing my blog here, so time to revisit and review it here. Back in the day, I am sure it was touted as a refreshing story and study of friendship, love, loyalty and sexual identity. With just 5 primary characters and setting of an allelic lake house in the wilds of Vermont, it was an interesting film, though I have to say that it felt very heavy on dialogues. Way too much talking. Five old friends decide to have a get together after more than 10 years on the eve of another friend's wedding. The host Jonah has been MIA for 10 years since high school graduation and no one has seen or heard form him. Newly engaged Ted and Bev are the first ones to arrive, followed by Alex, a girl who seems chill and can't stop flirting with Ted and finally Rachel, a girl low on confidence who has just been dumped by her boyfriend. Everyone is shocked to see how handsome Jonah has beco

Between Us (Filipino Series)

It was an embarrassment to watch this show. Where do I even start? Right from the very basic storyline (non existing), to awful acting and direction to the very questionable trans representation (where their only job is to have loud makeup and flirt with school boys). Even school projects would do a better job than this show. The makers also had the audacity to have first 3 episodes 40 plus minutes long. Thankfully, somewhere they had sense and the episodes were then reduced to 20 minutes. Still at a total of 15 episodes, this should not have been even a short film. The series shows us two love stories centered around students attending the same university. Sai and Khel meet at the school library while trying to check out the same book. While Khel did not leave the best impression on Sai, soon after the two agree to become friends. Both are later named candidates for the school's pageant where they spend more time together, and their friendship grows deeper. The second couple is Ar

Boys’ Shorts: The New Queer Cinema

I understand this collection of stories came almost 30 years back in 1993, but I can almost bet that even then , these films do not have much new to offer in the name of 'New Queer Cinema'. These six short gay films, spread over almost 2 hours of running time, rehashes general aspects of gay life that most people are probably familiar with. Interestingly, AIDS is a central issue in several of the shorts Resonance (Australia) - A stylized, wordless look at two men in Sydney: a gay man and a man who leads a gay-bashing gang. The gay man, recovering from his beating, practices dance that is sometimes tai chi, sometimes ballet, sometimes modern jazz. The man who rescued him from the beating is his teacher, his lover, and his dance partner. We also see his attacker, who, trapped in machismo, mistreats his own girlfriend as well. By the end, the male couple is joined by a third dancer, a woman, suggesting an artistic and social harmony. R.S.V.P. (Canada) - Sid returns home for the

Love Bill (Vietnamese Series)

What a roller coaster ride this series is. The big winner here is two very charming leads and the quirky and energetic chemistry thither share. It is very endearing and magnetic, but the clunky narrative bogs the show down heavily. The story is touching and was being handled well and I was all into the show but man oh man, was a disaster it was in the last three episodes. A really bad editing job and constant back and forth took away all the goodness and the huge promise that the series shows in its first half. Despite all this, thanks to it charming leads it is still pretty decent, but will not be as great as it could have been with a straight forward narrative. The show is 10 episodes of 35-45 minutes each. Nghia is a rebellious teenager of rich parents. One day when he loses a lot of money in gambling, he is given an ultimatum and thrown out of home. Since his friends all abandon him at the time of need and Nghia has no money, bBefore leaving home, he finds a bill stating that someo

Small Town Gay Bar (Documentary)

The lives of gays in the Deep South are explored in this documentary, which looks at two bars in rural Mississippi that cater to a homosexual clientele. While the film certainly does address the ills of gay bashings, ignorance, harassment, and picketing; the documentary is first and foremost a touching celebration of the endurance and tenacity required of gay people living in the South, and how these clubs work as an island of acceptance for a small, family-like community, that is to be clung to and cherished at all costs. It is a low budget and rough-around-the-edges, but considering it came back in 2006 it's a well-made documentary. As the self-explanatory title suggests, the film focuses on two isolated gay bars in Mississippi: Rumors, in Shannon, and the wild, anything-goes Crossroads in the woods outside Meridian, which shuttered two years ago and was replaced by the tamer Different Seasons. We see interviews of various patrons who offer candid accounts of living with fear and

Wreck (TV Series)

This slasher-horror-comedy-thriller set on a cruise ship has charm and wit and had the potential to be a brilliant spoof comedy with its whacky premise, but ultimately Wreck lives up to its name – it’s confusing and somehow a little bit boring too. With a gay lead, I was hoping. This show will be fun (also since I am a bit biased towards British shows), but with each episode, the story keeps getting more and more convoluted and keeps moving from one daft plot to another. The series is 6 episodes of 45 minutes each. We meet Jamie, who has signed up to work at a cruise ship to investigate disappearance of his sister Pippa. The parent company of the cruise ship is Valorum, who operate with minimal oversight and are protected by their dubious legal status at sea, told him that she jumped overboard and died, but he’s convinced they’re hiding something. Jamie becomes one of thousands of employees – waiters, cleaners, entertainers, so on – at the beck and call of the privileged holidaymakers

