Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, June 23, 2016


2 sides of the same coin: Richard Harmon; Charlie David
JUDAS KISS (2011). Director: J. P. Tepnapa.

"My Hollywood career has consisted of parties and rehab."

"I even masturbate cinematically!"

Failed screenwriter Zachary Wells (Charlie David) goes back to his old film school, the scene of his first and last triumph, to help judge a competition. He has a one-night stand with a student who turns out to be in this same competition. But a bigger surprise comes when this student reveals his name as Danny Reyes (Richard Harmon) and his film as "Judas Kiss." The trouble is that Danny Reyes is Zachary's real name, and "Judas Kiss" is the film he made that won the competition fifteen years earlier. This is already an intriguing situation but it turns into the Twilight Zone when it develops that Danny Reyes is Zachary's younger self, and he is told by an old man, who is still another version of Danny Reyes, that his life will turn out much better if he actually loses the competition. Naturally younger Danny objects to this idea ... This could have been a gay variation on a whimsical, fantasy film, but the tone is too heavy (without being profound) and the characters don't seem the slightest bit surprised or perplexed by this odd situation. Zach makes love to his younger self -- a bizarre situation in of itself -- but doesn't recognize him or even think he looks familiar. Judas Kiss isn't the first film in which characters are given second chances by going back in time (although it's never made quite clear that this has happened, even when Zach tells a teacher that she "doesn't look a day older"), but its main problem, perhaps, is that it tries to tackle a little too much in one movie. In spite of its overly complicated plot and surplus of characters, the film is well-produced for an independent and is often strangely arresting, although it drags in the final quarter. Many of the actors could be described as talented amateurs, but the leads in this have had a significant body of work, especially Harmon, who has definite presence and is effectively intense, and David (who looks even better without his beard), although he doesn't quite bother to get across his character's desperation, although that may be due to the generally superficial tone of the movie (despite some serious elements). Former (?) porn star Sean Paul Lockhart* certainly makes an impression as a young man, Chris, who wants a relationship with Danny; there's no reason he can't have a solid legitimate acting career. Julia Morizawa, among others, is also notable as Abbey. The entire cast sings the catchy closing credit number, "If I Fall." Some of the male actors overdo the "girlishness" at times.

* Lockhart (also known as Brent Corrigan for his adult films) is the subject of a 2016 James Franco movie entitled King Cobra, which the former disavows.

Verdict: Well, at least it's certainly different .,. **1/2.


angelman66 said...

I didn't care much for this either, though I have liked Charlie David ever since the silly Here! series Dante's Cove (which I am embarrassed to admit I own on DVD--all three seasons! LOL). Interesting premise, but not very artfully executed!

William said...

Well said! I have heard of Dante's Cove but never saw it. maybe it's on Netflix. David is an appealing actor in his way.