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What's Up For Today?

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Mark Bessenger's
Bite Marks
The 17th Annual Philadelphia QFest
July 7 - 18th, 2011
Philadelphia

Written by Mark Bessenger

Starring: Benjamin Lutz, David Alanson, Windham Beacham, Stephen Geoffreys.

(USA 84 min.)

Reviewed by Frank J. Avella

It's refreshing to see gay films splicing off into their own subgenres. Of late, a bevy of gay horror flicks have played festivals and landed on DVD.

Newcomer Mark Bessenger has crafted a clever camp vampire-comedy that pays homage to zombie flicks, 60s B-movies as well as vamp satires and small town indies. The result, Bite Marks, is quite clever and intriguing.

The film boasts a wonderful title sequence that is enhanced by a rollicking good score by Rossano Galante paying homage to the films of Tim Burton.

The bare bones plot has hot and dopey trucker Brewster (Benjamin Lutz) on his way to deliver coffins to a funeral home. Along his journey, he picks up a bickering gay couple (David Alanson and Windham Beacham). It turns out Brewster is a repressed homo himself and seeing our couple get it on in a public toilet, awakens his desires. But before you can say ‘hot threesome’ the boys soon have a host of zombie-like vampires to deal with.

It's nice to see a film with sexy boys and blood-curdling killings that refuses to take itself too seriously and the trio of actors go a long way in making the film an enjoyable ride.

Novice actor David Alanson acquits himself nicely as the unbearably egocentric yet deliciously irresistible Vogel. Both Alanson's best features are on display here: his perfect bubble butt and his quick and cutting line deliveries. Have I mentioned how yummy he is? And speaking of yummy…

In the first few scenes I thought Benjamin Lutz was just a bad actor. But I soon realized one of Bessenger's many points of satire is the B-movie and Lutz embodies his character with all the B-movie gusto he can muster. Then, after seeing him in The Love Patient, I was hooked. Lutz is very funny and versatile.

Writer/Director Bessenger shows promise when he's not trying too hard to be witty. Some of the lines he forces on his characters are random and bizarre for the sake of being random and bizarre. Still, random and bizarre strikes me as better than predictable and mundane.

Qfest runs July 7, 2011 to July 18, 2011.

Screening locations for QFest 2011 are the Ritz East Theatre 1 and 2 and the Ritz at the Bourse.

For more information on QFest, visit www.qfest.com or call 267.765.9800; and follow the festival on

Twitter: @QFEST and Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/qfestphilly.



Christian Martin & Darren Flaxstone’s
Buffering

The 17th Annual Philadelphia QFest
July 7 - 18th, 2011
Philadelphia


Written by Christian Martin & Darren Flaxstone.

Starring: Alex Anthony, Conner Mckenzy, Jessica Matthews, Oliver Park, Bernie Hodges.

(UK, 80 min.)

Reviewed by Frank J. Avella


Christian Martin & Darren Flaxstone are responsible for the disturbing and bleak films Shank and Release; both have merit despite their brutality and extreme pessimism. Their follow-up film, Buffering, is quite a departure for these prolific filmmakers.

A young Brit couple (Alex Anthony & Conner Mckenzy) find themselves in dire financial straits and, in order to keep their suburban home, they turn to vidtaping themselves and posting their sexual escapades on the internet while charging viewers a fee. As the money begins to roll in, the relationship begins to suffer and these two “digital whores” decide to do one last showing—with a third party.

There are fun moments in Buffering but it is mostly silly and predictable.

Oliver Park is refreshingly elusive as the couple’s hot neighbor and delivers the film’s best line: “I’m not gay, I’m progressive.”

Buffering offers the viewer lots of flesh and fucking but very little else. It’s almost as if the filmmakers deliberately wanted to show that they weren’t nihilistic misanthropes so they created a mindless comedy with a happy ending to prove it. Sure, the film says something about how difficult it is to survive in these economic times but it’s flimsy at best. Had the boys gone on to amass a fortune and then had to deal with those repercussions, that may have been interesting but ‘the strain on the relationship’ plot is tired and done.

Preceded by the short: Fucked, directed by Christian Martin & Jack O’Dowd, which is an entertaining PSA about the dangers of drugs and unprotected sex that every teen should see.

