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GAY INDIE CINEMA!

103 posts in this topic

"Henry Gamble's Birthday Party" - 2015 - Stephen Cone

 

henry_gamble_candles.png

 

What is it like to grow up gay in a religiously-oriented family - and in lllinois, no less?

 

Well, young Henry Gamble is about to find out as his mom and dad throw him a birthday party around the family pool.

 

Henry may be a young gay man - about to blossom - but there are other family problems, too.

 

His sister, Autumn, is upset over the loss of her virginity.

 

His mom, Kat, has had an extra-marital affair.

 

His dad, Bob, wants to keep the family together.

 

A young gay friend, Logan, is very attracted to Henry.

 

A deeply Christian aunt, who is very judgemental, has a son with a bizarre emotional history - did he attempt to kill himself?

 

A young married couple seem strangely happy - they are about to have a baby.

 

In the context of the Christian environment of this film, all of these problems take on an extra dimension.

 

How perfect - how "godly" - can we be?

 

Can problems destroy us - or save us?

 

This film is dramatized in a very interesting way - there are no full-out dramatic developments or tons and tons of exposition - instead, throughout the party atmosphere, wisps of the various plot strands float by and just as quickly evaporate.

 

You can either pay attention or not.

 

You can simply enjoy another one of those tangled family get-togethers.

 

And, then, when it is over, head for the nearest exit.

 

This film is obviously a low-budget production, but it is singulary conceived and executed.

 

As the gay young man, Cole Doman is a knockout.

 

Elizabeth Laidlaw and Pat Healy are superb as his parents.

 

Nina Ganet is excellent as his sister.

 

And Daniel Kyri, as Logan, the young gay man who wins Henry's heart, is one of those mysteries of attraction that can never be explained.

 

Typical of this film, as Henry goes to kiss Logan, there is a freeze frame on Henry's face.

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Great review Ray. Glad you've done a new one today!

Thanks, Jarrod,  I can honestly say that I've never seen a film like this.

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"Handsome Devil" is an Irish film from 2016.

 

000ddcc2-800.jpg

 

It was directed by John Butler.

 

In many ways, it is typical of those gay films that take place in boarding schools - this one, supposedly in Dublin.

 

You know, there are the difficulties of being gay in a hostile enviroment and the difficulties with students/teachers in that environment.

 

But it's not exacty "a love story".

 

Ned Roche is an ostracized gay student who inhabits his own universe.

 

Connor Masters is the leading light of the rugby team and is deeply interested in music.

 

Ned and Connor bond through their love of music.

 

They also decide to enter a talent competititon.

 

Ned easily realizes that Connor is a closeted gay.

 

Their relationship turns rocky when Ned decides to out Connor.

 

Connor runs off.

 

Ned is taken home.

 

But Ned escapes from his father's clutches and finds Connor and brings him back for the all-important rugby game.

 

Two young gay men bond - not through sex or love - but through their concern for each other - as human beings.

 

The film is dripping with Irish charm.

 

Fion O'Shea as Ned and Nicholas Galitzine as Connor carry the film beautifully.

 

You care deeply for the two of them.

 

Of course, John Butler, who wrote and directed, is the driving force behind all this success.

 

See this charmer, if you want to experience the generosity that two young gay men can demonstrate towards one another.

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"King Cobra" - 2016 - Justin Kelly -

 

king-cobra-tribeca.jpg?w=1000&h=658&crop

 

This gay film is a thoroughly engrossing crime drama that dramatizes an actual murder case that invovled the phenomenal rise of the gay porn star, Brent Corrigan.

 

I don't want to discuss the details of the plot because I don't want to spoil anybody's enjoyment of the film.

 

But perhaps a lot of you will already be familiar with this particular case.

 

A book has already been written about it.

 

It stars Christian Slater and James Franco in revelatory performances.

 

Newcomers Garrett Clayton and Kegan Allen add extraordinary support to the stars.

 

Alicia Silverstone adds to the proceedings, too.

 

Yes, it's an ugly, ugly story, but it is handled very well.

 

Please, don't miss it! 

