Interior. Leather Bar. Image

Mixed or average reviews - based on 15 Critics What's this?

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  • Starring: , , , ,
  • Summary: In order to avoid an X rating, 40 minutes of gay S&M footage was rumored to be cut and destroyed from the 1980 film, “Cruising.” Inspired by the mythology of this controversial film, filmmakers James Franco and Travis Mathews collaborate to imagine their own lost footage. Amid the backdrop of a frenzied film set, actor Val Lauren reluctantly agrees to take the lead in the film. Val is repeatedly forced to negotiate his boundaries during scenes on and “off camera,” as unsimulated gay sex happens around him. The film itself is constructed as a play with boundaries remaining queer in subject and form. As much a film about filmmaking as it is about an exploration of sexual and creative freedom, “Interior. Leather Bar.” defies easy categorization. Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 15
  2. Negative: 4 out of 15
  1. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Mar 4, 2014
    A sly conceptual coup d’art and a deeply sincere exploration of masculinity and its discontents, with a little hot sex thrown in.
  2. Reviewed by: Jessica Kiang
    Jan 3, 2014
    Franco has finally delivered a side project that does at least some justice to his eclectic artistic ambitions.
  3. Reviewed by: David Lewis
    Apr 10, 2014
    A Rubik's Cube of a movie, an intriguing, layered puzzle that isn't easily solved.
  4. Reviewed by: Nathan Rabin
    Jan 2, 2014
    Interior. Leather Bar.’s intriguing curiosity provides ample food for thought, in part because it’s the rare film that devotes much of its running time to its own principals discussing what, if anything, the film ultimately means.
  5. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Mar 6, 2014
    We see brief, graphic shots of naked actors performing sexual acts. But it’s the conversations about what those depictions represent that truly provoke.
  6. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Mar 4, 2014
    Brief yet underdeveloped, Interior. Leather Bar. has a faux-documentary vibe about it.
  7. Reviewed by: Calum Marsh
    Jan 2, 2014
    It's a particularly risible nothing whose premise alone betrays the paucity of Franco's imagination and wit.

See all 15 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 1 out of 2
  1. Jan 3, 2014
    This documentary based around the supposedly cut 40 minutes from William Friedkin's controversial 1980 film 'Cruising', is a bizarre if intriguing proposition. We never fully comprehend why actor James Franco would want to partake in such a film, but he is certainly to be admired for his diligence and determination in what many considered a foolhardy project for the A lister. The film fascinatingly touches on his involvement and explores the possibility of repercussions affecting his Hollywood career. After all one has to admit this is a long way from Disney's Oz.
    The film does raise many very pertinent points about human conditioning and sexuality which are definitely topics for debate. However, because of its subject matter and some explicit sexual material, it will certainly have a very limited audience. Ultimately, and in all probability, it will find itself preaching to the converted. Oddly, though, it was meant to be a film about the afore mentioned cut 40 minutes. Well, we don't actually get to see that film. One is finally left feeling that, for all the little nuggets of thought provoking conversation raised, in the final analysis the resultant enterprise is somewhat redundant even though it is eminently watchable.
  2. Mar 23, 2014
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. At the outset of this film it feels like a real-time documentary about the attempt to make an imagined reconstruction of these cut 40 minutes. There are only a couple of minutes of this recreation, because the film is really just "about the making of" (that is, the process) rather than any result. By the end you feel as if the entire spontaneous interviews are in fact carefully planned. Franco is just one of the producers, but his name creates desire among his Hollywood friends who feel any of his expectoration is genius (which serves to underscore the lack of intelligence in Hollywood). His explanation of why he wants to create this film (that it's an act of breaking down the barriers that social customs have imposed on us) sounds like any immature adolescent. That Franco thinks he's breaking any barriers shows his shocking ignorance of anything that came before him. Ultimately it's an act of navel-gazing. Expand