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phd_travel

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785 reviews in total 
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0 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Bizarre but comes together, 20 November 2014
7/10

This is a bizarre but fascinating mix of black comedy satire about terrible people in Hollywood today. At first it's a bit confusing with all the wacko stuff and dialog but when things come together it's quite good. The performances are good especially Julianne Moore as the fading star with mommie issues. The issues of the weird looking child star are similarly hilarious. Mia Wasikowska as a personal assistant and Robert Pattinson as a driver are good in their roles too. Jon Cusack is good but Olivia Williams a bit out of place. David Cronenberg directs. I didn't like Cosmopolis but this is better.

Surprisingly if you give it a chance it is quite good. Worth a watch.

20 out of 22 people found the following review useful:
Well done keeps the can of worms open, 18 November 2014
9/10

This is a true story about a San Jose Mercury News journalist who wrote articles about the CIA and cocaine being brought into California in order to fund contras in Nicaragua. Good to see the journalist's difficulties in exposing big issues. In the light of all the whistle blowing of recent days it's interesting to see the earlier cases that didn't have the media explosion of today.

It's told in a matter of fact way. There is a familiar cast who don't have too big personalities so they are believable. Jeremy Renner suits the role well your typical everyman against the establishment. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is good too - not to glamorous but watchable.

After watching this movie it makes one want to read up further into all sides of the story like did the Washington Post attack the journalist rather than further investigate the issue and how much of the CIA's involvement is fact vs fiction.

4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
A laugh a minute - funniest Farrelly Bros movie in years, 14 November 2014
9/10

Surprisingly, this was very funny in surprising and original ways even the crude parts. There are even more laughs per minute than the more recent Farrelly Brothers movies. It's not as thoughtful as 'Shallow Hal' or ground breaking as 'Something about Mary' but it has more non stop laughter than any of their other movies. The story is quite good. Needing a kidney transplant for Harry, the duo go in search of a daughter encountering a hilarious bunch of characters along the way, from parents to baby Mama to adoptive parents etc. Jim Carrey hams it up like no one else can. Kathleen Turner is perfect for her role.

Go see it. There aren't that many laugh out loud comedies these days. The Farrelly Brothers keep it fresh.

"Stalker" (2014)
4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
The convincing and likable leads make this work, 10 November 2014
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The likable cast and tongue in cheek tone makes this work. Maggie Q who looks like she did in Nikita the black outfits and serious expression. She is believable because she can really do the action. Dylan McDermott has a good rapport with her and surprisingly looks young enough still to play a detective with some baggage. The ongoing stories are quite interesting someone stalking her and him kind of stalking his ex & kid. So far the types of stalking each week have been different enough to keep things interesting. The pace is fast too so it isn't boring. The quick dialog explaining the rationale in figuring out the criminal is a bit contrived though.

It's not as gruesome and sickening as "the Following" (also from Kevin Williamson) so it's more suitable for a general audience. The body count isn't that high since it's about stalking instead of murder. There are some "Scream" elements the girls in the house with the masked figure etc.

Overall one of the more watchable new crime shows.

2 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Spectacular, deafening, partly comprehensible, 6 November 2014
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The good points first. Liked it better than the other Nolan flicks: Inception and Transendence. The story is better. The first half with the start of the mission is quite moving and believable as the environmental catastrophe is quite plausible nowadays. There is some connection to the characters emotionally. The cast is as stellar as the title with a still gaunt Matthew with an inappropriate drawl, unlikely scientist Professor Anne Hathaway, lovely daughter played by Mackenzie Foy of Breaking Dawn and later the not seen enough Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine as Professor senior. The planetarium like space scenes are beautiful, realistic and spectacular. Going to the other planets was fascinating. Thank goodness no monsters and other aliens.

The faults are as spectacular as the plus points. The soundtrack is deafening and cuts out dialog. For no good reason the music blasts cutting out dialog in many scenes. It's like being stuffed in a Cathedral Organ while it is being played. The second half of the movie with the time relativity stuff and saving the planet is partly incomprehensible. I concentrated but still didn't understand why one hour would be 7 years. The "stay" thing just isn't explained well nor how the planet was saved with the information. Matt Damon isn't a good "villain" at all. Bad choice.

Overall it's worth a watch because it's just so grand and part of it is makes sense. At least can understand the broad picture. Just be prepared for some bewilderment and bring ear plugs.

Horns (2013)
3 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Original mix of fantasy horror and comedy that doesn't always work, 3 November 2014
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Daniel Radcliffe stars as a man who is suspected of murdering his girlfriend. This is an uneasy mix of black comedy, fantasy horror, romantic drama. Some aspects work - the black comedy is funny in parts when he gets people to show their true colors. The fantasy horror is okay. Not too gory.