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In case you are interested, the book is "Cobra Killer Gay Porn Murder and The Manhunt To Bring The Killers To Justice" by Andrew E. Stoner and Peter A. Conway.

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In case you are interested, the book is "Cobra Killer Gay Porn Murder and The Manhunt To Bring The Killers To Justice" by Andrew E. Stoner and Peter A. Conway.

 

Sounds most interesting. Thanks Ray for mentioning it.

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"Like You Mean It" - 2015 - written and directed by Philipp Harner

 

This gay film is about two young gay men, Mark and Jonah, who are enjoying a three-year relationship.

 

But, suddenly, there seems to be cracks in the relationship.

 

But, at this point, there is no separation.

 

They go to a marriage counseler.

 

But Mark has trouble with the "exercises".

 

Jonah is more open to trying, but he seems rather perplexed, too.

 

Mark seems to be more of the problem than Jonah actually is.

 

Mark is a struggling actor who is unhappy with his career.

 

Jonah is a struggling musician who doesn't seem troubled, in the least.

 

Mark pushes himself into a hook-up with an old flame.

 

But it's a hook-up that goes nowhere.

 

Jonah is finally abandoned at a street corner.

 

He simply walks away.

 

This American film has a distinctly European flavor.

 

In fact, if Michaelangelo Antonioni were gay, he might've come up with something like this.

 

For example, in explaining what Mark and Jonah have lost, the film reverts constantly to imagery - an idyllic mountainside tryst in which the two of them are lost in love

 

In this film, imagery is far more important than - explanatory dialogue.

 

That's the unique strength of this film - that it exists visually rather than verbally.

 

 At the end, Mark runs into Jonah at a wedding.

 

He wants to tell Jonah about everything about Jonah that he, Mark, has appreciated.

 

He has a list.

 

He starts to read it.

 

The film ends.

 

We don't need the list.

 

We have seen - experienced - Mark and Jonah's life together.

 

If this film had come to us from Europe, it probably would have been an art house sensation.    

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LIKE YOU MEAN IT sounds interesting. Another great review.

You'll fall in love with Mark and Jonah.

 

The film ends on a partially-hopeful note.

 

"Marriage" is work - walking away is way too easy.

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"Those People" - 2015 - Joey Kuhn

 

those-people-20154838.jpg

 

While I was watching this film, I thought of two things -

 

It hurts, HURTS - to be in love.

 

and

 

Like watching a car crash, you can't look at it and you can't look away.

 

This gay film is so emotionally complex that it does actually hurt - a lot.

 

Charlie and Sebastian are rich, young and gay.

 

As friends, they have been together for fifteen years.

 

They are practically attached at the hip.

 

But, while their relationship does sometimes border on the sexual, they have never been to bed with each other.

 

Charlie (Jonathan Gordon) and Sebastian (Jason Ralph) are, in fact, "opposites", but that difference would seem to be the nature of their "attraction".

 

The worm in the apple?

 

Enter Tim, a struggling musician, and older than Charlie, who falls in love with Charlie, even gets to seduce him and wants to take him to San Francisco.

 

This piece of news doesn't go down well with Sebastian, whose father, a Bernie Madoff type, has just committed suicide in prison.

 

Sebastian almost kills himself in suicidal despair - is it the loss of Charlie, the loss of his father or both?

 

So, what does Charlie do?

 

Well, you may not agree.

 

But he gives up Tim and stays with Sebastian.

 

Will Charlie and Sebastian get "closer"?

 

Or are they "close enough"?

 

This gay film is such an intriguing exploration of the nature of love - what it means and what it can mean.

 

Jonathan Gordon (Charlie), Jason Frank (Sebastian) and Haaz Sleiman (Tim) are gorgeous men who are absolute perfection in this film.

 

This film will haunt you for a long time.

 

Because it involves a choice that is "controversial" to say the least.

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"Those People" - 2015 - Joey Kuhn

 

those-people-20154838.jpg

 

While I was watching this film, I thought of two things -

 

It hurts, HURTS - to be in love.

 

and

 

Like watching a car crash, you can't look at it and you can't look away.

