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Inside Out 2011 - Film Reviews

18 May 2011

Weekend Box Office

21st Annual
Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film and Video Festival
Presenting Sponsor – RBC Royal Bank

May 19 - 29, 2011
http://www.insideout.ca
Check the above link for the full program schedule and film descriptions.

Tickets can be purchased:
online http://www.insideout.ca
on the phone 416-599-8433 or 1-888-599-8433
in-person (10am – 10 pm) TIFF Bell Lightbox (TBLB) 350 King Street West.
Senior, Student and Youth Discounts Available.

Cinemaeye is proud to present capsule reviews for some of the films screened at Inside Out.

Capsule Reviews:

L’AMOUR FOU (France 2011) ***
Directed by Pierre Thoretton
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The documentary on French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent begins at the end of his career and funeral where he is admired by the whole of France for his contribution to haute couture and then backtracks to his life and work.  Narrated mainly by Saint Laurent’s long time lover and partner, Pierre Bergé, the relationship of some 50 years is recorded.  These are put together primarily from photo stills.  One wishes there would be more film footage of Laurent.  But the film is well put together by Thoretton, chronologically when Saint Laurent was fired by House of Dior in 1960.  The climax and highlight of Saint Laurent’s career is the huge fashion show displayed at the end of the movie featuring 300 world wide models.  The cheesy parts include a performance of the song YMCA by the Village People.  L’AMOUR FOU is a worthy tribute to Yves Saint Laurent, his genius and his collection of objets d’arts.  The bad stuff is kept to a minimum, but one wishes more would be known of the man’s character than just the drugs and alcohol he indulged in.

ANOTHER MOVIE ABOUT LOVE (Chile 2010) **
Directed by Edwin Oyarce
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If there is a film that teases, this is the one.  Director Edwin Oyarce is a film about the reconnection of two childhood friends Diego and Sebastian.  They swim, strip, get drunk but nothing really transpires.  The boys are very good looking.  Will love develop?  Will there be a hot sex scene?  The only way to find out is to sit through the entire 110 minutes of sexual tension – Oyarce style.  Not that there is anything wrong with the film – the film is beautifully shot, well acted and laid out, but the film is downright boring since nothing happens. The only break comes from the character of Deigo’s half crazed mother, who provides a bit of the much needed humour. A subplot involves a neighbour in a coma, as situation again in which everyone is waiting for something to happen.

BUFFERING (UK 2010) **
Directed by Christian Martin and Darren Flaxstone
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A British gay sex comedy in which a very much in love couple Seb and Aaron decide to webcam their love making acts and upload it on the internet when they have monetary problems.  Seb is the one more uncomfortable with the arrangements but goes along with it as long as all this stops when the bills are paid.  One thing leads to another and to make more money, they introduce toys and a third into the love act.  Seb disappears, unable to take the pressure.  This predictable plot is well intentioned and not too dirty.  But the directors are desperate for laughs as observed in a few jokes that come up of nowhere (the window tire pumping segment; the bouncing dildo) and have nothing to do with the plot.  But these are not really funny enough and neither is the film.  Come to think of it, the premise is not something really out of the blue either.  The audience have seen something similar to BUFFERING in straight films like CALENDAR GILRS, THE FULL MONTY) where the broke

attempt something naughty to pay the bills.

FLORENT: QUEEN OF THE MEAT MARKET (USA 2010) ****
Directed by David Sigal
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FLORENT: QUEEN OF THE MEAT MARKET is a breezy, easy-going feel-good comedy that is as bright and cheerful as its lead character named FLORENT, a French restaurateur that made it really big with his 24/7 diner in the meat packing district of New York City.  The film charts, chronologically, the opening of the resturarant/diner, its growth through the 80’s particularly through its sad closing owing to increased rent that Florent is unable to pay.  Odd as it is his diner that increased the real estate value of the property to 4 million dollars.  Florent reasons out the consequences if he had himself bought the property.  The doc reveals shots of the various clients (Julianne Moore, various drag queens, ballerinas, tranny hookers and businessmen) as well as stories told by the staff (waiters and hosts) of very funny incidents (including a jello covered naked customer, a kid running in after getting a blow job) that occur during the diner’s days.  But Sigal leaves most of what has to be said by FLORENT the owner.  Florent, diagnosed HIV positive in 87, has lived up to this day as cheerful and encouraging as Sigal’s movie.

GUN HILL ROAD (USA 2011) ***
Directed by Rashaad Ernesto Green
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The film begins with Enrique confined to 90 days solitary confinement in prison after exacting a revenge on a fellow inmate.  Pretty tough s**.  The next scene has his release where at his homecoming party, reunites with his family.  But the wife Angela (Ruby Reyes) has another lover and his son, Michael (Harmony Santana) is exploring his gender identity, identifying himself as a transsexual.  So, what is a macho man like Enrique to do?  His parole officer is keeping an eye on him while Enrique tries to make sense of whatever life has become for him.  As his wife Angela says at one point in the lovie: “I am fed up of life!” - words that wring so true to each character in the film.  Ernesto Green’s film packs a power punch in the first half aided by a breakout performance by the young Harmony Santana.  But the film is less successful in its second half with both Enrique failing just as the film fails to provide a satisfactory ending.