Qfest runs July 7, 2011 to July 18, 2011.

Screening locations for QFest 2011 are the Ritz East Theatre 1 and 2 and the Ritz at the Bourse.

For more information on QFest, visit www.qfest.com or call 267.765.9800; and follow the festival on

Twitter: @QFEST and Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/qfestphilly.

 




Fred M. Caruso’s
Go Go Crazy
The 17th Annual Philadelphia QFest
July 7 - 18th, 2011
Philadelphia

Written by Fred M. Caruso.

Starring: Eric Spear, Michael Cusumano, Ryan Winish, Nick Kenkel, Paul Cereghino, Rick Crom, Christina Bianco, Jake Steel, Hedda Lettuce, Derek St. Pierre.

(USA, 105 min.)

Reviewed by Frank J. Avella


As mockumentaries go, the best (This is Spinal Tap, Best in Show) are hilarious. not simply because of funny situations and characters. but because the satire is biting and sharp.

Go Go Crazy fulfills all the loony requirements and delivers a clever and stinging look at a gaggle of contestants vying for the $1000 prize via a go-go competition at a gay bar.

Most of the laughs come from the fabulous first portion of the film where the 5 boys and three judges are interviewed in a deft send-up of reality TV packages.

We meet: Kieran (Michael Cusumano) the wholly ridiculous Russian ballet dancer; Vinnie (Nick Kenkel), a perfectly abbed, Jersey Shore-esque guido; Conor (Ryan Windish) the gorgeous, “straight” dude with an enormous package; Chase (Paul Cereghino) the conniving ex-Amish twink with a killer smile and Ken (Eric Spear) the dumb-as-dirt country boy.

In addition, the three judges weigh in, the most interesting being Tina Perkins (Christina Bianco) an actual female female-impersonator who does a mean Judy Garland but who’s Celine Di-off is simply sidesplitting. Her talking heads segment where she explains how she started out impersonating Baby Jessica is the funniest moment in the film.

Once the show commences, drag queen extraordinaire, Hedda Lettuce, takes over and we get to watch each boy do his thing— a mixed bag to say the least.


Caruso’s deliberately broad stereotypes and bitchy dialogue might turn some off but it’s part of the point here, I just wish there was more of a plot going on.

Go Go Crazy is structured well, although once we get to the second half it loses steam. And the coda is simply disappointing. Regardless, the camp elements will keep gay audiences watching, as will the hottie boys as they strut their sensational stuff.

The best compliment I can give this film is that I felt like I was at an actual go-go boy contest. All I really needed were a few margaritas!

Qfest runs July 7, 2011 to July 18, 2011.

Screening locations for QFest 2011 are the Ritz East Theatre 1 and 2 and the Ritz at the Bourse.

For more information on QFest, visit www.qfest.com or call 267.765.9800; and follow the festival on

Twitter: @QFEST and Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/qfestphilly.



Casper Andreas's
Going Down in La La Land

The 17th Annual Philadelphia QFest
Closing Night Feature
July 7 - 18th, 2011
Philadelphia

Written by Casper Andreas. Based on the novel by Andy Zeffer.

Starring: Matthew Ludwinski, Allison Lane, Michael Medico, Casper Andreas, John Schile, Jesse Archer, Bruce Vilanch, Judy Tenuta, Alec Mapa.

(USA, 105 min.)

Reviewed by Frank J. Avella


Casper Andreas is to be applauded for being so prolific even when his efforts yield mixed results. He’s given us a true gem (Between Love and Goodbye), a fun fab frolic (The Big Gay Musical), a silly comedy (Violet Tendencies) and a downright bore (A Four Letter Word).

Last year, in my review of Violet Tendencies I wrote: “I wish he would truly challenge himself with his next project. We shall see in about a year.” Well, I’m elated to report that Andreas has made his best film yet with Going Down in La La Land, an incisive and sometimes biting look at fame and power in Los Angeles.

Don’t let the title fool you, this film is an admirable attempt to scrutinize Hollywood and the tele-closet that exists for popular actors (something I’ve written about extensively) and Andreas truly captures the desire for fame and fortune that seems to envelop everyone in tinseltown. In addition, he has a good handle on how drugs and backstabbing permeate the culture.