 

This gay film is so emotionally complex that it does actually hurt - a lot.

 

Charlie and Sebastian are rich, young and gay.

 

As friends, they have been together for fifteen years.

 

They are practically attached at the hip.

 

But, while their relationship does sometimes border on the sexual, they have never been to bed with each other.

 

Charlie (Jonathan Gordon) and Sebastian (Jason Ralph) are, in fact, "opposites", but that difference would seem to be the nature of their "attraction".

 

The worm in the apple?

 

Enter Tim, a struggling musician, and older than Charlie, who falls in love with Charlie, even gets to seduce him and wants to take him to San Francisco.

 

This piece of news doesn't go down well with Sebastian, whose father, a Bernie Madoff type, has just committed suicide in prison.

 

Sebastian almost kills himself in suicidal despair - is it the loss of Charlie, the loss of his father or both?

 

So, what does Charlie do?

 

Well, you may not agree.

 

But he gives up Tim and stays with Sebastian.

 

Will Charlie and Sebastian get "closer"?

 

Or are they "close enough"?

 

This gay film is such an intriguing exploration of the nature of love - what it means and what it can mean.

 

Jonathan Gordon (Charlie), Jason Frank (Sebastian) and Haaz Sleiman (Tim) are gorgeous men who are absolute perfection in this film.

 

This film will haunt you for a long time.

 

Because it involves a choice that is "controversial" to say the least.

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"The Ten Year Plan" - 2014 - J. C. Calciano

 

tumblr_nqqdwjtN7q1uz75hko1_400.gif

 

This gay film plays like a fairly predictable tale of two gay young men, Myles and Brody, who have been friends for ten long years and have always been there for each other through thick and thin.

 

There is more than enough to say about that kind of sustaining relationship.

 

If a date walks out on Myles, he can call Brody about it.

 

And Brody is always on the phone to Myles.

 

Both characters are cliches - Myles is a lawyer, impeccably dressed and laid back, who is looking for love, NOT SEX - Brody is a policeman who just loves men and can't get enough of them.

 

But these particular cliches are very well-written - I credit the director, who also wrote the screenplay - they emerge as fully-realized human beings.

 

I also credit the actors, Jack Turner as Myles and Michael Adam Hamilton as Brody, who just happen to have terrific chemistry together.

 

Can a director/scenarist and his two principal actors rescue cliches?

 

Yes, they can - making them engaging, empathetic and important.

 

You want happiness for both Myles and Brody.

 

In the end, need I tell you, they realize that, as different as they are, they were made for each other.

 

Yes, opposites attract - and can fall in love and spend the rest of their lives together.

 

So, despite the familiarity of the material, the director and his two stars make us care deeply about the storyline.

 

See this one, if you want to be convinced that "love" can happen anywhere, anytime.

 

If this love happens to people who are walking through it with their eyes wide open. 

 

TWO STARS ARE BORN - 

 

The-10-Year-Plan-DI-1.jpg

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"The Ten Year Plan" - 2014 - J. C. Calciano

 

tumblr_nqqdwjtN7q1uz75hko1_400.gif

 

This gay film plays like a fairly predictable tale of two gay young men, Myles and Brody, who have been friends for ten long years and have always been there for each other through thick and thin.

 

There is more than enough to say about that kind of sustaining relationship.

 

If a date walks out on Myles, he can call Brody about it.

 

And Brody is always on the phone to Myles.

 

Both characters are cliches - Myles is a lawyer, impeccably dressed and laid back, who is looking for love, NOT SEX - Brody is a policeman who just loves men and can't get enough of them.

 

But these particular cliches are very well-written - I credit the director, who also wrote the screenplay - they emerge as fully-realized human beings.

 

I also credit the actors, Jack Turner as Myles and Michael Adam Hamilton as Brody, who just happen to have terrific chemistry together.

 

Can a director/scenarist and his two principal actors rescue cliches?

 

Yes, they can - making them engaging, empathetic and important.

 

You want happiness for both Myles and Brody.

 

In the end, need I tell you, they realize that, as different as they are, they were made for each other.

