Movies You Watched in June 2013
Ben Lott
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Mason
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New format works, so now it will remain! This is a geeklist to discuss the movies you watch throughout the month of June. Please feel free to post them as you see them, or if you prefer post a summary of all films at the end of the month. Also you can comment and discuss freely as others talk about films they've seen.

Enjoy...

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1. Board Game: Now You See It [Average Rating:6.36 Unranked]
Ben Lott
United States
Mason
Michigan
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New to Me


I've always been fond of heist movies, and I like the idea of looking behind the scenes in a magic show as well. This movie was a little bit of both, so I was excited. Now You See Me had a lot of fun twists and turns that you would expect from a good heist movie, and keeps you guessing right up to the finish. Now there are aspects that are predictable, and the biggest twist did enter my mind before it was revealed, but there was enough intrigue that we found ourselves discussing what actually happened for hours afterwards. For me that's a really good sign, because I like a movie that makes me think. By the end of that day when we went to see it, I was convinced that I would like to watch it again and try to pick up on all the subtle nuances I missed the first time around. Think about any film with a solid plot twist in it, they're always fun to watch again and see all the little hints that were hiding throughout the movie, but you never noticed because you were unaware what was really going on.

The cast was overloaded with relatively big name stars. I'm always pleased to see Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine in a cast list. They did their thing, teaching all the young actors how it's done. I've become steadily more impressed with Mark Ruffalo's work, and he is good here too. The quartet of magicians are fun to watch when they're on stage, but when they are out of the limelight they come across as quite irritating and annoying. Jesse Eisenberg is particularly obnoxious, and I couldn't help feeling like he was just playing Mark Zuckerberg all over again. Woody Harrelson, on the other hand, is clearly intended to be a bit of a scoundrel and plays that part effectively.

My big problem with Now You See Me, and what kept it from being a favorite, is something that should be covered in Movie-Making 101. There are 2 types of heist movies: the ones where you're intended to root for the crooks to succeed, and the ones where you're intended to root for the cops to catch them. In this film I had no idea who I was supposed to consider the "good guys." At times I feel like they want me to like the magicians because they're robbing from the rich and giving to the poor. Then I find myself swaying to the other side because the FBI/Interpol team continue to be one step behind and I hope they can catch up just once. So I spent the whole film emotionally detached because they didn't properly establish where my allegiances should lie. Despite this frustration the movie is a fun story, and as I discussed previously, I'd like to watch it again. Without spoiling anything I will simply say that, if you see this film, you ought to root for the magicians. In hindsight I think they were supposed to be the "good guys."
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2. Board Game: Star Fleet Battles [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:1683]
Jordan " ; " Czop
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Just watched Star Trek Into Darkness.



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3. Board Game: Star Trek Red Alert [Average Rating:6.39 Overall Rank:7086]
Ronster Zero
United States
California
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Star trek into darkness.

I both loved and hated this movie. I dont want to spoil it for anybody but I have changed the directors name to just j. Abrams. You take liberties with the continuity, I take a j. out of your name.
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4. Board Game: Immortals [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Alex H.
Germany
Berlin
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Watched a few movies over the last days. Most of them didn't interest me very much but having just been left by my wife makes me eager for any kind of distraction. Even if this means watching...

... Bloodrayne: The Third Reich
(http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/bloodrayne_the_third_reich/)

Yes, really. Not joking. I made it through the movie and don't even know how and why. It's a Uwe Boll movie which brings all my expectations down to an extreme low. Still, the movie was bad. The "plot" is laughable, the characters mostly unconvincing and the special effects only half decent. You get some boobies (of course) and some gore (of course) but not much more than that.
Recommendation: don't watch, esp. if you would have to pay for it.



Tron Legacy
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/10011582-TRON_legacy/

A very mediocre movie. I was falling asleep when I put it on (around 2am) and actually made it through the movie awake; I take this as a pro. I'll admit that I haven't watched Tron so maybe I'm missing part of the fun because of that. I doubt it, though.



