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Showing posts from April, 2023

Raw! Uncut! Video! (Documentary)

RAW! UNCUT! VIDEO! chronicles the rise and fall of homegrown gay porn studio Palm Drive Video, and explores how a devoted couple helped battle a devastating health crisis by promoting kinky sex. In the mid-80’s two enterprising gay men, Jack Fritcher and Mark Hemry started a homemade porn video company catering mostly to men interested in fetishes and kinks. We meet present day Fritcher and Hemry, a married couple that had been together for decades. The two met at, what is called a gay fairytale, a Harvey Milk birthday party and soon began dating. They came up with the idea of open for fetish when they found no porn available for the kind of stuff they were both interested in. Jack would cast non-professional actors, mostly men they met at gay bars, pride parades, fetish clubs or just through word of mouth. He would find out the performers own unique interests in sex and craft videos along those lines. Because they were a company that predominantly focuses on kinks, they would often ha

VIP Gymnasium (Taiwanese Series) [VIP Fitness Coach]

This 8 part, 15-minute each series feels like an old sitcom style comedy series. It's campy story told from a fujoshi's point of view, so yeah, this is not your typical BL story. Since it s short series and every episode is like a story of yet another comedy of errors, it's an easy breezy watch. Having said that, there is nothing really memorable about the show at all. Guo Xiao Mei, a rich girl that one day crosses Gu Zhi, a young actor that works as an instructor at this VIP gym in the same building as her office. That same instant because of a misunderstanding, she thinks of him as gay. Given that she is a fujoshi, she goes to the gym to sign a 5 year VIP membership but would only do that if Gu Chi admits he is gay, and so he pretends to be gay to lure her into buying 5 year premium membership at the gym. When when the girl sees the gym supervisor, she immediately end sup shipping them together as a couple. During the 8 episode there's a lot of funny scenes including

He Hated Pigeons (Spanish/English)

This film feels more like a love letter and tribute to the beautiful landscape and country Chile, using a road trip theme of a grieving young man’s road trip through his native country. Treating the themes of grief and longing with a gently earnest obviousness, the film's heart is in the right place; but as an audience I literally get nothing to tale back home except how beautiful Chile is. The film starts with a handsome man Elias, in Atacama desert in Chile’s north, the place where his boyfriend, Sebastien, died a month earlier. Having borrowed his father’s big red truck without asking, he arrives in the pre-dawn darkness still in the suit that he probably wears for work; the job he told Sebastien he couldn’t quit. As he continues his joinery towards south passing Santiago, in bits and very very few flashbacks we see Sebastian and Elias meeting and Sebastian always wanting to travel south with Elias which they couldn't. The book of drawings and collages that Sebastien left El

El Diputado (Spanish) [Confessions Of A Congressman]

I can't believe that this film back in 1978. A daring film by standards of the time, this film offers a portrait of Spanish society after the death of dictator Franco, during the transition to democracy, using the central theme of secret homosexual life of a prominent member of the Spanish communist party. And how this information makes him vulnerable to exploitation by the Fascist opposition. It's an interesting mixture of political themes and the outsider status of a gay man, who can only exist in a sordid underworld culture. The story is actually simple. Roberto is a prominent politician on rise. We are told that he knew he was gay since he was a teenager but when he was in military, he met his current wife Carmen and told himself that maybe he is bi and actually could be happy. Apparently Carmen knows about his past. Once when he was in prison, Roberto had met young rent boy Ned, and both of them continued their relationship. Somehow Fascist party finds about this and they

My School President (Thai Series)

An enchanting teenage love story, where the supporting actors from "Moonlight Chicken" get an opportunity to exude their boyish charm and boundless charisma with full force. They have crackling chemistry and if not for that, this reis could easily have been a huge let down. The story is light yet entertaining, the humor is deft and you get the giddies of memories of your probably first crush or love in high school and what falling in love for the first time was like. Sure it's not at the level of 'Heartstopper' but it's pretty decent, I have to say. In their final year of school, Gun is the leader of their music band Chinzhilla, but their band has a reputation of not doing the right things their is a risk of their club closing down, so that the funds can be used for better productivity. Since the school has a policy that student council president president controls the budget. Gun applies hoping this can help save the club. But his opponent happens to be Tinn,

