Not part of this year’s Queer Film Fest

11 02 2014

Last term, I had the idea of making a short documentary about the rampant, insidious amount of sexual racism in the gay community in Vancouver. Unfortunately, taking five courses, working part-time, and trying to spend time sending out my writing didn’t allow for the many hours needed to make a documentary. Instead, I opted to write a personal essay about the subject (which I got an A+ on!). Because I wasn’t working on a film to submit to Out on Screen/Vancouver Queer Film Festival, I thought the doc would be a super idea.

But that didn’t happen. And as the deadline for submissions approaches, it’s kinda sad, at least for me, that I won’t be part of The Coast is Queer program this year, like I have been for the past five years. Every year, it’s been an amazing experience to stand in front of an audience and introduce a film that people paid to see. I can’t describe it. After last year’s QFF, I contemplated retiring from film and working more in writing, as it seemed that was a more fruitful avenue for my creative endeavours, but people advised me to keep making films while I write. It’s a lot of time, money, and effort to make a film, much more than writing, and while I would like to do both, realistically, it’s such a huge undertaking (did I mention the money?) that for the most part, I have to do myself. I wish I could, but I’m not sure it’s very sustainable.

So back to this year. Yeah, it’s a little sad that I won’t be seeing my name up on the website and I won’t be up on stage with other fantastic local filmmakers. I remember when I first sat in the audience at Tinseltown. It was minutes away from showtime.

“Are you nervous?” my friend Jacky asked me.

“No,” I responded.

A few minutes later. “Okay, now I’m nervous.”

I remember how fast my heart pounded as I watched On the Bus play, hearing people’s laughter, their “Awwww!” at the end of the film. And then hearing them clap after. It was surreal.

And then to return year after year with new films, some of which I had only recently completed before the screening (shhh, don’t tell anyone). I never felt like my films were guaranteed to get picked for The Coast is Queer program, so it was always a surprise and a delight when I got the email that they were.

I’ll miss that. I wonder if anyone will miss me and my films. I have no idea, since I’m not very popular. I guess I feel like it’s kind of like the end of an era, or the end of my film streak.

But maybe I’ll return next year with a brilliant film. Who knows.

Coast is Queer reviews? Anyone?

29 08 2013

Having trouble trying to find anyone’s reactions/reviews to the wonderful short films at the Vancouver Queer Film Festival’s Coast is Queer last week. I’m super interested in hearing what people had to say about my film, June  (does that make me self-centered?)

Please comment, someoneeeeeeeeee…………..

Lesbiana: a Parallel Revolution

23 08 2013

Imagine a man saying this to you:

“I don’t want to live with women. I don’t even want to see them. I just want to live in a community with other men, to know that I am surrounded by men. When I go to the grocery store, I might see a woman and it might bother me a little, but when I get home, I know that I am back in my community with men.”

If a man said this, I think most people would be on him and accuse him of being a misogynist. Fair enough. But what if the genders were switched around a women said that? Would we be as quick to label her as a misandrist?

This is only one of the many problems that Myriam Fougère’s documentary Lesbiana: a Parallel Revolution ignores and fails to explore that would have made it a far more captivating film. From the start, it dives right into what the film will be exploring: after the ’60s, women all over the world became part of a “revolution”, a separating themselves from the Women’s Movement into a one focusing on lesbianism and their wish to live with and be with other lesbian women. This sounds promising enough, and is bound to be rich in history and struggle against society’s norms. Instead, Lesbiana fails as a historical documentary, and most disappointingly on even the basic levels as a documentary.

Right off the bat, there is no context to the film. Interviewees, who were participants during Lesbiana, delve right into the movement rather than explaining the time period, the society and atmosphere, and why the need to have a lesbian movement. It also doesn’t help that the editing makes the film confusing; interviewees talk about a “separatist movement”, but it isn’t until more than halfway through the film that they explain what they are separating themselves from. Featuring too many interviewees, b-roll of book cover after book cover (with wooden pipe music played on top, as if suggesting some mystical power these books have), Lesbiana follows no timeline or sequence of events, jumping from one person to another without transition or link.

