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phd_travel

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975 reviews in total 
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Child 44 (2015)
4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Bad novels make bad movies - don't waste your time, 5 November 2015
1/10

This movie is a disaster. It's grim story about how the mistreatment of Ukranians mixed badly with a serial killer story.

The varying degrees of Russian accents mix together badly and a lot of the dialog ends up incomprehensible. It would have been better that everyone didn't try to fake an accent than for them to have some exaggerated accents (like Tom Hardy's) and some faint accents (the rest). Make a movie about the Ukrianian serial killer and keep it true story. That may have worked.

There are some incongruous characters. The villain played by Joel Kinnaman seems evil for no reason. Very fake and contrived. Noomi Rapace doesn't look or sound Russian at all. Strange choice.

Don't bother with this long and dreary nonsense.

Spectre (2015/I)
14 out of 38 people found the following review useful:
Fizzles out fast - time to change both actor and director, 5 November 2015
2/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Things start out quite exciting with a spectacular helicopter sequence in Mexico City. But things fizzle out quickly and there are too many yawn inducing moments leading to a clichéd anti-climax of an ending. In between, it feels interminable.

The actors: When the villain and the hero kind of look alike you know the Daniel Craig has to be replaced - even he himself doesn't want to do another Bond movie. Let a younger, less haggard, more suave actor take his place. Christoph Waltz as one of the more insipid Bond villains wasn't given the opportunity to shine. It seemed like a caricature of his other villain roles. That C guy was forgettable. Ralph Fiennes looked pretty dour throughout. As the main female lead Lea Seydoux was a bit of a plain Jane for the role. At least her diction is understandable. It was fun to see her quite proactive in the train fight but she lacks the special quality and unique beauty required in a Bond girl.

Locations: At least there were some exotic places but Tangier could have been portrayed a bit nicer instead of that dirty looking hotel and street. Every time the location changed to London it got boring and drab. Wonder why they had to film in such wintry looking conditions in London. A few glamorous scenes would have helped balance things. The train was hardly a romantic place for the hook up.

Gadgets and cars: The car chase in Rome seemed fake - not enough traffic on the road. The car didn't look very special - a bit last decade and common looking. Nothing unique happened with the gadgets or technology. The bomb watch was too simplistic.

Directing and story: Sam Mendes isn't good for action. He let the pace slacken too much throughout. He needs to look at the recent 'Mission Impossible' or any Luc Besson movie to see how to keep up momentum. The plot was uninvolving - don't really get Lea Seydoux's role. The ending was so deja vu and predictable - giving him enough time to escape and tying her up. The falsetto Sam Smith song is out of place.

Most fans will probably see this movie. Too bad it's hardly better than the dismal 'Skyfall'.

Burnt (2015/I)
5 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
Ignore the silly story just watch the food, 2 November 2015
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you don't pay attention to the overblown melodrama of the tantrums and shouting and druggie background and loan shark nonsense, ie ignore the story then this is a mouth watering movie about a gourmet chef trying to make a restaurant get 3 Michelin Stars.

It does make you understand somewhat why they charge so ridiculously high prices for food in these fancy restaurants, there is a lot going into it. But the movie could have shown more dazzling creations course by course and identified them clearly. For example this is whatever dish and show it's preparation and serving. In the end the silly story overwhelmed the food and that's why this movie has flopped.

The likable cast can't save this movie. Sienna Miller made to look less glam is still very appealing (and too skinny for a chef). She can act anything. Bradley looks a bit plump still from Sniper days I guess but suited to a chef. The supporting cast is likable from Emma Thompson who looks very old to Daniel Bruhl as the Maitre'd. Even Matthew Rhys speaking in a British accent.

Compared to the other great food movie of recent years 'Julie and Julia' this movie isn't half as delightful. Despite it's faults there's something that still makes it watchable.

The Wrong Girl (2015) (TV)
Terrible piano playing, 30 October 2015
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The first thing - the piano playing is so awful there is no way she could have even auditioned for Juilliard. Why didn't they play some proper music and have a hand double.

The set up of the story seems a bit choppy with scenes abruptly moving from one scene to another.

A friend turns out not to be so - a slightly familiar Lifetime scenario. However the twist reveal is plausible and explains things so it's not so bad. Though why her natural mother never told the baby daddy is strange Kristen Prout looks better than she has in the past - not so Ivanka Trump like. Jamie Luner who seems to be in a Lifetime movie every year still looks pretty.

A little follow up at the end about the wacko would have been good.

Stolen Daughter (2015) (TV)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Not worth watching, 30 October 2015
3/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Standards can't be too high for this kind of Lifetime movie but it's below average by Lifetime standards. A mother who lost her child kidnaps a detective's daughter.

The casting isn't great. The perp and the cop are a bit similar looking - just one more disheveled than the other.

