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phd_travel

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800 reviews in total 
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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Draws you in with the good cast but the ending doesn't work, 19 January 2015
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A teenage girl's mother disappears one day. The unhappy marriage is told in flashbacks. It keeps you watching to see what happened to the mother. Along the way the girl goes through various relationships.

What draws you in is the well cast actors which are good for the roles they are in. Shailene Woodley acts quite well and she is quite pretty here. Not sure it was worth exposing herself for this movie though. It would have been just as good without the nudity which wasn't integral to the plot. Eva Green as the mother is intriguing if a bit Gothic. Doesn't really explain her unhappiness in the end. Christopher Meloni acts well as the father. He is a rounded actor and it's interesting to see him acting a more complex character than Stabler. Shiloh Fernandez is quite appropriate as the dim boy next door. Thomas Jane is suitably washed up looking as a lecherous over the hill detective.

This isn't really a thriller more a drama. The gay twist at the end doesn't gel with what happened before - it explains clearly what happened but is out of character with the protagonists. More like a twist for the sake of a twist. Also strange the house wasn't searched. This isn't really a thriller more a drama.

12 out of 41 people found the following review useful:
Not as good as the first, 19 January 2015
1/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This sequel of the chilling Woman in Black by Susan Hill with Daniel Radcliffe is a let down compared to the first one. They use the eerie setting with the isolated house in the marsh. It starts of promising with the WW2 blitz. The only famous cast member Jeremy Irvine of 'War Horse' is a fighter pilot with some combat issues.

The kids aren't very endearing and there is no connection with the kids. So you don't feel for them when things happen. There are a lot of cheap scare tactics that don't advance the plot at all. The ending is irritating, rather they didn't go after the kid than cause the death of the pilot. Don't care for or about the main character, the teacher and her flashbacks. It' a bad irritating story without any real scares.

Don't bother unless you absolutely want to see it. It has so little going for it.

1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Unexpected movie - more than meets the eye, 17 January 2015
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is an unexpected movie which is surprisingly fascinating. It starts witty and mildly comic and real with likable performance by Britt Robertson as a pre college girl who has relationships with several men ranging in age from her own to older to much older played by Max Carver, Justin Long and Christian Slater. She seems to make every mistake possible yet she isn't a hateful character.

The strange twist at the end is unexpected that changes perspective but wish there was a more definite resolution to the mystery. Having said that the movie is interesting because it changes how you look at things that were shown before from comic to more sinister. It's not a typical relationship movie. Worth a watch.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A mish mash of things that don't make up a whole, 17 January 2015
1/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

What's it all about Coen brothers? This mish mash of bizarre characters and events doesn't come together to make up a whole. The writer's block that plagues the central character seems to have affected the writers of this movie. Starts off fairly interesting with a move from Broadway to a spooky Hollywood hotel. Then his neighbor turns out to be a serial killer. Then there is this fire. And the beach image.

John Turturro's expression gets tired after a while. Waste of Judy Davis. Nice to see John Mahoney (Frasier's Dad Marty Crane) in a different kind of role.

Maybe if you are very interested in the real life characters that are being alluded to then it may be diverting but as a whole it doesn't come together.

Reaffirms my belief that the Palm d'Or is sometimes awarded to the worst movie they can find that year.

Nanny Cam (2014)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
The formula still works, 16 January 2015
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

For fans of 'The Hand that Rocks the Cradle' this 2014 baby sitter from hell lifetime standard thriller is entertaining and fresh enough. The likable cast includes India Eisley who acts well as the deranged nanny and Cam Gigandet as the hapless father and Laura Allen as the mother.

There have been similar nanny thrillers but the formula still works. The new element is the nanny cam which so many people are using now. Don't expect too much, there is some dialog that could have been subtler and less obvious. What's redeeming is there are some twists and turns that actually make sense that keep you guessing till the end. For this kind of movie it's worth a watch. For a lifetime thriller it's quite alright.

0 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Puts you backstage Broadway, 16 January 2015
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The best thing about this movie is the backstage look at mounting a Broadway play with all the insecurities and neuroses of the personalities involved. The photography really puts you there in the back streets of the theater district and makes it look pretty gross. The fantasy alter ego bird superpower thing is okay not too much till the ending which should have been more resolved.

