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Fatal Flip (2015)
It's about time they made a movie about a nightmare contractor - there is potential. A foolish couple decide to buy an old house and fix it and flip it within 45 days. Yeah 45 days. They get the help of a contractor they met at a hardware store who turns out to be a psycho. Of course there are lots of tools around to dismember with.
The cast isn't stellar. Remember Dominique Swain who had some big roles as a youngster ? She plays one half of the couple. Tatyana Ali from Fresh Prince plays her friend. The contractor isn't that hot but the guy of the couple looks suitably foolish.
This story could have been better. Not a must see.
Flesh and Bone (2015)
This drama set in the ballet world in NYC is involving and well made. The creator of this series Moira Walley-Beckett wrote some of the best episodes of 'Breaking Bad'. That's why it draws you into the competitive world of NYC ballet and keeps you watching while avoiding obvious clichés. Granted there are some over the top things like the Russian owned strip club and the creative director's tantrums. There is sex, drugs and incest all from the first episode already. But it succeeds in being entertaining and dramatic but not too melodramatic. Plus there is some superb dancing too - wish there was a bit more classical ballet.
The actors who actually are real dancers are good. Unlike 'Black Swan', this series uses real dancers as leads so it doesn't have a fake feel. Irina Dvorovenko plays the Russian prima ballerina with a coke habit. She is still very beautiful and a surprisingly convincing actress. Hope she has a career in acting after this. Sascha Radetsky, another former ABT dancer and actor from the much more light hearted ballet movie 'Center Stage' plays the lead male dancer of the company. The lead actress is Sarah Hays and she plays the difficult role of the troubled new star ballerina well. She isn't the most classically beautiful actress but her performance is convincing.
This is a limited series and the 8 long episodes do form a pretty complete story but there is potential for more. Hopefully some network will be able to carry it on for another season.
Victor Frankenstein (2015)
Different enough to be worth watching
If you are wondering what different things can they do for this very familiar story to make it worth watching - they do succeed in giving a fresh perspective - Igor's The cast is likable and watchable. Daniel Radcliffe is a good actor and his roles since Harry Potter are actually show his range. The transformation from hunchback to Igor is quite an extreme makeover. James McAvoy is a also a very convincing actor and acts obsessed enough. Despite both actors being small sized they can pull off a big action movie. Jessica Brown Findlay of Downton Abbey is a pretty love interest (for Igor no less) and her role isn't irritating.
The first resurrected creature and organs are quite morbidly frightening for what they are.
The ending is grand but kind of wonder what did Victor expect once they brought him to life? Anyway it's not necessary to look to deep into a story like this.
Worth a watch.
Involving and well acted - a bit hard to understand Tom
Despite not being able to understand about a third of what Tom Hardy was saying (and I doubt too many East London Cockneys would be able to either) this is a surprisingly involving movie. You can figure out what's happening even if you can't get all of the dialog. A true story is better than fiction and it's quite fascinating to see the craziness. There is a dark comedy vibe going on which helps keep things entertaining. The violence isn't as bad as a fictional gangster Mafia movie - no machine guns blazing but it's scary enough because it's more believable.
Tom Hardy gives 2 good performances as both the Kray twins and he speaks and acts and looks differently. He also looks like the real life twins too. Quite amazing. He didn't have to mumble so much but his acting is quite mesmerizing. Emily Browning is well cast and sympathetic as Reggie's wife. Finally a role she is perfectly suited for. The supporting cast including David Thewlis and Taron Egerton, is good except the Scotland Yard detective looked too much like a gangster - should have been more of a good guy looks wise.
Rock the Kasbah (2015)
Funny, transporting experience
A washed up talent manager arrives in Kabul to do a tour but ends up discovering a talented Afghan singer and enters her in a singing competition. It's a comedy and keeps the tone throughout even though the background is serious. The flight to and arrival in Kabul is quite laugh out loud. Lots of culture clash and war humor about the conditions in Kabul. Zooey Deschanel as the singer and Taylor Kinney as a soldier deliver some funny lines. This is a Bill Murray role and he keeps the comic tone and a droll vibe going. Kate Hudson looks pretty if unlikely as the hooker with the heart of gold. The young Afghan singer played by a Palestinian actress is quite lovely and sings well.
I don't understand the negativity. This is an insightful and very different comedy and a rare comic look into Afghanistan. The on location filming in Morocco is quite atmospheric. Worth a watch.
Child 44 (2015)
Bad novels make bad movies - don't waste your time
This movie is a disaster. It's grim story about how the mistreatment of Ukranians mixed badly with a serial killer story.
