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Todd Verow's Tina film
It was inevitable that Todd Verow would make, at some point, a film that would have as its main subject: Crystal Meth and the underworld of men having sex with men on this drug (in this case, in New York and Maine). Being an underground film maker, the topic is not dealt with, in a conventional (judgmental) fashion. We follow life through the lens of sybarites who burn the candle at both ends, nihilism bestowing them with the freedon to treat each day as it could be their last. Nevertheless the depressing come down and the danger that party drug, Tina, can lead to, also do pop their ugly head, [it's part and parcel of getting hooked to Meth after all].
There is also comedy. It can be found in the details: subtle gestures or words said under someone's breath delivered in a matter of fact blasé manner, typical of those engaged in the revolving mill of (homo-)sex, drugs and strangers. The Party aNd Play scenes are very recognizable to anyone who may have dabbled in it; various homosexual characters are all united by their self same craving for the drug and sexual intimacy, driven on, by a devil may care wanton hedonism. It also shows how this can result, not only in uninhibited lascivious activity, but can also lead to self involved psycho babble and shifty paranoia.
I was pleasanlty surprised to see handsome actor Brad Hallowell show off his talent, and body, in another Todd Verow film. Some of Verow's other regular stalwarts make an appearance here too. I understand that the character of Miss Da Tina is a metaphor of Crystal Meth personified, and that would have been fine, when it is limited to her sporadic acerbic performances. There is a 20 minute intersection about Miss Da Tina's past history in the third quarter of the film, where the tempo and mood changes, and it derails the film. It goes back on track in the fourth quarter, when we are returned to the narrative of the main characters (Hallowell and co), and only then I'm once again gripped and thrilled. When the films ends, everything that may have seemed unrelated and abstract before, does fall into place. (but Miss Da Tina's overlong scene remains redundant nevertheless)
The libertine tone of this film about this subject matter, and its subtle humour, are reason enough to make it a stand out gay movie. Moreover its playful visual aesthetic, often with an overlay of "punk" graphics, makes it a pleasure to watch. The scene underscored with the A-minus song: quarter to 9, is a sublime moment, encapsulating all the aforementioned aspects in all its splendour.
Nocturnal Animals (2016)
Anti Southern Agenda
This film merely exists to pander to the coastal city residents, to reinforce their erroneous belief that Southern people are evil and that in particular Texas is hell on earth. Although you'll be far more likely to get carjacked, robbed and raped in multi cultural California or the tri-state area, here it is proposed that the danger is poor white folk a.k.a. white trash. Texas politics and its judicial system are also allegedly completely stacked against victims and function only to defend criminals, even though, once again, California is in fact the state with the most corruption and that is thriving on aiding legally all sorts of criminals (illegal immigrants). There are also some snide suggestions that rich Texans are sexist, racist, homophobic and their religion makes them "bad" people; the worst criticism is always reserved for catholicism, predictably so. The reality is that Californians, those of LA in particular, are currently escaping to states like Texas, to flee the danger, disturbing demographic changes and financial despair that is looming large over its residents. In Texas people carry guns so they can defend themselves, and prevent awful things from happening to people - that should be the lesson learnt in this film. Hollywood is painting a false inbalanced picture with this movie, a topsy turvy version of the truth.
La noche (2016)
Sleazy Queer Argentine Cinéma-Vérité
This film presents a slice of sleazy Buenos Aires as experienced by a
middle aged homosexual man - delivered in the style of cine vérité. A fly on the wall camera peeks into the most intimate encounters between this man, Martin, and a motley crew of people that he hooks up with, for sex, drug use, and for ephemeric companionship. The sex and drugs are the medium through which to establish that particular companionship he looks for - stripped off all layers of pretense - right down to the core base of people's innermost desires and kinks, that he wants to match to his own. Getting wasted on drugs is a manner in which to retain interest in the (sex) partner or vive versa; it's part of the ritual bonding, and the antidote to fend off "normal" daily life.
