Customer Reviews


76 Reviews
5 star:
 (15)
4 star:
 (9)
3 star:
 (9)
2 star:
 (14)
1 star:
 (29)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly interesting, a fantastic documentary
Though its style may turn some people off, I found this movie to be incredibly interesting. As a straight person, this movie really makes you think about the way people are brought up to think about gay people and their lifestyles. Beautifully shot and unflinchingly raw, this is a fantastic documentary.
Published 9 months ago by Blood

versus
50 of 55 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An Intriguing Experiment That Introduces Bold Ideas, But Lacks Much Depth
I love movies and, more than anything, I appreciate those within the Hollywood system who still take chances and push boundaries. There is a certain carefulness and an unfortunate homogeneous quality to the film product released for mass consumption. In many ways, I really respect that James Franco still exhibits an adventurous spirit and parlays his fame into...
Published 8 months ago by K. Harris


‹ Previous | 1 28 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

50 of 55 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An Intriguing Experiment That Introduces Bold Ideas, But Lacks Much Depth, March 11, 2014
This review is from: Interior. Leather Bar. (DVD)
I love movies and, more than anything, I appreciate those within the Hollywood system who still take chances and push boundaries. There is a certain carefulness and an unfortunate homogeneous quality to the film product released for mass consumption. In many ways, I really respect that James Franco still exhibits an adventurous spirit and parlays his fame into initiating independent side projects that interest him. He does exactly what he wants to do (from an artistic standpoint) and there should be a lot more of that in celebrity culture today! I don't need my celebrity filtered through a gauze of political correctness with a pre-recorded message written by a public relations firm. That being said, I think he's still finding his way as a writer and director but I respect his efforts to explore the film medium. "Interior. Leather Bar." is his latest provocation. Not really a full fledged documentary, the movie explores what happens on the set (it's all apparently done in one day) of an experimental project conceived by Franco and writer/director Travis Mathews.

I am fully prepared to see five star raves that equate "Interior. Leather Bar." to a brilliant social critique. I'm also expecting to see plenty of one star dismissals that call this pointless and even pornographic. I'll just say this. There are some interesting discussion-worthy ideas brought up by the movie, but there is little to no follow-through on examining these notions with any depth.

So, the idea behind "Interior. Leather Bar" is to reconstruct forty minutes of lost footage from William Friedkin's notorious "Cruising." This 1980 film starring Al Pacino was definitely controversial for its day for its rather one sided depiction of a same sex culture. Of course, no one knows what was cut from the movie exactly but Franco and team speculate that it was pretty graphic stuff. If, however, this was actually the topic they were interested in pursuing, I find it incredibly telling that few of the actors have any idea that it is what they've shown up to do. Wouldn't that have been, perhaps, a topic of discussion in the casting process? In fact, during the shoot, it is revealed that many have never even heard of Cruising even on the day of filming! Mind you, these aren't professional actors. They are paid to stand around a bar and simulate sexual acts. There is no dialogue or plot to speak of, the scenes are just a combination of pantomimed sexual exploits intercut with actual coupling.

Thesis Number One: Franco says that sex should be better represented in cinema as opposed to the gratuitous violence and bloodshed that people find quite palatable. I don't disagree. It's a fair point and one I stand behind. But as what he is shooting isn't a real movie in any context (but only sex), it feels a bit hollow. These sequences could never make it into a mainstream movie, of any sexual proclivity, because they lack context more than anything.

Thesis Number Two: Instead of giving lip service to "Cruising," the movie should just have called itself a bold sexual experiment. Bringing various actors together with differing sexual identities, the exploration of what makes them uncomfortable (either in viewing or participating) is a primary thesis. I think the discussion, again, could be a fascinating one. But once more, they aren't playing real characters in a real movie. They've shown up for one day of filming to be (essentially) extras. It's hard to get into the heart of this weighty discussion within this framework, although it is a solid idea.

Both of these ideas are explored somewhat, but lack any particular depth. The movie, instead, centers around actor Val Lauren. Lauren is a straight married friend of Franco who has worked on other projects with the filmmaker in both theater and on film. The story (and much of it seems written) revolves around this being an eye-opening experiment for the actor, a chance to push his personal boundaries for the sake of art. But again, he isn't inhabiting a complex character on a movie shoot, he's a day player in some provocative footage. He gets conveniently timed phone calls to question the integrity of the project (with much hatred), so that he can wrestle with his decisions. In the end, it's only manufactured drama for the sake of having any real type of drama.

