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phd_travel

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650 reviews in total 
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Parkland (2013)
8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Different angle - fascinating, 21 November 2013
10/10

If you think you have seen enough on screen about the assassination, this movie doesn't go into territory covered by previous movies like "JFK". No conspiracy theories or reconstruction of the shooting. Instead its provides you with a detailed fascinating view of the events and people that you don't figure centrally on screen before. What happened at the hospital from the point of view of doctors and nurses - harrowing. Removing the body after death to Air Force One by the secret service. Lee Harvey Oswald's brother and mother and their reaction. Zapruder's filming of the event and the way the film was developed and first viewed. The FBI's first reaction to the shootings and Oswald.

The movie is very well directed. It gives a feel of being in the thick of things. Authentic. The acting is good with a mostly well chosen cast. Zac Efron as the doctor who first attended to JFK. Paul Giamatti as Zapruder. Tom Welling and Billy Bon Thornton as a Secret Service agents. The actor playing Oswald looks like him. A couple of not so good choices. The actress playing Jackie didn't look too much like her. Colin Hanks didn't look like a chief resident doctor.

Overall very interesting. Worth a watch.

Appealing leads and a story that doesn't feel clichéd, 20 November 2013
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

For those who remember A Walk to Remember this is a more realistic, intelligently scripted and more grown up movie about a girl dying of cancer and finding love before she dies. She has a to do list before she dies. Even though we have seen this kind of story before, it actually is able to avoid having a clichéd feel to it.

Production is quite attractive. The filming in the South of England is quite beautiful especially the coastline.

Dakota Fanning doesn't try too hard to do a British accent and that's good. She gives more of a approximation of one. Sometimes her words aren't that clear compared to her co-stars. But her acting is good and she looks sickly enough without overdoing it. Jeremy Irvine of War Horse plays her love interest and he is earnest and believable.

The father is well played by Paddy Considine and his moments are touching but not sentimental. Olivia Williams plays her mother who surprisingly isn't so hands on with the care.

Maybe it isn't such a good thing to encourage shop lifting and drug taking which were on her to do list. But in the end it isn't the main point of the movie.

Overall worth a watch. For this kind of dying young movie it's quite good.

42 (2013)
Overcoming discrimination, 19 November 2013
8/10

This well intentioned movie about Jackie Robinson's first couple of years in Major League Baseball is worth a watch.

Most of the emphasis of the movie is the racial discrimination he faced on and off the field from his own team and other teams. The portrayal of the ugly red neck is very direct and quite painful to see. There have been some more over the top movies about racism like Django Unchained and more light hearted ones like the Help recently. This movie is somewhere in the middle.

It would have been better to have some establishing scenes on his life prior to 1946 and in his successful years after the first 2 to give a more rounded picture. Also it was a bit lacking in humor and the uplifting element was a bit too little too late.

Chadwick Boseman as Jackie acts well and it's good that it isn't too familiar a face so you can believe the actor in the role. Harrison has a strange hair do and drawl that's distracting. But at least he is playing someone old.

Worth a watch even if you aren't a baseball fan.

Evolution (2001)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Cute creatures, 18 November 2013
6/10

The best part of this movie is the cute creatures that we encounter along the way with the evolution of the aliens. A couple of community college teachers (Orlando Jones and David Duchovny) deal with some aliens that evolve after a meteor crashes into Earth.

David Duchovny is alright. Interesting to see Julianne Moore in a comedic role - she often doesn't do them. Sean William Scott is his usual dumb character role. Interesting to see a pre weight loss Ethan Suplee.

Some of the jokes aren't funny but about half of them are so it's worth a watch.

0 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Overrated, 18 November 2013
1/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is an overrated shallow and ugly movie. Don't be fooled by the A list British cast.

Shallow and uninteresting characters and relationships There is no old folks charm here as in Quartet. The characters are uninteresting clichéd and shallow. The gay character (Tom Wilkinson) seems thrown in to be current. Not much humor here in any of the dialog. The romance is unconvincing especially Bill Nighy and Judi Dench.

Ugly images Don't expect any Passage to India magic here. It focuses on an unattractive hotel and very ugly parts of the city. Slums and dirty roads.

