Tag Archives: Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival

“Boy Meets Girl” (2014) – Review – MGLFF

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Writer / Director:  Eric Schaeffer

Stars:  Michael Welch and Michelle Hendley

IMDb Logline:  Boy Meets Girl is a funny, tender, sex positive romantic comedy that explores what it means to be a real man or woman, and how important it is to live a courageous life not letting fear stand in the way of going after your dreams.

Pros:  

  1. Southern town setting with, for the most part, accepting residents
  2. Actual transgender actress (Michelle Hendley)
  3. Uplifting story

Cons:

  1. Michelle Hendley’s inexperience acting is noticable on occasion
  2. The ending wraps everything in a nice bow

Review:  It’s not often you get a transgender feature film, let alone a well made one.  Boy Meets Girl is a very familiar story told in a modern way, with genuine performances and people you grow to care about.  Eric Schaeffer does a good job fleshing out all the characters and making them all humane.

Grade = B

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“Kidnapped for Christ” (2014) – Review – MGLFF

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Director:  Kate Logan

Writers:  Kate Logan and Yada Zamora

With:  David, Ty, and Kate Logan

IMDb Summary:  A young evangelical filmmaker is granted unprecedented access inside a controversial Christian behavior modification program for teens, where she discovers shocking secrets and young students that change her life.

Pros:  

  1. Incredible access inside the camp
  2. Numerous story arcs developing at the same time
  3. Fully developed story with no loose ends

Cons:  

  1. Minimal; inexperience of the director sometimes shows

Review:  A multilayered documentary where friendly relationships turn antagonistic, friends become enemies, people become damaged and need to be heeled; and a documentary that clearly shows how much hurt someone can cause when they truly believe they are doing good.

Grade = A

Click on image to view trailer

Click on image to view trailer


“Snails in the Rain” (2013) – Review MGLFF

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Director:  Yariv Mozer

Writers:  Yossi Avni Levy, Yariv Mozer

Stars:  Yoav Reuvini, Moran Rosenblatt, and Yariv Mozer

IMDb Logline:  Tel Aviv, Summer 1989. Boaz, a beautiful and alluring linguistics student, receives anonymous, male written love letters,that undermines his sexual identity and interfere his peaceful life with his beloved girlfriend.

Pros:

  1. Honestly shows the emotional damage trying to live your life as others want you to be instead of living our life as you want it to be
  2. The interplay of the relationship between Boaz (Yoav Reuvini) and his fiancé Noa (Moran Rosenblatt)
  3. Yoav Reuvini

Cons:

  1. Unfortunate title
  2. Boaz’s paranoia about his unknown admirer smirks out of control a little too soon.

Review:  A deliberately paced character study about one man trying to discover who he really is, and whether he will sacrifice his own nature to be the man everyone expects him to be.  The emotional damage a closeted life is laid bare in one particularly brutal scene between Boaz and Noa, made more intense by Noa’s later reaction and strength of character.  But by journey’s end, no one is left undamaged.

Grade = A-

Click on image to view trailer.

Click on image to view trailer.


“Der Samurai (The Samurai)” (2014) – Review MGLFF

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Writer / Director:  Till Kleinert

Stars:  Michel Diercks and Pit Bukowski

IMDb Log Line:  A wolf strives through the woods around an isolated German village. Jakob the young local police officer is onto him, but scents something more in the darkness. What he finds is a man, it seems, wild-eyed, of wiry build, in a dress. He carries a katana, a Samurai sword. When the Samurai invites Jakob to follow him on his crusade towards the village, it becomes Jakob’s mission to pursue the lunatic to end this wanton destruction. At the end of the night Jakob has experienced too much, is too far from whom he once was. Something hidden has been unleashed to meet the first rays of daylight.

Pros:

  1. German Gothic Horror
  2. Voice and cadence of Pit Bukowski as the Samurai
  3. Unique story and point of view that pays homage to old monster tales such as the werewolf

Cons:

  1. German Gothic Horror
  2. Unfortunately and unwittingly makes you sympathize with the NRA–an easily accessible gun would have definitely helped

Reviews:  Till Kleinert crafts a well paced horror story that starts as a psychological drama, and then quickens to all out gore before the final confrontation between Officer Jakob (Michel Diercks) and the feral Samurai (Pit Bukowski).  The story is neither predictable nor obvious.  Both actors handle themselves well in their roles, with Pit Bukowski’s stays in your memory.

