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160 of 168 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ban this filth!
Shortbus - "a salon for the gifted and challenged". The story is based around Brooklyn's D.U.M.B.O. club (called ShortBus in this film - a reference to the shorter yellow buses that are provided for less-able / special-needs kids in NY) and follows the crossing of paths of the main protagonists therein: Sofia - a sex therapist ("I prefer `couples councillor'") who is...
Published on 4 Mar 2007 by jrhartley

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth watching
10 out of 10 for explicit shock value but 5 out of 10 for storyline. I so wanted to be wowed by this film but wasn't. Recommend you watch it to make up your own mind
Published 20 months ago by brewermill


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160 of 168 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ban this filth!, 4 Mar 2007
This review is from: Shortbus [DVD] (DVD)
Shortbus - "a salon for the gifted and challenged". The story is based around Brooklyn's D.U.M.B.O. club (called ShortBus in this film - a reference to the shorter yellow buses that are provided for less-able / special-needs kids in NY) and follows the crossing of paths of the main protagonists therein: Sofia - a sex therapist ("I prefer `couples councillor'") who is "pre-orgasmic" and her partner Rob; a gay couple - Jamie and James, one of whom is manic depressive, and looking to open up the relationship, and a dominatrix by the alais of Severin (who is just looking for a "real human interaction"), all stage managed by Justin Bond - the mistress of Shortbus.

Set against the electrical brown & black-outs that afflicted Manhattan shortly after 9/11, this film sets out to contrast the intensity of their sexual energy and the frequent absence of emotional depth ("I can see the love, but it stops at my skin") - successfully using the parallel of how day to day the energy of the city (the sex) keeps it ticking over, but you need to feel the intimacy of love (the black outs that didn't lead to the widespread looting the NYPD predicted but instead acted as a cohesive moment for the NYC communities).

The film is extremely sexual graphic in places - and I expect will or already has ellicited a campaign by the Daily Mail to "BAN THIS FILTH!". It's far more extreme than Winterbottom's Nine Songs - previously the most "sexually shocking" mainstream UK film - was, and the uncensored nature of these scenes is a tool that director John Cameron Mitchell uses to convey the intensity of the sexual relationships. So, this is definitely not a film you'd want to in the presence of your parents. Whilst the orgies and ejaculations might be the reason the film has attained so much notoriety, it would be a shame if you were put off by the film's sexually explicit nature - I wouldn't have said the sex is gratuitous - it serves to demonstrate the emotionally vapid nature of some of the main characters' lives, and the director also skilfully addresses the wider emotional context. This film rarely misses a beat throughout and finishes with a lavish crescendo that can't help but make you feel that you've felt something as you leave the cinema. Don't accept any edited or censored versions.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars That's another interesting way on seeing the Star Spangled Banner performed, 30 Jun 2007
By 
This review is from: Shortbus [DVD] (DVD)
"Shortbus" deals with many of the same issues as "Hedwig" and the "Angry Inch," but in a new and equally groundbreaking way. Yes, there is hardcore sex, and honestly, there should have been even more, it is used as another layer of paint on one of the most poignant canvases I have seen in years. This film is part of a new breed of cinema that dares to force actors to cross over the line from acting in a film and portraying a fictional character to actually being a subject in a documentary: the once strict line that distinguishes where a character begins and an actor ends has become totally blurred and is no longer recognizable for the actors or rather beautiful and real human beings who appear on screen in this film.

As much as this film is about its characters and their lives, it is about the state of underground or lack of underground art and culture in New York City, particularly the lower east side art scene - a nostalgic yearning for a time and an age of culture and community that is sadly gone in present day Manhattan. Theoretically, "Shortbus" forces us to question the nature of the spectator in a movie theater, watching a TV screen or computer monitor, or looking through the viewfinder of a camera. It is rare for any film these days to ask and provoke the kind of emotional responses and questions about the nature of spectatorship, voyeurism, censorship, viewership, and pornography while at the same time pushing the boundaries of cinema, redefining cinematic, and fusing multiple aesthetic systems that "Shortbus" does in under two hours. The actors were earnest in their efforts (and brave to perform the sex scenes), although no Oscar-winning performances I'd say. I did find Paul Dawson to be quite effective in his ability to convey emotion, esp. in the scene where he's looking out the window at PJ DeBoy. Despite not speaking or moving, we can feel his emotion.