Matthew Ludwinski plays Adam, our tour guide through the pitfalls of “la la land.” He’s arrived in LA, from New York, and hopes to make it big but ends up starring in gay porn. This gig leads to his turning tricks for some wealthy and closeted men—among them is one of television’s most popular sitcom stars (play winningly by Michael Medico). These two unlikely bedmates actually fall in love and someone leaks the relationship to the tabloids. Before you can say “paparazzi’ our TV star must decide between his career and the boy he has fallen for.

Ludwinski is incredibly appealing, adorably handsome and can actually act. He brings a genuine poignancy to Adam, making the viewer fall for him and root for him, even when the odds are stacked against him.

Andreas gives himself the thankless role of Nick, the photog bf who turns to meth. And he’s really good--so good, I wanted to see more of this character.

Allison Lane chews some scenery and steals some scenes as Adam’s fag-hag bestie who will do just about anything for her 15 minutes.

Andreas is to be commended on so many levels including how well he captures the decadent yet alluring look of Hollywood. His adaptation of the script, based on Andy Zeffer’s novel, is well-structured and quite clever.


SPOILER ALERT

The wholly unbelievable happy ending can even be forgiven, although the film seems to end where the story would get even more interesting. Perhaps a sequel, Casper?

Qfest runs July 7, 2011 to July 18, 2011.

Screening locations for QFest 2011 are the Ritz East Theatre 1 and 2 and the Ritz at the Bourse.

For more information on QFest, visit www.qfest.com or call 267.765.9800; and follow the festival on

Twitter: @QFEST and Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/qfestphilly.



Rashaad Ernesto Green's
Gun Hill Road

The 17th Annual Philadelphia QFest
July 7 - 18th, 2011
Philadelphia

Written by Rashaad Ernesto Green.

Starring: Esai Morales, Judy Reyes, Harmony Santana, Vincent Laresca, Robin de Jesus, Miriam Colon.

(USA, 88 min.)

Reviewed by Frank J. Avella

Esai Morales realistic portrayal of a hyper-masculine Latino father who must deal with the fact that his son is not the boy he left three years ago when he was shipped off to prison, is one of the major strengths of Rashaad Ernesto Green’s gritty and dark first feature, Gun Hill Road.

Another reason to recommend the film is Judy Reyes, who delivers a nuanced performance as a woman torn between two men, who is fiercely protective of her child, whom she loves, no matter what his choices are.

Finally, the stunning Harmony Santana, a real transgender teen, is so believable as Michael that I was certain she was actually a boy playing transgender, yet as Vanessa, she had me believing she had to be a female. Santana’s quiet moments truly take us into the mind of what it must be like when the world tells you there’s something wrong with you, yet you feel you’re finally finding who you truly are.

Gun Hill Road pulls no punches as it graphically depicts Vanessa’s sexual experiences. And the tone of the film is quite harsh and depressing (echoing the dark moments in The Crying Game).

Morales’ character, Enrique, may seem cliché yet he is true to life, although when Enrique brings his son to a hooker it made me squirm in my seat. However, Green takes that scene and makes it a perfect example of what that situation must be like for a boy like Michael. There’s no comic bit here, it’s sheer torture and difficult to watch.

My main quarrel with Gun Hill Road is that I was rarely moved by it and I wanted to be. In going for grit and audacity, somehow relatability and empathy were lost in the cine-translation.

Qfest runs July 7, 2011 to July 18, 2011.

Screening locations for QFest 2011 are the Ritz East Theatre 1 and 2 and the Ritz at the Bourse.

For more information on QFest, visit www.qfest.com or call 267.765.9800; and follow the festival on

Twitter: @QFEST and Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/qfestphilly.




Benjamin Cantu's
Harvest (Stadt Land Fluss)

The 17th Annual Philadelphia QFest
July 7 - 18th, 2011
Philadelphia

Written by Benjamin Cantu.

Starring: Lukas Steltner, Kai-Michael Muller, Karin Butsch, Markus Franke, Holger Merten, Uwe Schaezel, Walter Schulze, Petra Thymian.

(Germany, 85 min.)

