by Gary M. Kramer -
SGN Contributing Writer
The holidays are upon us and you either want to give, receive, or just unwind by watching a GLBT DVD. Well, here are some sexy suggestions.
Writer/director Rob Williams' delightfully naughty romantic mystery Out to Kill offers eye candy galore, as it is chock-full of hunks who fill out their Speedos. Sexy private dick Jim Noble (Scott Sell) is hired by Gene (Rob Moretti) to investigate the murder of Justin Jaymes (the terrific Tom Goss). As Jim probes the suspects, he is seduced, and perhaps in over his head. Out to Kill features a clever twist that will keep viewers intrigued as the crime is solved.
In the Gay thriller The Dark Place, Keegan Dark (Blaise Embry) takes his boyfriend Wil (Timo Descamps) to his mother Celeste's (Shannon Day) vineyard. Keegan has not seen his mother in years, so he is surprised to discover she has remarried Adrian (Andy Copeland) and that he has a stepbrother, Jake (Sean Paul Lockhart). However, Keegan, who has a form of total recall, doesn't quite trust the new men in his mother's life; he suspects something nefarious is going on. As the various plot twists and turns unfold, The Dark Place is enjoyable, even if the film gets a bit ludicrous in the last reel.
Another film with suspense elements is the Israeli drama, Snails in the Rain, an intriguing, if somewhat muddled, story about Boaz (Yoav Reuveni), an extremely attractive linguistics student at Tel Aviv University during a hot summer in 1989. Boaz is receiving anonymous letters from a man who finds him, well, extremely attractive. The film also suggests that Boaz is paranoid, threatened by every man who glances at him, or makes a sexual overtone - intentional or not. Director Yariv Mozer seems so fixated on creating an atmosphere of mystery and doubt that viewers may not understand what is real and what might be imagined.
That said, viewers who are more interested in Reuveni's chest and body will not have to worry about the plot. Reuveni, a model making his acting debut here, barely does a scene without taking off his shirt, swimming in a pool, taking a shower, hitting the beach, or sweating in the kitchen, bathtub or bedroom. He is beautiful and doesn't give a bad performance, but it is hard to sympathize with him being pained at being so admired.
For lovers of Latino cinema, there are a trio of muy caliente queer titles to enjoy. The Third One is Argentine writer/director Rodrigo Guerrero's revealing film about a polyamorous relationship. Fede (Emiliano Dionisi) is a cute college student who flirts online with Franco (Nicolás Armengol). He meets Franco and his partner Hernán (Carlos Echevarría) for a very talky dinner in their apartment. But the guys do eventually shut up and fuck, and the trio ends up in bed together - a virtuoso sequence that Guerrero shoots in real time. The emotional and physical affections in The Third One are what make this erotic drama so satisfying.
The sexy Mexican film, Four Moons, by writer-director Sergio Tovar Velarde, is a quartet of stories featuring Gay men grappling with affection and rejection. In one, a pre-teen, Mauricio (Gabriel Santoyo) becomes aware of his attraction to other boys. In another, a couple, Hugo (Antonio Velázquez) and Andrés (Alejando de la Madrid), cope with Andrés' infidelity. A third features Joaquín (Alonso Echánove), a married older man who hopes to bed a sexy gigolo, Gilberto (Alejando Belmonte). But the most touching storyline features Fito (Cesar Ramos) and Leo (Gustavo Egelhaaf), two friends who reunite and become lovers, only to have a conflict arise when Leo wants to remain closeted and keep their relationship secret. Ramos gives an incredibly moving performance in the film as a Gay man coming to terms with his same-sex desires.
Another scorching Mexican title is I am Happiness on Earth by Julián Hernández, a filmmaker who eroticizes nude men like no other filmmaker. His camera practically caresses the actors' bodies in this hypnotic film. This romantic drama boasts magnificent cinematography and highly sensual scenes as it chronicles a love triangle that features Emiliano (Hugo Catalán), a filmmaker, at its apex. Hernández's distinctive style and uninhibited view of sexual desire (as well as sex itself) envelops viewers. The emotional power of the characters passionately expressing themselves as they experience longing, betrayal, and heartbreak is as palpable as the sexy bodies on display.
Equally pornographic is Christophe Honoré's 2010 film Man at Bath, recently released on DVD. The film is a provocative investigation of the disintegrating relationship between Emmanuel (beefy French porn star François Sagat) and Omar (Omar Ben Sellem), who is about to leave the Paris suburb of Gennevilliers for a film screening in New York City. However, Emmanuel forcibly sodomizes him first. Omar insists that Emmanuel must leave their apartment before he returns.
Man at Bath juxtaposes how both partners respond to this 'breakup.' While Emmanuel pays a visit to Robin (Dennis Cooper), and poses nude for him, Omar attends a seminar his actress, Chiara Mastroianni, gives at the School of Visual Arts. Omar then meets and becomes besotted with Dustin (Dustin Degura-Suarez), filming this young man in various locations and in various stages of undress and arousal. Honoré's film is sexually explicit, with ample nudity - including erections - but it is less about sex, and more about how the lovers each cope with their breakup.
A more tender examination of a 'break up' is Mark Thiedeman's evocative, impressionistic drama, Last Summer. Luke (Samuel Pettit) and Jonah (Sean Rose) are teenage boyfriends in Arkansas. They are separating when Jonah heads off to college in the fall. Thiedeman conveys the boys' emotions through delicate moments, such as the boys rubbing their sneakers together. Thiedeman employs ambient, atmospheric sounds to heighten the unspoken emotions, and uses light, shadow and reflection to emphasize the elegiac mood. Although experimental in tone, Last Summer is an extraordinary, beautifully realized film.
For something extremely silly, The Gays is a crudely made comedy, full of crude content, and over-the-top antics. Alex Gay (the adorable Mike Russnak) talks about his queer family - Trans Mom (Chris Tanner), Dad (Frank Holliday) and brother Tommy Flip Jorgensen) to a stranger at a West Hollywood bar. This episodic comedy, which features a bloody pussy board game to an Exorcist anal birth scene, has something to offend everyone. The humor stems mostly from wordplay and song parodies and less from 'outrageous' behavior such as forcing guys to have sex in a sling or perform blowjobs. While the film is amateur hour, it is also as camp as Christmas.
© 2014 Gary M. Kramer
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