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735 reviews in total 
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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Too unpleasant - an inferior Winter's Bone, 6 June 2014

*** 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.

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Make this your summer blockbuster choice, 6 June 2014

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

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

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.

9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Despite the updating it's just too clichéd, 1 June 2014

Despite the updating, this story is still dated. The disapproving father thing is just too clichéd. At least the story in this 2014 version isn't as depressing as the Brooke Shields version (for those who can remember) which was famous for the Diana Ross / Lionel Richie theme song.

The predominantly British cast isn't quite right for the movie. Alex Pettyfer looks too old and rather slimy with his slick hair for the role. He has a 20 something playboy look that isn't right for a high school kid. Gabriella Wilde isn't a terribly expressive or convincing actress. She doesn't act in love. Brooke Shields did a better job.

It's not even as good as an inferior Nicholas Sparks movie. This one is totally optional.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Pleasant inoffensive charming, 1 June 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a highly possible scenario, a man makes himself attractive to the object of his affection by making himself out to be interested in all her facebook likes. This Justin Long written movie is quite charming indie movie that isn't that great but is worth one watch.

It's funny in some parts, touching in some parts and a bit strained in some parts.

Even though Evan Rachel Wood is kind of out of someone who looks like Justin Long's league, she gives a convincing performance as being in love with him.

The ending avoids clichés and is quite charming.

Worth one watch

Non-Stop (2014)
Enjoyable not just another airplane thriller, 30 May 2014

If you think you have seen enough airplane thrillers after Red Eye, Flight Plan etc, think again. This one is actually entertaining well paced, well written, not too outlandish, and it has a good cast. The story keeps you guessing long enough and there is a nice sense of who is who among the characters on board.

Liam Neeson the action hero who doesn't have to move too much does a convincing job as the air marshal dealing with a threat coming from someone texting. Julianne Moore works well with him as a passenger. Michelle Dockery shows her versatility - she can play the aristocrat and the flight attendant equally well.

It's exciting till the end and well done.

6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
The changes ruin the story, 30 May 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I wanted to give this a chance since I loved the original Roman Polanski movie so much. And I was open minded to a change in setting from New York to Paris - after all it's no point making a shot for shot remake of a perfect movie. But comparing this with the original this version is a travesty. There are so many changes that aren't for the better, they are for the worse.

The casting is bad. Zoe Saldana doesn't have the angelic wide eyed innocence of Mia Farrow. Jason Isaacs as Roman Castavets looks too obviously sinister from the get go, he is just too obvious. Patrick J Adams tries but isn't shifty enough. Carole Bouquet is the best of the lot she is sophisticatedly sinister but without the motherly benign façade that Ruth Gordon had her character doesn't work either.

The changes in the story were disastrous. Revealing Guy's collusion with the Castavets and the real nature of the Castavets so early on takes away all the tension that was in the original. The dialog isn't as good especially when they departed from the original. It lacks subtlety. Having such gory ends for the victims doesn't take it into the 21st Century - rather it spoils the realistic base which made the original so much more chilling. In the original going blind was enough. Didn't have to have a throat slashing thing. The climax at the end when she finds her baby just falls flat especially where she wanted to kill it.

It's a painful watch for fans of the original. If you look on it as a "Rosemary's Baby 2 - Paris" maybe you can bear it. Just be prepared the horror is in how bad the movie is compared to the original.

Maleficent (2014)
173 out of 321 people found the following review useful:
Magnificent, 29 May 2014

Maleficent is magnificent. The story is sophisticated enough to delight adult audiences with a brilliant take on the beloved tale with a delightful twist including the meaning of true love. The characters are sympathetic and there is enough excitement.

The art direction and cinematography are beautiful. The fairy land scenes resemble a pre Raphaelite painting. The castle was a bit generic CGI. The right blend of human faces with CGI so it didn't look too animated. The director Stromberg who did Oz the Great and Powerful did an even better job here.

Angelina Jolie's expressive face is the perfect showcase for the character - it is the role of her lifetime. Like the way they did her cheekbones to make it like the Disney cartoon. Sam Riley as her sidekick morphs into many fairy tale creatures crow, dragon horse. The creatures are well done not awkward in movement and not overwhelming. Elle Fanning is sweet and picture perfect for the role of Aurora and Brenton Thwaites plays her prince. The fairies including Juno Temple and Imelda Staunton are cute too.

Liked this more than the Snow White movies 'Mirror Mirror' and 'Snow White and the Hunstman'. The first was fun but a bit silly and the second was too grim. Maleficent is the perfect blend of excitement and fairy tale. Most enjoyable film of the year.

Petals on the Wind (2014) (TV)
1 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Felt like it was on fast forward - not as well acted as Flowers, 28 May 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you watched 'Flowers in the Attic' recently you will want to watch this sequel. But be warned it's not as well done or well acted. There was just too much story for a 2 hour movie. A 2 part mini series would have been better. Every few minutes a dramatic event happens with insufficient lead up, it felt like an extended trailer. The latter third and the final confrontation and fire were almost like on fast forward. Because things moved so quickly it felt like Cathy was jumping in and out of bed like in some trashy day time soap.

The acting of the new leads isn't as good as in Flowers. Rose McIver is pretty but a bit full in the face for a ballerina. Someone more slender would have fit the bill better. She wasn't vulnerable looking enough for the events surrounding her. Wyatt Nash is a bit too stoned faced and expressionless. His reaction in dramatic scenes was high school amateurish. Mason Dye in Flowers acted more tortured than he did. Heather Graham acted suitably high strung and Ellen Burstyn was still vindictive enough in her few minutes of screen time. Their acting elevated the standard for part of the movie.

If you are a fan of the books or enjoyed Flowers you will want to watch this for completeness. Hopefully if the do the next movies in the series they will do a better job.

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