Movies

The Masseur: DVD Review

by Jeff Walsh

The Masseur intercuts between two extended storylines. In the first, we see Iliac as a 20-year-old masseur that is having a session with a slightly older gay man. The other storyline in the movie focuses on the death of Iliac's father, which occurred on the same night, and he goes back to his small hometown in the Philippines for the funeral.

While sex work is always a dramatic backdrop for gay films, it does seem that we are missing a normal view of what gay life is in the Philippines. The guys working in the massage parlors always seem to be smart and mature, and their clients lonely and needing intimacy, but most of the time I am left wondering why he can't make money as something other than a sex worker, and why his client can't find a relationship.

I'm not extrapolating here. Iliac doesn't seem to enjoy being a sex worker, and his client does talk about wanting a relationship. But is it because there are no jobs for Iliac in Manila? Is there not much of a gay life there, which prevents his client from exploring his sexuality elsewhere? These are the questions raised that don't really get answered.

Punish Me: DVD Review

by Jeff Walsh

Punish Me is an interesting title to be reviewed on Oasis, merely due to the fact that its "gayness" is apparently due to a sadomasochistic affair between a 16-year-old boy and his 49-year-old female probation officer. The movie, whose distributor's tagline promises "movies from a gay perspective," pretty much gives us heterosexual S&M here, so I was a bit confused by that.

The basic rundown is we see him on the basketball court get knocked over for not passing the ball. In the shower, he lovingly strokes the bruise on his back, and we know he likes the pain. He gets saucy with his probation officer, to the point where she finally slaps him across the face. He likes it and, in a surprise to her, she does too. And so it goes…

So, just a quick review to point this out, given the fact that the DVD box art seems to only show a hot guy with the words "Punish Me." The press materials note that the lead actor was in a popular gay film before, and the female lead is an out actress. And I'm not saying it is necessarily a bad film, just be forewarned, there's nothing gay to see here…

Naked Boys Singing: Movie Review

by Jeff Walsh

Naked Boys Singing.

Whatever thought pops into your head when you think of that phrase, it's probably a good idea to pay close attention to it.

If the notion of a bunch of naked theater boys singing phallus-centric songs for 90 minutes makes you smile, then you'll probably want to give this movie a tumble. If it sounds like torture, it probably won't win you over.

I must confess, I did see the live stage show twice, once in Los Angeles and once in San Francisco. As soon as I heard there was a Naked Boys Singing movie, my fear was they were going to try and reinterpret it for the screen -- a ghastly, incomprehensible idea. Thankfully, the movie (which is playing major cities this fall and coming to DVD in December) is just a filmed version of the stage show in Los Angeles. But it does bring up an interesting issue.

The Bubble: Movie Review

by Jeff Walsh

The odds are stacked against them from the moment they meet. Noam is a part-time Israeli Army checkpoint attendant. Ashraf is Palestinian. Soon thereafter, Noam lets Ashraf stay in Tel Aviv illegally with his roommates: Lulu, a female clothing designer, and Yali, an openly gay restaurant manager.

Their relationship tries to exist outside of politics, a place that doesn't really occur in Tel Aviv. They find out they actually grew up near one another, but segregation of Arabs and Jews kept them apart when they were young, and that sentiment has only gotten worse since they were kids. Noam's roommates do their best to accept Ashraf into their circle of enlightened left political friends, but the foundation is always shaky.

Director Eytan Fox (Yossi and Jagger) sets this modern, gay Romeo and Juliet right at the biggest cultural, religious rift in the world, but keeps the story at a human level with its small cast of characters. While the weight of reality constantly applying pressure, they still try to share joyful moments together, fall in love, make love, and dance.

Whole New Thing: DVD Review

by Jeff Walsh

Whole New Thing is a fun Canadian movie about a boy named Emerson, who starts middle school to raise his math scores after being home-schooled by his hippie parents all of his life. More accustomed to taking a naked sauna with his parents than socializing with kids his own age, Emerson encounters trouble when he gets to the new school.

Right off the bat, he questions the English's teacher's choice in literature, which gets him noticed by some kids after class. They start by commenting on his long hair.

Bully: So, are you a boy or a girl?
Emerson: Do I have to choose?
Bully: Most of us don't choose. We know.
Emerson: That's boring.
Bully: Are you insulting me?
Emerson: Not at all. I think you're cute.
Bully hits Emerson.

The Kinsey Sicks - I Wanna Be A Republican: DVD Review

by Jeff Walsh

I'd already reviewed this movie when it was playing festivals, but now you can enjoy the amazing spectacle at home on DVD. For all of the discussions on here about LGBT movie nights and movies appropriate for GSAs, this is certainly one that might not be obvious, but brings up a lot of other topics along the way, which would make for a good discussion.

So, for this DVD review, I'm mainly going to talk about everything else they put together and not the feature itself, as I already enthusiastically praised the movie enough. Be sure to go there to read the review of the feature.

