I keep it short

28 04 2014

Finding it difficult to write a full-length play. Even when I was in film school, I found it really hard to write and complete my feature screenplays. So much plotting and thinking involved. No, I’m much better as a short film filmmaker, or a short play playwright, or a short story writer. I can tell a story in a scene or two no problem, but a whole thing?


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!