Category Archives: Gay

“Boy Meets Girl” (2014) – Review – MGLFF

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Writer / Director:  Eric Schaeffer

Stars:  Michael Welch and Michelle Hendley

IMDb Logline:  Boy Meets Girl is a funny, tender, sex positive romantic comedy that explores what it means to be a real man or woman, and how important it is to live a courageous life not letting fear stand in the way of going after your dreams.

Pros:  

  1. Southern town setting with, for the most part, accepting residents
  2. Actual transgender actress (Michelle Hendley)
  3. Uplifting story

Cons:

  1. Michelle Hendley’s inexperience acting is noticable on occasion
  2. The ending wraps everything in a nice bow

Review:  It’s not often you get a transgender feature film, let alone a well made one.  Boy Meets Girl is a very familiar story told in a modern way, with genuine performances and people you grow to care about.  Eric Schaeffer does a good job fleshing out all the characters and making them all humane.

Grade = B

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“Snails in the Rain” (2013) – Review MGLFF

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Director:  Yariv Mozer

Writers:  Yossi Avni Levy, Yariv Mozer

Stars:  Yoav Reuvini, Moran Rosenblatt, and Yariv Mozer

IMDb Logline:  Tel Aviv, Summer 1989. Boaz, a beautiful and alluring linguistics student, receives anonymous, male written love letters,that undermines his sexual identity and interfere his peaceful life with his beloved girlfriend.

Pros:

  1. Honestly shows the emotional damage trying to live your life as others want you to be instead of living our life as you want it to be
  2. The interplay of the relationship between Boaz (Yoav Reuvini) and his fiancé Noa (Moran Rosenblatt)
  3. Yoav Reuvini

Cons:

  1. Unfortunate title
  2. Boaz’s paranoia about his unknown admirer smirks out of control a little too soon.

Review:  A deliberately paced character study about one man trying to discover who he really is, and whether he will sacrifice his own nature to be the man everyone expects him to be.  The emotional damage a closeted life is laid bare in one particularly brutal scene between Boaz and Noa, made more intense by Noa’s later reaction and strength of character.  But by journey’s end, no one is left undamaged.

Grade = A-

Click on image to view trailer.

Click on image to view trailer.


“Der Samurai (The Samurai)” (2014) – Review MGLFF

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Writer / Director:  Till Kleinert

Stars:  Michel Diercks and Pit Bukowski

IMDb Log Line:  A wolf strives through the woods around an isolated German village. Jakob the young local police officer is onto him, but scents something more in the darkness. What he finds is a man, it seems, wild-eyed, of wiry build, in a dress. He carries a katana, a Samurai sword. When the Samurai invites Jakob to follow him on his crusade towards the village, it becomes Jakob’s mission to pursue the lunatic to end this wanton destruction. At the end of the night Jakob has experienced too much, is too far from whom he once was. Something hidden has been unleashed to meet the first rays of daylight.

Pros:

  1. German Gothic Horror
  2. Voice and cadence of Pit Bukowski as the Samurai
  3. Unique story and point of view that pays homage to old monster tales such as the werewolf

Cons:

  1. German Gothic Horror
  2. Unfortunately and unwittingly makes you sympathize with the NRA–an easily accessible gun would have definitely helped

Reviews:  Till Kleinert crafts a well paced horror story that starts as a psychological drama, and then quickens to all out gore before the final confrontation between Officer Jakob (Michel Diercks) and the feral Samurai (Pit Bukowski).  The story is neither predictable nor obvious.  Both actors handle themselves well in their roles, with Pit Bukowski’s stays in your memory.

Grade = B+

Click on image to view trailer.

Click on image to view trailer.


“Tom à la Ferme (Tom at the Farm)” (2013) – Review MGLFF

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Click on image to visit artist.

Writer / Director:  Xavier Dolan

Stars:  Xavier Dolan, Pierre-Yves Cardinal, ans Lise Roy

IMDb Logline:  A grieving man meets his lover’s family, who were not aware of their son’s sexual orientation.

Pros:

  1. Isolated setting adds to the tension
  2. Overall acting quality
  3. Cinematography

Cons: 

  1. Stockholm syndrome kicks in a little too soon

Review:  Xavier Dolan delivers a suspense film that will keep you on the edge of your seat.  His Tom will do anything to survive once he discovers how truly in danger he is from the repressed and violent Francis (Pierre-Yves Cardinal) and the manipulative Agathe (Lise Roy).  Dolan’s pacing and scene setup–especially the dance in the barn–is reminiscent of Brian de Palma at his most proficient.  Tom at the Farm is not your typical Gay Film Festival offering.

