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Showing posts from June, 2023

Egoist (Japanese)

A well told story of a gay love set in modern days Japan: this is how the film was summarized to me. I was actually quite looking forward to this film, because I have been complaining that we haven't seen a good old fun on romantic gay love story. I really didn't know much about what I was expecting going on. But the product as a whole left me wanting more. Drastic tonal changes in the mood and the non commitment to giving a message to the audience made me wonder where wad the film really going. A single gay man Kosuke, lives a happy well settled life as a fashion editor. He has his own baggage form his childhood days of being bullied. Also he lost his mother when he was young, so he constantly feels that void. One evening while hanging out with his friends, they all talk about getting physically fit and Kosuke also decides to hire a trainer. Enter Ryuta, a charming younger guy, serious about fitness and soon they develop a good working relationship. Ryuta tells him how he is s

For You A Thousand Times (Vietnamese Series)

Where do I even begin? This Vietnamese show was soooo bad. No story, bad acting, cringy dialogues and almost like a school project, Although I feel that school projects might give us something better to watch. Apparently. This was originally supposed to be 10 episodes but this season got shut down after 6 episodes and thank God for that. I would have cancelled this after 2 episodes. It's just so bad. The 6 episodes are about 20 minutes each. A young teen Thai lives with his mother. Her friend's son comes from village to live with them and study in school. Thai doesn't like him first, but slowly they become friends. Then out of blue, Thai starts having a crush on him and professes his love while he is drunk twice, but nothing comes out of his. Since Thai is a mediocre student, his mother hires a tutor. This tutor becomes friends with the country boy. After passing out from school, this country boy starts living on his own and meets a boy who gets beaten up on the street. He

My Partner (English/Tagalog/Hawaiian)

Clearly inspired by the BL tsunami in the Asian countries, this film is billed as the fist Hawaiian BL film. It interestingly features a lot of Filipino actors and Hawaiians of Filipino descent in the cast. The film follows two high school boys from different social worlds who experience romantic feelings for each other. Whether the story leaves a lasting impression or succeeds in presenting to us a love story, let's look at that a little later. We are introduced to rival class friends group,  one of Filipino origin and other native Hawaiian. Edmar is a high achieving shy quiet student of the Filipino group while Pili, the native Hawaiian is from the other group. Somehow for a class project, these two boys are paired together and come up with a dish that imbibes both their cultures. As expected they both protest, but they are forced. Pili invites Edmar to a gathering with his family over the weekend, where he gets to learn a lot of things about Hawaiian culture. Similarly, Pili get

Narrow Path To Happiness (Hungarian) (Documentary)

Gergo Gagyi and Lenard Varadi are young and in love. In many countries this wouldn’t be anything remarkable, but as Hungarian Romani it means they face both ostracisation by their community and increasing pressure from a right-wing government in a country where same-sex marriage is banned. This hopeful documentary follows this couple who dream of writing and making a musical of their life story. The couple sent email to plenty of film makers and luckily the director of this documentary is the one who saw an opportunity and met them and persuaded the pair to let her document their journey. To realize their dream Gergo and Lenard decide to move to Budapest, where LGBTQ+ life is more open and available, and collaborations with musicians and artists are abundant. They manage to get a grant to write a script on there. Life and musical and engage with an upcoming screen writer. Gergo is also a singer and wants to write his own songs. They also make a few appearances on TV, where Gergo shares

Ro Narukisosu (Japanese) [Old Narcissus]

Honestly I am not sure how I feel about this film. Six years ago, a short film with same name, same lead actor and same story came and was probably a nice medium to tell this story. The film as it stands , stretches to almost 2 hours and doesn't really have much significant additional to say. Sure, its an interesting exploration of getting old, while being single and gay; but the makers also seem confused on whether to focus on queer aging issues, or kink, or old memories, or escort working; or something totally different. The film starts with a 70-something aging gay man Yamazaki hiring a young escort Leo for an S&M session. Leo freaks and waits for him to be back. This is when Yamazaki tells him, he is ok and they hang out. Turns out he is a famous kids picture book writer, who was handsome as a young man and was always in love with himself. With Leo, now for first time he is falling in love with someone else. Leo, on the other hand, has  had a boyfriend for two years who is

The Day I Loved You (Filipino/English Series)

This is probably one of those series which is likely to go under the radar. A cute, fluffy BL set in a high school, it has all the elements of love triangle, first love, prom etc giving a "Stars under the sky" vibes. And it sonly 10 episodes that too of about 18 minutes each. The show focuses only on the main story and there is absolutely no distraction whatsoever. Now, if this was a Thai series, we would have had tropes overload, some random comic side stories, some 3-4 other parallel love stories and they would stretch and extend the show of Ron reasons. In that sense I really am glad that this show knew exactly what it wanted to say and portray without digressing us from the main story. We meet Eli, a rebel kid who gets caught trying to steal school paper. Eli is a foreign student from Singapore who acts out to get attention from his mom. As a punishment, he is made to join the dance club where the school her, topper gay boy Nikko will teach him. Nikko has a best friend Ju