To set the mood, there are scenes that show him snorting coke at random with strangers in seedy restrooms of clubs frequented by people of the night: aging transvestites, strippers who are past their prime, the rough and the rich, and socially introverted people (like Martin). These people of the night are sometimes wonderfully juxtaposed with ordinary people who go by their business in broad daylight
The background music and lyrics to the songs underscored in each scene are perfectly poignant and enhance the mood that is aimed for. Whilst looking to connect, people equally make sure there is distraction from the other person, filling the space with background noise: the tap running, the noisy chitter chatter of Argentine television, music being played to drown out people's voices or any awkward silences.
The camera likes to linger on the imperfections of the bodies of people: pot bellies, love handles, coarse facial features. Since it is Buenos Aires there are also lots of "love hotels" involved. Martin likes to keep the intimacy out of his own personal home, although he does go back there to puke up his guts after his nocturnal adventures. Usually by then he is strung out, after a failed encounter, to then start the whole process all over again. He pushes himself to the limit with drugs and alcohol and sex with the most awkward of strangers with the most minimal levels of communication. Most of all he is looking for heterosexual males to which he submits heedlessly; he uses transvestite friends and loose women, and drugs, and money, to gain physical proximity to them.
One must note that this is cinéma-vérité on the next level. The protagonist of the film, Martin, is also the director of this film, and he shows great courage in showing himself in this light. He probably draws from his own experiences as he captures the strange, bizarre, desperate, tender, and frustrating ever so well, which will be recognizable to anyone who has strayed through this sleazy world of urban night. The film is sexually explicit enough to be unapologetically realistic, but not so much that it is basic porno. The scenes are raw and meta-realistic; some characters were truly picked up, off the street and are gay for pay and under the influence of drugs, which injects a dosis of raw authenticity into this piece of fiction.
I consider this film another outstanding gay themed Argentine film of this decade, together with Muerte en Buenos Aires, Plan B, Vil Romance and El Tercero. Argentina delivers every time, and this film excells.
En algun lugar (2017)
Build That Wall !
It is hard to imagine that an illegal Mexican immigrant who has been living in the United Sates since he was 6 years old and now is in his mid 30s hasn't managed to get documented via one of the plenty US organisations who dedicate themselves to this. But that little detail of reality wouldn't suit the infantile storyline of this film.
White Americans in this film are portrayed as evil drug addicts, racists, rapists and murderers. Of course we must dispose of the idea that it is in fact that group which has made America the country that has become so desirable for Mexicans to immigrate into.
The tragedy of the film occurrs not because the broken immigration system is not letting people in, but because human smuggling (run by Mexican drug cartels, not by renegade US citizens) is still occurring since the US is not hard enough. If the wall is build, hopefully that will come to an end.
The prejudiced anti-white, anti-American propaganda in this film is loathesome. The love story between the two hairy latino bears is the only part that I enjoyed
Jours de France (2016)
Cogitative French gay road movie
When the main protagonist steps into his car, riding away from his humdrum life and partner, Grindr at hand, ready to have it off with half the male population of France, I was on board too. I anticipated for there to be many casual encounters between him and other men. He drives from one renowned public cruising hot-spot to another, guided by comments left online or in magazines that indicate that a certain public restroom or parking place is teeming with potential homosexual liaisons after sunset. There are a few of these chance encounters in the film, but more than sexual frisson, the focus is on conversations and the non verbal dynamic between these men. One of the depictions of a spontaneous meet, is a very clever reference to Jean Genet's eponymous short film "Un Chant D'Amour." And I believe there are a great many other references to other French gay luminaries from the past throughout the film.
This road movie can be considered gay, but it is also largely focused on intersections with women - who function as commentators on male homosexuality - and the protagonist's vices and virtues. The story plods along extemporaneously, from one interaction with an eccentric stranger to another, exposing in each encounter, a particular idea about relationships, incongruities in people's personalities, some sage observations, or just plain awkward behaviour.
The main protagonist, (and his boyfriend following him hot on his heels), stumble upon one idiot savant after another, and these haphazard meetings are all contrived into one long poetic story, which, although it takes some patience, does come to a worthy rewarding cohesive conclusion.