All the talking-heads are lesbian women who were involved in Lesbiana/the lesbian revolution after the ’60s. This wouldn’t be such a problem if their information wasn’t presented with such grandiosity and positivity. There’s a brief mention in the beginning of the film about how not all the women got along and there were discussions and arguments, but any sort of conflict or drama during Lesbiana disappears. Every interviewee speaks fondly of the period and how the revolution shaped not only themselves but the rest of the world.  Fougère doesn’t seem to mind that not only does this make for uninteresting film, but that only positive memories and information from the women who were involved while excluding anyone outside of the movement is blatantly biased and clearly a conflict of interest.

In fact, there are no other perspectives other than the lesbian women who were involved; there is no professor to talk about the social impact of Lesbiana, no historian to comment on the effect it had not only for the Women’s Movement but for the Queer Movement. Hell, there isn’t even a bystander or friend or family member involved somehow to attest that what these women were doing wasn’t simply all in their heads. Fougère, in a wordy, bombastic, overly-formal voice-over, narrates how she was also part of the revolution, and seems more interested in keeping the information positive and good than to explore any sort of deeper issues, such as what patriarchy really means to these women, or the social impact. There are no questions asked about how things happened, just that they did, and that they were good, resulting in a rosy, scrapbook-like narrative that excludes those who weren’t involved, and is warm and fuzzy for those who were.

Lastly, there’s a very brief talk by one interviewee who mentions how men are the cause of abuse, rape, and other terrible things against women, yet none of the women ever say they have any negative personal experiences with men. Fougère outrageously lets this slide without calling out her subjects or asking for them to elaborate on it, and it feels as if it’s because of the personal conflict/conflict of interest at work again. All of this, combined with the complete absence of any other perspective, makes Lesbiana no longer a documentary, but a blatant propaganda film of the most amateur kind (and boring propaganda at that).

But what do I know? I may be a feminist and I may be gay, but I’m still a male, and that’s apparently enough to make them turn away from me in disgust at the supermarket.

Grade: F

Article about me and my film!

22 08 2013

Look at me! I’m so cool.

The Coast is Queer: June may very well have been inspired by a piano playing cat

A Vancouver Queer Film Festival veteran, June is the fifth short from Aaron Chan.  A silent drama, June tells the story of a ghost that tries to communicate with his still-alive lover by playing piano in the middle of the night.

A silent drama, June tells the story of a ghost that tries to communicate with his still-alive lover by playing piano in the middle of the night.

A silent drama, June tells the story of a ghost that tries to communicate with his still-alive lover by playing piano in the middle of the night.

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Aaron Chan, and I am a musician/writer/filmmaker/creative writing student at UBC. Oh, and I’m a Sagittarius, if anyone was wondering.

Who were your early filmmaking mentors or inspirations?

I started out in film making documentary shorts as part of the Playing It Safe project, co-funded by the National Film Board. Terri Wynnyk, who was one of the organizers of the project and a filmmaker herself, first got me thinking deeply about being selective about images and how they support a story on screen.

I also love older, classic films. Billy Wilder is one of my favourite filmmakers of all time; his natural gift for dialogue and humour and telling a story is amazing. Fritz Lang, Buster Keaton, and Charlie Chaplin are also great at how they convey story and emotion with little to no words; I learned a lot of how to show, rather than tell, from silent films.

In terms of more modern filmmakers, I adore Wes Anderson’s sense of humour and the indie-feel of his films, Ang Lee’s grand visual style, and Hiyao Miyazaki because he’s just awesome and tells wonderful stories.

What inspired you to make June?

I woke up in the middle of the night one night and saw that the light on top of my piano was on. It could’ve been my cat, but I began thinking it was a ghost. When I couldn’t fall asleep again, because I was thinking about the ghost, I began constructing a story about why this ghost wanted to turn the light on and why it might want to play the piano. After that, the story came naturally to me and I when I grew attached to the script, I knew I had to try and get it made.

What challenges did you face while making June?

Oh god, what challenges didn’t we face while making this film? I think our biggest challenge was synching up everyone’s schedules to find a day that worked for everyone to film. Case in point: we had originally planned to shoot in December of 2011, but after many, many delays and difficulties, including finding someone with a piano that would let a crew mess around for a couple days we finally got to filming in July of 2012. More than half a year later, we finally filmed. Scheduling is definitely not my favourite thing to do.

What’s been the coolest experience so far with the film?

I actually finished the film only about a week [or two] ago, so it hasn’t really been anywhere. I’d say that the coolest experience with the film is having it screened at Out on Screen, for sure. Other than that, I think it’s really cool when the cast and the crew were able to relate so much to the emotion behind the film even though it’s a silent film, and it makes me, as a filmmaker and a storyteller, feel like I’m doing something right.