Male Entertainer (Thai)

A documentary style film (split in two episodes), this was an interesting subject: tackling the underbelly of sex industry where young boys are forced to take up jobs like being escort and what does it mean for them. You see what lengths individuals have to go through, to provide for their families and themselves. The film is shot as if it is a documentary full of interviews and interspread scenes but its clear that it is a scripted film. We meet a young boy Max, whose parents died when he was young and now needs to provide for his younger brother and his education. Through one of his friends, he finds out about male escort services and takes that up. According to him, he has all kinds of clients: old, young, male, female and he is open to doing pretty much everything that he can as long as he is being paid. His story is then told to us through two of his main clients. One is Part, an older emotional guy who is falling in love with Max. He meets him few times a month, buys him a house

Who Are We? (German)

The makers have been calling this as a four-part episodic film. Set in Vienna, it is a story about the rise and fall – and possible rise again – of two gay couples. Made at a shoe string budget, I am not sure if the film was needed to be split into 4 episodes with intro and end casting every single time, but her whatever. Also, the ending is a bit open. I feel there should be more, but maybe the point is to take the slice of life kinds deal and deal the story take its own course. We meet two gay couples. Chris and David have ben together for a while. Chris wants to spice up relationship and suggests threesome. Reluctantly David agrees. David has his own start up company with his friend Ralph, while David is a freelance photographer, whose hobby is being sponsored by his rich parents. They find Lukas on a hook up and invite him over the next day. Turns out that Lukas is Ralph's boyfriend. But he is lazy, casual, doesn't work and pretty much living off his boyfriend who is reachi

Last Exit To Brooklyn

An old film from 1989, 'Last Exit to Brooklyn' is about underbelly of New York in the 50s, where a gallery of Brooklyn's finest and filthiest folks undergo change against an imposing back drop of union corruption, violence and neon lighting. Shown here, Brooklyn is a place awash with misery, and its inhabitants are the lost, the dreamers who grew bitter and jaded, or those so ingrained with gloom that that they never once thought to dream at all. Based on the novel of the same name, the story follows the lives of several characters trying to survive the hardships of lower class 1950s Brooklyn. So, again, this is one of those films that doesn't really fall in LGBT category but has a strong gay character, so warrants a review here. There is a long factory dispute going on which leads to strike and Harry is the secretary f the strike. Using the union's strike funds, he buys beer, pretzels and the temporary recognition of the neighborhood toughs he admires. He feels see

Bad Roommate (Thai Mini-Series)

I believe this series was made in partnership with TikTok. With 30 episode of 2-2.5 minutes each, I loved the short skit format of the show. As you know my primary grievance with lengthy Thai show sis usually around all the nonsense that they weave around the main story. But guess what, there are no distracting side couples, no slow talks, no staring in eyes, no shrieking BL fans and even the ex-girlfriend is not toxic. The plot is simple and there is nothing much to it. But to watch this using just about one hour of your time is not a bad thing at all. Plus it is shot in the phone format, so its perfect to watch on your phone when you are on the go. Gawin lives by himself and Nice moves in with him. The duo have a love-hate relationship since Gawin is used to be by himself, but slowly both start becoming friends. One day when Gawin finds a bag filled with money, he starts suspecting Nice, but he is always ever charming and loving with Gawin. This causes some comic scenes and some misu

Celluloid (UK)

A small budget, dysfunctional family film, I am not sure if I would really call this an LGBT cinema, but I guess since one of the three characters is gay, maybe I will give it a go and review it here on my blog. I do have this moral conundrum many times, on what really qualifies as being a queer cinema. Is it just any character of main character or main story or what exactly and I wish I had an answer to that. We have Dawn, a single mother with two teenage kids Josh and Nicola. Dawn is going through mental issues and is seeing a regression therapist and says that she was abused as a child but no one is her family believes her. Other they are or not, the whole situation becomes difficult for Josh and Nicola to handle. Nicola spends most of her time out with friends and drugs. Meanwhile, Josh is dealing with his sexuality. He is secretly in love with his best friend and the duo share a common interest of making films. Since, he has no one to talk to, he creates a online friendship with a

The New Employee (Korean Series)

