INSIDE OUT toronto lesbian and gay film festival at the Varsity Cinemas (55 Bloor West); Cumberland (159 Cumberland); ROM (100 University); Royal (608 College); Bloor (506 Bloor West); and Paradise (1006 Bloor West), from Wednesday (May 20) to May 30. Screenings $10, stu/srs $7, book of 8 tickets $72. www.insideout.on.ca
Now in its 14th year, Inside Out storms the city with 275 films and videos ranging from sensitive documentaries to polysexual rutfests. Highlights include three programs of local, original material created especially for the fest, a spotlight on South Asian queer cinema and an artists' talk on lesbian director Dorothy Arzner. For party people, they've got opening, closing and in-between galas, plus five other parties - just cuz.
Goldfish Memory dir Liz Gill, Saturday, (May 22), 9:30 pm, at the Royal. 85 minutes. Rating: NNN
Ten more or less good-looking Irish people stumble from bed to bed looking for happily monogamous unions. This is one of those romantic comedies that sets you up for multiple happy endings from minute one. You can see right off that everyone, after a token struggle, is going to get exactly what they want. They all live in fabulously swanky apartments and hang around in a cozy café where the English lyrics to Antonio Carlos Jobim's Waters Of March are permanently piped in on the loudspeakers. It's about as challenging as a warm bubble bath, but also as satisfying. A great date movie - if you're feeling optimistic.
Sugar dir John Palmer, Saturday (May 22), 9:30 pm, at the Cumberland. 78 minutes. Rating: NNN
A suburban kid celebrating his 18th birthday races out of the closet and into the back of a limo with an older man, several naked guys and his intense but emotionally distant new boyfriend. He's egged on by his liberal mom and his Ritalin-stoked, drug-pushing 12-year-old sister, and it's all sharply observed and funny until it turns tragic. The film's based on several short stories by Bruce LaBruce. Loose and episodic, it moves forward with a casual, cocky strut. It has such an embarrassment of acting riches, with Andre Noble convincingly wide-eyed as the kid, and Brendan Fehr all flinty yet vulnerable as his fucked-up lover, that it can just drop in, for example, Sarah Polley's sunny, giddy Valium-popping pregnant teen as an afterthought.
Do I Love You? dir Lisa Gornick, Friday (May 21), 9:45 pm, at the Cumberland 2. 73 minutes. Rating: NNNN
This film is every bit as neurotic as the title suggests, and it's by far the most engaging of the raft of musical-beds movies in this year's festival. Unemployed 30-something Marina (Lisa Gornick, who also directs) tools around town on her bike, goes to parties, applies for welfare and talks and talks - in voice-over and in person - to her girlfriend, her parents, her exes and an assortment of men she contemplates sleeping with but doesn't. She talks about, well, sex mostly, one way and another: whether she wants to be a man, or be with a man, or have babies, or leave her girlfriend, or date her analyst. Gornick is what would have happened if a young Woody Allen had grown up in the body of a cute British lesbian. It's not as focused or as funny as Annie Hall, but it's just as endearing.
Mango Kiss dir Sascha Rice, Monday (May 24), 7:15 pm, at the Cumberland. 85 minutes. Rating: NN
Or, Why Open Relationships Practically Never Work. Mango Kiss follows best friends Lou and Sass as they truck down to San Francisco, fall in love and try to figure out what to do about all the sex everywhere. It's sweetly reminiscent of those films about drunk driving they used to show in high school: every character represents a type, and the dialogue leans steeply toward the expository. Less sweet is the way the two leads twinkle tweely at each other for the entire length of the film. Is there anything more offputting than grown women acting like pwecious ickle durls?