Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Chad Bartley, Jeff Castle, Joel Bryant, Gaetano Jones
Director: Michael D. Akers
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Gay & Lesbian
Inspired by Michelangelo Antonionis 1961 classic LAvventura, Michael Akers PHOENIX is infused with symbolism and a sexy spark. Dylan Wells (Chad Edward Bartley) has a good job, a great apartment and an exciting relationshi... more »
Love, Relationships, and Trials
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 03/06/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"PHOENIX is the third feature by Michael D. Akers as a director and writer (here sharing the credits with Sandon Berg) and as with his other two features 'Matrimonium' and 'Gone, But Not Forgotten' there is a sense that Akers knows how to tell a good story, a story based on universal themes but just happening to be using gay characters to explain a similarity in all manners of love whether they be straight or gay.
LVN Dylan (Chad Bartley) is celebrating his 23rd birthday by setting his apartment with flowers and dinner, expecting his love of one year to arrive for the surprise. The love is Ken (Gaetano Jones) who arrives late and barely notices the setting, giving Dylan a clay vase as a gift and then telling him he must dash off to Phoenix for a failing real estate deal. Dylan is hurt then angry and breaks his gift, sending Ken off to Phoenix in a miff. Sorry for his behavior Dylan takes the money enclosed in a Birthday card from his folks and flies to Phoenix to apologize to Ken. But surprises arise in Phoenix: Ken is missing, Dylan traces the broken vase to discover chef/ceramist Demetrius (Jeff Castle) and learns that Ken and Demetrius have been partnered for seven years! Neither Dylan nor Demetrius is pleased with Ken's lying and cheating but they gradually admit to finding solace with each other and spend time together, including a physical encounter that leads to others as the two prolong Dylan's stay. How the love triangle is broken but remains influential is the resolution of the story.
Akers has the sensitivity to not make the story have the happy-wappy Hollywood ending: he also has the talent to capture love encounters in a very sensual way. The actors are all attractive men and given the lack of prior experience each has had, they offer fairly strong performances - especially Chad Bartley. The film is desperately in need of editing as there are extraneous scenes galore (the landscape scenes are far to brightly sun drenched for the desert locales captured. But in the end the film is successful in that it does present the joys, trials, and disappointments in love relationships in the gay community that could have easily been in a straight character movie - and that is refreshing! Grady Harp, March 07"
Realistic, but weak.
E. Rosa | 03/08/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The idea is interesting as it is very close to one's experience (who tends to fall in love easily), however, its development and poor acting jeopardize the movie. It seems to be a low-budget movie too. So, rent it if you want. As for me, I regretted buying it."
Michael L. Wiersma | Springfield, MA United States | 04/29/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Michael D. Akers made a memorable, insightful, and "fun" movie with Gone, But Not Forgotten. See it, and avoid "Phoenix."
Phoenix is a movie in search of meaning and in search of a story. In a nutshell, a young (and very cute) man discovers that his lover is leading a double life and has a husband in Phoenix. After the despicable and poorly-acted lover then disappears, he gets to know "the other man" and starts to fall for him. Big deal. Most of this movie is him wandering around and/or walking around the house/apartment/hotel in various states of undress. (These moments are actually some of the highlights.)
I'd completely avoid this movie. It's a wasted effort for Mr. Akers. I would have thought he could do better than this, certainly."
Sweet, realistic story of love and diisappointments
Bob Lind | Phoenix, AZ United States | 05/07/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"California surfer 23 year old Dylan Wells is in a long-distance relationship with Ken Sparks, who lives in "Phoenix"(2006). Dylan is a romantic, and yearns for the day when his boyfriend's work - which involves real estate deals - allows him to move in with him full-time, but tries to make the most out of their times together.
When Ken is called back suddenly to Phoenix, Dylan decides to surprise him and visit him there. The address he has for him turns out to be a hotel room, but Ken isn't there. Asking around, Dylan encounters Demetrius, who he later learns has been in a relationship with Ken for seven years. They learn that Ken has left town, perhaps permanently, following a somewhat shady failed deal. In consoling each other, they find they have some things in common, and a mutual attraction develops.
A low-budget film, made with inexperienced actors, which nevertheless manages to tell a touching, emotionally-rich story of what love really means to good people. In the role of Dylan, Chad Bartley shows significant range and emotion as a young gay man already already disillusioned with the games and insincerity that is often a part of the dating experience. The dialogue is realistic and devoid of simplistic stereotypes, the photography is very good, although the editing could have been sharper. DVD has no extras other than a couple of trailers and scene selection. I give this film four stars out of five.