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Into It (2006)
LGBT story of life on the raw side of town.
Zach Welsheimer is "Simon", who seems to be the star of the film. He is apparently a hustler, who has trouble coming up with the rent. The landlord Rem (Richard Jones) finds ways to let him knock off part of the rent, but his solutions cause Simon more addiction issues. Everyone here seems to be addicted to meth, uppers, downers, or cocaine. Simon meets up with "Evan" played by John Zinn; Evan sells products on a home shopper network, and has an obvious twitch that comes and goes. A violent sex life seems to be what they are in to, this the title "Into it". Not completely sure what the theme of the film is, but its an entertaining 90 minutes. Written and directed by Jeffrey MacCubbin, who has directed eight films over the last ten years. There are some funny moments, but then ending was pretty weird... the title cards say "next winter"... "then that summer"... we rotate through them a couple of times, but it seemed that the writer wasn't quite sure how to end the film. not sure what our take-away was supposed to be. Evan and Simon live together now, but the film just ends after quickly rotating through "that summer" and "that winter". not real creative. what's the point? needed a stronger ending. only a 3.7 rating as of today. filmed around chicago.
R.F.D. Greenwich Village (1969)
one long commercial... don't bother. SPOILERS
Dry. Yawn. It's in color, but that's about all that this shortie has going for it. IMDb shows us that this is produced by the Cotton Producers Institute. We see people painting, gardening, shopping, and dropping off the laundry. Then we're introduced to corduroy by the droll narrator. Yawn. They DO show the arch at Washington Square, but they sure DON'T show anything about Stonewall. ( We are shown a marquee for one of Noel Coward's shows.) It IS fun to see some old shops, streets, and landmarks from 1969, such as O'Henry's Steakhouse... i'm guessing it was named that since some of O'Henry's stories took place in Greenwich village. Skip this one if you can... .They stick this one in between films on Turner Classics, but it just a big long commercial, so don't bother.
Too Many Wives (1937)
some big names in the early days... fluffy piece
Light, fluffy piece. Story moves right along. typical misunderstandings.... if only everyone had told the truth from the beginning. Anyhoo. Jack Carson in his FIRST credited role! Anne Shirley and John Morley star in this silly film where Morley pretends to be numerous Walter Mitty type roles to help out his newspaper editor boss (Dudley Clement). Every time someone complains, Barry Trent (Morley) pretends to be the one responsible for the goofup, and saves the day. Gene Lockhart is the girlfiend's dad. It all ends well, of course. Fluffy, silly caper. Ain't no thang. Another one of those white-washed, yackity yack films from the 1930s. Directed by Ben Holmes. He was king of the short films. He DID make full lengthers in the 1930s... this being one of them. Kind of a three stooges type ending.
Down the River (2004)
beautiful. ethereal. LGBT love story. SPOILERS
Krit (Prakasit Horwannapakorn) and Win (Napong Viriyasomboon) have been friends, and maybe more since childhood. Krit is determined to journey to the very top of the Seventh Waterfall, and brings along Win, who he has loved for years. They begin the hike by bringing along friends/girlfriends, but the girls turn back. The guys continue on, and we experience the trip through Krit's eyes. Most excellent subtitles, but it does get confusing at the end. So much religious symbolism. Krit begins with his book of pressed flowers, loses it, retrieves it, and lets it drift away later on. The music is BEAUTIFUL, and just as symbolic and meaningful as any words spoken. The acting, directing, and script as so well done. Photography is also fantastic. The ending is a little confusing, and there are several places in the film I wish had been spelled out a little more clearly. Through-out the film, Win is not sure he's gay, and talks about his military career and having a family. At the end, we see Krit, Win, and girl, so it looks like we're supposed to infer that Win still has his girlfriend. Krit is so sure of all his decisions (as Win points out), while Win is never sure of things, or how things will work out. I DID like the symbolism of leaving the book of memories at the waterfall... the experiences and memories he had with Win were the best was going to be, so he was happy to leave the flowers from the book there. Written and directed by Anucha Boonyawatana. An early work, but an excellent one. I would love to see comments from others who may have interpreted this awesome film differently than I did. Was this shown at film festivals? Not much info here on IMDb.
SO much going on, it gets confusing. LGBT love story.
It's a great early try for director Cris Pablo, but there's SO much (too much) going on here. There are too many subplots, and many many long, un-related scenes which should have been cut out. With all those editors listed in the end credits, no-one seems to have done any cutting, because it's still 112 minutes long. The basic plot is a good love story between Erik and Cris. But then there's also the relationship to the Mom. and the Dad. and wondering if boyfriend is playing around. and violence. and Christianity. And i'm not sure why we spent so much time caring what ALL the friends thought. and then SO much emphasis on their careers. and a fling with a guy who decides he wants to be paid. and a stabbing. It seemed to me that the director needs to focus on one main plot, and edit the film around that. I got the feeling that he was determined to include all those sub-plots, and it's very confusing. Written, directed, edited by Chri Pablo early on. I'd like to see his more recent projects. This one and "Bathouse" are playing on FilmRise channel. Will look for more recent works.
