Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Vanity, thy name is James Fanizza, who writes, directs and stars in new GLBT film, SEBASTIAN

Yes, SEBASTIAN does indeed smack of what we used to call a "vanity" production -- having been written, directed, starred in and co-produced by one, James Fanizza. Mr. Fanizza (shown on poster at left, top, and at bottom, right) is an attractive blond fellow and not a bad actor if only a so-so writer and director. His co-star, the chunky/hunky Alex House, who plays the eponymous secondary character, comes off a bit better because he has been given less "acting" to do and does what he has with a certain appealing reticence.

Adequately shot on video by Kalen Artinian, this Toronto-set tale is basically the same-old/same-old so far as way too many gay movies are concerned. Coincidence-prone and featuring a "hero" who is pretty much a shallow, lying asshole (who seems totally unaware of this fact), the movie does finally provide some sort of an explanation of why this guy is the way he is. Trouble is, that explanation seems every bit as manufactured as the rest of the movie.

In its way, Sebastian represents a side of gay life that's all too present and is, I suppose, a kind of reaction to the past hundred or so years of repression, transgression and adjustment to being "different." Even so, the movie remains a bit of a bore, especially when set against so many other, better GLBT films of recent times. One of its supporting actors is Katya Zamolodchikova (aka Brian McCook, below), who starred as Katya on RuPaul'sDrag Race.

Although there is some witty dialog on display, too much of the talk sounds like it came from a self-help manual. At time the film appears to be counting down every last gay cliché in the book, coupled to a bunch of self-improvement tropes and (as even its own characters point out) a tele-novela -- but without any of the latter's high gloss. Toward the finale, which provides enough angst to fill a dozen films, Fanizza's film descends into full-out melodrama.

At best Sebastian is a adequate time-waster. At worst, it's yet another reason some of us gays often avoid "gay" movies. Oh, yes, and about that quote atop the DVD box art, "And it does get steamy", don't get your hopes up. This one's about as "steamy" as that pasta from yesterday that you've just taken out of the fridge. From Wolfe Video, the movie hits the street on DVD tomorrow, Tuesday, February 6 -- for both purchase and rental.

No comments: