Princess Cyd: a softly spoken slice of life

Princess Cyd opens with a deeply traumatic premise. We hear a neighbour’s 911 call, and our title character Cyd gets some devastating news: her mother and brother have been fatally shot. Throughout the action of the film, we find ourselves forgetting the trauma in moments. Impressively, though, the film still manages to find joy. Ultimately, it is a coming-of-age drama about finding common ground, building relationships and dealing with trauma through interpersonal connection.

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Poltergay: camp ghosts obliterate heterosexuality (thank God!)

I’ve never been one for a horror film. As a teen, the monsters in Doctor Who gave me nightmares, and I still look away when I sense a jump scare coming. However, it turns out that camp horror is a lot more fun. And if we’re talking about camp horror, then there’s no better place to start than a film titled Poltergay (It’s like poltergeist but gay! Get it?)

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Analysing Troye Sivan’s Music Videos As If They Were Short Films (Part 1)

As Troye’s artistry evolves, we see increasing use of common motifs and techniques, such as use of flashback as narrative form and singing over the shoulders of anonymous male torsos (this one comes up a lot). We also see a further lean towards the adoption of explicitly queer aethetics peek its way into these early music videos. In part 1, we’re tracking his music videography from 2014-18 as he turns from YouTuber who does music to pop star who used to be a YouTuber. As you’ll see, it’s quite the transformation. […]

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So My Grandma’s A Lesbian!: too many straight people (bizarrely)

The title of So My Grandma’s A Lesbian! already tells us what we need to know. We meet the anxious and uptight Eva, and her grandma is indeed a lesbian. Finally coming out in their 70s, Sofía and her friend-for-life-turned-lover Celia want to get married. But when the wedding threatens to scandalise more than just their small town, the couple struggle with their decision to declare their love so publicly. Chaos ensues in the form of Catholic outrage, paparazzi storms and even phone calls from the Pope. […]

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Dance of the 41: where misogyny hides behind romance

During a winter night of 1901, police raided a private house in Mexico City during a ball, all of whose upper-class attendees were men, half of them wearing corsets, dresses, jewellery and make-up. Yet, despite salacious media coverage, few arrests were withheld (the men were rich and could pay for their freedom) and no names […]

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Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party: deconstructing the white American psyche

The opening scene of this film plants you right in the action: two teenage boys masterbating together the night before the titular Henry Gamble’s birthday. Henry and his friend Gabe are the sons of two staunchly Christian households, and they’re talking about a girl while they do it, so no homo. Fortunately, as becomes increasingly clearer as the film progresses, there is, in fact, much homo. […]

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My Days of Mercy: clumsily sincere

Elliot Page is really the standout performance in My Days of Mercy (2017, Tali Shalom Ezer). In the film, they play Lucy, who, after her father is accused of first-degree murder in the US, becomes an anti-death penalty activist. At a protest outside a jail where an execution is taking place, Lucy meets Mercy (Kate Mara), an activist on the other side of the debate, whose father’s best friend and partner was murdered. Though they live in different states, Lucy in Ohio and Mercy in Illinois, the two have an undeniable spark. A sexual and romantic relationship thus develops as they try to grapple with the shocking differences in each views politics, the world, and the pursuit of forgiveness and justice. […]

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Ride or Die: joyfully chaotic… but to what end?

This film is doing a lot. Every one of the one hundred and forty two minutes (that’s nearly two and a half hours) is highly charged ー with drama, with plot, with sweeping vistas, and quite often with all three. It is an assault on your emotional sensibility from the very first scene, which culminates in a graphically violent and sexual murder. To take a step back and to look at what exactly this art is doing (if anything) is to be left with a myriad of questions. Crucially, I found myself wondering: is any of this really worth it? […]

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Happiness Adjacent: low budget, lower quality

Happiness Adjacent (Rob Williams, 2018) is one and a half hours of glaringly objective proof that you can’t just get on a cruise with an iPhone 3 and make a feature-length movie. (Okay, fine, an iPhone 6, but that doesn’t make it any better.) The film explores a story reminiscent gay p*rn: a straight married man (Kurt) who ends up falling for a gay guy (Hank) on a cruise. Hank narrates the film in voiceover, either as an omnipotent voice or in conversation with a towel in sunglasses which represents his friend Brian (no really), who abandoned him last-minute to sail the gulf of Mexico alone. It turns out low budget sometimes does mean low quality.

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