When Being Perfect Isn't Enough - Short Film 'Straight A'

Check out this thoughtful short film, Straight A, from actor/writer Todd Lien.

Lien wrote, produced and starred in the short as his thesis film for the New York Film Academy’s MFA program.

The handsome actor says the movie is based on the true story of his own coming out to his father.

Lien plays a version of himself in the 8 minute film as he struggles to maintain a long-term relationship with his boyfriend Kyle (Zach Cramblit) while keeping up the image of the perfect son to his father (Nathan Chen).

In the movie, it appears being an over-achiever who gets straight A’s in school and is elected president of the student body isn’t enough for the father.

Or is it?

Watch Straight A below:

Lein shares this note on the YouTube page:

I am grateful for the supporting father I have, but I want to be clear that I know this is not how many people's experiences are like. I just want to share some happy ending story like mine out there for more positivity and hope! The message is that sometimes we need to give our parents a little more credit for acceptance. Hope this video does that for as many people out there as possible!

Lien’s film credits include The Choice (2017), Alpha Delta Zatan (2017) and the TV miniseries Bob’s New Roommates (2017).

But wait - there's more!

He’s also a part of the Asian Magic Mike troupe! Whoo-hoo!


The hottie is not only talented on screen and down with the sexy moves onstage, but waaay photogenic, as his 20K Instagram followers have discovered.






A post shared by Todd Lien (@toddlien_official) on


(h/t Towleroad)

Trailer: MAPPLETHORPE Chronicles Life Of Controversial Photographer

“In church I found God, and then Polaroid led me straight to the devil.”

A rather apt statement from Matt Smith’s “Robert Mapplethorpe” in the trailer for the upcoming biopic, Mapplethorpe.

Smith (The Crown, Doctor Who) stars as the controversial and provocative photographer of the 1970s and 1980s who became a flashpoint for political conversations about art versus pornography.

The influential artist, who died in 1989 due to AIDS-related causes, scandalized the art world with his images of S&M scenes and the naked male body.

From the trailer description:

Robert Mapplethorpe (Matt Smith) is arguably one of the most important artists of the 20th century. Mapplethorpe discovered himself both sexually and artistically in New York City throughout the 70’s and 80’s. The film explores Mapplethorpe’s life from moments before he and Patti Smith moved into the famed Chelsea hotel, home to a world of bohemian chic. Here he begins photographing its inhabitants and his new found circle of friends including artists and musicians, socialites, film stars, and members of the S&M underground.

Mapplethorpe’s work embraced eroticism in a manner that shocked and challenged the public’s views on the boundaries of art. The film explores the intersection of his art and his sexuality along with his struggle for mainstream recognition. 

“Like any artist in many senses he was vilified at the time,” Smith told EW. “But that’s because he was pushing the boundaries and the form and the envelope of that he was doing and the time he was in, and often the purpose of art is to do that.”

Mapplethorpe was also responsible, in part, in reigniting interest in photography as an evocative, mainstream art form.

“I’m an artist,” says Smith in the film. “I would have been a painter, but the camera was invented.”

In that Mapplethorpe died of AIDS, Smith also explored the impact of the disease that nearly wiped out a generation of gay men. He told EW:

Just investigating that moment in time, it certainly made me reflect on being a homosexual in the ’70s in New York and the way they were treated for a disease that was completely misunderstood. You think with what we know now about HIV and AIDS, you think if only we could have imparted a bit of the medicinal knowledge and the cultural understanding of that thing. It was appalling really what happened to gay men then, and the way they were treated, and what they had to go through. It’s amazing how far we’ve come in being able to treat that particular disease. It absolutely made me think about that. He died so young and if he were around now, then he’d live out the whole of his life and still be a brilliant, prolific artist I’m sure. Because he was prolific. He just worked and worked and worked.

Directed by Ondi Timoner, the movie premiered earlier this year at the Tribeca Film Festival and the critics raved.

“A phenomenal performance from lead Matt Smith,” wrote Lena Smith for Slate. “Audiences will feel unable to tear themselves away.”

The Hollywood Reporter also gushed about the film’s "superb performance from Matt Smith.”

“The film is afraid of neither the life nor the work of the notorious photographer,” penned Dan Callahan for The Wrap.

The movie also stars Marianne Rendón, Mark Moses, Carolyn McCormick, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Brandon Sklenar, McKinley Belcher III, and Kerry Butler.

A favorite on the film festival circuit, the movie garnered several awards including:

• Winner of the Audience Award (Feature Film) at the Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival

• Winner of the Audience Award (Best LGBTQ Film) at the Key West Film Festival

• Winner of the Audience Award (Narrative Film) at the Long Beach Film Festival

• Winner of the Audience Award (Best Feature Film) at the Oslo/Fusion International Film Festival

Mapplethorpe lands in theaters March 1, 2019. Watch the trailer below.



