27th Apr2017

Handsome Devil (Film)

by timbaros

HD_3One of the most buzzed about films at London’s recent Flare LGBT Film Festival is getting released this Friday.

Handsome Devil played to sell out crowds at the festival (though at one screening there was a power outage so all the attendees were invited back to another screening). Irish movie Handsome Devil is the charming story of an out and proud young gay man who is attending boarding school for the first time. Fionn O’Shea plays Ned, and shares a room with jock and star of the rugby team Conor (Nicholas Galitzine). The rest of the school doesn’t quite know what to make of Ned, he’s a bit of an outcast, yet him and Ned form a special bond, after a rocky start between them, they realize they have more in common with each other than being roommates. Ned’s school life is made much easier with the help of teacher Dan (Andrew Scott in a very winning and sexy performance), who also happens to be gay. But it doesn’t help Ned (and teacher Dan) that the rugby coach is on to both of them – he’s full of prejudice and let’s everyone know it. And it’s just a matter of time until the rest of the school comes around and accepts Ned for who he is, especially just in time for the school’s big upcoming rugby match.

Writer and Director John Butler’s coming of age story is a winning combination of great performances and a story that’s time and tested and that never gets old. Winning lead performances from O’Shea and Galitzine make this one to remember, but it’s Scott as the supportive English teacher that will tingle your loins. His sympathetic teacher is handsome and oh so sexy, especially when he brings his boyfriend to the rugby match outing himself on the spot to the principal. More of these kind of roles please Mr. Scott. Though at times some of the accents are a bit hard to understand, Handsome Devil is very charming and memorable.

02nd Apr2017

The Best of BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival 2017 (Film)

by timbaros

The best films of BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival 2017 was always going to be hard to choose. There were so many wonderfully well-done, and in some cases, amazing films that were shown at the film festival – one of the biggest, and best, in the world. There were over 50 features and more than 100 shorts shown, as well as a wide range of special events, guest appearances, discussions, workshops, club nights and more. And while it was virtually impossible to watch all of the features and shorts, I did manage to catch most of them. So herewith is my non-exhaustive list of the best of Flare:


1:54 is an explosive film that stars the excellent Antoine-Olivier Pilon (Mommy) which goes from a simple gay love story to an unexpected and shocking direction. It touches on all the relevant themes (bullying, young love, etc.) and first time director Yan England excellently pulls it all together. A must see!

Pushing Dead, directed and written by Tom E Brown, is a lighthearted comedy about a HIV+ man (a very good James Roday) and his trials and tribulations in getting his medication, finding love, and dealing with his boss and female roommate in San Francisco. It’s bittersweet, funny and lighthearted and will tug at your heart.


Dear Dad is an excellent Indian film about a middle-aged father who comes out to his son while driving him to boarding school. It’s heartwarming and funny, with great performances all around.

Eight long-term HIV+ survivors discuss their fears, challenges and milestones in the relevant and timely documentary Last Men Standing. With the HIV+ population getting older, these men celebrate life as they remember the past.


The Trans List is an important documentary where several prominent trans and nonbinary people get to tell their story. Well known celebrities Laverne Cox, Caitlyn Jenner and Buck Angel are featured, but it’s the less well-known who make more of an impact; lawyer and activist Kylar Broadus, teenage student Nicole Maines who won a landmark lawsuit in America after she faced discrimination for wanting to use the girl’s bathroom, and Bamby Salcedo, founder of the Los Angeles-based TransLain Coalition and who faced lots of issues growing up. There are a total of 11 interviews in this documentary, but I could’ve watched a dozen more. It’s an important and relevant documentary.

Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four, another important documentary, is about four Lesbians who were tried and convicted of sexually abusing children in the 1990’s. Fast forward and the women are finally exonerated for their alleged crime, and this documentary shows – through interviews and news footage – the women’s journey of their nightmare. Gripping, and bittersweet.

Chilean film Jesús starts out as a buddy movie where the two young leads hang out with their friends and then have sex with each other, but their lives are changed, and the film takes a surprising turn, when they are involved in a crime. This event will tear their lives apart and the ending packs a wallop!

