Oct 2, 2011

[Movies] Ice Blues (2008)

Ice Blues (2008)For one reason or another, I find myself making time to watch LGBT comedies more than any other genre. While there's a whole host of other LGBT-themed movies (especially sad relationship dramas and such) I guess my tolerance for how such stories are handled lead me back to comedy. I guess it just feels better somehow since a lot of the drama stuff seems overly, well, dramatic - for lack of a better term.

But this series has gotten me reconsidering my stance for the gay mystery movie - a fun amalgamation of old gumshoe detective stories with that of the plucky female detective I suppose. Except Donald here isn't all that plucky.

But he is gay.

What I like most about this series is how there are so many different kinds of gay people that they try to represent. The protagonist is rather butch, but clearly in love with his partner. His partner is more delicate while his assistant at work is a bit more of a queen. And of course their clients make up the rest of the spectrum, thus presenting more angles from which to experience the story.

Ice Blues is the third Donald Strachey mystery movie filmed, although it was the fourth one to be released. The movie was directed by Ron Oliver with a screenplay by Ron McGee. The movies are loosely based on the mystery novel series of the same name.

This time Donald's partner Tim Callahan (Sebastian Spence) takes center stage with a lot of the story revolving around him. As aide to New York Senator Lauren Platt (P. Lynn Johnson), Tim finds himself at a dead end as critical funding for a pet project of his gets cut. The cause is very close to his heart and thus he continues to do whatever he can to find an alternative solution to his problem.

So when lawyer Jake Lenigan (Jason Poulsen) shows up offering Tim a check for $3 million on behalf of an anonymous donor, Tim is hard-pressed to turn down the offer. But sooner than you can say "too good to be true," Jake shows up dead in Donald's car, clearly the victim of murder. So now it stops being just about a political project on its last legs and it now becomes a murder mystery, and who better than our gay detective Donald Strachey (Chad Allen) to take the case.

But unlike previous cases, this isn't just for a client. This is for his partner Tim given both their lives may be in danger because of this overly generous donation.

This movie felt a lot darker than previous ones, and not even the occasional participation of Kenny Kwon (Nelson Wong) did much to break the mood. It may be a good or a bad thing depending on your tastes. This definitely felt like a much more serious story with a pretty good mystery at its heart, although personally I missed having more of the banter and joking around. I don't need for the movie to be a full-blown comedy, but I always appreciate the inherent intelligence in how jokes can be done well in movies.

It was nice to see Tim as a more active character this time around. I'm not saying he makes for a very good protagonist - I'm just saying it was nice to see him being more than just the trophy wife of sorts (although he's clearly the breadwinner here). Having Tim in the midst of things certainly gave Donald stronger motivation as a character and this was something that Chad depicted rather well over the course of the movie.

The movie did give Chad Allen a lot more material to work with. He was pretty intense this time around, which was a more than logical depiction given how the situation did put his partner in danger. And he even gets strung up by the bad guys - not particularly titillating, but it did feel like a more or less relevant part of the story.

Ice Blues is not my favorite Donald Strachey movie, but it still made for good time spent in front of the TV. Thus it still gets 3 weird rationalizations for the origins of the mystery money out of a possible 5.

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