Monday, August 27, 2012

Reel Thoughts: En Vogue

A fierce updating of the world of Paris is Burning, Leave It On the Floor (now available on DVDfrom Wolfe Video) tells the musical story of a young gay man who is kicked out of his home by his erratic mother only to find a new home among the drag queens and kings of Los Angeles.

Bradley (Ephraim Sykes) stumbles into the glamorous but gritty world of Balls and before he knows it, he is smack in the middle of a full-fledged battle for supremacy between warring “Houses.” Men compete head-to-head in different genres and categories, the most recognizable of which is voguing. The handsome Bradley meets the flamboyant Carter (Andre Myers) who takes him home to his drag mother’s already crowded house. Among the roommates is Eppie Durall (James Alsop) whose drag persona is permanently pregnant.

The hard-driving dance tracks give the film a real energy that is entertaining and the story is a nice mix of comedy, musical interludes and serious drama. Late in the film, one character’s memorial service turns into a battle between the homophobic families who threw their kids out and the drag families who took them in.

Director Sheldon Larry has a great affection for his characters and their lives and it’s impossible to resist them. While the film’s low budget sometimes betrays itself, the ferocity with which the story is told overcomes the rough edges. Leave It On the Floor will leave you wanting to see more.

Review by Neil Cohen, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and Phoenix's Echo Magazine.

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