25 August 2012

Movie Review: Like a Brother

This could have just as easily been called Like a Movie. At 55 minutes, it was really just over the line for a long short. But it wasn't quite a movie. In fact, the movie ends right around where a full length feature film would come to a climax and then the denouement. But unfortunately, we get two scenes before the climax and the credits roll. Boo to the producers for failing on budget, I'm sure.

The story develops where Sebastien (left) is a confused gay growing up in a town in the province. He has a crush on Romain (right). It isn't totally clear where he's at in his new life except that he's come to the capital region, Paris, to make a new life as Zack. He now has a boyfriend, a new life and then keeps flashing back to his adolescence in the province. He has a huge crush on Romain, who never really reciprocates until one night when his girlfriend stands him up/dumps him/somehow dismisses him. Then Romain does reciprocate the flirting and so forth. You'll have to watch where this eventually goes in his flashback but it seems it wasn't a Tong/Nathan ending ala Lihim Ni Antonio.

Sebastien/Zack is living his life in Paris when Romain calls and says he's starting a new life in Paris and wants to visit Sebastien/Zack. They meet up and ambiguously the story ends.

The concept is interesting but the sudden ending before the story is finished makes you wonder if the movie is one of those French films where the joke is on the audience. But it's not as bad as the last film I just reviewed so it wouldn't hurt to watch it. Maybe it needs a new set of eyes to figure out how to finish it. Maybe the point is for the audience to figure out what the ending ought to be?

24 August 2012

Movie Review: We Were One Man

There's just something about formal movies that I don't like. Please don't get me started on 100 Days Before the Command. This movie wasn't that bad. But the plot summary I read before watching it was misleading. I will copy and paste the plot summary I read and then will add things to the summary, which in my mind will make it truthful, by underscoring those additions and bolding them in red for contrast and striking through words that are misleading or untruthful:
In this unexpected and often touching love story set against the backdrop of World War II, a kindhearted mentally ill, mentally retarded or Autistic French peasant saves the life of an injured German soldier and spends the bulk of the movie prancing about the French countryside vacillating between calling him "Murderer" and treating him like his best friend. He is ultimately surprised when he develops feelings a full blown mental crisis of life and death epic proportions for a man he thought was his enemy. What emerges from director Philippe Vallois's moody and romantic character study is has been described by some as a questioning of the arbitrary borders that separate us, rendered meaningless in the face of true love.
 It wasn't like this plot summary was totally false, it was just misleading a bit. I actually found the last twenty minutes of the movie to be the most interesting and the first hour could have been cut or summarized. In fact, the ending was not just disturbing but that it was an expression of someone's psychological state using the time period involved in such a manner at the time it was produced (the late 1970s). Unless you're really into watching every gay movie ever made or are into period pieces about World War II Europe, this may be one to skip.

21 August 2012

Movie Review: Garçon Stupide

For some reason when this movie came out, I avoided it. Part of it had to do with an alternate movie poster which showed the main character, Loic, played by Pierre Chatagny, as an emaciated teenager. I just thought anorexic twink and the title "Garçon stupide" just sounded stupid. However, I was surprised with the issues the movie attempted to grapple with. Loic struggles with intimacy versus isolation (in the form of night time trysts with strangers) until he develops a real crush on a local celebrity. I imagine, had Herbs not emigrated, this might of been the Swiss version of his life.

(Ania ti kunam, Manila Bitch?)

There were parts of the film that just seemed random to the overall point of the film. But nevertheless, I think the attempt is worth enough of 90 minutes of your attention to see. I found the Swiss French variations of tryst sexuality to be exotic, to say the least.

20 August 2012

Movie Review: Sebastian

Somehow I missed this film when it came out. I recall later hearing about it but never watched it. It's a Norwegian film about a Swedish boy in Sweden coming out in the middle 1990s. In the middle of the movie, Sebastian (on the left there) kisses his friend Ulf (Swedish Taylor Lautner look-a-like). In all the synopses I had read, it seemed like that's where the craziness was supposed to start, but actually it all started in the scenes leading up to the kiss. In a post-gay digital world, I wonder if the person have a gender crisis isn't the putative straight Ulf (Swedish Taylor Latner look-a-like).