Lauren (Velinda Godfrey) has to deal with the death of her girlfriend in the film Heartland. She also gets kicked out of the house they shared, so she has to move in with her bigoted mother, while her brother and his long-term girlfriend are visiting in order to set up a local wine business. But Lauren and the girlfriend develop more than a friendship in an event that tears the whole family apart, and brings up bad memories.


Blow Job 2017 is a reimagining of the Andy Warhol classic, directed by Charles Lum and Todd Verow, that, for it’s four full minutes, focuses on David J. White, getting, as you guessed, a blow job. Why remake the 1963 classic? Because it was time to do so, and Lum and Verow do it in an excellent, grainy style.


A film with commercial potential is Handsome Devil. Out gay student Ned (a wonderful Fionn O’Shea) is faced with another year in boarding school. His new roommate, lucky for him, is the star rugby player. But most memorable is Andrew Scott who plays a gay and sympathetic teacher. Scott is brilliant (and extremely handsome) as always.

A film that will astound you is the documentary Out of Iraq. It’s amazing that this film was even made as it’s the true story of two Iraqi soldiers who fall in love, but of course, living in a country where gay men are killed is not the ideal place for a gay relationship. So one of them is lucky enough to move to the U.S. and it’s a four year wait for them to be back together. Their long-awaited reunion, and eventual wedding, will leave you in tears.

This was just a few of the highlights of the BFI Flare film festival.
The entire program can still be found in the link below and hopefully some of these films will find their way to the cinema, or to the BFI website, or anywhere online. Let’s support and celebrate gay cinema.


18th Mar2017

BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival (Film)

by timbaros

image007Spring is in the air (almost) and with this comes gay films – and the BFI Flare London LGBT Film Festival.

Taking place from March 16th – 27th at the NFT on the South Bank in London, this year Flare, for it’s 31st year, will deliver over 50 features, more than 100 shorts, and a wide range of special events including workshops, club nights and much much more in what is one of the world’s largest LGBT Film Festivals. Here’s a taste of what is showing:


Against the Law – the world premiere (and opening night gala) of this British film which commemorates 50 years since the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales. The film deals with a Daily Express journalist, Peter Wildeblood, who has an affair with a serviceman that becomes disastrous for both of them in light of the law. Starring Mark Gattis (Boys in the Band) and Daniel Mays.



Signature Movie – a widowed Pakistani woman living in Chicago falls in love with a Mexican woman but it’s not acceptable behavior in her culture. Even more so in that her mother constantly nags her about about finding another man to marry.

Torrey Pines – a psychedelic stop-motion animation film about a child grappling with gender identity and a schizophrenic mother. The film will be accompanied by a live score from director Clyde Petersen’s Queercore band.



After Louie – Alan Cumming is a troubled New York-based artist, a survivor of the AIDS epidemic, who meets a young man who turns his life around.

Different for Girls – A woman has to explain to her female partner how she became pregnant while they were on a break. Expect lots of tension and drama!

Flare continues to categorise the films in different sections: Hearts (love, romance and friendship), Bodies (sex, identity and transformation) and Minds (reflections on art, politics and community). Here’s a small sample of some of these films:
Handsome Devil, starring Andrew Scott, is about the unlikely friendship between a lonely gay teen and his hunky rugby-playing roommate; Heartland follows a young woman who has to move back home to Oklahoma following the death of her girlfriend; Being 17 is the touching story of two gay teenage boys in their last year in high school; Body Electric follows a young man and his casual encounters in Brazil; The Trans List, a documentary of where prominent transpeople, including Caitlin Jenner and Laverne Cox, tell their stories; Two Soft Things, Two Hard Things, a documentary about LGBT life in Canada’s remote Artic Intuit polulation; as well as Last Man Standing, the life of eight long-term AIDS survivors.

There’s also a chance to catch two recent gay-themed films in case you missed them. Academy Award winner Moonlight, which is the first gay-themed film to win Best Picture, and French Canadian wunderkind director Xavier Dolan’s It’s Only the End of the World will both be shown at the festival.

We highly recommend a visit to the festival at least on one of the days, but if you have the stamina, and the money, there is something for everyone every single day of the festival. To learn more about what’s going on, and to buy tickets, please visit:


21st Dec2015

The Dazzle (Theatre)

by timbaros

The-Dazzle-at-FOUND111.-Joanna-Vanderham-Milly-David-Dawson-Homer-and-Andrew-Scott-Langley.-Photo-credit-Marc-Brenner-468-600x350A play about two brothers who need each other to coexist is the plot of the new play The Dazzle.

