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phd_travel

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1012 reviews in total 
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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Eye opening, 10 January 2016
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The forced building of public housing in a mainly white middle class in Yonkers is the background for the story which follows councilman Nick Wasicsko's journey through the despite. So many issues of race and class and politics merge together. This true story is so good that it left me reeling after it finished. The title is simplistic but the story is much more complicated.

Who would guess city council politics and real estate disputes could be so tense and make such compelling viewing. So much dirty politics in such a small city with it's betrayal and loyalty. There is a lot of jumping between the different characters on the many sides of the dispute. There are the local politicians, the people from the projects who would benefit from a better place to live and some of the residents of Yonkers who feel threatened by the new housing. It's a bit difficult to keep track of the different characters at first. Paul Haggis does a good job of including the different points of view but I think he could have reduced completed more of one plot line before jumping to another.

The acting is award worthy. Oscar Isaac is very watchable as the viewer follows the up and down trajectory of Nick's tragic life. His earnestness, courage, despair are so utterly convincing that the ultimate tragedy is really painful. Supporting cast are worth a mention. Winona Ryder has become very good at showing conflicted emotions and when she is on screen she steals the show. Catherine Keener is unrecognizable as one of the Yonkers residents who changes her tone.

Do watch this even if you think you might not be interested in the subject matter - it's better than you could possibly imagine.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
The title says it all - well done, 8 January 2016
8/10

The wack job of the week is a prominent doctor who obsesses about his teenage patient. If you think about it, it could happen. Even though he is a rich successful doctor he comes off as not quite right so he can't keep a relationship. If you think about it a crazy doctor can get away with quite a lot of stuff and it's revealing to see the things he gets up to.

Eric Roberts is suited to the role as the crazy doctor - hasn't he played every kind of bad guy there is? He seems to be in lots of movies these days and there is nothing wrong especially if he is right for the role. He deserves some kind of collective award for all the baddies he has played. Brianna Joy Chomer as the teenage girl acts well. The reaction of her parents is interesting - the mother is suspicious but the father isn't.

Worth one watch.

Bad Sister (2015)
3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Wacko poses as a nun, 8 January 2016
7/10

A nut job obsesses about a singer student in a Catholic high school. So she pretends to be the new teacher / nun and sets out to seduce him. Sounds exploitative and corny? Yes it does but who cares - it's entertainment.

The actress who plays the nun Alyshia Ochse is quite good reminds a bit of Olivia Wilde. Her antics are kept plausible. Nothing unbelievable even by Lifetime type obsession standards - yet they are pretty amusing when they happen. Sometimes it seems sacrilegious but then you have to remember she isn't playing a nun - she is playing someone impersonating a nun. Devon Werkheiser as the object of her affections is suitably tempted and repulsed by her.

Well done enough for this kind of thriller - wonder what other type of psycho they will think of next?

10 out of 23 people found the following review useful:
Give this a chance - it's not just another cop show, 8 January 2016
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Jennifer Lopez plays a complicated NYPD cop - crooked for financial reasons (with kind of a justification) but not so bad that sympathies aren't with her. She shows her tough side, has a toy boy, faces loyalty tests, is caught between a rock and a hard place to betray or not to betray, the list goes on. This is no Law and Order or CSI - it's more character based than the crimes themselves.

A good and convincing supporting cast that looks authentic ensures this is not a diva show case. Ray Liotta and Drea de Matteo are as authentic NYPD looking as you can get.

It's only 13 episodes a season so things will be succinct. Give it a chance you won't regret it.

Funnier and better written than the usual Xmas romance, 7 January 2016
7/10

The dialog and humor are better than the usual Hallmark Xmas romance. There are some funny one liners. The cats are surprisingly cute too.

A firefighter (Brandon Routh) and a veterinary student (Kimberly Sustad) meet. He has an unsuitable bitchy girlfriend played by Chelsea Hobbs who looks great and acts well. There is an interesting message compatibility and personality over superficial things like looks. As the vet, Kimberly Sustad is a tall actress even when next to Brandon Routh.

A non irritating, not over cutesy, occasionally laugh worthy Hallmark Xmas movie.

