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phd_travel

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782 reviews in total 
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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Spectacular visually but partly incomprehensible, 16 February 2015
4/10

This is a spectacular loud party comprehensible sci fi movie. The visuals are spectacular from the Chicago aerial fight scenes to the overdone space battles. As far as a comprehensible plot, there have been worse sci fi movies. Nowadays understanding about 30 percent is considered good. So more or less I got what was going on but got lost now and then about who was fighting who about what. Something about harvesting the Earth by some battling outer space siblings. The story on Earth started off quite interesting with the Russian family but then things got too complicated with the aliens.

Mila managed to pull off the titular role with some cute charm as the cleaning maid turned space royalty. Channing Tatum as a wolf thing looked a bit overweight - needs to cut out the carbs. Eddie Redmayne was grotesque with his laryngitis voice and occasional outbursts. Even science fiction pretty Douglas Booth was better in his role. Couldn't get everything Sean Bean said.

Overall it is watchable for the lead actors despite the partly incomprehensible plot.

6 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
All the fun and inventiveness Bond has been lacking recently, 12 February 2015
10/10

What a surprise this entertaining and very funny spy with an younger slant deserves to be a hit. A young delinquent whose father was a special secret agent gets recruited to join the Kingsman secret agents after a run in with the law.

The effects, fight sequences and action are original which is no mean feat after all the action movies out there. There is violence but it is comic not Quentin gross. The good thing is the sense of humor that stays throughout the movie. The gadgets are inventive. There is a variety of settings and scenarios that keeps it interesting.

Taron Egerton in the lead role is likable and his cockney accent is understandable. Unlike some of recent British comic action movies in the past like the Guy Ritchie movies, all the accents are quite easy to make out thank goodness. Good supporting actors with Mark Strong, Michael Caine and as well cast Colin Firth as a mentor. He is best in these kind of supporting roles. Samuel L Jackson plays the villain with a lisp.

Definitely worth a watch - especially for those who aren't watching 50 Shades this President's Day weekend.

Sandra Oh makes it worth while, 11 February 2015
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If not for the wonderfully expressive face of Sandra Oh this movie wouldn't be worth watching. Her portrayal of an tightly wound realtor is quite hilarious. Quite a realistic character. The ongoing suicide attempt is quite funny. Ellen Page is a little under used. Not quite enough star power to draw in viewers. This Canadian indie movie about the day in the life of a small town is slightly insightful and entertaining with some laughs here and there. Nova Scotia seems a bit bleak in this movie - maybe that is the way the lighting is there. The gay plot seems a bit forced in to be modern.

Worth one watch.

4 out of 24 people found the following review useful:
Dark humor, danger and an underdog, 10 February 2015
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

After watching the first 2 episodes I can tell we're in for another terrific show. Can see the elements that made Breaking Bad succeed are present: dark comedy, danger, and an underdog anti hero everyone roots for. Vince Gilligan has already got sympathy for Saul as you see him in his down and out struggling lawyer state. The scam with the skaters is funny. And then the danger comes with one of the best criminals of Season 1 of BB Tuco. Can't wait to see Mike's role and how things proceed as the various story lines are set to take off. Bob Odenkirk's Saul was one of the best parts of Breaking Bad and it's so great that we have got a full showcase for his talents.

An unexpectedly good B movie about werewolves in Romania, 9 February 2015
7/10

This is an unexpectedly good 2007 B movie with an involving if not always logical story and decent balanced effects. Plus there is an exotic location - Bucharest a city that seldom features in movies. It involves werewolves and the romance between a female werewolf and a human.

Watching this for the first time in 2015 on DVD it makes an interesting comparison to the Twilight movies which came later. Liked that the wolves were not so big like in the Twilight movies. As the female werewolf Agnes Bruckner is a good watchable actress who deserves good roles. Hugh Dancy is a bit slender for a romantic lead as the human - no R Patz for sure but he's okay with her. Olivier Martinez as the leader of the pack looks the part but it's hard to understand his accent sometimes.

Overall worth one watch.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
A most effective movie, 9 February 2015
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This isn't a very violent film as one might infer from the title but it is still very scary and tense. Less is more proves accurate here so when there is some violence it is even more scary and meaningful than if there were a high body count.

It isn't about petty crime and violence in NYC in 1981, it's about a very hardworking Hispanic man Morales (Oscar Isaac) married to a gangster's daughter (Jessica Chastain) trying to expand and grow his heating oil business. He comes up against theft of his vehicles and intimidation of his staff from rivals, a dirty DA, and financing problems.

Oscar Isaac gives an earnest believable performance that brings to mind Pacino but this movie is more realistic than the Godfather or Scorsese movies. It's more plausible - no rub outs, that's why it is so scary when you worry with him about his personal safety and that of his family and employees, and even his financing problems. The viewer can feel for him has he tries to remain calm and relatively virtuous through all the problems coming together and all the corruption surrounding him. Jessica Chastain has an 80s Linda Evans hairstyle and shoulder pads. She is convincing as the hard practical girl from a shady family but still a loving supportive wife.

