TLA Releasing Presents: 6 gay films
August 8 through 15, Quad Cinema
In a calculated bid to promote its upcoming slate of dvd releases and also prompt urban men to leave the house and support queer cinema, TLA Releasing, which does most of its business through the mail, has bundled six titles together for a one-week mini-festival. Director Poj Arnons Bangkok Love Story is a lushly photographed action drama about a lean, sexy Thai hitman who finds himself saving the life of the lean, sexy man hes supposed to kill. Hiding out together, the two fall in love, and if what follows is jaw-droppingly melodramatic, theres no denying the affecting intensity of Chaiwat Thongsaeng performance as the would-be victim. In the Spanish comedy, Boystown, a bearish Madrid couple is framed for murder by the gay real estate developer whos been killing all the little old ladies who refuse to sell him their apartments. Director Juan Flahn lets many of the comic scenes go on for too long, but the murder sequences are startlingly intensehe appears to be a fan of the Hitchcock thriller, Frenzy. A group of gay men head to a California mountain retreat for an annual weekend of sexual hijinks and personal revelation in Rob Williamss 3-Day Weekend. Although hes working a well-worn formula, Williams wins big points for suggesting that there is indeed gay life after 40. Wrangler: Anatomy of an Icon is Jeffrey Schwarzs entertaining documentary about 1970s porn god Jack Wrangler, a man Schwarz fawns over quite a bit, but whose tales of the glory days of sex, fun, and liberation are too juicy to disregard. In the sexually frank (whoa!) French drama I Dreamt Under the Water, the director known as Hormoz draws a moving performance from Hubert Benhamdine as a young Paris bisexual whose despair over the death of his best friend and unrequited love leads him to drugs and prostitution. A promising visual stylist, Hormoz is a director to watch. Filmmaker Damion Dietz is known for making silly comedies (Fag Hag, Beverly Kills) but in Dog Tags, he gets serious, and is all the better for it. This story of a mascara-heavy sad boy (Bart Fletcher) who falls in love with a soldier (Paul Preiss) he meets on the highway has a pointless flashback structure and some trite plotting, yet the young Marine haunts, thanks to the deeply-felt work of Preiss, a newcomer whose perfume adgood looks shouldnt be held against him. It would appear that by expanding his gaze and focusing on Preisss (mostly) straight man and the women who rule him (including American Graffitis Candy Clark), Dietz has freed himself as a writer, a lesson many artists on the queer film beat might well heed.