›› Latest Reviews #2 ‹‹

With more short film reviews that what you can shake a screenplay at, these are the latest reviews I've written as of November 2018. As ever, check out the links below to jump to the title of your choice, OR scroll down to see all the reviews featured to-date.

Latest Reviews #1 as is obvious, links to a series of reviews I penned earlier in the year.

More reviews are - coming soon.
Dave :)

›› reviews on this page ‹‹

Golden | Heavy Weight | I Love Hooligans | Naked | One Night Only | Pria - Man | Tapette - The Mousetrap | Walk with Me

›› Heavy Weight ‹‹

a short film by Jonny Ruff.

2016 | 13 mins | UK.

an achingly realistic portrait of to thy ownself not being true.

Dave says:

Well-played throughout, this sharply shot and edited short from director Jonny Ruff charts the life and times of Paris (Chuku Modu); a skilled fighter whose standing as the King of the Ring is suddenly under threat upon the arrival of tough Irish newcomer Connor (Jace Moody). The two instantly connect; sparring with each other with such force that it's all but obvious that there's something else going on between them, something that neither wants to admit to, until the other makes the first move. Jointly written by stars of the show Modu and Moody, this is but an achingly realistic portrait of to thy ownself not being true, until that is the strain of it all delivers the killer kiss. In short and by no surprise, this physical piece focuses on the last taboo; namely coming out in the macho world of male dominated sports. And none more so than boxing; surely an even more difficult arena to be your true sexual self, than that of the so-called Beautiful Game. Or is it? For here the name Orlando Cruz comes a mind; a Puerto Rican professional boxer who after coming out publicly, added the rainbow flag to his boxing shorts, along the way hoping one day to become the first openly gay boxer to win a world title. Yet as this short painfully shows, it takes a brave man to 'say it with pride' in such a hyper-masculine and downright bloody environment. As ever, check it out and see what you think.

›› part of the #FiveFilms4Freedom 2017 series of short films.
›› check out the Official FreeView on Vimeo.
›› posted: Friday, 16th November, 2018.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - from the waist up. 
Overall - file under ... 4 stars. 


›› Golden ‹‹

a short film by Kai Stänicke.

2015 | 3 mins | Germany.

a compelling cinematic testament to being different.

Dave says:

This is probably one of the shortest short films that I've reviewed and yet in its succinct style it somewhat artistically tells the story of a young man; from his birth through his teenage years to his student days, only through it all he knows that he's 'different' to those around him - for he is 'golden'. Raised with unconditional love by his parents, he ventures into university life seemingly alone in the world, only to discover that he's far from the only child born that way. Written and directed by Kai Stänicke and packing a lot of life's goalposts into its brief duration, this is but a compelling cinematic testament to being different. And whilst the young man is clearly gay, the state of being 'different' is but universal; be it your sexuality, race or religion. Beautifully played, this is but three minutes worth of self-acceptance joy.

›› available as part of the BOYS ON FILM #16 shorts compilation - Possession.
›› also available as an Official FreeView on YouTube.
›› posted: Wednesday, 14th November, 2018.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - none. 
Overall - file under ... 4 stars. 


›› I Love Hooligans ‹‹

a short film by Jan-Dirk Bouw.

2013 | 13 mins | Netherlands - Belgium.

a lost soul sacrifices his very being for the game of football.

Dave says:

Folk will know that its rare that I review animated works, preferring instead the live action medium. Yet this powerful animated tale from writer and director Jan-Dirk Bouw cuts to the emotional core in a way that few films do, given cartoons can often get away with depicting horrors that many a film would shy away from. And no more so than showcasing the bloody reality of the so-called beautiful game, when in losing a match, some deem it appropriate to vent their anger by 'taking it out' on the victors leaving the stadium in appalling acts of violence. Only this is more than just the story of bitter rivalry. Rather this is the story of a man whose inhuman persona is but a mask to hide his true sexuality, given he knows that if ever his fellow hooligans suspected for one moment that he's gay, they would not hesitate to inflict upon him the bloody beatings that he's inflicted upon others.