Even though this film was intended as a vehicle against gay marriage and the adoption of children by gay persons, it is actually a hilarious comedy where the actors are hamming it up to portray some of the most outrageous gay stereotypes and delivering deliciously irreverent fun chat between queens. There are a few sermons by evangelical types which are so ridiculously awful, that it is actually highly comedic. The main actor of the film, Pablo Cheng, is a fantastic actor, and his interaction with the child actor who plays the adopted kid is a lot of fun to watch. They must have had such a good time whilst filming this movie; it would make any kid want to have gay adoption parents. The scenes with his camp friends, and the soap opera like love story with his partner, also are highlights of this film. It is thanks to the fact that it is anti gay propaganda, that this comedy goes to the extreme situations where a LGBT approved film wouldn't dare to go anymore. And that's the strength of this film, a modern day Mexican, Cage aux Folles. To become a cult classic in the future for sure.
Cheesy Hipster Comedy
Hipster culture has taken over a good portion of Spanish cinema of late. This one is a hipster chick flick comedy. A nerdy twenty-something girl with creative aspirations develops romantic feelings for two hipster guys - and sees herself torn between the two. These two men and a motley crew of other hipster-approved characters push and pull at the direction that she has set out for herself in life, which is also the platform for a great many slapstick scenes. Some of the humour is very quick and subtle, and that's when the film is at best. But this film is also a bit of a cheese fest with plenty of scenes where the characters are trying hard to be cool and "different" whilst being extremely predictable and unexciting. In that respect this film sums up hipster culture in general.
People You May Know (2016)
With Almodovar's Carmen Maura in special cameo
Although the synopsis describes this film as being about a gay man's best girlfriend getting pregnant with his baby, the main plot actually revolves around a lurid and obsessive relationship with a handsome stranger online. This film runs at an easy pace, and although definitely mostly centered around the main protagonist (who's very easy on the eyes, which helps) it also gives sufficient scope to the events happening to the friends around him. All their stories are nicely tied in.
Although she doesn't appear on the list of actors on this film's IMDb page, the famous Spanish actress, Carmen Maura, makes a cameo in it. She is particularly known to an international audience for her roles in Pedro Almodovar movies. She definitely adds something very special.
artificial dialogue and shallow as a puddle
The best scene of the film is definitely the opening scene, an explicit orgy in a basement backroom in an urban gay sex club that renders the platform for the two main characters to meet, and for us to become acquainted to them, at the most profound level. That same depth is never reached again throughout the rest of the film. What we get are boring conversations like "what do you do?" "where are you from?" "I study so and so," etc, as they walk through some of Paris' ugliest multi culturally wrecked streets, as if this French capital city is in a state of full blown AIDS itself. (Not far from the truth, mind you). There are also a few loose references to classical French authors to fill the intellectualism quota, as well as some nuggets of dubious political propaganda. The two characters do not connect on any level, other than sex; and one notices. The dialogue is unbearably banal and uninteresting. I am alright with cinema verité, but one has to manage to hold a gay film buff's attention beyond the first 15 minutes. It didn't succeed.
The Giver (2014)
Weinstein brothers peddle more globalist filth
The few stars that I have given, are for the main young actor, he is a sight to behold. Unfortunately, the film itself seems to impose upon the viewer a dualism between either a totalitarian society without emotion, or one that is less controlled but which comes with joy and pain. Who-ever said that a nation that is both controlled and also has joy and colours isn't possible? A nation which controls its borders can still enjoy the diversity of the world, but without indiscriminately importing those other cultures and people and its problems and diseases into it.
The Weinstein brothers once again try to prompt into a new generation the idea that their own society needs globalisation in order to be "something valuable," to be free. It is globalisation that is enslaving them into a true fascist regime however. The film implies that nationalism is bad, whilst it currently is the only hope of all new Western generations to escape from the crises that have been foisted upon them by the global elites. The insertion of colourful National Geographic footage to visualize the "healing" wonders of "diversity," is just plain lazy and mendaciously simplistic.
