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phd_travel

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652 reviews in total 
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Trance (2013/I)
1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Don't bother with this, 11 October 2013
2/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There are some interesting subjects that got me to start watching this movie - hypnosis and the art world. James McAvoy is a good actor and usually picks rewarding roles.

But this movie isn't good. Mainly the convoluted story is contrived and the characters are generally unsympathetic. Didn't like a single one of them.

The brutality seems out of place with the story and forced into it to keep you awake. Also the full frontal images of Rosario Dawson are shocking and unnecessary. The ending is silly and the reveal feels fake and tacked on. The reality and suggestion scenarios are confusing and in the end I didn't care either way. After all this the ending is weak.

Simply don't bother it's not worth the time and concentration to figure this out.

1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Cate gives the performance of a lifetime, 10 October 2013
10/10

This movie deserves all the praise it has been given. The direction is clear handling New York flashbacks in a completely clear manner. The scenes are well constructed and the dialog is varied and unpredictable and suited to each character. No typical Woody Allen speak here at all. There are some Streetcar plot elements but it's so much more than that with deft inclusion of the current themes like wealth distinction and financial fraudsters.

The acting is superb. This is the perfect showcase for the varied dramatic acting skills of Cate Blanchett. She shows such a wide range of emotions. No other actress could have done this role as well. If anyone deserves an Oscar for leading actress she does for this performance. Please Academy - if you can give one to Jennifer Lawrence doesn't Cate deserve it for this. Bobby Cannavale also has a perfect role for him. He is funny and not too crude so it's believable. Sally Hawkins is good too not acting too pathetic.

Best dramatic movie of Woody's since Match Point.

The Heat (2013/I)
10 out of 21 people found the following review useful:
A buddy movie with no chemistry, 9 October 2013
1/10

Most buddy movies made have some chemistry and laugh out loud humor. Tango & Cash, Tucker Chan etc. But this one doesn't have either. There isn't any chemistry between the two female leads.

Sandra seemed ill at ease in her role. She isn't suited to the straight laced uptight proper agent. Melissa McCarthy isn't a natural comedienne. She says crude things but it isn't funny. Bridesmaids was just crude and this one is worse. Probably the fault is in the bad screenplay. Don't think I laughed out loud at a single situation. Obvious and banal.

Give this one a miss. Don't encourage bad comedy.

The Purge (2013/I)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Dumb story with annoying kids, 9 October 2013
1/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The story is so stupid. Can't believe it became a hit and a sequel is being made.

Ethan Hawke looks gaunt. Lena Headey riding on the Game of Thrones success, deserves better than this rubbish.

The 2 kids are the most irritating kids in the history of thrillers. How could they not give the son a dressing down for putting them all in danger by opening the defenses? After the boyfriend turned homicidal, why did the daughter run off on her own? The not so subtle class message is so crude that it fails to deliver any thing at all.

Don't watch this movie or the sequel.

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Lots of action but a confusing movie, 28 September 2013
2/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I didn't enjoy this exploding mess of a movie. Most action movies have some ridiculous elements but the plot is just not coherent and logical even for this kind of movie.

The story: This is a confusing movie. Unless you are familiar with the different comic book characters. There are a lot of new characters. Too many different people fighting each other. Who was fighting who was just too hard to figure out. It seems popular to have a grand story but the global nuclear thing is just overblown for the scope of this movie. Kidnap and punch the President is a bit old now.

Action: Lots of fighting but a bit too much of the same thing. Felt I was watching another movie with the Rock but I wan't sure which one.

Cast: Some newcomers including the exotic Skyfall's Elodie Yung and Friday Night Light's Adrianne Palicki who is quite a good action heroine. DJ Cotrona looks a bit expressionless. Big role for Korean actor Byung who was in Red 2. Bruce Willis does his cameo with out much action. Quite surprising having Channing Tatum die early on.

I don't think they need another GI Joe anything.

Prisoners (2013)
4 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Good acting but bad directing and weak story, 26 September 2013
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

First the good points. There is a top notch Oscar nominated cast assembled here and the acting is good. Hugh and Jake are impassioned and calm respectively but equally effective. Hugh has always had intensity and this is no exception. Jake is sympathetically dedicated and carries his role off convincingly. Paul Dano is actually suited to the dim wit. He isn't suited to mainstream roles because of his looks but here he suits the role to a T. Not enough material given to Viola Davis and Terence Howard. Photography is good and they really capture the dreary weather of the area in winter.

