Two very different DVD releases for you this issue. First up is Tan Lines (Peccadillo Pictures, 2 STARS). Have you ever watched the vacuous beach bum blondes of Home and Away and wished the storylines were slower, more full of bed-hopping and, ultimately, gayer? Director Ed Aldridge has a treat for you. Against the grey mundanity of an Australian backwater, Midget (Jack Baxter) and a bunch of interchangeable, reasonably pretty guys carrying surfboards and skateboards kiss, shag and fight with each other (and a token girl) in this downbeat coming of age drama. The plot meanders through a series of vague encounters, sexual or otherwise, with occasional commentary (in Italian) from a painting of the Pope and statue of Mary. Effort has been made to provide context and depth to the sex and angsting, but sadly the cast are not quite pretty enough to pull off a gratuitous ogling of eye candy.
On the opposite end of the serious spectrum is Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss (Tartan Video, 3 STARS, pictured). All Billy Collier - Polaroid photographer, LA resident, romantic, homosexual - wants is one perfect kiss. A Gone with the Wind, swelling orchestras, audience swooning kind of screen kiss. Trouble his, the kissing partner he has his sights on may not be into men, or just may not be into him. It was made way back in 1998 by Tommy O’Haver (Ella Enchanted, Get Over It,) and Sean P Hayes as the lead plays the opposite of his wacky sidekick Jack in Will & Grace in this retro romance. Aping the low budget films of the early 90s (Do the Right Thing, Go Fish), the self-conscious ‘artiness’ grates slightly but enough charm and good intentions ensure a happy ending for the audience.