I quite enjoyed Two Brothers despite it looking like a black and white, very low quality home movie. The acting and plot were strong enough to overcome its faults, something movies we’ve seen with much higher budgets could learn something from (apparently this movie cost something ludicrous like $500 to make, so I guess every movie we’ve seen had a higher budget).
Riley is a farm boy, leaving on the death of his mother to stay with his brother Chad in the “big city”. Riley is gay, but repressed, more by circumstance than anything else. On the trip me meets Gavin and begins an affair with him when he gets to Vancouver. Gavin’s betrayal of Riley is quite monstrous, and something that we’ve not seen covered in gay movies yet: it’s almost homophobic, and a powerful thing to discuss in a gay-friendly movie.
The film centres around Riley and Chad and their relationship with their, now, dead parents, but it has two other strong threads of Riley’s relationship with Gavin and Chad’s with his girlfriend Toby. I don’t usually like the females in gay movies, but I really took to Toby. She openly describes herself as a gay man trapped in a woman’s body, something that rather struck a chord with me.
I wouldn’t want to shell out money for this one, or really watch it again, but I’m glad I've seen it and certainly don’t feel I’ve wasted an evening.
One of the two shorts, Birthday Time, really was worth seeing. Topher (short for Christopher) is about to turn 18. He knows he’s gay and the movie opens with him and his best friend in the school toilets having a momentous first, very shy encounter. But Jason pulls away from a kiss and when someone else comes in, he runs in fear.
Topher wistfully passes a gay bar, peering in to watch the men, and the following day gets up the courage to make a dash for the toilets. He meets an older man, who when he sees how young Topher is, runs for his life.
Topher’s mother has to go out of town and has invited an old friend of hers, Tom, to come and watch Topher—the father of a boy Topher’s own age, who Topher scornfully calls a jock. Tom arrives and turns out to be the man in the bar.
I won’t spoil the end of this very short movie, but it made me laugh out loud. The boy who plays Topher, Cory W Grant, is particularly beautiful (amazing eyes) with a very androgynous look, and he can really act. I expect to see a lot more of him soon if casting directors have any sense. Tom’s role is a very, very hard balance to get just right: he’s a predatory gay man, but he’s been entrusted with this young lad. The young lad, though, is determined to have his first gay encounter before he turns 18. Tom isn’t a saint, but he does try! He’s not the greatest of actors, but I did find his performance quite touching.
Worth watching for the amazing Cory Grant.
This is a very amusing little short that made me laugh all the way through it. Two over-the-top nellies are checking out all the gays in a bar. They see Mr Perfect and sail over to pick him up. But Mr Perfect as a major flaw: when cruised, his face begins to contort into all sorts of weird and wonderful shapes. Honestly, it sounds naff, but trust me, it’s very funny. The poor guy nearly scores so many times, but each time… off goes the face. I’m still chuckling as I think about it. Again, I won’t spoil the ending, but this writer has a wicked sense of humour.
Canadian Richard Bell made this one-hour film for $545.00. Rough & ready, filmed with what looks like handheld video camera in grainy B&W. Sets are basic, which is okay, but not stilted or over the top acting, and characters speaking lines not dialogue. I applaud the effort but the film isn’t very good and looks awful.
The film opens with a eulogy. Riley’s mother has died after a long illness. Freed from nursing duties, he heads for Vancouver to reconnect with Chad, the older brother he hasn’t seen for 6 years. He picks up Gavin, a hitchhiker going to see his girlfriend.
Chad has an annoying girlfriend, Toby. Riley is embarrassed when faghag Toby is upfront about his sexuality, and pays him more attention than Chad. Chad is unemployed and bitter, determined not to be like their dad. He didn’t even go home to see his mother before she died, yet she still preferred him to Riley. Family secrets explain why Chad upped and left his kid brother with responsibility for their sick mother.
Toby drags them to a gay bar, where Riley meets Gavin again, and goes home with him. Riley’s acting isn’t bad, and Chad is okay too, but Gavin is awful, and Toby plain excruciating, with an intensely irritating voice and manner. The actors are friends having fun making a film together, more than can be said for the audience suffering through this movie, never more than a rough draft of a script. We get melodramatic, cardboard characters who are devices and the story too contrived. I didn’t care enough about any of them to bother with what the film was trying to tell me about love and relationships and families. Riley and Gavin have no chemistry. Only Chad is sympathetic but he isn’t the focus.
Much better and more engaging is the short film Birthday included with the extras, about a sweet but not-so-innocent prettyboy desperate to have his first man2man kiss before his 18th birthday. And the older man who wants to do the right thing. Clever and funny and only too believable. Watch the extra scenes and interviews too.
The second short, Cruise Control, is a slightly surreal satire on cruising…I think.
Buy Two Brothers and Two Others from Amazon