Grade = B+

Click on image to view trailer.

Click on image to view trailer.


“Tom à la Ferme (Tom at the Farm)” (2013) – Review MGLFF

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Click on image to visit artist.

Writer / Director:  Xavier Dolan

Stars:  Xavier Dolan, Pierre-Yves Cardinal, ans Lise Roy

IMDb Logline:  A grieving man meets his lover’s family, who were not aware of their son’s sexual orientation.

Pros:

  1. Isolated setting adds to the tension
  2. Overall acting quality
  3. Cinematography

Cons: 

  1. Stockholm syndrome kicks in a little too soon

Review:  Xavier Dolan delivers a suspense film that will keep you on the edge of your seat.  His Tom will do anything to survive once he discovers how truly in danger he is from the repressed and violent Francis (Pierre-Yves Cardinal) and the manipulative Agathe (Lise Roy).  Dolan’s pacing and scene setup–especially the dance in the barn–is reminiscent of Brian de Palma at his most proficient.  Tom at the Farm is not your typical Gay Film Festival offering.

Grade = B+

Click on image to view trailer.

Click on image to view trailer.


“Hoje Eu Quero Voltar Sozinho (The Way He Looks)” (2014) – Review – MGLFF

 

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Writer/Director:  Daniel Ribeiro

Stars:  Ghilherme Lobo, Fabio Audi, and Tess Amorim

IMDb Logline:  Leonardo is a blind teenager searching for independence. His everyday life, the relationship with his best friend, Giovana, and the way he sees the world change completely with the arrival of Gabriel.

Pros:

  1. Chemistry between the three leads
  2. Coming-of-age story from a unique perspective of a blind person
  3. Honest–by which I mean sometimes cruel–depiction of high school life

Cons:

  1. Minimal.  In comparison to the Short film the feature is based on, sometimes the pacing is a little off.

Review:  Not your standard high school story.  At an age when hormones kick in, you start to discover who you are, and you naturally chafe against your parents, blind Leonardo (Ghilherme Lobo) also has to deal with Giovana’s (Tess Amorim) attraction towards him as he discovers he is attracted to new boy in school, Gabriel (Fabio Audi).  The best part of the story is treating Leonardo as any other high school student–he is teased, made fun of, and gets into arguments with his friends where they storm off and just leave him somewhere by himself.  Also, the filmmakers and performers pay attention to small details.  The first time Leonardo kisses someone he keeps his eyes open; in his room he has wood blocks with his name in braille on them.

Grade = A-

Bonus:  The Way He Looks is an expansion of an earlier Short film from 2010, Eu Nao Quero Voltar Sozinho (I Don’t Want to Go Back Alone).  You can watch the Short here.  I consider the Short almost perfect.  Daniel Ribeiro did an excellent job expanding the story while not making the feature flabby and staying honest to the principal storyline.

Click on image to view trailer

Click on image to view trailer


“Mr. Angel” (2013) – MGLFF – Review

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Director: Dan Hunt

With: Buck Angel and Elayne Angel

Buck Angel is a transgender porn star and proud of it. He was born a biological female. Today he lives as a male who is on hormone therapy and removed his breasts, but still retains his vagina.

His journey is one of discovery, acceptance, and advocacy. Growing-up athletic and a tom boy, Buck had conflict with his family after he hit puberty. The struggles with his identity lead to drug and alcohol abuse as he went from a successful female fashion model to prostitute. Eventually he found his direction and lives his life proudly. He’s proud of his vagina and that he is man. He has given voice to other transgendered female-to-males who were initially ashamed and embarrassed by their vagina.

Buck and his wife, Elayne, are very upfront, charming, and humorous people, and their personalities come through throughout the documentary. The entire film is engagingly educational. The points-of-views expressed and the world shown–the porn industry–hardly gain expression in film, but are thoughtfully displayed here.

The film is well paced and fast-moving. It never lulls or causes you to lose your attention. Overall, you leave the theatre feeling better for having learned something new.

Grade = B

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Click on image to view trailer.