The TLA Releasing September 11, 2018 DVD release of the 2017 drama "Sodom" is a textbook example of quality art-house gay cinema. It centers around a relevant relatable theme and has good humor. Other attributes include a strong live-stage vibe and most intimate scenes being much more erotic than pornographic.
"Sodom" commences with the highly symbolic scene of 20 year-old footballer (my people call it soccer) Will being the victim of a homoerotic prank by his teammates during a trip. He is heavily made up, stripped of even his socks, and handcuffed face-front to a lamp post on a relatively quiet street.
This image prompts the first of many societal observations; the comment this time is that it is amazing that all-male organizations such as fraternities and sports teams that outwardly project aggressive masculine heterosexual images often involve at least copious naked horseplay and regulalry impose actual sexual domination on group members.
A related aspect of this supports the gay fantasy that at least 50-percent of men desire sex with other guys; personal and societal pressures are the culprits regarding sublimating these urges into what they can consider acceptable outlets such as team showers and fraternity hazing.
An amusing personal experience regarding the hang ups of guys who identify themselves as fully straight involves a high-school friend. This guy being a star wrestler and enjoying running naked in the gym hallways should have been a tip off back then.
This buddy shared several years ago that he sees a dominatrix every week. Further pressing prompted confessing that these sessions involve a strap-on. Pointing out the enhanced pleasure and humiliation benefits of being on the receiving end of the real thing prompted a "he doth protest too much" freak out.
Our regularly scheduled post continues with well-off 30-something man Michael discovering Will on his way home after an evening out. A team effort gets a still cuffed Will partially covered and into the apartment of Michael. Some of the aforementioned eroticism enters the picture in the form of a fully dressed Michael having a drink with a barely dressed and shackled Will. As expected, this leads to completely consensual sex with the restraints intact,
Micheal and Will sharing not-so-intimate details of their lives after having sex reflects the odd truth of old-school gay hookups, It is amazing that a guy will volunteer every small detail related to sexual activity within minutes of meeting a potential "buddy" but will not even share general information about his work or where he grew up.
Will literally and figuratively gets an out but quickly returns for another erotic scene, The rest of the story that comes out is that Will is not. The story that is familiar to most gay men is that Will has a history of messing around with a buddy, is engaged to a woman, and has mixed emotions.
The initially revealed story of Michael reflects both the rushed nature of gay relationships and the sad experience of many couples all along the Kinsey Scale. Many years with a soulmate lead to things getting stale; this prompts Michael to look for love with too many faces in all the wrong places. This leads to the soulmate becoming the one who got away.
The sweet portion of "Sodom" has the connection between the boys seemingly being strong enough for Will to realize the wisdom of "to thine own self be true" and to seriously considering uprooting his life to build one with Michael, This relates to several experiences that many of us have,
Any positive new relationship is exciting and can produce a high; a strong connection greatly enhances that sense. On top of that, travel magically increases the impact of any experience and can make the impractical seem feasible.
For his part, the prospect of a life with Will makes Michael believe that there is a way that he can recapture his past happiness.
One spoiler is that "Sodom" not being a Hollywood movie and young and cute Will not being doe-eyed or completely hairless prevents the road to a happy ending from encountering more bumps. Will coming down from his high and starting to think more clearly creates some doubt regarding his willingness (no pun intended) to upset the Adam's apple cart in ways that include telling his teammates where he spent the night and informing his fiancee that he cannot marry her because he now plays for the other team.
The final round of commentary in this post begin with the sad statement this time that staying in the closet has such a long tradition because it allows many men to adequately have their cake and eat it as well. The collateral damage from that is that the "other woman" is denied the desired relationship.
The rest of the story is that one cost of the tremendous advances in gay rights is the form of angst of guys like Will and men like Michael who fully embrace the idea of literally or figuratively putting a ring on it. NONE of the advancements should EVER be reversed, but this requires that guys who suppress their desire for intimacy with guys man up and choose a side in a manner that minimizes the emotional pain of those whom this affects.
The Dekkoo Films October 9, 2018 DVD release of "Testosterone Volume One" aptly depicts treats and actual and figurative tricks regarding modern gay life, This scope of these four short films includes the bittersweet aspects of any first love, the agony and the ecstasy of being a boy who likes other boys, and a dark comedy about regicide of a queen.
The following YouTube clip of the Dekko trailer for "Testosterone" is a music video that provides a sense of the highly stylized and equally emotional themes of the films.