Now the weaknesses. The direction is lingering for unnecessary details and rushed for vital plot elements. Doesn't link up the clues and hints clearly enough. I concentrated but still was confused. The ending was badly done. Showing so much detail earlier and then short changing at the end by not showing conclusively what happened and instead just hinting at it was a cheap let down.

The story - the only thing I thought was good was the slightly feel good end. But the the weaknesses in the plot show clearly how it suffers in comparison to a true story. The fact that Paul Dano's character could hold out through all that isn't believable. It's an ugly story and gut wrenching in parts.

Overall this movie has a good cast and is earnestly acted but it doesn't deserve unmitigated praise. You want to see what happens and that keeps you engrossed till the end but after watching it you will have the feeling that the story just isn't that good.

Crush (2013/II)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
For this kind of movie it's actually very good, 24 September 2013
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

From the subject matter and title you'd expect it to be formula and clichéd but it turned out to have quite an unexpected and interesting story. Plus the cast is good. Crystal Reed of Teen Wolf who I thought was too pretty to be the crusher is quite good at acting plain. Lucas Till of X Men First Class is well cast as the object of her affection.

For this type of teen thriller the characters are not one dimensional. Good lesson about appearances and stereotypes, and not rushing to conclusions. Also that there are there are different degrees of crushes from harmless to not so. There is a twist that is actually a feel good twist about who is the that makes sense. There aren't any red herrings that are left unanswered and bug one after the movie. Liked the conclusion - things work out in a satisfying which is rare in this kind of thriller which usually is good only until the predictable twist. The directing is good to no silly shock tactics.

Worth a watch it's better than some more widely released thrillers of this type.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Real life is scarier than fiction, 24 September 2013
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a very well made dramatization of the Jodi Arias murder of Travis Alexander. Most people who watch the news this year would have seen images of the photos or Jodi testifying at trial. Now it comes to life on screen in a thorough and clear manner. Of course all the elements of a good movie are there already from the facts of the case: attractive young protagonists, sex, photos, obsession and a terrible murder.

The story of the relationship is actually very interesting. The obsession and stalking behavior of Jodi is shown - a real life Fatal Attraction. Quite fascinating is seeing the values of the Mormon faith clash when a Mormon starts a relationship with a non Mormon. Felt sorry for the clean cut Travis struggling between his belief in abstinence until marriage and his desire for Jodi. The movie is balanced as it shows he was wrong to have keep sleeping with her after he know how obsessive and unhinged she was.

The acting is quite good. Jesse Lee Soffer is sympathetic as the conflicted Travis. Tania Raymonde is just wacko looking enough - not too much for the obsessed Jodi.

The murder itself is horrifying and they do show the killing - enough to know what happened though not too much that it would be sickening.

Well done. Be prepared - it's much more affecting than any fictional stalker thriller movie.

Adore (2013)
9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Haunting and beautiful - superb performances, 22 September 2013
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

At first it was morbidly fascinating to see how these forbidden romances would pan out but instead of being distasteful it turned out to be a powerful, beautifully filmed drama like no other before. Two forty something women, best friends from young fall in love with each other's teenage sons. The talented cast and tasteful adaptation make it succeed.

Naomi Watts and Robin Wright are two of the most beautiful and talented actresses around. They haven't won Oscars but totally deserve to. Naomi looked so beautiful and gave such a vulnerable performance where every complicated emotion can be seen. Robin Wright does a subtle hint of an Australian accent (just like her Swedish lilt in Dragon Tattoo). Her performance is also masterful and captivating.

The young actors are good too. Xavier Samuel of Twilight is so convincingly passionate that he makes the love believable. In fact once you accept the premise of the love for their mother's best friends, the fantasy world of this movie seems completely real.

French director and adaptor Anne Fontaine handles this difficult material as tastefully as possible. It is quite an accomplishment to show the bizarre dynamics of family and friendship a plausible way while testing the limits. The emotionally laden scenes are well constructed and the love scenes aren't lurid. The story doesn't drag at all because the characters are all sympathetic and you want them all to find some happiness.

Production is top notch. The setting and location the beach house and beach are stunning - no wonder no one wanted to leave.

Haunting and beautiful.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
This one is expendable, 22 September 2013
3/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

OK enough! After this one it's time for the bunch to retire.

Too many bullets back and forth. The overall impression is a mess of shooting without a good enough story to string together the weak plot. Didn't care who was good and who was bad after a while.

Sylvester and JCVD's fight at the end was just too painful. It's scary to see him fight at his age.

I know they wanted a not so young girl as the female lead but of all the beautiful Chinese actresses they could have chosen why did they pick this one. She had an unattractive expression throughout.

You can give this one a pass. It's simply not worth it.


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