Told documentary fashion with a disguised voice as the narrative, the result makes for an achingly sad tale of a man so obsessed with his love of football, that everything else in his life takes second place to match day. It's a passion that overrides all; ever suppressing his homosexuality so as to blend in with the macho culture of those around him. Longing to be his true self, yet knowing 'in the game' he never can, he's left permanently closeted and forever alone; a lost soul who's sacrificed his life - his very being, for the game of football. And it's a tragic reality for some.

›› available as part of the BOYS ON FILM #14 shorts compilation - Worlds Collide.
›› posted: Sunday, 11th November, 2018.

Gay Visibility - covert. 
Nudity - none. 
Overall - file under ... 4 stars. 


›› Tapette - The Mousetrap ‹‹

a short film by Satya Dusaugey.

2016 | 25 mins | France.

an hilarious example of coming out; screwball style.

Dave says:

Few countries do screwball comedies as well as the French do and this short film from co-writer, director and star of the show Satya Dusaugey is an hilarious example of the genre. For here Dusaugey casts himself as hapless builder Michel, who incensed by a comment from co-worker and best friend Thierry (Karim Saidi) that he could be gay opts to come out to his girlfriend Charlotte (Caroline Anglade), only to find that she's as unconvinced that he's gay, as he is. So what's a seemingly straight boy to do to prove he's gay? And the answer is - get a man. Or could it be get a mousetrap instead, given straight or not, Michel is as scared of mice as they come and certainly the one getting free board and lodgings in his apartment. It's a neat subplot that comes full circle, in particular if you stay for the closing scene after the end credits have rolled. In short, this is one of those works that I would have liked to have seen more of, playing as-it-does like the opening reel of a feature, with everyone picture-perfect in their roles. And unlike many a supposed comedy, this short does have a series of downright comical turns, many of which are played deadpan style to great effect. Well staged and shot throughout and with Dusaugey certainly not shy when it comes to revealing all to the camera, frankly; what's not to like?

›› available as part of THE MALE GAZE: FIRST KISS shorts compilation.
›› posted: Saturday, 3rd November, 2018.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - the full monty. 
Overall - file under ... 4 stars. 


›› One Night Only ‹‹

a short film by Sam Langshaw.

2017 | 10 mins | Australia.

an uplifting take on being true to yourself.

Dave says:

There's a lovely moral take to this uplifting short from writer and director Sam Langshaw, one that speaks of being true to yourself and not just in terms of sexuality. For it's that dilemma that all-round cutie Tyler (Tom Mendes) finds himself in, when in gatecrashing a party with his best friend Erica, he's invited to the bedroom of his online hook-up for the night Theo (Tim May); a man only too keen to get down to some serious man-sex, provided Tyler removes the make-up he arrived in. Proud of his glamorous self and yet eager to sample some manly delights, is Tyler prepared to swallow his sexual pride for one night only? And here I'm not saying. What I will add is that this University of Sydney piece is nicely shot and staged, even if Ellen Wiltshire as party girl Erica all but steals the show from Mendes in such a glam role. And yet, the real star of the show is the message itself; that of being true to yourself, given in the whole of Sydney surely Tyler can find someone who likes him - just the way he is!

›› available as part of THE MALE GAZE: FIRST KISS shorts compilation.
›› posted: Friday, 2nd November, 2018.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - none. 
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars. 


›› Walk with Me ‹‹

a short film by Hazart.

2016 | 15 mins | US.

an enchanting cinematic ode to romance.

