Two movies about gay sex: one a fictionalized account of a murder that rocked the porn industry, the other an account of the dangers of hooking-up with a stranger. Both are a study in contrasts, and both will be showing as part of Twist, Seattle’s recently re-branded queer film festival.
King Cobra recounts the story of the murder of gay porn producer Bryan Kocis, the man who launched the career of porn star Brent Corrigan. The movie is based on the based on Andrew E. Stoner and Peter A. Conway’s book Cobra Killer, and stars Garret Clayton, fresh out of the Disney machine, Keegan Allen, Christian Slater, and an over the top James Franco. There’s plenty of skin, although the sex is surprisingly tame for a movie about porn stars. Slater’s performance as the “dirty old man” porn producer is ho-hum. While Clayton is certainly fresh-faced, his appearance as a 17-year-old does stretch credulity a bit. Alicia Silverstone and Molly Ringwald both make blink or you miss them appearances as well. The standouts of this movie are certainly Allen and Franco as aspiring porn producers Harlow and Joe. Their performances are both frantic and funny, with Franco bordering on crazy. His turn at a gay sex scene though may fall flat for some viewers. Questions about his sexuality aside, it’s clear he doesn’t have a lot of experience with actual anal intercourse.
Under the direction of I Am Michael’s Justin Kelly, it feels as though the movie never really finds its legs, veering between sultry mystery and dark comedy, but never really achieving either. Best bet is to keep your expectations low for this one.
Paris 05:59: Theo & Hugo (Théo Et Hugo Dans Le Même Bateau) tells the realtime story of Théo and Hugo (Geoffrey Couët and François Nambot), two Paris men who hook up in a gay sex club and end up spending the next few hours together in nighttime Paris. Where King Cobra tries to just skirt the line of porn with their sex scenes, Theo & Hugo crosses the line entirely, opening with a graphic, red-lit bathhouse orgy set to thumping Euro-house that may be jarring to some viewers. After the opening scene though, the movie transitions into an earnest, often tender, romantic story.
Filmed over the course of two weeks around Northeast Paris, the story is set in real-time, following 93 minutes of the pair’s interactions on the nighttime streets of their neighborhood. The city is as much of a star as the actors, taking on an almost fairytale quality that makes you want to grab your passport and head for the airport. Couët and Nambot’s performances seem genuinely affectionate, and are a pleasure to watch.
For as jarring as the opening scenes may be for some, the optimism and hopefulness of the “we can make it after all” love story is sure to leave you feeling like all is right with the world.
King Cobra plays Sat 10/22 at AMC Pacific Place in Seattle. Tickets can be purchased online or at the Twist box office. Paris 05:59: Théo & Hugo plays Friday 10/21 at AMC Pacific Place in Seattle. Tickets can be purchased online or at the Twist box office.