20 out of 29 people found the following review useful:
Stellar cast elevates this drama, 7 January 2016
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I enjoyed this drama. There is nothing very new about the story and it is predictable but in good way and you just want to see this stellar cast act it out. 25 years ago a father and daughter cope after the mother is killed in a car accident. The mother's sister played by a beautiful and very classy looking Diane Kruger and her slimy husband played by Bruce Greenwood (remember the nasty guy in Double Jeopardy? In present day the daughter grown up as a social worker has commitment and promiscuity issues. There is story isn't very ground breaking but with such a starry cast and an actual story with actual drama tragedy romance love infidelity forgiveness it makes a compelling watch. Some people may find things old fashioned and soapy - but I think that is unfair. There is nothing wrong with having a proper resolved complete story for a change. Russell Crowe is a bit old to be father to the young girl but he acts well - his seizures are convincing. Amanda looks prettier and more alluring and less bug eyed than usual. She makes a potentially unlikeable character sympathetic. It's great to see Aaron Paul him in a romantic role as her love interest. There was an indication in 'Breaking Bad' of how affecting his passion would be in a role like this. Jane Fonda is well cast as a publisher. Overall the cast is great and elevates this beyond a Nicholas Sparks level. Tip: The story is old over 2 time periods about 25 years apart and going back and forth between them. Flashbacks: Don't get confused - the flashbacks are when Russel Crowe appears.

Carol (2015)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Two of the finest actresses around, 5 January 2016
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Firstly, this film captures the feel of the 50s in Manhattan with it's art direction and costumes. There was some music from the time but even more use of would have been good. Didn't like the score composed for the film that sounded a bit contemporary.

Rooney Mara looks very much like a young Audrey Hepburn with the hair and clothes of that time. She is sweet throughout. Don't understand why she seemed a bit expressionless in the last few crucial scenes when she made up her mind. Cate Blanchett acts quite strong and slightly hard and domineering if not quite predatory. I don't know if it's part of the character but it would have been more sympathetic if she was less self assured at times in this role.

The story is involving because the two actresses are so watchable. It isn't that melodramatic by today's standards. To appreciate the drama one has to apply 50s values since the scandal of a lesbian relationship. The impact is lessened with all the same sex couples and modern families today - maybe if it had been made 50 years ago it might have been quite something. The romance evolves gradually. The love scenes were oddly dispassionate.

Watch this for the 2 actresses. The story isn't shocking - more of historical interest.

10 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
Grim but interesting, 4 January 2016
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The suffragette movement isn't that often dramatized so this well intentioned if grim movie makes an interesting watch.

The good points about this movie: it shows that it wasn't just about the right to vote, it was about getting better conditions for exploited women workers and rights for mother's rights. Also with all the terrorism these days it is quite a revelation to see how a hundred years ago these British women were carrying acts of rebellion and terror with their bombs and explosives (the difference is of course damaging property and not aiming to hurt innocent people).

The cast performs well. As the main character, Carey Mulligan is always more than competent at acting sad even though she looks less down turned at the mouth than usual. Her character is a fictional composite and I think it doesn't ring true enough. Giving up her husband and child for the cause just seems too far fetched. Helena Bonham is less irritating than usual as a pharmacist/activist. Ben Whishaw (Q from the latest Bonds) is quite convincing here as a husband of Carey's character. He usually acts quirky roles and it's interesting to see him playing a conventional character for a change. Meryl makes only a brief appearance as a famous suffragette.

Even for such a serious topic and subject matter there is something just too grim and depressing about this movie. The force feeding was quite shocking to see. There isn't an uplifting feel at the end because the progress was just described briefly in post scripts. Why show just the struggle but no progress? Also the suicidal woman Emily at the horse races seemed a bit inconsiderate about the jockey.

It is an interesting if grim movie

Different from the other Christmas TV movies, 2 January 2016
8/10

Two people meet on a flight from LA back East. She has recently been dumped and he is an a long distance relationship. But of course romance ensues.

The dialog is a bit more interesting than the usual Christmas TV movie. There seems to be a subtle message about compatibility of personality over looks. " This is Mayim Bialik's movie. For fans of "Big Bang Theory" where she plays Amy Farrah Fowler - it's a treat to see her. Usually Lifetime or Hallmark Christmas movies don't feature lead romantic actresses who look like or are shaped like her. It's nice to see someone like her leading this type of movie. Ryan McPartlin of "Chuck" is a good enough comedic actor to make his role believable.

If you are going to watch one Xmas movie this year this is a good choice.

A Royal Christmas (2014) (TV)
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
The formula works, 2 January 2016
7/10

I enjoyed this Hallmark movie. The formula works - a girl falls in love with guy who turns out to be a prince. They travel to his European kingdom where she doesn't quite seem suitable enough a match.

The lead actors are watchable enough. Lacey Chabert isn't stunningly beautiful but she is likable and isn't annoying. Jane Seymour acts well as the disapproving queen. She is still very slim. It's refreshing to see an actress not having undergone plastic surgery, unlike some actresses of her age. Her real life daughter Katie Flynn has a role here. The prince's accent sounds a bit un royal at times.

One fault: The costumes are a bit cheap looking even taking into account it's a TV movie and not a big budget feature like "The Princess Diaries".

Worth one watch.


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