This film left a very bad taste in my mouth. Yuck!
And, There You Are (2010)
funny as hell queer flick about a Southern straight chaser
Perhaps I'm prejudiced, but the Southern accent is like music to my ears; and for that alone this film scores points with me. The Southern-ness is also noticeable in the manner in which the main protagonist bears himself: a middle aged gentleman and antiques business owner who doesn't shy away from gesticulating (queerly) as he talks, and whose glances and eye rolling speak volumes. The main actor sure has great comedic delivery and timing.
It is perhaps that very Southern decorum which makes all the straight fellas stick around with him, after he has lured them into his home, when picking them up, off the roadside, or in bars, with that disarming smile of his (and sometimes the promise of some coins, of course). The actors who play the parts of the straight dudes, are every one last of them pure eye candy - exceptionally well cast for a "gay" flick.
The film is full of chuckle out loud moments, deliciously irreverent - and you can't help but rooting for the obsessive-compulsive straight chaser, despite his deviousness, and having no qualms about man-snatching boyfriends away from their girls.
The film may not have HD widescreen glossiness, but it is top quality in every other aspect.
Winning Dad (2015)
Making Dad Puke!
To impress his boyfriend's father, dwarf sized camp queen, Rusty, must butch it up, on a hiking trip. Rusty goes in the guise of being a potential business partner. Rusty seems to have strayed right out of Le Cage Aux Follies however, so whenever dad turns his back, Rusty minces about like a raving sissy. Father is apparently too thick to spot the tell tale signs (he sure ain't got no gaydar whatsoever).
Rusty is under the impression that mimicking a "straight dude" requires, bellowing loudly and throwing a few expletives in, for good measure. Dad listens and smiles amiably and seems to take a shine to Rusty. But to me, the viewer, it's like nails on chalkboard, a very bad drag king act. Not sure how it's meant to come across, but it's kind of comical though.
As the two men spend more time, Rusty subjects Dad (in law) to a -woe is me, I'm a poor orphan- sob story over camp fire and beers, trying to pull the heartstrings. All the while there are numerous close ups of Rusty's jittery countenance, trying hard to appear as a real Budweiser-swilling-all-American-male, but the inner "gaylord" is obviously raring to leap out.
Meanwhile dad's got some identity issues of his own, as he proclaims all men are "hairy ugly ape things that nobody wants around." Rusty is not best pleased that Dad (in law) is pinning that label on him too (pretty accurate, though, if you ask me), but he lets it slide.
Everything seems to go smoothly, until at some stage Rusty makes a very drastic and extremely embarrassing move. I won't be letting the cat out of the bag, you'll have to see for yourself. It will make watching the film worth your while.
The movie starts off fast paced and comical, and becomes a bit slower and more sentimental and serious later. At times the middle American drudgery is overkill, and I'm gagging for something a bit more queer. But there are enough plot twists to help the story afloat and interesting. There is also beautiful imagery of the great American outdoors to go with it.
gay man returns home for mother and may find love with youngster
The film focuses mainly on the dynamic between an elderly ailing mother and her gay son who returns back home to Switzerland from Germany to take care of her. Love comes a knocking on the door for the male protagonist in the process, but that plot line doesn't get much exposure, which is a shame - because I found those scenes most intriguing of all.
The family drama takes up too much time for my liking; its storyline is drawn out much too extensively. At some stage I was telling myself "get on with it, where has the cute young love / lust interest gone?"
Nevertheless I enjoyed most of the film. The beautiful scenery of rural Switzerland translates very well on camera, and perhaps it is implied to be a purifying influence on the slightly jaded gay protagonist who appears to have been emotionally hardened by Berlin. The Swiss German accent is a joy to listen to as well. There is also a fair amount of humour, mostly played out by the raucous mother, but even her spiel gets a bit wearing in the end.