Only agree with Penelope Wilton - sick of the squalor. Want to get out of this movie like she wanted to get out of the city.

Forget about this. Not everything Maggie Smith does is good.

Plush (2013)
3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Predictable but watchable, 18 November 2013
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Catherine Hardwicke movies are generally fast paced and feature attractive young leads. This is no exception. This is her venture into a more grown up darker fatal attraction type thriller movie.

The story is about a rock singer (Emily Browning) married to a loving husband (Cam Gigandet) with a couple of kids. Upset over the overdose death of her brother (Thomas Dekker) she falls into an affair with her new guitar player (Xavier Samuel) who turns out to be obsessive.

Emily does quite a good job here and her character seems quite sympathetic even though she is the unfaithful one. Xavier Samuel is unrecognizable as the bisexual cross dressing villain.

The story tries to show some excessive rock star lifestyle with the sex drinking etc. It isn't totally convincing but it's adequate for this kind of movie.

Overall it's a little predictable and the ending is a bit formula. Nothing very ground breaking here. But the watchable ex Twilight and similar type cast makes it worth one viewing.

A Killer Among Us (2012) (TV)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Not your usual lifetime murder story, 15 November 2013
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This has a slightly different angle. A woman is murdered. Everyone has an alibi and they can't prove anything. Faced with a closed case, the detective finds out the husband is having an affair. Unable to prove he is the killer, the detective gets her daughter to help investigate her father for the crime. It's quite scary because she is just a teenage girl and makes mistakes.

The strangle ending is a bit clichéd. But it was refreshing they never found the actual shooter. Feel good element that she actually has a different biological father.

Worth a watch.

3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Gripping and real - exceeds expectations, 14 November 2013
10/10

This true story of 4 Somali pirates attack of a cargo ship is gripping and terrifying and totally believable - allowing you the feel the vulnerability of the unarmed crew and the tragedy of the doomed pathetic pirates against the mighty navy.

The acting from the Somali pirates is top notch. Their emaciated look makes them so authentic. Tom Hanks as the titular Hero is suited to the role. I thought he looked tired and puffy in Da Vinci movies but here he is just right. His acting during the last part of the movie is so convincing.

Direction is top notch. Shows you everything you want to see without any cheap shock tactics or unnecessarily ugly images. The production on the ship and in the sea are good too.

Wish the subtitles for the Somali dialog had been clearer - sometimes hard to see the white words against the background.

A must watch - the 2 hours just sped by.

Margaret (2011/I)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Worth the effort - a surprising movie, 12 November 2013
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is an interesting movie. The main character Lisa is played by a slightly too old for high school looking Anna Paquin. She is a teenage girl who while distracting a bus driver, witnesses the bus run over a pedestrian. At first she covers for the driver but later changes her mind. She faces a moral dilemma about the accident including guilt and responsibility. But that isn't all there is. Surprising insights into human nature are shown in the supporting characters. Lisa's actress mother and her romance is very real and the relatives of the pedestrian are especially interesting. Despite an A list cast this wasn't a big success because of some production issues that delayed release for years while arguing about the length of the movie. Maybe some scenes could have been cut like the hostile classroom debates.

Good supporting cast in minor roles from Mark Ruffalo as the bus driver to Matt Damon and Matthew Broderick as teachers. Alison Janney is memorable as the pedestrian.

Good on location filming in the Upper West Side and Lincoln Center and other parts of NYC. Shows some parts of the city that other NYC movies don't usually show.

The dialog is realistic and well written even if there are a few over confrontational scenes.

Liked the scenes in the Metropolitan Opera which were used to bring out reactions in the characters.

Worth the effort.

Fire with Fire (2012/II)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
The fire goes out fast, 11 November 2013
2/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When fireman Josh Duhamel witnesses a murder in a convenience store he is put in witness protection and it doesn't work he has to fight fire with fire. Poor Josh gets beaten up to many times and has to be a one man fire fighter criminal killing machine. He is a capable and suitable action hero but the story he has to work with loses steam after the first half hour.

Rosario Dawson plays an FBI agent - but the most useless agent in history till the end.

Bruce Willis looks tired and squinty and doesn't do much - but I guess they need his name to add prestige to the project.

It's okay for one watch but it is a bit of a let down and you'll see why it went straight to DVD.


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