Are you a film festival newbie or have you had another film(s) at the Festival?

This is my fifth short film at the festival! I’m always surprised and excited every year to be a part of it.

What are you most excited to do and/or see at this year’s Queer Film Fest?

Honestly, I’m just really excited to see a lot of diverse queer films. The Lot in Sodom + Vintage Porn program is really interesting, especially since I do love older films (and vintage porn? I’m there!). I’ll also be attending the workshop with Michelle Tea (Book Your Own F**king Career) since as an artist, I need all the help I can get to ever live as one. I’m also planning to catch In the Name of and G.B.F. which looks like a lot of fun.

Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?

21 08 2013

A gay-themed film from Taiwan? I’m there!

I had heard of Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? before it was announced that it would be screening at Out on Screen. The premise of the film is deceptively simple: Weichung, a middle-aged married man, confronts his sexuality when his wife wants to have another child. There are a bunch of subplots as well, all involving romance and love, like Weichung’s romance with a cute flight attendant, and Weichung’s sister Mandy and her ambivalent feelings towards her fiance. What makes Love Me different than the typical, formulaic Hollywood rom-com or even coming out stories is writer and director Arvin Chen’s handling of the subject. With the addition of whimsical and absolutely wonderful fantastical scenes, like Weichung’s eyeglasses shop manager floating away holding an umbrella, Chen effectively renders his film aesthetically open to all sorts of possibilities of magical realism. Even the detail of his manager holding up a bright blue umbrella and waving goodbye to Weichung before whisked away by the wind is something out of a Miyazaki film. Other fantastical scenes exemplify characters’ internal emotions, such as Weichung fantasizing about kissing his would-be lover, only to snap back to reality and still be standing face-to-face with him.

It doesn’t always work though. In one of the last fantasy scenes, Weichung’s wife is drunk in a karaoke bar with her co-workers, singing a song when the bar transforms into a lighted stage, and her co-workers turn into back-up singers and dancers. The visual is interesting and fun, but isn’t a congruent representation of someone who is in a negative, depressed head-space (not to mention, also drunk).

What’s nice about Love Me is that it doesn’t sentimentalize queer identity. You get a sense that Weichung really did believe that after he turned 30, he was pressured to get into a straight relationship, even if it rings a bit of a cop-out of a reason to explore social stigma, familial and cultural expectations, or homophobia. There’s a bit of a hint of traditional beliefs from Weichung’s in-laws, but rather than feel universal, Weichung’s sticky situation comes across as staged and lacking pathos. The only other gay character in a relationship is married– to a lesbian, suggesting that same-sex relationships can’t be open and official, even if everyone knows. It’s a troubling yet interesting point director Chen makes, but this isn’t explored either.

Running 15 minutes too long with a middle section that drags, Love Me is certain to get some good laughs out of people, especially from slightly flamboyant Stephen: “I understand women,” he tells depressed dumpee San-San. “You understand shit,” his lesbian wife retorts. Chen’s lack of exploration into his characters and subject matter aren’t enough to set it apart from other rom-coms, or even coming out films. It’s just one with pretty colours and awesome magic.  Will I still love this film tomorrow? After I think about it, probably not as much.

Grade: C+

VQFF Day 2: Beyond the Walls

20 08 2013

Synopsis: the relationship between a couple living in France — a young white guy and an Albanian — is tested when one of them is sent to prison.

Super awesome things: like many European films, Beyond the Walls is slow in the exploration of its characters and the plot. There are short, lovely moments and scenes, like when the two characters lay at the other’s feet and play with toes while talking. You get a sense that writer and director David Lambert knows what he wants this movie to be– from the details in Ilir’s dingy hole of a home to the subtle twitches and expressions when they see each other in jail, there’s such a sense of naturalism between all the players that the film unfolds itself rather than dictated by a formulaic script as frequently seen in Hollywood films. That’s the beauty of Beyond the Walls, that we as the audience are able to glimpse at such a personal, intimate, and heartbreaking relationship between these two characters, that we see beyond the walls that they’ve both put up. Also, Guillaume Gouix is absolutely fantastic in this, and not just because I think he also happens to be absolutely beautiful.