 

Yes, opposites attract - and can fall in love and spend the rest of their lives together.

 

So, despite the familiarity of the material, the director and his two stars make us care deeply about the storyline.

 

See this one, if you want to be convinced that "love" can happen anywhere, anytime.

 

If this love happens to people who are walking through it with their eyes wide open. 

 

TWO STARS ARE BORN - 

 

The-10-Year-Plan-DI-1.jpg

The leading men look very cute :)

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"Me, Him, Her" - Max Landis - 2014/2015

 

luke-bracey-me-him-her-movie-image.jpeg

 

This film seems to be working at cross purposes - 

 

a closeted gay actor - Brendan (Luke Bracey) - wants to come out of the closet and enlists the aid of his straight friend - Cory (Dustin Milligan) -

 

Brendan was secretly kissed by Steve (Kyle Bornheimer) and will never be the same -

 

but Cory becomes involved with a lesbian, Gabbi (Emily Meade) and they experience a powerful love/hate relationship -

 

Gabbi has just been dumped by her girlfriend, a rather wired type who is played by Angela Sarafyan -

 

meanwhile, the story of poor Brendan gets sidetracked although he does "come out" on the red carpet without Cory's help -

 

the story of Cory, Gabbi and her girlfriend and Gabbi's two friends just seems bizarre rather than that interesting -

 

the story of Brendan's coming out at the same time that he has become a big star on TV in a series called "Straight Arrow" has far more comic potential, but, unfortunately, that comic potential is never realized -

 

too bad, because, as Brendan, Luke Bracey is just so attractive that you want so much more of him -

 

but, thank God, the director has given us a near-nude scene which practically knocks us off our feet -

 

I do wish that Max Landis would re-visit the material and concentrate on Brendan and Steve. 

 

nevertheless,  like a banana split, Luke Bracey needs to be "tasted".

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I do believe that Max Landis is the son of John Landis.

 

The film itself was made for $5 million.

 

Who to save - your gay best friend or your recent lesbian conquest? -

 

I'd save my gay best friend!

 

Me-Him-her-movie.jpg?ssl=1

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"Me, Him, Her" - Max Landis - 2014/2015

 

luke-bracey-me-him-her-movie-image.jpeg

 

This film seems to be working at cross purposes - 

 

a closeted gay actor - Brendan (Luke Bracey) - wants to come out of the closet and enlists the aid of his straight friend - Cory (Dustin Milligan) -

 

Brendan was secretly kissed by Steve (Kyle Bornheimer) and will never be the same -

 

but Cory becomes involved with a lesbian, Gabbi (Emily Meade) and they experience a powerful love/hate relationship -

 

Gabbi has just been dumped by her girlfriend, a rather wired type who is played by Angela Sarafyan -

 

meanwhile, the story of poor Brendan gets sidetracked although he does "come out" on the red carpet without Cory's help -

 

the story of Cory, Gabbi and her girlfriend and Gabbi's two friends just seems bizarre rather than that interesting -

 

the story of Brendan's coming out at the same time that he has become a big star on TV in a series called "Straight Arrow" has far more comic potential, but, unfortunately, that comic potential is never realized -

 

too bad, because, as Brendan, Luke Bracey is just so attractive that you want so much more of him -

 

but, thank God, the director has given us a near-nude scene which practically knocks us off our feet -

 

I do wish that Max Landis would re-visit the material and concentrate on Brendan and Steve. 

 

nevertheless,  like a banana split, Luke Bracey needs to be "tasted".

Interestingly, Luke Bracey's parents are played by Geena Davis and Scott Bakula.

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Now... this next film can be seen on the Internet Archive: https://archive.org/details/casftm_000001

 

Jonathan Raymond's Gay San Francisco was shown in a few film festivals in the seventies and eighties (i.e. I found at least one reference to it in a 1985 online magazine article), but was "re-discovered" at the Tenderloin Museum ( http://www.tenderloinmuseum.org/ ).