Immortals
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/immortals_2011/

Could have been a decent movie. Could have. Though it brings some great action to the screen, there is no plot to keep one interested. The gods' costumes are ridiculous and the violence sometimes a bit extreme. If you know Greek mythology be warned: "inspired by" is the closest this movie comes to the real thing.




Edit:
Update June 15:
Just watched The Illusionist.
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/illusionist/

Thought it could be a decent movie. Guess I was wrong. I like movies about magic (e.g. The Prestige) but The Illusionist fell flat. The illusions are never credible to be just illusions, the plot barely kept me interested and the ending left me very unimpressed. Good for The Illusionist that I tried to watch The Dukes of Hazzard the other night. That movie was so awful that The Illusionist seems a bit better than it actually is. Therefore:
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5. Board Game: Loopin' Louie [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:704]
Nathan
United Kingdom
London
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I finally got around to seeing Looper last night.

I thought it was pretty good, but am not quite sure what my final verdict is. The opening scene lets you know what sort of people the film is dealing with, and I am not sure I understand what the overall message was meant to be.

Still, worth watching again.
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6. Board Game: Parts Unknown [Average Rating:5.97 Overall Rank:7198]
Atnier Rodriguez
United States
Monroe
Connecticut
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THE UNKNOWN WOMAN


This is a 2006 Italian thriller that was filmed to win awards. It has an interesting adult story, lots of suspense and mystery, great acting and great cinematography. It was sent to the Oscars to represent Italian cinema, but it did not consolidate a nomination. I can see why.

The story is about an ex-prostitute that starts working as a maid for the tenants in a particular building. She is trying to escape her past and start a new life, but her past keeps affecting her life, in many ways.

That's as much as I can say without giving away the twists and turns of the plot.

This is not a thriller that gives you hints, allowing you to piece the puzzle together. The director/writer keeps the cards very close to their chest, to the point of you not having an idea of what is really going on for pretty much half the movie.

Without the audience knowing the source of the tension or mystery, no matter how many violin shrieks you play throughout the scenes (reminded me of AMERICAN HORROR STORY cheesy music/sound effects) or how many times the lead actress provides a pained look full of fear and nervousness, or how many horrible sex abuse flashback scenes you force the audience to watch, you will cause more confusion and puzzlement than suspense.

What's that tenet of Hitchcock's guide to suspense about showing the bomb under the bench? Well, there's no bomb or bench shown. You feel the need to be tense but you don't know why.

By the way, this is a tough movie to watch. Harsh sex scenes, brutal physical damage to women and one kid, and general f***ed-up tragedy and drama.

All of that could have coalesced into a realistic, harsh but good drama. Unfortunately, the main character's personality flaws and the villain(s) unreasonable actions chip away at the final quality of the film.

Here I delve into the story a bit with slight spoilers:

The main character is not a likable character. She comes across as despicable very early on the story, but then through the exposition of her horrible past, the film expects the audience to justify her actions and agree with her. But I can't. She has flashes of cleverness but ultimately she makes bad decisions. She seems to be carrying out a master plan but she is just focused on one thing. She is attempting to begin a new life, but she actively limits her chances of success. She is quite frustrating and I could not sympathize with her. I was sorry for her past and her horrible life, but I felt she could have proceeded in much better ways.

The villain(s) actions are not realistic. In order to prolong the story and the suspense, they take the way-the-hell-around-path to get what they want. There's no reason at all for the bad guy(s) to not engage the main character directly as soon as they can. No, they took a THRILLER CLICHES 101 Course, so there's a menacing phone call, there's stalking, there's vandalism, there's physical attacks, etc. But they don't need to scare her or chase her or anything like that to get what they want. They only needed to confront her and make her give up the info/goods. Sigh...

End of spoilers.

I give it a 5 out of 10. My initial reaction was 7 or 6, but the more I thought about it, the more I dropped the rating. It's what I refer to as THE ISLAND effect, in reference to that awful Michael Bay spawn. I'm more willing to lower a rating for a movie that tries to sell itself as a clever movie and turns out to be not so smart, than an average movie that turns out to be more enjoyable than I originally thought.

