Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Boys Life 5|
Director: Eytan Fox; David Ottenhouse; Michael Burke; Adam Salky; David Brind
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
BOYS LIFE 5 contains four films of self discovery by Auteur film makers: FISHBELLY WHITE by Michael White [director of "The Mudge Boy"], TIME OFF by Israeli filmmaker Eytan Fox [director of "Yossi & Jagger" and "Walk on Wa... more »
One of the best of the short-film compilations
RaabH | USA | 08/30/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The short films featured on this DVD explore a number of themes and are each rewarding in their own way.
For film buffs "Fishbelly White" might be of particular interest since it is the short-film "rough draft" of what eventually became director Michael Burke's full-length feature "The Mudge Boy". The differences between the earlier and later films mainly come through the subplots and expanded characters that the longer version can accommodate, with some elements of the main story changed or rearranged for dramatic effect. (For example, in "The Mudge Boy" the relationship between Perry and Duncan is far more vividly dramatized, and what I'll refer to as the chicken incident happens under more jarring circumstances.)
It is fascinating to compare the two films and see how the changes served to give the later film more impact. Still, while that later film is blessed with a bigger budget and the presence of rising star Emile Hirsh in the title role, the lead actors in "Fishbelly" do manage to put their own stamp on the characters of Duncan and Perry. (In this shorter verson of the story hardly any other character registers much. For instance, we barely glimpse Duncan's father, whose presence in the later movie is pivotal.) If "Fishbelly White" makes you curious to explore the story in more depth then you should definitely seek out "The Mudge Boy". I was disappointed when the DVD release of "Mudge Boy" didn't include "Fishbelly White" as a special feature but was very happy to find it here.
Another of the short films, "Time Off", similarly comes across like an earlier version of a later film by the director, in this case Eytan Fox and his feature "Yossi and Jagger". In "Time Off", a ranking officer in the Israeli army is attracted to one of the recruits under his command and is conflicted to the point of over-compensating. After a number of unexpected events that transpire during a day of military leave in the city of Jerusalem, the recruit is finally on to his commanding officer's game. In a sublimely clever final scene the officer seizes an opportunity to signal to the recruit how he feels about him. (This movie's dialog is in Hebrew with English subtitles.)
"Late Summer" is a 70's period piece set in New England and told in flashback, about an adolescent boy who arrives in Boston to stay with relatives after his father dies. In the days that follow the boy develops a powerful, life-changing crush on his older cousin. Let me say right away that as someone from Massachusetts I thought it was great to finally encounter a movie character with a Boston accent that actually sounds authentic, but that is just one of the many details that this production gets absolutely right. The ending comes abruptly and (to me) seems a little heavy-handed, but ultimately it doesn't detract from the excellent performances, direction, and production values. I should note that the actor playing the older cousin bears such a resemblance to Mark Wahlberg that at first I thought he might be another one of his brothers.
"Dare" is the shortest of the films here and despite being the director's graduate school project displays utter confidence and polish. Two high school boys -- one popular, the other a loner type whose friends are mostly girls -- end up spending an evening together at the popular boy's house. Ostensibly they are there to "run lines" for a school theater production, but anyone who's encountered this setup in other movies will be able to predict what happens next. Again, though, the writing, direction, and performances are so good in "Dare" that a story often retold is made new again. In fact you're ultimately left wanting to know more about what the future holds for the two main characters -- the sure sign of a gifted storyteller.
There are a lot of gay-themed short-film collections on DVD these days. This is one of the best."
The 5TH time's the charm............
JUST A REVIEWER2 | 06/14/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"First, an overview of this release, obviously the 5th in line of the "Boys Life"-series. To me it's probably the most successful. Yet, while several of the episodes in the earlier discs have been romantically catching, the bulk of their stories seem to share a theme wherein the director wants to philosophize about some point or another. Just not my cup of tea; give me the good, ole romantic scenario anytime. In this 5TH edition, "Dare" is a quite nice "romantical" piece. Adam Fleming's portrayal of Ben (Light Boy) is notable, with his end-of-film, small smile and quiet laugh being particularly telling (you'll catch the point upon watching). But it's a thanks to the heavens which should be given the producers of this disc for having wisely included an old-by-today's-standards (1990) release, from Israel of all places. Foremost in this review, then, has to be comment about a likely near unheard of little release:
"TIME OFF" (alternately titled "After" on the Imdb.com website) is one of the earliest works of Eytan Fox (later came "Yossi & Jagger" and "Walk on Water"). For many gays, or those so interested, "TO" may be one of the most satisfying short films on the disc. It's the story of an Israeli Army unit in training and on short leave, of it's lieutenant leader and, particularly, one of its young soldiers. Yonatan (Jonathan?), impressively played by actor, Hanoch Reim, is in the final stages of realizing who he is, sexually, and it is absolutely amazing to watch his reactions and growing response to the handsome young unit commander, a part also well-played by Gil Frank.
