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phd_travel

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721 reviews in total 
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Begin Again (2013/II)
23 out of 26 people found the following review useful:
Keira can sing! Nice feel good movie about music making today, 3 July 2014
8/10

This is a feel good movie about musicians making an album. Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley play producer and song writer who team up to make a demo filmed all over the city. The songs are pleasant and the characters are sympathetic and likable even Hailee Steinfeld as Mark's daughter. There is a nice dynamic between the characters which makes the movie enjoyable to watch. There is almost as much music as a musical but it doesn't feel much like a musical.

Who knew Keira could sing so well? She doesn't have the most powerful voice but her singing is musical and right for the type of songs. Mark looks suitably scruffy for the fallen on hard times composer. Nice cameo by Ceelo Green and Adam Levine who sings quite a few songs.

Movies like this are pleasant and uplifting to watch - if you want a break from action or violence of summer blockbusters.

2 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
If you can't beat them join them, 30 June 2014
3/10

I have come to accept that the machines fighting each other all look alike. What makes this better is a clearer story and international locations with battles in Chicago and Hong Kong. The scenes in Hong Kong are quite spectacular.

The story is slightly better than the previous one. It's very long at least 45 minutes could have been cut. There is a comical thread to follow - a father daughter boyfriend thing with Mark Wahlberg (looking rather shorter than usual) and the pretty Nicola Peltz from Bates Motel who plays her role well with a hint of white trash sweetness and Jack Reynor (who looks like Chris Pratt) and has a hybrid Irish accent. Kelsey Grammar and Stanley Tucci provide familiar support. Liked Li Bing Bing who fights and has a hilarious one liner.

Overall it's slightly better than the last one. Megan made the original work. The last one just suffered because of Rosie Huntington Whitley. So Age of Extinction is okay for a mindless distraction.

Spare yourself - it's painful, Carrie can't act, 28 June 2014
2/10

This was painful to watch and even worse than it should have been. I was open to seeing a TV version of the actual Broadway show as opposed to a remake of the movie. At first it was interesting to see the different songs, order of songs and dialog compared to the movie. Of course I knew things would suffer without the scenery and better costumes and sets. But the acting and casting was bad and the production felt cheap with ugly costumes and orange lighting.

The casting is all wrong. As Maria, Carrie Underwood lacks a Broadway range in her voice - she comes across as strident and lacking in sweetness when required. But the worst thing is her blank expression throughout. She simply isn't an actress. I know it's unfair to compare her to Julie Andrews but Carrie is just too inadequate an actress. Steven Moyer as Captain Von Trapp lacks both dignity and kindness. The Broadway supporting cast sing well. Audra McDonald as Mother Superior has a great voice. The Von Trapp children especially the younger girls weren't cute compared to the movie ones. Strange choice to make them mostly dark haired. Rolf was too old looking.

They got to stop doing these terrible versions. First South Pacific then The Sound of Music. Don't' bother to watch these since the original movies were perfect.

3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
A laugh a minute, 12 June 2014
8/10

This movie is funny from start to finish. Lots of unexpected and original humor. Cleverly blends funny situations and lines from different contexts - modern, crude and all the old fashioned classic Western genres.

Great cast perfectly suited to their roles. Charlize is lovely and funny. Seth acts well amidst all these seasoned actors. Liam looks good in his Western outfit and doesn't look too old. Giovanni Ribisi is funny. Sarah Silverman too. Neil Patrick Harris is quite right with his mustache. Amanda Seyfried - her eyes!

The wild west monument valley and desert scenery and filming are beautiful.

Well done.

Barefoot (2014)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Saved by Evan Rachel Wood, 7 June 2014
7/10

A wayward son of a wealthy family working in a mental hospital brings a mental patient to his brother's wedding.

The story is sweet and at sometimes a little lacking in subtlety but overall it's watchable romantic comedy that's quite light hearted and has two leads that are good. It could have been funnier and better written in parts but it's still worth a watch for fans of the leads.

Evan Rachel Wood's unique charm and loveliness save her character Daisy Kensington from being annoying. Evan is such a versatile actress she can play anything from super sweet to evil (Mildred Pierce) and her innocence is believable here. The character is given some dialog and behavior that could have been better written. Scott Speedman is fairly charming and rakish in his role looking for help from his parents. Shouldn't have made him so scruffy.

Worth one watch.

Rage (2014)
Worst Nicholas Cage movie - don't watch it, 7 June 2014
1/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Even if you are a Nicholas Cage fan and think there is something redeemable in all his movies, you will be sorely disappointed here. The story is pointless irritating ugly and a complete waste of time.

Tempting you with a Taken like scenario a father goes after his daughters abductors. Having her die just ruins the rest of the story. And the ending makes the whole thing a waste of time. What unsympathetic characters going after the wrong people. All the violence for nothing. There is no entertainment value in violence like that.

Rachel Nichols is wasted here. Please Nicholas Cage don't do movies like this anymore even to pay those huge bills!

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Too unpleasant - an inferior Winter's Bone, 6 June 2014
2/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Don't let the impressive lineup of acting talent make you waste time watching this depressing movie set amongst white trash in Steel Mill country in PA.

A PTSD suffering vet strange choice of Casey Affleck with this high pitched voice who does bare knuckle fixed fighting for money. His legit brother played by a sympathetic Christian Bale makes some unfortunate mistakes of his own and then has to avenge his brother. Woody Harrelson the villain is made to look white trash enough but somehow he's always the good guy or comic relief so he isn't convincing enough for the part. Maybe the movie is a critique of how horrible life is away from the coastal cities in rural areas. But in the end you don't learn anything from this movie and it doesn't entertain so don't bother watching it.

3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Make this your summer blockbuster choice, 6 June 2014
10/10

This is an very enjoyable well written and entertaining sci fi action movie that works.

Tom Cruise plays a reluctant soldier thrown into combat against alien forces in Europe.

The story is clever and comes together well. The Groundhog day formula works - it provides laughs and keeps you interested for details. It has in intelligent feel because things add up without unnecessary red herrings. Yet it isn't confusing at all like other time travel shows. You don't feel like you wasted your time watching the different scenarios. Liked the homage to D Day landing beaches theme. Liked the European setting.

Tom Cruise does a good job. He doesn't look too aged like some other action movie actors who are past their prime. He can still do the action convincingly and only flashes his trademark grin once. His charm helps make the character likable. Emily Blunt is believable as the soldier. She has a sincere look that is likable. I at first thought she didn't have the appeal to lead a major blockbuster but she is actually very suited to the role. It isn't a romantic movie after all. The fight scenes are well done. With enough variety of scenery and not dizzying like some others.

Found this more enjoyable than X Men. Worth watching on the big screen.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Nostalgic reunion for fans of the series, 4 June 2014
7/10

For fans of the original series which ended too soon, its nostalgic to see some of the cast reunited. Now in the Big Apple, Veronica returns to (San Diego area hell hole) Neptune to help solve a crime.

Kristen of course still looks great but Jason Dohring is a bit aged. In fact it's fun to see how the different cast have changed over the years. Wait it wasn't that long! The crime in this movie itself is adequately interesting but isn't that great - more of a one or two episode type crime. The cute cameos are fun. We still have the witty tongue in cheek dialog and unique air of mystery that made the original series so special. For non fans of the series it's probably not that interesting.

Still in the end the movie reminds me of how good the series was.

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.


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