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742 reviews in total 
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5 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
A must see - heart breaking, 19 December 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you think you already seen enough of slavery on screen this year with Django, think again. This movie is completely effective because it's a true story of a free black man kidnapped into slavery. The film is direct and very personal in its photography and direction. The scenes of the brutality feel terrifyingly real. Every whip or beating has impact. The jumping back and forth in time in the beginning though not too confusing wasn't necessary. The story has a varied mix of good and evil white folk and plantation owners and the different types of sufferings both male and female that the slaves endured.

The acting is excellent. Chiwetel Ejiofor who has always been good at acting worried and sad in other movies like Tsunami the Aftermath is very good here. He doesn't over do it and makes it believable. Of the other slaves, Lupita Nyong'o as Patsey with her pure African looks is perfectly cast and her acting is convincing the scenes of her beating and rape are heart breaking and hard to forget. In contrast with the horrors, the photography of the plantations and Louisiana bayous is very scenic and evocative. Michael Fassbender and Sarah Paulson as evil plantation owners are better than expected. Casting of Paul Dano and Paul Giamatti wasn't so good. They came across as good guys playing bad ones for this role.

Although the subject matter is so depressing and sad, this movie is surprisingly watchable. The brutality is never for the sake of violence but serves to move forward the plot. One of the best movies on slavery made to date.

2012 (2009/I)
1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Completely thrilling and stunning - just some weak casting, 7 February 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is the by far best disaster movie for a long time. Thrilling from the first quake to the end. There is every kind of disaster in it - water, volcano, earth quake, the most exciting car and plane rides - you get your money's worth and more. Far better than any of Roland's previous movies. A good blend of grand scale disaster scenes and close up terror. The destruction of LA is stunning. Could have dwelt a bit longer in the other cities.

The only problem was the casting. Amanda Peet's face was stony and showed no terror or even anxiety. John Cusack was a little bit too un-leading man for the role. Chiwetel Ejiofor looked a little un-scientist. Thandie Newton came across as very un-American to be the first daughter. Danny Glover was a little too old and senile for the President - not dignified at all.

Screenplay had a few cheesy moments about "humanity" that could have been left out.

This should win best effects over Avatar any time. It will be hard to top this one for a long time.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Funny and crude, 2 October 2012

Generally funny and crude. There are some laugh out loud funny scenarios in the first part. Some of the one liners are hilarious and unexpected. Liked the contrast between high school then and now. As with most of today's successful comedies the crudeness is to be expected but I think it relied more on crudeness during the middle to end. Loses a bit of steam in the middle.

Channing is right for his role as the dumb popular guy. Jonah is alright too though not that funny as I would have expected in parts. Cute cameos. The directing is a bit rushed around the jokes themselves and some are lost in the speed.

Overall worth a watch.

21 & Over (2013)
5 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
A new low in comedy, 14 August 2013

The Hangover has been getting progressively worse so what do you expect when the same writers turn their skills to a story about 21 year old college kids having a crazy naked drunken night before the med school interview of one of them.

This movie is so terribly written it's not even funny in it's vulgarity. It makes 'American Pie' seem classy. The jokes are so flat and far between.

It's so sad that Skylar Astin of Pitch Perfect has to do this nonsense. For Justin Chon from Twilight this is a comedown. I know often actors have to take the roles they can get but this is so terrible.

It's a movie that should not have been made. Can't understand how it didn't bomb at the box office.

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
99% blood splatter, 2 September 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The sheer awfulness of this movie is mind boggling. It's just too much focus on slashings and dismemberments and beheadings. In every other scene there is blood splashing across the screen.

The negotiation between and Artemesia is laughable as is the final showdown and hilarious one liner "You fight harder than you ...." There are a few watchable moments when there is a break from the mayhem. The background of Xerxes and Artemesia. What a pity with all the historical material they could have made it quite interesting without resorting to such gore and violence.

