Reviews written by registered user
phd_travel

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1106 reviews in total 
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All the Way (2016) (TV)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Bryan Cranston looks so much like LBJ - wish there was more ground covered, 18 September 2016
9/10

A remarkable performance by Bryan Cranston who looks a lot like LBJ here with the prosthetic nose. One of the best biopic physical transformations. Besides the physical side, the impassioned acting and the accent are just so convincing, you wish there was more of his life shown eg a miniseries. There have been other films like 'Path to War' about LBJ's role in the Vietnam War. This movie is mainly about the passing of the Civil Rights Bill and his election victory. I saw the play on Broadway and this movie does expand on it by showing glimpses of the assassination, Mississippi murders and touching on Gulf of Tonkin. A lot of characters are shown - it's a bit hard to keep track of, from segregationists politicians to the aides and civil rights activists. Melissa Leo has a pretty good physical likeness to Lady Bird. Anthony Mackie on the other hand is too slim looking to play Martin Luther King. Of all the actors they could have chosen. Worst physical likeness on screen of MLK ever.

This is worth watching. Just wish there was more ground covered. Look at the other people who have played LBJ like Michael Gambon and you will see how good Bryan Cranston is. Hoping there will be a sequel.

5 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Entertaining and over the top, 15 September 2016
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Entertaining and exaggerated and exciting. This Korean made movie about the Incheon invasion during the Korean war is quite grandly made and the production values are okay considering they are not dealing with a Spielberg budget. You get all sorts of war action from espionage to tanks machine gun fights truck chase to water landing. It's not Inglorious Basterds over the top but still they could have reduced down the body count by half. Picturesque sets if a bit cinematic looking.

I was worried I wouldn't be able to tell the communists from the non since they are all Korean and the good guys are undercover but surprisingly it was okay. You can tell by what they are doing who is on which side. The story launches right into action without establishing the characters first - that comes later.

Some glaring incongruities. The young Korean ladies especially the leading lady, have that K pop plastic surgery look that looks out of place in the 1950s. Also the glamorous well outfitted communists recall the impeccably dressed Nazis in Hollywood movies.

Some of the editing produces unintentionally funny moments like when the invasion starts and the bad guy seem to take a long time to realize it.

Liam Neeson as Douglas MacArthur appears quite regularly in this movie and has some very bad dialog full of platitudes and affirmations. He reminds of a wax dummy talking in a museum. The Korean actors don't overact.

A good point is it mostly avoids that overdone bodies flying slowly in the air and dragged out death speeches that afflict Hong Kong and Chinese movies. That is until the end with a terrible confrontation between the bad guy and the hero that cheapens things.

Worth a watch.

2 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Exotic locations beautiful women and lots of action, 14 September 2016
9/10

As an action movie this doesn't disappoint. You get everything you want from this kind of movie - invincible hero and lots of action. Liked the way he planned and executed the hits. Really stunning filming in the exotic locations from Rio to a idyllic island in Thailand to Sydney to the Black Sea city of Bulgaria.

Jason Statham is approaching 50 but he can still look convincing in his action sequences. Jessica Alba is still smashing in a bikini. High caliber supporting cast from the always serene Michelle Yeoh who is quite lovely as an old friend who runs a hotel in Thailand. Tommy Lee Jones is here too.

The story is okay not convoluted or pretentious. Not all of it makes that much sense but who cares - the gist is good enough for an action movie.

Bond has been so dull lately with dour looking women and drab locations. This is action for guys who like action movies.

Paper Angels (2014) (TV)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Good message and good actors - not the usual trite Christmas movie, 13 September 2016
8/10

This is a more serious Christmas movie with good actors. The two intertwining stories are realistic and interesting. Matthew Settle of Gossip Girl plays a financially struggling business owner with twins on the way. Josie Bissett plays an abused wife who takes her kids to settle down in the same town where they face money troubles. She is quite good in less glamorous roles than usual. Her son faces some bullying. Liked the way he overcame his troubles. The stories intertwine cleverly. The message isn't too preachy it's about charity - the Paper Angels in the title.

