Judge Brett Cullum is gentle and oh-so-tender with this misunderstood classic of gay cinema.
The past will catch up with you…
Ultraviolence, plenty of nudity, and jarring, rough relationships pepper Flirting with Anthony. Maybe if Quentin Tarantino were gay, a lot less talented, and had no budget this is what he'd come up with. The movie is near impossible to watch, but it aspires to be a daring, subversive entry into GLBT cinema. The real question is: Will anyone truly care to sit through this sadistic, low budget mess? Flirting with Anthony comes from TLA Releasing under their "guilty pleasures collection" label, and the description is apt since it spools off like violent porn. You'll want to beat someone up and take a shower if you pick this one up, and for some hardened fans that may be just the ticket they're looking for. Director Christian Calson (Shiner) works with an unrecognizable cast to deliver a story full of blood, sweat, and cum. Anthony (Daniel Cartier) and his girlfriend (aspiring actress Lowe Taylor) embark on a bizarre road trip which provides plenty of sex partners and a crazy psychic (gay icon Mink Stole, Serial Mom). Problem is Anthony used to be part of a gang of pansexual criminals, and the past is about to catch up with him in a violent way—with sexy results.
Nothing in Flirting with Anthony makes sense, nor do any of the sex scenes come off well. It tries hard to provoke, and offers a decidedly rough portrait of men's sexuality. Don't expect anything tender, as most of the guys and girls beat each other up as if they've joined a Fight Club dating service. The problem is we don't know or care about the characters, and when the erotic material pops up it's hard to follow with the shaky camera work. The cast is certainly rough and sexy with facial hair and tattoos, but they're photographed in unflattering ways that don't lend themselves to titillation. With a botched plot and unsexy sex scenes, there's not anything left to hold your interest. It looks like there could be some interesting elements, but ultimately the movie fails.
The DVD for Flirting with Anthony provides a letterboxed widescreen presentation which is unenhanced for televisions. The audio track is a muddy stereo which often finds the music crushing the dialogue and making things hard to follow. The source material appears to have been shot mainly on handheld digital video, and it's clean but often murky due to a lack of professional lighting. There's nothing extra save for a photo gallery. That's a shame, because the film needs some explanation.
Flirting with Anthony is a failed experiment in combining gay sex with violent imagery. The plot and camera work are muddy, and the DVD doesn't offer anything extra to clear things up. It's a low rent entry in TLA's guilty pleasure line, and is only notable for the full frontal nudity. It strives to be a controversial erotic crime thriller, but ends up a roughneck mess. Flirting and fighting never felt so pointless.
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Studio: TLA Releasing
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