THE UNKNOWN WOMAN undoubtedly was made under the pretense that they were filming an instant classic and they were going to eat caviar with all the established film critics after its release. However, they failed on the details and carried the plot on the shoulders of an unsympathetic main character.

More attention to the sense of the plot would have made it a very good movie. They did have an interesting story to tell with a couple of clever, surprising plot twists. I think they just got distracted with their artistic ways and the oh-my-god-we-are-going-to-win-every-festival that they lost track.



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7. Board Game: Argonaute [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Randy Cox
United States
Clemson
South Carolina
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Jason and the Argonauts (1963)

Recently, we watched 1982's Clash of the Titans with the kids (who love mythology), so I had this one put on reserve at the library. We watched it all in one sitting, a rarity for us, and I must say it's better than the 1982 film. That was unexpected, because I had remembered them being the other way around, but this was a good little yarn and didn't include any silly mechanical owl.

The special effects in 1963 really weren't any different from those in 1982, either.

It is interesting, though, how many times gods in Olympus are shown playing with figurines representing mere mortals. As my wife pointed out, the decor of Olympus and even the staging seems the same in all the movies and TV shows that use this scenery. I was even reminded of Star Trek (the original--real--series) Who Mourns For Adonis episode and even though that didn't happen on Olympus, the special effects and decor sure were similar.
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8. Board Game: Star Trek: The Enterprise 4 Encounter [Average Rating:5.92 Overall Rank:11655]
Randy Cox
United States
Clemson
South Carolina
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Star Trek (2009)

Well, as noted in one of the entries for the current movie, I watched this movie over the past two nights, about equal parts each night.

I must say that I was not too upset with the first half, watching and wondering how they'd mesh the real Trek universe with this one. It was fun seeing the alternate upbringings of the characters some of us have come to know and love. It was also fun looking for cute references to the characters brought to life by Nimoy, Shatner, Kelley, Nichols, Doohan, et al. That was all a fun romp.

But when we got to the ice planet Hoth (complete with little pet creature for Scottie), it went downhill for me. That whole part was just, well, nonsensical to me. It was like I was watching a James Bond movie or an episode of Battlestar Galactica. Or, sadly, Star Wars. I mean, it's like someone said, "Make Star Trek, but don't divert too far from Star Wars, got that JJ?"

I also realize that it's a no-win situation for the producers and writers (I don't think the director has all that much impact on the finished product compared with the other key players). They had to keep the franchise intact without alienating a zillion aging Baby Boomers while making it all flashy and short-term-memory-friendly for the youngsters who will fuel it into the future. So it was either make a whole new series of movies named "Star Romp" or "Space Trek" or whatnot OR... just stick with a tried-and-true trademark and hope no one complains too much when it diverts so far from the real history.

Personally, I'd've been just fine calling it "Star Trek Beginnings" and changing the names but having the exact same story. Or call it "Star Trek Babies" (didn't they do that with Looney Tunes cartoons) or something silly like that. But they went this route, as has been done with other "reboots" and all I can say is that I'm not a fan. But I'm not a fan of any "reboot." I haven't watched the new spidermen (you know, since the old cartoons of the 70s or 80s). I only watched the first couple of Batman movies (including the Adam West one). I haven't watched an Incredible Hulk movie, because I'd already invested in the TV show as a kid. In other words, with the exception of this movie, I really haven't considered it important enough to try to start all over with a franchise that I already have firmly in my mind.

What's next, a reboot of Superman (or have they already done that)? Maybe a reboot of M*A*S*H (which the TV show already was)? All in the Family with new, younger, fresh faces that will draw money from the 18-35 age group? For me, I'm happy with the old stuff. There's plenty of it still out there for me to watch just about forever.

The curmudgeon has spoken, so be the word.
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9. Board Game: Flagship: Prometheus Unchained [Average Rating:6.01 Overall Rank:6976]
:C.h.r.i.s. M.c.G.o.w.a.n:
United States
Elk Grove Village
Illinois
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Ordered my first pay per movie, or on demand where I pay, per the wife's insistence. GASP, I know I live under a rock sometimes with technology and what all the kids are doing today.

