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phd_travel

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846 reviews in total 
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Rocky Road (2014) (TV)
Some witty dialog, 26 July 2015
5/10

This cute little movie about a Wall Street big shot who is laid off goes back to his Podunk home town and reconnects with his small down girl friend. His father's ice cream business is struggling. There is some cute dialog and it's pleasant enough a movie. Mark Salling of Glee surprisingly looks the part of the uptight finance guy. Rebecca Dalton plays the love interest.

The message these days is it's good to trade Wall Street for Main Street. It may be sweet and romantic but have to wonder if it's the most practical message to be sending in all these movies. Maybe they need to make a movie about how there would be no Main Street without Wall Street.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Romantic fantasy at its best, 24 July 2015
10/10

Every generation needs a romantic love story that has an element of magical fantasy and a beautiful lead. In the 80s there was 'Somewhere in Time' and now there is 'the Age of Adaline' about a lovely woman in San Francisco who after an accident stops aging at 29. The story is well written enjoyable logical, complete and clear without being confusing or old fashioned. It's much better to see Blake Lively cast in the role of a romantic lead instead of the druggie or criminal roles she has been in on the big screen (The Town and Savages). This movie makes use of her special quality and loveliness that sets her apart from other actresses to full effect. Her love interest Huisman while not the most good looking actor out there, he has a kind face and they look right together. Harrison Ford is well cast as an older professor and father of the boyfriend. This is a role to which he is suited and doesn't look too old to handle like in some of his recent movies. His passion reminds one he can still act. Clever casting of an actor who looks and sounds like him to play his younger version. Ellen Burstyn plays her daughter and is quite amusing in her own way.

It's been a long time since there was a feel good movie that is beautiful in style and story and there needs to be more of them.

7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Involving tense funny and original, 24 July 2015
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

For those who like 'Match Point' which I feel is a masterpiece, this is a more comic but equally interesting movie. The tone and music are more comical and light hearted but it's really quite nail biting when things come together.

Joaquin acts like a depressed person like no one else can and he's very suited to the role of the professor, pot belly and all. Parker Posey is quite hilarious as the colleague who throws herself at him. Emma Stone looks less bulgy eyed and clever than usual. The way she chooses the wrong guy over a good boyfriend is quite real.

Like the coastal setting, more natural and outdoors than usual for Woody Allen.

There have been some negative reviews from critics but I don't understand why. This movie is original, funny, exciting and you care for the characters and listen to the dialog.

Ant-Man (2015)
0 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Finally a Marvel movie that is completely enjoyable, 21 July 2015
9/10

This movie is not just enjoyable, it's pointing the right direction for Marvel movies to take. It works because it is missing a few things that have bogged down recent Marvel movies. Absent is the over convoluted plot that takes itself too seriously. Absent is the absurd angst that is out of place in a comic book adaptation. Instead it is fun but exciting family friendly without being childish and has lead actors that have a good chemistry between them.

Michael Douglas who looks amazingly young in the flash back makes a welcome return to the big screen and his expert delivery of lines makes his character believable. Also well cast is the lovely and alluring Evangeline Lily of Lost fame. She looks smart and endearing at the same time. Paul Rudd has finally found a good big screen role and an action one no less that suits his winning style. Instead of lamer and lamer comedies, the role of Ant Man is just right for him. Corey Stoll is such a versatile actor showing he is just as good as the bad guy (without overacting) as a sympathetic good guy. He is convincingly evil.

Even if the battles are relatively small scale, the interesting plays with size and unique scenarios make the action more watchable than the last Avengers.

Worth watching!

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Top notch ensemble but the main story isn't that funny, 17 July 2015
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There are so many likable actors here there should be something to enjoy for everyone in this family reunion at a funeral dramedy. Unfortunately the story isn't that interesting.

Rose Byrne with her curly hair is really sweet and pretty as the small town girl who never left. A bit ludicrous that an average looking joe who looks like Jason Bateman would have 2 such gorgeous women in his life.

