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phd_travel

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976 reviews in total 
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My Sweet Audrina (2016) (TV)
4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Enjoyable and well filmed despite ludicrous story, 17 January 2016
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Atmospheric and nicely filmed, this adaptation of VC Andrews non Flowers series novel is worth a watch for fans of her books. W young girl is home schooled and kept confined in her family's mansion - but what secret is the family hiding about her deceased sister? The faults of a typical VC Andrews story are there - one dimensionally evil people, rather abrupt shifts in plot direction, but it's still good fun. The implausibility of the plot doesn't matter - after all it is a fantasy of sorts.

The cast is watchable. As Audrina India Eisley's acting has improved a lot from Secret Life days and she makes quite a lot of this far fetched tale believable. Her love interest is played by the Royals' William Mosely looks a bit old for her and his British accent comes across. James Tupper of Revenge is okay enough as the father.

The love scene is kind of laughable as she transforms suddenly from frigid to the opposite.

For fans

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Some parts are okay but a lot was confusing and boring, 17 January 2016
5/10

I didn't enjoy this movie that much even though I was interested in the subject matter. I think it was just that how these people shorted the market isn't that interesting an aspect of the crisis. It's technical and boring. There were some good points here and there.

The good points first: The little explanations of the toxic products were illuminating. The way the main protagonists found out about the depth of the crisis was also entertaining. There are some interesting moments like how S&P gave out their AAA rankings.

The bad points: The main characters are just not very interesting to make a movie about and you don't feel for any of them or understand what they are talking about for a lot of the movie. Christian Bale's character was kind of uninteresting. The wake you up strippers and music were kind of daft and spoiled the tone. The conflict that Steve Carrell's character or Brad Pitt's character felt about making money from the crisis wasn't very genuine.

There are 2 movies about the financial crisis that are much better about the crisis itself: the HBO movie "Too Big to Fail" and the excellent "Margin Call". I understand that "The Big Short" wasn't trying to tell the same story and it was showing things from the POV of these people who shorted. It may have the nominations and the A list movie stars but it ranks below both of the above in terms of clarity and entertainment value.

89 out of 177 people found the following review useful:
Chloe Grace Moretz is the best again!, 14 January 2016
9/10

Of all the actresses to do YAF movies, Chloe Grace Moretz is the sweetest and most convincing of the bunch. She has the rare gift of being able to do both action and romance. She makes the character surprisingly affecting quite quickly in the movie. Her grief and anxiety are believable as she searches for her little brother and somehow manages to keep his teddy bear intact throughout. She has chemistry with her co stars Nick Robinson of Jurassic World and Alex Roe. Liev Schreiber actually is well cast for a change - his face suits his role.

The story starts off impressively. The disaster scenes and waves of destruction are effective, exciting and grandly done. The middle section is a little slower when the training (a bit like Divergent) starts and the romance blossoms. The fighting and shooting are big budget action movie standard and well done considering it's kids who are doing the fighting.

As the plot twists the story makes sense in it's own way and is clear enough to follow. I found it more palatable than the Hunger Games which has a rather sickening premise kids killing each other, and easier to relate to than the Divergent series which is rather monotonously dominated by fighting and training.

Go see it - it's entertaining and enjoyable. Hope it does well enough to ensure the sequels are made

Joy (2015/I)
1 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Interesting process of inventing and selling a product, 11 January 2016
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Divorced struggling mom with a quirky family soap including addicted mom (a very funny Virginia Madsen) and dad (Robert de Niro) invents a special mop and makes it big. The process of invention and the business hurdles she faces are both interesting and entertaining. Jennifer acts well and evokes sympathy for the gutsy character. It's strange this was under the comedy category for the Golden Globes because her role is more dramatic than comedic. The highly flawed by funny family is the comedy part of this movie. Isabella Rossellini makes a welcome return to the big screen. If you read up on the real character you will find out that while the basic premise is similar (divorced mom invents mop) to the real person on whom it's based - a lot of the quirky family stuff is just fiction for the screenplay and that's fine.

This uplifting and enjoyable movie is worth watching.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Eye opening, 10 January 2016
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The forced building of public housing in a mainly white middle class in Yonkers is the background for the story which follows councilman Nick Wasicsko's journey through the despite. So many issues of race and class and politics merge together. This true story is so good that it left me reeling after it finished. The title is simplistic but the story is much more complicated.

Who would guess city council politics and real estate disputes could be so tense and make such compelling viewing. So much dirty politics in such a small city with it's betrayal and loyalty. There is a lot of jumping between the different characters on the many sides of the dispute. There are the local politicians, the people from the projects who would benefit from a better place to live and some of the residents of Yonkers who feel threatened by the new housing. It's a bit difficult to keep track of the different characters at first. Paul Haggis does a good job of including the different points of view but I think he could have reduced completed more of one plot line before jumping to another.

