Monday, August 28, 2017

LGBT Film Review: Loev (2015)




Synopsis (from IMDB):

A weekend trip between friends takes a sudden turn, making them each question what love is and what it means to them.

My Review:

This was so powerful and moving. Even though it may seem like a typical "doomed" love story, Loev was far from being predictable. That this film takes place in India where homosexuality is still criminalized, and where LGBT films from there are so rare in general, is not the only thing that makes this movie so special. It's the authenticity in the acting, in the natural bond that the two characters share. There is an intense rape scene that is almost hard to watch, but how the two pick up the pieces was stunning. It's already a tragic story made all the more tragic by how the actor who plays Sahil passed on from tuberculous at 29 when the film was in post-production. The intensity of the acting and emotions aside, for once, there's a raw and gritty drama that doesn't take us to the exotic imagery or slums of India like most movies of this ilk do. There's no pandering, there are no stereotypes, Loev is about two every-day professional and financially successful Indian men who're in love, where it isn't about them being at odds with religion or even with their country, but them trying to keep their friendship, professional lives, and romantic desires in tact. This was a breath of fresh air, truly, in more ways than one.

* Currently on Netflix *


Saturday, August 19, 2017

LGBT Film Review: Naz & Maalik (2015)



Synopsis (from IMDB):

Two closeted Muslim teens hawk goods across Brooklyn and struggle to come clean about their sexuality, as their secretive behavior leads them unknowingly into the cross-hairs of the War on Terror.

My Review:

Oftentimes, I wasn't sure what this movie was about more: two FBI agents trying to find out if Naz and Maalik are terrorists, or if it was about everyone from those agents, friends, and family members wanting to know for sure if the two are gay and are in a relationship. This movie struggles to find that balance and focus, and ultimately, doesn't quite 100% succeed at either plot-points, but somehow, it doesn't matter: Naz and Maalik have such a tender, sensual, and desperate bond for each other. Even when they struggle to find acceptance in their sexuality and where their religion ultimately keeps the two apart, it's when they're the most intimate and close that they test one another's love and devotion, and it's captured so beautifully. The stakes aren't as high as they should be, but I was still engrossed in these characters and in the movie with its gorgeous cinematography that took place in Brooklyn at Bed-Stuy, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, and Crown Heights. What the movie might lack in plot, it's well made up for in the acting and the overall gritty energy. I didn't quite love it as much as I wanted to, but I so admire Naz & Maalik, such a brilliant effort, and seriously, the two lead characters/actors are exquisite.

* Currently on Netflix *

 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

LGBT Film Review: On The Grayscale (2015)



Synopsis (from IMDB):

Bruno, an architect with a great life, is hired to build an iconic landmark, and as he works with a gay history teacher named Fer, an unexpected and intense romance starts to blossom.

My Review:

This movie is EXQUISITE from the cinematography, the acting, the dialogue, and the Chilean landscape. It so beautifully sweeps us away into not only the language, sights, sound, and culture of Chile, but also on these two men who are very different from each other, but who form a bond anyway, despite how problematic things are between them. Bruno is bisexual, but doesn't know how to identify with his sexuality. Fer is out and proudly gay, but he's strongly attracted to Bruno. The sparks are definitely there between them, together they're so wonderful. If there's only one downside to In The Grayscale is that while Bruno never truly comes to grip with his bisexuality, I didn't like the execution of the ending, it felt so abrupt, like it lacked something to give this movie the closure that it deserved. Yet, the cinematography and even the music still gave it justice. With so few bisexual movies out there, this was a real joy, even if the ending was typical. Nonetheless, I loved it!

* Currently on Netflix *

LGBT Film Review: Weekend (2011)





Synopsis (from IMDB):

After a drunken house party with his straight mates, Russell heads out to a gay club. Just before closing time he picks up Glen but what's expected to be just a one-night stand becomes something else, something special.

My Review:

I loved this movie so much that I watched it twice. There's so much to love about it: the cast is perfectly suited for the characters, the dialogue is sharp and natural, the sex feels and looks so down to earth and intimate, and most of all, it takes such a simple premise of two men hooking up and spins it to where we slow and gradually learn more about both these men, on what makes them so different and opposite from each other, and what they have in common despite their flaws and shortcomings. It's not a typical hook-up story, nor is it a typical love story either. It explores the age-old question: can a hook-up possibly turn into something more, is love possible when it only begins as sexual? They did such a lovely and beautiful job on Weekend, I can't recommend it highly enough. It's fantastic.

* Current on Netflix *


Sunday, August 13, 2017

LGBT Film Review: Below Her Mouth (2017)




Synopsis (from Rotten Tomatoes):

BELOW HER MOUTH is a bold, uninhibited drama that begins with a passionate weekend affair between two women. Dallas, a roofer and Jasmine, a fashion editor, share a powerful and immediate connection that inevitably derails both of their lives.

My Review:

I see this more as a movie that's reacting to Blue Is The Warmest Color by making their lesbian sex scenes more realistic and trying to show that two women can do more in bed than hardcore scissoring. Sadly, this is really all that this movie is about. There is no plot and there is no character development. There is nothing else that this movie shows other than its surface, which isn't a lot there to begin with even with that. I love that this movie is sexually frank, I love how stylistic it is to where it is basically soft-core porn with a glossy indie-film finish, but I really wanted to know who these characters actually are, and why they're attracted to each other beyond just the physical. While Blue was heavy-handed with the sex, at least we knew exactly why and how its two lead characters were attracted to each other and what broke them apart. With these two, there's nothing but pure, carnal, physical desire, which is fine, but that alone doesn't make a movie worth watching. Not to mention, the acting is a bit funky at times, and the dialogue oftentimes is unintentionally laughable. It's a shame because there IS something to like here, Below Her Mouth has so much potential, but if only they'd have given us something more.

* Currently On Netflix *