Dave says:

Written and directed by Kyle Hasday and Matt Stewart working under the collective name of "Hazart", this enchanting cinematic ode to romance begins with lonesome Eric out walking his dog Harvey, only to bump into the sexually confident Ryan. Staring into each other's eyes for that second longer than a casual glance, Ryan on the spur of the moment asks Eric to "walk with me" on the pretence of going to a show. In reality, it's an opportunity for two strangers to get to know each other. In short, this is a work that focuses on the dilemma of whether or not to throw caution to the wind and take the risk of being hurt in getting to know someone who could, or could not turn out to be the love of your life. Staged for the main part as a two-man play and filmed in downtown Los Angeles, frankly, there's a lot to like here. And the fact that the boys get down to some passionate kissing only adds to the romantic feel of a work that finds "Hazart" thankfully not leaving the narrative unresolved. Yet whilst Grant Jordan as Eric is wonderfully sweet in the role of a man more obsessed with contemplating his future, than living the present, it's Evan Todd who steals the show as seemingly carefree Ryan, only for the seven years later postscript to shine the light on who ultimately took a chance on love. Delightful.

›› available as part of THE MALE GAZE: FIRST KISS shorts compilation.
›› posted: Saturday, 27th October, 2018.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - from the waist up. 
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars. 


›› Pria - Man ‹‹

a short film by Yudho Aditya.

2017 | 22 mins | Indonesia.

a compelling work on what it means to be gay and Muslim in a traditional society.

Dave says:

Set in rural Indonesia, this heartfelt short from co-writer and director Yudho Aditya bravely shines the spotlight on arranged marriages within the Muslim community and in particular those gay teenagers seemingly caught in the trap of longing to explore their true sexuality; yet knowing they must honour tradition. For it's that oxymoron of family duty and sexual freedom that dominates the narrative, one that opens with young Aris (Chicco Kurniawan) in no hurry to attend his own engagement ceremony to a girl he has no romantic feelings for. Both families are however joyous with the union and yet Aris's heart is filled with pain; one that must remain hidden. No surprise then that the words "I don't want to get married", an unofficial subtitle if ever there was one, are soon to pass Aris's lips in a confession to his English tutor and a man all but obviously gay. Their brief moments together are sweet and loving, scenes that Aditya strikingly juxtaposes with the sadness in Aris's eyes when duty comes calling. For make no mistake this is a powerful and downright compelling work on what it means to be gay and Muslim in a traditional society. Wonderully played by Kurniawan, frankly it's impossible not to be moved by the shorts' close of play, one that acutely reflects the pressures to succumb to social and religious conformity, over personal happiness. Go see.

›› available as part of THE MALE GAZE: FIRST KISS shorts compilation.
›› posted: Thursday, 25th October, 2018.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - from the waist up. 
Overall - file under ... 4 stars. 


›› Naked ‹‹

a short film by Daniel Hagberg.

2013 | 29 mins | Sweden.

an achingly realistic depiction of to thy ownself, being true.

Dave says:

Playing like the start of a feature, this is an excellent opening to the new collection of gay short films from the good folk at New Queer Visions. It focuses on the relationship between students Erik and Anthony; both straight to the world and yet equally forced to come to terms with their newfound sexuality after a night of off-screen alcohol-infused passion. Both have girlfriends and yet whilst Anthony accepts that he's no longer who he thought he was, Erik is clinging to his heterosexual façade, refusing to accept the calling of his heart. Only how much longer can he continue to ignore his homosexual voice? For that's the question that haunts this mini-feature styled short, as the raw emotions of to thy ownself, being true, are played out right before you. And it's those naked emotions that the title is indicative of, with Oscar Sperlich as Erik and Henrik Gustavsson as Anthony delivering achingly realistic turns, as two men not only coming out to themselves, but contemplating how to come out to those they hold close. Frankly, I wanted to see more, as this short co-written by Mattias Pollak alongside director Daniel Hagberg could easily be developed further, given the pairs' passionate kissing can only but leave you wondering if their friendship is more that of lovers?

›› available as part of THE MALE GAZE: FIRST KISS shorts compilation.
›› posted: Wednesday, 24th October, 2018.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - from the waist up. 
Overall - file under ... 4 stars. 

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