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arizona-philm-phan

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91 reviews in total 
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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Lazy Writers Cause the Problem, 8 October 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

What problem do they cause? Well for at least seven or eight shows, Alicia and Carey have been trying to fund and to find an appropriate location to set up their own law firm. They have not been successful in either effort.

Much of their problems are due to Alicia's mother, who tries to provide financial support. But that support never comes through. The actress playing this character is comical in these respects.

These lawyer's scenes with a particular Court Judge go on and on and on in a maddening fashion. Get on the ball, you lazy writers!

Then, there is their law firm's co-owner, Diane, who is running for a judgeship, but cannot get the head judge's approval. Her firm's major co-workers seem not to be at all successful in their efforts. Too bad, Diane and show writers. Try harder

"NCIS" (2003)
3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Horrible Story Writing, 4 October 2013

These story lines USED to be about Naval personnel and the problems they encountered---with the NCIS Team helping resolve them.

Anymore, most of these programs are about the "personnel interactions" between team members. For example, Tony and Ziva: for weeks and weeks, he has been trying to get her back from Israel and get her to love him. This has become so tiresome...tiresome...tiresome.

And Gibbs storyline involving shooting down some of his own friends is to far out of his to-date character line that it is amost comical, to say the least.

Please, Writers, whatever you do, please get OFF this track. You are losing fans!

The Falls (2012/II)
24 out of 40 people found the following review useful:
The "Intense Buildup" we're given in this story of....., 28 December 2012
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

.....young men and their love for Jesus Christ, family, church (and, sometimes, each other) is near enthralling....and watchable again and again.

A "Realistic Primer" (in the film's beginning) of the daily lives of Young Couples (male, Mormon Companions) on a Mission. In this story, we're introduced to a dorm-like setting of a simple, unadorned double room, with basic kitchen. We watch as the Companions (always staying together, as a pair) are introduced to their new commitments and goals, their rules of conduct, and submission of required progress reports. Everything arranged for them....everything with a purpose.

(( NOTE: We learn, in the Special Features section of this DVD, that Writer/Director, Jon Garcia, was a neophyte (newbie) to things Mormon....and had to "study up" on his subject (unlike C. Jay Cox, the EX-Mormon and Director of 2003's "Latter Days". ))

OUR CAST OF ACTORS (only the primaries):

- Actor Nick Ferrucci, as R. J. Smith. (I call him: "He Who Bringeth Out Joy"). Playing a young 20-year old Man on a Mission (2 years long), we follow him from film beginning to end. And at the start he informs us: "Mormon Faith truly is a benefactor of wholesomeness." BUT...the question later becomes: can R. J. stick to that belief? At any rate, here is a good time to point out that he is our Hug-Guy--some Accomplishments deserve one! And if there is any such thing as a "Light-Hearted" Mormon Missionary, R .J. often comes close. You'll recognize this later on as he backtalks his Companion, Chris, in an effort to get him to "lighten up" and into a better mood.

- Actor Benjamin Farmer, as Chris Merril. (I call him: "He Who Maketh the First Move"). As R. J.s Mormon Companion, and Senior Elder, Chris has been on other missions (there, perhaps, is the rub). A sometimes fervent young man, Elder Chris is our Serious one. But, it won't take you long to realize that things have begun to rankle this Missionary. He's begun "to question".

- Actor Brian Allard, as Rodney. (I call him: "He Who Enlightenth Our Lives"). Plays a pot-smoking, ex-Iraq war vet, with much of a PTSD personality (or maybe not....he could be our sanest character). Despite his truly horrible experience in that war zone, he will have you absolutely rolling off your seats laughing when he is at his best. He's lovable...he's understanding. And frankly, he could be the best thing which happens to our R. J. and Chris.

Despite all we learn about the Mormon Religion (and it's not always Christ-like), make no mistake about what I say next: ....THIS IS, AT ITS ROOT, A LOVE STORY BETWEEN TWO MEN. And so, as the story edges to its end, we find R. J. experiencing increasingly caring thoughts (and concerns) for his withdrawn Companion, Chris. Which then leads to a series of Notable Events:

- A diner table discussion, between our Companions, of R. J.s concern over Chris slackening off....resulting in a surprise, Hand-Touching-Hand moment. Which then leads to:

- An accusation of "Faggotry" against them....resulting in a fight by R. J. in protecting themselves. Which then leads to:

- Bruised knuckles....resulting in Hand-Holding, in the applying of an ice pack (a nice little moment). Which then leads to:

- Exhaustion and early drop off into sleep by Chris....leaving R. J. to prepare for bed, say his prayers and, then, to gaze at a sleeping Chris, before turning out the light. For me, this is THE point at which I knew Love existed between them. We can see it in R. J.s face....we can see it in his eyes. It is "The Defining Moment".

