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Punks (2000)

You have no idea how long I have waited to see Patrick -Ian Polk’s first film, Punks. I have heard about this movie from a gay rag a decade ago that is now defunct. When Noah’s Arc was on air, people were wondering when will Punks come out on DVD, including myself. Apparently there was a problem with the distribution of the movie that halted the release of the film until it premiered on Logo this past weekend. Was it worth the wait? Yes.

The film follows a quartet of gay friends in West Hollywood. There is a celebration of  Hill’s (Dwight Ewell) 30th birthday, which is more poignant that he has HIV. Hill’s best friend, our protagonist, the hopeless romantic, sexually prudish photographer, Marcus (Seth Gilliam) catches Hill’s boyfriend of a year, Gilbert (Rudolf Martin) making out with another guy. Upset Hill breaks up the celebration and breaks up with Gilbert.

He moves in with Marcus. The other two friends, Chris (Jazzmun), the transgendered performer for their favorite hangout, Miss Smokie’s and the spoiled rich brat, Dante (Renoly Santiago) try to cheer up his spirits. Things become more murky when a fine black adonis moves into the house next door. The gang goes gaga over Darby (Rockmond Dunbar). Who shouldn’t they? He is easy on the eyes and has he shirt off, glistening muscles as he moves his boxes. The friends forcibly invited themselves over for dinner at Darby’s house.

During dinner, everybody was fawning over Darby, except for Marcus. Darby casually let it slip that he has a girlfriend in New York City. Their interest dashed they scatter like cockroaches in the light. Not Marcus. He is not like his friends. His friends could be a whores, but he is looking for love. Marcus is completely frigid about sex. He is paranoid about catching the HIV.

Darby and Marcus begins to form a solid friendship when they hang out at Darby’s studio. Darby is a record producer. Marcus wants Darby to be his next model for his photographs. during their time together, Marcus begins to form deeper feelings for Darby, but thins get more complicated when Darby’s girlfriend, Jennifer (Vanessa Williams) comes into town.

This was probably the first movie that have portrayed gay brown men that they do exist. They are not on the down low, which was very taboo and a dirty little secret back then. These four people are unapologetic about who they are as gay men.

I’m gonna go into a bit of a tangent about censorship. The movie premiered on Logo and I was shocked that certain words were bleeped. I understand that swear words would be bleeped out. That is understandable. I was surprised that the words “penis”, “anal”, “suck” were bleeped out, but “handjob” was perfectly fine. That really pissed me off. I’m done.

Judgment: I hope that they show this movie more to show that it’s okay to be a gay man of color.

Rating: 7.5/10

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HellBent (2004)

I wanna know who sucks a green dick!

— Eddie

I wanted to see a fluffy throwaway film. I thought that I might check out, HellBent. This is directorial debut of Paul Etheredge. This is a campy slasher film filled with shirtless pretty boys, pretty boys making out, and pretty boys getting killed.

The movie is set in West Hollywood during Halloween time. At the beginning credits of the movie, a couple of horny boys are making out in a car in the middle of the woods. Then, a shirtless Devil (Luke Weaver) appears, brutally decapitates them with a hand sickle and takes their heads with him. A souvenir, perhaps? It was not explained.

The next day, a police detective on desk duty, Eddie (Dylan Fergus) is assigned to hand out fliers in West Hollywood about the killer. While passing out the fliers, Eddie meets Jake (Bryan Kirkwood) outside of a tattoo parlor, Devil Doll Studios where Jake is getting a new tattoo to cover up an ex’s name.

Later that Halloween night, Eddie, dressed as a cop –go figure– sets out to find out any information about the killer at the carnival. His friends tag along. There is Joey (Hank Harris), the mousy waiter from the gang’s hangout dressed as a leather boy. Chaz (Andrew Levitas), the slutty bisexual friend dressed as a sexy cowboy. Lastly, there is Tobey (Matt Phillips) dressed like a busted version of Veronica Lake.

Their first stop is the very woods that the two guys were killed the night before. The killer comes back that they think it’s another trick. They promptly presented their asses to him. The Devil leaves.

The Devil stalks the quartet through various dark alleyways and clubs.

As typical slasher movie genres go, the killer picks off the boys one by one.

I have to admit something. The killer is very sexy. It’s weird, but it’s true. I felt the same way with the killers in the Scream trilogy as well.

Judgment: This film is not breaking new ground. It’s fluff. That’s all.

Rating: ***

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