The romantic drama isn't great because there are too many people in love with such a plain girl. Juno Temple was the wrong choice. Her face is not pretty enough for romantic lead especially to cause so much longing and passion in so many.

The movie is a too long by 20 minutes or so. After the villain is revealed it's kind of predictable after that. The style and mysterious ambiance of the Pacific Northwest is suitably eerie.

Acting is quite alright especially from the supporting cast including the still pretty Heather Graham. Some other familiar faces appear including Max Minghella as the best friend. Daniel Radcliffe has a convincing accent and his small size doesn't seem to figure. He looks pretty disheveled and tortured as the hero. His acting outside of Harry Potter is more believable than Emma Watson's.

Overall see it if you are a Daniel Radcliffe fan - it's not that great but okay for one watch. The approach is original but doesn't always work.

Gone Girl (2014)
25 out of 40 people found the following review useful:
Stylish but not plausible, 27 October 2014
3/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This starts off like a Lifetime thriller - Drew or Scott Peterson come to mind. But it's got a more A list cast and is slickly filmed with slightly too attractive household interiors and a black comedy vibe that gives it a big screen style.

Ben Affleck looks quite weighed down as the unhappy husband. Rosamund Pike's with her blank rather cold expression finally finds a role suited to her as Amazing Amy.

The different perspectives and plot twists keep one interested and entertained for over 2 hours but the murder is just too much, more shocking than plausible. Something less brutal but more clever would have made a better story.

Overall entertaining for its style but the story doesn't come together in a believable way.

Ticket Out (2012)
Quite good wife fleeing abusive husband movie, 25 October 2014
7/10

This starts of feeling like a Lifetime type abused wife fleeing husband movie but it turns out better than expected and is quite exciting.

The cast is above average too. The very pretty Alexandra Breckenridge (the young girl in the French Maid costume from American Horror Story Season 1) plays the abused wife. She acts well. Billy Burke (Charlie Swan from Twilight) plays the abusive husband well. Ray Liotta plays someone helping the wife and kids flee through the underground network.

There is an interesting twist and it is watchable from beginning to end. It's not an Enough type thing. More realistic actually. Worth a watch.

3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Best TV series ever - all else pales by comparison, 24 October 2014
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When I first read about this series being called the the greatest in the history of television I was skeptical about such a superlative. But it turned out to be completely right. This series is so good that it will change the way you feel about television - everything else pales by comparison. Watch every single episode of this series.

The story is so cleverly constructed and well written yet not confusing - it sets new standards in writing. There are no wasted scenes so you can pay close attention to every scene. Things come together in unexpected yet plausible ways. The dramatic parts are more dramatic and emotionally draining than anything on television before. The dangerous parts are tenser than any action movie. And throughout the series there is a lot of comedy from the blackest of black comedy, to laugh out loud quirks of the various characters from Jesse to Saul to Lydia. The characters are so rounded that the viewer can feel for most of them whether hero or villain. Vince Gilligan and his writing team created a masterpiece.

The acting is superb all round. Bryan Cranston as Walter White is so believable and sympathetic he made one get completely on the side of a devoted husband and father turned criminal mastermind. He deserves his multiple Emmy awards. Equally perfect is Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman. He gives such intense and moving performances that his character is universally loved no matter how idiotic. You can feel his pain so clearly. RJ Mitte as the teenage son afflicted with cerebral palsy is very touching and heart rending at times. Anna Gunn plays a difficult character well. I know many hate Skyler for the kind of wife she is but Anna plays her superbly. Betsy Brandt is just as terrific as her sister Marie. Dean Norris as Hank the DEA agent shows vulnerability, heroism and tenacity that made his character very real. Supporting villains played by Giancarlo Esposito as the chilling Gus and the uptight Lydia played by Laura Fraser are all excellent. Bob Odenkirk is laugh out loud hilarious as Saul Goodman the sleaziest lawyer on TV. Jonathan Banks as Mike the fixer is just perfect too.

Who would think that a story about a dying teacher making crystal meth to provide for his family in New Mexico would be the basis for what truly is the greatest television series ever made.

7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Involving mystery in a small town - plus there is Anna Gunn, 23 October 2014
7/10

Tuned in because of Anna Gunn. Like many I miss Breaking Bad even Skyler. This 10 episode mystery drama is quite involving. A small Northern California coastal town suffers a tragedy when a young boy is found dead.

Anna plays a police detective and David Tennant who her new boss. David has a bit of an owlish expression with the eyes but it's not that bad now he is older. Anna acts more disheveled and emotional than on Breaking Bad and it's interesting to see her in a different character. Michael Pena (just seen in Fury) plays the murder victim's father. Nick Nolte has a small role.

The story itself is interesting you want to see who dunnit. It's not too Twin Peaks surreal and mysterious - relatively grounded and realistic. At least it can't drag out too long since it's only 10 episodes.


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