Sullivan Stapleton is a bit soft spoken and not too commanding as the hero Themistocles. Eva Green as Artemeisa is suitably deranged looking but what a degrading role for her.

"300" was much better than this. The violence wasn't from start to finish and there was a proper balance and a believable cast. Rise of an Empire is just too revolting even taken into account the genre.

3096 Days (2013)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Harrowing and realistic, 12 May 2014

This true story that many have heard of in the news is realistically brought to the screen in this well made and shocking movie.

A 10 year old Austrian girl is kidnapped for 8 years and kept imprisoned in a small basement room for much of the time.

The actress Antonia Campbell Hughes looks frighteningly thin. The real person was kept on an almost starvation diet for years. The Danish actor who plays the kidnapper is good too - he doesn't act too obviously crazy.

It's unimaginable that she survived but the thing that makes watching the painful story bearable is to know she escaped.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Don't waste your time, 31 January 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Starts out with quite an eerie snowbound setting. But the story is weak and unpleasant and the whole show just feels like a waste of time.

The story involves a lot of silly running around for no reason and stupid self sacrifices of the various "heroes". You certainly won't feel for any of them.

Why did they have to make Josh Hartnett die? He came out almost when the sun was coming up anyway.

The vampires for some reason speak some stupid language and look rather daft.

Lets hope this director has not ruined Twilight Eclipse.

1 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Good fun action with a perfect cast, 22 May 2014

This comic action thriller written by Luc Besson and directed by McG is fun light hearted, entertaining, well acted and well cast.

Kevin Costner actually gives a convincing performance as the ill but still efficient CIA agent. The beautiful Amber Heard as a CIA agent is given a variety of looks each one more stunning than the last. Hailee Steinfeld is suited to the role of redeemable teen brat and is quite sweet here. Connie Nielsen is a sympathetic looking ex wife.

The action is fairly novel and not too violent - just right for the plot. Fans of Taken will find some similarities but a lighter more comical story that is enjoyable in its own way. The immigrant characters appear as in most Luc Besson movies. The scenery in Paris is a transporting experience.

Well done.

42 (2013)
Overcoming discrimination, 19 November 2013

This well intentioned movie about Jackie Robinson's first couple of years in Major League Baseball is worth a watch.

Most of the emphasis of the movie is the racial discrimination he faced on and off the field from his own team and other teams. The portrayal of the ugly red neck is very direct and quite painful to see. There have been some more over the top movies about racism like Django Unchained and more light hearted ones like the Help recently. This movie is somewhere in the middle.

It would have been better to have some establishing scenes on his life prior to 1946 and in his successful years after the first 2 to give a more rounded picture. Also it was a bit lacking in humor and the uplifting element was a bit too little too late.

Chadwick Boseman as Jackie acts well and it's good that it isn't too familiar a face so you can believe the actor in the role. Harrison has a strange hair do and drawl that's distracting. But at least he is playing someone old.

Worth a watch even if you aren't a baseball fan.

50/50 (2011)
It actually works - a comedy about illness, 29 August 2012

This was funny touching balanced realistic and entertaining movie about a young man who gets cancer.

The screenplay is well written. There are laugh out loud moments which I won't give away. It's touching just when it needs to be, never depressing which is a relief. There have been some recent movies of people with cancer that haven't been good eg "A Little Bit of Heaven". It's a fresh approach and isn't clichéd or deja vu at all. Good dialog throughout and lots of realistic details.

The characters are balanced and real. They are quite endearing and none are irritating. Bryce Dallas Howard acts well. She plays the tricky role of the girlfriend with the right touch. Seth Rogen is funny and not annoying as the best friend. Angelica Huston is surprisingly soft and good as the mother. Anna Kendrick is suitably awkward as the novice therapist. Joseph Gordon Levitt gives a very well rounded performance as the cancer victim not overacting but very convincing.

Given the subject matter which could have been terribly sad this movie thoroughly succeeds as a feel good touching comedy about cancer. Quite amazing.

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