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Undertow (2009)
10/10
A must see!
31 July 2010
This movie was simply awesome! I ended up seeing it twice at QFest (which is the LGBT film festival in Philadelphia). The movie was done by a first time director. It blew my mind away and I was crying at how touching it was. The performances were top notch by some very high caliber actors/actresses. The director really recruited some amazing people as one was Peruvian, another Colombian and I think another lead was Mexican. You can read others' reviews for a summary of the movie. I will simply say go see this as soon as you can. It won an award at Sundance as well as two awards at QFest. When this film was announced as a nominee, there was some major clapping. There are very few movies I will give a 10 out of 10 to but it ranks up there with movies like Shelter, Bear City and the Diaries of Anne Lister. This movie is worth paying full price because the entire movie from beginning to end is incredible. Wow! I know my praise of this movie sounds like I am part of the PR machine for this movie and I am trying to hype it up but if you read my past reviews, you know the types of movies I like and don't like. I really, really liked this movie and I think you will too! Enjoy.
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1/10
Needs work and don't waste your money
20 July 2010
I saw this as the closing film of QFest (which is the LGBT film festival in Philadelphia). The film is a disappointment. It's a thriller set in the mountains of North Carolina. I think this was a first time director which you would normally excuse but QFest also showed Undertow which was shot by a first time director as well that won 2 awards at QFest (including audience favorite) in addition to an award at Sundance. It's like a Porsche trying to drag race a Neon. QFest was extremely stupid for showing this as a closing night film instead of Undertow. I think the actors tried their best at what they were given but the movie didn't flow or fully explain Beattle and why he did what he did. I am not sure why Robert Gaston used Matthew Montgomery in the film given he is simply a mediocre actor and his facial expressions and acting made me want to laugh in the serious parts. This film is not worth paying full price or matinée at all. If you have to see it, get it on Netflix. Don't rent the DVD or else you will be wasting your money.
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3/10
Angels and Demons is a disappointing movie.
16 May 2009
I can see why the Vatican didn't have any objections to this film. The reason is because it was so badly adapted and poorly put together that they knew it would get bad reviews on its own. The church didn't need to interfere in this one. I guess Dan Brown really needed the money. Otherwise I can't see how anyone would allow their work to be bastardized this badly.

In the closing credits, it says something to the effect of "based on the adaption of." What it should have said was "based on the very loose, poor adaptation and the location is the only thing we have in common of." The movie was so dissimilar to the novel in storyline and characters that I wondered if I was in the wrong theater. Clearly the directors took massive amounts of liberty in shooting the film. I fully recognize that you cannot adapt a Dan Brown novel 100% into a 2 hour movie (like Santa delivering all of the presents in one night) but the liberties they took went too far and strayed very far from the book. Ewan Mcgregor who is a fine actor was not the right person for the role of Carmalengo. Vittoria Vetra was not fully developed and a very critical element was left out of the movie. I think what annoyed me the most about the movie is the four preferiti plot line. In the attempt to be politically correct and story-wise expedient, they fail tremendously to deliver on this story-line.

If I didn't read the novel ahead of time, I probably would have been kinder in my score but since I did, I really tried to like the movie and was excited for its release. It was just disappointing. The only liberty which I approved of was changing the assassin from being a Muslim to a non-Muslim. There seems to be too many movies where Muslims are evil and this change does not affect the movie at all.

I generally judge a movie based on whether I would pay full price, matinée price, Netflix/video rental or don't bother at all. Angels and Demons is a Netflix/video rental at best because the movie disappointed on so many accounts.
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17 Again (2009)
8/10
Pleasantly Surprised
22 April 2009
The storyline was very well done and enjoyable. I was pleasantly surprised at this movie. Keep an open mind and you will enjoy the movie.

Zac Efron did a really decent acting job. I honestly thought it would be High School Musical-like but it turned out to be a nice movie to watch. If he keeps up the good work and takes it to the next level, he can really be an A level quality star. Zac is no Matthew Macfadden yet but there is potential.

There are two recasts I would have done. Matthew Perry wasn't fully right for this role. He has a comedic bent but it wasn't used at all in this movie - hence a total waste and was a mismatch from a character perspective. I think John Stamos would have been better. Also Michelle Trachtenberg playing the teenager was a bit much. Trachtenberg is a solid actress but for a teenager, a different actress would have been better.

