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Faqs [Import]

Joe Lia , Allan Louis , Joe Lia , Everett Lewis    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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By Gerald Parker TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Everett Lewis' movie, "FAQS" (T.L.A. Releasing TLAD-155), is a story of a tough male drag queen with maternal instincts who gathers young men around her/him who require some nurture, in some cases who simply need to "come out" as gays, in other instances guys (or lesbians) who already are very decidedly gay and know it very well, but who need to develop better survival skills and defense mechanisms to live as gays in a hostile society. The film should have been better than it is. A too blatant urge to push the message of the film too relentlessly non-stop makes "FAQS" a matter of artifice, and low-cost chic, rather than of the kind of kinetic passion that transfigures most of Everett Lewis' other films, despite their meagre means of production, into major works of cinematic art. This one, "FAQS", just is too stiff; the delivery of the dialogue is too coaxed, the words poorly chosen, the actors insufficiently spontaneous-sounding in delivery. The cast, of men of various physical types, from quirkily boyish to ruggedly macho (and some types between), is appealing, visually, but without acting talents commensurate with their good looks.

For most of his films Everett Lewis has been a marvellous director and/or producer, but this one does not quite make the grade -- by his own standards. In most of Lewis' other, greater films the message emerges principally by means of more cunningly devised interplay of characterisation, plot, settings, and more nuanced gestural and verbal interchanges between players who in his earlier movies simply have been much better actors.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Want to see but still not delivered April 22 2008
Format:DVD
I placed an order for this item which amazon.ca says will be shipped within 7 to 10 day. I ordered on February 27, 2008 with other items. I have received most of the other items, but not this as of April 22, 2008. How can a person review an item that amazon can not even ship after they say they can. I look forward to seeing this item some day in the next century at the rate that amazon is going. Amazon. ca take note - you can remove this once you fulfil your promise and ship this item, otherwise no more order from me until you do.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Two Interesting Characters in an Implausible Story March 10 2006
By interested_observer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Newly arrived in West Hollywood from Colorado, homeless India (Joe Lia) first gets stiffed on his porn acting wages and then gets chased into a parking garage by two tire-iron-wielding rednecks. A drag queen porn director, Destiny (Allan Louis), shows up with a revolver to rescue India and confiscate for India the nice coat of one of the rednecks. Destiny allows India to move in under various conditions, including spending two daytime hours daily in the nude. Destiny already has a butch Lesbian, Lester (Minerva Vier), in the household. India has a chance to lead a more settled life.

India isn't fully trusting and wants to go after the director who didn't pay him. India and Destiny work something out.

India latches onto another homeless guy, Spencer (Lance Davis), who has an interest in blowing up his parents.

India has become a convert to non-violence and the reclamation of the lost. So when India notices a name and address on the redneck's (Guy's, played by Adam Larson) commandeered coat, he decides to return the coat and possibly find a latent gay person, under the theory that bashers have sexual orientation issues. After some turmoil, the film moves to its conclusion.

The skin and sex shots are generous and well photographed. All the younger male characters show something, and India shows all.

The strengths of the movie are the performances of Joe Lia and Allan Jones, the cinematography and the editing. The title sequences (including the portion of the 2004 platform of the Texas Republican Party dealing with homosexuality) are done well too. Lia is convincing as a relatively naive character who makes the effort to do well in a hostile world. Jones maintains a dignified flamboyance while barely suppressing hostile rage against the straight world. These strengths keep up interest in the movie.

There is a very good commentary by Producer/Director Everett Lewis and Joe Lia. The two also field questions at the 2005 Philadelphia International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival.

The script calls for the creation of friendships and bonding at a pace that would not happen in real life. For example, if you had attempted a bashing, been stopped and robbed of your coat at gunpoint, how would you act if later the bashee got out of a car, held out your coat, and said you could have it back? There are at least three cases of snap decisions to have someone as a roommate. How much disbelief must one suspend?

Characters and actions feel forced to conform to the writer's program and do not flow naturally. For example, one character starts out as a homophobic bully, gets suicidal after a same-sex friend moves away, comes out to a domineering brother, chases after the departed friend in a homophobic despiration, and then changes again, lots of acting range on a forced march.