This film also contains an absolutely heart-rending denouement (outcome) scene between R. J. and his church Stake President. It is one of the strongest performances you will see by a young actor. While it will tear at your heart....it is NOT an apology scene and is extremely well written.....leaving us the possibility of hope for our two young men. Will the moments later Final Scene confirm that for us?

Memorable Moments: A Bus-ride Kiss. In fact, every kiss these actors bring to one another....seems real...seems meant. How rare!

PS--Production values are quite high for this Indie Film. Particular mention is deserved for the wonderful film score, music and lyrics. Made up of very simple piano, guitar and vocal harmonics, this score will absolutely grab you. A musical standout for me was the near film end "Coda of Discovery" (they are found out).

****

Beauty (2011)
7 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
There is NO "Beauty" in this......, 18 November 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

.....film. But, there is another 6-letter "B-word" which exactly describes its story: "Brutal". And now, for your edification, let's take that ugly word, one letter at a time.

-- B: - As in Old "BOYS" Club. As in a bunch of older, emotionally unfulfilled, married men, who secretly meet to screw each other over (in every sense of that word).

-- R: - As in "RAPE". As in the unmercifully cruel and forced taking of a radiantly handsome, young man. As in...the viewer gets to be the camera. As in you are there...it's happening to you.

-- U: - As in "USED". As in the way many paying viewers of this often static, S-L-O-W moving and deceitful story will feel after watching it.

-- T: - As in "TAKEN". As in...Being Taken (See "USED", above).

-- A: - As in "AFRIKANERS". As in the Germanic ethnic group in Southern Africa, who populate this story and speak in more harsh (to English-hearing ears) Dutch/German tones.

-- L: - As in "LUCKY". As in what you should consider yourself to be...if you heed this forewarning.

PS -- Here's yet another "L": As in "LEARNED" my lesson the hard way. As in this is a non-keeper...a throwaway DVD.

****

3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
"The (*Self-Loathing) Seminarian"......, 29 October 2012
3/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Thinking himself only good enough to fall for and cling to an emotionally broken wreck of a man ("Bradley"), this work's Anti-hero lead actor (Mark Cirillo, playing an increasingly irritating and progressively boring "Ryan") will, at film's end, deny...reject...and break the heart of an emotionally stable fellow seminarian ("Gerald"), who actually loves him.

Along the way through this "goes nowhere mess", our Seminarian calls / texts us to death with a myriad of cell / computer messages---which never amount to much of anything. And don't forget to add in the several "feeling-sorry-for-myself" visits home to Mom.

The 3-Stars are for fairly good production values and some decent side-character acting.

*Evidence of Self-Loathing: "Bradley".....and Ryan's impulsively changing (dependent on his emotional state) Thesis Conclusions.

Final Warning: For your own sanity's sake..avoid this film...um, like something Biblical.....oh, The Plague!

****

8 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
No "Chemistry" like this, since....., 11 August 2012
7/10

....."Brokeback Mountain." ......(*Alternate title for this review: "I Hear the Crabcakes are Excellent").

In its first near two-thirds running time, "Going Down in Blah-Blah Land," is the typical "Hollywood meat grinder" story about all those aspiring, young Newbies scrambling for a foothold, after arriving in the world's film capital. (WARNING: Beware those Gay video porn-mills!). ....Ah, BUT, then come the very best parts, where we start to see...(well, you'll find that out, below).

NOW TO OUR CAST: And saving the best for last, here's a glimpse at the major characters...beginning with:

- *Allison Lane, as the ditzy B(Girl)FF of the male Lead. Named "Candy", she is the supportive and often funny--yet sometimes tiresome--friend from back home. (Good for Allison...she gets more screen time than anyone other than our main star).

- Next, in a major (time-wise) supporting role, we have the Director, himself: Casper Andreas, playing a "User" of a guy, who we'll later see as the true scuzzball he becomes. (This viewer thinks Andreas would do well, in future, spending all his time BEHIND the camera....for I'm starting to picture him as he appears in his last scene---or is that just effective acting?).