I'm just not sure if Svend Wam had this experience or wanted this experience but there is something about the parents and friends response that seems inconsistent with Sebastian's fears and complexes. I can't really put my finger on it -- nor was it interesting enough to really think through. I would put this at the very beginning of a long line of easy going coming out stories.

09 August 2012

Movie Review: Romeos

This movie made it into the queue because it listed with the other movie I just reviewed of a similar name. Here's a snap shot at the plot: FTM transgender Lukas is going through the process of gender reassignment. She moves to Cologne and is helped out by her former bestfriend (maybe ex girlfriend, it's not clear) and lesbian Ine. When they go out for the first time, Lukas falls for Fabio, the local bisexual casanova. 

But nobody but Ine knows that Lukas is still in transition from her former life as Miriam. That conflict or omission doesn't stop the sparks from flying until, well, it does, and then the real sparks start flying.

Although Lukas is played by a boy named Rick Okon who is just soft enough and the added breasts just start to fuck with your mind. He's a great actor and with the director it's just great. I don't know much about FTM transgenderism but the question of identity, community, integrity and personal truth is not foreign to me.  To top it off, Fabio is played by a Franco-German hottie so its easy to fall into identification with Lukas/Miriam.

What is the nature of gender? Attraction? Sexual identity? Belonging? This is certainly not one to miss.

08 August 2012

Movie Review: Coffee Date

I wasn't sure what to expect from this movie since I was only given what to expect for the first ten minutes: Todd shows up at a coffee shop to meet a blind date named Kelly that his brother had arranged for him via an online dating service. The first sign of something not being quite right is that they meet a a gay coffee house. 

With only one table, he shares it with Wilson Cruz' character where they discuss common interests while Wilson Cruz' character also waits for his blind date. It turns out that they are waiting for each other since Wilson Cruz plays Kelly in the movie. Todd decides to get back at his brother/house-guest by coming home with Kelly and pretending to hook up with a man.

Todd's brother, Barry, goes a step further and tells Todd's mom who immediately flies out to Los Angeles to be with her son. Suddenly there is a social cascading of Todd being outed although he professes his "straightness"..

What I found so fascinating about this film was the challenges it makes to attraction, sexual orientation and gender and the relationship of the individual to the community and the nature and source of identity. I found the mother's very funny "case historicizing" her son's new found, always already present homosexuality.

I'd have to say the surprise ending is well surprising, but I'll leave it at that. It's funny and is able to very easily move through quite heavy topics without seeming wonky.

07 August 2012

Movie Review: Private Romeo

Now, there is a 50/50 chance you'll have the same reaction that I did to this movie. In one school of thought, the movie was "an earnest experiment in don't-ask-don't-tell drama as indebted to shirtlessness as to iambic pentameter." See Jeanette Catsoulis' full review here. In the other school of thought, "Get a bunch of male hotties reciting Shakespeare's most immortal love poetry to one another and you have a hot movie, right? Wrong!" See David Noh's full review here.

I have watched all sorts of versions of Romeo and Juliet, live, filmed, video-ed, etc., and I have never really felt like any have captured the essence of the Shakespeare's story. There is something about this film that is missing something but it hasn't anything to do with Shakespeare's story.

O God! did Romeo's hand shed Tybalt's blood? 

It did, it did; alas the day, it did!

I have read and watched performed these lines hundreds of times and yet it was only in this movie that it had some kind of emotional meaning for me. How strange? Eight cadets are left behind -- for some reason unclear -- for a long weekend at their all-male military high school. There are two factions among them and through their study of Romeo and Juliet, literature blends into reality as the newest reenactment of star crossed lovers.

This is worth watching and deciding which camp you fall into. Of course, maybe you just want to watch a bunch of shirtless hotties (citybuoy, Manila Bitch) belt out iambic pentameter? Be forewarned though that the actors have great stage presence and chemistry and play their roles well and so that aspect of it really is just a little bit of a bonus.

01 August 2012

Default, A Challenge

nagpalya ang makina
kahina-hinalang paraan ng pagkita ng salapi
umuumbok ang supot dahil sa kapupunan
nawalan ng kahinahunan ang lalaki
ang mga taimtim na hinaing sa mga diyos ay nagbuhat sa lahat ng altar
lubusang pagtatakwil sa paniniwala

nagpalya ang kaluluwa
huli siya

Challenge IV: Late
 ןıuǝ oɟ ɟןıƃɥʇ 
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