(h/t EW)

Taron Egerton: There Will Be A Gay Sex Scene In 'Rocketman'With ...

Taron Egerton, of the Kingsman movie franchise, shares that he’s filmed a sex scene for the upcoming Elton John biopic, Rocketman.

The 29-year-old actor stars as the legendary pop superstar and Richard Madden, of the hit UK TV series The Bodyguard, plays his longtime manager, John Reid, who John also dated for five years.

"I probably shouldn't be telling you this but we have a sex scene,” Egerton shared with The List. “We went to some places together and got quite physical.”

"I've watched it back and I think it looks great,” he shared. “The grown-up nature of the film, combined with it being a musical, makes it feel quite zeitgeisty.” 

Earlier reports alluded to the film being designed as a ‘musical fantasy’ and Egerton seemed to elaborate on that saying, “It’s basically about Elton in rehab, so we're not watering anything down."

And while the recent Bohemian Rhapsody seemed to shy away from rocker Freddie Mercury’s sex life, Rocketman promises to be upfront in its portrayal of Elton John’s love affairs.

“It's very consciously a proud, gay film and it's also open to showing Elton's darker moments,” Egerton added.

“The movie we shot is absolutely a celebration of everything that Elton John is and part of that is his sexuality,” he recently told MTV International. “I actually think the gay community will be quite surprised by quite how gay it feels.”

The Robin Hood star, who recently clarified that he's not gay but very comfortable with his gay friends, also shares that he’s not “remotely perturbed by male intimacy” adding that he’s “quite proud of what we’ve done with it.”

Rocketman hits theaters May 17, 2019.



(h/t The List, MTV)

(Lead photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr - CC License)

Queen Biopic 'Bohemian Rhapsody' Becomes #1 Grossing Queer-Themed Film

The Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, starring Rami Malek, has become the highest grossing queer-themed movie in U.S. history.

At this writing the film has grossed $135,524,253 in the United States.

That’s far ahead of the number two LGBT-centric film, The Birdcage, which starred Robin Williams and Nathan Lane. That 1996 movie has garnered $124,060,553 domestically to date.

Rounding out the Top 5 U.S. queer films are:

3. Interview with the Vampire $105,264,608 (1994)

4. The Imitation Game $91,125,683 (2014)

5. Brokeback Mountain $83,043,761 (2005)

Taking into account global box office receipts, here’s how the Top 5 stack up:

1. Bohemian Rhapsody - $404,524,253

2. The Imitation Game - $233,555,708

3. Interview with the Vampire - $223,664,608

4. The Birdcage - $185,260,553

5. Brokeback Mountain  - $178,062,759

Bohemian Rhapsody also ranks number two in terms of musical biopics, coming in behind Straight Outta Compton ($161,197,785 domestically).

Rhapsody could get a significant box office bump should Malek snag an Oscar nomination. 

While the film received mixed reviews (currently ranked 62% on Rotten Tomatoes) for various reasons (too gay, not gay enough, not historically accurate, pedestrian storytelling), Malek was roundly praised for his performance as Queen frontman, Freddie Mercury.

Considering the movie was made for approximately $52 million, these numbers have to thrill the creators and Fox (which distributed the film). The musical film debuted with $50 million at the box office, well above expectations, and garnered an “A” at CinemaScore.

Movies have to earn 2-3 times their production costs to recoup after taking into account theaters’ take as well as marketing costs.

But not everyone was thrilled with the biopic.

Recent reports show the LGBT-themed scenes, totaling up to 24 minutes in the film, were excised in Malaysia, which has strict anti-homosexual laws.

Cinematic LGBT characters there can only be included there if they die or somehow show regret for being gay.



(h/t Gay Star News)

Queer Cinema: 'Mario' - A Forbidden Love Affair In The Locker Room

After successfully making the rounds of the international film festival circuit, Mario, a gay-themed movie steeped in the world of professional European soccer will finally be available in the U.S. via digital platforms on October 30.

The film follows Swiss-German soccer hopeful Mario (Max Hubacher) who is assigned housing with a new-teammate - dark and swarthy Leon (Aaron Altaras), a striker from Hanover, Germany.

Chemistry (or biology)  is what it is, and one night during a video game session, a bout of tickling leads to a kiss.

Passions now ignited, the real story of Mario begins as the two young athletes face many obstacles, both personal and professional, as their dreams of becoming soccer stars loom in the distance.

There are swirling rumors among team mates, tamping down concerns by veteran sports agents, a threat of blackmail, and personal demons to address that have been long-buried in the pursuit of athletic achievement.

Credit director Marcel Gisler for developing palpable chemistry between Altaras and Hubacher throughout the film.

The film had its premiere at BFI Flare London LGBTQ Film Festival in early April this year, and debuted in the U.S. at Miami’s Outshine Film Festival later in spring.

