VQFF 2015: Bright Eyes, Queer Hearts Review

19 08 2015

Some mini reviews for some short films in last night’s Bright Eyes, Queer Hearts youth shorts program.

Regalia: Pride in Two Spirits

A personal documentary about a young two-spirited gay Native teen. Reminded me of the Playing It Safe Project I took part in, a documentary series about street youth and HIV. There is enough info and story here to be conveyed through multiple episodes/films — ie. What it’s like to be two-spirited, how others in the clan/reserve reacted to his coming out, etc. — and overall, felt a bit overloaded.

Grade: B


A cute little film from Mexico about a girl who has a crush on her art/dance teacher. Fantasies of driving away together like in old films abound her imagination and with no one to talk to about her feelings, she decides to go for it. Well directed and filled with pop songs, Carina makes for an entertaining watch — until the unsatisfying ending.

Grade: B

Big Time– My Doodled Diary

I was surprised to enjoy this film. Sure, there isn’t much of a plot and a lot of it is told in the voice over of a teenage girl living in India in 1984, but the everyday occurrences, like how she thought her friend’s dog was named Penis, are charming and feel genuine of a teenager’s diary. Although I was looking for the queer aspect, it’s subtle and part of the surprise of the film. Also, more a Capella please.

Grade: B+

Caged (Uitgesproken)

After the understated beauty if cliched storyline of last year’s Jongens, I thought it was a one-off of Dutch culture and society. Apparently not. In Caged, the friendship between two running buddies is torn apart when one catches the other (unabashedly) making out with the only other seemingly gay kid in town. Such a plot is reminiscent of gay teen novels from the early 2000s, so it was strange to watch something that seemed so anachronistic. Doesn’t help that the bullies are big, yelling homophobic stereotypes — not to mention the predictable, unearned ending. Maybe this is actually representative of the Netherlands after all.

Grade: C+

Penguins at North Pole

A queer film from Taiwan? Am I dreaming? The fact that this exists is enough to get me on board, not to mention the fact that the familial conflict of traditional Asian mother was almost too difficult (because it was relateable and understandable) to endure. Two Taiwanese women plan on getting married but want to come out to their parents — one’s mother and the other’s father, respectively — first. The majority of the film is focused on the overbearing and flabbergasted (and borderline caricature) mother as she tries to deal with her daughter’s in love with a woman. At 30 minutes, it’s a little long and a little too cutesy at times. Nevertheless, the film’s warmth will likely win you over.

Grade: B

Vancouver Queer Film Festival 2014 Grind: Hookup Shorts

16 08 2014

Another year of queer films to watch and review at Out on Screen! Unfortunately, I don’t have a pass this year, since I didn’t make a film — strange not to have one after years of proudly strutting around with it around my neck — so I won’t be going to most of the films. So sad. I did manage to buy a six film package and caught my first screening, a short film program titled Grind: Hookup Shorts. Let’s get down to it!

Spoilers throughout!

Barrio Boy

A handsome Latino barber falls in love with an Irish guy who comes into the barbershop. I actually read about this short film earlier this week and was pleasantly surprised to see it screening here (apart from Grind, I had no idea which shorts were going to be screening). Cute premise and decent camerawork, but the voice-over mostly doesn’t work. It works when handsome Latino is confessing his desires, like wanting to know him better than his best friend, but having the bulk of the film rely on this technique begs the question: Is he saying absolutely nothing in real time? And if not, I’d almost prefer seeing that than close-ups of hair. The other thing that I wasn’t quite clear on was why he found Irish guy so attractive. What makes him so special? Surely, he’s seen white guys before, but why is this one different? Until that question is answered, it makes the barber’s lust and love difficult to fully enjoy.

Grade: B-


A humorous exploration into “no Asians” and those who love Asians. As someone who is pissed off at sexual racism, I immediately liked this just for the premise. The highlight of the film was the main character, Aaron, (a gay Asian guy named Aaron? Coincidence?) who, after rejected by white guys who tell him they’re not into Asians, finds a young white guy who seems to like him for who he is — or rather, who he isn’t. Although there is some discussion on racism with Aaron and his two gay friends (nice to see you again, Adamo Ruggiero!), I found myself wanting more of a punch, instead of shying away to let’s-just-party! ending (literally).

Grade: B


I’m not quite sure how to summarize this one, so I’ll take the synopsis from the imdb page: “In the midst of dealing with the repercussion of a recent accident, newly introverted William comes in contact with the very spark that may just allow him to overcome.” This is a film that I think people will either like or hate, mainly because it is experimental and non-linear. The film floats along, playing with sound, flashbacks, and quick cuts that feel disorienting. This goes on for a while and I was just about to give up on the film when the pieces come together and things make sense, and I appreciated the film a lot more then. The cinematography is very nice, and is overall a well-made film. The romance feels quite refreshing as well, and I thought it was great to have two average-looking guys, slight bellies and all, as the leads. This is a film I’d like to watch again.

I’m not sure why it’s called Mum though.

Grade: B+

All Good Things

Fellow Vancouverite makes his directing debut with this film about a young couple who have sex for the first time. With the exception of Mum, the shorts in this program juggled comedy and drama to various levels of success. Gaysian probably did the best job of it, making it clear when to laugh and when it was serious. All Good Things had the hardest time balancing these two genres. Both the audience and myself weren’t sure at times when to laugh or not, when the characters were being serious or not. What really drags this short down is the unnatural-sounding dialogue. Not only did it sound unrealistic, but made me wonder throughout the whole short whether these two were really a couple or not. I’m not one to pick up on chemistry between actors — I’m pretty oblivious to all that — but it’s unfortunately obvious here, the lack of it. With a leached-looking palette, the whole film feels like a hookup, not the first time between boyfriends — where’s the romance? The trying?