Paloma (Portuguese)

Brazil’s trans community may seem more accepted or even established than others, but, as is often the case, it’s paper thin and probably not as acceptable in smaller towns and poo rural communities. This film about a trans woman's dream of getting her dream wedding in a church may feel simple and straight forward; but the film is about he journey of unmatched strength of one woman who dares to dream and would go to any lengths to achieve that dream. Black, poor and illiterate Paloma lives with her husband Zé raising Paloma's daughter together. They are in a very happy space. Paloma works at a farm, has a decent circle of friends and are getting by Zé loves her. Casual jibes and threats accompany her wherever she goes but her support system is strong; yet she feels and dreams of a white wedding in a church, which as per everyone could be a risky move. But she wants it. Her local priest refuses to do that , even though he respects Paloma and accommodates her. He eventually finds

Disorienting Dick

I am struggling o explain as to how to categorize this film. Flashy, over dramatic with a flair, comedy (?) with a witty political criticism; there is everything here. Yet nothing really that we haven't seen or heard. It's a gay romp, which the director of this film has shown a flair for in the past and this is no different. In the very first shot, we meet he male lead Richard Whiteman in complete nude, so you get a taste of what is to come. Richard (Dick) is the son of a Maureen Whiteman, a Q-anon, conspiracy-focused, money and power-hungry republican politician running for Mayor in a city in Rhode Island. Dick has a fiancé of many years now, but in secret he isn closet and watches gay porn. When the fiancé finds out and tells her mother, she knows exactly what she needs to do, take him to conversion therapy. She has him taken to the “Clinic for the Terminally Dandy,” an evil right wing conversion therapy organization, run by evil Doctor Hyde. But before he knows it, Dick gets

Looking For Langston (UK)

Looking for Langston is a lyrical exploration - and recreation - of the private world of poet, novelist and playwright Langston Hughes (1902 - 1967) and his fellow black artists from the Harlem Renaissance. I have to be honest that I have no idea who Mr. Langston is or the historical importance of the documentary, so here I went in with a very open mind hoping to learn something interesting and new. Shot in black and white by cinematographer Nina Kellgren, the film combines archival footage with newly staged set pieces, fantasy sequences, and an imagined love story. The film reclaims and celebrates Langston Hughes as an important black gay voice in American culture. Hughes’ homosexuality is the obsession here, with a Hughes-inspired figure (a man in a tuxedo who bears no physical resemblance to the poet) ogling hunky men who dance and play together in a 1930s nightclub setting. Occasionally, the tuxedo-clad man is walking on a beach, where he discovers a nude man; the two later retire

Past-Senger (Thai Series)

My feeling after finishing the show is that I somehow survived. Although I was warned indirectly by my friends here, I was still hoping for something good. A time travel story could go either way and we are seeing a lot of those coming through these days. This series is light hearted and for whatever reasons doesn't take itself very seriously. But then it is year 2023 and watching the same old BL tropes of  foes turned lovers, cliched romantic scenes, some cringe worthy BL tropes; all this can take a toll on you. Especially when it just gets repeated over and over for 12 episodes of each 40-45 minutes. The story starts in 1995 where Kiew and his friends have just passed the college entrance exam. Previously, the group held a worship ceremony to wish for good fortune in their school enrollment. They return to pay their merits and express gratitude to the higher power. Kiew somehow doesn't believe in the whole thing and the next thing you know after the prayer is that Kiew finds

The Sunday Sessions (Documentary)

I think I have reviewed more than a few reviews on various documentaries and even films on the whole America's fascination of conversion therapy. This documentary is surprisingly a neutral look at sexual orientation conversion therapy. As a result, you get an in inkling of the conservative notion that modern mindset stresses tolerance except for tolerance of religion and traditional values. Conversion therapy is the controversial, non-scientifically based process which aims to convert an individual's sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual. Although it has been discredited by all major American medical, psychiatric, psychological and professional counseling organizations, some therapists still offer the service for reasons almost exclusively rooted in a conservative religious belief system. We follow Nathan, a gay man in his late twenties, as he seeks counseling from a conversion therapist Christopher Doyle, a (self-proclaimed) formerly gay man who is now married wit

Lovely Man (Indonesian)