The DVD does have a lot of bonus features that will reward your time. There are two separate commentary tracks, one with the Kinseys themselves and one with the crew. It is interesting to see how the show had to be morphed from its looser theatrical origins to be filmed. That is one thing I still can't get over, which is how damned good this thing looks. It is definitely a film and not some videoed performance that they just released after quickly snipping it together.

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert: DVD Review

by Jeff Walsh

"The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" is a film I'd always enjoyed. For the uninitiated, it is a drag queen road trip movie set in Australia starring Terence Stamp, Hugo Weaving, and Guy Pearce. Watching the new "Extra Frills" edition on DVD, you really get an appreciation for what an amazing movie it is. It's a wonder it ever got made.

The costumes won an Academy Award that year, but were largely bought with someone's employee discount at K-Mart, and rarely held together longer than it took to shoot the scene, on the rare occasion they lasted that long. The shoot seemed to hit the breaking point for the leads on several occasions, and they took so long actually climbing in drag to the top of the mountain for one of the final shots in the movie that they had to be airlifted, one at a time, off the mountain by helicopter as the sun went down.

I'm big into deleted scenes, and audio commentaries, and this DVD doesn't disappoint in that regard. While I do wish there were more deleted scenes and such available, the director says pretty plainly that there wasn't much shot that isn't in the final film.

ReinbowGrl's picture

LBGTQ Movies HELP???

So I'm the president of the GSA at my school and I need some advice. We're going to have movie nights occasionally and I was just wondering if anybody had any suggestions of good LGBTQ movies that are school appropriate. Being school safe isn't really necassary, but I don't want something like scripted, verbal porn... :) THANKS!

utter_insanity's picture

THEY'RE MAKING A BRATZ MOVIE??

If you're into horror flicks, why not go and watch the live action Bratz movie that's coming out? That should be more than enough to make you scream. O.O

I Now Pronounce You Boring and Stereotypical...

By Jeff Walsh

Umm, I try not to be overly-sensitive about things. In fact, I sort of hate political correctness, but I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry was just amazing in its ability to cart out every gay stereotype known to man, but tag one little message at the end and get the GLAAD seal of approval (further proof of its uselessness).

Granted, we are shown that this movie exists in a different reality from the start because every girl under the sun wants to sleep with Adam Sandler and he is the hot guy used on their fireman's calendar for February (Was James Mr. January and the calendar gets hotter as the year progresses?). I did like how that was used as a clue to the audience that the movie was not going to exist in actual reality. From the very start, we are given the rules by which the movie will play: Adam Sandler is one of the hottest things going on in this town. I'm fine buying into the conceits of any film, though. But come on, sure Adam Sandler can get any girl now, but I can't imagine that pre-SNL this was the case.

One To Another: Movie Review

By Jeff Walsh

"One to Another" is an interesting movie about a group of friends that center around Lucie and Pierre, a 20-year-old brother and sister. The siblings and their group of friends have an unique relationship that crosses the lines of friendship, sexuality, and intimacy.

One friend mentions that Lucie found the other better sexually, so he asks if he can watch them next time so he can improve. Even the brother and sister spend time naked together, although never cross the line further. The friends all hang out naked quite a bit. If a movie were to be judged on casting cute, young actors and getting them naked repeatedly, then this would be an easy film to recommend without hesitation.

The Curiosity of Chance: Movie Review

By Jeff Walsh

"The Curiosity of Chance" is a gay movie that plays with all the conventions of the teen movies of the 1980s. If Duckie were gay and had his own movie, this would be it (and if that sentence made no sense to you, you really need to catch up on your John Hughes flicks).

From the outcast friends, the bullying jock, the jock that Chance has a crush on, and the caricature of a principal, all of the familiar elements are here. But, for some reason, it never seemed to take those building blocks and go in a different direction. I'm not complaining, but it just seemed the movie was so close to being really unique and amazing, something was missing that prevented it from happening.

I think it might be that according to 80s teen movie archetypes, Chance would have been in the sidekick role. Here, he is the main character, and his story doesn't really have the gravitas around which to spin the whole movie. I mean, can you really "out" someone who already wears top hats, eye patches and such to school? Even in the 80s, I would have to say no, even if you did have a photo of them in drag.

Rock Haven: Movie Review

By Jeff Walsh

Rock Haven is a simple story of a young boy having to rectify his religious beliefs with his sexuality. There isn't much of a subplot, plot twist, or surprise in the entire movie, just a simple story well told.

Brady recently moved to the California coast, where he reflects on his spirituality along the picturesque coastline. He plans to go a religious college in the fall; his Bible is always close at hand. His mother plans to start a religious school.

One day, while walking along the beach, he sees his hot, sculpted neighbor Clifford (Owen Alabado) shirtless, standing on the rocks near the beach. Brady immediately retreats home, obviously discomforted by the sight.

Suffering Man's Charity: Movie Review

By Jeff Walsh

In "Suffering Man's Charity," Alan Cumming delivers a tour-de-force as both actor and director in this dark comic romp.