 

Apparently the black and white interviews with one sample gay male couple, one sample lesbian couple and two transgenders were shot as far back as 1965... or, at least the two guys were. What strikes me is how confident they are in their skins and, like the Sidney Poitier/Katherine Houghton pair in Guess Who's Coming To Dinner, are quite willing to deal with the backlash in society. However, as one of the pairs state, San Francisco provides the few ghettos where they can be themselves without getting murdered in cold blood.

 

Some of the travelogue footage looks vintage mid-1968 by the billboards and other details. My guess is that all of the color footage is post-'68.

 

The party scenes, some black and white, feature memorable 45 singles playing, the most recent being Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through the Grapevine". As long as the song wasn't specifically heterosexual (i.e. a guy singing about a girl or vice versa), it fit the mood.

 

The drag show celebrating Halloween likely dates post-Stonewall 1969.

 

The most recent footage (likely 1970) involves some full frontal nudity and out-of-focus "soft core" couplings. I find this footage the most antiquated. While the filmmaker is fighting for gay rights, most films that came later would focus on clothed people doing nonsexual activities to emphasize how "normal" they are compared to heterosexual society. Showing the carnal activities makes it too sensationalist, as if most people bothering to see this movie came to see something kinky and "forbidden" on screen. Then again, maybe this was also intended for a mostly gay audience that wanted some matter-of-fact erotic material.

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Now... this next film can be seen on the Internet Archive: https://archive.org/details/casftm_000001

 

Jonathan Raymond's Gay San Francisco was shown in a few film festivals in the seventies and eighties (i.e. I found at least one reference to it in a 1985 online magazine article), but was "re-discovered" at the Tenderloin Museum ( http://www.tenderloinmuseum.org/ ).

 

Apparently the black and white interviews with one sample gay male couple, one sample lesbian couple and two transgenders were shot as far back as 1965... or, at least the two guys were. What strikes me is how confident they are in their skins and, like the Sidney Poitier/Katherine Houghton pair in Guess Who's Coming To Dinner, are quite willing to deal with the backlash in society. However, as one of the pairs state, San Francisco provides the few ghettos where they can be themselves without getting murdered in cold blood.

 

Some of the travelogue footage looks vintage mid-1968 by the billboards and other details. My guess is that all of the color footage is post-'68.

 

The party scenes, some black and white, feature memorable 45 singles playing, the most recent being Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through the Grapevine". As long as the song wasn't specifically heterosexual (i.e. a guy singing about a girl or vice versa), it fit the mood.

 

The drag show celebrating Halloween likely dates post-Stonewall 1969.

 

The most recent footage (likely 1970) involves some full frontal nudity and out-of-focus "soft core" couplings. I find this footage the most antiquated. While the filmmaker is fighting for gay rights, most films that came later would focus on clothed people doing nonsexual activities to emphasize how "normal" they are compared to heterosexual society. Showing the carnal activities makes it too sensationalist, as if most people bothering to see this movie came to see something kinky and "forbidden" on screen. Then again, maybe this was also intended for a mostly gay audience that wanted some matter-of-fact erotic material.

The narration is priceless- but it's a strange documentary mixing serious scenes with outrageous bits like  that soft focus porn interlude.  Who was this movie made for? 

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I am confused myself as you can see in my final paragraph. What audience was it made for?

 

We can blame it on that clumsy transitional period in the late sixties when heterosexually explicit films were getting wider attention. Maybe this filmmaker felt it was time to show a bit of the other kind just as provocatively as well? However he seemed so timid about what to show. So much of it is out of focus. There is just as much nudity in Woodstock, the contemporary musical documentary.

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I am confused myself as you can see in my final paragraph. What audience was it made for?

 

We can blame it on that clumsy transitional period in the late sixties when heterosexually explicit films were getting wider attention. Maybe this filmmaker felt it was time to show a bit of the other kind just as provocatively as well? However he seemed so timid about what to show. So much of it is out of focus. There is just as much nudity in Woodstock, the contemporary musical documentary.

I don't think the target audience was gay this might have been sold as shocking glimpse into the gay underground- curiously there are other scenes that are very pro gay so perhaps it was a mash up of different films

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