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Boys Life 4: Four Play

5 August 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Strand Releasing

NEW YORK -- Style takes precedence over content in this fourth installment of Strand Releasing's popular series of gay-themed short-film compilations. Perhaps the weakest edition of the series, "Boys Life 4: Four Play" features a quartet of efforts more reflective of the filmmakers' career aspirations than of a desire for meaningful expression. The film is playing an exclusive theatrical engagement at New York's Quad Cinema.

The opener, "L.T.R.", from writer-director Phillip J. Bartell, at least displays a timeliness in its satirical look at reality TV, which this summer has been on a particularly gay-oriented bent. It depicts the unraveling of the so-called "long-term relationship" between pot-smoking, stay-at-home Riley (Weston Mueller) and the younger, party-animal Michael (Cole Williams), a relationship not at all helped by the sexual fling between Michael and the filmmaker documenting their story.

Another rocky relationship is examined in Brian Sloan's "Bumping Heads", depicting the developing friendship between thirtysomething Craig (Craig Chester) and much younger Gary (Anderson Gabrych), who meet when their noggins collide at a party. Craig wants the relationship to progress into something more romantic but is unable to act on his desire until yet another incident of head bumping lands him in the hospital.

The most serious entry, Alan Brown's "O Beautiful", uses the Matthew Shepard incident for inspiration in its depiction of the aftermath of a gay-bashing incident in which a young man (Jay Gillespie) has been left for dead in a Midwestern cornfield. One of his attackers (David Rogers) returns to help him, with his true motivations only gradually becoming clear. Its extensive use of split screen is more distracting than illuminating.

But not as distracting as it is in "This Car Up", Eric Mueller's trivial depiction of the "meet cute" between a yuppie exec (Michael Booth) and a sinewy bike messenger (Brent Doyle), in which the relentless use of split screen is as annoying gimmicky as it's been in Mike Figgis' feature-length experiments. »

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1 item from 2003


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