Not so awesome things: for a good two-thirds of the movie, I was annoyed at one of the two main characters (Paolo, the skinny white boy). That’s not to say that all films need to have sympathetic characters, not at all, but when one is so grating, annoying, and immature, especially compared to Ilir, who is rugged, mature, and level-headed (most of the time), it makes for an unpleasant experience. That said, I was happy to see that Paolo does have an arc, but even then, I didn’t completely buy it. Could he really change that much in such a short period of time? It’s possible, especially with an older gentleman to guide (and pay) for him. When he walked out with a fancy trench coat and hipster scarf, the audience laughed. I’m not sure they bought it either.

Perhaps the most concerning thing about Beyond the Walls is what it has to say about queer relationships and gay men. The most obvious thing it says is that queer relationships are difficult. They’re not always fairytale stories, like in many North American rom-coms (and gay-themed rom-coms for that matter). That’s fair. There are other issues that the film doesn’t seem to want to contend with that unfortunately break the nice atmospheric naturalism. Paolo doesn’t want to come out to his girlfriend. Okay. Lots of gay men don’t want to. Everyone has their reasons. Paolo doesn’t seem to though. His girlfriend — who I might add is unfortunately relegated to evil-bitch-girlfriend status and stuck there for the whole film — even tells him she wants to know who Paolo has been seeing, but he refuses to tell her. There’s no reason given for him denying his sexuality, especially when he doesn’t seem to regret ever staying at Ilir’s for the night or leering at him at the bar.

Good for watching: as a double feature with Keep the Lights On.

Overall: Everyone struggles, and sometimes you can only watch behind a wall at what you used to have.

Grade: B+

Vancouver Queer Film Festival 2013: What a Magnificient Presence

19 08 2013

Okay, okay. So I know it’s a little late to be blogging about the start of the Queer Film Festival in Vancouver when the festival started on Thursday. I’ve caught a few films already but I haven’t had a chance to really review them until now. Before I get to it, I want to say that it’s always such an awesome time to attend the festival because it really does feel like a community gathering. I love how loudly people laugh during the films, the hums and haws at the quiet moments, and even the rare cheer when the guys hook up with guys (I haven’t seen enough women’s films to know whether or not it happens with female audiences). And to have a film screening as part of the festival too– that’s such an awesome feeling.

So to get to it: Magnificent Presence.

The film is about a shy, quiet Italian guy who lives with a troupe of ghosts who believe it’s still 1943. He’s the only one who is able to set them free and to solve the mystery of what happened to them.

At first, this sounds really interesting. It’s even more promising that this is supposed to be a comedy, and the film is comedic in parts, especially at the difference in time periods. Pietro, our protagonist, longs to be an actor and the his ghostly roommates give him outdated, hilarious advice for his upcoming audition, including bursting out into song if there’s an uncomfortable silence.

Unfortunately, writer and director Ferzan Ozpetek’s script too underdeveloped to be fully enjoyable. The rag-tag troupe is all visually and physically distinct in their own ways, yet they are mere skeletons of characters. And the characters aren’t eh only underdeveloped aspects of the film. Subplots, such as a flirtation with a hunky downstairs neighbour and one of the suave ghosts who watches Pietro sleep yet admittedly still comes off as alluring and romantically charming instead of creepy– all these are cut short or disappointingly lead to nothing. Even the main plot, Pietro’s investigation into the history of the troupe, has a troubling plothole: [spoilers herein] Why would Livia Morosini report them? If it was out of jealousy or for her own career, why flee to South America after? What was her relationship with the troupe, anyway?

Instead of fleshing out the who’s and the how’s, Ozpetek tries to juggle too many subplots at once, including Pietro’s own transformation, and none of them are really satisfying, ultimately, not even the main plot. It’s all very well to have a comedic film have some funny lines, but what keeps audiences truly mesmerized, like Pietro’s subtle facial expressions in the end, is a good, thoughtfully constructed story.

Grade: C+

Oh, and the actor playing Pietro, Elio Germano, looks ridiculously like my friend Ryan Clayton, except Elio is older. And speaks Italian. But they’re both so adorkable!

Ferzan Ozpetek

Starting from scratch: looking at filmmaking from a different view

22 08 2011

I know I haven’t posted in a few days, and I have to write reviews for Gen Silent as well as the Closing Gala film, Different From Whom? but after last night, things have changed a bit.