Available Light (2015)
Experimental Homo-Erotic Vignettes
Todd Verow returns to a similar format as previous movie: The End of Cruising. And again we cross around the various gay capitals of the world, most prominently Berlin and New York. This time various encounters between (mostly homosexual) people looking for lust and love are very much so visually narrated. The stories follow one another in sequence and are only vaguely connected. Sometimes we merely see the characters preparing to meet someone, or returning from a one night stand, all without uttering a single word. In others of its vignettes they speak more, but it is noticeable that there is a lot less dialogue, as this is only of secondary importance. It is all about body language in this film; not only between two or more persons, but also in the way a character emotes his true self on their own, and thereby revealing all the more about themselves to us the viewer.
Chasing Pavement (2015)
portrait of a charmless escort
The protagonist, Elias, defines himself as a "hot twink super bottom porn star." Well, then you better apply a bit more concealer to those those crowfeet, girl. Because if black don't crack, you sure do. He's at least 40, or looks hell old for his age. At some point we see him mince about naked in the bedroom; those ass cheeks sure are saggy for "best paid bottom in porn." Saggy ass hoisted up in fancy underwear doesn't make for firm buttocks, dearie. Elias is an uppity queen who thinks he may be seen as "cultured," if he dispenses a smart sounding reference here and there about classical music or literary authors - so try hard, it has the opposite effect. In one sentence he claims to have a pediatrician mother and lawyer father, and in the next he pronounces "asked" as axed; a bit of a thinly disguised ghetto queen, if you ask me.
He even admits himself that it is all about bravado, not what you really are. He does reveal at some point that he is a trained actor, hereby giving away vital clues to those who are getting to know him, and who may get caught in his web of lies. The awful monotonous way of speaking, and the deadpan delivery of his numerous snide remarks, should be enough of a clue to realize that Elias is a bit of a fraud, and he is a rather loathsome person.
That is what this film is all about. It's about the show that some people put on, and if it is convincing enough for long enough to keep other people interested. Unfortunately it is endemic to the modern day gay scene with its puerile glorification of people "working" in the adult entertainment industry (who hasn't?) and the marketing-like profiling on Grindr. It's bound to result in disillusion when the illusion hits upon reality. This film is a good study of that topic.
G: Lost in Frankfurt (2015)
audio-visual homo-erotic treat
Forget about gay tour guides to the German city of Frankfurt. Simply watch this film and you'll discover all you need to know. A recent newbie to town meets a local dyed-in-the-wool pleasure seeking resident who takes him on a trip of sex, drugs (G) and hedonism. The film doesn't moralize about these activities, but simply demonstrates the good times, and the potential bad consequences, they entail, from which the viewer can draw their own conclusions.
There is not a lot of dialogue, which favours the focus on the body language between the characters. The film is underscored by fantastically suitable electronic music, almost all the way throughout. Sometimes it's like listening to a music album whilst watching a homo- erotic porn movie or a virtual tour guide of the gay environs of Frankfurt.
I like this type of format of film, very much so.
duelling sisters in upper crust Paris
Two sisters, one is a grey mouse struggling historian (Julie Depardieu), and the other a glamorous kept wife (Emanuelle Beart). The latter wants to have her shining glory in the Paris socialite circle. She concocts a plan where both can help each other out, to reach their goals.
It is a story in the vein of George Cukor's, Rich and Famous (1981), rivalry between two women, concerning literary talent, marital status, and social status - and the love / hate underlying their close relationship.
That said, it is not on a par with aforementioned movie. This film feels rather stuffy with a very moralistic tone. The good people are very good, the bad people are very bad. And the latter deserve punishment. A bit infantile.
Nevertheless I enjoyed the film, mainly for the wonderful performance of Emanuelle Beart, who knows how to charm and cut at the same time.
Out to Kill (2014)
What I like about this film:
It has a great cast playing a variety of modern day gay archetypes. It is mainly set in a Florida condominium, so you get lots of swimming pool and beef cakes (a David Hockney ambiance) - some other exterior scenes give off that Palm Beach vibe. At some point a lurid sex party is being thrown. There is witty dialogue that takes the Mickey with hypocritical morals and values within the gay scene - and the Private Investigator piercing right through them. A complete distrust for the police, shared by all the gays involved, is brought to us as a given (it is also the frame of mind you are required to watch this film with, in order to relish its subversive touch). The conclusion of the movie is very satisfying. Visually it's glossy and I noticed that almost all of the camera angles are very craftily chosen.