It’s the lead actor and the theatre itself that are the main attractions. Irish actor Andrew Scott is a huge film and television star who was most recently the character ‘C’ in the James Bond film ‘Spectre.’ He’s won awards for his performance in the 2014 film ‘Pride’ and is also known for his television work including playing Jim Moriarty in the hit television show ‘Sherlock,’ as well as for his numerous stage appearances. The theatre, Found111 theatre on Charing Cross, is in the old Foyles bookstore building that was most recently the home to sold out performances of the all volunteer show ‘You Me Bum Bum Train.’

‘The Dazzle’ is performed in one of the building’s upper rooms, which is reached after a dizzying climb of three floors. It’s a room that must’ve been used as book storage for the bookstore, as it seats only 130, so it’s theatre at it’s most intimate, with the stage just inches away from the first row. As for the show itself, it’s based on the true story of two brothers whose bodies were found amid 136 tons of clutter in a crumbling New York City townhouse in the 1940’s. Scott plays Langley Collyer, while David Dawson plays his brother Homer. Langley is a bit of an autistic savant – he’s a piano-playing genius but can’t seem to hold his own in life. He relies, depends and needs Homer to survive. Homer makes sure that Langley is taken care of and reminds him to clean himself. And unfortunately the brothers are on the verge of being broke, so Homer has to urge Langely to perform for money, even though Langley doesn’t want to. Homer, meanwhile, is a non-practicing lawyer who toddles around their cluttered living room with a piano in it’s center. The boys lives get turned around when Milly Ashmore (Joanna Vanderham) visits. She’s a rich heiress who is taken by Langley’s boyish charm and good looks. It’s soon enough that Homer sees an opportunity to marry Langley off to her to ensure their future. But the wedding doesn’t happen and it’s a catalyst that spins the brothers, and Milly’s, lives around, and not for the better.

‘The Dazzle,’ written by American Playwright Richard Greenberg, and directed by Simon Evans, is tricky to pull off because of the very intimate space. The actor’s every move, breathe, facial expression, and mistakes are captured finitely. But at times the actors seem to be overreaching a bit, putting on a show not just for the audience but for themselves as well. It’s all a bit overdramatic in parts where it doesn’t intend to be, and a bit unbelievable as the show plays out. The show does have quite a few witty lines (“we have a blind cleaner who comes in and spits on the furniture” Homer tells Milly when she asks why their apartment is so dirty and cluttered), but it won’t be winning any awards. The wow factor in this show is seeing Andrew Scott, a rising star, very up close and personal, and the theatre itself, which is true pop-up theatre.

The Dazzle is playing until January 30th – to buy tickets, please go here:


15th Mar2015

Pride – DVD

by timbaros

PRIDEIn 1984 a group of gay activists decided to raise money for striking mineworkers, and this is the subject of the new film Pride.

The UK miners strike, which lasted for one year from March 1984, took place after Margaret Thatcher’s government announced its intention to close 20 coal mines and more at a later date, severely financially affecting the workers and their families. Pride tells the story of a group of young gay activists – who called themselves ‘Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM)’ – and their enthusiasm and motivation to raise money for the miners and their families in a small community called Onllym in South Wales, which resulted in a strange and unusual relationship between both groups.

The rag tag group of LGSM activists include George MacKay as Joe, not yet out to his parents and barely just out to himself; Ben Schnetzer as Mark, the leader of the group but also the most passionate; Andrew Scott plays Gethin – the owner of Gay’s The Word bookshop who has not set foot in his native Wales or spoken to his mother in 16 years; Dominic West as Jonathan – Gethin’s actor boyfriend; Faye Marsay as Steph – the Lesbian in Lesbian and Gays Support the Miners; and Joe Gilgin who plays Mike Jackson – the co-founder of LGSM. Members of the mining community include Bill Nighy as Cliff – the mining club secretary who also happens to be gay; Imelda Staunton as Hefina – a resident of Onllym and a member of the mining committee who gets on fabulously with the LGSM members; and Paddy Considine as Dai Donnvan – a miner who eventually comes around and accepts LGSM’s support.