Reviewed by Frank J. Avella


One of the most lyrical films about ‘coming out’ hails from Germany of all places. Benjamin Cantu’s Harvest literally takes place on a farm (most of the action, anyway) where two cute, young farmhands, training to be certified farmers, find each other and embark on a friendship filled with sexual tension and desire.

Be warned: Harvest is not loaded up with tons of nudity and soft-core porn scenes nor is it action packed. It takes its time as we get to know both boys and their environment (the third star of the film—along with the cows!)

Part of the compelling nature of the narrative is how it painstakingly details the mostly mundane toil of the farmer and how devoted these workers are to what they do.

Marko (Lukas Steltner) is the more tentative of the two, concerned with appearances, while Jakob (Kai Michael Muller), having come from the big city, is more comfortable with his sexuality. The two eventually embark on an excursion to Berlin where their relationship dynamics change for good.

Both actors are mesmerizing to watch as is the film itself.

Qfest runs July 7, 2011 to July 18, 2011.

Screening locations for QFest 2011 are the Ritz East Theatre 1 and 2 and the Ritz at the Bourse.

For more information on QFest, visit www.qfest.com or call 267.765.9800; and follow the festival on

Twitter: @QFEST and Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/qfestphilly.


 



John Lavin’s
Hollywood to Dollywood
A Documentary
The 17th Annual Philadelphia QFest
July 7 - 18th, 2011
Philadelphia

(USA, 81 min.)

Reviewed by Frank J. Avella


Hollywood to Dollywood is a thoroughly entertaining road-movie odyssey about two gay twin brothers (Gary and Larry Lane of Fear Factor fame) who have written a script titled Full Circle (a Dolly Parton song), with a part especially written for Ms. Parton. Our ID duo rent an RV and decide to drive cross country, literally from Hollywood to Dollywood, where the country queen will be appearing to celebrate the 25th anniversary of her theme park.

Prior to setting out they seek advice from a host of friends including: Chad Allen; Oscar winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black; and actors Leslie Jordan and Beth Grant.

Rest assured, this isn’t your normal trek film where they encounter many obstacles along the way (they do encounter some) but arrive and are triumphant as much as it’s an exploration of what being gay is like in the south—especially for young men with Christian fundamentalist parents who have harsh views on homosexuality.

Our tenacious twins themselves have significant others, one (Michael Bowen) takes to the road with them, but they’ve never been able to bring their boyfriends home for the holidays. In fact, neither twin is out to his parents for fear of being ostracized. One twin is much more critical of his mother than the other which allows a fascinating dual dynamic to be captured on film.

We also meet friends of the brothers, who have been shunned by their families but, curiously, choose to remain in their hometowns.

Of course a great deal of the picture is devoted to the icon herself and how she’s impacted their lives as well as the lives of her fiercely loyal fans—many of whom are gay.

And based on the large number of Parton tunes used in the film, Dolly and/or her people, must have seen and sanctioned the film. And why wouldn’t they since she is presented as a charming, loving and giving woman “who’s writing speaks to your soul.”

Do the boys meet their hero? Are they brave enough to hand her the script? And how does Dolly react to all of this?

You have to see the film to find out.

Hollywood to Dollywood deserves to find an audience. It’s about a deservedly beloved artist who has inspired an entire generation—including our two dreamers—with her many messages of love and acceptance. It’s also a harsh and penetrating look at the negative effects religion and good old-fashioned Southern values can have on gays and lesbians in desperate need of that love and acceptance.

Qfest runs July 7, 2011 to July 18, 2011.

Screening locations for QFest 2011 are the Ritz East Theatre 1 and 2 and the Ritz at the Bourse.

For more information on QFest, visit www.qfest.com or call 267.765.9800; and follow the festival on

Twitter: @QFEST and Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/qfestphilly.




Jean-Claude Schlim's
House of Boys

The 17th Annual Philadelphia QFest
July 7 - 18th, 2011
Philadelphia


Written by Jean-Claude Schlim, Christian Thiry, Robert David Graham.

Starring: Layke Anderson, Benn Northover, Eleanor David, Steven Webb, Luke Wilkins, Udo Kier, Stephen Fry

(Germany, 113 min. In English.)