Django Unchained. If you like Quentin Tarantino movies, then you will likely like this one too. Yes, there is over the top violence and blood spurting. Yes, there are historical inaccuracies - such as sunglasses for Jamie Foxx as Django and a bouncy metal spring on top of the stage coach. I get that. But I also chuckled quite a bit at the Dr. King Schultz character played by Christopher Waltz. I also thought the item on top of the stage coach he drove around in was funny. Morgan Freeman Samuel L. Jackson also did a good job.

There was enough there to warrant the 160 minute viewing time. I normally don't watch movies again and I don't really see a reason to with this one either, but I am glad I saw it.
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10. Board Game: The Mystic Wood [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:3471]
Randy Cox
United States
Clemson
South Carolina
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Mystic River 2004

The next one in the queue at the library was this 2004 Oscar winner (but not for picture or director or supporting actress--just supporting and main actors).

It was as good as I expected and probably better than my wife expected, up until the end. I mean, the main twist was pretty much something you saw coming for a long time. But the very end with Laura Linney and her bad accent talking to Sean Penn just before getting it on in the bedroom was just twisted. And unnecessary.

Anyway, it was a good picture and I wonder what Kevin Bacon thinks about being really the second lead in the movie but not being recognized for his work.
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11. Board Game: JAB: Realtime Boxing [Average Rating:6.29 Overall Rank:2775]
Atnier Rodriguez
United States
Monroe
Connecticut
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CINDERELLA MAN



I believe, I originally watched this movie last year, a long time after it was released in theatres. Despite its disappointing box office financial returns, it was regarded as a very good film by critics and regular moviegoers. I guess it must have had a timing problem or Russell Crowe had lost some of its leading star momentum (did he throw the phone before or after 2005?).

Regardless, it is a well-acted, nicely filmed boxing drama.

I watched it again yesterday, primarily so my girlfriend could experience it. She had a surprising revelation when she watched THE FIGHTER and enjoyed it a great deal. Taking that as an opening on her defense, I followed up with REAL STEEL and the first ROCKY. No, I'm not gonna watch RAGING BULL again (mention any boxing movie and my dad will talk about how De Niro was so good in his role he could have actually boxed professionally and yadda yadda...).

Back to the movie at hand.

CINDERELLA MAN is superbly crafted, hitting all the notes a movie of this type needs to hit. For a while though, it looks like it's going to be a downer like MILLION DOLLAR BABY, but how else would you tackle the real Braddock's crappy life during the Depression era? Nevertheless, you don't really feel the two-and-a-half hours runtime and you end up elated and knowing full well that you've just watched a fine movie.

Russell Crowe does his role well. It is not his best or near his best, but he does sell you the part.

Paul Giamatti was enjoyable and surprisingly slender. Well, he was younger and his typical roles don't require him to pump iron for months.

Renee Zellweger is fine. For the most part her role fits the 1930's housewife standard but with some (tiny) zest. I did notice that the movie fails the Bechdel's test (I recently read some interesting feminist articles), especially in a scene where Renee Zellweger talks to Paul Giamatti's character's wife and the only thing they discuss is how hard it is to see their men thinking they are failing them. Hollywood, eh?

Which brings me to the only complaints I had about this otherwise great movie. Just some typical Hollywood moves.

-They make the hero appear a lot more heroic and influential, basically becoming a beacon of hope among the suffering masses (he might have been a folk hero during his Cinderella run, but I found it hard to believe dozens and dozens of people that didn't personally know him, would congregate at a church to pray for his victory against Max Baer, the boxer killer).

-They make the villain a lot more villainous than he was in real life. Actually, Baer's family and boxing connoisseurs publicly decried the liberties the film creators were taking with Baer's personality and antics. Baer's movie version bragged of the two deaths his fists brought about on the ring, while in real life it was just one death and it deeply affected him, causing recurring nightmares and regret. He was still clownish in real life though, but that's something many boxing greats also suffered from.

I constantly say, if the real life story is already unique and nearly unbelievable, Hollywood should resist the temptation to embellish it with falsehoods in order to artificially inject more drama.