Cumming plays John Vandermark, a music teacher who dreams of writing an opera, although his greatest talent seems to be in supporting artistic younger men. His latest conquest/charity case is Sebastian St. Germain (played by David Boreanaz), whose novel seems as non-existent as his celibacy, although the latter is only reserved for his host.

When Vandermark discovers that Germain is sleeping around with women around town, they have a very spirited knock-down-drag-out bitchfest about it, to put it lightly.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul: Interview

By Jeff Walsh

Apichatpong Weerasethakul is leading a new independent cinema in Thailand. His film "Tropical Malady" explores the relationship between two Thai men in a very natural, realistic way. The film is shown in two parts, though. The couple meets and develops their relationship in the first half, and then, in the second half, one of the men becomes a tiger and the other, a soldier, hunts through the jungle trying to find his lost love. It's definitely an experimental movie and, I assumed, telling some cultural myth or somesuch.

Recently, I attended a two-night program on Tropical Malady presented by the Pacifc Film Archive on the UC Berkeley campus. On the first night, an audience watched Tropical Malady on film. On the second night, we watched it on DVD and Apichatpong controlled the remote, stopping to tell stories about the filming, what he was trying to achieve, and any audience member could yell "Stop!" and ask a question.

So, when the movie hit the midway point, I was hoping to get some story of how there is some traditional Thai story of a boy who takes the shape of a tiger, and that would give me some cultural background that would help illuminate the second half. Instead, he only said, "And now, his boyfriend is tiger." So, apparently, I already knew everything I needed to.

Wild Tigers I Have Known: Movie Review

By Jeff Walsh

"Wild Tigers I Have Known" is a visual collage of pubescent sexuality at its most yearning. I've heard it described in several places as a gay youth film, but it could just as easily be about a biological boy questioning whether he is a trans girl. And if you want answers to such basic questions, you aren't going to find them in this movie.

Right up front, I will declare that I like linear narratives. I like stories that begin, something happens, and then they end. Doesn't have to be a happy Hollywood ending, but I like to think I was on a journey of some sort. So, a movie where not much of anything occurs, with lots of jump cuts to nature shots and strange video, is not really my idea of a good time.

The main character, Logan, is 13 and develops an unlikely friendship with an older boy named Rodeo. There's a running story about mountain lions being seen in the area, and Rodeo says he knows where they live in the woods, so he offers to show Logan. Their friendship continues, and eventually Logan's crush on Rodeo manifests itself in a persona he creates names Leah. Logan (as Leah) starts having a sexual phone dialogue with Rodeo, which eventually leads to Rodeo going to meet Leah in person for sex, expecting it to be someone female.

3 Needles: DVD Review

By Jeff Walsh

"3 Needles" tells three stories across three continents, all about HIV. The film, which comes out on DVD today, has an impressive all-star cast (Lucy Liu, Chloe Sevigny, Olympia Dukakis, Stockard Channing, Sandra Oh, and Shawn Ashmore) and a sprawling story about how HIV affects so many lives in so many different ways.

When I learned it was had three different stories, my assumption was they would be intertwined into some jigsaw that all came together toward the end. But, in large part is it just three linear stories told in sequence.

While I appreciated the message of the movie, and found each segment interesting, the movie overall didn't seem to provide me with enough of a hook to recommend it strongly to anyone. The film looks great, really taking advantage of its settings in China and Africa especially, and it is all acted well. But for whatever reason, the whole seemed less than the sum of its parts.

Boy Culture: Movie Review

By Jeff Walsh

With "Boy Culture," co-writer and director Q. Allan Brocka quickly gives a hustler-weary audience some indication that he's aware of the abundance of gay movies about hustlers. With the credits barely finished, he has lead character "X" say in voice-over narration:

"If you're smart, you guessed I'm a hustler. If you haven't, here are two clues: I'm gay and they made a movie about me."

Upon hearing that, I immediately sat up taller, thinking if you're going to be ballsy enough to address the premise of your movie as a huge cliché, you must be equally confident that you haven't made a cliché movie. That thinking, sadly, wouldn't entirely prove to be accurate.

"Boy Culture" (opening in New York, San Francisco, and West Hollywood this Friday, and soon in other urban areas, see schedule below) isn't a bad movie, it just doesn't have much new to say.

Shortbus: DVD Review

By Jeff Walsh

"Shortbus" is a movie that I have a hard time getting my head around. On one hand, it is best known as the movie where the actors all have actual sex and orgasms, which is why it is clearly and defiantly unrated. On the other, it is about what lengths people go through to find intimacy and connection in a world that seems orchestrated against it.

So, I love the themes it explores and what it is trying to achieve, but I just didn't think the combination worked for me. The movie starts with nearly every character in the movie engaged in some form of sexual activity, so there is no crescendo where it builds up to the nudity, it all starts immediately. So, if you're not ready for a lot of gay activity and frontal male nudity, they get you out of the theater or pressing STOP on your DVD player pretty quickly.

For the people that stick around, there are a few intertwined narratives where the characters search for connectedness.

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