Reviewed by Frank J. Avella


House of Boys is an admirable yet incredibly uneven film. I found it intermittently infuriating, engrossing, frustrating, touching, wince-inducing and challenging.

Jean-Claude Schlim is to be commended for what he’s attempting here, an epic love story during the early days of the AIDS epidemic. Yet his film is convoluted and lacks focus.

Frank (blonde boy bombshell Layke Anderson) is a striking, sexified 18-year old who flees Luxembourg where he is bullied at school to search out fun and boys in Amsterdam. Abandoned by his gal-pal, he stumbles into the House of Boys, an all-male cabaret/strip-club/prostitution bar run by a tough ‘n nasty but creepily loveable male Madame (the always-scary/fun Udo Kier). There he encounters a gaggle of predictably eccentric stereotype dancers: the tortured abuse victim, the enigmatic punker, the dandy saving for a sex-change and the “straight” dude just whoring until he gets enough money to bolt with his girlfriend.

The latter, Jake (Benn Northover), captures the heart and libido of Frank and, after a convenient plot twist the two boys are falling in love and making love (vs. having sex, get it?), but the year is 1984 and one of Jake’s tricks, an American, has infected Jake with a new virus that is still confounding doctors.

From there we get a prolonged sequence where we watch Jake degenerate as the lesions on his body multiply.

One of the major problems with this film is that the bond between Frank and Jake happens so quickly and unbelievably that we never truly believe in them as a couple so it’s hard to care about them once Jake gets sick making Frank’s torment over losing Jake borderline laughable.

The film continuously flashes back to a young boy in a corn field and while Jake is dying we finally realize it is the young Jake we are watching. The later scenes juxtaposed with Jake lying in agony in the hospital bed are fascinating as Schlim tries to say something about how people seem to drift back in time to their youth when they are dying. But since we aren’t really privy to understanding who Jake and since the main focus should be Frank, the moments are rendered hollow.

House of Boys can be described as Burlesque gone way-gay (redundant, I know) with a Flashdance meets Cabaret meets Longtime Companion by way of Coyote Ugly and Chicago feel. And the cabaret sequences are some of the best in the film.

The performances are all over the place, often dictated by the uneven script. Anderson tries hard and mostly succeeds in giving us a Frank we can care about.

The most realistic and best performance is by Eleanor David as the club manager.

The films visuals are impressive and the score is lovely when it isn’t obtrusive.

The worst thing about House of Boys is the dialogue (not necessarily the screenplay) which tends to be silly, cliché and simply unrealistic. It’s a shame because the filmmaker’s heart is in the right place.

Qfest runs July 7, 2011 to July 18, 2011.

Screening locations for QFest 2011 are the Ritz East Theatre 1 and 2 and the Ritz at the Bourse.

For more information on QFest, visit www.qfest.com or call 267.765.9800; and follow the festival on

Twitter: @QFEST and Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/qfestphilly.







J.T. Tepnapa's
Judas Kiss
Opening Night

The 17th Annual Philadelphia QFest
July 7 - 18th, 2011
Philadelphia

Written by J.T. Tepnapa & Carlos Pedraza,.

Starring: Richard Harmon, Charlie David, Sean Paul Lockhart (aka: Brent Corrigan), Timo Deschamps..

(USA, 94 min.)

Reviewed by Frank J. Avella

J.T. Tepnapa's Judas Kiss is the most ambitious Qfest film I’ve seen so far and I wholly understand it being the Opening Night feature since it lives up to a lot of what it promises.

Prolific gay actor Charlie David (Dante’s Cove) has his best role to date as Zachary Welles, a has-been at 35, who was once the most promising film student at his University. Zack is grudgingly coaxed into returning to his Alma Mater to judge a student film festival and immediately has a one-night fling with a gorgeous student (Richard Harmon).

Turns out that the trick’s name is Danny Reyes, Jr. and his film, Judas Kiss, is the most talked about entry in contention. Zach thinks someone is playing a cruel prank on him since he is Danny Reyes, Jr. and it is his film that is being judged. But that was fifteen years ago, so how can this be happening now?

