“Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks” Fails to Prove Itrself Worthy of its Taleanted Leads
Thirty-something-year-old ex Broadway chorus boy Michael has run out of options and is down on his luck and the only job he can get is teaching old ladies to dance. There are plenty of them here in sunny Florida and all of them are looking for ways to pass their time in their twilight years. His first client is feisty 75 year old wealthy widow Lily, but the two of them take an instant dislike to each other the moment he arrives at her oceanside apartment.
With a very short fuse on his temper combined with a natural talent to put his foot into his mouth every time he speaks, Michael is quickly shown the door by Lily, or the ‘tight assed old biddy’ as he called her. She is furious enough to go to the Dance Academy where he works to cancel her lessons and intends to get him fired too. However with some very nimble footwork he talks himself into getting a second chance. Then later he has to repeat this to get a third chance and a fourth etc right up to the sixth and last lesson.
Every time the pair meet they squabble like a pair of kids and take it in turns to be the aggrieved party until they kiss and make up yet again. Much of the agreements are about nothing of any real consequence, but then again neither is this movie either. Throw in a nosey neighbor who constantly complains, and the predictable discovery of Michael’s tough past and Lily’s uncertain future (she’s ill), and that is about the full sum of it all.
It is excruciatingly unfunny with a script that is embarrassingly lame in parts that turns grins into grimaces. The saddest part of it all is that the movie stars Hollywood royalty in the form of Gina Rowlands in one of her rare screen performances these days. Even her creditable valiant efforts could not turn this sow’s ear into a silk purse.
Cheyenne Jackson as Michael has the tough job of being tough on the old lady and simply fails to do it. He just cannot play mean. He at least was not quite so miscast as poor Julian Sands who is sadly so painfully uncomfortable being the penny-pinching bitter Dance Academy Owner. The cast is completed by Oscar winner Rita Moreno as the neighbor who has no life and equally no good lines too, and Jacqui Weaver as Irene who takes her time realizing that she is never going to get her hands down (obviously gay) Michaels pants!
Adapted from what was a successful play that even ran on Broadway for a while before becoming a hit regularly performed by repertory companies. I can only assume therefore that although it was adapted by its author Richard Alfieri that something somehow got lost on the way to the silver screen.
P.S. If you really need a fix of seeing the wonderful Ms Rowlands , then instead rent ‘Gloria’ or ‘A Woman Under The Infuence’,both written and directed by her late husband John Cassavetes,
Posted by Roger Walker-Dack at 5:19 PM
Sunday, May 3, 2015
When the movie opens with an overflowing blocked lavatory in a small Bed and Breakfast Guest House in Saugatuck, you panic slightly if this small indie comedy is headed down the toilet pan too. The place is run by Maggie and her ‘can’t get a date’ gay son Drew and as it is Thanksgiving they are planning for the imminent arrival of the daughter of the house who left town to find her fortune and a fiance. She also found ‘God’ too and has become of these homophobic self-righteous pricks who want to impose their own bible-laden morality on everyone else who is not nearly as holy as her. The ‘family’ is completed by Drew’s best friend Brett who once dated Penny but is now more in love with liquor, and two full time residents, LaQuisha an African-American tranny, and Roberta who looks like she should be someones grandmother.
Maggie lets slip that her cancer has returned and her only hope for survival is an expensive experimental treatment in Chicago which she simply cannot afford. Neither can penniless Drew, so he reluctantly goes along with Brett’s madcap scheme of usurping the work of Penny’s fiance who runs a Gay Conversion scheme. The reasoning behind this is that they can tour all the Evangelical Churches in the State and hit them up for people who will pay to ‘become straight’ and raise enough to pay for all of Maggie’s treatment.
As unbelievable as it is, their fraudulent plan works and soon they are coining in the money, but it is also the part of the movie where the comedy turns into a farce, some of which is too far fetched and forced to be funny.
The plot may be lame, and the script grimace- making at times, but for a refreshing change for small budget movie like this, it has some really good acting. Max Adler (‘Dave in TV’s Glee’) is a rather charming Drew; veteran Soap Star Judith Chapman (‘The Young & Restless’) is a very grounded Maggie; and talented actor/filmmaker Danny Mooney is a very likable Brett.
Credit too for the fine production values and particularly for the unexpectedly impressive soundtrack.
Whatever its faults, it is hard not to warm to this big-hearted indie small movie, which although may not have you rolling in the aisles, will have you grinning from time to time, which is never a bad thing. The best line belongs to Brett who wants to hand all his own savings to Drew towards Maggie’s treatment. His BF refuses saying ‘it’s your rainy day fund’ to which Danny quickly retorts ‘Dude, it’s pouring!’