A note about the ending without ruining anything: many people that will balk at it for not being realistic or digging deep enough or as deep as the rest of the film may be missing part of the point. The whimsical CGI animation used throughout the film should immediately tip you off to the fact that there is a magical fantasy element present in the storyline that is represented by "Shortbus" itself. This when combined with the nostalgic seedy underground art scene depicted in the film causes one to realize that the ending and resolution of each character's issues is in fact a just a continuation of that nostalgic fantasy for the bygone lower Manhattan cabaret scene, and thus adds another bitter sweet layer to the film. We can already guess the brutal reality of what will happen to each set of characters and their relationships in the film, but that doesn't mean it is what has to happen on screen. What happens inside "Shortbus" is a hopeful and optimistic fantasy set in a burlesque and erotic theatre of the absurd, what happens outside is our hardboiled reality.

If you cannot find yourself somewhere in this film, somewhere in the mythical "Shortbus," you might not actually exist.
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45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great soundtrack, great characters, 16 April 2007
This review is from: Shortbus [DVD] (DVD)
I saw this film a while ago but its just been one of those ones that sticks in my head. Its strange because at the end of the film I didnt feel like I loved it, but now I've bought the soundtrack and I think I'll end up buying the DVD. The whole film just has this really great atmosphere about it, its sad but its joyous, its dreamy and romantic whilst at times depressing, its full of raw energy but in a strange way very soothing. I suppose the key is that it is bursting at the seams with life in all its colourful and often messy forms. It feels very real and true and there are some beautiful and very touching moments. The characters feel well rounded and not cliched like in so many films trying to be 'different' or controversial'. Much has been made of the graphic sexual nature of the scenes but this couldnt feel less like a porn film and it actually is a joy to see sex depicted in this way on film - sex as part of life, sometimes complicated, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes hilarious rather than some ridiculously choreographed performance.

As mentioned earlier, the sound track is great, very varied and really adds to the wonderfully distinctive feel of the whole film- I love the animation they use too.

I read that the director advertised for people willing to play characters that were similar to themselves and that all the actors had lots of imput into the final product -i think this shows as the characters really seem very natural and there are some great performances- I especially liked Jay Brannan as Ceth. Brannan actually features on the sound track singing his own song, Soda Shop which I now love, and think that he will be a big talent in the future, as both an actor and singer/songwriter.

Anyway my advice would be watch this film if you want something genuinely different, enjoyable, thought provoking and lovely!
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, REAL relationships....., 24 Mar 2007
By 
Mr. A. R. Coleman (Stuttgart, Germany) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shortbus [DVD] (DVD)
This film is awesome, and touches you because it is real, funny heartbreaking and approaches its admitadely not-for-the-fainthearted story with a style that has been missing from anything I have ever seen, and having no life I watch a lot of movies.

The characters are depicted as real people, not glorified superhumans like is typical in more mainstream cinema, and the use of sex has really been overplayed. Most of what you see you can identified with becuase it, and the whole movie, just feels real. Sex is treated not just as a psysical pleasure, but as a pysical response to emotional and mental requirements, needs, wants. This film is deep, absorbing and brilliant.

This film should be watched by everyone. And it is not a 'gay' movie, a lot of the movie follows straight character, so no excuses people, just watch it

Gutted the release date has been put back.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth watching, 6 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Shortbus [DVD] (DVD)
10 out of 10 for explicit shock value but 5 out of 10 for storyline. I so wanted to be wowed by this film but wasn't. Recommend you watch it to make up your own mind
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A little strange yet I like it more for that., 3 Nov 2011
This review is from: Shortbus [DVD] (DVD)
A few different characters that you follow throughout the film. Some of the scenes you can tell are done for artistic credit but some of them are just plain odd...
A little graphic but nothing more than you would see in a sex education text book.
I really enjoyed this film but it did leave me a little stumped pretty much all the way through the film and the ending was a little unfinished.
I loved all the party and lights out scenes, they were very well done.
Great film and I would watch again, one of these films where if you want to watch something that doesn't need a great amount of concentration.

