boys, boys, boys

Boy Crush - From a bittersweet tale about unrequited love to the story of a deaf jock secretly in love with his teammate to a Hitchcockian thriller, this internationally flavored anthology features seven gay-themed short films with a singular topic: the crush. The collection includes "Summer" (Great Britain), "Night Swimming" (United States), "Running Without Sound" (United States), "Out Now" (Germany) and "The Bridge" (Australia).

(rent) There are two other shorts in addition to the ones listed. One was “Hitchcocked,” one of my favorites, and the other was “Oedipe - [N+1]” which was interesting, sort of dystopian future. The first two shorts were kind of sad, the second more than the first. The third had a glimmer of hope and the fourth was very sad, but ended on a positive note. Unfortunately, “The Bridge” didn’t really make sense to me and I’m not sure if I’m missing too much cultural context or what, but I feel like parts of the story were left unexplained.

For those who are interested, you can watch “Hitchcocked” here. (Be sure to watch after the first set of credits for a bit more of the movie):

Romeos - Transgendered 20-year-old Lukas is going through gender reassignment treatment, a process eased by his friendship with the lesbian Ine. As Ine introduces him to Cologne's gay scene, Lukas sees his romantic opportunities open up.

(rent) While I felt this was a well-done film focusing on trans* issues while also providing a romantic plot, I also felt it was somewhat lacking. It was a little slow, probably because of the subject matter, and I had a hard time understanding what Lukas saw in Fabio. That aside, the film gives a raw look at humans being humans in all their self-centered glory, while trying to be themselves. While it wasn’t powerful enough to move me, I’d definitely recommend people check it out once. Also, once again the summary feels very different from what we’re given.

Ciao - After the death of his close friend, Mark, Jeff (Adam Neal Smith) begins corresponding via e-mail with Andrea (Alessandro Calza), an Italian with whom Mark had an online relationship. Upon Jeff's suggestion, Andrea comes to visit, and the two men explore Mark's life and grow closer. A quiet and tender look at relationships and desire, this drama also stars Ethel Lung, Chuck Blaum and John Boles.

(rent) This was a slow moving film, definitely more artistic than action, but it’s very moving and touching. The exploration of feelings, relationships, and how we know a person is well done and often without many words. I’m not really sure why this is rated R, as nothing sexual happens and I don’t even think there’s much (if any) cursing. This is beautiful, but was kind of hard for my heart to watch as well.

Loveless - Director Kurenai Yu's adventure-filled anime series finds sixth-grader Aoyagi Ritsuka at a crossroads. His older brother Seimei was brutally murdered two years ago, and now Ritsuka thirsts for revenge. But how can a 12-year-old fight for justice? Enter Agatsuma Soubi, Seimei's former cohort, who arrives on the scene to help the boy hunt down the killers and uncover the truth behind the mysterious murder.

(rent/buy) First of all, the Netflix description above is..um..interesting. And not really how I felt the story was portrayed, even if it’s sorta true. I watched this over about a year with a serious concussion in between, so keep that in mind. But Ritsuka isn’t really the “thirst for revenge” type.

I enjoyed this for the relationship between Ritsuka and Soubi, though I found things moved VERY slowly and ultimately left us with a cliffhanger ending (aka, blue balls). While there is some resolution and the characters are bonding, it’s not really a complete resolution. It’s mostly a teaser to encourage you to read the manga. For lovers of anime, for people who like teases of BL, and for lovers of cat boys, this is worth checking out, but keep in mind my warning.

Ai No Kusabi: The Space Between - In the future, on a distant star lives a new society. Ruled by a computer system named Jupiter, men are divided into classes based on their hair color. The Blondies, genetically altered by Jupiter, are the highest class and occupy the capital city of Tanagura. Those with black hair, Mongrels, are forced to live in the slums, Ceres. Iason, the leader of the Blondies, encounters Riki, a mongrel, in the streets of Ceres one night and sets out to own him.

(rent) While I enjoyed what we’re given here, it’s more of the beginning of something rather than the complete set. This could easily be a 12-episode set, but I’m not sure we’ll ever get that. What we get here is good, but is mostly building a plot that we’ll never see, so while I think it’s worth a watch, I can’t outright recommend it for purchase.

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