Although I wasn’t expecting to win either of the two awards of the evening, of course I would’ve liked to.  I knew Jason Karman and his fantastic short I’m in the Mood for Love was going to win the Gerry Brunet Award, but the Hot Pink Shorts Award was still up in the air.  At the same time though, my sister told me that it’s really a popularity contest since the award is voted by audiences, and since I’m fairly unpopular, it didn’t surprise me when it turned out to be a three-way tie between Mette Bach’s B.A.B.S. which was clearly an audience favourite, and two other shorts.

I’ve been frustrated and have a love-hate relationship with these awards– yes, they are a fantastic opportunity to local filmmakers and I’ve so happy and glad they even exist.  At the same time, the Gerry is usually given to a film that looks great overall and ostensibly was made with some sort of budget.  But it’s a catch-22: how do you get the money to make a great film when  you have no budget to make the film that would help you make the great film?  I’ve been lucky enough to make two short films with virtually no budget and though I’m satisfied with the final films, I can’t help but feel like they’re B-list, average movies.  Sure, money would’ve helped but I didn’t have any sources of funding and I had to make-do with the resources and people available, and I’m grateful for everyone that’s helped me along the way.

But after last night, I felt like I needed to change my entire process of filmmaking and how I look at films.  Stay and Cure(d) were both simple shorts that I quickly put together and submitted to the Queer Film Fest, but I have other scripts that are more complex, more artistic that I don’t want to throw together quickly and submit.  I’ve thought of a few things I want to change for future projects:

1.  Take your time.

Like I said, I made the two mentioned films above in a hurry because of the deadlines, and though they’re good as they are since they’re simple, I want to really take my time with my next film planning everything– and I mean everything– out.  I want every shot to mean something; I want my actors to have rehearsed plenty before the shoot; I want to explore different angles and transitions with my cinematographer; and most importantly, I don’t want to feel pressured to finish something in time for the festival.

2.  Research shooting formats.

I’ve been shooting on digital for my last two shorts, mainly because it’s convenient and easy to handle.  But I want to take the time to look at other formats, like film, that show different textures and give the film a different feel.  I want to use format as a way to create atmosphere and mood instead of relying on dialogue or lighting, but using format to enhance it further.

3.  Find a producer.

So many times, I’ve tried to find funding sources but more likely than not, they require the applicant to not be an undergrad student, and despite the fact that I’ve graduated from Vancouver Film School with a background in film, it doesn’t seem to matter since I’m still a student at the moment.  What would really help is finding someone I can trust to help fund my film, who would aid in assisting the process.  I’ve never put down any producing credit for any of my films because, frankly, it wasn’t made with any money, and there wasn’t really a producer.

I also am now willing to spend money to make my films, now that I have a job.  I’m willing to go and rent cameras, lights, equipment to see that the project is given the proper artistic respect as it’s realized.  It’s all within reason though.  I have to research all of that.

If anyone out there is remotely interested in doing some producing work or knows of someone who might be willing to help me, let me know!

4. Network?

I’m not the social type.  I don’t go up to random people and just start chatting away, which may be my downfall.  I’m just a quiet, kind of shy guy making movies and getting into an industry that is heavily relient on extroverted, charismatic people who know how to talk to other people.  It’s who I am, and I can’t help it.  I think I just need to man-up and go and talk with strangers.

For a few years, I was writing songs and going out and performing around the city.  It was a great time and I felt like it was what I really wanted to do for a while.  But then I started feeling like it wasn’t working– after shows, people would go and talk with the performers while I sort of loitered around awkwardly.  I don’t know if no one simply wanted to talk to me or if it was because I was the only piano player while everyone else was a guitarist but eventually, I realized that I probably was never going to have the level of success and popularity that I wanted for myself.  So I turned to filmmaking.

And now I’m starting to feel the same way.

I don’t feel as bad because I’ve gotten a lot more support than I did with my music, especially from the folks from Out on Screen and the Queer Film Festival (the awesome and lovely Amber Dawn in particular who keeps surprising me by being incredibly supportive) and I feel like I’m reaching a lot more people by making films than with music.  But there’s always that fear in my mind: what if all I’m going to be is an average, B-list filmmaker who comes to the Queer Film Fest every year and nothing happens?  What if this is as good as it will ever get?

I know.  If I don’t try, I’ll never know.  To parallel another event, I’m a super fan of Vanessa Carlton.  After her third album, she sat down and thought about her process of music, songwriting, and recording.  Eventually, she went to the English countryside and wrote and recorded her next, entirely self-financed album.  She said everything was organic and was exactly the kind of record she wanted to make.  Every lyric in every song was thought out carefully and went through drafts.

