Note: There will be a lag of movie reviews after this, as my next few Netflix items are all Doctor Who discs, and no one needs reviews of them.
Food of Love - Ventura Pons writes and directs Food of Love, adapting the novel The Tale of Love by David Leavitt, which tells the complex story of a love affair between an 18-year-old man and his much older mentor. Paul (Kevin Bishop) is a music student working as an assistant for classical pianist Richard (Paul Rhys). The two meet in Barcelona and begin a passionate tryst, but they must contend with the disapproval of Paul's mother and Richard's boyfriend.
(rent) If you're familiar with David Leavitt's The Language of Cranes, then the feel of Food of Love will be familiar. While not exactly depressing, the realism of the end result mixed with a surreal plot left me struggling to keep my own head above water. The acting was superb, but most of the characters have few desirable traits, leaving me distant from all of them and the ending did little to endear me, although it was, in a way, satisfactory. While I think it's worth seeing, especially if you enjoy Leavitt's stuff, I wouldn't watch it more than once.
Chef's Special - Obsessed with his chic Madrid restaurant becoming rated in the prestigious Michelin guide, openly gay chef Maxi (Javier Cámara) runs into endless personal problems when his estranged children suddenly reenter his life and a hunky ex-footballer (Benjamín Vicuña) moves in next door. Full of delightful twists and turns, this Spanish romantic comedy co-stars Lola Dueñas, Chus Lampreave and Luis Varela.
(rent/buy) This is a wonderfully classic romantic comedy that had me laughing and groaning in amusement and horror as everything goes from crazy to crazier. The worst part of this movie is that it's subtitled and Spanish, which means it's a pretty fast paced, but not impossible to keep up with and whatever gets missed can be gleaned from body language. I didn't get into this movie immediately, as the main character is bit of a jerk sometimes/most the time and there are plenty of awkward moments, but everyone grew on me and it was a delightful laugh and story.
KM.0 - The love lives of 14 people intersect at the Plaza del Sol in Madrid one day in August. Vignettes include stories of mistaken identity and comedies of error involving people who are both gay and straight -- and everything in between. A young movie director mistakenly gets a ride from a prostitute; a struggling actress goes to desperate measures to impress the wrong director; a woman hires an escort who may be a relative.
(rent) Although this movie didn't grab me right off the bat, it definitely played out well, although it did have a saccharine ending. Sometimes the events are slightly beyond realistic, but if you watch just to watch, it's enjoyable. Not a great movie overall, there are some touching, wonderful moments that made the movie worthwhile for me. The acting ability covers the scale, although overall is good. This is in Spanish, and sometimes things are said very quickly, but the gist of what's going on is easy to follow.
Fogi Is a Bastard - Looking for adventure, 15-year-old Beni (Vincent Branchet) becomes a roadie for a rock band and promptly falls in love with the group's charismatic lead singer, Fogi (Frederic Andrau). Problems arise when Fogi takes advantage of Beni's affections and ushers him into a downward spiral. Drug addiction, sex and drunken excess await the innocent young lad. Writer-director Marcel Gisler helms this coming-of-age film based on the novel by Martin Frank.
(rent) I really don't know what to say about this movie, as it was nothing like I was expecting, not even after reading the above blurb. I kept expecting Fogi to really be a jerk, but aside from a few scenes (involving Beni behaving like a dog and Fogi selling him off), Fogi is mostly just rock-star attitude. This story is a wild ride as Beni immediately falls in love with Fogi and Fogi takes full advantage of that, while also bouncing around loving/needing Beni back. Be prepared for drugs, sex, rock'n'roll, and a touch of puppy-play (which completely surprised me). I think it's worth checking out (with an open mind) but not really owning, unless it speaks to you.
Fish Out of Water - Spurred by director Ky Dickens's own coming-out story, this playfully animated documentary confronts the slippery topic of homosexuality head on, homing in on Bible verses oft-cited as condemnatory and opening them to fresh interpretation. A cartoon narrator guides a broad-minded exploration of the thorny issue as a range of individuals in red states and blue, from theologians to barbershop denizens, weigh in with their experiences and beliefs.
(rent) This was a very educational film and worth checking out for Christians, gay or straight, who have interest in the "gay issue." I found the approach very amiable and the points they made were very good, backed with scholarly research. My only qualm is that it was obviously pushing a specific stance and I wish we could have seen more scholarly opposition (it has to exist, right?). Not to confuse the issue, but to actually open up a dialogue between the two sides. However, I could be wrong and there is no scholarly opposition, in which case this was very well presented. Definitely worth the short watch time!
Avatar - Disabled Marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) travels to planet Pandora to become an avatar, ingratiate himself with the natives and help Americans mine lucrative unobtainium. But he finds himself in an interstellar conflict after falling for Na'vi warrior Neytiri (Zoe Saldana). James Cameron writes and directs this Golden Globe-winning CGI odyssey that has broken box office records. Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Lang co-star.
(buy) I feel like I'm the last person to have seen this movie. I realize I should have seen it in theaters, because it is a beautiful, visual piece, but I don't often get to theaters as the single friend among couples. And then there was so much hype about it that I didn't want to see it, afraid it wouldn't be good enough. Plus I was just sick of hearing about it. So I was nervous, like going on a date with someone who your friends have been talking about. But I have to say it was really good. And I say that missing two chapters in the middle because of a faulty disc. The acting was excellent, to the point that it didn't feel like acting so much as it felt like I was interrupting someone's life, the visuals were all amazing, and the story was good, if not somewhat predictable. This movie is worth watching just for the sheer beautiful of the world that has been created.
Holding Trevor - Stuck in a dead-end relationship with a heroin addict boyfriend, Trevor (Brent Gorski) finds fresh hope in the form of hunky doctor Ephram (Eli Kranski). But when conflicts arise between Trevor and his best friends, Andie (Melissa Searing) and Jake (Jay Brannan), his newfound happiness crumbles. To pull himself together again, Trevor must decide what -- and who -- is most important to him.
(rent) This is a heavier movie that deals with serious topics. I'm not sure it succeeded, as often toward the end I was unsure about Trevor's motivations and decision. I also found Trevor's friends to be rather lacking, and even if Trevor isn't the best catch, I felt like he deserved better...mostly in the form of Ephram. The climax leads Trevor to a difficult decision, and you have to kind of respect whatever he chooses, although you don't have to agree with him, which I didn't. The acting was okay (nothing to write home about), and the camera work felt like it was going for a "natural" feel. Worth a watch, but not much else.
Bedrooms and Hallways - At the suggestion of a friend, gay Leo (Kevin McKidd) enters therapy after many failed relationships make him fear for his social life. In a group session (led by Simon Callow), Leo comes clean about his feelings for a straight member of the group (James Purefoy), which leads to an affair between the two. The situation becomes further complicated by the appearance of Leo's high school sweetheart (Jennifer Ehle), who still has feelings for him.
(rent) This was a cute, funny little film with the added benefit of Hugo Weaving having kinky sex as a side story. It was nice, because I couldn't see which direction it was headed, and even if I didn't particularly like the end result, it wasn't a bad thing either. This film had good acting, good dialogue, and a fun premise that kept me interested. Definitely worth a watch, although for me it isn't something I'd buy, other people may feel differently.