Reviews written by registered user
phd_travel

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1139 reviews in total 
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Passengers (2016/I)
Better than expected, 7 June 2017
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Surprisingly this science fiction movie without big battles or tonnes of special effects is engrossing.

The premise is a bit hard to accept - that the planet would be so far away and people would give up all they know for something unknown via such a long journey. But once you accept the premise of this intergalactic journey to a colony planet it's quite interesting.

Chris Pratt slightly overweight is likable enough. Jennifer Lawrence - yes her again is has a good on screen rapport with him. Michael Sheen is the robot.

A little of their previous lives would have made things more poignant.

Things worked out alright and the drama is quite moving when it needs to be.

Why Him? (2016)
Actually okay saved by a good ending, 7 June 2017
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you ignore the over the top vulgarities this comedy is actually okay. The best part is the ending which is actually quite refreshing in that the young girl turns out to be sensible. The story is kind of familiar father disapproves of future son in law. Especially when he is convincing his daughter to drop out of Stanford.

The cast is good - anything with Bryan Cranston can't be that bad. James Franco is over the top - could have toned it down a bit. Zoey Deutsch looks prettier than in her previous movies - she is quite sweet here.

Almost all big budget comedies are vulgar nowadays and this one is no exception at least the ending makes up for it.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Subtle and touching, 7 June 2017
7/10

Pleasant is the word that comes to mind. It isn't magic realism even though it seems to start that way.

Jessica Findlay is a little too pretty to be what she is but she is a pleasure to watch even with the frumpy clothes and hair. Jeremy Irvine plays the nerd quite well.

The little romantic drama at the end is contrived but neat.

The neighborly relationships and eccentric characters bring to mind the Jack Nicholson movie "As Good as it Gets".

The ending is feel good wish fulfillment and leaves a pleasant aftertaste.

This movie isn't laugh out loud funny - it could have been funnier but that's part of it's understated charm.

Catfight (2016/I)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
2 great actresses in a bizarre original satire, 7 June 2017
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Nothing can prepare the viewer for what a roller coaster ride this movie is.

I found myself laughing at the cat fights between the 2 college frenemies - over the top punching sessions.

Interspersed throughout the movie there is biting social satire and commentary about the war on terror, class and money, how we treat people, karma etc.

Unsettling and unforgettable. Watch it - but be prepared this is no typical indie comedy.

Not often shown in movies - what happens when the war ends, 6 June 2017
8/10

It's quite amazing how much was captured on film and photographs and it's put together so well that it almost seems like one was watching a movie of the fall of Saigon - it feels so complete. There are interesting interviews with witnesses mainly military personnel both US and South Vietnamese.

Unlike a typical Vietnam war movie this covers a different angle - not about fighting the war but the end of the war. There is criticism of Ambassador Graham Martin's refusal to organize an evacuation till it was too late leading the the chaos that took place. Would have liked to know more of his reasons for being so obstinate and the diplomatic failure at the end.

One minor fault is subtitles are in white sometimes against a white background and so hard to make out.

This makes one want a follow up on what happened to those left behind beyond the words of epilogue at the end.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Shocking story, 5 June 2017
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This true story of the atheist activist who got prayer banned from public schools is so bizarre it's almost unbelievable.

The tone seems slightly comical at first portraying her as a hilariously brash foul mouthed woman who actually succeeded in changing a major aspect of the presence of religion in public schools and the separation of church and state. The story proceeds to her civil rights point of view and how her Atheist movement grew to a large organization. Towards the end things take a horrific turn - as the movie goes into a true life murder story mode. Had no idea such a terrible murder took place.

One fault is the story jumps round in time and it is clear most of the time but a few less jumps would have been better.

The acting is good and the cast is A list. Melissa Leo is surprisingly good - couldn't have envisaged her in this role - thought more of a Kathy Bates type in the role. Josh Lucas seems a bit too clean cut for the ex felon office manager. Juno Temple manages to play a young grand daughter quite convincingly. Vincent Kartheiser is quite suited to the role of her son who changes from Atheist to evangelical.

Worth a watch.

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Some insights into Iraq but could have been clearer, 4 June 2017
6/10

This movie is based on the memoirs of a machine gunner who joins up in order to pay for college and the story follows his experiences in Iraq as he follows a group trying to deliver water.

There are some faults. The expletive laced dialog of the soldiers is hard to comprehend. During a big battle towards the end it's hard to tell who is killed, everyone looks the same in camouflage.

Nicholas Hoult is alright if a little genteel looking. An unrecognizable Henry Cavill (Superman) with beard plays another soldier.

One ironic moment compares how an Iraqi went to university free of charge compared to back home. The difficult task of the occupying force is shown here. This movie isn't as good as War Machine, the recent Brad Pitt movie also on Netflix.

13 out of 27 people found the following review useful:
Amazingly well done - Gal Gadot is a star!, 1 June 2017
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish this is the most well made of the recent superhero movies.

Gal Gadot is perfect for the role, so beautiful she makes every scene she is in watchable, yet sweet enough to be endearing and statuesque enough to be convincing as an Amazon goddess. She really has the chance to shine here that she didn't have in the Furious movies. Thank goodness they cast her instead of some other less convincing actress. Chris Pine as the spy who brings her to War. They look fine together even if they could have cast a slightly younger actor.

The story is clever, blending her origins with World War I. Liked the humor interspersed which felt quite spontaneous and not corny at all. Managed to incorporate enough things from the original series like the wrist bands and lasso. but not the plane and spinning around.

Beautiful production from the stunning Mediterranean isle to London. I read that the look of the movie was inspired by the painter John Singer Sargent and there is a painterly quality in the color palate and art direction that makes the historic setting very attractive - look online for his paintings of WWI soldiers and the painting "Gassed".

The battle in the Western Front is the most exciting WWI trench warfare battle sequence I have seen. It doesn't matter that it's fantasy - it was thrilling.

Villains here are pre Nazi era Germans - they just can't get a break on screen. The ending is grand - maybe a few explosions could have been cut.

For sure the blockbuster movie of 2017.

Mother's Day (2016/I)
Better than some of the other similar -- Day movies., 28 May 2017
7/10

I actually enjoyed this movie more than some of the other similar Gary Marshall ensemble comedies. The cast is as likable as any you can get together in a movie and the scenarios are quite funny.

Shay Mitchell of PLL is a scene stealer as younger second wife and she can hold her own in both looks and acting ability with the A list cast. Jennifer Aniston looks comfortably older as divorcée first wife. The funny situation is Kate Hudson's character hiding her Indian husband from her racist white trash parents. Brit Robertson never seems to look older than a teenager plays a woman with commitment issues. Julia Roberts looks deliberately I think a bit garish as a home shopping queen.

Don't understand why people criticized this movie so badly. It's actually okay.

3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
An unflinching humorous look at Afghanistan, 27 May 2017
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Even though Brad acts in a comical style doing a caricature of a general, almost everything this satire seeks to illuminate rings true. So this movie isn't an exaggerated satire but a very illuminating look at the impossible situation in Afghanistan.

There haven't been many movies critical of Obama's policy in the Middle East so it's quite surprising to see one on TV.

Brad acts well enough as the well intentioned but misguided general and the viewer feels his struggle to do what he thinks will make a difference despite all signs and advice that he will not succeed. The futility of the counter insurgency is so clearly portrayed.

With all the different conflicts going on in Iraq Syria Lybia etc it's hard to keep clear what the struggle in Afghanistan is about so it's quite illuminating to see the conflict and the policies in focus here. It's also refreshing to see a non battle centered war movie that shows broader policy errors instead of concentrating on the individual blood and guts stories.


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