Grade: D

Sex Date

A criminal on the run enters a guy’s home and is mistaken for a hookup. The dramatic irony in this one is what makes it. The tension between the two guys, especially in the first third of the film is funny, and I actually liked that the guy living there (I don’t remember anyone’s names) is respectful and patient. Unfortunately, the film meanders in the rest of the film, especially as a roommate is added to complicate things, to the point where the two guys talk about life and being in love. Can we get back to the awkwardness?

Grade: B-


Two guys — one a young, dumb model and the other, Anthony Rapp — play around on Grindr and find guys to have sex with. Except the young one really wants to find love. But he’s so dumb he makes his nerdy, smart roommate talk to guys because young guy only attracts fellow dumbos. I think this is a problematic film, to say the least. One reviewer on imdb wrote a negative review and gave it one star. I don’t think it’s necessarily a one-star film. Anthony Rapp is the standout here, but that might be because he’s Anthony Rapp. What makes this one special is that it’s a musical, and yet it doesn’t have the self-awareness that it’s dealing with Grindr — Grindr! — to be more camp. Instead, it’s dark, brooding, and serious, and because of this, again, tonally, it can be unclear when the film is trying to be serious or not. It also probably doesn’t help that the songs themselves are also serious, but more than that, they all sound the same (with the exception of maybe that last song Anthony Rapp sings). All have similar sounds, most (possibly all) use the overused four chords of music, and most the lyrics are full of forgettable abstractions. Good musicals are hard to write, I know, but they should accompany the story. The story here is flimsy and unnecessarily dark. I’m not quite sure I understand why Rapp’s character kills guys. I think he gets off on it, but I’m not sure. That reveal in the end is set up to be so big but it didn’t come off that way for me, but instead made me ask more questions. I just didn’t feel like the film gelled overall, which is a shame because… Anthony Rapp.

Also, lip synching into the camera is weird.

Grade: C

Man, I feel like such a harsh critic.

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

Boyfriend dream

7 09 2012

Woke up and wrote this all down before I forgot because I think it’s a little special.

Boyfriend dream

I was in a relationship with my dashing friend Owen.  We also were on tour with the Vancouver Queer Film Festival, on their tour bus as they drove across the country (which they don’t do, of course).  At one stop, the QFF set up some promotional stuff in this town, including Owen’s contribution: a bright pink, glittering diorama featuring him and another girl on stage.  There was also some writing with the diorama explaining how super gay he was.

Owen’s mother was there, and he had not come out to his family yet.  I found her staring at her son’s very loud diorama, and went over to her.  I asked her about his singing and his songs.  She kept asking me, “When?” which confused me, and when I tried to clarify, she only repeated the same question: “When?”  I told her I hadn’t heard any of songs Owen had been writing, but that he had told me he was writing some songs last summer.

I walked off so she could absorb the news of son’s strange coming out.  There were also two other younger kids there with her, presumably her other children.

I texted Owen to “come here” since his family was there.  He didn’t respond.  Instead, the next thing I knew, he was standing with his family and talking with his dad.  It appeared they were arguing.  I stood a little way off, watching, knowing this wasn’t my place.  Both of us, and possibly everyone there, was dressed in black.  I was dressed in my uniform from Fifth Avenue.

Owen came over and said I should properly meet them.  He took my hand and confidently walks over to his family.  I, on the other hand, am a nervous wreck.  I look up at him, and his face is hard and determined, and I feel bad.  I ask him if it’s really appropriate/too much that we’re holding hands especially since his dad just got the news and isn’t okay with it, and we let our hands fall.

Owen introduced me to his father, who glared at me.  I knew he though I “corrupted” his son.  My lip trembled from being so nervous.  His dad said I was just a “sex hookup” and left.  I yelled back as he was leaving that Owen and I hadn’t even had sex yet, and that we were still together because loved each other.  I said goodbye to his family, and called his mother Alice (because we were totally bffs).  I told Owen his mom was much nicer/understand than his dad, while Owen struggles to genuflect awkwardly and for seemingly no reason at all.

That’s it.  I don’t actually know if Owen’s mom’s name is Alice but it would be freaky if it were.  I texted him today and told him I had a dream with him in it but he didn’t respond.  I’ll ask him about his mom later.

By the way, Owen has a girlfriend.  Or so he says.

Dirty Girl

30 08 2012

Synopsis: a so-called “dirty girl” (ie. a slut) goes on a roadtrip with a fellow outcast from high school — gay, overweight, Clark.

Super awesome things: well, I had seen this before and I thought it wasn’t that great.  However, everyone on the programming committee seemed to really like the jokes and the humour, while I wasn’t impressed by the story and the lack of anything of substance when it came to the plot involving family, but alas.  When I saw it again, where the audience was laughing like crazy at the one-liners and the references to ’80s things, I did like it a bit better.  Sure, this movie is just fun and doesn’t take itself seriously.  And that’s the fun of it.  The best part is Joan’s eyes magically changing between scenes.  Simple but clever.

Not so awesome things: a film can be fun and all, but if you’re presenting something as serious as family issues, then you need to have something solid and somewhat non-sentimental to say — which this film does not do.  The film resolves itself fairly predictably in both the main plot with Danielle looking for her father, as well as the subsequent subplots, which include Clark’s departure to the army (forever?  Of course not), and Clarke’s meek, verbally-abused mother (does she leave her husband?  Of course).  For a film so bent on being fun and not serious, it doesn’t work when it’s trying to be serious.

Good for watching: on a Friday night with your gay friends.

Overall: meh.  Entertaining, I suppose, but that’s all.

Grade: C+