Posted by Roger Walker-Dack at 10:20 AM
Saturday, May 2, 2015
In the back streets of Manila amidst a vibrant transsexual community Dorina who is known as the ‘Doc’, is the purveyor of quick fix beauty enhancements. In a culture obsessed with looks and glamour this ex-entertainer provides the necessary collagen implants so that the ‘lady-birds’ can be transformed into a replica of their favorite female celebrity. With the next round of the Miss Gay 2013 Pageant about to happen Dorina is kept very busy trying to make sure her ‘clients’ are pretty enough to win Best Face as well as Best Gown Categories.
Originally from Japan, she drags her young nephew around all her appointments, even to see the Spectacular Show that her boyfriend performs in for tourists. Their relationship is on the wane although he is still happy enough to fuck her as long as she doesn’t remind him about the remaining part of her masculinity which is evidently large than his.
Just as Dorina seems like she cannot keep up with the demand for her services, there is a fatal accident involving ‘Mamma’ who is trying to correct a procedure that went wrong on one of the girls, and suddenly Dorina starts having her serious doubts about the reality of her work. Especially when she discovers exactly what she has been inadvertently injecting instead of collagen like she thought.
This colorful drama from Filipino filmmaker Eduardo Roy Jnr gives an insightful look into this marginalised part of society and the high price they pay to achieve the lives they aspire too. It’s not simply all as dazzling and pretty as the costumes they like to deck themselves in.
P.S. If you have Trypanophobia or any other form of needle phobia, you may want to miss one, as there is an awful lot of them being used.
Posted by Roger Walker-Dack at 11:31 AM
Labels: 2013, drama, Filipino, gay, transsexual
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
David Gold is a thirty-something year old man who is still trying to cling to his past when he was a successful child actor in a hit TV series. Now he is closeted gay alcoholic in total denial of so much more than his sexuality, including stage 3 skin cancer. The only work he can get these days is doing voice-overs for new age mood enhancing tapes but he gets fired from that job for being drunk and ‘sounding too gay’.
Now totally broke and about to be evicted from his shabby apartment where he hangs out all day watching VHS tapes of his old shows, he talks his way into a job doing the one thing he may be good at i.e. helping young people. To date that has just consisted of him being the means for them to get liquor from stores that won’t sell it to them, but now he espies an advertisement for a vacancy as a High School Guidance Counsellor. Having absolutely no qualifications for the job he ‘borrows’ them from a real Counsellor whom he discovers through Google. With a deft piece of identity theft he uses his acting skill to ape the man’s mantras about helping teenagers which he successfully repeats to a harried School Principal who is desperate to give him the job as he is about to leave on vacation the next day.
Complete in a creased corduroy suit and now wearing geeky glasses Roland Brown aka David Gold descends on the school ostensibly do a job that he has not got the faintest idea of how to go about. The other staff are very wary of him except for the gay gym teacher who refuses to believe that Roland is straight as he claims, and immediately starts to aggressively flirt with him. The students however soon take a shine to ‘Roland’ and his unconventional advice. When shy Rhonda comes to discuss the fact that she has no friends, he gives her a few vodka shots and implores her to just hit on the dumbest boy in her class. When Brett the school ‘pot’ dealer comes for a session Roland quickly discovers that his problem is that his potential is not being recognised by anyone in the school. That, and the fact he is selling the pot too cheap, but Roland fixes both of these things.
Jabrielle who plays truant regularly is however a much more serious case as Roland quickly realises that she is being abused at home. This unlikely pair of misfits bond and when eventually Roland is uncovered for being a fraud and is on the lam from the Law, its Jabrielle who hooks up with him as she has finally run away from home.
This rather wonderful oddball comedy is the work of Canadian filmmaker Pat Mills who wrote, directed and starred in it. Mills was once a child star, and in fact he had to pay 10 years of back Union dues to be eligible to act in his own movie. He has a remarkable delightful droll sense of humor that is quite black, totally politically incorrect but never ever mean. He has written himself some real corkers of lines like ‘Everybody knows that teenagers are going to drink and smoke drugs. If you do it with them, everybody has fun!” In a performance that has some animated camp touches that seem to be inspired in part to Pee Wee Herman he simply shines and is a real joy to watch.
If this really is what the path to self-destruction actually looks like, then I think more of us would give it a spin. With a shot (or two) of vodka in hand of course.
Posted by Roger Walker-Dack at 9:58 PM
Monday, April 27, 2015
Four gay men of different generations are searching for love, and much more, one cold winter’s night in Philadelphia and this is the story of how their paths cross until the morning breaks.