The acting is award worthy. Oscar Isaac is very watchable as the viewer follows the up and down trajectory of Nick's tragic life. His earnestness, courage, despair are so utterly convincing that the ultimate tragedy is really painful. Supporting cast are worth a mention. Winona Ryder has become very good at showing conflicted emotions and when she is on screen she steals the show. Catherine Keener is unrecognizable as one of the Yonkers residents who changes her tone.

Do watch this even if you think you might not be interested in the subject matter - it's better than you could possibly imagine.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
The title says it all - well done, 8 January 2016
8/10

The wack job of the week is a prominent doctor who obsesses about his teenage patient. If you think about it, it could happen. Even though he is a rich successful doctor he comes off as not quite right so he can't keep a relationship. If you think about it a crazy doctor can get away with quite a lot of stuff and it's revealing to see the things he gets up to.

Eric Roberts is suited to the role as the crazy doctor - hasn't he played every kind of bad guy there is? He seems to be in lots of movies these days and there is nothing wrong especially if he is right for the role. He deserves some kind of collective award for all the baddies he has played. Brianna Joy Chomer as the teenage girl acts well. The reaction of her parents is interesting - the mother is suspicious but the father isn't.

Worth one watch.

Bad Sister (2015)
3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Wacko poses as a nun, 8 January 2016
7/10

A nut job obsesses about a singer student in a Catholic high school. So she pretends to be the new teacher / nun and sets out to seduce him. Sounds exploitative and corny? Yes it does but who cares - it's entertainment.

The actress who plays the nun Alyshia Ochse is quite good reminds a bit of Olivia Wilde. Her antics are kept plausible. Nothing unbelievable even by Lifetime type obsession standards - yet they are pretty amusing when they happen. Sometimes it seems sacrilegious but then you have to remember she isn't playing a nun - she is playing someone impersonating a nun. Devon Werkheiser as the object of her affections is suitably tempted and repulsed by her.

Well done enough for this kind of thriller - wonder what other type of psycho they will think of next?

10 out of 23 people found the following review useful:
Give this a chance - it's not just another cop show, 8 January 2016
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Jennifer Lopez plays a complicated NYPD cop - crooked for financial reasons (with kind of a justification) but not so bad that sympathies aren't with her. She shows her tough side, has a toy boy, faces loyalty tests, is caught between a rock and a hard place to betray or not to betray, the list goes on. This is no Law and Order or CSI - it's more character based than the crimes themselves.

A good and convincing supporting cast that looks authentic ensures this is not a diva show case. Ray Liotta and Drea de Matteo are as authentic NYPD looking as you can get.

It's only 13 episodes a season so things will be succinct. Give it a chance you won't regret it.

Funnier and better written than the usual Xmas romance, 7 January 2016
7/10

The dialog and humor are better than the usual Hallmark Xmas romance. There are some funny one liners. The cats are surprisingly cute too.

A firefighter (Brandon Routh) and a veterinary student (Kimberly Sustad) meet. He has an unsuitable bitchy girlfriend played by Chelsea Hobbs who looks great and acts well. There is an interesting message compatibility and personality over superficial things like looks. As the vet, Kimberly Sustad is a tall actress even when next to Brandon Routh.

A non irritating, not over cutesy, occasionally laugh worthy Hallmark Xmas movie.

20 out of 29 people found the following review useful:
Stellar cast elevates this drama, 7 January 2016
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I enjoyed this drama. There is nothing very new about the story and it is predictable but in good way and you just want to see this stellar cast act it out. 25 years ago a father and daughter cope after the mother is killed in a car accident. The mother's sister played by a beautiful and very classy looking Diane Kruger and her slimy husband played by Bruce Greenwood (remember the nasty guy in Double Jeopardy? In present day the daughter grown up as a social worker has commitment and promiscuity issues. There is story isn't very ground breaking but with such a starry cast and an actual story with actual drama tragedy romance love infidelity forgiveness it makes a compelling watch. Some people may find things old fashioned and soapy - but I think that is unfair. There is nothing wrong with having a proper resolved complete story for a change. Russell Crowe is a bit old to be father to the young girl but he acts well - his seizures are convincing. Amanda looks prettier and more alluring and less bug eyed than usual. She makes a potentially unlikeable character sympathetic. It's great to see Aaron Paul him in a romantic role as her love interest. There was an indication in 'Breaking Bad' of how affecting his passion would be in a role like this. Jane Fonda is well cast as a publisher. Overall the cast is great and elevates this beyond a Nicholas Sparks level. Tip: The story is old over 2 time periods about 25 years apart and going back and forth between them. Flashbacks: Don't get confused - the flashbacks are when Russel Crowe appears.


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