Overall 7/10.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly frank, thought provoking & brilliant, 19 Feb 2013
This review is from: Shortbus [DVD] (DVD)
Although having read the previous reviews before purchasing, I really had no idea whether I would like this film or not. Basically, it is a completely open and unbiased, sexually explicit, brilliantly filmed and acted work. I do not claim to be any expert on 'the arts' but I believe that this film is the first of its kind to view the emotional and sexual problems of a small band of ordinary people with the hang ups, frustrations and inadequacies many people feel in this sometimes dark and selfish world. I found it enlightening, emotional, shocking but unturnoffable as well. I put it on to see if it was something that my lovely wife would enjoy watching purely for the storyline, and how it delved deep into the pyche of the different players. I found myself being drawn in, almost without realising it. Being a naturally red blooded male, the idea of watching a film that contained 'real sex', as opposed to directed porn-like sex, which is so empty, stark and basic, appealed to me as an avenue I had not travelled down before. I was surprised to find that when viewing the sexual content that I thought would stir only natural male reactions, that in fact it simply became part of a wider plot to highlight the honesty and pure emotion and empathy with which this film has been made. It is exciting, 'fly on the wall' stuff, the actors, considering I had never seen or heard of any of them before, were brilliant, the final song, in particular, very heartwarming and emotional. If you buy this for its sexual content, you will not be disappointed, there's enough variety to please most tastes. If you buy it for the story of ordinary people battling with confusion, inhibitions and frustrations, you will not be disappointed. If you buy it to promote discussion afterwards, have at least a few bottles of wine ready , because there are plenty of issues to discuss into the early hours! Brilliant Direction, good scripting, accurate characterisation, a film I would recommend for male/female viewing by open/broad minded individuals who have been disappointed in the past with what has been on offer. Make no mistake, there are some shocking scenes, but filmed sensibly, to colour the storyline accurately. Be prepared to laugh & cry, feel your emotions swapping places contantly, ups and downs in quick succession. At the end, I was welling up my tears, that says to me that it is a damn good film, well done the whole crew, cast and management, you did it, beautifully, fantastic treat - thank you.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good, 26 July 2007
By 
J. Pierson "joe_pierson" (Essex) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Shortbus [DVD] (DVD)
Without being too snide, I was convinced that I wouldn't like this movie. I've been annoyed by most of the responses to the BBFC's newly liberal stance when it comes to sex on screen (Anatomy of Hell- so, so, so bad, Destricted, ditto) and thought this might just be another childish, silly, opportunistic film that shows loads of sex just because you now can.

Couple this hesitation with the fact that it's a movie set in New York and the cast are young and some of them are artists and some of them are gay artists and they're really bohemian and scene and I thought it was going to be annoying and boring.

It's actually a really tender, sincere and funny film. From the gently impressionistic swooning over the model of New York, to the sad, elegiac scene at the swimming pool (the suicide attempt) right through to the riotous end at Shortbus, it's engaging and honest and warm. I'd definitely recommend it. I was going to say come in with an open mind, but you'll probably enjoy it more if, like me, you can't help but approach with prejudice- you'll be surprised how easily they melt.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Abosolutely Fantastic!, 23 Feb 2011
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This review is from: Shortbus [DVD] (DVD)
When I first saw this, I was back home in my quite little university town about to move to London, hoping I'd find a "Shortbus" here. To my dismay London (nor New York for that matter) have a "Shortbus" and this is entirely fictional. I loved this movie entirely and believe that, yes it's about sex, but it's about sex in a funny, honest and caring way. It explores all aspects of it and the characters are very likable and very human in a New York kind of way.
I have yet to have the opportunity to visit New York, but I definitely believe I will try and find my little "Shortbus" when I do visit.
Thoroughly recommend this movie and hope everyone tries to find their "Shortbus" after seeing it, the same way I try to find it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hop on the Shortbus and ride the ride, 19 Feb 2009
By 
Mr. Michael Kay (UK) - See all my reviews
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God this film was so refreshing to watch. Originally hyped due to the fact that all sex scenes in the movie are real and quite graphic but this is such an original querky film. Based on two stories running side by side, one of a gay couple going through relationship problems and the second of a sex therapist who has never had an organsm, all of which have connections to a venue called the Shortbus where anything goes. Partly improvised, this is funny, sexy and touching movie. Loved it to bits.
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Shortbus [DVD]
Shortbus [DVD] by John Cameron Mitchell (DVD - 2007)
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