Eismayer (German)

Wow! Two military based films in two consecutive days and both inspired by true stories. What are the odds! This 2022 Austrian drama focuses on the story of a closeted gay Austrian army officer, Lieutenant Charles Eismayer, who falls in love with a young, openly gay recruit named Falak. The film, embellished with top notch performance from its lead actors, has plenty of ups and downs to keep you hooked. The tough instructor, Sergeant Major Charles Eismayer, in the Austrian Armed Forces has a reputation for breaking recruits, the kind of man for whom you fear his veins may pop any minute when he gets angry at his recruits. He harbours a secret though, one that he hides from both his men and his family: he is actually gay and looks for excuses to not spend time with his wife. A new division has just started and amongst many new folks, there is Falak, who is openly gay and this thing catches Eismayer off guard throwing his beliefs that the army and life as a gay man cannot coexist into di

The Inspection

Writer-Director Elegance Bratton’s semi-autobiographical film, about a young gay Black man’s desire for approval and human connection in an unforgiving environment poisoned by bigotry and toxic masculinity, this film tells essential truths about the state of queer life in America outside gay villages and other safe spaces. Films like this, inspired by true stories always hit hard and closer than fiction and the fact that the film is semi-autobiography makes it even more special to watch. Although I do have to admit that, I knew this was a true story before watching the film, but I had no clue that it was the true story of the writer/director himself. Ellis French, is a young black gay man who has been living on the streets since he was 16. Even though he was very close with his mother, she could not accept that her son was gay and kicked her out. Even after all these years, she cannot come to accept this fact. Ellis meets his mother, picks his birth certificate because he wants to join

Tinted With You (Korean Mini-Series)

This is an 8 part mini series, each of about 10 minutes, a fantasy, a time-slip romance, modern meets ancient and yet one more time travel situation on our hand. It's actually a simple, straight forward story, with simple characters. Some people may get frustrated with not fully fleshed out characters or story or a very rushed romance without a build-up; but somehow that was ok with me. I didn't mind it and given the mini series format; there is only so much you can cover. The drama starts with Eun Ho dreaming about a young man who is saved by his bodyguard from assassins, and the theme is set up during the Joseon period. The dream is followed up with more scenes of two young men sharing romantic and warm moments, with one of the boys being himself. But Eun Ho is unable to complete the dream and wakes surprised, but doesn’t really get the time to process it as his friend keeps him distracted. The friend notices a painting on printed paper and comments on how it looks similar to

Coming Out (UK)

BBC had introduced a new program called 'Play For Today' in 1970, a premier slot for new plays, sometimes adapted from other media, often original works for television. Over three hundred Plays for Today were made between 1970 and 1984. The series has a rich heritage, being an intended showcase for new writers but also hosting work by established names. The film/play 'Coming Out' was telecast back in 1979 as part of this series. Lewis Duncan, is a successful writer of (straight) romance novels. With a younger boyfriend, Richie , he’s known to his secretary and his friends as gay, but is not out to the public and has little time for gay activism. Everyone around Lewis tells him he should come out, but coming out has material consequences. He writes an article under a pseudonym on gay issues which surprisingly becomes very popular and he receives a ton of fan mail. Meanwhile, his own personal life is not the best. Their closest friends, another gay couple have their own i

Seventeen (Mandarin)

This film could easily have been a short film and would have been lot more effective. It is a story of love, loss and redemption, but the film moves at such a slow pace that it really tests your patience. Xue Ping is an out of town war veteran, who on a particular day is on a mission to meet someone. We also meet Ahong, a young 17 year old high school student who just wanders around, plays video games etc. Through flashbacks, we see the old man had a young lover when he was in army but he was captured by enemies. We also see him spending every year with his best friend celebrating retirement from the army. Turns out on this particular day, Sue Ping is actually looking for Ahong. He had seen him exactly a year ago for the first time and he immediately reminded him of his young lover in the army. He keeps following the young student and that day he confronts him and gifts him a portrait picture of a young him and his lover. The young boy completely snubs the old man, lashes out at him an