This kind of movie should have done better at the box office because it is just so well written. Deserved nominations all round for screenplay, directing, acting and picture, more so than some of this year's nominated movies. A big achievement that such a serious movie could be so engrossing.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Give Julianne an Oscar - the best movie about Alzheimer's so far, 6 February 2015
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a balanced, detailed, touching, realistic, multi faceted movie about a brilliant 50 year old college professor of linguistics suffering from early onset Alzheimer's. The viewer is shown from the stages early forgetfulness, to the diagnosis and then the family reaction, and finally coping with the worsening disease. There have been other movies about Alzheimer's before notably 'Away From Her' with Julie Christie but this is a much more rounded film. The disease is shown from the point of view of the sufferer and the impact on the family / caregiver. There are some unexpectedly moving scenes because they are done without excess sentimentality: when Alice finds out her elder daughter has inherited the gene for the disease, when Alice gives a speech on the disease, when her younger daughter becomes the caregiver. There are some funny situations too that help lighten the mood during some deeply dramatic moments especially the bungled suicide attempt.

There is a believability to the cast as a family which includes Kate Bosworth, Hunter Parrish and Kristen Stewart as the children and Alec Baldwin as the ultimately selfish husband. The dialog is realistic and funny. Kristen Stewart is well cast as the slightly rebellious actress daughter who steps up. Don't get the speech she was giving at the end though and don't know how they can expect an Alzheimer's patient to understand it.

Julianne Moore gives a all encompassing performance and she deserves an Oscar for this role in addition to the Golden Globe. She portrays the pain, fear, joy and affection without making things too awful during the deterioration. This is the best movie about Alzheimer's so far and an excellent movie about illness in general.

Unbroken (2014/I)
4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Very well done - from air to sea to land, 5 February 2015
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This true WWII movie about runner Louis Zamperini feels like several movies in one because a lot is covered - from the air to the sea to the land. So things are kept interesting throughout the 2 hours. Angelina Jolie did a fine job - don't understand the negative criticism. She puts the viewer very much in the place of the protagonists and shows what you need to see with just enough detail. The screenplay by the Coen Brothers is surprisingly lucid. Firstly there is an exciting plane battle which puts the viewer right in the vulnerable position of the crew. The story of Louis's running is inspirational. Then there is the survival in the sea on life rafts for many days. Situations like this have been shown before but here it is particularly well done. Finally the conditions at the prisoner of war camps. There is a lot of brutality shown, more so than previous movies like the recent 'Railway Man'. Can feel for each beating. The production values and technical aspects are top quality.

The acting by Jack O'Connell is winning and convincing. He may not look very Italian even with the dyed black hair, but he gives a moving performance. The weight loss the actors had to endure is painful to watch. The actor playing the sadistic Japanese prison guard looks a bit androgynous - someone more menacing and masculine looking would have been better choice.

This is a moving and harrowing movie that is well made deserving of more Golden Globe and Oscar nominations than it received.

1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
The target audience will love this J Lo vehicle, 3 February 2015
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A high school teacher of the Classics (Jennifer Lopez) is going through marital troubles with her unfaithful husband (John Corbett - Aiden of Sex and the City) and a 19 year old man (Ryan Guzman) moves in next door who befriends her son. For a big screen version of a Lifetime thriller this delivers exactly what it promises to. Don't set your standards high and it's mindlessly entertaining especially if you look on it as a comedy. In fact it's so obvious and ridiculous that it is laugh out loud funny in parts. The love scene is quite risqué, the boy turning psycho is too sudden and exaggerated and the grand climax fight scene is bordering on absurd.

The supporting cast is good. It's good to see Kristen Chenoweth in a different kind of role as the best friend. She is quite droll in her own way too. John Corbett plays against type as the unfaithful husband. Jennifer herself acts as well as this role demands isn't as glamorous as expected given some reviews. She does have some chemistry with her costar Ryan Guzman of Step Up. He looks a little mature for high school but it is explained. His acting is okay it's the lines and story that are silly.

The movie is such an obvious JLo vehicle that is beyond cliché but so what, it's entertaining for this kind of B movie fantasy for a target audience. Knock yourself out.

A movie about gambling addiction, 3 February 2015
7/10

This is a well done true story movie about gambling addiction the fraud on the Canadian bank is secondary. It's not theatrical in the depiction of the gambling and it's quite real life.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman gives an understated performance. Sometimes the mumbling can't be understood but the addiction is convincing. It's so understated that it's more believable and painful to watch him give everything back to the house. Minnie Driver with her strange wig is quite a sympathetic girlfriend. The Faustian casino manager played well by John Hurt.

Overall worth a watch.


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