It is a very nice movie and I usually rate a movie on whether it's worth paying full price, matinée, video store, Netflix or don't bother. The movie was worth paying full price.
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No Regret (2006)
10/10
Finally out on DVD - a must see!
6 April 2009
I saw this movie at PIGLFF (Philadelphia film festival). It was an incredible movie and I am so glad that it finally made it to DVD. It is one of the best GLBT Asian films to come out in the past 5 years. I judge a movie on whether it is worth paying full price/matinée/Netflix/"can't give it away" and this movie is definitely worth paying full price to watch. Some may comment it is over the top but American viewers have to remember that Asian sensibilities and their respective story lines are different. This movie is so worth watching and enjoying. I will admit the movie is a bit slow in parts but the overall product is highly satisfying. The actors do an amazing job especially the main protagonist, Lee Su-Min (played by the very cute Lee Young-Hoon). To get the full effect of this movie or any sub-titled movie, it is worth watching twice to capture anything that you miss. You won't be disappointed in watching this!
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1/10
Horrible waste of time and money
3 March 2009
I simply do not understand what happened to this movie. I generally judge a movie if it is worth paying full price, matinée or on-demand/Netflix. The movie isn't worth getting off of Netflix. First of all, the actors are all top notch. Shane West needed a little bit more polish for this movie. The location and cinematography were very good. The storyline lacked substance and was utter garbage. I've seen better story lines on public access television. The movie attempts to copy cat War Games and Eagle Eye which were both excellent movies. It's a pity Echelon Conspiracy failed to copycat the brilliance of those two movies. Some of the lines spoken by Mueller (Jonathan Price) were simply farcical. I can't believe the writer would ask Jonathan Price to utter such ridiculousness. I guess the budget must have gotten tight because whoever they hired to do the graphics on the computer screens just got off the special bus. Finally, the open, in between and closing music were terrible. You are not going to hear Hans Zimmer, Craig Armstrong and the like on this one. The movie is not part of the Matrix trilogy so the opening and closing soundtrack were totally wrong for it. Overall, this was a very dissatisfying movie and should be called Ishtar III.
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9/10
Excellent movie - go see it!
14 August 2008
I am surprised that it didn't get a higher number of stars. This movie was absolutely enjoyable! I highly recommend it because it was very cute and funny. I saw this movie at last year's Philadelphia Gay and Lesbian Film Festival and have been waiting for it to come on DVD since. You won't be disappointed. The storyline is a comedic mix up of who is who and this leads to a very gay Three Stooges-esquire roundabout without Moe slapping someone. The acting is top notch and It is a great date movie and a very good movie to watch with friends over dinner. If you go to their website (www.outatthewedding.com) you will see a synopsis of the movie and the movie is still making the festival circuit so go see it if it is in your hometown or are a movie chaser!
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Young@Heart (2007)
9/10
Lovely movie (contains very minor movie detail - not spoiler)
3 April 2008
I just saw this movie at the Philadelphia Film Festival. This was an excellent feel good movie. I highly recommend it. It's the type of movie (documentary really) that more Hollywood Studios should make. In the Q&A afterwards, the director commented on how hard it was to get musical releases for the various songs. When you see the movie, you will understand why because the songs were sung by many famous performers and the producers got all of the releases but one, U2's One. During the scene in which one of the characters is in the hospital the scene was supposed to show the character singing One in a past performance interlaced with the current event. Alas, since U2 didn't agree to release the rights, it will never be shown. The director commented that so many people on the production staff would stop in the editing room just to see it. Once you see the movie, you will understand why I say, U2 sucks!
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Shelter (II) (2007)
10/10
What a wonderful movie
15 July 2007
I just saw this movie at the Philadelphia Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. It was amazing and exponentially better than Brokeback Mountain. This is a love story where the angst and passion were so alive. The interplay amongst the characters were very real and delicious in so many areas. It wasn't cheesy at all and the entire audience was focused on the movie. I highly recommend the film. This is one film I wouldn't mind seeing twice at the festival! On a rating of (a) pay full price for film, (b) pay matinée price, (c) rent DVD at store, (d) Netflix - somewhere in the queue or (e) don't bother...it is totally (A). It was so worth paying full price for the film. Go see it!
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