HIStory5: Love in the Future (Taiwanese Series)

It feels like everyone is on the time travel bandwagon these days, if not on the whole multiverse concept. Here also, our protagonist travels into future (from 2000 to 2022) and gets into love and all kinds of antics. Despite the story having its own awkward charms within the convoluted plot, my point is that if you are choosing a basic concept, at least do it right. The time-travel element in this series is not only confusing but doesn't really add any significance to the show. You really could take the whole element away and it really wouldn't change much to the overall story plot besides minor tweaks. So, then what's the point. Anyway, more on that later. This Taiwanese series has 10 episodes each pf about 50-55 minutes duration and they do warrant quite a of time commitment. It started in the last week of 2022 but was mostly telecast in this year. In year 2000, Bo Wie lives with his grandmother and is very close and works as a delivery boy. Somehow magically on the new

Dressed As A Girl (Documentary)

This documentary demonstrates the stage personas of six outlandish drag performers of the East London. Their routines dramatise serious problems with bold glamour and self-deprecating humour and, across the six years he chronicles, the director depicts the lives of these eccentric individuals. He isn’t afraid to venture into the upsetting territory of HIV and addiction but the film as a complete piece is executed with enough freewheeling momentum as a tribute to celebration of art. The film follows the lives of six legends of the London drag scene: Scottee, Holestar, Pia, Amber, John Sizzle and ringleader Johnny Woo, all at the epicentre of East London’s 90s drag explosion. Driving forces behind the area’s outrageous Gay Bingo parties, Johnny and his friends are shown in a new light, revealing the vulnerability and pain behind the glitz and glam. Scottee has recently found he can only make art about tragedy, recounting youthful liaisons with strangers and the constant fear of the polic

End Of The World With You (Japanese Series)

This 8 episode series from Japan (each of about 25 minutes) is yet another story of love in the doomsday time. The story follows two estranged ex-lovers who go on a trip to help a young boy meet his family as a large meteor is headed directly towards earth and is expected to wipe out humanity in 10 days. Yes, the story is intriguing and the concept done well, but still somewhere it fell short for me. The whimsical journey of redemption and reconciliation felt rushed at places and I wonder, if the world was really ending; is that how you would spend time. But then I am probably thinking way too much and sometimes simple is better. A meteor will strike the world in ten days, causing global destruction. Masumi, an ordinary office clerk, like everyone else is worried and is in librar, where, to his surprise, he meets Ritsu. Ritsu and him almost a decade ago and the relationship did not end well. The show tells us how they met in college and soon became fwb. Masumi thought they were exclusi

Clément, Alex et Tous Les Autres (French) [Clément, Alex And Everyone Else]

 slice of life kind of indie film that is probably trying to show us th growing complexities of relationships in today's time. The film starts off well but somehow feels dragging in the middle only to redeem itself in the last 20 minutes. Probably shot with a very tiny budget, the film is set in just one apartment. Clement, a gay man in his early 30's and his roommate Alex, who is lesbian are looking for. Anew roommate. Clement's ex-boyfriend and lover David has recently move out to a new city for a. New job and that has left bitter taste in Clement. Their only demand is that the new roommate is gay. Enter Leo, who desperately needs a room and pretends to be gay to snag the apartment, and in fact introduces his girlfriend as lesbian. The trio start hanging out and occasionally Clement's older sister also visits. Alex tries to kiss Leo's girlfriend who runs away. Two weeks later, she visits them complaining how Leo has been avoiding her. Heartbroken, she tells Clemen

Troisièmes noces (French) [Third Wedding]

I am not sure why the title of this Belgian comedy-drama film, but it tells the story of a colourful sham marriage between a widowed and whimsical homosexual man and a young, undocumented Congolese woman. I won't call this film a queer film per say, its more about human interactions, loneliness, a face-off between two human beings who are polar opposites, and who will have to learn to live together. Martin, an again man, has just buried Jan, his husband of many years and love and backbone of his life. He is now struggling financially to keep up with mortgage of the house they both lovingly built. One day, a friend dog his tells him how he has fallen in love with a Congolese woman but  because of legal reasons cannot support her to make her legal in Belgium. He pleads Martin to marry her in return for money. Martin agrees and enter Tamara. Martin and Tamara, who have virtually nothing in common, will enter into a marriage of convenience and will have to live together, much to their

