Tuesday, November 25, 2008

TLA Releasing: DOG TAGS

The best thing to be said about DOG TAGS (dir. Damion Dietz, US, 2008, 90 mins.), one of TLA Releasing's latest DVDs, is that the cast is gorgeous! Distractingly good looking. In fact the two leads, model Paul Preiss and actor Bart Fletcher, have such adorable screen presences that it magnified the script's shortcomings. Perhaps I am jaded from a couple decades of gay and lesbian film festivals, but this was a typical, if not less than standard gay soap opera about a pair of sexually questioning guys crossing paths in order to have "that one moment", before they party and move on in their self discoveries. The pair in this story features one marine and one West Hollywood party boy. The screenplay has an inconsistent timeline. Though it is bookended as a memory of the marine, the inclusion of an amount of backstory of the party boy convolutes the storyline. One is left to assume that their pre-meeting episodes are occurring simultaneously. However, there appears to be an unacknowledged passage of time between the characters' introductions and the time that they meet, in which even more "stuff happened". For instance, why has the WeHo party boy gone goth? How long has the marine been away before this buddy-road-movie begins with his return home? And what about the baby?

The film is edited in a manner in which I don't think we are to care. Every time I came to a point of "What?", someone would disrobe and we would be sent into beefcake heaven. After about a half hour or so of these distractions, I must admit that I came to appreciate the little film for what it was to me: a pretty, little soap opera that I didn't have to pay too much attention to until the big make out scene!

The DVD features a director's commentary in which Damion Dietz goes to lengths in describing the internal monologues of the characters on screen, interspersed with some production trivia. He also entertains the viewers apparent questions of some of the mysteries, or what I felt were inconsistencies, with a remark that he doesn't want to make it easy for his audience to know what he was thinking in writing this exceptionally personal work. That is an attitude I would argue is only valid if you're creating a "Mona Lisa" but not a beefcake soap opera.

The only other special feature on the disc is a photo gallery, which has interesting fading transitions.

In conclusion, I can't recommend the disc at its MSRP of $19.99, though it might make a nice rental diversion. The dvd is available at TLA Video.

Maxxxxx says
re DOG TAGS: "Such a pretty bird!"

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