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phd_travel

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723 reviews in total 
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Total Recall (2012/I)
241 out of 395 people found the following review useful:
Total let down, 6 August 2012
2/10

This movie is one of those remakes which is not as good as the original 90s version. In other words it was pointless.

There is some continuing action that keeps one mildly engaged but the story is weak. The Arnie version had a clear and interesting plot with charm and wit remember "Sweetheart, be reasonable. After all, we're married!", "Consider this a divorce". Also the climax was grand and fascinating - the lack of oxygen bug eyed thing.

There are some vast multi level future cities that resemble an overcrowded Hong Kong or Shanghai. But the chase routines that race through them are repetitive after a while.

Kate Beckinsale's character kept popping back too many times and there is no reason why she is so relentless. Maybe just because her husband is the director. It was nice to see Jessica Biel in a big budget movie again. Colin Farrell plays a more regular guy than an action hero which is good but he doesn't have interesting lines to deliver.

Overall, see this if you want to but be warned it's not as good as the 90s version.

Skyfall (2012)
306 out of 525 people found the following review useful:
Bond on a budget starring the old folks home, 1 November 2012
1/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There are so many things wrong with this movie. Most of the elements of a good Bond movie aren't there.

The locations aren't well used. The Istanbul roof top & Bazaar chase has already been shown in "Taken 2" and the TV show "Missing". Dejavu. The way they showed 'Shanghai' and 'Macau' at night it could have been filmed anywhere. The Scottish countryside shown was so grim.

Where are the cars and gadgets? Nothing but the old Aston Martin. Just that pistol and tracker. The new Q is so ineffective.

The villain played by Javier Bardem. He is more comical than sinister. With the blond fright wig, the campy overtures and the most frightening of all, the dentures this must the most absurd bad guy in Bond history.

The climax feels cheap and conventional. They must have run out of money for the second half. Such a stupid idea to bring M to that run down Scottish house. With the home made defences and geriatric defenders, it felt like Home Alone meets the Golden Girls. Might as well have asked Betty White or grandma to join in.

The new Bond girl Berenice Marlohe is exotic and fascinating to look at. But why only one? Writing her out of the show so early and not having another was a mistake. The Bond girl is supposed to end up saved by Bond with a hook up at the end. Unless you consider M a Bond girl.

The focus of the movie is M. Judi Dench was always too provincial looking for MI6. The only good thing about this movie is that Ralph Fiennes is replacing her. Finally. There was no need to dedicate a whole movie to her farewell.

Daniel Craig is just so haggard he looks worse than the villain. It's time to replace him with someone younger and handsomer. Baffled by the good reviews. Be warned we are being short changed.

72 out of 91 people found the following review useful:
Riveting - worth watching, 20 March 2013

The pilot was quite riveting. The lovely and talented Vera Farmiga is excellent as the complicated possessive Norma Bates. Freddie Highmore doesn't yet have the creepiness of Anthony Perkins but it's early days lets see how things develop and he transforms. The supporting cast looks promising too.

Some unexpected things - it is set in the present day. A bit puzzling why all the pretty girls are so into the geeky Norman.

It is much better a prequel than Carrie Diaries which has too many inconsistencies. Norman Bates story is quite an open book and the coming story holds lots of possibilities. This is one to watch.

Fair Game (2010/I)
88 out of 127 people found the following review useful:
Riveting from start to finish - a must see, 25 January 2011
10/10

This is an amazingly well put together movie. The screenplay is totally understandable. One of the best films about the process of going in to the Iraq War and the use of information at the time. I was superficially familiar with Plame's story but did not realize how vital her and her husband's work was in relation to the Iraq war.

Naomi Watts does a very good job. She doesn't overact but you can see her vulnerability and passion. She blends into the role so well that unlike Nicole Kidman you don't think of a movie star acting but you focus on the story. Virginia Madsen looks more like Valerie Plame but unfortunately is now too old. Sean Penn is a bit too unattractive for the role but his acting ability makes up for it.

The production is top notch with an authentic on location feel to it.

Valerie Plame's story has to be told in this movie form so everyone can learn about what happened to her. It is a great story about the life of a CIA operative and it's toll on family life. It also is a great story about how the most patriotic acts can be so difficult to carry out in the face of unjust opposition.

The movie really deserves some big award nominations.

92 out of 138 people found the following review useful:
Terrible story - the Gods must be spinning on Mount Olympus, 30 March 2012
1/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The story is absolute rubbish. Anyone with the slightest knowledge of mythology would cringe at the terrible things they made the Gods do. There are so many bad things about the plot.