- AND FINALLY: Let's speak to that "CHEMISTRY" mentioned above. RARELY, in an American produced Gay film, do we get to see such an emotionally deep relationship between two men. It was obviously developed by main actor, Matthew Ludwinski (as our gorgeous "Adam") and his co-lead, Michael Medico (as sweet, but closeted, "John") during their shooting time with one another. Their "few" scenes together will keep you RIVETED. We can a..l...most Touch what they burn off the screen at us. (And there's the shame of this movie: 56 and one-half minutes into it before we even see this couple together--except for a "prologue" of sorts). NEVERTHELESS, you tell me if the likes of this film relationship has been seen, in this country, since the days of "Brokeback Mountain"!

Oh, I had my doubts, well into this movie......but Matthew Ludwinski held me to it.

****

7 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
A man selecting from a field of possible wives......, 22 July 2012
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

.....Just as in any (heterosexual) fairytale, this film introduces us to an "inheritance situation" confronting a young Prince of a Man (notice I didn't say Handsome), who is faced with choosing---from a selection of desirable women---that person who will become his wife.

OH, WAIT...WAIT...WAIT! ....Did I get this all wrong? Oh, dear me. Perhaps I've misunderstood (though the storyline in this film, and the behaviors of its 4 male main characters, certainly make that easy to do). So, please..won't you let me start over again?

Possibly...just possibly...this story is, INSTEAD, about a Gay (or is he) young Prince of a Man, who is faced with choosing a spouse from a field of two handsome lads + one older man (and, whoa...an ex-wife). ....But, truly, it was difficult for me to conclude that any of these characters were Gay (altho there was one supporting character who....ahem..ahem). More directly, such was the case for me because I saw no Gay romantic behavior taking place between our Prince and any of his three choices. Though I suppose, relievedly for the 4 males actors involved, their script called for no lips to touch any other lips in this entire spouse selection process. In other words, none of these actor's acquaintances could ever wonder if, in real life, they might be Gay.

Lastly, much of the dialog, particularly for the supporting characters, is flip...silly...and nonsensical (at least for we non-Brits out here). While there are many of the right platitudes spoken along the way, they usually come during the wrong places in the film.

So, if any of you out there are looking for a Gay romantic film to take home, this is NOT the one which will likely do it for you. Oh, yes...production values are pretty high (only because in its genre, it is not a cheaply-made American production). But, admittedly, there are some funny bits.

This DVD will not be making it into my Library of Gay Keepers.

****

Kawa (2010)
8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Almost....almost as if seen from a......, 4 June 2012
7/10

...Woman's Point of View...and involving much of a woman's sensitivity.

And yet the movie we're given is from a story written by a man, Witi Ihimaera. A man well known for an acclaimed, later literary work (and film), "The Whale Rider" (world premiere at the 2002, Toronto International Film Festival). Still, this is an author who seems to possess much of the "sensitivity" referred to above. In truth, female touches abound, which should be no surprise, inasmuch as this film work was steered by Director Katie Wolfe, aided by the screenplay writing of Kate McDermott. So, in essence, this is almost as much the story of our Gay lead, Kawa's ....Wife....his Mother....his Daughter, as it is of the man, himself.

BUT, woman's point of view or not, the Pain....the Angst....revealed to us in Calvin Tuteao's characterization of Kawa is REAL. For at its heart this is a story of a man from whom much is, and has been, expected by his Maori societal group....and family. We see a Gay man who has, in fact, led a heterosexual married life, with children. Nevertheless, what we are shown, beneath the cover of all that, is a man experiencing a severe case of "Closetophobia" (fear of Coming Out).....and a near disabling Fear of Disapproval.

Yes, there is a male lover (on the side)....and visits to a bathhouse. BUT for those anticipating finding more than mere hints of Gay romance and Gay love scenes in this work, I must reluctantly say such hopes will be dashed. The emphasis seems to be, instead, upon heterosexual closeness....family closeness. And fear of loss of the latter.

Oh, there is a "final stand" taken against family...and society, and it is effectively conveyed to we viewers. But I will reveal nothing more about this film's closing storyline. I can say, however, that production values were unexpectedly high from this film goer's point of view. And gorgeous New Zealand scenery doesn't hurt at all (rating credit was given for all this).

I have yet to decide whether to keep this video in my Gay Film Library.

****

Undertow (2009)
2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Homosexuals & Ghosts...(as deep a male love story ever shown us)...., 30 May 2012
9/10

....Society....and our Communities tell us: "You've not a Ghost of a Chance."