The first film "End of My World" by Kamil Krawczycki is notable both for being the first gay-themed short film from Poland and the most relatable movie in the group, Dreamy 20-something Filip is very despondent regarding his recent break-up with arguable soulmate Eryk. Some of the angst relates to Eryk disappearing without a trace immediately after pouncing on an opportunity to end the relationship.
Filip claiming a mental health day leads to a montage of despair that prompts flashbacks of his life with Eryk. These scenes particularly ring true regarding all forms of first love but also apply to every relationship. Associated aspects are one person being more in love than his or her counterpart and failed efforts to salvage what no longer is a great thing.
The title of "World" reflects the feeling associated with a relationship ending; other themes are one ending leading to a new beginning and whether Mr. Right Now can become Mr. Right. The latter ties back to the issue of one person being more in love than the person with whom he or she makes the beast with two backs.
The bigger picture this time is Poland being roughly 20 years behind the United States regarding gay rights. Societal acceptance seems to be at toddler stage, and young gay men are struggling with the extent to which they are comfortable coming out; we see how this option being so new can strain a relationship in which one boy is comfortable walking down the street holding hands and the other is at the stage that spending the entire night together is a big deal,
"The Surf Report" is the most odd of the films. It continues the theme of a literal lost love. In this case, surfer "K" apparently hitches a ride to Rock Rock Rockaway Beach in New York where he has very surreal experiences. Meanwhile, the efforts of boyfriend to find this little merman aptly include visiting a psychic who has shades of Whoppi Goldberg in "Ghsot."
The time shifts and very creative cinematography in "Report" make the film especially compelling.
Dekkoo continues doing a good job with the continuum in having "It Gets Better?" This one starts out ambiguously with a clearly distraught middle-aged man watching a streaming video of a younger guy pouring out his heart regarding his distress related to being gay. A highly probable interpretation of all this is that the older man is the father of the younger one.
We soon learn the story of the older man. The theme generally is that he is older, wiser, and somewhat happier than the Millennial. This narrative includes the most erotic (rather than pornographic) scenes in any "Testosterone" film.
Dekkoo chooses wisely in breaking from the trauma, drama, tears, and recriminations in the first three movies by ending things on a light note. Describing the dark comedy "Killer Friends" as being student-film caliber merely refers to the indie and micro-budget vibe. Even before watching it, you know that writer/director Zach Noe Towers casts himself in the starring role.
One puzzle is why Dekkoo includes this not-so-good movie with the others. It seems that there must better comedic options than this short by this YouTube star, who is an unambiguously gay version of Jake Paul.
The premise of this film by Millennials for Millennials is that 20-something Jill is so fed up with former college friend/current roommate Scott that she recruits her boyfriend Brian and their mutual friend Heather to kill Scott during a camping trip. A major plot hole is why Scott warrants this treatment rather than ending his roommate agreement with Heather and she and her friends merely becoming the ghosting trio,
The biggest flaw in this vanity project for Towers is that he both plays it so over the top that he way out Paul Lyndes Paul Lynde. Further, most of his line are very predictable regarding things such as repeating an absurd insult or revealing a secret just as the subject of that remark falters in his or her conviction to kill him. One spoiler is that Scott is such a flamer that it seems that the others do not need to douse him in a combustible substance to Michael Jackson/Richard Pryor him.
This perhaps last-day-in-the-life-of film quickly becomes a Looney Tunes cartoon in that every attempt to snuff Scott boomerangs on the attacker. One fully expects Brian to order a cannon from Acme, to have that weapon arrive within seconds, and then to have the barrel flip around and fire in his face when he aims it at an oblivious Scott.
The bottom line regarding "Testosterone" is that three out of four truly is not bad. Further, good intentions exist regarding including "Friends." As mentioned above, it ends things on a light note that contributes diversity.
TLA Releasing artfully combines travelogues and universal love stories with the recent DVD release of the 2018 drama "Grimsey." The spoiler is that you will ache to board the next flight to Reykjavik on seeing this one.
The following YouTube clip of the Releasing trailer for "Grimsey" reflects the awesomeness of promos for indie films in that they consistently accurately reflect the themes and the tone of the film., In this case, the scenery and the angst of lost love receive equal attention.