A change from the more trite romantic Christmas movies out there. This one has a message and a watchable cast.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Bad casting - don't bother, 13 September 2016
2/10

A modern day adaptation of Wuthering Heights could have been good. But the movie is so badly cast and badly written. The lead actress who plays Cathy Paloma is isn't broody she is just off putting. And no way she looks like a rich kid she is playing. Errol Flynn's grandson Sean Flynn plays her stoner brother. Heathcliff is now Heath the son of a Mexican illegal immigrant. Zero chemistry. Francesca Eastwood is pretty but a bit too old looking to be in high school. James Caan shouldn't have been in this movie. The acting is generally wooden and amateurish especially the rich guy who like Cathy. Bad message for teenagers - brats without a cause.

Please don't watch this dud. It's not worth the time.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Better than VOD release would suggest, 13 September 2016
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This comedy is quite fun to watch with a middle aged professor and his two lovely love interests who are considerably younger. There are some astute observations about differences between the US and the UK. The contrast between English students and American students is funny. Liked the twist where the one facing deportation is a white guy and the Hispanics are legal. The commentary about excessive drinking in the British culture is right on. The villa is quite idyllic.

Pierce Brosnan is well preserved so things don't look icky. He didn't let himself go like some other actors his age. Still looks better than Daniel Craig. Salma Hayek is lovely and should be on screen more. Jessica Alba is pretty and makes her annoying character appealing. Supporting cast Ben McKenzie is not quite right. Malcolm McDowell is a bit young to be Pierce's father.

It's worth one watch.

Pregnant at 17 (2016) (TV)
What a fairy tale! Surprisingly watchable if unbelievable, 12 September 2016
6/10

The story is totally unbelievable. Yet it's told in a way that makes it watchable. Josie Bisset is beautiful as a wife who lost a baby. Her husband has been having an affair and impregnates a girl who is 17. He won't man up. It's all quite believable till then Josie befriends the girl and starts to look after her! At the same time the 17 year old has some wacko she identified at a crime come after her. things lead to an impossibly happy ending. So this is a bit of a combo movie mild thriller with lifetime adultery drama.

Are there women who forgive their husband's mistresses and befriend them? Anyway I though it was a pretty good watch considering the total fairy tale it was.

4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Surprisingly charming, 12 September 2016
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is one of the better Hallmark holiday season movies.

The cast is quite good. Danica McKellar plays a hotel maid. It's good she isn't too glamorously beautiful so she can be believable. After being fired she is hired as a governess for some minor European royal family. She wins over the bratty princess she has to govern and the King's heart as well. The supporting cast is quite good especially the British cast. Rupert Penry Jones who as in a good TV movie "39 Steps" is quite convincing as minor royalty. Doesn't look too fake royalty like some other similar Hallmark movies. The actress who plays the countess he is matched to is quite pretty and good too at acting jealous.

The Cinderella / Sound of Music combination story works quite well and the dance is quite romantic. The way things work out at the end romantically is quite logical without being too annoying.

Less annoying than the usual Hallmark Christmas movie. One they can replay next year.

Before We Go (2014/I)
Charming leads but ultimately a let down, 11 September 2016
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In Grand Central a busking musician meets a woman having marital problems who misses her last train. Together they embark on a nocturnal trip through the city. Chris Evans acts like a real charmer here though he ought to lose the beard. As if a girl would dump him. Alice Eve is a bit plump by Hollywood standards - it's refreshing to see someone not rail thin in a romantic role. They do have some on screen chemistry. Her character is annoying in the beginning of the movie.

Why did they pick such ugly and unromantic parts of the city to shoot in? Spoiler alert: I have to discuss the ending since it's the main fault of the story. After all that they don't end up together? Feels like a waste of time - all that just because they helped each other vaguely?

The ice sculpture is interesting the story a little annoying, 11 September 2016
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This Christmas movie is about a chef who starts a dishwasher (Rachel Boston). She runs into a rich guy (David Alpay) she met a long time ago as a kid. They enter a competition for best ice sculpture and the ice sculpting is quite interesting to watch if you ever wondered how they are made or who makes them. They're a cute couple with their big eyes looking at each other with attraction.

There are some annoying parts of the story. When she gets angry with him for little it's a bit annoying. And referring to him as Princeton gets old fast. The way they enter the competition is kind of too fake. The back stabbing chef rival is quite a realistic thing though.

This is one of those Hallmark movies that is a little annoying but not the worst of the lot.


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