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Vanilla/A Little Comfort

3.8 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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(May 16, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

Jeff, an aspiring San Francisco photographer discovers the body of the Bay Side Strangler laying by the river one morning. He is inspired to create an art project based on the killer and his victims, but as he begins his project, the ghosts of the victims begin to appear to him. Dreamy and at times surreal, director Joseph Graham imaginatively blends mystery, fantasy and eye-popping imagery to create an intense and sexually-charged story that will send shivers up your spine and will stay with you for days. Also includes A Little Comfort , a French film about a young gay man's coming-of-age that bursts with style and sexiness.

Special Features

  • "The Making of Vanilla" featurette
  • Deleted scenes
  • Unfinished: The short film that inspired Vanilla

Product Details

  • Actors: Arthur Moncla, Rémi Bresson, Élodie Bollée, Anna Mihalcea, Jonathan Reyes
  • Directors: Armand Lameloise, Joseph Graham
  • Writers: Armand Lameloise, Joseph Graham
  • Producers: Joseph Graham, Frédéric Jouve, Frédéric Niedermayer, William D. Parker
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Tla
  • DVD Release Date: May 16, 2006
  • Run Time: 86 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #170,234 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Vanilla/A Little Comfort" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 28, 2006
Format: DVD
Joseph Graham both wrote and directed the first of the two short films on this DVD. He has some interesting ideas both textually and visually and manages to condense into 47 minutes a film that packs a wallop.

'VANILLA' is anything but vanilla, if the term refers to the dichotomies between vanilla and kinky in the usual sense. A young lad Jeff (Ryan A. Allen) is a highschool photographer who happens upon the kneeling suicide victim body of a beefy serial killer in the Bay Area. Questioned by the police and his father, he becomes obsessed with the string of murders linked to sexual encounters with young men, and his curiosity contributes to an art project as well as his own drive to experience how the murders took place. Just how far his curiosity leads him is the fairly dramatic conclusion to this short film. The acting is pretty 'basic' cum weak, and the acting out of the trysts is heavy, but Graham does use his story as a romance with the camera: the film is appropriately shot in both black and white and color with the uses of each more important than they first appear.

'A LITTLE COMFORT' ('Just un pea de recon fort...') is a brief 36 minute French film by director Armand Lamellose that employs better actors and better cinematography, and actually a better story. Arnaud (Arthur Moncla) is a young teenager coping with his attraction to the popular hunk Guillaume (Remi Bresson) who has a steady girlfriend. Arnaud imitates his idol trying cigarettes, alcohol and sex, finds a girlfriend, but when both girls leave their beaus, Guillaume (whose mother is dying and who has no family) seeks refuge with Arnaud, whose mother is more than happy to have Arnaud's 'best friend' stay with them rather than in a foster home.
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Format: DVD
I had to watch VANILLA a couple times before I "got" it, but it was worth it. This movie is imaginative, provocative, disturbing and beautiful -- though not for everyone. If you like David Lynch or the writers Dennis Cooper or Jean Genet, you might like this movie. I was impressed by how ambitious it was, thematically and visually, and how sensuous and surprizingly emotional it was. The ending made little sense logically (like a dream) but it made perfect sense emotionally. And although some of the acting was crude, the scene where the boy loses his virginity -- both in the real world and then in his dream world -- was a tour-de-force of vulnerability, honesty, courage and truth. While I found the French movie vague and predictable, i have to applaude the makers of Vanilla for taking risks and telling their strange, daring, story in original ways. I look forward to more work from these filmmakers.
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Format: DVD

(FIVE STARS for "......Comfort" / TWO STARS for "Vanilla")

Don't waste your time on the "Vanilla" portion of this DVD.......unless you're into the weird and surreal. The director presumably is projecting a "message" in this work, but this viewer is not at all sure it's worth discovering. (2-Stars awarded for filming technique and not-the-world's-worst acting levels).

On the other hand, for all you romantics out there, take comfort in the great little second feature on this disc. It's one that can make us all feel young again (oh, gosh, do we really want that?).

Poor little Arnaud, he's a real sweetie. He pretty much knows, sexually, who he is and what he wants, but it's the desire for the who-he-wants that's giving him problems. And, unfortunately for his peace of mind, the "hotness" of that desire manifests itself.....even during sleep (though Mom is very sympathetic at a time like that, does she actually realize the problem's cause........hmm, perhaps more than we know).

Arnaud, of course, must make one of life's first mistakes, one which so many of us make: choosing the wrong object of desire, the wrong person to fixate on. And, here, this reviewer's interpretation of Guillaume's role in Arnaud's life is at polar opposites from the opinion expressed by another viewer/writer on this site. In my eyes, G. is the epitomy of the "mixed-up kid" (and, perhaps with good reason, considering his family/home situation). He's a tease, concerned primarily with his own gratification, and, in the end, is someone who can relate to our sweet little hero only if pretense is involved (the nature of that pretense you'll easily discover with your own eyes.....er.....uh.....I mean, ears).
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Format: DVD
I wouldn’t say that Vanilla is the worst gay film I’ve seen last years, but it isn’t far from it. The problem stays mainly with the actual filming of the flick. With a great story in hand, the producing and directing resulted very poor, barely touching the thriller it could have been, The plot revolves around a man with homicide potential. Starting by killing an almost willing victim, for which he seemed deeply concerned, he evolves into a frenzy of killing people by hands while making sex. This is poorly developed, until he himself commits suicide. There comes the second part of the story, where the dead maniac is spotted by a sightseeing person, who becomes obsessed with the murdered and the maniac himself. This tale could have been absorbing, but it’s just boring. The poor film making spoils all, not helped by bad acting. To avoid
The medium length is joined by another - “A Little comfort” to whom it bears no resemblance at all. This is a small French film dealing with the luring a guy has for another, who presently has a girlfriend. It’s about the tortures of love not well corresponded, which leads little Arnaud to doing things we don’t whether are good or not for him, like smoking, finding a girlfriend…All for the love of Guillaume, whom we have seen in the opening scenes of the film, is easily attired to girls. But the story has some changes and Guillaume, to avoid going to a foster house, finishes by living in Arnaud’s house. There, he’ll give him ‘a little comfort’ which we never know for sure if it’s a retribution for living with him. Near the end, hopes again flame on Arnaud, in the person of a bright charming chevalier on this bright bicycle, when he finds Arnaud in a camp where he was supposed to be with Guillaume, who left he alone there. Maybe a new chance on love for Arnaud?
The film is very tender, and deserves a 5 for the feelings it aroused on me.
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