The largest theme this time is the long tradition of a gay man abruptly ending what his boyfriend often thinks is a stable and mutually loving relationship. Combined cowardice and justification that simply vanishing is kinder than confronting everyone from a fuck buddy to a genuine partner with the awful truth prompts simply not returning messages and never seeing the person again. Learning that the love is one-sidedl without discovering why can devastate the rejected boy.
The hut guy in "Grimsey" expresses the above sentiments this in highly relatable voicemails to the one who ran away. Not knowing for sure that the other person is alright and not being told the reason for the radio silence is torturous for a man who has the sensitivity that being boyfriend material requires.
Bruno in "Grimsey" has it even worse than usual. Photographer boyfriend Norberto simply does not return from a trip to Iceland, A police investigation confirms that Norberto never boards his scheduled flight home, However, there is no indication of intentional or accidental bodily injury.
A distraught Bruno flies to Reykavik to find his boo but meets local tour guide Aranu, who joins the quest. This being a gay-themed movie ensures that Bruno is the object of the affection of Arnau. However, another truth of gay life comes in the form of Bruno being so obsessed with his mission that he is oblivious that the handsome and sweet guy next to him may be his actual Mr. Right. Most gay men can relate to being on both sides of this type of relationship.
Amusing support for the theory that every gay man knows each other leads to Bruno travelling several hours across Iceland in search of Norberto; although he initially is reluctant to let Arnau tag along, a sweet gesture indicates that Bruno is open to the idea of moving on.
That journey leads to the titular island that literally and figuratively is the end of the road. It is equally apt that this is the point at which Bruno must decide whether he is going to fish or cut bait, The final word on this subject is that the outcome may be that Norberto is the one who gets away.
The relatability of "Grimsey" continues to the the final scenes. The lesson here is the same as the one throughout the film in that a good man is particularly hard to find when your dating pool is limited to 10-percent of the population and many eligible candidates are married. This makes it important to go the extra mile to find Mr. Right.
The TLA Releasing DVD release of "French Kisses" provides a good chance to see a variety of styles and themes related to gay boys (and men) in love. These shorts also support the theory that the best movies are the ones with the strongest live-stage vibe.
The films about teen boys have their merits that extend beyond seeing seeing attractive young guys either often in deep thought or extreme joy. They reflect the angst that most boys who like boys experience when they discover that aspect of themselves. Mainstream cinema increasingly addressing this theme reflects its importance in society.
The films that focus on males who are adequately physically developed to shave at least every other day shows the wisdom of not sending in a boy to do the job of a man. In the case of the selection in "Kisses," the movies with the more mature themes in every sense have the most depth and the most compelling stories.
"Herculaneum," which is a highly symbolic title, arguably is the most relatable film in the set. It revolves around two 30-something guys who repeatedly hook-up through a web-based cruising site. The largest theme is the disparity that often exist regarding the attitude as to a sex act, especially when it comes (no pun intended) to gay men. No one should expect that a casual encounter will lead to a long-term relationship, but what is merely a bit of fun to one guy may have even a little more significance to the other.
The real truths come out in the climatic (pun intended) scene in "Herculaneum." Our boys finally are enjoying the intimacy of sharing a bed for the night after having at least two home runs. The pillow talk includes learning basic information such as the professions of the men that typically is shared before the genitals of one person are inserted in the orifice of another. A related aspect of this is the reasonableness of the expectation that a man whom another man allows him to penetrate him in the most intimate manner possible will have lunch with the pentratee.
The next most relatable movie is "Ruptures," This one initially seems to be a documentary by and about 20-something Gabriel largely is about relationships in the context of the relationships of his peers.
A "chance" encounter with ex Andre while these guys were boys in Brazil dramatically shifts the narrative in every sense of that term. Gabriel literally turns the camera on Andre to ask about his feelings regarding their relationship; the gist is that Gabriel hurts this nice guy, real bad.
Gabriel falsely stating that the camera is off allows the audience to witness the sex, lies, and videotape associated with the reunion of the young lovers. we further witness Andre turning the tables on Gabriel.
Most of us lacking personal experience regarding the final film in the set is a good thing. An evening in which a middle-aged man host a younger man for dinner proves that visits like that are fun until someone ends up duct-taped on the floor while the other guy tries to break into your safe. The surprising part is that this is in not the end of this tale of a rent boy turned rough trade.