While many sections of this short, 45 minute film are slow going (unit training interactions and the fun "behavings" of young soldiers on a short leave in Jerusalem), it is when the film concentrates on Yonatan, especially during time spent in a city park, that we get most drawn in. A scene in the park men's restroom is almost palpable and one of the most arousing I've witnessed. Hanoch Reim gives us "a study in pure longing." The response he creates leaves no doubt in our minds as to just where he wants to be, what he wants to be doing...and with whom. (How CAN one do that, with just eyes, facial expression and the very slightest of head movements?)
It is rather surprising that, with one exception, young Reim doesn't seem to have gone on to later film performances in the succeeding 15 years. Frank, on the other hand, has kept somewhat busy, particularly in Israeli TV. But in this film, precursor to "Yossi & Jagger," at least Reim has left us with a most indelible performance.
PS: The last two lines of spoken dialog and a half-smile of realization will tell you everything you need to know."
Not as good as previous in the series...
M. FISHER | DURAL, NSW Australia | 07/18/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I was glad to see a new volume in the 'Boys Life' series and looked forward to it's continuence of quality gay shorts. However Volume 5 has let me down slightly. 'DARE' provides us with another oppotunity to relive those exciting young feelings we experienced at school, however it just falls short of delivering. 'Time Off' (from the maker of the feature film 'Yossi & Jagger') gets bogged down with dialogue and doesn't let the story develope on it's own merrits dispite it's lenghthy 45min running time. However, 'Fishbelly White' is indeed mysterious and disturbing at the same time. The saving grace of this set, and well worth the purchase price, is 'Late Summer'. Here we are dragged immediately into the life of a young boy whose Father has just died & how he spends his summer with his cousin. Truly a case of love & love lost, the ending will effect you long after your viewing. So 3 out of 5. Buy it if your collecting the series, if only for 'Last Summer', great stuff."
Rolando A. Perez | Los Angeles, CA USA | 07/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is about 4 short film stories. I give this movie 5 stars for the first story "Dare."
Dare is one the best coming out stories I have ever seen. It is sweet, well crafted with gorgeous actors. The story is set in rich suburbia, in a high school. Ben (light boy) has a crush on Johnny, all American, good looking, popular, stud of campus. Ben is an introverted nerd, no friends (except for one girl, Alexa). I am so glad that a director depicts the lonely school nerd as a beautiful guy, and not corky, skinny guy with big rimmed glasses. The movie starts with a high school play, Johnny and Alexa, being the main players of "A Street Car Named Desire." Ben as the operator of the stage lights (where he got his name "light boy" from Johnny). Johnny keeps forgetting his lines. Alexa gets pissed at him causing Johnny to get stranded at school after hours. Ben seizes the opportunity to offer a ride to Johnny (he has no idea that this chance gives him the greatest opportunity of his life). A beautiful rich home equipped with swimming pool, a frustrated Johnny, an open champagne bottle, a swim by both boys, a dare by Ben to Johnny. And pretty much things get out of hand revealing both boy's vulnerabilities. The ending scene pretty much says it all (sorry you got to see the movie).
The message of the film. Things are not alway what they seem to appear.
This delicious coming out story,is a gay man's dream (most people would think is a fantasy, but who knows, this may be happening across campuses in the country). Both actors are great. Adam Fleming is gorgeous. Michael Cassidy (I am not sure is a member of the Cassidy clan)has a smile to light up a town. There is a website for the movie but I have not being able to find out much about Adam Sulky, the director and producer. There seems to be a full length feature in the works but nothing will top this great short film."