Well, I guess that's why we have documentaries. After all, one of my favorite movies of all time, BRAVEHEART, had horrible, historical inconsistencies. Laughable even! Still an excellent movie to me. Just sadly not a good source of education.

I give CINDERELLA MAN an 8 out of 10. If it had not adhered so close to the Hollywood underdog story guidelines and mess around with the personality of the "villain", I would have probably given it a 9 or 9.5.

It is still an engrossing underdog story with real American history sprinkled about. It delivers a remarkably uplifting story set in dark times, with a higher quality than most sports movies, probably giving it a permanent seat at the list of top boxing movies of all time.
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12. Board Game: The Impossible Machine [Average Rating:5.37 Overall Rank:14383]
Stephen Roney
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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Not always an easy movie to watch, this is a well acted and well done story of one family surviving the 2004 Tsunami. Some people have complained that the story was "white-washed", virtually ignoring the native population. My understanding is that the actual person that the story is based on wanted Naomi Watts to play her, even though she was not a good physical match. The original family was Spanish.
If you are wondering about family suitability, the story is pretty intense, and there are a couple of shots of reasonably gruesome injuries as well as dead bodies, along with a couple of (very non-sexual) scenes with an exposed breast.
In general, I think I would recommend it if you think you would be interested, though I doubt I will make any effort to see it again.
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13. Board Game: Slasher Flick [Average Rating:5.93 Unranked]
Wulf Corbett
Scotland
Shotts
Lanarkshire
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I really hate Torture Porn. Stuff like Hostel, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, etc. On the other hand, I do like clever and well made Slasher Flicks, like the original Halloween, Friday 13th, etc. The Saw franchise hovers somewhere between...

This month & watched two Slasher Flicks that easily meet my approval. But to explain why makes this all one big spoiler... The movies are

Slaughter High (1986, re-released 2011)
The Cabin In The Woods

I found a lot of similarity in these highly unlikely bedfellows...
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Both try to explain the ludicrous behaviour and ridiculous actions of the victims of Slasher Flicks - albeit in highly different ways.

Slaughter High has a former High School student, disfigured & driven mad by his classmates, return to wreak revenge. The plot is just plain stupid, wafer thin, and the level of intelligence of the students, 10 years after the incident, childishly dumb. But when we find out the whole thing was a wish-fulfilment dream by the victim... rewatch the movie, and see how it all works beautifully! It even explains why the heroine, the girl of his dreams, who tricked him into the original disaster, manages to keep her pure white outfit immaculately clean, right up until he fatally and bloodily stabs her in... erm... the lower abdomen...

The Cabin In The Woods, however, has a Lovecraftian theme. Siurprisingly, it starts right out from the beginning openly admitting the whole teen slaughter aspect is a setup, a high-tech trap with all sorts of mind-altering gasses, surveillance equipment, etc. But the zombies are still real... The whole thing is a sort of reality TV show for the bloodthirsty Elder Gods, a ritual sacrifice of pain and fear. It ends badly, as two of the sacrificial victims break out and ruin the ritual. I can't help feeling the movie would have been more satisfying had they treated the two survivors more realistically - the beatings and wounds they suffer would have been disabling if not fatal. It just lasts a bit too long.


Overall, I actually preferred Slaughter High. The presence of Caroline Munro (almost managing to look like a High School student despite being 36 at the time) helped enormously...
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14. Board Game: Netrunner [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:596]
Stephen Roney
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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Long Time, No See

I know this movie takes a lot of suspension of belief, but I like Sandra Bullock most of the time, even when she isn't doing comedy, so I still enjoy it any way. Most technically based thrillers have holes in them, and this is no different, but I don't find it that hard to overlook them.
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15. Board Game: Lincoln's War [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:6677]
Wendell
United States
Yellow Springs
Ohio
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LINCOLN

Finally got around to watching Lincoln. Daniel Day-Lewis was great and I really liked the movie. I'm something of a political junkie so a movie about political wrangling/maneuvering to pass something thru a legislative house would be interesting enough, even without the historical high stakes.