"Interior. Leather Bar." is what it is. It suggests some meaningful topics, but remains (at the end of the day) an idea that never fully comes to fruition. With a bit more focus on what it was trying to do or say, it might well have been more successful. KGHarris, 3/14.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


37 of 43 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What was this?, April 15, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Interior. Leather Bar. (DVD)
This is not a movie but a porn-umentary. Awful; I have seen the original film Cruising and Franco's "film" is a disgrace to claim it was a vision of what the 40 minutes that were cut from the original film would be like. This was more about James Franco getting face time on screen to talk about a vision that was unrealized and pointless. Franco took the character from the film and turned it into a real character, the straight lead actor that resembled a younger Al Pacino that was uncomfortable with what he saw on the set. The lead definitely struggled with being a straight man in a gay film as Al Pacino's character dealt with being a straight man in a gay underworld.

The viewer spends more time watching the filming of what seemed to be 2 scenes. I'm not sure if the two scenes even added up to 40 minutes; no, they didn't.

At one point the "actors" in the film were discussing how sexually charged the film was going to be. Sadly, it was a big flop!

Franco had a great opportunity to make something significant and focused but instead it was an unorganized mess with no vision whatsoever. Do not waste your money purchasing this "film".
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not at all what I expected, April 21, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The premise is very interesting; recreate the cut 40 minutes of CRUISING....that was the theory.
The reality is a movie that simply got lost because the vision wasn't strong enough.
They recreate the 40 minutes (which you don't see but small, boring, vanilla clips) and then focus on the straight actor who has to play a gay man...oooohhh, such a challenge! What a stretch!
Throughout the movie, everyone stands around and wonders what their doing....I recommend you don't watch this film or you will wonder why you ever did.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Stunted Message Movie, April 18, 2014
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I found this potentially innovative piece an exploitative ruse. Message movies are tricky. It helps if there is a more universal appeal and a clear relatable point of view. It'll help you to know this is a mocumentary; a movie within a movie of sorts that breaks the fourth wall in innovative ways. For me it sets but denies expectations by pretending to be something it's not. When it exposes itself as a ruse the point is nullified. Starting as if a documentary about filming a vision of the scenes deleted from the 1980 film Cruising, I expected the process of recreating the scenes and the final vision rendered. Cruising was a bad Hollywood film from 1980 starring Al Pacino; I didn't go in expecting a titillating experience. I maybe expected some message about ignorance, how far we've come with comparisons using dated standards, something along those lines. But, the film seemed to be exploiting its focus on actors thrown together at the last minute who are about to film gay sex and we were going to watch. I was a bit baffled by that. However, as the film slowly progresses, focus continues on the actors, mostly the lead who is uncomfortable about the project. So, I switch gears thinking I'm watching a doc about the reactions of actors about to make these scenes, an expose on mens' attitudes about gay sex, or unconventional sexuality, or a statement piece about sex as art or the fear of sex in the modern age. (The film focuses solely on the male actors. Attitudes of the crew where the women are don't exist.) The ruse was exposed to me, when on camera, an actor is directed what to say during what was first depicted as a not so interesting candid conversation. In the final act, when the 4th wall is shattered by the lead reading the script, which is describing what he is doing at that moment while taking a break from the set, I also heard, "everything you've just seen was scripted. This is a narrative drama message piece. So, ha HA, just kidding." The emotional propulsion and the message, slow and superficial as it is, is undone.
There are a few short mock scenes from Cruising put together that are so inauthentic they destabilize the foundation the film is built on. Whether there's something that advances anything in this, I can not tell you. Straight people are uncomfortable with gay sex? Uhm, well yeah. Most everyone is uncomfortable engaging in intimacy of a sort to which they are not inclined. So, that can't be it; can it? Really, a lot that the movie demonstrates is one big Duh! There is stigma about sex and alternative sexuality. But the film doesn't forward the argument in the way it portends; and frankly it's boring. Uptick to 2 stars for an original idea, down-tick to 2 stars for an unecessary fake out and making a potentially interesting conversation boring and stagnant.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not what you want it to be, June 4, 2014
This review is from: Interior. Leather Bar. (DVD)
No James Franco getting naked. No 40 minutes of sex scenes from Cruising, maybe 5 at most. The co-director guy takes himself waaaay toooo seriously trying to make sense of the chaos, while James stands around amused at the circus, occasionally shooting simulated or real sex from far away, while trying to placate the "lead actor" guy Val that this film won't ruin his career. If you'd heard of Val before, you know a lot more than me because he's a total unknown to me.