The varying degrees of Russian accents mix together badly and a lot of the dialog ends up incomprehensible. It would have been better that everyone didn't try to fake an accent than for them to have some exaggerated accents (like Tom Hardy's) and some faint accents (the rest). Make a movie about the Ukrianian serial killer and keep it true story. That may have worked.
There are some incongruous characters. The villain played by Joel Kinnaman seems evil for no reason. Very fake and contrived. Noomi Rapace doesn't look or sound Russian at all. Strange choice.
Don't bother with this long and dreary nonsense.
Fizzles out fast - time to change both actor and director
Things start out quite exciting with a spectacular helicopter sequence in Mexico City. But things fizzle out quickly and there are too many yawn inducing moments leading to a clichéd anti-climax of an ending. In between, it feels interminable.
The actors: When the villain and the hero kind of look alike you know the Daniel Craig has to be replaced - even he himself doesn't want to do another Bond movie. Let a younger, less haggard, more suave actor take his place. Christoph Waltz as one of the more insipid Bond villains wasn't given the opportunity to shine. It seemed like a caricature of his other villain roles. That C guy was forgettable. Ralph Fiennes looked pretty dour throughout. As the main female lead Lea Seydoux was a bit of a plain Jane for the role. At least her diction is understandable. It was fun to see her quite proactive in the train fight but she lacks the special quality and unique beauty required in a Bond girl.
Locations: At least there were some exotic places but Tangier could have been portrayed a bit nicer instead of that dirty looking hotel and street. Every time the location changed to London it got boring and drab. Wonder why they had to film in such wintry looking conditions in London. A few glamorous scenes would have helped balance things. The train was hardly a romantic place for the hook up.
Gadgets and cars: The car chase in Rome seemed fake - not enough traffic on the road. The car didn't look very special - a bit last decade and common looking. Nothing unique happened with the gadgets or technology. The bomb watch was too simplistic.
Directing and story: Sam Mendes isn't good for action. He let the pace slacken too much throughout. He needs to look at the recent 'Mission Impossible' or any Luc Besson movie to see how to keep up momentum. The plot was uninvolving - don't really get Lea Seydoux's role. The ending was so deja vu and predictable - giving him enough time to escape and tying her up. The falsetto Sam Smith song is out of place.
Most fans will probably see this movie. Too bad it's hardly better than the dismal 'Skyfall'.
Ignore the silly story just watch the food
If you don't pay attention to the overblown melodrama of the tantrums and shouting and druggie background and loan shark nonsense, ie ignore the story then this is a mouth watering movie about a gourmet chef trying to make a restaurant get 3 Michelin Stars.
It does make you understand somewhat why they charge so ridiculously high prices for food in these fancy restaurants, there is a lot going into it. But the movie could have shown more dazzling creations course by course and identified them clearly. For example this is whatever dish and show it's preparation and serving. In the end the silly story overwhelmed the food and that's why this movie has flopped.
The likable cast can't save this movie. Sienna Miller made to look less glam is still very appealing (and too skinny for a chef). She can act anything. Bradley looks a bit plump still from Sniper days I guess but suited to a chef. The supporting cast is likable from Emma Thompson who looks very old to Daniel Bruhl as the Maitre'd. Even Matthew Rhys speaking in a British accent.
Compared to the other great food movie of recent years 'Julie and Julia' this movie isn't half as delightful. Despite it's faults there's something that still makes it watchable.
Fatal Friends (2015)
Terrible piano playing
The first thing - the piano playing is so awful there is no way she could have even auditioned for Juilliard. Why didn't they play some proper music and have a hand double.
The set up of the story seems a bit choppy with scenes abruptly moving from one scene to another.
A friend turns out not to be so - a slightly familiar Lifetime scenario. However the twist reveal is plausible and explains things so it's not so bad. Though why her natural mother never told the baby daddy is strange Kristen Prout looks better than she has in the past - not so Ivanka Trump like. Jamie Luner who seems to be in a Lifetime movie every year still looks pretty.
A little follow up at the end about the wacko would have been good.
Stolen Daughter (2015)
Not worth watching
Standards can't be too high for this kind of Lifetime movie but it's below average by Lifetime standards. A mother who lost her child kidnaps a detective's daughter.
The casting isn't great. The perp and the cop are a bit similar looking - just one more disheveled than the other.
It seems ludicrous how the deranged mother Martha ended up such an efficient killing machine. Also our heroine is such an incompetent cop losing the gun while she had her gun pointed at perp. The nastiness of her colleagues seems unnecessary. Just isn't much story so they have to fill the time with silliness.