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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:
Delightful black comedy with lovely leads, 4 June 2014
9/10

This is a delightful black comedy with some action about 2 sweet young female assassins for hire. Saoirse Ronan looks really sweet and lovely here. Alexis Bledel convincingly plays a young woman even though she much older than Ms Ronan. James Gandolfini in one of his last roles is quite touching and endearing as their target.

There are some laugh out loud originally funny moments and dialog in the vein of Luc Besson and Quentin Tarantino but still unique in it's own way.

There are some slower moments but on the whole you care for the characters so it keeps you interested till the end.

11 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
Despite the updating it's just too clichéd, 1 June 2014
1/10

Despite the updating, this story is still dated. The disapproving father thing is just too clichéd. At least the story in this 2014 version isn't as depressing as the Brooke Shields version (for those who can remember) which was famous for the Diana Ross / Lionel Richie theme song.

The predominantly British cast isn't quite right for the movie. Alex Pettyfer looks too old and rather slimy with his slick hair for the role. He has a 20 something playboy look that isn't right for a high school kid. Gabriella Wilde isn't a terribly expressive or convincing actress. She doesn't act in love. Brooke Shields did a better job.

It's not even as good as an inferior Nicholas Sparks movie. This one is totally optional.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Pleasant inoffensive charming, 1 June 2014
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a highly possible scenario, a man makes himself attractive to the object of his affection by making himself out to be interested in all her facebook likes. This Justin Long written movie is quite charming indie movie that isn't that great but is worth one watch.

It's funny in some parts, touching in some parts and a bit strained in some parts.

Even though Evan Rachel Wood is kind of out of someone who looks like Justin Long's league, she gives a convincing performance as being in love with him.

The ending avoids clichés and is quite charming.

Worth one watch

Non-Stop (2014)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Enjoyable not just another airplane thriller, 30 May 2014
8/10

If you think you have seen enough airplane thrillers after Red Eye, Flight Plan etc, think again. This one is actually entertaining well paced, well written, not too outlandish, and it has a good cast. The story keeps you guessing long enough and there is a nice sense of who is who among the characters on board.

Liam Neeson the action hero who doesn't have to move too much does a convincing job as the air marshal dealing with a threat coming from someone texting. Julianne Moore works well with him as a passenger. Michelle Dockery shows her versatility - she can play the aristocrat and the flight attendant equally well.

It's exciting till the end and well done.

7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
The changes ruin the story, 30 May 2014
1/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I wanted to give this a chance since I loved the original Roman Polanski movie so much. And I was open minded to a change in setting from New York to Paris - after all it's no point making a shot for shot remake of a perfect movie. But comparing this with the original this version is a travesty. There are so many changes that aren't for the better, they are for the worse.

The casting is bad. Zoe Saldana doesn't have the angelic wide eyed innocence of Mia Farrow. Jason Isaacs as Roman Castavets looks too obviously sinister from the get go, he is just too obvious. Patrick J Adams tries but isn't shifty enough. Carole Bouquet is the best of the lot she is sophisticatedly sinister but without the motherly benign façade that Ruth Gordon had her character doesn't work either.

The changes in the story were disastrous. Revealing Guy's collusion with the Castavets and the real nature of the Castavets so early on takes away all the tension that was in the original. The dialog isn't as good especially when they departed from the original. It lacks subtlety. Having such gory ends for the victims doesn't take it into the 21st Century - rather it spoils the realistic base which made the original so much more chilling. In the original going blind was enough. Didn't have to have a throat slashing thing. The climax at the end when she finds her baby just falls flat especially where she wanted to kill it.

It's a painful watch for fans of the original. If you look on it as a "Rosemary's Baby 2 - Paris" maybe you can bear it. Just be prepared the horror is in how bad the movie is compared to the original.

Maleficent (2014)
186 out of 344 people found the following review useful:
Magnificent, 29 May 2014
10/10

Maleficent is magnificent. The story is sophisticated enough to delight adult audiences with a brilliant take on the beloved tale with a delightful twist including the meaning of true love. The characters are sympathetic and there is enough excitement.