It becomes clear this is just another art prank for Franco, who says he just wants to understand why he's had bad reactions to gay things in the past. It's as if he thought we would want to watch him go through this intellectual exercise, masqueraded as a porn shoot. So the joke's on you if you watch it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly interesting, a fantastic documentary, February 7, 2014
This review is from: Interior. Leather Bar. (DVD)
Though its style may turn some people off, I found this movie to be incredibly interesting. As a straight person, this movie really makes you think about the way people are brought up to think about gay people and their lifestyles. Beautifully shot and unflinchingly raw, this is a fantastic documentary.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Franco's take on the deleted 45 minutes of Cruising., May 29, 2014
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Interior. Leather Bar. (DVD)
This was interesting and very much worth watching. It is suppose to be a reenactment of the 45 minutes that where cut from the original movie Cruising. For those who have never seen the movie, this will not really make much sense to you, but it is Franco's interpretation of the "lost" footage that was cut from the film so that the film could be released as an "R" rated movie. It baffles me that the footage is not preserved somewhere or owned by someone that worked on this film. I guess it may have been discarded, but I think that it exists somewhere.

I think that it would be interesting to see the cut footage and compare it to what Franco has released as his interpretation of the missing footage. As a gay man, I wish that Mr. Franco and the rest of the closeted gay men and women in the movie industry, the music industry, and the sports world would be brave enough to just come out of the closet. I think it would be such a large number of important and loved individuals that this country would stop all the hatred and accept people for whom they are, born gay.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great project, April 21, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I think people are missing the purpose of the project, it's not to recreate the lost footage but to put a person, in this case an actor Van Lauren in a situation that makes him uncomfortable to then realize that the unknown is simply that, unknown, but if given the chance it can become if not normal at least tolerable and not taboo anymore. The representation of all things gay in the everyday mainstream life is important if we ever want for normal and not normal to not be part of our vocabulary when it comes to any human relationship !! Four and not five for how vague it is in its purpose...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant., July 24, 2014
By 
Prospero (Wenatchee, WA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Interior. Leather Bar. (DVD)
I just saw this on Netflix and was quite impressed. I was aware of Mr. Franco's explorations in the art form but really found this piece thought provoking. I intend to purchase it to support his efforts. His arguments are valid. Its okay to show someone's head blown off or a throat sliced open in explicit detail but when it comes to sex it is all hidden and objectified in a shameful way. Especially with films like "Cruising" where it was more then a cop going underground to find a killer, but a piece that was exploring a world that, whether you want to admit it or not, exists and has a place in society. It reveals the complexity of our species and that there is beauty in the darkest regions of our beings. This is what cinema is all about. Exploring the human psyche.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interior Leather Porn, April 22, 2014
By 
Rob (Riverside,CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Interior. Leather Bar. (DVD)
If you can try and not actually purchase this but watch it on Netflix is the way to go. I liked the film "Cruising" with Al Pacino and also being a gay man was pretty intrigued with this little documentary. I never knew there was 4o minutes that were actually cut from the original film to avoid a X rating. Sadly I had my reservations when the whole film is near 60 minutes and its mainly just talking and misunderstandings from mainly the actor who portrays the young Al Pacino. Everything from his buddy not understanding why he is choosing to do this little film with Franco to his wife making stupid jokes and having to now purchase a strap on. Come on!
The only thing that did kind of surprise me and sadly the only exiting thing too about the film was the sex and nudity that was downright well ...tantalizing but I guess I just didn't see James Franco's point completely. I understood his point with sex seems to be taboo and people shy away from it but have no problems with killings and violence in film. He is so right about that. Or maybe James is wanting to explore his own sexuality but I'm sure that there could be better ways to do it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 28 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Interior. Leather Bar.
Interior. Leather Bar. by Travis Matthews (DVD - 2014)
$19.99 $12.99
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.