A teen experience of a friend of a friend (REALLY) shows that such occurrences relate to some. The price that this closeted high school boy pays for bringing a hookup home while his parents are out for the evening includes the trick (pun intended) of being left tied naked face down on the bed in the master bedroom and the house being robbed. A valid perspective regarding this is that something that is devastating if it happens to you can be hilarious when someone else is the victim.
The TLA Releasing May 29, 2018 DVD release of the 2017 gay-themed psychological thriller "Boy Undone" is adequately freaky to earn the "guerrilla" label with which it is associated.
The following YouTube clip of the official "Undone" trailer highlights the dreamlike tone of this highly stylized largely silent film.
The real action begins with the titular young man waking up dazed and confused naked in a strange bed in a strange home. His success in getting himself together is thwarted when his cunrecognized host feels free to strip and top this guy who simply goes along with the program.
The portion of the story that comes out fairly quickly is that "Host" found "Boy" unconscious on the bathroom floor of a wild gay club with entertainment that includes nearly naked go-go dancers. On a related note, the edge of "Undone" includes our stars frequently in every stage of arousal and explicitly engaged in the full range of homosexual activity.
The rest of the story is that "Boy" has complete amnesia regarding his name and every aspect of his life; this includes how he ends up naked in the home of "Host." The strong assumption among this newly formed couple is that a severe trauma is the root of the problem.
Despite the aforementioned regular nudity, there is no doubt that "Host" wears the pants in the relationship and that "Boy" remains a confused puppy even weeks after being picked up (presumably) in a puddle of urine, A blatant example of the metaphor is "Boy" curling up on the floor beside the bed of "Host."
Surreal images that are a mix of the known and unknown and that are accurate to an undetermined extent trigger some sparks of memory; sleuthing of "Host" further helps solve the mystery.
Ultimately finding the missing link triggers further drama and does not explain everything. Men who watch the interrogation scene that elicits that information are dared to not look away.
This copious psychological trauma and drama illustrates how our past shapes our future and that we sometimes must completely break down to become the person whom we want to be. It further shows the aspect regarding some of us being wolves and others lambs that lambs sometimes lead themselves to slaughter and cannot resist coming back for more.
The TLA Releasing June 12, 2018 DVD release of the 2017 drama "Al Berto" is among the new generation of Millennial-centric period pieces that center tales set in game-changing eras around groups of 20-somethings. In this case, the titular writer/trust fund baby converts his family mansion in Sines, Portugal to a Bohemian-style commune where he and his friends create their art and practice freeish love in an era in which the nation is transitioning from a dictatorship.
The numerous accolades for this film include the Best International Award at the 2018 FilmOut San Diego festival.
The numerous relatable international and timeless themes in "Al Berto" greatly contribute to its appeal. The titular character represents a trifecta of ill will regarding providing the locals a focal point for their general frustration and adjustment to the new normal. He is an outwardly lazy rich kid, spends his days in idle pursuits that include writing poetry, and is gay. The object of his affection being fellow trust fund baby Joao does not help matters.
A member of the group coming from a modest background and having a mother who regularly reminds her of her roots provides an interesting perspective. The issue here is whether the poor girl down the hall is a member of the inner circle or merely either a mascot or a charity case.
Writer/director Vicente Alves de O does equally great jobs with the two related primary themes of "Al Berto." Our sensitive soul is simultaneously contending with coming to terms with the world actively fighting his effort to create a Utopia while also trying to have a first real relationship with a guy. Having limited people skills does not help matters.
The drama predictably amps up in unpredictably ways. This includes attacks on two fronts after some hope of lives of peace, love, and understanding. A great aspect of that hope for the future is the arrival of an adorable group that really help get the party started.
"Al Berto" further speaks to teens and 20-somethings from 2018 by showing that having passion and a large group of like-minded folks has a long tradition. It also reminds those of us with a few more years on us that we both used to have those ideals and act on them in a manner that illustrated that we did not care about the narrow-minded views of the adults who were the same age as our current one.
The TLA Releasing October 2017 DVD release of the 2016 S1 of the dekkoo web series "I'm Fine" makes a perfect companion to the (reviewed) December 2017 release of the Dekkoo Films "Coffee House Chronicles: The Movie." Both projects take equally honest and amusing looks at gay dating in the 2010s.
The following YouTube clip of a "Fine" trailer highlights the drama and the trauma of the queer as folk boys living in West Hollywood whose lives are the things of which the series is made.
"Fine" centers around 30-ish Nate, who is suffering the pains of being on the rough end of a tough break-up with kickball jock Joey. The love-hate relationships among his friends help (and hinder) his navigating these tough times and provide the audience great entertainment.