Grade = B+

Click on image to view trailer.

Click on image to view trailer.


“Hoje Eu Quero Voltar Sozinho (The Way He Looks)” (2014) – Review – MGLFF

 

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Writer/Director:  Daniel Ribeiro

Stars:  Ghilherme Lobo, Fabio Audi, and Tess Amorim

IMDb Logline:  Leonardo is a blind teenager searching for independence. His everyday life, the relationship with his best friend, Giovana, and the way he sees the world change completely with the arrival of Gabriel.

Pros:

  1. Chemistry between the three leads
  2. Coming-of-age story from a unique perspective of a blind person
  3. Honest–by which I mean sometimes cruel–depiction of high school life

Cons:

  1. Minimal.  In comparison to the Short film the feature is based on, sometimes the pacing is a little off.

Review:  Not your standard high school story.  At an age when hormones kick in, you start to discover who you are, and you naturally chafe against your parents, blind Leonardo (Ghilherme Lobo) also has to deal with Giovana’s (Tess Amorim) attraction towards him as he discovers he is attracted to new boy in school, Gabriel (Fabio Audi).  The best part of the story is treating Leonardo as any other high school student–he is teased, made fun of, and gets into arguments with his friends where they storm off and just leave him somewhere by himself.  Also, the filmmakers and performers pay attention to small details.  The first time Leonardo kisses someone he keeps his eyes open; in his room he has wood blocks with his name in braille on them.

Grade = A-

Bonus:  The Way He Looks is an expansion of an earlier Short film from 2010, Eu Nao Quero Voltar Sozinho (I Don’t Want to Go Back Alone).  You can watch the Short here.  I consider the Short almost perfect.  Daniel Ribeiro did an excellent job expanding the story while not making the feature flabby and staying honest to the principal storyline.

Click on image to view trailer

Click on image to view trailer


“The Out List” (2013) – Review

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Director: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

With: Dustin Lance Black, Lady Bunny, R. Clark Cooper, Wade Davis, Ellen DeGeneres, Twiggy Pucci Garcon, Neil Patrick Harris, Larry Kramer, Janet Mock, Cynthia Nixon, Suze Orman, Christine Quinn, Jake Shears, Wanda Sykes, Lupe Valdez, and Wazine Zondon

Director Timothy Greenfield-Sanders has done a number of List documentaries for HBO, such as The Latino List and The Black List. The style of the film is to show each interviewee individually and let them present their story. The common thread between each person is that they are out. The Out List contains at least one person from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered community.

Since each story is different, who and how well you identify with the person varies. The most affecting stories belonged to Larry Kramer, a writer and activist, who lost most of his contemporaries to AIDS, and Janet Mock, a writer, for the importance of being a visible and known transgender person. The most inspiring story belonged to Lupe Valdez, a lesbian hispanic democrat who won the elected office of Sheriff in the Republican stronghold of Dallas County. Interestingly enough, the two stories that had definite points to make and made them also came across as the most rehearsed: Suze Orman and Cynthia Nixon. Orman comes across as the TV personality she is, and Nixon seems to be on autopilot using one of her stump-speeches from a LGBT event appearance.

Ultimately The Out List is an average documentary. At sixty minutes it feels a little long. Without a common theme other than the fact they are all out, there is nothing to hold your attention to a story if you are not interested in what the person is saying. The concept of the shooting style and editing lends itself more to a mini-series of thirty minute shows, then one longer documentary.

Grade = C+

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“Mr. Angel” (2013) – MGLFF – Review

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Director: Dan Hunt

With: Buck Angel and Elayne Angel

Buck Angel is a transgender porn star and proud of it. He was born a biological female. Today he lives as a male who is on hormone therapy and removed his breasts, but still retains his vagina.

His journey is one of discovery, acceptance, and advocacy. Growing-up athletic and a tom boy, Buck had conflict with his family after he hit puberty. The struggles with his identity lead to drug and alcohol abuse as he went from a successful female fashion model to prostitute. Eventually he found his direction and lives his life proudly. He’s proud of his vagina and that he is man. He has given voice to other transgendered female-to-males who were initially ashamed and embarrassed by their vagina.

Buck and his wife, Elayne, are very upfront, charming, and humorous people, and their personalities come through throughout the documentary. The entire film is engagingly educational. The points-of-views expressed and the world shown–the porn industry–hardly gain expression in film, but are thoughtfully displayed here.

The film is well paced and fast-moving. It never lulls or causes you to lose your attention. Overall, you leave the theatre feeling better for having learned something new.

Grade = B

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