Judge Brett Cullum approves of black underwear; the lack of color hides everything you're ashamed of.
Six dark-themed gay short films.
Usually gay films are sold on the basis of either how sexy they are or how moving of a drama they can be. Basically they simply sell skin or sickness and sometimes both. Rarely does anybody try anything different than the usual stereotypical formulas, so it's nice to see Black Briefs cobble together a half dozen shorts that play it all different. Here are six very tough themed films that play with the genre to make it all seem a bit more dangerous. This is not safe movie making designed to make the GLBT crowd feel shiny and happy about a brave new world, but rather a collection of question marks about how well lit they want that place to be. If you're somewhat over the rainbow, this may be the place you've been dreaming of. But if you're squeamish, it could be a much too pitch black ride.
Spring is the first entry, and it shows an S&M flavored date that seems to go just a bit too far. It asks the viewer to decide at what point sexy sadistic tricks become degrading.
Remission features a cancer patient who's worst fears materialize to hunt him down in an isolated cabin in the woods. What do you do when the future comes at you like a crazy knife-wielding maniac from a Friday the 13th sequel?
Winner Takes All is about a pretty boy convinced he is worth fighting over, who invites his two lovers to do just that. Gay comic Alec Mapa gets a quick turn as the referee amidst the brawl. The film asks what preening gay twinks who think they are all that really deserve.
Promise is a pitch black take on the "perfect couple" the night before their nuptials. What do you do when the man of your dreams turns out to become the man of your married nightmare?
Video Night features Jack Plotnick (Girls Will Be Girls) in a fun little romp about a not so fun discovery when some buddies look at the video they just filmed. Sometimes video reveals too much.
Communication shows what happens when an Orthodox Jewish student inherits the estate of an estranged mentor. Can he handle the truth about their relationship?
The presentation is sparse and economically designed only to deliver the shorts without any frills. We get the six films presented together in a "play all" or chose your segment option. The transfers are all well done with the only variances resulting from the method the filmmakers used for the source material. Dialogue and music are clear enough, and there is nothing wrong with the sound mix for any of them. We don't get any extras which seems a shame, but I suppose a collection of twenty minutes or less films doesn't need much to support them.
Some of these quick projects work better than the others, but I have to say I admire all of them for taking the gay short in a new direction. Black Briefs, when taken as a whole, succeeds because it shows the audience something unexpected and quite often plays to a sense of gay horror that is unique. Like the best of Clive Barker's work, it marries the icky with the sexy. In some cases the shorts do go too far though, and sometimes bad taste crops up. There is a recurring rape theme that tried my patience since it seemed callous to include any material that could exploit that. Yet that is as dark as you can go, and I suspect Black Briefs earns its dark title by forcing the issue and making people uncomfortable. If you're looking for something different other than the usual sex comedy or coming out story this is a breath of fresh air. The only question is how far over the edge do you want to go?
Guilty of going to some uncomfortable dark places a half dozen times.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Guest House Films
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