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16. Board Game: The Incredibles Game [Average Rating:4.19 Unranked]
Andy
United Kingdom
Manchester
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The Incredibles

My almost 3 y/old is a fan of the Pixar movies, having watched all 3 Toy Stories, as well as Monsters Inc. and Finding Nemo... so it seemed like the right time to let him loose on probably my favourite of them all... The Incredibles.

We watched the whole movie, with a few interruptions, in an evening. And, although my boy got a bit fidgety and lost interest a bit during the movie, I thoroughly enjoyed it all over again... and when it finished my eldest said "can we watch The Incredibles again".

The Incredibles is a clever and witty superhero movie, with a unique story. It's packed with great action and fantastic dialogue delivered by some amazing voice actors. Being animated, there are also some visual 'effects' that just can't be achieved in a live-action hero movie. I also happen to love the music used for the film... A sort of big-band jazz mixed with Orchestral, similar to the caper movies of the 60s.

Overall this is a great Pixar film, though perhaps more on the adult side than some of their other successful movies. For me, this is their best, but not by much!
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17. Board Game: Trains [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:376] [Average Rating:7.22 Unranked]
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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Trance

Directed by Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, Sunshine etc.), written by his early writer John Hodge this mainly 3-character movie is a trip back to the world of the duo's career-defining early collaborations (Trainspotting and especially Shallow Grave). it works perfectly, it's professionally written and directed (it is said to have been shot in a few days while Boyle was prepping up for the opening ceremony of the London Olympics opening ceremony. It's a good movie, it works on every level - at the same time it might not be as great, might not be as strong as many other movies of this director (well, I would be happy if I were a director and my weaker movies were so good as this one). Still, it was worth watching, and the actors were all great (Vincent Cassell is a great choice for this role; James McAvoy has the best and most demanding role - and he delivers; Rosario Dawson is also fine and, well, even the full frontal shot of her is beautiful). I'm happy I chose to see this one instead of Jurassic Park 3D in the evening we had some time for going to cinema...
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18. Board Game: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire [Average Rating:4.61 Overall Rank:15618]
Stephen Roney
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

I recently got a Marilyn Monroe Blu-Ray box set on sale from Amazon, and last night we watched this early one that we hadn't seen for a long time (at best - I am not positive I had seen it before). A movie very much of its time, with Marilyn and Jane Russell looking for husbands. Marilyn putting a high priority on rich husbands.....
Very dated, but still entertaining to see just how far they could push the dialog (like the members of the olympic team saying that neither Marilyn or Russell needed to worry about drowning......).
Russell was the bigger star coming in, making ten times as much as Marilyn for the role, and getting top billing. This is one of the movies that launched the legend and worth a watch to see what the fuss was all about.
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19. Board Game: Superman Speed [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Ben Lott
United States
Mason
Michigan
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New to Me


I'm not sure why, but apparently Superman Returns was not accepted as the new path for the character, so a complete reboot was the chosen direction. This film retreads some of the ground covered in the first 2 Christopher Reeve films, but naturally makes it all modern and technological. There is an unnecessarily long sequence on Krypton at the outset. We are treated to a world so overloaded with intricate scenery, technology, and living creatures that I was reminded of a Star Wars prequel. At a certain point it just feels like they're adding more crap onto the screen simply because it looks cool. Thankfully the film takes a massive upswing when we arrive on Earth. They do a superb job of blending the present journey of Clark Kent with flashbacks telling the tale of why he decides to live in anonymity. Watching those moments where he simply can't resist the urge to help others is probably my favorite aspect of the character, and they included a good amount in this film.

Henry Cavill has the chiseled jaw and abs to pull off the physical appearance of Superman. He's also adept at the more difficult side of the role, he displays emotional vulnerability that seems counter to his invulnerable physicality. The only thing I didn't think worked with Cavill as Superman was the fact that he is so big and buff it seems unlikely he could ever blend in, particularly as a "mild-mannered" Clark Kent. As for Amy Adams, I'd usually say she's a great actress who is superb in any role, however, this wasn't her best performance. Some of that might result from how oddly her character was wedged into this story. I understand the desire to make Lois Lane a key character in any Superman story, but there were a number of situations where she was easily the most out-of-place character in the room and there was no sensible reason for her to be there. The rest of the cast was acceptable, though none of them stood out as exceptional.

