Three Very Different Movies
interested_observer | San Francisco, CA USA | 08/11/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
""'Two Brothers' and Two Others" is a DVD with three very different movies on aspects of contemporary gay life.The feature film, "Two Brothers", is a micro-budget, black and white relationship drama with comic interludes set mostly in beautiful Vancouver, BC. Producer, writer, director, and cameraman Richard Bell was took four actors, one voice, one editor (Dennis Tal), and one sound person (Paul Moniz de Sa) and $545 Canadian dollars to create this hour-long film. With these limited resources, one must overlook items like graininess, the spartan gay bar, and some stray street or airplane sounds and instead look to the script and acting. (The sound and music were actually pretty good, considering.) The money was so tight, even getting a pizza was worth a mention in the fine commentary track provided in the extras. "Two Brothers" begins with younger brother Riley (21, played by Norbert Orlewicz) giving the eulogy at his mother's funeral. He settles the estate behind the scenes and then drives from Ashcroft, BC, to the apartment of his older brother Chad (Cody Campbell) in Vancouver. Along the way Riley picks up hitchhiker Gavin (Kevin MacDonald) who is also going to Vancouver. At Chad's place, Riley meets Chad's girlfriend Tobie (Karen Rae). We learn that Riley is gay. Later the group goes out to a gay bar where Gavin reappears and makes himself agreeable to Riley. Old family stories come out. When the brothers' strict father died, Chad moved away, leaving Riley alone to care for their sick, unstable mother. Gavin says he's eager and disease-free, but Riley has fears. Tobie acts as catalyst for everybody. Playful gay sex scenes; romantic straight ones. Twists, turns, and a mostly plausible ending. (The Riley-Gavin resolution needed work.) There is a summation in the voice of the dead mother Ruth Adamson (Wendy Vitter), taking a modified version of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 paired up with past scenes.The story is engaging, and the characters are appealing. Extras include a trailer, out-takes, photos, director (including Tal and Rae)'s commentary, and a making-of short. Norbert Orlewicz does an especially good job of making Riley the key figure with a deft mix of light and serious touches."Birthday Time" has a bigger budget, more cast members, and color. Gay Topher (i.e., Christopher, played winningly by Cory W. Grant) wants desperately to be kissed before he turns 18 shortly. He doesn't quite manage it at school and gets himself kicked out of the bathroom of a gay bar. When his mother takes a trip to Pittsburgh, a classmate's father, Tom (well played by Simon Wolley), arrives as babysitter. Topher had seen Tom at the bar. Unexpectedly, Topher finds out what a real daddy does. Dressing, showering, and fantasy scenes provide eye-candy. Nicely ambiguous, happy ending. There is a behind-the-scenes and a photo gallery. "Cruise Control" is a six minute elaborated joke set in a gay bar. The film illustrates the notion that some men may be great to look at, but as soon as they open their mouths... The beefy hunk first attracts and then repels several guys, until one figures out the magic, storied solution. For me the highlights were the comments made by the never-attracted Flotilla Debarge and Hedda Lettuce, playing Stall Queens. There are no extras to this short."
Cheesy production, but with a good story and cast.
ardar88 | Falls Church, VA USA | 05/07/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This extremely low-budget film is worth a look. Get past the bottom line production quality. If you're looking for Hollywood style gloss, keep looking. It really looks like something that was thrown together by somebody with a home video camera, but there is a good story and some credible performances. One has to admire the director's tenacity in even completing this film, despite the numerous production limitations. It's like watching a person swim the English Channel, but with a broken leg and during a hurricane. No great art, but worth checking out.