A story of love and journey of reconciliation between a religious daughter and an estranged transvestite father over the course of one night in the streets of Jakarta. It gives a very interesting perspective from two different angles and doesn't sugar coat anything. The film kept it real with respect of emotions, truth and the bond between the two. The story is simple. A 199 year old girl Cahaya, a deeply religious person with strong Islamic values comes to Jakarta to meet her estranged father who left her when she was four. She somehow has an address for him. To her complete surprise, the father she is looking for turns out to be the face of a stranger, a transvestite man named Ipuy, working as a prostitute in the streets at night. In the initial minutes after encountering each other, both are shocked at the turn of evens. The innocent Cahaya is crushed at her father's choices and hesitant. But over the course of the night they wander in the streets of Jakarta until the dawn a

Gan (Arabic/Hebrew) (Documentary) [Garden]

This was actually a pretty amazing documentary. It almost felt like a film. This raw, tragic, and endlessly compelling look at Dudu and Nino as they navigate life on the streets of Tel Aviv as male prostitutes hits you quite hard, if you watch it with some emotions. Their story of childhood, struggle, living day by day using prostitution and drugs to just survive was gut wrenching and watching things like this, make you wonder why some people have to go through this shit. Why can't there be some semblance of more equality out there. Garden is the seedy area of Tel Aviv, where a lot of male prostitution happens. Drug addicted, young gay prostitutes and transvestites (Israelis and Palestinians) share the same working space in uncommon harmony and some even as friends. To bring these points home, and make a few more, the film makers follow two young men who "live and work" in the Garden. Nino, a 17-year-old Palestinian living illegally in Israel, in and out of jail and refor

Changing Ends (UK) (TV Show)

Alan Carr is a name that I am not familiar with, and honestly, I don't know if I should be embarrassed or not about this fact. I mean, I can't know every single popular celebrity throughout the world. Anyway, apparently he is a big deal in UK, so let's just take the internet's word for it. This 6 episode, 20 minute each sitcom set in the 80s, is a smart, inventive, very funny, honest and charming coming-of-age story. Chronicling the life os the young Alan in his childhood days, I am so glad that. The show takes the comedy route and does a fantastic job.  We meet a young Alan Carr just finishing primary school, ready to go to secondary school. His best friend and neighbor Charlie has been asked to not hang out with Alan because he is"not the sort" you wanna be associated with. His father is the football coach for the local town team and his mother is a very supportive mom, who picks up occasional fights with Charlie's mom and their banter is always funny. T

A Boss And A Babe (Thai Series)

When I started watching the show, I absolutely loved it. It was uncomplicated, drama free, great chemistry, a very infectious energy from the lead and the conversations were something that you would expect most people to talk in their daily life. The problem with the show it overstays its welcome. After being a huge fan of the lead's chemistry and our 'babe', it just started to repeat itself and the conflicts and drama felt forced. Ideally the show could have ended in 6-8 episodes and I would have rated it quite high. But as it is, I would probably deduct one mark. Besides that the show does manage to keep a smile on your face, with some objectionable and questionable workplace behavior; but other than that, it's not a bad show at all. It is 12 episodes of about 40-45 minutes each. Through his friend Jack who works for a gaming company, Cher manages to get 3 month internship. Cher is a bundle of energy, self-admit tingly chatty, very outgoing, says what he feels like an

Kam motýli nelétají (Czech) [Where Butterflies Don't Fly ]

This survival drama unexpectedly turns out to be a much better film than I thought it would be. The pacing is a bit slow and it's probably a little bit longer than it needed to be, but it's nice to see a gay movie about something other than whether or not two people are going to have sex. More on that in the detailed review later, but having recently seen that Thai cave rescue drama, I could feel a similar tension here in the film as well. We meet our two lead characters. Daniel is a 19 year old bright, but lazy (different) student on the verge of failing to graduate. At home, his parents fight constantly. At school, he’s bullied for being gay. He keeps his head down, headphones on and tries to get through the day without bothering anyone. Then we meet Adam, who is the school’s gym and literature teacher. Perfect on the outside, he doesn’t discuss his homelife at work. He is gay and has been in a happy relationship with his partner for over 5 years. As it happens Adam is stuck

Nana's Boys

You know, for some odd reason I had my doubts before I started watching this film. I somehow knew that this may fall into the category of the show that I used to watch from Signal TV, a few of them reviewed here, but thankfully it didn't disappoint as much. But in all sincerity, it's the kind of story  that has its heart in the right place, but, unfortunately, the writing is so implausible and unconvincing that it's difficult to believe that this is a couple potentially on the verge of collapse, despite the alleged sensitivity it's trying to convey. Maybe it would have been better suited as a play. Q and Amaris are a gay black couple. Q is 35, a lawyer, looking to become a partner and who is a meticulous and practically anal planner. However, Amari is feeling aimless and without purpose, frustrated that he doesn't know what he wants to do with his life. Amari's 30th birthday has him feeling old and wanting to reevaluate things. A blast incident forces them to ge

Southern Pride (Documentary)

