Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Contadora Is for Lovers|
Actor: Vincent DePaul; Tony Santiago; Renee Pietrangelo
Director: Jorge Ameer
Genres: Comedy, Drama
A newly engaged couple travel from the U.S. to the romantic tropical Isle of Contadora, off the Gulf of Panama, to celebrate their recent commitment to each other. Upon arrival, they meet their host and tour guide Gabriel ... more »
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Watching the dedication of Jorge Ameer
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 03/19/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Now and then we see early films by a well-trained and well-educated writer/director and enjoy the journey from amateur to professional status. Jorge Ameer has been actively and consistently making films since 2000 (with an earlier 1994 work) and it is therefore disappointing that he has not been able to garner financial backing to step beyond the low budget status that grounds his latest feature CONTADORA IS FOR LOVERS. Why is that happening?
For starters Ameer needs to assign the writing of his screenplays to others, find a competent cinematographer with the right equipment to step beyond the video state, and spend time with his actors in rehearsal and polish before the film is committed to the can. This particular film demonstrates all of those flaws. The story - an engaged couple Mike (Vincent De Paul) and Maria (Christina Antelo) arrive on the off-Panama island of Contadora where they are warmly received by host Gabriel (Tony Sago) - has a good setup, but very quickly turns into an impractical love triangle with the bifurcated aspects of each character skipped over so quickly that the progress of the interrelationships just falls flat. Gabriel is gay and manages to swoop Mike off for a hike on the island Gabriel 'knows like the back of his hand' only to 'get lost' and spend the night on the beach where some very rusty and insensitive attempts to show attraction and rejection are shown. Barely questioning the previous night's events Maria works back into the vacation and touches of ambiguity fizzle like water on hot rocks. It seems Ameer wants to explore bisexuality but just doesn't understand the conflicts well enough to place words in the mouths of his actors.
Each of the actors is attractive and at the beginning of the film there is hope that they can also act. But the script and the filming and direction prevent this little travelogue crew from sinking with the sunset. Maybe next time....Grady Harp, March 07
Under the Island Sun
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 02/09/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Contadora is for Lovers"
Under the Island Sun
Amos Lassen and Cinema Pride
A newly engaged couple go to island of Contadora on vacation and from the moment that they meet their sexy Latin host who happens to be gay, we can see that "Contadora is for Lovers" (Culture Q Connection) is going to be an adventure. New feelings arise as the Latin accompanies the couple on their adventure. Beautiful cinematography makes this a visually beautiful film and what is lacking in plot is made up for by the beautiful scenery. The idea of a love triangle is certainly not a new one but here the cast is great and overall we get a very satisfying movie.
The move is exotic and the Latin feel to it is pervasive. As Sago/Santiago (Vincent DePaul) comes to grips with the struggle of feelings that he shares with his fiancée (Renee Pietrangelo) and his Panamanian host (Tony Sago), we get a man who is emotionally conflicted and distraught. His reaction to his condition reflects the inner truth he feels and his acting came across so naturally that it was if I were watching a man face his feelings as I looked at him. Raw behavior flashes across the screen throughout the movie. In fact, all three actors existed in the moment that they experienced their journey. And we, in turn, feel for the actors.
In addition to being good movie, it is a wonderful travelogue for Contadora--a place I had never heard of--a beautiful island off of the coast of Panama. The simple story is simply fun and beautiful to watch and Gabriel (the host) is the object of empathy. His plight of not only being single and the fact that he can't seem to find anyone make him perfect for the object of our feelings. It seems he has had a past of becoming involved with those who are not available to him. He ignores good judgment and common sense and ends up in situations that he himself has caused. And watching Gabriel makes each of us realize that we are creatures of habit.
I have read reviews that compare this to a home movie. I wonder how anyone could possibly ignore the wonderful cast and photography. Sure, the plot is simple but it is also simply a beautiful love story. Sure there is not a lot of dialog and not a lot happens but it is presented so beautifully that I could not help but be moved by it. A great movie it is not, a satisfying one it is.