Our Dating Sim (Korean Series)

It's been a while since I saw such a nice 'feel good' show. I mean, people need to learn how to make simple and elegant shows, within unnecessary plot twists or drama but still manage to hold audience attention. This simple love story was just 8 episodes of 15 minutes each, but thanks to a wonderful writing, and a crackling chemistry between the two leads, keeps you completely hooked. The plot is insanely simple. but the execution is the thing that matters. Lee Wan (Ian) is an illustrator with a blog and some online following. He is invited for an interview to a gaming company, where he meets Ki Tae (Eddy), who is interviewing him. Turns out Eddy is Lee Wan's high school crush. On a fateful graduation day of high school, Wan confessed his feelings and initiated a kiss. However, Ki Tae was taken by surprise and Wan was so embarrassed that he immediately ran away. The same day his family was already moving to a different city for personal reasons. It's now their first

Stoma (English / Cantonese)

So, I did not know this until after watching the film. Apparently, before losing his battle with cancer, cultural icon Julian Lee left behind an autobiographical screenplay based on his experience of the disease. Director Kit Hung brings the script to life seven years after Lee’s tragic death. So, as much as it is a tribute to the writer's semi-autobiographical story, it is a story of loneliness and a toxic love story. Also, for information, "Stoma" is an artificial surgically created opening in the abdomen to replace the anus. Alex is a young gay photographer who lives in Hong Kong, When he is diagnosed with peritoneal cancer, he starts doing his due diligence on how and where to get best treated and he decides on Switzerland. Alex has also had an on again-off again Swiss banker, who conveniently comes in and out of Alex's life as he pleases. He does care for Alex but also wants to stay independent and sleep around. Alex comes to Switzerland stays with his brother wh

Fahlanruk (Thai Series) [Friends With Benefits]

Another waste of time on such a badly made show. This drama is so toxic that its so unreal, and you question, why the hell do we waste our time watching shit like this. Thelevel of toxicity with both the lead characters is at another level and to make matters worse, the makers try to convince us that the problem is not the people but the people around them and surroundings. I mean wtf! At 12 episodes of 45 minutes each, please please stay away from this one. Two main characters are Fahlan and Sher. They are both playboys. Fahlan has a so called boyfriend but he still flirts around with both boys and girls. Sher is a musician and one night after seeinghfm perform in a club, they both end up hooking up, but Sher makes it clear that it's just a one night stand. However, his rejection provokes Fahlan, who feels determined to sleep with him again. Fahlan aggressively pursues Sher, making his courtship public. Sher rejects him and maintains his no-dating policy. Eventually they agree to

The Sons of Tennessee Williams (Documentary)

The Sons of Tennessee Williams, tells the story of the gay men of New Orleans who created a vast and fantastic culture of wildly popular 'drag balls' starting in the late 1950s. These men worked with the traditions of Mardi Gras to bring gay culture into public settings in the early 1960s. By 1969, there were four gay Mardi Gras clubs legally chartered by the state of Louisiana, throwing yearly extravaganzas at civic venues around the city. 'Society matrons begged for ball tickets from their hairdressers'. They succeeded in bringing down the 'Jim Crow' type laws that targeted gay people during this period, staging a flamboyant, costumed revolution without politics and won freedoms during a time, as now, when laws and people fought against them. The documentary juxtaposes archival ball footage with straightforward interviews with the now elderly queens of yore, some of whom, we learn, had fathers who cheered when Kennedy was assassinated. They reminisce about the

Wszystkie Nasze Strachy (Polish) [All Our Fears]

