Rip out your heart and take it back

Strapped - A handsome young hustler (Ben Bonenfant) moves almost effortlessly through the world, modifying his persona to fit the needs of each client, even though it leaves him with little self-knowledge. That changes during one night of unusual encounters. After trysting with a shy Russian, the young man tries to leave the apartment building but is stymied by its maze-like structure and meets a string of quirky inhabitants who teach him about himself.

(rent) This is another odd movie. It’s good--slow--but enjoyable. Everything that happens to the hustler is kind of subtle and internal, but we can see the transformation happening to him from his first client to his last. This is one that’s good to watch, but I wasn’t amazed by it. It’s more thoughtful than anything. The sex is all present, but aside from some butt and one penis, everything is tasteful (although still R rated due to drugs and language). I think what’s most interesting about this story is the collection of stories that are told within it. We are supposed to see the change that happens to the main character, but just witnessing the stories of the men he meets is fascinating enough.

Amnesia: The James Brighton Enigma - When James Brighton (Dusan Dukic) is found beaten and naked on a park bench in Montreal, he has no idea who he is or how he got there -- all he remembers (eventually) is his name and that he's gay. Now, he's determined to learn the truth, but as increasingly disturbing details emerge, a community that initially supported him begins to doubt his veracity, wondering whether the whole incident wasn't just a clever hoax carried out by a callous con.

(rent) This is very slow moving as the truth behind “James Brighton” is revealed. Most of the beginning is just kind of a mass of uncertainty, and while it’s not depressing, it’s not positive either. As more truths are revealed, a lot more about the main character’s personality is revealed and it’s an interesting look at identity and re-inventing yourself. Also of note, this movie is based on a true story, which I think adds a certain level of awe to it.

Repo! The Genetic Opera - In the near future, a biotech company saves mankind with synthetic replacements for failed organs. But those who default on their new liver or heart are subject to repossession. Shilo (Alexa Vega) navigates this dystopia while searching for a cure for her rare illness. Her odyssey is set to a number of catchy songs in this tongue-in-cheek opera. Paris Hilton, Paul Sorvino, Anthony Head and Sarah Brightman round out the deliciously diverse cast.

(rent) This has some interesting songs, a very dark feel, but is also kind of campy. This has the feel of a cult classic and won’t appeal to everyone, although it will grab some and drive them mad. I found the story to be interesting and the style unique//refreshing, but it didn’t wow me. I had a plot point that just annoyed me as soon as I found out certain events. It probably won’t disappoint if you see a trailer and decide to rent it, but be in the mood for musical singing where sometimes you can’t understand what they’re saying.

Watercolors - At a gallery opening of his work, artist Danny Wheeler (Tye Olson) looks back at the intense experiences that have shaped his life, starting with a fateful high school romance with Carter Melman (Kyle Claire), a classmate and talented swimmer. Their strong but troubled attraction -- and the artistic inspiration that Danny drew from it -- still pose issues for him 15 years later, both in his art and his current romantic relationship.

(rent/buy) This is almost 2 hours, so a little on the long side. It’s also pretty slow and standard high school romance drama in the beginning, although the drama obviously focuses around very different things than the standards. I was lukewarm on this until about three-quarters of the way through where a combination of my recent experience and current state had me crying. I found it powerful and moving, but not all viewers will. Still, I think it’s worth a watch, although I found the ending both hopeful and depressing. It’s very slow, and a little cheesy, but I think it has some good commentary about love, high school, and moving on.

Plan B - After his girlfriend, Laura (Mercedes Quinteros), dumps him and takes up with handsome charmer Pablo (Lucas Ferraro), Bruno (Manuel Vignau) plots revenge: He tries to come between the new lovers. But his plan -- which entails a growing friendship with Pablo -- soon takes an unexpected turn. Though Laura still goes out with Bruno now and again, his sexuality comes into question in this Argentinean import from first-time director Marco Berger.

(rent) Awkward movie is awkward. The one thing I felt made this watchable is the story that gets told, mainly surrounding Pablo. Aside from Pablo, I had difficulties connecting to the characters...Bruno who is deceiving Pablo and still sleeping with Laura, Laura who is cheating on Pablo with Bruno, and Pablo is just being a person who is being confused by the warring emotions within him.

His awakening--and the resulting awakening in Bruno--were interesting, although I found some of the events surrounding it to be stilted. It wasn’t hard to understand Pablo’s pain, but eventually it’s possible to understand Bruno too, although because of his previous actions it’s hard to be too forgiving. I found the end fitting, if not somewhat confusing. The picture leaves much of the conclusions to be drawn by the watcher, which opens up some level of interpretation...or maybe just confusion.

Generally this is maybe worth a watch if you want 2 hours of very mellow (and sometimes very awkward) movie watching, but it’s not the strongest piece I’ve seen, especially lately.

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