It's "just the guys" when Vaughn invites his childhood best friends up to the family cabin for a leisurely winter weekend. As they break out the cards and plan the next day∆s hunting trip, it becomes obvious that time and ... more »separation has altered the men. New rivalries and sexual tension combine with old secrets to upset their cozy routines. Then the arrival of some much unexpected guests further threatens the survival of their long-treasured friendship.« less
M. J Leonard | Silver Lake, Los Angeles, CA United States | 12/31/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Things don't work out exactly as planned when a group of childhood friends meet for a weekend of drinking, revelry, and deer hunting in the wilds of Ontario. It's been along time since Vaughn (Martin Cummins) has got together with his buddies, and it's a reunion that has been long over due. But old friendships begin to fall prey to new tensions, as the tightly fuelled testosterone bond between these men begins to unravel.
Long-buried secrets give way to sexual tensions, and tempers begin to flare. When a knock on the cabin door signals the arrival of some surprising guests, the relaxing weekend retreat becomes a dire struggle to salvage what little is left of the group's fragile friendship. Gay Jon (Greg Spottiswood) - perhaps the happiest of the group - falls for Steve (James Thomas), a hunky fitness instructor, who although says he's straight, seems to want to sleep with guys for recreation.
Bryan (David Hewlett) a second rate songwriter and singer is Vaughn's best friend, but he's also friends with Vaughn's ex-wife Renee (Brandy Ledford). Vaughn, full of bitterness, hostility, and anger, is resentful that Bryan still sees Renee. Completing the circle is the dark, brooding Trevor, Vaughn's uninvited black sheep brother. Trevor has a gambling addiction and has come to the cabin to ask his brother for help, yet he resents the fact that his younger and more successful sibling inherited the cabin from their parents. The yuppie Vaughn however, sees his wayward brother as just another one of life's losers.
None of these men are particularly happy, and many of their issues remain unsolved. Steve immediately shuts down any further discussion of his night with Jon by telling him "nothing happened, we were drunk." And Trevor and Vaughn's troubled relationship remains just as enigmatic and fraught with problems by the film's end - their old family scores remaining unsettled.
Everyone seems to want to unload their insecurities and secrets but none of them are prepared to listen, when a drunk Bryan tries to tell Trevor about his infidelities, Trevor replies "I don't want your secrets." So rather than talk out their feelings, the guys pass the time by playing poker, getting drunk, and swapping jibes and gas jokes in the Jacuzzi; they even have a game of ice hockey, where the poor Jon gets the worst of it.
Ice Men is gritty, thought provoking, and disturbing, it's a beautifully acted film that not only exposes male vulnerability, but also explores the varying degrees of male sexual ambiguity. The interior lives of these macho men are gradually exposed and while the air outside is thick with snow - bitingly captured in brilliant camera work - the air inside is thick with tensions: broken hearts, sibling rivalry, childhood fears, financial desperation, and even sexual desire. Mike Leonard December 05. "
Captivating Film, Beautiful Scenery
Dorrie Wheeler | 01/04/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ice Men is the story of a group of friends who retreat to a cabin in the wilderness to catch up on all times. Surrounded by snow with apparantly nothing for miles around, there is a lot of mystery involved with this trip. First one friend, unexpectedly shows up. Apparantly, he has tenstion with another friend. If you are wondering why I'm not mentioning the cast members by name, it's because the character development is decent but they dont refer to the characters by name much. They hang out in the hot tub and drink too much. The men are straight for the most part and boast of girlfriends with nice rear ends and nice breasts but one of the friends finds himself very attracted to his male friend and thinks about touching his friend while he is passed out. His lust is near uncontrollable as he touches his sleeping friends private parts. When his sleeping friend awakes and is accepting of his advances things really heat up and after the hunting trip the next day it's clear things will never be the same for these friends again. There are a lot of secrets and jealousy will rear it's ugly head.
If you have been hearing a lot about the film Brokeback Mountain, you may want to check out Ice Men. This lower budge film has a similar storyline and you may enjoy it. Martin Cummins, David Hewlett, Brandy Ledford and Greg Spottiswood star in the film among others. It's a really captivating film and you will really want to watch it until the very end."
Reunions and their Consequences
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 12/25/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Thom Best of 'Queer as Folk' directs this taut story by Michael MacLennan, a tale of how friendships since childhood are altered by life's flow and the difficulties inherent in attempting restoration.