Brian is a 30-something-year-old writer who is at the end of his tether as he has been unable to write a single word since the successful publication of his first book of poetry. He seeks solace in a local bar in which he is the sole drinker until Chris comes in and immediately hits on him. Chris fesses up to have a girlfriend back home in the burbs but just feels an urgent need to get some hot man-on-man action. Which is exactly what he gets back at Brian’s apartment but the moment their very passionate lovemaking finishes, Chris freaks out, and leaves a stranded Brian desperate to know what he had done wrong.
He shares his insecurities with his ex roommate whom he wakes up in the middle of the night insisting that they discuss his problems there and then. Dan is straight but he too had once shared an emotional and physical connection with him and now Brian wants to know why that ended if it was all as real as Dan claims.
Whilst all this is going on, in another part of town super-hot 22 year old model Jim is being very energetically fucked by Drew his older lover on the bench of his workshop. Drew is a successful famous artist who considers Jim his muse, but a disgruntled Jim just believes he is being treated as a kept boy and threatens to leave and move to NY.
After he storms out of the house in a huff, he encounters Brian, and they hook up, and after more even hotter sex, he quickly abandons needy Brian who is now getting a serious complex about the men who just cannot leave him fast enough. Jim meanwhile gets picked up by elderly Bob who has been cruising the streets all night in a big white limousine drinking heavily and looking to get lucky.
He doesn’t but others do when this intriguing wee film neatly comes to a climax and it is almost a case of all’s well that end’s well, but not quite.
Written and directed by Joseph Graham (‘Strapped’) this edgy and very sensual and unsentimental movie is by no means perfect but it’s forthright take on contemporary gay life ….. well, sex anyway …. is both refreshing and extremely entertaining. Evidently based on a true story, it has a good script which was very stylishly shot and with some rather excellent performances from newbie actor Brian Sheppard (Brian), hunky Zach Ryan (Jim), comedian Grant Lancaster (Dan) and established local actor Colman Domingo (Drew).
BStrailerFINAL from Leilani Goode on Vimeo.
It’s a glorious summer’s day in July but despite the sunny weather it seems like everyone is having a bad day. Well, for these three different sets of friends at least. Steve and Tristan who used to be an ‘item’ are wasting a few hours on arguing about the ethics on how forthcoming one should be with the truth when you start dating someone new. Josh goes back to his old girlfriend’s house to retrieve his grandmother’s ring that he gave to her when things were better only to be ambushed by her demands. To see them squabble now, it is actually hard to ever imagine they ever were an engaged couple.
The third story strand is between two best friends who spend the day catching up to discover that neither of them are happy with their lot right now and its going to take a great deal more than the wine they are knocking back to solve their problems.
Each of the scenes are way too long to the point of where you become totally disengaged and uninterested in the outcome which is probably just as well as the connection you hope will link them all together at the end can be described at best as tenuous.
This micro-budget dramedy written and directed by Brandon Deyette, who also stars in it, tries way too hard to be impartial in each of the stories/arguments that he takes all the potential fizz out of his wee film. It also stars porn actor Charlie Harding who sadly cannot act, and Sadako Pointer (one of The Pointer Sisters) who happily can.
Posted by Roger Walker-Dack at 11:00 AM
Sunday, April 26, 2015
Set in one of the shabbier areas in Bilbao in Northern Spain, this is a tale of racism, homophobia plus both unfulfilled and unrequited love. It’s the story of Ibra a 15 year-old youth who has fled Morocco and is living hand-to-mouth in an immigrants hostel and trying to survive on nothing but his wits. He however catches the attention of Rafa a local boy his age in a bathroom of all places. Although Rafa is part of a local macho gang who go around town menacing people, particular Arabs, knows he is somewhat different than the others.
Soon Rafa and Ibra start hanging out together most of the time, and they start to become quite close. Despite a lot of lingering looks into each other’s eyes and the occasional hand brushing over the other, they never quite get around to acting on their very obvious feelings. Rafa cannot even bring himself to talk about it with his best friend Guille, but then again he has also totally failed to notice that Guille is carrying a big torch for him anyway.
Its probably best anyway that Rafa and Ibra do not ever get to take their relationship further as Ibra entered Spain illegally and can be deported at any moment. Why he left his home country is never made clear, nor too is a secondary potentially powerful story strand about another tough immigrant who is devoted to his disabled brother .
In the end it turns out to be film mainly about innocence, and Mikel Rudeda the writer/director tries to amp up the drama with intense close up shots of the two boys intermingled with scenes of a bleak urban landscape and a soundtrack of gentle pop music. It feels however that just when the story is on the edge of developing into something a tad deeper, it holds back which is a disappointment as it never seems to fulfill its potential.
Nevertheless this gentle slow-paced indie movie has much to be admired and I’m sure it will find the audience it deserves.
Posted by Roger Walker-Dack at 12:08 PM
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