What distracted me at times: Jim Noble's teeth (played by Scott Sell). There'a lot of them, and they're very white. But is has to be said, he is rather sexy and he is a brilliant actor.
The End of Cruising (2013)
exhilarating cruising histories set to delightful visuals
Anyone who has had cruising experiences in public lavatories or parks will find recognition in the anecdotal stories being told here. The film is divided in little 5 to 10 minute vignettes, in which one particular cruising spot is the focus, and one person's experience with it, is narrated. Visually, we are taken to that geographical location that is being spoken about, and see the cruising spaces as they were back then, or what has become of them now (often defunct). We are treated to a kaleidoscope of moving images, a dreamscape to other people's flashbacks of the characteristics of these locations, so to speak. Herein, Verow has also managed to convey in each history, a different sentiment. The soundtrack aids greatly to this as well.
There are no talking heads in this movie, thankfully. The (often animated) voices speak for themselves, and visually it is mostly the ambiance of the location that has precedence over an exact re- enactment of the sexual pursuits being recounted. I like it that way. It might have a hint of the abstract about it, but it is completely accessible to anyone who has an interest in cruising (as to them, the images will make absolute sense).
Despite the film being called "The End of Cruising," there are some locations and histories in the film that indicate that all hope is not lost yet. I am glad for this, as in my experience, I believe that there are still a fair amount of places going strong (thank God!).
Contemporary European Cinema at its Best
Based on the same true terrifying history that was the blueprint for Deep Crimson (1996). It shares with that film, the same naturalness in which the warped way of thinking of the murder spree couple is relayed. However this 2014 version is set in Belgium, and there is a lot of deviant sex and gore-ish bloodshed on display. Despite being rather squeamish myself, the magnificent acting and the story itself held me captivated from beginning to end. The director treats us to various cinematographic effects (sometimes music video like) to create a certain mood; in particular to embellish the perverse.
Despite, the gruesome content of the film, there were moments where I was in stitches with laughter, because the main actress, Lola Duenas, was so convincing in her role, that when she was howling with laughter, so was I. The same goes for male main actor, Laurent Lucas. Both manage to convey excellently the pitch black humour present in the script.
The song featured half way throughout the film, out of left-field momentarily converting the film into a musical, also adds to the macabre aura of the main character, and is a -break the fourth wall- moment, intensifying the creepiness you are then irrevocably immersed in. This song is fully fleshed out into an electro track to great effect for the final of the film. So it's not just randomly inserted in there.
The Belgian director / writer of this film has certainly proved that he is a master of his craft (and in my opinion far outshines his French contemporaries).
Hollywood answer to Poverty Stricken Life
Has life been absolutely terrible to you? Well, go on a hiking trip. Discover yourself. Pardon yourself. Cry a little. Reminisce a little. Swear a little. And Presto. All done. At the end of your voyage you have found yourself. Now you are happy. Now you're at peace. Your life no longer is terrible.
This film reads like a self help book, only I'm still wondering how exactly she came out of the travel, better off financially - when she had not two dimes to her name. Oh, of course, cause she fell into the lap of a man who married her and gave her a home. Seems this woman, Cheryl Strayed, only ever got by, going from one man to the next looking for favours from them. It's the same at the beginning of her trek, during, and after. She still has no answers to why one particular turn in life leads to a specific result, because she has no macro perspective of her behaviour and its consequences. She's just strikes it lucky in the end, nothing to do with an epiphany.
Warning, don't jump into the wild unless you prepare for it in advance, that once you come out, you have a home to go back to, and money in the bank to tide you over for a couple of months. Because the Hollywood fairytale ending is extremely rare in reality. And don't believe for one minute anything written by Cheryl Strayed to be authentic. Even the name rings so false; a name specifically chosen to sell a: lost in life, now found through hiking "autobiography."