HOUSE OF BOYS (Lux/Germ 2009) ***
Directed by Jean-Claude Schlim
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What begins as a gay runaway plot turn into a love story and ends in an over-ambitious statement on the AIDS epidemic.  Writer/director Jean-Claude Schlim’s HOUSE OF BOYS is all over the place, but credit must be given to him for trying and succeeding at least in drawing out the tears in the audience.  Set in 1984 initially, pre-AUDS, starry-eyed, young and gorgeous Luxembourger Frank (Layke Anderson) decides to leave home for Amsterdam and joins a strip club called HOUSE OF BOYS.  He meets and falls for the tip dancer, Jake (Ben Northeover).  A love affair blossoms.  Jake comes down with AIDS and Sclim’s film takes a melodramatic turn.  Though Schlim’s film has its flaws, HOUSE OF BOYS contain enough guilty pleasures such as the erotic sex scene between the house’s two best looking boys, the most (deliberately) awful drag show and of course, the highly sex-charged strip shows.  The gay audience should not complain!  British veteran Stephen Fry has a cameo as the compassionate Dr. Marsh.

HOUSE OF BOYS (Lux/Germ 2009) ***
Directed by Jean-Claude Schlim
image
What begins as a gay runaway plot turn into a love story and ends in an over-ambitious statement on the AIDS epidemic.  Writer/director Jean-Claude Schlim’s HOUSE OF BOYS is all over the place, but credit must be given to him for trying and succeeding at least in drawing out the tears in the audience.  Set in 1984 initially, pre-AUDS, starry-eyed, young and gorgeous Luxembourger Frank (Layke Anderson) decides to leave home for Amsterdam and joins a strip club called HOUSE OF BOYS.  He meets and falls for the tip dancer, Jake (Ben Northeover).  A love affair blossoms.  Jake comes down with AIDS and Sclim’s film takes a melodramatic turn.  Though Schlim’s film has its flaws, HOUSE OF BOYS contain enough guilty pleasures such as the erotic sex scene between the house’s two best looking boys, the most (deliberately) awful drag show and of course, the highly sex-charged strip shows.  The gay audience should not complain!  British veteran Stephen Fry has a cameo as the compassionate Dr. Marsh.

LOOSE CANNONS (MINE VAGANTI) (Italy 2010) ***
Directed by Ferzan Ozpetek
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Turkish born but Italian bred Ferzan Ozpertek’s Inside Out opening film LOOSE CANNON, a hit on the U.K. last year is a breezy Italian comedy centering on a wealthy pasta family.  The Patriarch is Vincenzo (the excellent Ennio Fantstichini) who wants to hand down control of the pasta factory to his two sons.  The younger, Tommaso (Riccardo Scamarcio), who is supposedly to be studying business in Rome, has returned home.  Home is the picturesque city of Lecce, a seaside town with lush trees, blue sky and the golden hue of sun-bleached stone.  But he confesses to his elder brother Antonio (Alessandro Preziosi), who is already working at the factory, two things.  Firstly, he has been studying writing not business and secondly that he is gay.  But at the big family dinner, Antonio beats Tommaso to it, confessing that he himself is gay.  As a result Vincenzo kicks Antonio out and suffers a heart attack.  Tommaso is bound by family bond to keep quiet about his secret and aid the family pasta business.  LOOSE CANNONS is very entertaining and funny.  It includes a Priscilla style dance sequence by Tomasso’s four friends in their swimming briefs.  Ozpetek’ blends in comedy with Italian mores.

THE REAL ANNE LISTER (UK 2010) ****
Directed by Matthew Hill
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This engrossing documentary reveals the life of Anne Lister, landowner and lesbian who lived in Victorian England.  Her mysteries are found in her written 4 million secretly coded word diary.  It took historians great pains and time to decode the dairy.  Comedian Sue Perkin, fascinated with Anne’s story brings Anne Lister’s story to light.  Perkin travels across England from Yorkshire where Lister was born to York and other areas where she grew up.  Lister is presented with sympathy and authenticity.  She is shown as a lady who gets her ways, but also as one who had to fight to get it.  Perkin is full of energy and so is the film she presents.  The film is a compelling watch from start to finish, and has a atmospheric feel from the setting, music and costumes.  Lister is given in fair due by director Mathew Hill and Perkin.

WEEKEND (UK 2011) ***
Directed by Andrew Haigh
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As the title implies, WEEKEND is a British Friday-to-Sunday that unfolds in all its poignancy and emotion.  It all begins in all its insecure, messy, drunken glory and ends at something that could have been a possible long term relationship.  Russell (Tom Cullen) at last orders, drunk and horny, picks up Glen (Chris New) and brings him home.  Turns out Glen is an emerging artist but departing the city soon for his art.  Everything develops in the weekend in this reality tale.  Haigh’s film is totally believable, but whether one would love this film depends on a lot of factors, primarily if one could relate (or not) to the characters.  The film is sort of minimal and the dialogue mostly inconsequential gibberish, like what one would hear at a pub.  Watching the film is like listening to a friend talk about his weekend affair.  Walk away if it appears boring and unconnected or listen attentively if it seems affective!  Leads Cullen and New are endearing and their sex scene erotically charged!

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