It seems ludicrous how the deranged mother Martha ended up such an efficient killing machine. Also our heroine is such an incompetent cop losing the gun while she had her gun pointed at perp. The nastiness of her colleagues seems unnecessary. Just isn't much story so they have to fill the time with silliness.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Timely but missing some crucial scenes, 30 October 2015
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This meticulously made and filmed movie is fascinating and topical considering the state of relations with Russia today.

Some crucial things that should have been shown are left out. This movie had too much focus on Tom Hank's character Jim Donovan and his negotiations. It's interesting including the details of his catching a cold and the state of Berlin after the War but it sacrificed the broader picture. I think they could have shown the impact of the incidents on the relationship between Heads of State Eisenhower and Kruschev. Next, the shooting down of Power's plane was exciting but the movie should have shown him getting caught on the ground and paraded around Russia on TV. Thirdly, I wasn't sure how Abel was spying apart from the coin paper and how he was caught. Not very clear. Also I don't know if the silly student really got held up because he was so whipped about a fraulein but I found it so irritating that the whole negotiations could have been ruined by a silly infatuation. Leave him in East Germany - he deserved it considering what was at stake.

The movie really plays the unsung hero card making him scorned by the public and his ungrateful boss (as always Alan Alda plays a schmuck to perfection). Mark Rylance is effective as Abel. Austin Stowell makes a suitably stunned looking Powers.

Bottom line worth watching as a timely warning not to get into another cold war but the movie could have been better.

3 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Stunningly filmed - a captivating tale of terror, 29 October 2015
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a perfect blend of 21st century film making with an early 20th century setting. The story is romantic and passionate and draws you in like a tale from Bronte and Du Maurier. There are subtle homages to both. Although the Jane Eyre / Rebecca thing has been done a lot before, here things are fresh and involving and soon with the supernatural aspect things do have on a different feel. Also some tongue in cheek humor with the portrait of Mother. The filming and sets quite 'Woman in Black', especially the mansion are quite stunning and worth seeing on the big screen. The details will be lost on a small screen. It isn't often that a written for screen story is so good.

The cast is perfect. Mia was already a terrific Jane Eyre is the only one I could think of in the role of naïve American heiress Edith. Tom Hiddleston as the Thomas the English baronet who sweeps her off her feet is as creepy as a vampire. Jessica Chastain is beautiful and owns the screen as his sister Lucille - what a terrific role for her. Charlie Hunnam is a little lacking in expressiveness as a doctor friend who cares for Edith.

Good use of music both piano and score. I haven't been a huge fan of Guillermo del Toro's more child oriented monster and children movies but this movie is enjoyable for grown ups. Be warned the climax is more scary than I expected and that's the modern touch to this movie.

Worth watching!

22 out of 51 people found the following review useful:
Packs a lot into the pilot, 28 October 2015
8/10

The pilot has a lot in it, establishing plot lines for the upcoming season with Supergirl emerging from her shell and rescuing a plane and taking on enemies from Krypton. I like the humorous attitude that recalls the first Superman with Christopher Reeve rather than the recent more somber reboots. Melissa Benoist is a good choice likable and pleasant not too distinctive looking so she can blend nicely into either of her personas. Calista Flockhart as the editor boss seems a little less eccentric and silly than of late. The romance with Jimmy Olsen (Mechad Brooks) seems there to represent diversity. Better to let romance evolve more naturally. Look forward to seeing more of Helen Slater.

Promising Greg Berlanti production again.

Surprsingly modern - not dated at all, 10 October 2015
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This Western from 1958 is surprisingly not dated. The locations are beautiful. The story is good, believable and well paced. No crazy Western antics and over heroic things. The cast is top notch which should make you want to tune in. No crazy heroics or silly dialog.

Gregory Peck plays a farmer whose wife was killed. He has been chasing after a bunch of outlaws who are about to be hung. But they escape with a hostage and he goes after them. Joan Collins plays an old flame and she is not out of place at all. Stephen Boyd plays one of the outlaws.

There is a modern twist and moral. Better than many Westerns that came after it.

Worth watching.

Pan (2015)
18 out of 35 people found the following review useful:
Quite an adventure but not enough of an actual prequel, 8 October 2015
7/10

As an adventure story there is quite a lot of action and battles in grand and magical looking landscapes. There is a journey from orphanage to fairy land. The movie is entertaining enough and doesn't deserve to flop even though there are some faults. The story has too much repetitive fighting against Blackbeard and not enough use of the prequel to establish the main characters of Peter Pan like how Captain Hook got the way he did, Wendy, Tinkerbell etc. Compared to another prequel "Maleficent", this suffers in comparison because the characters and plot seem tangential. Even with a lot of ships flying around and stuff the first half is a bit boring. Things pick up when Rooney Mara comes in and she is a lovely Tiger Lily. Amanda Seyfried could have been shown more in realistic imagery and not so blurry. The boy who plays Peter, Levi Miller is endearing. Hugh Jackman is good Blackbeard.

Worth one watch.


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