Sorry, Reece, but that perma-scowl on your face in this movie did not make me like you at all.
Sous les jupes des filles (2014)
Try hard comedy, resulting in no laughs
The film is extremely sexist. Men are presented as completely one dimensional pathetic creatures, who only need to function as personal dildos or sperm bank donors to women. Makes you wonder why, when the women in this film gather, all they talk about is: men. The female characters in this film are rather shallow. They are simply typecast as portraying one particular characteristic that complicates their life and relationships, which they are supposed to resolve through getting together drinking and smoking and dancing: women bonding. The faux feminism culminates when this new found coven of witches, relish the idea of shaming the adulteress amongst them with a scarlet A.
Isabelle Adjani's eccentric character comes across as very forced. She's not exactly known for comedy, and probably it's the poor script that doesn't help either. Vanessa Paradis looks haggard in this film, and at times manages to captivate me, but overall it's kind of embarrassing. The other women have zero charisma and have either dead pan countenances or try hard slapstick faces. It feels like the director and script writer of the movie grew up on (Spice) Girl Power, and have made it look even more infantile than that 20 years later.
The camera is shaky an the editing shoddy. The film is nowhere near resemblant of Sex and the City in the glamour or comedy stakes at all. It's a big mess of a film. It's like a 2 hour long Dove "real women" commercial.
Elle l'adore (2014)
Sandrine Kiberlain is excellent in her role
This film is a crime thriller and at the same time an unusual love story about a narcissistic pop star and an unconditional fan worshipping the ground he walks on. Both the female lead, Sandrine Kiberlain, and the male lead, Larent Lafitte, act excellently.
A large part of the story focuses on the police trying to figure out, who has done the crime, taking away time from the part of the film that is most interesting, the dynamic between the fan and pop star. A second plot, a troublesome relationship between two cops, is much less interesting, and it takes the focus away from the main plot and the two leads.
Nevertheless, it's an altogether entertaining film, but not exactly at the edge of your seat thrilling either.
Marvelous Action Packed Cine Quinqui
Two adolescent drug dealers return from a flash visit to Morocco with lots of weed (chocolate) smuggled in their bags, clothes and up their buttholes. They start selling the stuff in Madrid. And with the profits, they invest in more drugs, and harder drugs, to sell at a higher price, in order to become rich, and move out of their poor barrios. The lads also do a bit of prostitution on the side (some of those scenes are hilarious). One of them, El Muertes (Angel Alcazar) starts to use some of the stash himself, and is a bit of a heroin junkie. Their criminal activities become ever more ruthless and riskier. Their personal relationship, as well as the relationship with a girlfriend of theirs, is put to the test by all this turmoil.
The film is action packed. There are lots of druggy scenes where they shoot up as well. There is also a certain beauty to the manner in which three teens are fiercely protective of each other, as they love each other above all. In short, a great film which ticks all the boxes cine quinqui should.
Shablulim BaGeshem (2013)
Hardly any homosexual moments
The main actor is gorgeous; very buff body, chiselled face, lush locks of hair: a Hebrew Adonis. One could gaze at him for the duration of the film alone, if looks were of single importance here. But I suppose if this film is meant for the gay market, then that stud should be taken into homosexual situations more so than it does here. Alas, in this film, homosexuality is merely his closeted state of being. As such, the film delivers very little thrill. 90 percent of the content of the film is taken up with heterosexual relationships and a very stern heterosexual environment (that nagging girlfriend being in the picture most of the time, really gets on my nerves, no surprise he gives her a good whack at one point). The other 10 percent constitute to, at most, ten minutes of exciting secret sexual shenanigans between guys in dimly lit cruising spaces. However, those ten minutes do not add up, to enough excitement for me to have to sit through a whole feature length film of boring heterosexual people that are of no interest to me whatsoever. The erotic film poster with two men kissing is misleading, as it's an infinitesimal moment in the film; be warned!