And I guess I feel that way too.  After Cure(d), I think I need to sit down and think for a while, to look at every possible option out there that would help me make the best possible film.

As usual, I welcome any thoughts anyone might have.  In the meantime, I’ll be sending out Cure(d) around to festivals and seeing how that goes.

Finally, I just want to quickly thank everyone who’s ever supported me in anything creative I’ve done.  It’s helped me more than you’ll ever know.

Aaron’s Queer Film Reviews: The Vancouver Queer Film Festival

14 08 2010

Out On Screen, also known as the Vancouver Queer Film Festival, began its 22nd year last night!  And of course I happened to miss the opening film because I was hanging out with my sister… but it’s alright!  It’ll be screening again on a different day, so it’s all good.  Anyway, I thought I’d do some reviews of all the films I see in these 12 days of the festival, since I love film and all. I won’t be seeing all the films though, because there are a few that look terrible, and not in a it’s-so-terrible-it’s-actually-good way either.  I mean really terrible, which is why I’m not going to watch them, even though I have a festival pass.

I came home not too long ago from a programme of short films called “Strong and Silent Types”, all featuring  intergenerational relationships.  And oh my… what a night.  Let’s start with the reviews!

Last Call

Synopsis: There was a little ad before the film started for this one advertising it as being made in college, which I thought was interesting already.  Last Call revolves around a guy who, after years of alcoholism, realizes he’s in love with the last boyfriend he had but before he can meet him to tell him the happy truth, car crash!  Oh no!  Gavin, our main character, then gets transported to a bar where we wonder, is he dead?  Is he in hell?  Purgatory?  A bartender serves him shots of… something, claiming they’ll make him remember events with his previous boyfriend.  And he does.  But is it too late?  Dun dun dun…

Good/Bad things: I thought it was a good film to open with, though Gavin’s boyfriend, Mark, looks like a teenager, so the conversation with them talking about adopting a child felt strange to me.  There was confusion regarding what really happens to Gavin when he takes the shots (is he dreaming or re-enacting the scenes?  Is he able to change memories?) and why things sort of continue after (ie. when he leaves Mark after their argument, Gavin closes the door at the bar.  Wha??).  Although I did enjoy the fantasy aspect of it, the actor playing Mark kinda bugged me with his acting — his lines are so full of emotion but the actor portrays so little.  Frustrating, to say the least.  The entire film felt long, though it was 17 minutes.  I think that means the pacing’s a little off?

Overall: A decent student-made film from Nick Corporon.  A stronger, more defined theme would’ve been nice though.  Oh, and Mark was miscast, as cute as he was.

Grade:  C+

Little Love

Synopsis: Viewers of bad gay-themed movies may have seen the atrocious Ethan Mao.  Well, from the director of that film comes Little Love, about an older white man who’s in what appears to be a rentboy-agreement type relationship with a twinky guy named Rafael (but it’s supposed to be legitimate.  I think.).  Markus, the older man, has a best friend named Andy, who’s single and also older — though not as old as Markus —  and has got the hots for Rafael.  I wonder what’s gonna happen here… hmmm… take a wild guess!

Good/Bad things: I decided to really give Mr. Lee a chance with this; maybe this short would be different than his features.  Now I ask myself, “What a stupid thing to do.”  Obviously.  The reason the entire film falls completely flat for me is the shallowness and lack of any real humanity to it all.  Andy, though drunk (it’s how cheating always happens, of course), is the one we’re supposed to sympathize with but he steps over the line so easily and unregretfully that when the shit hits the fan, you can’t help but think he deserved at least some of it.  There’s nothing different from these three characters, nothing that audiences can identify with; they’re undeveloped and flat and I didn’t care when it all came crashing down.  Also, why put in a scene with *spoilers!*  (in case someone actually is interesting in seeing this film, for whatever odd reason) Markus in bed with another twink when it doesn’t come up at all later?  Is the film saying everyone cheats on each other?  That gay men will sleep with one another and then accuse everyone else of cheating and thus being completely hypocritical? If so, that’s not a movie I’d like to see, thank you very much.

I’m racking my brain trying to come up with good things to say about this but nothing comes to mind.  The sex scenes were mildly hot, if long?

