I'm a beginner at the blues..

Dorian Blues - A closeted gay high schooler on the verge of college lets it all hang out in this witty tale. After hiding his feelings forever, Dorian can't wait to move to New York City, but before he leaves, something inside him snaps.

(rent) This wasn’t what I was expecting. I thought it was more high school comedy, but it was actually pretty serious and deep. It definitely had funny moments, but they were more toward the beginning (and focused around the psychologist). It felt like Catcher in the Rye but less emo/angst, and it is a look at relationships with family and ourselves and how we are influenced (sometimes negatively) even by those we hate the most.

Les Misérables - The musical version of Victor Hugo's epic tale of love and sacrifice, first produced for the stage in 1985, now receives the big-screen treatment. The bloody era of the French Revolution is the backdrop to Jean Valjean's long struggle for redemption.

(rent) This is a very well done production of a musical, and the music is all fantastic, as are the performances. The craft of this movie is great. I just had some issues with the actual story. The romance felt flimsy and assumed, placing a bit too much focus on the romance of idiotic young adults while much more interesting things are happening. Specifically, M--- is heartbroken from the loss of his friends, but he has his girl, so it’s all okay. That easy. The lovebirds did nothing to really enchant me to their ‘plight’ while many of the side characters seemed far more interesting.

However, the struggle between the two older men was fantastic. It was a crazy love-hate relationship that I think climaxed in an excellent fashion. The clash between them and the ultimate resolution is superb. Obviously the romance played the machine to get the stories all together, but to me the real focus of the movie should have been the older men’s struggles and the revolution.

Of course, that would have left the viewer with a moving that was 99.9% depressing, so I could see why a spark of hope had to be introduced.

Beginners - Oliver, a graphic artist, is coming to grips with the imminent death of his father, who, at 75, has one last secret: He's gay. Inspired and confused by his father's determination to find true love at last, Oliver tentatively pursues his own romance.

(rent) This is a quirky movie jumping between Oliver dealing with his father dying and dealing with his romance with Anna. It’s fairly slow moving and it’s not a riveting movie, but it’s also interest to see how the people unfold. It’s more a study of humanity than a plot-driven story. Enjoyable, but definitely something to rent before buying to see if it’s your cup of tea.

Kinky Boots - After inheriting a shoe factory, Charlie Price aims to take the fashion world by storm with help from a flashy cabaret dancer named Lola, who helps him design a racy line of men's boots.

(rent) This is a sweet story that handles bigotry, concepts of manliness, confidence, gender identity, and boots. Most of the plot points aren’t incredibly surprising, and the romance, while sweet, is fairly predictable. That said, I still very much enjoyed it in all it’s goofy honesty.

Available Men - Tales of mixed identities, personal ads, gay cartoon cowboys, passive aggression and more are collected in these seven hilarious, gay-themed shorts, which have been honored at such festivals and ceremonies as the Sundance Film Festival, the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival and the PlanetOut Awards. The films are Available Men, Straight Boys, Hello Thanks, The Underminer, Sissy French Fry, Tumbleweed Town, and Irene Williams: Queen of Lincoln Rd.

(rent) A true mix of shorts, with good and bad. The first few were well-acted (Available Men, Straight Boys) and felt professionally cut. Then there was one that felt more raw in style, but it fit with the theme of the film (Hello Thanks). The Underminer was interesting in concept but not having the expensive equipment to make the sound and visuals perfect was a touch distracting. Tumbleweed Town did nothing for me, and Irene Williams was kind of cute, but just mostly odd. Sissy French Fry was surprisingly good and I think possibly the best of the bunch. It looks at identity, peer pressure, and being true to yourself. So definitely worth a rent, but unless you’re hardcore in the Indie film scene, I wouldn’t buy it.

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