In point of fact, that final description of the cast would match my feelings about the film. It was indeed acceptable entertainment, but it wasn't exceptional. The plot was predictable, not that this is always a bad thing, but you could definitely see most things coming. My biggest gripe is the fact that so many things that happen don't make any logical sense. Why does Zod have any interest in Lois Lane, and then why does he lock her in a room with a computer console? Why does Superman continue to fight Zod in Metropolis, virtually leveling the entire city, why not bait him to another less-populated area? (These are just examples, there was much more that puzzled me.) Speaking of that confrontation between Superman and Zod and all the fighting with Zod's henchmen, despite so much action going on it started to feel boring. 2 beings that are almost 100% impervious to pain are not all that interesting to watch as they beat each other around the city. Each punch seemingly has no effect, so how interesting are they? Oh, now the military is dropping bombs on them, but who cares? It's not like any of them are hurt. By the end I found Man of Steel to be a decent film that will definitely entertain, but for me it fell far short of the bar set by the last film, Superman Returns.
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20. Board Game: Superman II [Average Rating:3.50 Unranked]
Andy
United Kingdom
Manchester
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Man of Steel

-- spoiler warning --

With a young family I don't get to the cinema as often as I'd like, and of the current releases, Man of Steel was lower down my list of priorities, however some very generous friends got tickets for me and my wife to see Man of Steel with them at the IMAX in Manchester, so I could hardly refuse. Thankfully I really enjoyed the movie.

Firstly I have to admit that I did enjoy the previous Superman reboot, with Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor, despite its flaws... however, if you're going to re-boot Superman, this is how you do it!

Although it could be considered unnecesary and excessive by many people, I really enjoyed the extended opening sequence set on Krypton. I thought it gave a good insight into a supposedly more advanced civilisation on the brink of destruction. It showed Jor-El's motivation for sending Kal-El to Earth, and how General Zod became the enemy despite only striving for the protection of his people.

I saw the 1980s movie Superman II in the cinema when I was 6 years old, and over the years, when I re-watched it, I really enjoyed Terence Stamp's portrayal of Zod... so when I discovered he was the enemy in this movie, I was apprehensive about what they would do with the character... and to begin with I didn't really think Michael Shannon looked right or was up to the task... however over the course of the movie I warmed to him as the misguided General who sets himself on a path to the genocide of the human race.

I enjoyed the story, which I thought was an excellent treatment of the origins of Superman, with an interesting plot of terraforming the earth to be a new Krypton. It came as no surprise to discover afterwards that it was written by Goyer and Nolan, the same team that penned the excellent Batman movies. It was also interesting to see Clarke as a young boy struggling with his powers... similar to Toby Macguire's spiderman... and then later to see Zod and the other Kryptonians with similar difficulties. I found Henry Cavill to be convincing as Superman, showing power and emotion as the outsider in a world that fears him because he's different. I thought Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner gave pretty good supporting performances as his natural and adoptive fathers respectively... And although he is no J.K. Simmons (J Jonah Jameson from Spiderman), I enjoyed Laurence Fishburne's portrayal of Perry White. I did feel that the character of Lois Lane was a bit of a let down.. I don't think this was Amy Adams fault, as she did a decent job, but I thought the character was not fleshed out enough.. and I especially thought her change of mind early on in the reporting of the Superman story was a bit out of character for her, even though it was required by the plot.

I really liked the visual style of Krypton and their technology... it actually reminded me a bit of Matrix: Revolutions... particularly their suits, ships and the World Engine that they use for terraforming. A few other things reminded of that series too.. obviously the presence of Morpheus... but also a supporting role by Harry Lennix (commander Lock in Matrix Revolutions) as General Swanwick... and the final fight between Kal and Zod is very reminiscent of Neo fighting Smith.

