25th Oct2015

Big Eden (DVD)

by timbaros

Grace comforts HenryThe award-winning gay romance film Big Eden is celebrating it’s 15th anniversary by being re-released on VOD and Blu-Ray.

It’s a film that takes us back to the simpler times; pre 9/11, a time when the hardest thing one had to most worry about was being single in a large city.
Henry Hart (Arye Gross), a very successful NYC painter, and eternally single, finds out that his grandfather, who lives alone back home in Big Eden, Montana, has had a heart attack. So foregoing a big opening for his latest artwork, and much to the behest of his very pregnant assistant Mary (Veanne Cox), Henry jumps on a plane to be with his grandfather Sam Hart (George Coe).

Going back home, to a state with beautiful lakes and mountains, brings back lots of memories for Henry. First of all, it’s where he met his first love Dean (Tim DeKay), a man who ended up leaving town and getting married. It’s taken a while for Henry to forget about him, including years of therapy. Back home is also where lots of his old friends still live, including Grace Cornwell (Oscar-winning actress Louise Fletcher), now a schoolteacher who was the one who informed Henry of his grandfather’s condition. Henry goes back home to a place that accepts his sexual orientation, times have changed and so has the community. Local busy body Widow Thayer (a very funny Nan Martin) makes it her job to nose into other people’s business and arranges teas for local people to ‘meet.’ Once she sees Henry back in town she arranges a tea lunch for Henry with the local single women, but when she realizes he’s gay, she arranges a tea lunch with the local gay men. But it’s not any of these men that Henry is interested in. He’s back in town specifically to take care of his grandfather and is not interested in dating any of them. But soon enough he finds out that the very good looking Dean has moved back to town with his two sons. Seeing Dean again brings back memories from the past, and also questions as to why they never got together. Meanwhile, Widow Thayer has volunteered to cook dinner for both Henry and Sam as Henry claims that, being a New Yorker, he simply doesn’t know how to cook. So for the first few nights Thayer makes and brings over dinner, but it’s local store owner Pike Dexter (Eric Schweig) who volunteers to take over the cooking duties. He buys recipe books to make the most delicious meals, meals that he delivers to the Harts but always saying that they come from Widow Thayer. When Pike delivers the dinner, he quickly leaves, never staying to join Henry and Sam when asked to. Pike is something of an enigma in town, he’s quiet, reserved, but at the same time tall and strong. Pike seems to be hiding something, is it something about Henry’s homosexuality perhaps? Henry stays on in Big Eden as his grandfather continues to improve, he appears to be in no rush to get back to New York. Will Henry decide to stay in Big Eden permanently and leave the big city behind? Do Henry and Dean finally hook up? Why is Pike to mysterious? And what does Widow Thayer have up her sleeve next?

Director and writer Thomas Bezucha crafts a beautiful romantic film with characters who could be from anyone’s hometown. The actors are all wonderful in their roles. And it’s a credit to Bezucha and his team that the setting is perfect. Every last detail is thought of and captured on film, and certain shots are set up perfectly, from the beautiful landscapes to the items in the local grocery story. Plus the country and western soundtrack gives the film a perfect flavor. It’s a must that you watch ‘Big Eden’ as it takes us back to a simpler time. It’s one of the most romantic gay films of all time, and proving that yes, you can always go back home again.

‘Big Eden has won numerous Audience Awards at several film festivals and in 2001 was named Best Fiction Feature at the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival and Best American Independent Feature Film plus Best Film at the Cleveland International Film Festival.

‘Big Eden’ is available for the first time on Blu-Ray, new HD version for VOD, which includes new bonus materials

25th Oct2015

The New Girlfriend (DVD)

by timbaros

images-368Francois Ozon is back with a film that follows the same winning formula of his previous films – quirky, sweet, funny and dramatic, and a bit off the wall.

In The New Girlfriend, we get best friends Laura (Insild Le Besco) and Claire (Anais Bemoustier). They grew up together, went to school together, and basically shared their lives together. Laura was the first to get married, to David (Romain Duris), and the first to have a baby. Claire eventually got married, to the very handsome Gilles (Raphael Personnaz). They both remained very very close after their marriages, but unfortunately Laura gets very sick. Claire makes a promise to Laura that she will look after her baby and David in case things take a turn for the worse. They do, as Laura passes away.

So Claire owns up to her promise, and a few days after the funeral she decides to go to David’s house to check up on him and the baby as she’s not heard from him. She enters the house via an unlocked front door and discovers David dressed as a woman! So in typical Ozon fashion, the plot takes a turn for the wacky as Claire accepts, and even encourages David to dress up as a woman, naming him Virginia, and even accompanying him on his first trip outside the house dressed as a woman. It’s a different type of relationship that develops between Claire and David. It’s a relationship not just between a man and a woman, but between two women. Their relationship takes a turn for the emotional and the sexual, and Claire is torn as to what to do. She has to make a decision, stay with Gilles, or start a new life with David and the baby.

Ozon, at the age of 47, has given us many memorable films, including 2012’s In The House and 2002’s 8 Women. His films are different, not mainstream, and he tend to include LGBT characters in them. And they almost always include twists to the storyline that are unexpected but provide for full entertainment. The New Girlfriend’s plot doesn’t stray far from this. It’s a film that, while relatively simple, engages us with characters who are interesting and a plot that is very different. And the actors, like in any other Ozon film, are in top form. Duris is superb and perfect as David/Virginia. He looks good as a man but perhaps even better dressed as a woman. Demoustier is perfect as Claire – the woman torn between feelings for her husband yet fascinated by this new ‘person’ in her life. And Personnaz is very good as Claire’s husband – he doesn’t have much to do, but he’s very good at it. The New Girlfriend is a fun movie that you will thoroughly enjoy.

The New Girlfriend is now available to buy on DVD.