Yay! After sometime I am seeing a nice feel good show. From the very first episode, this office romance series remains refreshingly entertaining and adorably romantic. To be honest, this show is extremely simple and straight forward where not a whole lot of complications happen, nor is it trying to say something deep or profound. Rather it feeds us a fun romantic comedy about falling in love while struggling to enter the workforce with leads who happen to be gay. The angst is minimal. The obstacles between our two leads are quickly overcome. The communication is fairly straightforward. And this is exactly what makes this show a complete winner. Its after a very long time, that I had this smile on my face throughout out the show. With only 7 episodes of about 22 minutes each, it is a very easy watch and for the first time, I wished I could have seen more of this couple. Freshly grad Seung Hyun has started as an intern in an advertising company. His supervisor is Jong Chan, a man known t

God Save The Queens (UK) (Documentary)

I have a confession to make. Even though I am gay, my knowledge of gay pop culture, be it USAor UK or anywhere else, is pretty bad and horrible. I don't know much about pop icons, TV stars or film stars who were supposedly gay, or rumored to be gay, or who eventually became icons. So this documentary, as good as it might have been , trying to give an insight on the gay celebrities through TV history, I just wasn't able to appreciate it all, given zero context. It starts in 1952 after the Queen acceded to the throne and tells the story of gay performers and the role they have played in changing public perception of homosexuality and becoming national institutions along the way. From Kenneth Williams to Paul O'Grady, Larry Grayson to Graham Norton, Danny La Rue to Elton John, it will be a celebration of achievements and career highlights, as well as a history of how gay rights and our perception of gay performers has changed over the last 60 years. A stellar cast of contribut

Saneha Stories 4: Saneha Kap Cheewit (Thai Mini Series) [Love and Life]

This is another story from the same series that follows the LGBT arc, telling us true stories where we meet real people in between the dramatized version of their story. It is an interesting story focusing on real life struggles of trans members of our community. Toon was assigned female at birth, but in his heart, he's always been male. He eventually gets the breast removal surgery when he grows up a bit but the gender reassignment surgery is still pending. He lives with his aunt who has categorically prohibited him from going for a full on surgery, and this is something that is really important Toon. We also meet Toon's young roommate who has a new boyfriend and they both want to consummate their relationship but the roommate always finds himself disinterested in sex despite being very much in love with is boyfriend. Toon and his friends explore the possibility of him being asexual and that he should talk with his boyfriend. The two cute boyfriends talk in out and decide to w

Saneha Stories 4: Saiyai Saneha (Thai Mini-Series) [Connection of Affections]

I think I did a review of one the stories previously. A series where real life stories are brought to life through dramatization with intermittent interview clippings of the real people. The stories are interesting animist importantly keeping them at 1.5 hour crisp duration keeps one's attention span focused on the proceedings in front of you. Tako is young 24 year old guy working in Bangkok and happy. But back home, it turns out he has a son with his high school girlfriend Bell. But because they had a kid very very young, the parents had to be involved. The couple definitely is not in love with each other and eventually want what's best for the son, but because of such a bitter experience, Bell and her family blame Tako for ruining their life while he is happy in Bangkok. One day a new intern joins Tako's office who is outgoing, funny and has no hesitation in declaring and acting that he is gay. Tako is surprised by his openness and honesty and this new guy explains to him


Eroddity is not an actual word. Writer-director Steven Vasquez invented it. It's a combination of the words erotic and oddity, and that's exactly what this movie is. This four story anthology offers a voyeuristic window into the lives of ten gay youths. Follow as they enter a world of the odd, the erotic and the supernatural. To be honest, this felt like watching a soft porn (almost fun on porn) where we get to see a lot of young guys in full frontal nude with questionable acting skills. “Forever Mine” - A confused boy seeks a love that will last him a lifetime. It deals with one of the most taboo subjects of gay relationship between siblings. “A Mind of Their Own” -  A teen’s long forgotten past leads to his short lived future. This was a weird one. A boy feels his boyfriend is cheating on him and goes to meet the man but it turns out it is in fact he himself who has been sleeping with this other man, except he always forgets it. “Unsolved Christmas” - A Christmas present, in

África 815 (Spanish) (Documentary)

This is one of the most simple and boring documentaries Have seen in recent times. To be honest, it feels like someone's home video. Made by the daughter of the protagonist (at least thats what I presume), the subject is interesting but not that much. Gleaning her father’s photo archive and diaries, the director explores the failure of the traditional family project that her dad had contrived after serving in the military at the Spanish colony in Western Sahara. An intimate portrait of a man and his enchanting affection seeking journey during the 1980s and 90s in Morocco explored through the interstitial space between memory and landscape. We are told the story in three parts. First how our protagonist served doctor in military in Africa in Sahara region in his 20s in closed confines with the shot North African men. To my surprise, according to him, homosexuality and relationship with other younger men were very easy for him and common there. But at some point in life, he wanted to