There is scene after scene with pistols drawn or expressions of hostility to either the straight or gay worlds. The film does end up showing a path to a constructive, non-violent acceptance. India emerges into a higher state of being than his mentor, Destiny, who can't give up using fire or pistol shots to make points in a hostile world. The message is a gay kiss is like a bomb to the straight world. This is the key to the movie's redemption.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Film with Heart March 10 2006
By T. Jackson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I just rented this and really loved it. Yes, the other reviewer on here is correct that it has some flaws. And yes, there are a few plot points that are rushed and require some suspension of disbelief. But why do we watch movies anyway? Isn't it to be entertained more than to see complete reality? Don't we want to see the world the way we wish it could be? The movie does succeed on these levels. India is new to the streets of L.A., ripped off by a porn producer and then bashers attempt to attack him. Enter the fierce drag queen Destiny, who brandishes her gun and chases them off. Destiny adopts him as part of her family, just as she has already adopted Lester, a butch lesbian. India decides that he, too, wants to save people. He starts with Spence, who has been abused, wants to bomb his parents and becomes India's boyfriend. He then rescues one of his bashers, who he has decided is a latent homosexual. Yes, it all wraps up pretty easily. But wouldn't it be great if we all formed our own wonderful rainbow families and rescued each other? The film has its heart in the right place and was very interesting and moving. For an indie film, I thought the acting was really good, with the exception of the actress playing Lester, who I thought was a bit weak and not very butch. This movie has a great message. So many gay people have felt the way these characters felt: betrayed by the straight world, betrayed by our families, unsafe and always having to sleep with one eye open. This movie is going to be one of my favorites for a long time.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, honest July 8 2006
By RSMM - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
FAQs may not be entirely realistic, but that's not its point. It is a beautiful, well-crafted, touchingly acted, inventively directed independent film about disenfranchised, abused young gay people who protect and care for each other after being victimized by violent familial and societal fallout from our current (7/2006) government-endorsed homophobic culture. It is warm, loving, moving, angry, sexy, politically accurate, honest, triumphant. Straight people may not get its message nor be able to process its images--as with most of Everett Lewis' films, so they may want to buy something more accessible like "Latter Days" or "Brokeback Mountain" (both wonderful films, but more mainstream).
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bitter sweet violent love story June 3 2006
By Geminiguy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Well, okay... this isn't really all that violent... even with all the pulling of guns and such. After a drag queen intercedes on the potential gay bashing of a young hustler, this story takes off. The hustler, India, moves in with the drag Queen named Destiny. Also living with Destiny is a lesbian named Lester. What ensues is "family-like mayhem" as these three become a family. Destiny doesn't mind when India brings home other guys as long as he uses a condom... and she demands 2 hours of nude time a day from all the house guests. There are other sub plots, like love brewing between Destiny and a cop... as well as India and a "bitter" boy who intends to enact vengance on his parents. Also entering the fray of gay times are the two would-be-gay bashers who provide this films main unbelivable plot line.

The acting was fair. Joe Lia, the central character, was the only one who seemed spot on the entire time. He seemed enduring and he really got into his part... and I mean "really" got into it. Lance Lee Davis was decent but he kind of flopped a bit when he went on his revenge rantings. The two men playing the would-be-bashers were ok actors but the script gave them nothing credible to work with. Minerva Vier (Lester) was good as the lesbian, but her character was the least developed. It would have been interesting to see her happy ever after... but it never came.

The plot and script were weak but still entertaining enough to keep my attention. Sure, some of the lines were pretty left-field but the story was pretty potent as it delt with love in an unaccepting world. Still... when things got hairy... it got that way pretty fast. The violent angles of the film were forced... but considering the film had such a "minimal" budget, it is understandable.

I liked the movie because it was gritty... and it had no polish to it. It offered some decent acting... but the main reason I like the film is because Joe Lia does such a good job with his role. It may not be ground breaking, but it does have its moments.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A View from the Bridge of Sexual Identity March 14 2006
By Grady Harp - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Everett Lewis is a writer/director who continues to look at the various aspects of gay life and the way it is influencing young people. His work is a bit raw and unpolished as yet, but his sentiments are strong and translate well in the films he has created thus far.

FAQS is a strong conceptual film and one with a new take on gay activism. India (a talented natural actor Joe Lia) is a young runaway from Colorado who has come to Hollywood where he can be the gay person he accepts he is. Living homeless under a bridge he is obliged to make his living as a hustler, and as we meet him he is participating in a demeaning pornography film at the smarmy hands of a cheating pornographer. After the shoot he is ambushed by two gay bashers and is saved only by the intervention of a tall, flamboyant black drag queen Destiny (Allan Louis) who gains India's respect and is invited to live with Destiny in her small apartment, a place she shares with other gay people in need such as the lesbian cross dresser Lester (Minerva Vier). Destiny sets down rules of the house: no drugs, be careful of straights, spend two hours a day naked in respect for your body, always use condoms, etc. and India settles in, feeling 'home' for the first time. Soon he meets another hustler Spencer (Lance Lee Davis) who is bent on killing his bigoted parents (just as India is bent on revenge for his pornography adventure), but who falls for India's loving attention and the two become lovers.

At the time of India's encounter with the gay bashers Destiny takes the coat of one of them for India's warmth, a coat which bears the basher's name Guy (Adam Larson) and address. India and Spencer decide to find them and take retribution, but when they confront Guy, India senses Guy's sexual proclivities and the three return to Destiny's ever growing 'family'. The manner in which the other basher intervenes and the changes that occur among the tenants of Destiny's home supply the predictable but satisfying end.

So why with all this praise does this film only rate 3 stars? There are production problems that prevent a higher rating: the sound is poor, the dialogue is often buried in ambient noise, the editing is choppy, etc. But the actors are surprisingly good given the fact that most are inexperienced. Allan Louis as Destiny gives a bravura performance, one of the finest roles of a drag queen ever filmed. There are some well managed sexual encounters and some frontal nudity (but only with Joe Lia and that is so in character that it works well): the chemistry between India and Spencer is palpable and credible.

But despite these minor flaws (each of which is imminently forgivable) this is a well-made film that shows the power of 'extended family' in the lives of gay youths at risk in a homophobic society. There is tenderness, there is comedy, and there is a solid amount of political statement! Recommended. Grady Harp, March 06
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