Thursday, December 17, 2015

Michael J. Saul's gay melodrama, THE SURFACE, offers little more than its title

All about a whiny little no-account kid named Evan who desperately needs to grow up, THE SURFACE is one of those movies that, after but a few tiresome minutes, has you asking, "Why does anybody put up with this guy?" Well, he's cute. As played by a lithe and lovely Australian model named Harry Hains, (shown at right and below) our Evan is eye-candy par excellence. Unfortu-nately, what he does in this movie is mostly model. He possesses no vocal range to speak of, and his facial expressions run the gamut from pout A through pout B, and just very occasionally venture into pout C (which has a slight smile attached).

Haines knows how to look good. But that's pretty much all he does. The Surface turns out to be one of those gay movies that give the genre its generally iffy reputation and inability to almost ever cross over to a straight audience. Not campy enough to be loony-tunes fun, nor good enough to stand on its own screenplay and direction (both here are by Michael J. Saul, shown below), the film just meanders along from scene to scene, dragging us with it (or not, depending on how much fun you find it to gaze, as the camera constantly does, upon its star).

TrustMovies lasted out the film, but only because, having received a free DVD, he felt duty-bound to watch and cover. Evan, you see, is an orphan whose mom abandoned him early on and, regarding the identity of his dad, he has no idea. The movie milks every imaginable bit of sadness from the plight of this poor kid's orphan status until all this becomes more than a tad repetitive.

Further, the film is both sloppy and lazy in the way it elides dialog and situations via music and either a little voice-over or near-dialog-free scenes of people frolicking at the beach or chit-chatting over dinner. This may be just as well, because when we do hear the dialog, it never rises above the so-so.

The film's main plot point is how, at a local garage sale, Evan purchases an old fashioned camera which then enables him to become a filmmaker and find a hunky addition to his love life. The films we see that he is supposed to have made do not auger much of a career for our boy, but the sexy, ginger-haired, and only slightly older man he meets (played well by Michael Redford Carney, above, right ) could prove possible relationship material.

If only Evan can break away from his former lover/caretaker, (played by Nicholas McDonald, shown rear view, above, right). What happens may surprise you a bit, though its doubtful you'll really care much, given the wooden, one-note and uninvolving performance from Mr. Hains. But, hey, he's pretty, so that may be enough to see you through.

The Surface (perfect title, as there is little real depth here), from Ariztical Entertainment,and running only 80 minutes, arrived on DVD this week -- for rental or purchase -- and includes behind-the-scenes interviews, set videos, a "Barcelona" music video and some trailers.

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