Sometime back I saw the documentary about Small Town Gay Bars in the south. Made by the same filmmaker, this documentary explores efforts to create LGBTQ events that offer an antidote to hatred coming from the White House, right after Trump's inauguration. Still based in Mississippi, this time the focus is on a community's quest to do their pride march but also highlight light issues like transphobia. We meet two very vocal, different yet similar individuals. Lynn is the owner of Biloxi bar, who has been with her wife for a long time and seeing Trump get into the office feels that America needs a big mirror to reveal its deep divisions and backwards momentum. Meanwhile, Shawn, a black person, is owner of Club Xclusive in Hattiesburg, facing severe racism and homophobia from locals. Lynn is working to organize the first Gulf Coast Pride, while Shawn is setting up what she calls Unapologetic Black Gay Pride. Both want to create an event where queer people can gather and feel good


The narrative of a sex worker with a heart of gold has been explored many times now in many films, but this feels like a sanitized version of the trade. He is a polished speaker, dealing with his own issues and problems; but the film never rises beyond what it should. The heart is in right place, but there is never any drama to have audiences get more invested in the plot. It has a very hot camera film feel and somewhere feels way too simple of a story to be made a film of. Handsome young hustler Gabriel works the grimy streets of Los Angeles with a group of colorful friends. He even steals money from his male clients, something that he has made a habit of, since he needs to send money back to his mother for financial support. One day at a train platform, he meets Martha, a friendly older widow who hires him to spend time with her during the holidays to just sit and talk. The first meeting goes fine and it's the first time, Gabriel leaves the money on the table. He eventually finds

Our Dining Table (Japanese Series)

To some people , this series may seem fluff, but to me it was exactly the warm, tender virtual hug that I needed. This show has many beautiful moments and t never goes into the heavy terrirtory. Yes, the protagonists are hong through their internal trauma (some from childhood) and how they made into who they are; but its the tender heartfelt moments between the leads and the super amazing little kid, that makes this show an absolute pleasurable watch. Yes, the BL content was very low, but seeing two individuals, broken in their own way, finding their destiny with each other and coming together under circumstances that neither of them would hav imagines sure tugs your heart and warms it up. At 10 episodes of about 23 minutes each, the show just breezes by and never feels like a stretch. The story is simple actually. 23 year old Yutaka works in an office and is basically an introvert who eats his meals by himself. One day a small kid appears eyes his rice ball and Yutaka offers him and h

Blood-Red Ox (English/Spanish)

A gay psychological thriller on paper must sound good, but this film by the Bolivian filmmaker will most likely go over most people's head. At the onset, you will notice some very beautiful landscape and cinematography and that is consistent throughout the film, but the senseless plot that I tried to make sense of, plenty of times, I just couldn't comprehend. The film tries to capture the essence of classic psychological horror, but ultimately fails to deliver a satisfying ending. Gay couple Amir and Amat arrive in Bolivia from upstate New York on invitation by Amir's friend Amancaya, a local female activist revered by all. As they drive from the airport to Amancaya's house, they come across an ox that has been hit by a car. The animal is obviously suffering, and so Amancaya shoots it. Soon Amat begins having strange, blood-drenched dreams.He confesses to Amir that he used to have them after his mother committed suicide and they stopped and that he doesn't want to l

The Joneses (Documentary)

I didn't really expect much going into watching this documentary, but I have to say that this ended up being an extraordinary story of a trans female in her 70s living in Mississippi, her 4 sons and her grandkids. The director apparently filmed this over a period of 5 years during which they deal with questions of sexuality, religion, family history, and self-discovery. I can totally see this film being made to a movie. In fact, the name is missing me, but I do remember an old American film , where the father comes out as someone who works in a factory and loves to cross dress at almost retirement age. 70-something Jheri is unique and very openly talks about her life as a man. We get to know his time as Jerry Jones, who was married once , had 4 boys but couldn't lie anymore. Jerry ended up divorcing his wife then but because of hims wanting to transition and dressing up as a woman, his ex-wife sort of forbade him to meet the kids. Now that the wife is passed on, the documentary

Destiny Seeker (Thai Series)

Some shows are good and some are bad, but I can't think of just handful of shows that are just plain simple boring. They are not necessarily bad, but the execution of the already insipid plot does really nothing for me. I bet the makers were thinking that they have a SOTUS like series on their hands with dorms and rivals and the classic rivals turning lovers story on their hands, but the childish story and the fact that really nothing much happens for most of the story plots just tests your patience. Sitting. Through 10 episodes of 45 minutes each is going to be very very hard to finish this series, without constantly wondering if there is a point that this show is going towards or not ! Ai and Songkhram are leaders of the two dorms in their university and as such arch rivals. So for first 2-3 episodes we get to see the context being set on the university, students, dorm culture and these rivals. Confident and intelligent, Songkhram often clashes with Ai. None of the students on ei