The art direction and cinematography are beautiful. The fairy land scenes resemble a pre Raphaelite painting. The castle was a bit generic CGI. The right blend of human faces with CGI so it didn't look too animated. The director Stromberg who did Oz the Great and Powerful did an even better job here.

Angelina Jolie's expressive face is the perfect showcase for the character - it is the role of her lifetime. Like the way they did her cheekbones to make it like the Disney cartoon. Sam Riley as her sidekick morphs into many fairy tale creatures crow, dragon horse. The creatures are well done not awkward in movement and not overwhelming. Elle Fanning is sweet and picture perfect for the role of Aurora and Brenton Thwaites plays her prince. The fairies including Juno Temple and Imelda Staunton are cute too.

Liked this more than the Snow White movies 'Mirror Mirror' and 'Snow White and the Hunstman'. The first was fun but a bit silly and the second was too grim. Maleficent is the perfect blend of excitement and fairy tale. Most enjoyable film of the year.

Petals on the Wind (2014) (TV)
1 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Felt like it was on fast forward - not as well acted as Flowers, 28 May 2014
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you watched 'Flowers in the Attic' recently you will want to watch this sequel. But be warned it's not as well done or well acted. There was just too much story for a 2 hour movie. A 2 part mini series would have been better. Every few minutes a dramatic event happens with insufficient lead up, it felt like an extended trailer. The latter third and the final confrontation and fire were almost like on fast forward. Because things moved so quickly it felt like Cathy was jumping in and out of bed like in some trashy day time soap.

The acting of the new leads isn't as good as in Flowers. Rose McIver is pretty but a bit full in the face for a ballerina. Someone more slender would have fit the bill better. She wasn't vulnerable looking enough for the events surrounding her. Wyatt Nash is a bit too stoned faced and expressionless. His reaction in dramatic scenes was high school amateurish. Mason Dye in Flowers acted more tortured than he did. Heather Graham acted suitably high strung and Ellen Burstyn was still vindictive enough in her few minutes of screen time. Their acting elevated the standard for part of the movie.

If you are a fan of the books or enjoyed Flowers you will want to watch this for completeness. Hopefully if the do the next movies in the series they will do a better job.

2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
A buffet of stars doesn't a good movie make., 27 May 2014
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a grand long stuffed full of characters movie which will satisfy fans but can try the patience at times.

Some scenes in this movie are good like the slowing down of time take down with Peter and Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) speaking Vietnamese.

This movie has a lot of characters new and old - some only get a few minutes of screen time. Hard to identify the new ones. Peter Dinklage with his distinctive voice is quite a good addition. Fan Bing Bing is more or less silent but pretty. Hugh Nicholas James and Michael are all quite good and convincing.

The logic defying time traveling story needs some concentration and pre knowledge of the other movies. I liked X Men First Class for it's historical setting and this one has a some with the Vietnam context. Nixon is quite well done. All the fighting and then it didn't happen feel like a waste of time. In the end I didn't really care which character was trying to stop which one and was quite glad it was over.

Overall die hard fans will be happy but for moderate fans it's a bit trying at times. First Class was more palatable, this one has some plus points but it's not as good.

8 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
Miscast, 22 May 2014
3/10

There is some strange casting here. Nicole Kidman just doesn't look like Grace Kelly. She doesn't have the right blonde coloring - her hair is too orange. Her face is too narrow - she doesn't have Grace's square jaw. Nicole is too tall and slim - not angular enough. But worst of all Nicole didn't imitate Grace's voice and carriage well. She only looked like Grace a bit at the Red Cross Ball with the wig and gown. Tim Roth looks even more unlike Prince Ranier. He is so un-princely it's terrible. Paz Vega is more beautiful than the real Maria Callas. The actor playing Ari wasn't made up to look like him. A few eye bags would have helped. The Hitchcock actor actually looked like him more so than Anthony Hopkins.

The story itself is a bit of a storm in a teacup about some tax dispute thing that France was threatening Monaco with. A dry topic to focus on. It suffers from some of the same problems that the Naomi Watts Diana biopic had - mainly an uninteresting part of the subject's life to focus on.

The scenery and production are quite beautiful and glamorous.

This movie is disappointing and it's a such a waste since the people are so interesting a good movie could have been made.

1 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Good fun action with a perfect cast, 22 May 2014
9/10

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.


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