2½ stars (out of four)
Ax llan Brocka's easygoing film version of Matthew Rettenmund's novel "Boy Culture" is narrated by an emotionally guarded hustler, known only as "X" to his 12 steady clients. Thirty and wary, X (Derek Magyar in his feature debut) shares a place with Joey (Jonathon Trent), still a teenager and all wisecracks and nerve endings, and Andrew (Darryl Stephens), who fills X's fantasy life. Why do we pine for those who seem out of reach? Why does lust so often arrive wearing the mask of love and the other way around? The elder voice of reason is provided by one of X's johns, a courtly gent played by Patrick Bauchau, familiar from Eric Rohmer's "La Collectionneuse" and Wim Wenders' "The State of Things" and, more recently, things like "The Cell."
It's a better-than-average gay relationship film, largely because neither plot mechanics nor the same old camp intrude much. Bauchau excepted, the acting's uneven, but director/co-writer Brocka keeps a steady hand on the flashback-laced story. Among other regional accolades, the film won for Best Male Feature (no jokes, please) at the Long Island Gay & Lesbian Film Festival.
Running time: 1:28. Opens Friday at Landmark Century Centre, 2828 N. Clark St; 773-509-4949; landmarktheatres.com. No MPAA rating (parents cautioned for sex, nudity and language).Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times