Pride begins at the June 1984 gay pride parade, with a relatively small group of people marching through central London, and it’s where Joe, watching the parade from the sidelines, decides that this is the group that he belongs to, so he joins the parade. One of the activists carries a sign which reads ‘Queers, better blatant than latent.’ Anti-gay activists line the street with their own signs – one reading ‘Burn in Hell.’ Such was the sentiment in 1984.

The group of people that Joe attaches himself to has an office at a gay bookstore called ‘Gay’s the Word’ which is an actual gay bookstore in central London. Upstairs is their war room, where they come up with the idea to raise money to support the mineworkers. They call several mineworker unions around the country saying that they want to raise money for the strikers, but once they mention that they are Lesbian and Gay, they get hung up on. But there is one small mining village in Wales that doesn’t hang up on them, they in fact welcome the group, and the money they have raised.

So outside of the bookshop the activists stand, asking for passersby to donate money for the striking mineworkers. Some people put money into their buckets, while others spit on them as they walk by. After having raised a large bit of money, the group head to Onllym and give the mining committee the money they raised. They drive up in a van that has ‘Out Loud Theatre Group’ written on it’s doors. One of the women in the committee hall yells ‘Guys – your gays have arrived.’ They are met with resistance by most of the men, one of them commenting ‘bring gays into a Working Men’s Group, you have problems.’ It’s the women, and especially Hefina, who welcome the group, and it’s up to Mark to, reluctantly, give a speech about who they are and how they plan to help.

So Pride gets itself in gear to bring us the actual true story of how LGSM won over the community of Onllym. It isn’t easy at first – there’s lots of strong opposition, especially by a local woman with two teenage sons who doesn’t want the gays to be anywhere near their village. But there is also one of the LGSM members who has doubts, saying ‘the miners don’t care about us so why should we care about the miners.’ But Pride is an extraordinary tale of friendship and solidarity, between two totally opposite groups, over the course of 12 months during which LGSM become one of the biggest fundraising groups in the UK.

Playing itself as a Comedy/drama – a comedic film infused with bits and pieces of drama – Pride works only when you realize that it is not 100% the actual story. Writer Stephen Beresford admits that some of the screenplay had to be fictionalized in order for the film to work from a viewer’s perspective – that he had to take artistic license. Beresford adds that Pride is more than 80% true. Two of the scenes which take place in the film are memorable but one has to question whether or not they actually happened. In one of them, the Onllym women go to London to visit the LGSM group and to attend a ‘Pits and Perverts’ fundraising concert for them. During their visit they walk straight into a rubber club asking the men, who are in various states of undress, what they do and how they do it. Hmmmm.
The two gay pride parade scenes that bookend the film look a bit too staged, though it is nice to see the town of Onllym arrive in buses at the last minute to take part in the parade to support the gays, which actually did happen. A scene which takes place right after the Onllym woman leave the rubber club is perhaps the most pivotal scene in the film. Russell Tovey makes a too brief cameo appearance as Mark’s ex-boyfriend, and on the way into the club which Mark is just exiting, Tovey’s character tells Mark that that specific night is his last hurrah, the final party, and then he gives Mark a kiss and heads into the club. We know that this being 1984 AIDS is rearing it’s ugly head. It’s a brief haunting moment, and one that will stick with you long after you’ve seen the film. And at the end of the film we learn that in 1986 the miners had enshrined Gay & Lesbian rights into their constitution. Bless them.

Director Stephen Beresford has crafted a film that has feel good factor written all over it. It’s a film that should be successful at the box office, and rightly so, and should be enjoyed at the cinema by everyone – gay and straight. And the acting is top notch. Newcomer American Schnetzer is perfect as Mark, while Mackay brings a sense of innocence and vulnerability (and believability) in his portrayal of Joe. Nighy, Staunton, West and Scott all also shine. It’s a film with a huge cast that works very well together, with an excellent soundtrack (Bronski Beat, Pet Shop Boys, Culture Club, Joy Division, Billy Bragg). Pride is a must-see film even if it is a bit too sugar and spice and everything nice.

Pride recently won the Best British Film at the BAFTA’s, surprisingly winning over The Theory of Everything.