Overall: It’s still a very much cliche to have a makeout scene in a pool.  Don’t do that again.  Also interesting to note was during Andy and Markus’ “I know you had sex with my bf! Grrrr!” scene, Andy says, “I didn’t mean to hurt you!  I wasn’t thinking about you at all!”.  The entire audience laughed out loud.

Grade:  No more Quentin Lee for me, please.  C-


Synopsis:  A twinky (again, yes) young man meets an older man for sex in his hotel room where they talk about random things.

Good/Bad things:  I don’t know how to begin reviewing this film, I honestly don’t.  Running at 18 minutes, it felt like an hour.  It just goes on and on and on… after a brief tussle in the beginning, the two characters sit and talk.  And talk.  And talk.  About everything!  Everything that young, grossly-buffed men and older jerking-off-to-porn-while-on-the-phone guys talk about.  They talk about careers, about the older guy’s scar, about the younger guy’s constant partying and clubbing, etc.  It’s quite possibly the most boring, meaningless conversation ever filmed, not to mention the angle of the younger guy was really unflattering.

As for good stuff, well… the older guy was hot.  According to imdb, he’s a stand-in for Hugh Jackson, who is hot too.

Overall:  I have no more words to express how horrendous and an utter waste of my time this film was.  It sounds really mean, I know, but there was no story, no plot, empty dislikeable characters… sorry, filmmakers.

Grade:  F


Synopsis:  Two guys, about to get married the next day, argue about their relationship and the bad stuff that’s happened (can you guess what?  I’ll give you a hint: it happened in Little Love)

Good/Bad things: I’m gonna start off with the good things for once.  There were some very, very unique and interesting camera shots.  I was quite impressed, though that’s not really saying much because I had watched some pretty terrible stuff; the swinging of Stu’s (younger guy) feet when he gets out of bed; the focus on his watch as he leans over to puke in the toilet.  Cool stuff.  Though their dialogue runs long (but thankfully not nearly as boring as Disarm), it makes the film feel long as well, mostly the conversation in the bedroom that seems to go on and on (but again, at least there is action and movement).  The theme is fairly well stated and there is definitely good tension between the two lead actors.  The main problem this film suffers from is not getting to the point fast enough — there’s a little exposition of Stu, drunk and doing stupid things in a bar while his soon-to-be-husband, Chris, sits nearby and scowls (why doesn’t he just go home or tell Stu to stop drinking?).  The film unecesarily flashes back to the bar a few times.  I also felt like since Stu appeared to be the protagonist, that the villain was Chris, which I didn’t agree on.  It’s not a one-sided issue, but it felt like a little, leaning on Stu’s side.  The big turning point of this is when *spoilers!* Chris rapes Stu (which, btw, I thought Stu secretly wanted… or maybe I just wanted it, haha) and of course rapists = bad so Chris = bad.  Strangely, I was on Chris’s side.  Just a note.

Overall: Interesting camera shots save this film from being ordinary.

Grade:  C+

Professor Godoy

Synopsis: A young student flirts and makes advances on an older (and chubbier) teacher in Brazil.

Good/Bad things:  Thank god this was saved until last, otherwise I would’ve left the theatre extremely unhappy.  Gui Ashcar’s little film features great performances from the lead actors and their dynamic is intriguing and interesting to watch.  What’s more interesting is how they communicate — Felipe, the student, leaves little mathematical equations and notes in his exams to Professor Godoy — little flirts like “If my mind is a trap, what is the prey?” and the best one of all, *spoilers!*  “me + you = i; Prove i exists”.  Godoy, being a teacher, resists Felipe’s flirtations (obviously) despite even dreaming about him.   Apart from some slightly grainy shots (what happened there, I wonder?), Professor Godoy is a wonderful, funny at times, little film about the simple relationship between a student and his teacher, or as Felipe believes, just two guys.  I would’ve preferred a little more interaction between the characters since it was always a joy to watch them they communicated and it would’ve explored their relationship more.

Overall:  If it hasn’t seem clear by now, Godoy was the best film of the night.  By far.

Grade:  A-

EDIT:  I changed Professor Godoy‘s grade to an A- because I thought about it some more and came to the conclusion that it deserved it.

That’s it for today.  Pornography: A Thriller was playing after but I decided not to see it because it looks cheesy and terrible.  Anyhoo, I hope those were decent reviews.  More to come later!

PS.  If these films are some of the best that the world has got, then I’m going to win an Oscar someday.  Watching those bad films made me realize how good my stories were.  Oh, that’s a good thing too!