Director Paul Oremland's witty, fast-paced love takes us into the gay nightclubs and pop music scenes of London where Matt (Ian Rose), a young, ultra-cool record producer visiting Blackpool, meets Craig (Steve Bell), a you... more »ng northern lad who makes money from illegal bare-knuckle fights and is struggling with his sexual identity. The two have a brief and clumsy sexual encounter that becomes a liaison which changes both of their lives. As they try to form a lasting relationship amongst all the pretense of London nightlife, Matt's bitchy boss Kelvin (Roger Daltrey), and his flatmate and biggest star, Paula (Dani Behr), try their best to keep them from living happily every after. LIKE IT IS takes a candid look at "Cool Britannia"--London's cutting-edge club culture--with exuberance, and offers an enjoyable and positive look of gay life rarely seen in films. In 1998, LIKE IT IS played to sold out festival crowds, rave reviews and smash openings in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Miami and other US cities. "Studded with good performances" (The Advocate) by actors Ian Rose and Steve Bell--who has been called "an amazing talent--clearly gorgeous, with marvelously expressive eyes, a chiseled body, powerful charisma" (Bay Area Reporter)-- and the legendary Roger Daltrey of The Who who is "appealingly devilish" (NY Times), as well as British pop star Dani Behr as pouty, spoiled diva.« less
"Much better than expected, it was. Steve Bell turned in a terrific performance as the bare-knuckle street fighter who tries to turn is life around for the better once he meets an openly gay music producer (handsome Ian Rose). It amazes me when straight actors give such top-notch performances as gay characters (Get Real, Beautiful Thing, ect) and Bell's performance is right up there. I was expecting a two-second cameo by Roger Daltrey, however, he plays a strong role in the film as the aging, rich bitchy queen of yore - he was excellent and had few zingers in his scenes. Theme wise, this film is optimistic and engaging. There's a subplot involving the creation of a '90's boy band that is just too precious - they can't dance, who knows if they can really sing and their music is very Euro-disco and teeny-bopper oriented. The lead singer of this group comes between Bell and Rose at one point in the story - could you imagine the British tabloid press getting a hold of that factoid? Director Paul Oremland gives us a film as earnest and romantic as he intends to give (the character of fighter Bell was inspired by his own experience as he explains in the DVD's featurette) and I look forward to his next projects. As for the DVD: the picture is letterboxed to 1.66:1. The video is much crisper and clearer than I was expecting - it looks very good. The sound is clean and audible. Music sequences give quite a punch and there is no background hiss to be heard. Colors are stable and natural, but I really liked the scenes in the nightclubs which were fairly vibrant without "bleeding" or "smearing". There is also an original trailer that is incorporated into the informative featurette. I especially liked the ending of the film which wisely avoids the Hollywood-ish all's well that ends well bug. Overall, recommended but try to get the DVD version of this film - the quality is pretty darn good."
(I) Like It (Is)
J. Edkin | South Orange, NJ | 12/29/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Like It Is" is an entertaining movie. While it is yet another coming out story, the performances and characters help make it more interesting than the average coming out story.The story starts in Blackpool, England, moves to London, and returns to Blackpool for a dramatic and fulfilling finale. The main character is Craig (very appealingly played by newcomer Steve Bell), a bare knuckle fighter in Blackpool who takes on whatever jobs he can to make a living. He is gay, but isn't ready to do anything about it until he meets record company promoter Matt (Ian Rose) outside a gay bar in Blackpool where Londoner Matt was supporting one of the artists label, Paula (Dani Behr), who is also his best friend and roommate. Craig invites Matt back to his house and asks Matt to *ahem* him. However, a virgin, Craig freaks out at the pain and throws Matt out. Matt tries to offer comfort, but Craig isn't ready to accept it. Matt leaves, leaving behind his card.Neither of the men can forget the other, and Craig finally decides he has to deal with himself and his sexuality, so he follows Matt to London. Matt takes Craig in and they begin a relationship. Craig has trouble fitting into the gay world and Paula feels jealousy towards Craig for taking her best friend's attention away from her. Added to the mix is Matt's boss Kelvin (the immensely entertaining Roger Daltry) who is very much attracted to rough trade like Craig.This is a very appealing film with interesting characters and strong performances all around. It does fall into the general category of the "coming out" story, but the settings and the characterization keep it fresh and interesting. The script by Robert Gray and the direction by Paul Oremland are sharp. I do wish that the DVD had a director's/writer's commentary track because I would like to know more about the choices they made and why they made them.All in all, I would recommend this film to people who enjoy "Get Real", "My Beautiful Laundrette", "Maurice", "Boyfriends", and the British "Queer as Folk (series one)".(C)2001 Joe Edkin"
Excellent film - driven by good lead performances
J. Edkin | 10/03/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've read a number of reviews drawing comparisons, both favorable and unfavorable, between Like It Is and another British film, Beautiful Thing. While both are British and both have gay themes, they are really about different situations. While Beautiful Thing is a coming of age and coming to terms with ones sexuality story, Like It Is is a love story about two people from very different backgrounds, and the lovers just happen to be gay.Yes, the film has its faults. Roger Daltry all but chews the scenery as he plays the over the top role of the vicious, conniving, record producer. And we're never completely sure why Paula, played by Dani Behr, is so opposed to the relationship between the two protagonists. There is also the suggestion, which I find a bit simplistic, that all boy bands are untalented media creations.But the performances of the actors in the two lead roles more than make up for the film's shortcomings. Steve Bell is completely believable as the "tough" from Blackpool, with little experience and not much in the way of urban savvy. He plays the character of Craig in an utterly charming performance. And Ian Rose, who plays Matt, pulls off a convincing performance as a sophisticated gay urbanite so focused on his climb up the business ladder that he doesn't have time for the complications of falling in love.Never mind that some of the complications that come up are just plot devices to keep the script moving along. Most movies have scripts with not entirely invisible machinations. Like It Is makes for an enjoyable evening and most viewers will probably want to watch it again. My only warning is that North Americans will probably have to listen very closely to understand some of the heavy accents."
Enjoyable Watching - Good Acting
Alethio Grapher | Denver, CO USA | 11/04/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm a straight woman and I really, really enjoyed this DVD. It's very erotic in parts (sometimes surprisingly), but I wouldn't characterize it as pornographic overall. The men are all fabulous...attractive and they act beautifully. There's no stereotypical gay behavior. This review is just kind of blah, but the movie was extremely enjoyable and good. Don't believe the awful review Amazon gave it. I have no clue where that guy was coming from."
Like it SHOULD BE!
Cameron C. Hammerstein | LEICESTER, United Kingdom | 01/05/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"No stereotypes here. I hate those gay films that have the obligatory handbag swinger, muscle-Mary or AIDS victim on tow. This film is so natural, and down to earth. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Steve Bell is sexy, because he is a natural; a lad on the street. He falls in love with another sexy man. Why can't this simple formula be applied more often in gay cinema? A good all round love story. Highly recommended."