Zach soon realizes (with a little help from an older friend) that he is there to try and prevent Danny (himself) from winning the festival so his life won’t turn into the empty mess it has become. But that won’t be easy since Danny is a cocky, superficial jerk whose dream is to be rich and famous.

The notion of going back in time to change one’s past is a very popular one in entertainment for good reason, but here Zack is not going back in time since both Dannys exist in the present making Judas Kiss spellbinding and slightly maddening. It would have been nice if the writers worked these dynamics out a bit more since it sometimes takes away form the enjoyment of the film. Still, if you buy into the premise, there’s a very suspenseful and entertaining time to be had since the movie has a lot to say about misguided ambition and true success. And good films ask more questions than they answer.

The film contains some terrific acting, especially by Richard Harmon (currently in The Killing on AMC) who provides just the right mix of petulance, sexual swagger and true pain to make us care about Danny and his future.

Sean Paul Lockhart is sweet and shows great promise as an actor. I’m sure one day he will appreciate a review that doesn’t feel the need to mention the fact that he’s also a gay porn star.

I wish the pic had dealt with the fact that Zach slept with himself (so many possibilities) or addressed the fact that he didn’t recognize himself (although I get the big picture implications there). Imagine if Zach had romanced Danny, the two had fallen for one another and then Zach realized who Danny really was…

Judas Kiss features good camerawork by David Berry and boasts a wonderfully penned confrontation scene between the two Dannys near the end. Oh, and there is a final twist (that I did not see coming) that is just outstanding.

Qfest runs July 7, 2011 to July 18, 2011.

Screening locations for QFest 2011 are the Ritz East Theatre 1 and 2 and the Ritz at the Bourse.

For more information on QFest, visit www.qfest.com or call 267.765.9800; and follow the festival on

Twitter: @QFEST and Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/qfestphilly.




Michael Simon's
The Love Patient
The 17th Annual Philadelphia QFest
July 7 - 18th, 2011
Philadelphia

Written by Michael Simon.

Starring: Benjamin Lutz, John Werskey, Jackson Palmer, Madison Gray, Laura Ulsh, John Kilpatrick, Mike Pfaff.

(USA, 95 min.)

Reviewed by Frank J. Avella


The only bad thing about Michael Simon’s feature debut, The Love Patient, is the lousy title. Otherwise, the film is very funny, occasionally fearless and surprisingly poignant.

The politically incorrect premise has cocky ad exec Paul (Bite Marks’ Benjamin Lutz), trying to win back his boyfriend Brad (John Werskey, also in Bite Marks). Brad, however, has taken up with bisexual hunk Ted (Jackson Palmer) and refuses to forgive Paul for his infidelities. Paul decides the only way to win Brad back is to fake having cancer.

As you can imagine the idea is pregnant with comedic possibilities and Simon has fun delving into quite a few of them as we meet Paul’s lunatic family including his wealthy “green” internet maverick of a sister Stephanie (the delightful, scene-stealing Madison Gray) who questions Paul’s illness almost immediately.

The Love Patient tends to be ridiculously predictable and the film wraps too hastily but thanks in large part to Lutz, who is so likeable—even as a cad—it works more than not. And there’s a particular “acid-laced pagan ritual” sequence that is beyond hilarious.

Simon should be commended for asking why it takes a fatal illness for people to come to important realizations about themselves and their lives. Here he does it by allowing us to laugh at the lengths one man will go to in order to regain what he’s lost. Most people don’t get that second chance and maybe they should.

Qfest runs July 7, 2011 to July 18, 2011.

Screening locations for QFest 2011 are the Ritz East Theatre 1 and 2 and the Ritz at the Bourse.

For more information on QFest, visit www.qfest.com or call 267.765.9800; and follow the festival on

Twitter: @QFEST and Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/qfestphilly.




Caytha Jentis’s
The One
The 17th Annual Philadelphia QFest
July 7 - 18th, 2011
Philadelphia


Written by Caytha Jentis.

Starring: Jon Prescott, Ian Novick, Margaret Anne Florence.

(USA, 90 min.)

Reviewed by Frank J. Avella


Thoughts of the 1982 film Making Love raced through my head while I was viewing Caytha Jentis’s moving and absorbing film, The One (a so-so title, btw). I wondered what that Arthur Hiller soap-mess would have been like had the “team” behind it worried less about being ‘commercial’ and simply told a good and truthful story—without the gloss.