youngsters growing up in Philipinnes
SPOILERS -- Turns out there IS a hanging bridge in Calauag, Philipinnes.... called the Yaganak Hanging Bridge. One assumes that this is where the story takes place, but who knows. The young guys earn money by shuttling visitors along the river, and to the hanging suspension bridge. The real money is in providing "extra services" to the male passengers along the dark corners of the riverbanks, under the management of "Taliyah", the drag queen. Lots of fluid sexuality. anything for the money. Alfred (Ryan Dungo) is proud to have avoided giving those extra services, since he has a girlfriend, and wants it to be special when he is ready. The girlfriend Cecilia ( Martina Wilson) is clearly getting frustrated, and is under the watchful eye of her father. Alfred has emotional things going on in his head... he looks after his father, and with the little bits of flashbacks, we are shown that there was sex and violence in the past for Alfred and Cecilia's parents. Eventually both Alfred and Cecilia are dabbling in sexual encounters. Good things happen, bad things happen, and there is a HUGE, violent blow-up. Alfred and Cecilia search each other out, and realize that being with someone who makes you happy and cares for you is more important than waiting for the perfect time and place. A warm and fuzzy ending. cute story. PS. SAGWAN.. the title means "Paddling" in Tagalog. Directed by Monti Parungao, who has done numerous projects about the Philipinnes. Worth watching. Good entertainment!
LGBT life in Thailand/Bankok
Currently showing on FilmRise channel. I think the real point of this one is how parents are dealing with their LGBT children. The film gets extra points for highlighting how the parental units react to their offspring; one parent is completely accepting, one is mean, and another couple has mixed feelings - in typical fashion, the mom is more accepting, while the father is just bigoted and mean. We also see a wide range of LGBT folks - in the "Rainbow" group, there are girls, boys, people that are "out", and people who are not. The school jock with a girl-friend even shows up, then regrets it, and quickly leaves. One of the dudes has decided to make it his own pet project to get the jock to come out and be his boyfriend. It's a mixed bag of acting ability. Some funny, clever, bitchy lines, which are delivered with mixed success. This seems to be director Thanyatorn Siwanukrow's first project. Would like to see more projects from this team... I like seeing films tackling tough subjects from countries where these things are probably not discussed, especially in 2005 ! It's okay.
Wo ruhua si yu de erzi (2009)
has good basic plot outline but never gets going
SPOILERS .. Props to Zi'en Cui for even making this film in China, where it was probably a large taboo to make a film tackling these LGBT issues in 2009. There is a good under-lying story here... starts out with strong premise: Gay son living with single dad. and dad is not at all comfortable with a LGBT son or his lazy, free-wheeling ways. about halfway thru, we find out Dad sent Junior off to live with Grandpa, since he thought Grandpa could raise the son better than he could. The main problem here is that there are HUGE, LONG, Un-necessary pauses in- between any action. long pauses between lines. long pauses between questions and answers, between the main characters, even those who are relatives or friends. I spent the first half of the film wondering if the son "Xiao Rai" was mentally challenged. When dad or his friends would speak to him, he would take about 3 minutes to respond. and even then it was a cryptic response. Who would put up with that?? He treats his "friends" (sex partners ?) badly when he meets his father's assistant, who he finds more attractive. Of course Dad fires the assistant for some other reason, and lies to his son about it. With the LONG annoying pauses, this really should have been a 30 minute short film. WHY did the director zoom in on the hair and jacket collars when the son and his college buddies are looking for their grades? I guess we'll never know. Was there some artistic reason ?? I watched until the end, but it was a lot of work to get there. Hopefully Zi'en Cui projects will get better as he continues.
interesting road trip adventure hecho en Mexico -- spoilers --
SPOILERS -- All kinds of issues going on in this one. Two dudes meet up, and end up taking a random road trip across the Mexican country-side, ostensibly to find peyote. Along the way, we watch them face issues like parental/emotional issues, passive aggressive behavior issues, class issues, coming out issues, among others. One has lots of piercings, and never seems to have any money. The other is pretty clean-cut, and has problems standing up for himself, and doesn't seem to mind doling out money; or maybe it was worth it to him to spend time with the other guy... love (or lust) makes us do wacky things. It's a little confusing... not sure if they ever DID find peyote, or maybe one just got over-heated in the hot sun. By the end, they point out the other's shortcomings, face up to them, and seem to hit it off. Written and directed by Omar Flores Sarabia, who had only done short films up to this point. Quite well done, but was a tad confusing in some places. They spend a lot of time discussing the history of Real de Catorce... was that all a true history of the town? interesting stuff. Anyway. good watch. showing on FilmRise channel.
sweet, love story from Japan --- spoilers ---
SPOILERS... it's kind of a gay "much ado about nothing", Japanese style. and made in 1994, at that. extra credit for doing this way back then, when it probably wasn't okay to make a film like this. The trials and tribulations of two, young guys in Japan. They seem to be pretty well matched, but one wants to have a fling with another guy, so its a story about the 48 hours of hashing that out. They talk with their friends, have it out, but there IS a warm, fuzzy ending. very cute. Written and directed by Hiroyuki Oki. Would definitely like to see more of their work. I definitely recommend watching this one... only 58 minutes long... currently showing on the FilmRise channel. Has some technical issues, but the story is riveting. Well done.