(( When Society, families, others close by and, sadly, even ourselves keep us from being who we are supposed to be...from loving the person we are supposed to love...then we've allowed ourselves to be screwed (and, yes, I'm talking about me...and, likely, some of you). And every now and again, to remind us of this, as happens in this tale, there will come some sign or object...perhaps as simple as a "Candle"...which mysteriously appears in our lives, causing us to recall what we've lost ))

(( Have you ever thought...or said to a Beloved: "Without you, there is Nothing?" If yes, then you were foretelling a major theme of this film ))

A married, coastal fisherman (Miguel) as our main lead, and an unattached, visiting artist (Santiago) are the focus of this passionate love story between 2 men, spanning youth into adulthood. We'll learn this affair has a likely background of boys spending summers together...of fun times...and, no doubt, moments of finding love with one another. Sadly, however, this is a film focusing on their current day relationship which, like that of Romeo & Juliet, is being thwarted in almost every way.

So, for now, we find ourselves watching and becoming absorbed in an extremely impassioned--though well hidden--love affair. With nearly every scene involving these two leads, our view of the intensity of their love for one another continues to be reinforced, as the film makes its way to a heart-rending conclusion. Of hundreds of such films in my possession, none surpass the realistic displays of love and affection given us by these actors...this director. And in watching this story play out, it becomes oh so obvious that, while Miguel deeply cares for his pregnant wife, it is Santiago who is the "Great Love" of his life. We see a relationship which has even reached the point of loving "endearment names" being used for one another (Miguel as "Mico" / Santiago is "Tiago"), not to mention our witnessing numerous scenes of closeness--erotic and otherwise.

Some final thoughts: You will come to see theirs as an "Everlasting Love". And you will witness pure joy in something as simple as a hand-in-hand stroll....and sadness as stirring as a loving hand against cheek. Happy emotions deep enough to hit you in the gut....but also sadness...tears...loss. If you're not ashamed of crying, you will probably do so. This is a movie of lessons for many of we viewers, importantly telling us that letting go of a love, even one we may have at times denied, is an impossibility. It is an especially apt reminder...if we are to live a truthful future life (just watch as our main lead resolves his truth during a heartbreaking moment with his wife near film's end).

PS--Watch for a young, fellow fisherman, Tano by name, who I often see lending support when most others don't, and taking a definite interest in our beleaguered Miguel. See where he positions himself in at least one group gathering....notice where his eyes flicker in scenes involving Miguel. Ah, who knows if he is a possible harbinger for Miguel's future and whether, in this man, "Mico" will find the solace and warmth he now so desperately needs. (Am I dreaming this up? You decide.)

****

10 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
And I quote: "It's Joyous...and just about....., 23 May 2012
8/10

Brotherhood and Love....and not about the bashing....and not about the hate....and not about the struggle. Because...I think we need more films like that....I think we need more things saying that Love is Universal....and it is beautiful, no matter what. And I'm really proud to be a part of this project."

(( These words are the heartfelt expressions of Matty Doyle (Glenn / Juliet), in preparing to give an encore rendition of "You Made Me Love You", at the following YouTube address: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25_D9qvxJ0c ))

Bringing life and passion to a 400+ year old play is a gutsy, yet potentially tricky endeavor. In doing so, Director Alan Brown had a "Nice" idea (he's had them before). BUT...will raw Shakespeare (let alone with a cast not-trained-in-Shakespeare) pull in everyday Gay viewers around the world? Time and return on expenses will tell. Though I personally hunger for the success of this film work, that "BUT" remains a potential killer for his efforts.

Still and all, if anything can keep this film work alive...and long remembered...it will the touching, yet sizzling, Love Story given us by Seth Numrich (Sam / Romeo) and Matt Doyle (Glenn / Juliet). They hold absolutely nothing back in both their emotional and physical lovemaking. Their scenes together are oh-so-easy for this reviewer to play, and replay again.

BUT, now I must be honest...and say that about the basics of this Story---the basics of Shakespeare---I am ill-equipped to give you more. Yet, there is someone....someone from the several existing reviews of this film, whose deeply descriptive and perceptive words say it all. And those words belong to Rachel Schweissinger, and can be found in her May 19, 2012 review at Amazon.com, entitled: "Outstanding, Heartbreaking, Haunting, Beautiful". Do yourself a favor and read them.

PS--Thank you, Matt Doyle, for giving us a today's-rendition of "You Made Me Love You." It's right up there with another favorite---Harry Nilsson's 1973** track of that same song. And perhaps you'll consider another visit to "Feinsteins" and give us your go at R & J's true Signature Song: "Always" (the perfect lyrics for J. to sing to R.). Oh, and Harry needs the competition.

**Audio CD/MP3---"A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night"


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