Vaughn (Martin Cummins), distraught over being tossed by his ex Renee (Brandy Ledford), invites his three best friends to his snowbound cabin somewhere in Canada for a weekend of fun, hunting and drinking. Vaughn's parents are now dead and he has taken over the family cabin that held memories of his childhood, both the good and bad aspects of it. The three friends arrive: Jon (Greg Spottiswood) is now a gay man; Steve (hunky James Thomas) is a personal trainer involved with a demanding girlfriend whom he must call constantly to reassure; and Bryan (David Hewlett) an alcoholic songwriter and singer who is on the skids and whose wife is Renee's best friend. Into this mix enters Vaughn's older estranged brother Trevor (Ian Tracey) who has spent his life gambling and comes to request his share of the brothers' inheritance to pay off gambling debts. And to further complicate matters, Renee shows up to 'get her things' and flaunt her decision to leave Vaughn in front of his friends.
In this frozen setting each of the men unearths secrets and demons: no one is who they appear to have been as childhood friends. There is a devastating schism between Vaughn and Trevor magnified by their childhood history of abuse by their hunter father, a sexual encounter between Jon and Steve that reveals much about each, and another sexual encounter involving Bryan and the visiting Renee that likewise brings the pot of ice boil over. There are no resolutions: none are needed. The story merely lets us observe the consequences of reunions with men whose lives have grown apart.
Well directed and beautifully photographed, the story unfolds in a slow but steady fashion that maintains our interest even though the characters (except for Trevor) are tropes to a degree. The one important criticism of this interesting film is the sound editor's problem: the conversations are often drowned in music or spoken so softly that the messages are indecipherable. And that is a shame, because otherwise this is a credible story of how men interact when isolated together after years of life changes. Grady Harp, December 05"
Not What I Expected
Rolando A. Perez | Los Angeles, CA USA | 01/03/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Whoever thought that this movie should be classified gay, should have their thinking process re-examined. In my opinion, the main plot or story of this movie is very heterosexual. Perhaps because there is a bed scene between two guys classifies it as gay, but it is mostly about guys bonding and their relationships since kids.
The plot revolves about a weekend outing of five guys who grew up together somewhere in Canada. It is the 30th birthday of one of the guys. They go to a cabin in the woods, a place where they use to hang together as kids. The cabin is now owned by a very successful lawyer, who happens to have a brother who is invited by one of the other guys. This guy is a looser and hated by his brother.
There is a songwriter (whose birthday is being celebrated), a gym instructor (who is acting straight but deep inside he is not), and a failing photographer (who is open gay and lets them all know at the reunion. At least he is honest about himself.) The photographer and the gym instructor go at it one night in bed. The gym instructor resents the fact that it happened, he claims he was drunk, the other guy doesn't think so.
The story is basically about how screwed up these men lives are, whether they are successful or not. The two brothers lives are closely examined and there seems to be a lot of flashback scenes on one of them dealing with a deer hunting trip with their father, whether he was forced to kill a dove to prove to be a man.
There is a lot drinking, inner soul searching, a lot of bickering and fighting among each other. A near drowning by the gambling brother (trying to commit suicide) brings them all back together at the end of the movie.
The movie was not a total disappointment but it is not what I expected. This is a mixed movie. May be some gay men can associate with this kind of material."
Male High Drama In The Snow
Michael L. Wiersma | Springfield, MA United States | 01/01/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Four friends plan a trip to a cabin in the woods to bask in the glory of their friendship and do some recreational drinking, hunting, and, turns out, have a little sex. With the help from two unlikely surprise visitors: one black sheep (and very troubled) older brother and one ex.
This film keeps you guessing all the way through and you'll do a little gasping, too, I think, as the story, and the back story, reveal themselves with a finesse that I seldom see. One note, that this is hardly a "gay movie" as much as it has one gay character and, probably, one closet case.
First, the good: Good acting, marvelous sequences of interaction, both verbal and otherwise, great sets, both indoors and out, lots of affecting snow and ice and cold (reminds me of the madness of The Shining) and enough baggage, secrets, and lies to fill a great novel.
Then, the bad: Sound issues: what are they saying, exactly? ("Muddy," is what I would term the sound.) Sense of resolution: pretty much, there is none. I understand some viewers feeling cheated out of an ending, because the movie pretty much stops with very little resolved or concluded. You get the sense these men will be stuck forever in their errant paths. And that may be, actually, a logical conclusion for these characters that don't have "enough guts" to make a change.
But hope springs eternal, and I can project enough hope on these hopeless characters to carry the movie through for myself. It's a wonderfully riveting hour and forty-five minutes that you won't soon forget. You'll just have to fill in the blanks at the end for yourself. It's not a bad thing."