Real stories are always fascinating. Based on a chapter of life of Daniel Rycharski, one of the most outstanding visual artists of his generation, a graduate of Kraków’s Academy of Fine Arts; he is not a star kinda guy. Instead he lives in small village somewhere in the Polish countryside, standing side by side of farmers in defense of rural interests, a gay activist, but also a deeply religious man involved in the life of the Church. It is his installation Fears that inspired the story of this film. Living in a rural countryside, Daniel has painted large hybrid animals on farmsteads, barns and public spaces and the community loves him and 'tolerates' his sexual choices. He has a young boyfriend (or they are fooling around) and has been promoting self acceptance within LGBTQ folks in the community. Even the village parish priest absolves him, because he could not do otherwise. But something breaks when his friend, a young Jagoda, whom Daniel has urged to stop hiding her homosex

Maestro In Blue: Antonis and Spyros Storyline (Greek Series)

Maestro in Blue is one of the first Greek dramas picked up by Netflix for International distribution. I would haven't known about the show, but I chanced upon this video talking about gay storylines in shows and movies and despite the fact that this show is not gay, (only on the storylines is gay), I decided to give it a go. Dysfunctional families have always interested me and this drama, set in a beautiful island with not-so-beautiful inhabitants piqued my interest. I will probably summarize the story but my review will exclusively focus on the gay storyline of Spyros and Antonis. Set in a beautiful island right after covid, the series follows Orestis, a 40 something musician, who is invited by Fanis, a guy who is running for mayor, to revive the islands music festival to boost local morale and increase his chances of being elected. He meetsOrestis's family wife a wife on anti-depressant drugs, a girl Klelia, with whom Orestis has his love story going for the remainder of the

Sebastiane (Latin)

Sebastiane is a film about homosexual desire, BDSM and nude lads running about a desert without much more than a strategically placed posing pouch between them. Imagine this film came out back in 70s, an out in the open homoerotic biblical film set in 300s BC. In 303 AD., the captain of the Roman Palace Guards, Sebastiane, a favorite of the Emperor Diocletian, is suspected of being a Christian and since the emperor believes the Christians set fires in Rome, he strips Sebastiane of his rank and banishes him to a remote outpost in Sardinia with other exiled soldiers. The commanding officer lusts after the brooding Sebastiane, who in the strong desert sun is becoming more mystical, more filled with homoerotic thoughts, more pure, and more aloof from the other bored but playful soldiers by refusing to take part in the gladiator exercises and their homosexual affairs. When the officers sexual advances are rejected and the smitten pagan centurion is called impotent by Sebastiane, the angry r

Jack o' Frost (Japanese Series)

This Japanese series is an intimate tale of love, loss, romance and tenderness between its two main protagonists. The dignified story conveys delicate emotions, thoughtful introspection, and poignant recollections. Having said that, the show may not be earth shattering, but. The tenderness with with the entire situation is dealt with, it feels very mature and dignified and I respect and salute that. At 6 episodes of about 24 minutes each; this is a binge worthy show for sure. Fumiya and Jitsu are a couple living together. The show starts with Ritsu's birthday, and for some reason after the party, Fumiya has had enough and suggests that they should breakup. A heartbroken Ritsu leaves home only to get into an accident and is in hospital. Ritsu's brother asks Fumiya to come immediately. When Ritsu wakes up, it turns out he has partial amnesia and cannot recognize Fumiya or anything associated with him. Fumiya introduces himself as his roommate and decides to take him back home to

Fogo-Fátuo (Portuguese) [Will-o'-the-Wisp]

A queer homoerotic musical fantasy mixing climate change, anti-royals politics and a lot of firemen fetish. I have to say that this, just under 70 minute film, was quite fun to watch. It debuted in Cannes film festival. Made at obviously a very small budget, in its own unique way, the film entertains us and gives us a message but also stays a bit flirty and naughty. Starting in the year 2069 (wink wink), the crown less King Alfredo of Portugal is on his death bed and shining back of his life. The film goes in flashback, where Prince Alfred is a young man, who is troubled by the wildfires sweeping the country.Against his parents wishes, he announces he wants to be a fireman. “Don’t confuse the royal family with documentary cinema!” his mother chides. Nevertheless, he joins and he meets Alfonso, who is assigned his buddy. The handsome black man and young prince feel sparks. Before long, desire is kindled between the two men when Alfredo must practice his mouth-to-mouth resuscitation tech