Why You… Y Me? (Thai Series)

I can totally see a lot of people loving this show. Told from a fangirl's perspective, this is an interesting genre of storytelling to add. The protagonist is obsessed with yaoi and likes to ship imaginary couples in real life. Having said that, sadly the genre just doesn't work for me. And just like my friends here warned me that bringing the teenage girl inside me, out is not gonna be easy for me (they know my tastes well by now), they were right. I just could not get myself to enjoy this show at all. And trust me, I tried, I really tried. The show has 10 episodes of about 45 minutes each. Namwah is a university student, who along with her friend is obsessed with shipping imaginary couples. Then we meet Gap, a lead singer of a boy band, who are struggling to promote their band, because truth be told, they are not really the best. After an accidental meeting for the fangirls, Gap stands in midst of cheering crowd and announces himself as a fanboy. Namwah and Gap become friends

River Knows Fish Heart (Mandarin)

This film was a very amateurish attempt at making a gay love story. The acting was average to bad, the scenes were unnecessarily long; in fact the story plot was paper thin and they still managed to stretch it to almost 2 hours of run time. It is full of plot holes and I am not even sure what really happened at the end. It suddenly got so confusing. This is the story of two school boys who are aspiring musicians, meeting by fluke and falling in love along the way to a music competition. An He (Chinese name translates to “River”) is a musical genius who is experiencing writer’s block. Xiao Yu (translates to “Little Fish” in Chinese) is a rich kid who runs away from home and has joined the same school as An He. Both have their own challenges in school and in life. A school girl fancies An He but he constantly refuses him. Somehow Xiao You manages to start living with An He since his mother travels a lot for work. Their friendship starts growing, till one day Xiao You literally pushed him

The Last Of Us - Episode 3 (TV Series)

The Last of Us is an HBO Max show, a spin off form a video game. Since, I am not into video games, I had no context whatsoever of the show and the context. A one liner summary of the show says "After a global pandemic destroys civilization, a hardened survivor takes charge of a 14-year-old girl who may be humanity’s last hope." For the purpose of this review, I am reviewing only episode 3 of the show, since at a runtime of almost 70 minutes, it solely focuses on a beautiful gay love story, likes of which may not have been seen on mainstream television in US at least. Titled "Long Long Time", the story goes to flashback 20 years ago in 2003, when the government has evacuated the whole town since the plague started, leaving behind Bill, a military guy hiding as the sole survivor. He raids the Home Depot, the gas plant and the wine store, and he eventually builds a fence around his neighborhood and its nearby shops, fortifying it with security cameras, electric fencing

My Tooth Your Love (Taiwanese Series)

Although this Taiwanese series may seem full of cliches, the charming leads ( at least one of them) and the sweetness and the everyday charm of the show keeps it floating at an above average level. This series combines an attractive cast, romantic banter, and vibrant chemistry to create an engaging story. Intermittently it ended up using some stereotypical hindrances on the way (like reappearance of an ex), which slow down the pace, but the incessant flirting between the leads another charm make up for all of it. The show is 12 episodes of 30-35 minutes each. Bai Lang is an owner of a bistro bar who is suffering from toothache but he has phobia for dentists so he keeps hiding it. When the situation gets really bad, his sister forces him to go to a dentist who also happens to be her friend and junior from college. Of course, Bai Lang resists dentists interactions during appointment but consistent persistence from the dentist leads to successful treatment. At sisters insistence, the dent

Stonewall Uprising (Documentary)

I have already seen a few movies/documentaries already on the Stonewall uprising that happened many years back and became a momentous occasion in history as the start of gay rights movement. This documentary shown on PBS TV in 2011, examines the events leading up to what is now seen as the defining moment in the establishment of the gay rights movement in the United States: the riot at the Stonewall Inn in New York City in the summer of 1969. On June 28, 1969, when the police carried out the latest in a regular series of raids at the mob-run Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, young men accustomed to being shuffled into paddy wagons decided to fight back, gathering forces for a three-night war against the police. From spark to embers to flames, a movement that didn’t previously exist suddenly and organically coalesced at street level, and the rest was (and continues to be) an evolving history. The documentary starts with how pre-stonewall the gay life was almost grim, even in cities li