The Swiss film was so well-received it managed to take home trophies in the ‘Best Actor’ and ‘Best Supporting Actress’ categories at the most recent Swiss Film Awards.

The Guardian called the movie “a heartfelt and human drama with the texture of truth and characters to care about.”

The Independent wrote, “Every gay man will instantly connect with either Mario or Leon and their relatable worries of life and love.”

And The Hollywood Reporter hailed “the small, very human moments” of the film that ensures Mario “feels authentic and is, finally, moving.”

A heart-warming rollercoaster of a film, set on and off the field, Mario offers a dynamic and realistic picture of how gay professional athletes still struggle to be their authentic selves in the 21st century.

Watch the trailer below.



(h/t The Hollywood Reporter, The Guardian)

Cannes Film Fest Fave 'Sauvage' Garnered Acclaim For Gritty, Graphic Approach

Director Camille Vidal-Naquet’s feature film debut, Sauvage, which chronicles the journey of a 22-year-old gay street hustler, garnered praise and accolades when the film premiered at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Strand Releasing has now acquired the North American rights to the provocative film which Vulture called “the most sexually frank film at Cannes.” 

The film’s star, Felix Maritaud, was honored with the best actor prize during the Cannes Film Festival’s Critics’ Week. You may recall Maritaud’s previous star turn in Robin Campillo’s (BPM) Beats Per Minute which won the Grand Jury prize at Cannes in 2017.

Vidal-Naquet describes the lead character as a “solitary young man who hits the road and wanders from one encounter to the next, longing for love, driven by an unquenchable capacity for love that keeps him going, regardless of the violent world around him.”

Although the movie received acclaim at the famed film festival, the debut did not go without some controversy.

One scene, in particular, was graphic to the point that some audience members got up and left the screening.

Vulture describes the scene:

At one point, Léo goes home with a city-dwelling couple who treat him like an unthinking animal, making cruel cracks about his appearance and inspecting his teeth as though they were checking the quality of a product. It’s hard to watch this happen to someone as open-hearted as Léo, and that’s even before one of the men orders Léo to get on all fours, then begins to lube up a gigantic, intimidating butt plug which he will wield almost like a weapon.

But the director defended the graphic approach to the material, saying, “It wouldn’t be honest to make a movie about prostitution without talking about these kinds of things."

In addition to the gritty, coarse world of male prostitution, Sauvage also finds  vulnerability and balance by touching on Maritaud’s unrequited love for a fellow hustler.

The film is set for a late 2018 release and recently dropped the first trailer. Watch below.

(h/t Vulture)

GLAAD Study Shows LGBTQ Representation In 2017 Films Dropped

While the LGBTQ community was giddy over the success of gay-themed Call Me By Your Name at this year’s Academy Awards where James Ivory won the Oscar for “Best Screenplay,” a new study shows depictions of LGBTQ characters in movies released by major studios last year actually declined.

LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD took a look at the 109 films released by major studios in 2017. And in issuing their annual Studio Responsibility Index found that gay, lesbian, bi, trans and queer characters appeared in only 14 films (12.8%).

That marks a precipitous drop from the 18.4% of major studio films found to be inclusive in 2016. Indeed, this is the lowest percentage of films featuring LGBTQ characters since GLAAD began reporting on the issue in 2012.

Additionally, GLAAD notes that many of the gay characters in 2017 films were barely seen on screen. Looking at the 14 films that included LGBTQ characters, in half of them the LGBTQ characters had less than five minutes of screen time.

There was some good news to report: diversity increased as 16 of the 28 LGBT-identified characters were people of color. That makes for 57% of the total characters in 2017 versus only 20% in 2016.

It's important to note that the report did not include the LGBTQ representation in the films released by the smaller, boutique labels like Sony Pictures Classics, which produced Call Me By Your Name, and Fox Searchlight, which served up the Billie Jean King/Bobby Riggs redux, Battle of the Sexes.

When you add those outlets to other similar offices - like Universal’s Focus and Lionsgate affiliate Roadside Attractions - to the mix, you do get a more diverse, inclusive result.

Of the 40 films released by those labels in 2017, 28% contained LGBTQ characters, which is almost double the 17% in 2016.

Short Film: "Bad Boy Comes Out"

When your cute handyman isn't who he appears to be...

Check out this five-minute brain break starring & produced by Tony Harth & Artie O'Daly.

Tired of hiding who he really is, handyman Mack (Tony Harth) wants to come out to Scott (Artie O’Daly).

“I go around every day and people think I’m a certain way, but inside I’m something else,” Bad Boy tells Scott. “I don’t know how long I can keep the secret.”

But neither man gets what they were expecting.

It seems as though Mack has some daddy issues but Scott may or may not be down for the role.

You can watch the original "Bad Boy" video here as Mack comes over to pick up Scott's daughter for a date.