Michael Keaton's performance is good and reminds sometimes of Beetlejuice in parts with the hyper muttering. Don't really feel that much for what his character is going through. Naomi Watts is good as the insecure actress. Wish there was more of her. Edward Norton is a bit unattractive to be the leading man of Broadway. Emma Stone looks disheveled as the ex rehab daughter but sounds a bit together to have been in rehab.

Worth a watch for it's originality - although not a classic for the ages.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
A brave fantasy but not the greatest Vietnam war movie for sure, 15 January 2015
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you want a good movie about the Vietnam War watch Oliver Stone's Heaven and Earth for the effect on the Vietnamese, watch Casualties of War for war crimes on the Vietnamese, or Platoon, Full Metal Jacket or Deer Hunter for the effect on the soldiers. For the impact of the War on the Cambodians, watch The Killing Fields. Apocalypse now is not mainly about the Vietnamese or Cambodians even though it is set there. It is a fictional dark fantasy allegorical tale inspired by Conrad about the ugliness of the Vietnam war and what it did to the soldiers fighting it. It's brave for the time, but it's by no means the greatest of the Vietnam War movies because it is so unreal.

In 1979 when this was released, the Vietnam war hadn't been over that long. This movie was an anti war statement showing the effect of the war on soldiers. Contrasting the ugly behavior of the soldiers fire bombing peaceful villages to Wagner and killing civilian fishermen and women. The ugly Playboy entertainment that gets out of hand shows the soldiers at their most base and primal. Finally holed up in a Cambodian temple they resort to some pagan mass murdering decapitating barbaric tribal society. Martin Sheen is good. Look out for young Lawrence Fishburne and Harrison Ford. But Marlon Brando is too overweight to have been a military man.

Brave, unreal and not the greatest.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Doesn't bear the test of time - only of historical interest, 15 January 2015
5/10

This film noir may have been ground breaking in 1941 but it is one of those films that just doesn't stand the test of time. It's too dated to be of entertainment value today.

I can see Humphrey Bogart's portrayal of Sam Spade is influential. But the other performances are kind of stiff.

The directing by John Huston isn't great. People stand stiffly around while a very fake punch takes place between two people. The action is abrupt and comical shifting from no action to punch then no reaction. It's almost comical in it's absurdity. Selznick and Hitchcock did not direct so stiffly at that time. So it's not just that it's old.

This is one for historians only.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
A showcase for the fine actors if a bit lacking in what is shown, 14 January 2015
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Firstly I only watched Them which felt some things were not shown. So can't judge all three. But with over 2 hours Them could have shown a bit more crucial plot elements. The ending with the implication that they are together again could just have been more clear. The death of the child or the immediate aftermath needed to be shown rather than just referred to in brief dialog. That was the crux of their temporary separation so why was it glossed over. Having said that this slow long story is for fans of the fine actors. The basic premise has been done before recently with Nicole Kidman. This is less stagy and more art film like.

Supporting cast: Isabelle Huppert is quite droll as the alcoholic chain smoking French stereotype mother. William Hurt as usual doesn't act at all. Just delivers his lines in a low monotone. In a preview of her role as professor in HTGAWM, Viola Davis is watchable as a kind mentor. Nina Arianda is unnecessary here. Main cast: Jessica Chastain looks beautiful and elegant in her grief with whatever hairstyle she has. James McAvoy despite his small size still looks okay with her. They are fine actors and they are the main reason for watching this.

"Fargo" (2014)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Dark comedy with lots of lovable characters, 13 January 2015
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There is a lot to like about this miniseries. There is a host of quirky lovable characters villains and heroes, cute accents, and dark comedy interspersed with a crime drama. Like many fans of Breaking Bad who were looking for something to fill the void - this is it. Not as intense, it is more comedy than drama. The story is original, well crafted and makes you feel for the different characters.

Like the 90s movie this is set in a frozen landscape with the kind, quaint characters with their Minnesota accents. Billy Bob Thornton plays Lorne a contract killer in a role perfectly suited for his comic and dramatic skills. Martin Freeman (showing so much more real acting than in the Hobbit) plays Lester a victim type who gets his own back with the aid of Lorne. Just as with Walter White, I was still rooting for Lester no matter what bad things he did. Allison Tollman plays a kind smart policewoman and Colin Hanks a policeman. Breaking Bad fans look out for a different looking Saul (Bob Odenkirk) playing a naïve police chief. Good support from Kate Walsh in a small role and Keith Carradine.

Deserved to win the Emmy and Golden Globe. Looking forward to next season.


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