1. How could they make Ares and Hades fight against Zeus and then make Hades change sides for hardly any reason?

2. How could they make Zeus die?

3. Why is Perseus speaking with an Australian accent? Come on Sam at least fake something neutral!

4. Since when did Andromeda become some tomboy warrior amazon?

5. Why would Ares be jealous of that silly little fisherman Perseus when all he was doing was fishing? What pointless animosity. Since when were the Gods thugs?

6. Why is Pegasus so dark?

I thought the 2010 Clash was a terrible remake of the 80s version. The 2010 Clash had no charm romance or dignity of the Gods. But Wrath is worse. The story is so rubbishy and the dialog so terrible that it's gone light years away from the right direction.

The acting and casting aren't good. Rosamund Pike isn't appealing enough for a princess. Her cold blank expression is annoying. Sam Worthington looks even more nondescript let alone heroic than before. He isn't even 1 percent God. And why did he start speaking in his native accent? Are the Gods from Down Under? And the sudden kiss at the end is so out of place even Andromeda looked shocked. Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes are too good to be in this bad movie.

Don't watch this one - it's an example of silly people just throwing money away on effects when the plot stinks.

Begin Again (2013/II)
40 out of 45 people found the following review useful:
Keira can sing! Nice feel good movie about music making today, 3 July 2014
8/10

This is a feel good movie about musicians making an album. Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley play producer and song writer who team up to make a demo filmed all over the city. The songs are pleasant and the characters are sympathetic and likable even Hailee Steinfeld as Mark's daughter. There is a nice dynamic between the characters which makes the movie enjoyable to watch. There is almost as much music as a musical but it doesn't feel much like a musical.

Who knew Keira could sing so well? She doesn't have the most powerful voice but her singing is musical and right for the type of songs. Mark looks suitably scruffy for the fallen on hard times composer. Nice cameo by Ceelo Green and Adam Levine who sings quite a few songs.

Movies like this are pleasant and uplifting to watch - if you want a break from action or violence of summer blockbusters.

49 out of 72 people found the following review useful:
Like flipping channels for 3 hours., 22 January 2013
1/10

A grandiose production and stellar cast doesn't help this overly ambitious mix come together in a coherent movie. The series of different stories isn't set up well in the beginning so it feels confusing for a while. Then when they sort of come together it isn't clever or convincing. Maybe this story was unfilmable. It just felt like a mix of bad movies shredded and mixed up together. It tries to have a common theme about standing up to oppression of some sort or other via corporate corruption, musical composition, the slave trade, science fiction etc but in the end it wasn't worth the effort.

The white actors acting as Asian and vice versa are distractingly comical although I understand there is a reason for it.

It's easy to see why it wasn't a box office success and didn't receive any major nominations.

Skip it.

The Ghost (2010)
69 out of 112 people found the following review useful:
The story is weak - a disappointment, 18 July 2010
2/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I admire Polanski's movies for their ability to captivate the audience and his suspenseful yet reality based movies. In the GhostWriter the mysterious atmosphere is captured but the characters are uninteresting and unsympathetic and the story is just plain rubbish. The silly twist of making Olivia such a mastermind just seems like a twist for the sake of a twist. And the abrupt death at the end is just too much. There is a weakly explained ending. Brosnan seems rather ill at ease. Olivia Williams's character is too scizo to be realistic. Ewan isn't interesting at all. You just don't care what at happens to him. Kim was fascinating to watch but a bit under utilised. Why did Polanski choose this lame and silly story to make a movie. It was a waste of a good director.

Maleficent (2014)
164 out of 305 people found the following review useful:
Magnificent, 29 May 2014
10/10

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.

24 out of 32 people found the following review useful:
Light and entertaining fun for the whole family, 6 August 2010
7/10

Overall, this is entertaining and well done. The effects are not revolutionary but at least fit in to the story rather than detract from it. No violence or mayhem - its OK for a younger to general audience. Main fault is the hero Dave played by Jay Baruchel isn't up to the part.

The script is pleasant if predictable - does the nerd hero rise to the task and vanquish the evil forces. There could have been more historical witches besides Abigail Williams of Salem. There are some humorous bits but not too many.

Acting is better than expected. Nicholas Cage is quite good more serious and less horsey than usual. Monica looks a little older and has too little screen time. Alfred Molina is convincing without being annoying. Alice Krige (Morgana) is good and looks young. Teresa Palmer (Becky) the girlfriend acts and looks like a blonde Kristen Stewart.

The main problem is Jay Baruchel (Dave) is a too geeky to the point of spastic sometimes. It is painful to watch him. He lacks charm and charisma nerdy or otherwise. He is not a cute geek. He speaks like he has a speech impediment. Would have been better with someone more like Shia Labeouf, Justin Long or Michael Angarano if they wanted one of the new nerd/geek heroes.


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