That’s exactly what Jentis and her cast do in The One and the results are powerful, bracing and, ultimately, deliberately unsatisfying.

Daniel (oh so hunky and adorable Jon Prescott) is leading the ideal life with a great job, supportive parents and the perfect fiancé’ (Margaret Anne Florence). All his goals were set for him early on and he plans on fulfilling each one.

Enter Tommy (Ian Novick), a former college classmate, who stalks Daniel, and after one too-many drinks, seduces him, awakening all the desires Daniel has worked so hard to repress for so many years. Tommy falls in love with Daniel, who begins to return the feelings, but refuses to derail his plans to marry.

Jentis does not present a happy Hollywood version of things here. The characters are allowed to breathe and act and react. For example sex between Tommy and Daniel is actually married to love, not just animal desire. Jentis’ love and respect for these people goes a long way in authenticating her film. And so does her cast.

Jon Prescott gets deep under the skin of Daniel and unearths the buried desires that come with a heap of angst and pain. He is a man who was raised to have a certain kind of life and even though his sexual orientation gets in the way, he still truly wants some of the things he’s been taught to want. Jentis doesn’t judge Daniel for this (as so many “gay” films would have) and that makes the character genuine and Prescott’s performance revelatory.

Ian Novick is excellent as a guy falling in love for the very first time, and knowing just how hurt he might get. I just wish his character had been given a proper third act.

Margaret Anne Florence (in the Kate Jackson role) is simply lovely as the unsuspecting wife. Casting here was key to truly examining all the complexities of this too-common situation and Florence is so loveable that as we root for the boys, our enthuisism is marred by our concern for her feelings. She, too, needed a more fully-rounded third act.

But in the end is it is Daniel’s story and the film pulls no bullshit punches with his third act.

The One is one of the surprising gems of the Festival. It’s a terrific film.

Qfest runs July 7, 2011 to July 18, 2011.

Screening locations for QFest 2011 are the Ritz East Theatre 1 and 2 and the Ritz at the Bourse.

For more information on QFest, visit www.qfest.com or call 267.765.9800; and follow the festival on

Twitter: @QFEST and Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/qfestphilly.





Webster Forrest’s
Over the Edge
The 17th Annual Philadelphia QFest
July 7 - 18th, 2011
Philadelphia

Written by Webster Forrest.

Starring: Danny Bedford, Sean Hart, Phillip Davey, Fenella Fielding.


(UK, 73 min.)

Reviewed by Frank J. Avella


Webster Forrest’s dark, nasty, surreal and wholly entertaining new comedy, Over the Edge is definitely NOT for all audiences—not even all-gay audiences. It’s an acquired taste. And just when you think you have the style figured out it goes and switches gears on you.

For those who appreciate the bizarre and macabre mixed with the sexy and romantic—this may be your cup of tea.

A serial killer is on the loose in London and some of the most recent victims are turning up in our main character, Jason’s, flat. Jason seems less worried about the corpse in his bed than he is about his TV breaking so he calls his friend Richard to fix it. Richard likes Jason, who likes to walk around shirtless. Will our boys get to shag or will the decrepit old lady neighbor and her long monologues stop them?

Refreshingly odd, Over the Edge, demands a type of over-the-top acting from it’s cast and they deliver with great gusto. Danny Bedford is weirdly off-putting yet quite charming as Jason, while Sean Hart manages to be both smoldering and peculiar as Richard. Fenella Fielding is strangeness personified as the Old Lady. Finally, as the type of bumbling policeman we used to see in Blake Edwards’s films, Phillip Davey near steals the film simply by eating donuts.

Over the Edge is absurdist comedy taken to the extreme and, for this viewer, that’s a fabulous thing.

Qfest runs July 7, 2011 to July 18, 2011.

Screening locations for QFest 2011 are the Ritz East Theatre 1 and 2 and the Ritz at the Bourse.

For more information on QFest, visit www.qfest.com or call 267.765.9800; and follow the festival on

Twitter: @QFEST and Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/qfestphilly.


 

 


 

 


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