Hollywood, Je T’Aime (2009)

  
Jérôme Beaunez (Eric Debets) returns home to find his partner having sex with another man. Initially shocked and saddened, he pokes fun at the fact that his boyfriend is now “bottoming”, to which his boyfriend replies “well I never had the chance to bottom with you.” Jérôme leaves, but not being able to face a winter alone in Paris, he books a trip to Los Angeles with dreams of being an actor. 

  
Once stateside Jérôme meets and makes friends with a colourful bunch of folks who make him feel welcome. It’s then that he meets Ross (Chad Allen) and the two fall for each other, but deep down Jérôme misses his hometown and you feel it will have an effect on his holiday romance. 

  
There are some very funny moments during the movie, but not enough to shake the amateurish feel that permeates throughout. I understand that it was made on a low budget, but it felt at times that I was watching a student movie, which hampered my enjoyment. The chemistry between Jérôme and Ross is believable however and reminded me a lot of the chemistry between Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain, which is still one of my favourite movies. You can believe in the romance blossoming between Jérôme and Ross, and would understand that it would transcend mere infatuation. 

  
The supporting cast are humorous, such as Jérôme’s cheating partner, but I felt that they trod the line between reality and stereotype once too often for my liking. Probably not something I’d revisit again, as it just doesn’t hold up to recent gay cinema outings. Be sure to stop by http://www.out.tv and check out what’s on offer. 

2/5

JM 
  

The Birdcage (1996)

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Armand Goldman (Robin Williams) is the owner of The Birdcage, one of the hottest clubs on Miami Beach. His partner Albert Goldman (Nathan Lane) is the star attraction of the club. Their lives are thrown into disarray when Armand’s son, Val (Dan Futterman), tells his father that he’s getting married…to a woman! Val is getting married to Barbara Keeley (Calista Flockhart), daughter of Senator Kevin Keeley (Gene Hackman). There is however one problem. Barbara’s parents don’t know Val’s dad is gay, and are already embroiled in a scandal.

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Val decides it would be best to keep Albert offside, whilst Barbara and her parents visit. However when Armand realises that doing that would hurt Albert’s feelings, he decides on a plan b. One that causes all sorts of hilarious mishaps. Together with their overly camp housekeeper Agador (Hank Azaria), they all put a plan together to make sure the meeting goes smoothly.

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I just love this movie. It is a remake of the French movie ‘La Cage Aux Folles’ (1978), which has a very similar set-up. I have never seen the original, but this version is hilarious. Nathan Lane steals the show as Albert. Bringing heart, warmth and humour to what could have been a very one dimensional role in the hands of another actor. Gene Hackman is fantastic as the ‘ultra-conservative’ Senator Keeley. He plays the serious, straight lace stiff to perfection, and you can tell he’s having a blast. Robin Williams is also fabulous as Armand. You can tell he really loves Albert and will do anything to see that he feels accepted by the Keeley family. He really is a joy to behold.

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Hank Azaria is fantastically funny as Agador, trying to play it straight when the Keeley’s arrive. Being that the story is centred around Val and Barbara, both Calista Flockhart and Dan Futterman feel wasted. I don’t know whether that’s down to their characters being badly written, or the fact that they just aren’t very good actors. Both fail to breathe any sort of life into their roles. Like I said, I really enjoy this film, and it never fails to brighten my day. Well worth a watch.

5/5

JM

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Cruising (1980)

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Steve Burns (Al Pacino) is a New York police officer. He is young, handsome and has a great girlfriend called Nancy (Karen Allen). Steve has aspirations  to get higher up in the NYPD and wants to be a detective. He is informed by his captain, (Paul Sorvino), that dismembered body parts are turning up around the city and that someone is murdering young gay men using S&M methods. Steve is asked by his captain if he’ll go undercover into the gay club scene to catch the killer, as he fits the victim profile. Steve is told that going undercover will help his chances of becoming a detective, so he accepts.

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Steve begins to trawl the gay nightclubs and leather bars looking for anyone that could be the killer. As he delves deeper and deeper into the seedy world of sex he begins to doubt his abilities to continue as he feels the job is changing him. You get the impression here that his character is fighting his own sexuality. The reaction to the murders from Steve’s colleagues also prompts Steve to think twice about continuing, plus the fact that he never gets to see his girlfriend Nancy.

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The face of the killer is never revealed. He just whistles a tune and sings “who’s here…..I’m here”. There are clues later on as to who the killer could or couldn’t be, so it’s definitely worth paying attention. I did hear from William Friedkin who is the director that the film was heavily cut, so this does have an effect on the narrative as you feel some information may be missing. There is also a disclaimer at the start of the movie as some gay men found the film very offensive, though there are many people that do like the movie. The film is very ambiguous in places, leaving you to decide as to the identity of the killer.

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The film is pretty full on. The scenes in the clubs are very explicit. This is down to the fact that Friedkin filmed in the real clubs around the meat packing district in New York, so the background extras are real club goers doing what they’d normally do. If the subject matter of this movie makes you uncomfortable, then steer clear. If however, like me, you are an open minded film fan and like to try new movies out, then jump in. I would recommend it to most people. As far as I know there are no plans for an uncut/extended release, so you’ll have to make do with this one. Enjoy!

4/5

JM

Cruising DVD Al Pacino

Brokeback Mountain (2005)

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Often referred to as the “gay cowboy movie”, Brokeback Mountain was released in 2005 to an audience wondering how faithful Ang Lee would be to Annie Proulx’s short story. I would say Ang Lee did a fantastic job. The cast is phenomenal. The late Heath Ledger plays Ennis Del Mar, a cowboy who gets a job herding sheep in Wyoming. There he meets Jack Twist (played by Jake Gyllenhaal). The two men get a job working together herding the sheep on a mountainside. After a long day of work and a late night drinking, the two men share a tent to escape the cold, where they give in to their attraction to each other.

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Afterwards Ennis wants to put the incident behind him, choosing to live in denial with his fiance Alma (played by Michelle Williams). Jack however is more accepting of his sexuality and wants to be with Ennis. Both men seperate for a number of years, moving on with their lives and both getting married, Jack to a rich woman named Lureen Newsome (played by Anne Hathaway) and Ennis to Alma. Jack writes to Ennis years later and they arrange to meet again, only for tragedy and prejudice to rear it’s ugly head.

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I must say that this is a fantastic movie. Both Ledger and Gyllenhaal give it everything and seeing them together, you just can’t imagine them being with anyone else. Films like this just act as a constant reminder of what a fantastic actor Ledger was, and how tragic it is that he’s gone. I am constantly recommending this movie to people because I feel they need to put the homophobia aside and discover what an awesome movie it is. Now it’s not harsh that I call it homophobia, as that’s what it I feel it is. If you’re comfortable with your sexuality then why would a movie like this bother you?

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To not watch this film because it has a gay theme is sad, mainly because you are missing out on some of the finest acting I have ever seen from all concerned. I really think this is the best role of Ledger’s tragically short career, yes even better than The Dark Knight. I can’t recommend this enough, the film had a profound effect on me.

5/5

JM

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