The shifting narrative begins in the wake of the aforementioned breakup and later establishes that Natey begins when Joey stands up for Nate during an amusing confrontation at a party from Hell. Subsequently entanglements hilariously ensue when Nate encounters Joey and a date in the immediate afternath of a disastrous hook up regarding which many gay man can relate. One lesson regarding that wham-bam-thank-you-sir is that taking one for the team is difficult when your heart is not in the game.
The indications of writer-director Brnadon Kirby being in the head of the viewer are particularly strong in one scene. On arriving at a coffee shop to meet Joey, Nate orders a beverage with extra flavoring only to have the barista repeatedly harangue him; this is on the heels of a similar Starbucks experience in which being challenged about requesting extra peppermint syrup and then being asked if they should add a shot of insulin prompted changing the order (and disliking the drink).
The ensuing events are equally relatable but more pleasant. The adorable young guy in line behind Nate concocts a cute approach and makes a charming sincere expression of a desire to get to know him better. This type of encounter is fairly common during the period that one is young and cute and is especially nice when it leads to a good relationship.
Yet more relatabilty ensues when best friend Jeff confesses his attraction to Nate; suffice it to to say that the impulsiveness of Nate causes this tricky situation to explode in a manner that affects their entire group.
As alluded to above, the importance of productions such as "Fine" and "Chronicles" is that it shows the vast numbers of gay men who lack many reference points that their experiences are typical for men who date men and yearn for sharing a dream home with Mr. Right.
The bigger picture is that folks who are at the hetero end of the Kinsey Scale see that gay men do not connect as easily or as regularly as pop culture often suggests; these breeders further learn that hurt feelings when the one whom you love does not share those feelings and/or moves onto someone else lack sexuality boundaries. The one who got away still is the one who got away.
Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Fine" is encouraged to email me; you also can connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.
As the Unreal TV review of the recent tla releasing DVD of the 2016 gay-themed Mark Bessenger film "Confessions" notes, that release roughly coincides with this site learning of the tla DVD release of the 2014 Mark Bessenger film "The Last Straight Man." "Man" is much more revealing than "Confessions" both visually and in terms of titular breeder boy Cooper meeting up with his boi Lewis once a year for a night of passion. Suffice it to say, ample proof exists that Bessenger knows that of which he films and writes.
"Man" opens with the hotel suite bachelor party for Cooper on the night before his wedding to a woman; Lewis begging off when the stripper offers him a lap dance provides the first clue that he is not like the other boys in attendance.
Things take a stereotypical gay porn turn when Lewis hangs with Mr. Cooper after the party, and the latter prompts the two of them watching gay porn. A game of truth in which the dares come later further bring newly admitted biboy Lewis (who tells a tale that deserves a place in "Confessions") and clearly curious Cooper closer to the climax of the evening.
A good time being held by all leads to our stars meeting in the same suite every year for a night in which the boys catch up, reveal more about each other, and Cooper increases his knowledge of the joys of gay sex. The latter is fully in line with the theory that every man who has sex with another man has a "gay age" that reflect the timing and degree of his experience in that area. Suffice it to say this time, an off-screen scene in which Lewis guides Cooper through having an enema is one of the most amusing in this highly entertaining film.
Bessenger expertly combines the erotic, the pornographic (suffice it to say that Lewis portrayor Mark Cirillo speaks softly and carries a big stick), the serious, and the silly. Our characters awesomely address this in a scene in which retail store owner Cooper suggests that romance novelist Lewis base a book on their story, and Lewis responds that that plot is better suited to a melodramatic play or a movie.
On a larger level, Bessenger awesomely presents issues of the Kinsey scale of sexuality, the related complicated aspects of feeling love for another man while being far enough at the gay end of that scale to have sex withhim but not far enough to abandon a heterosexual life style to be with him, and denying happiness for what you think is the greater good.
Having characters who are past their doe-eye days further adds substance to this story far beyond it being one in which Lewis lusts after Cooper based on high school showers and Saturday night sleepovers only to have a hairless emo Cooper bring him to Heaven only to later break his heart. Our heroes are big boys in every sense of the word and have spent enough time on the street corner to know the score even if they will not admit it to themselves.
The special features include (what surely are terrific) interviews and deleted scenes.
Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Man" is strongly encouraged to either email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy,
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