Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Steve Callahan, William Christian, Dennis Christopher, John Ganun, Dean Howell
Director: Dean Howell
Genres: Drama, Gay & Lesbian
(Drama/Gay) Evoking such films and shows as Magnolia and "Six Feet Under", Nine Lives is a thought-provoking and candid look into the lives of nine characters (eight of which are homosexual) and how they are all are interc... more »
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Coincidences and Consequences
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 01/07/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Based on the Michael Kearns' play 'Complications', NINE LIVES introduces a sequence of the lives of nine men who are interconnected by the fact they are all participants in the roundelay of casual sexual encounters. The technique used is that of each actor speaking to the audience about his background and how each ended up in the rather sad state of living in which they find themselves. The stories are interesting if a bit repetitive (parental abuse of both the verbal and physical type, the agonies of 'coming out'. and the spectre of AIDS), but the script keeps the conversations mixed well with actual encounters so that we the audience are less confessional listeners so much as participants in the results of living life on the edge.
The cast is uniformly fine, a factor that keeps the film afloat in many instances. Particularly fine is Steve Callahan ('East Side Story') who seems to have a promising career. Director Dean Howell (who also wrote the screenplay) is another solid actor as are Eric Turic, William Christian, John Ganun, Dennis Christopher, Nick Salamone, Debra Wilson - well, the entire cast. The direction is tight and flows well from 'life to life', using sexual scenes where indicated, and keeping the focus on the darker side of the round of confessions. The cinematography by Mark A. Ryan keeps the look dark and coarse and a bit too much on the dreary side. The makeup artist Shari Balbien is none too kind to the actors' looks. Made in 2004 the film holds up well as far as content, a sad statement about the slow progress in the struggle against HIV infection. Grady Harp, January 08
Emotional backstories of anonymous sexual encounters
Bob Lind | Phoenix, AZ United States | 10/10/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Like a gay "La Ronde", "Nine Lives" (2004) follows nine individuals in a string (actually, it's a circle) of anonymous gay sexual encounters of a diverse group of individuals. The sex actually is secondary to the obvious emotional baggage of the people involved, based on past and concurrent relationships in their lives, dissatisfaction with the curves that life has thrown them, all leading to a disconnected and potentially dangerous (physically and mentally) need for such encounters.
The cast is much more professional than one would expect from a (primarily) gay film, and includes Golden Globe winner Dennis Christopher ("Breaking Away") as well as several other actors with significant credits, including screenwriters Michael Kearns and Dean Howell (Howell also directs). The skill of the acting makes the film much more engrossing than it would be in the hands of a less talented cast. The technique of the characters talking directly to the audience, explaining their feelings, works well in this context.
DVD extras include a deleted scene, outtakes and commentaries. Not rated, but would be a hard "R" due to content, language, numerous scenes of simulated sex and some partial nudity. I give the film four stars out of five."
Shoulda Stopped After One Life
Nick Archer | Bloomington, IL | 11/19/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This film takes us into the lives of nine people and shows how their lives are interrelated. The characters talk to the camera a lot which can be irritating but in this film works fairly well. Most of the characters spend time relating their darker sides to us. So far, so good, right? The problem is that most of these people are not people I would go to coffee with let alone desire to know. I just didn't care about the characters. They're all whiny, negative, out-of-control addicts. They keep making excuse after excuse for their behavior and blaming others for their lot in life. At the risk of sounding like a Fox News Channel pundit - can we get a little personal responsibility here? And with a wafer-thin plot there's not much else to recommend this movie. Not every movie has to end Happily Ever After but this movie simply spews ugliness, negativity, darkness and ultimately boredom. Two stars for decent production values, originality and acting. Still, I'd never watch it again."
Boring film that fails to make its point
Socalraverboy | West Hollywood, CA USA | 07/30/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I wanted to like this film, with all the comparisons to Six Feet Under, Six Degrees of Separation, etc. Instead, what I got was a bunch of boring vignettes about boring people. The inter-relation between them seems forced as a plotline, and failed to really make any point. Most of the characters were quite unlikeable too, and you fail to connect with any of them enough to really care what they are going through. It does somewhat have a documentary feel, but a very boring one nevertheless. I struggled to even finish the film."