The story has its moments but they tend to be the minor ones that are funny like Jane Fonda's boob job and the little kid and the potty. Some of the conflict and fighting between Corey Stoll's character and his youngest brother and the older lesbian thing seem very contrived even for this kind of dramedy.

Not a must watch but okay if you have the time.

10 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Glossy but not superficial, 17 July 2015
8/10

This is worth watching Being based on the real life astronauts of the space program this historical TV drama is by nature interesting. We've had the men's POV in "From the Earth to the Moon" and now this shows the impact on the wives and family lives. This series jumps a bit on the Mad Men bandwagon of portraying the 60s both in a nostalgic way and critical way. Everyone is perfectly groomed and pretty especially Yvonne Strahovski of 'Chuck' and Odette Annable. The infidelity is very Mad Men and it's interesting to see how the supportive wives deal with the cheating and anxiety of the missions. Insightful look at marriage back then.

4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Raymond Cruz is good but the story is mainly from one victim's POV, 17 July 2015
7/10

Raymond Cruz is a most effective actor. For those who watched 'Breaking Bad', Tuco Salamanca is one of the all time great TV villains thanks to Raymond's convincing intense performance. Here he is pretty scary as Ariel Castro. The real Ariel Castro looked more benign than him. Raymond is a bit too scary to be the wolf in sheep's clothing that Ariel was.

The story shows things from mainly one victim's point of view. Might have been better to show things from all three victims points of view. There was enough time to show how each was kidnapped and the background of each briefly so it's strange they didn't. In this sense the story could have been better written. The TV movie does not make it that clear how one of them couldn't run out while Ariel Castro was sleeping or something for such a long time.

Overall watch this for a TV version of the terrible crime.

No Good Deed (2014/I)
Better than expected, 17 July 2015
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This thriller is actually quite a lot better than expected. Liked the way things tied up together. Doesn't always happen in this kind of thriller but here it does.

Idris Elba is a charismatic lead villain and he may seem more of a hero than a villain at first but that is part of the story. Taraji shows an interesting transformation from naive bored housewife to woman who fights back. A couple of formula elements can't be avoided in this thriller eg the best friend and the cop. There is a twist in the race of the cast here with black leads and white supporting cast.

Ignore the negative reviews, its surprisingly good.

Seventh Son (2014/I)
We've seen it all before and better, 14 July 2015
2/10

This movie is terribly deja vu. The sets scenery monsters all are a bit familiar. I guess they were stuck with a story that wasn't terribly interesting a witch vs hunter. But then why choose this story for a movie? The casting isn't great. Jeff Bridges speaks with a strange mumble that makes you appreciate the British actors in similar roles. Ben Barnes isn't quite leading man material and it shows. Alicia Vikander who seems to be getting all sorts of roles isn't quite special enough. Her face is a bit ordinary. Julianne Moore is beautiful and she hams it up as the evil witch although Jolie and Theron had better material to work with in similar roles recently.

Don't bother. Even fantasy buffs will find this one dull.

4 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
A thriller mystery that makes sense! Terrific Hendricks., 14 July 2015
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The best thing about this movie about the investigation into a decades old murder of a mother and 2 daughters is that things make sense and come together. I have been so used to movie mysteries that are irritating, illogical or unresolved. It was so refreshing that everything is explained in a plausible way and there were no red herrings.

On top of that you have some fine performances by some of the finest actresses out there. Christina Hendricks is touching and believable as a beleaguered mom with so many problems: financial, nasty ex, children. Simply outstanding. She was the best actress on 'Mad Men' and I hope she gets many more movie roles. Chloe Grace Moretz shows she can play a bad girl just as well as her sweet roles and action roles. Charlize is totally watchable and sympathetic a central figure as the surviving daughter if just a tad too beautiful even when trying to disguise her beauty beneath the baseball cap. The men are supporting but pivotal. Nicholas Hoult and Corey Stoll are well cast.

I found Gone Girl's story a bit simplistic and vulgar. Dark Places is more original, better constructed and the characters are more multi faceted and sympathetic. The tension is more palpable. It also shows terrible human behavior and selflessness in the characters that is quite unexpected.

Ignore any bad reviews and watch this one. It's a fine movie.


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