VIDEO MONTHLY:What's the colour of money? Pink, apparently

Once upon a time, gay video meant just two things: a butch, leather-clad Al Pacino in Cruising, or a limp-wristed John Hurt lusting after Ryan O'Neal in Partners. Way back then (the early 1980s, that is), the potential of the pink pound had yet to be realised, so in theory, the market didn't exist.

Now, things couldn't be more different. The retail market has hit its biggest peak which, in turn, means good news for the gay video market, most of whose releases go straight to sell-through. Gay titles are big business, whether feature films, soft pornor the health videos which have sprung up in the past few years: a stroll through the video department of any Virgin Megastore, HMV or Tower Records, where hundreds of gay videos jostle for attention on shelves alongside - gulp - normal films, will tellyou that. HMV now stocks over a 100 titles in its gay section (the most popular are currently My Own Private Idaho and the lesbian comedy Go Fish). The trade magazine Timecode has its own gay pages. And gays aren't even gays anymore, apparently - they're now Slinkies (Seriously Large Incomes, No Kids Ever).

It's Timecode which provides the most telling insight into the way this market is regarded by certain sections of the industry. In last November's issue, an examination of the profitability of gay titles stated, "The trouble with minorities is that they are so extreme. . . Stop imprisoning homosexual men, and they want equal rights. This is all very irritating if you are trying to drive through London while a hundred thousand screaming gays and lesbians are staging the annual Gay Pride march. On the other hand, it is pretty good news if you can build a gay customer base in your store."

This grudging, mercenary attitude belies the eagerness of the major chains to play ball. John Beasley, of the highly successful gay video distributors Dangerous to Know, whose top-selling titles are the BBC coming-out drama The Two of Us and the cult classic Pink Narcissus, has encountered little opposition: "When Dangerous to Know started out two-and-a-half years ago, it was mainly a mail order company. Now we sell the bulk of our titles through the big stores."

With more mainstream films now making inroads into the gay audience (Philadelphia earned a profitable video release late last year, and Denys Arcand's Love and Human Remains is out to rent next month), it's good to find that DTK are still catering for anaudience which doesn't appreciate seeing gay sex glossed over. In the next few weeks, they will be releasing Boys on Film 4, which draws together several short films, and Squaddies, described as a feature about "young army recruits". Rumours that the army are to use it as a recruiting film are, as yet, unsubstantiated.

The straight-to-video tag has long served as a warning, setting off "rent-at-your-peril" alarm bells in any sensible mind. Mostly, this reaction is justified, but, occasionally, video is the only outlet for movies which have flopped Stateside, or are simply deemed unmarketable. Some films which had been assigned this pitiful fate are rescued at the last minute - Mr Jones, starring Richard Gere, Geronimo, Wrestling Ernest Hemingway with Robert Duvall and Richard Harris, and Richard Linklater's comedy Daz ed and Confused are all recent features which were heading for the video shelf before earning limited releases.

Others are not so lucky. The basketball drama Blue Chips was originally on the UIP release schedule, and has already earned fine notices from critics. But now, mysteriously, the film has leapfrogged cinema release and will be appearing in a video store near you from 17 March. According to the distributor, CIC Video, "it wouldn't have stood a chance" against other UIP releases such as Forrest Gump. Clearly, if it doesn't reach No 1, it's not worth bothering about.

So always be on the look out for hidden gems. Aside from the brilliant thriller Blue Tiger from first-time director Norberto Barba, most of the best straight-to-video films of recent months have been the product of once-great directors. The ridiculously titled The Positively True Adventures of the Texas Cheerleading Mom, from Michael Ritchie (The Candidate, Downhill Racer), stars Holly Hunter as a woman who resorts to murder in order to land her daughter a place on the cheerleading team. Spiky and insightful, it's an intelligent take on the media-crime debate, displaying subtlety absent from Natural Born Killers.

Barry Levinson's Jimmy Hollywood had a big budget, big stars (Joe Pesci, Christian Slater), a cover feature in American Premiere and flopped. Watching the film, that's quite understandable. It's a sour jab at the American dream, the story of a budding actor (Pesci) who only finds fame when he and his airhead buddy (Slater) nab a thief and earn a reputation as mysterious vigilantes. How could anyone have believed that the American public would fall for something so dark around the edges?

Nicolas Roeg's version of Conrad's Heart of Darkness marks a simple, unsettling return to the source text after the bombast of Apocalypse Now. It's true that the movie sags somewhat toward the end, but it's an odd little piece, originally made for American TV, which finds Roeg in disciplined yet characteristically probing mood. If his muddled but intriguing 1990 film Cold Heaven ever arrives, it's likely to be on the small screen. Visionary directors don't die, they just go straight to video.

Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne as transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl

First look at Oscar winner as transgender artistfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Season three of 'House of Cards' will be returning later this month

TV reviewHouse of Cards returns to Netflix
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford will play Rick Deckard once again for the Blade Runner sequel

film review
Arts and Entertainment
The modern Thunderbirds: L-R, Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon and John in front of their home, the exotic Tracy Island

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars ceremony 2015 will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles
Oscars 2015A quiz to whet your appetite for tonight’s 87th Academy Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Sigourney Weaver, as Ripley, in Alien; critics have branded the naming of action movie network Movies4Men as “offensive” and “demographic box-ticking gone mad”.
TVNaming of action movie network Movies4Men sparks outrage
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
News
Kristen Stewart reacts after receiving the Best Actress in a Supporting Role award for her role in 'Sils Maria' at the 40th annual Cesar awards
people
News
A lost Sherlock Holmes story has been unearthed
arts + ents Walter Elliot, an 80-year-old historian, found it in his attic,
Arts and Entertainment
Margot Robbie rose to fame starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street

Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days

Arts and Entertainment
Right note: Sam Haywood with Simon Usborne page turning
musicSimon Usborne discovers it is under threat from the accursed iPad
Arts and Entertainment
A life-size sculpture by Nick Reynolds depicting singer Pete Doherty on a crucifix hangs in St Marylebone church
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Escalating tension: Tang Wei and Chris Hemsworth in ‘Blackhat’
filmReview: Chris Hemsworth stars as a convicted hacker in Blackhat
Arts and Entertainment

Oscar voter speaks out

film
Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars race for Best Picture will be the battle between Boyhood and Birdman

Oscars
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy), Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance)
tvReview: Wolf Hall
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Meighan of Kasabian collects the Best Album Award
music
Arts and Entertainment
Best supporting stylist: the late L’Wren Scott dressed Nicole Kidman in 1997
film
Arts and Entertainment
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) and Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor)
tv occurred in the crucial final scene
Arts and Entertainment
Glasgow wanted to demolish its Red Road flats last year
architecture
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower