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phd_travel

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742 reviews in total 
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Surprisingly well made and fascinating, 14 October 2014
7/10

The story is quite fascinating and keeps you interested throughout. It takes place at the time when the Middle East was way more advanced in science than Western Europe and it's quite illuminating to see how a man from England had to go and learn about medicine from the Persians. The production is quite sumptuous and well done considering it's not a wide release movie. Different cultures and a slightly unnecessary love story fill in the rest of the 2 and a half hours. Not a terribly famous cast apart from Ben Kingsley. The lead actor looks more Middle Eastern than Anglo any way. Doesn't explain how he can understand and communicate with everyone there.

Worth watching.

House of Secrets (2014) (TV)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Predictable - bad story, 8 September 2014
1/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a below the usual Lifetime standard thriller.

The characters are unsympathetic. Bianca Lawson plays a recent divorcée. Her abusive ex insists on giving her an uncompleted house worth millions as part of the divorce. Her character doesn't ring true. She is made up and dressed like some college coed amidst her "unwanted" trappings of wealth. Along comes a handyman to help fix her house. But things start to go mysteriously wrong with a shockingly high body count! The end has no twist just what you knew all along.

All those bodies for the sake of her? I don't think so. Not worth watching at all.

Non-Stop (2013) (TV)
Slightly comical airplane thriller, 8 September 2014
7/10

This is a slightly comical airplane thriller. It's both deliberately and inadvertently funny almost laugh out loud so. Lacey Chabert stars as a publishing assistant in charge of a controversial manuscript. When bringing it with her on a flight to Europe she encounters some strange events and things and people go missing. Lacey is quite a good actress she just has to modulate her voice not to sound too silly.

The head stewardess is hilarious. Things are quite neatly done as you can expect. Worth one watch. Not bad for a lightweight lifetime thriller. This movie has the same name as the subsequent Liam Neeson big budget thriller that came out last year.

If I Stay (2014)
31 out of 43 people found the following review useful:
Real and genuine - a cut above the rest, 4 September 2014
10/10

This is a well balanced romantic drama. The movie has a good balance between family tragedy of a horrific car accident and teen romance of young love. Also the theme of music is well shared between classical cello and Pacific Northwest rock band. The romance is a convincing tale - not too passionate for their age but with the real problems of differing paths and East Coast (Juillard) vs West Coast (rock band). This is a problem that face many couples and it's good to see proper issues as the problem instead of trumped up melodrama. The story felt more real than "The Fault in Our Stars" and less sentimental too. In fact although the tale is a sad one, it's the best of the recent teen based romance movies far better than "The Giver".

Chloe Grace Moretz proves she can do anything from horror (Carrie) to action (Kick Ass) to moving romantic drama. Her face is sensitive and expressive. Even though she is very pretty she is such a good actress she can still pull off the shy musical prodigy without being fake. Her love interest is played by Jamie Blackley who does a good job without overacting. He isn't too good looking so it's a believable romance. The ex rocker type parents seem like they couldn't have had such a beautiful daughter but never mind. Stacy Keach is surprisingly effective as her grandfather.

Well done - moving, involving, rings true.

Lucy (2014/I)
5 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Fascinating, watchable and understandable, 3 September 2014
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Scarlett Johansson plays a student in Taiwan who inadvertently gets caught up in drug smuggling and is exposed to a drug that makes her maximize her brain capacity way beyond normal boundaries. The bio sci fi is fascinating and stylishly filmed. Like the National Geographic like counterpoint imagery. The action is enough to keep action fans entertained. The car chase through Paris is quite something. On top of that you have Korean popular influence which is in so many current movies represented here. Liked the look back in time. You get a lot in this movie and it's held together by a strong performance by the moving and lovely Scarlett Johansson. You feel for her and that is not easy in a sci fi movie.

Unlike Inception and the like this is sci fi you can follow and understand. May not get every part of it but it's okay. For this kind of movie it makes enough sense How versatile Luc Besson is - someone who can write Taken and this. Worth a watch.

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
99% blood splatter, 2 September 2014
1/10

*** 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.

Transcendence (2014/I)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
OMG what a bore, 1 September 2014
1/10

This is a truly awful movie that cannot be related to on any level. A total waste of a famous cast. What an absurd story! A dying man uploads his mind onto a computer. Then some nonsensical fighting ensues between those who are for and against such things. Johnny Depp doesn't need to do such bad movies. Stoned faced performance by the way. Rebecca Hall too unattractive for the lead female. Morgan Freeman needs to display some selectiveness. Cillian Murphy and Paul Bettany don't know what you were fighting for.

This type of bad sci fi rubbish has got to stop. It deserves to be forgotten like it was never made at all. Makes Inception seem logical by comparison.

"The 100" (2014)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Suffers in comparison to Lost plus the cast is boring, 29 August 2014
3/10

If you haven't watched "Lost" then this survive in the jungle/forest adventure would seem quite exciting. But for anybody who has seen Lost, this just seems so lame by comparison. The mysterious monsters, bunkers, injuries, smoke are very similar. I know they are working with a lower budget on CW than ABC but the main weakness is the cast in "the 100" has no charisma. Remember the Lost cast with the stunning Evangeline Lilly, the tortured hero Matthew Fox, the scoundrel Josh Holloway, the lovely Yunjin Kim the list goes on.

With all the attractive and good young actors and actresses out there how could they settle on this bland bunch. The Australian actors Eliza Taylor and Bob Morley are too plain and don't have the kind of faces you want to watch. Thomas McDonnell looks like he would rather be elsewhere. And the adults are kind of irritating too with Henry Ian Cusick from "Lost" who was the most irritating character on "Lost". Don't know who is fighting who about what. Just lots of punching and pseudo angst. And the hook ups don't have enough romantic background.

I'm surprised they renewed this one - it's no better than "Starcrossed" or "Tomorrow People" which were canceled. Usually with CW there is either an attractive cast like "Vampire Diaries" or a good story "Arrow" or good action "Nikita". "The 100" doesn't have either going for it.

Out of Reach (2013/I)
Brainwashing cult makes a good thriller, 24 August 2014
8/10

For a lifetime thriller this movie is quite good. A brainwashing business consulting cult targets a midlife crisis man. His wife battles to save him and their young daughter. It's quite plausible.

Good acting from the cast. The acting of Erin Karpluk as a wife dealing with her husband's brainwashing is quite good and she is suitably terrified and frustrated. Jamie Luner who seems to be in a lifetime movie every year is effective as the evil brainwasher. She is quite versatile and her eyes look really evil. Lochlyn Munro is good as the gullible husband.

Worth a watch.

Timely especially with Ebola and a brewing Cold War going on, 22 August 2014
8/10

How timely this show is with the ongoing Ebola outbreak and the rising tensions between Russia and the West. The story is quite possible so it's exciting for that reason alone.

The production is well done for TV with a variety of land and sea settings. The cast is good too. Rhona Mitra is suitably intelligent sounding but not too pretty - so she is just right for the CDC scientist. The male leads look suitably military. Eric Dane is a convincing leader of his ship but my goodness he's aged since Gray's Anatomy. Adam Baldwin from Chuck is also well cast. Some flashbacks to their outside life as in "Lost" might help add depth to the characters.

One of the better action TV shows this year.


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