The special effects and action sequences are very impressive, and definitely on a par with The Avengers (though Superman doesn't quite come up to the level set by that movie)... however I did feel the final battle was drawn out a little bit too long, and I couldn't help thinking that they were making quite a mess of Metropolis!

With seeing it in IMAX, we watched the 3D version, and although it was fairly impressive, especially scenes heavily reliant on CGI, being a post-production 3D treatment, it was definitely not as good as a movie filmed in 3D. (Dredd being my personal poster-child for real 3D movies!)

Overall I had a blast with this re-boot of Superman... however I'm not really a superman fanboy, so your mileage may vary in terms of this treatmen of the literary source.
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21. Board Game: Slapstick [Average Rating:4.50 Unranked]
¡dn ʇǝƃ ʇ,uɐɔ ı puɐ uǝllɐɟ ǝʌ,ı
Canada
Chestermere
Alberta
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I've been re-watching some older movies that I happen to have on VHS tape.

First of all, I went back to:


There are times when the live action and animation are a bit clunky but it's usually flawless. And a good story to boot.

_________________________________________________________________________
Then it was time (again) for:


This show never fails to amuse. I've seen it a half dozen times and I still laugh at the same lines, like I'd never heard them before.
Some of the most deadpan delivery and witty dialogue that you're ever going to find in a movie.
Simply brilliant!
______________________________________________________________________
Finally, my old Italian (w/ English subtitles) stand-by:


The story is quite convoluted but it's basically a "mistaken identity" comedy (as is Benigni's other quite decent Italian release Il Mostro (The Monster)). There are moments of pure comedy genius, and it's also just fun to watch Italians argue and yell at each other with such passion.
A classic.
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22. Board Game: Pillz [Average Rating:6.33 Unranked]
Atnier Rodriguez
United States
Monroe
Connecticut
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Side Effects


Some movies despite their stellar cast, manage to raise no interest and get lost in the weekly shuffle of new releases. Then, eventually, they have one more chance to offer themselves at a relatively fresh condition, whether as a purchase or a rental. I was ready to let it vanish into the pile of the unwanted and forgotten, but my girlfriend spotted it at a Redbox and rented it.

SIDE EFFECTS morphs a couple of times through its playtime. It is mainly a psychological drama, but its focus, tone and even main characters keep switching planes of significance.

The critics I'm most loyal to did not like the changes. They seemed to love the beginning but by the third act they both professed disinterest.

I do not agree with them on this one.

Maybe I'm easier to entertain when it comes to thrillers or dramas with a mystery or two. Maybe the fact that I was downing some beers made me less cynical but when all was done, both my girlfriend and I, enjoyed the movie despite its true nature not being what we both initially thought it would be.

I give it an 8 out of 10. Your mileage may vary depending on how jaded you are towards dramas that hold some secrets as hostage in exchange for your continued interest. However, the likes of a great Jude Law and an excellent (again!) Rooney Mara are more than enough reasons to give this flick a fair shake. Also on a much more minor level, Catherine Zeta Jones and Channing Tatum (his character could have been done by anyone, I think they just chose him because of his popularity).

Most likely side effect of watching this movie: satisfaction.
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23. Board Game: The Hobbit [Average Rating:6.03 Overall Rank:3362]
¡dn ʇǝƃ ʇ,uɐɔ ı puɐ uǝllɐɟ ǝʌ,ı
Canada
Chestermere
Alberta
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There was nothing on the tube last night, so I rented a movie that I haven't seen before.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

It wasn't too bad, I guess.
I didn't think that using camera angles to make Gandalf appear taller than the hobbit & dwarves (especially early, while in Bag End) was effective at all, however. And then handing the man a thimble-sized glass of wine, for instance, was ludicrous.
The "epic" battle scenes all dragged on for far too long, for my liking. Too bad that the bulk of the movie is about epic battles.
Once the gang hit Rivendale things began to look up a bit. Then they were off again to run away, on foot, from creatures that moved at bullet train speeds but could still never manage to catch them.
Finally they defy physics and gravity in yet another epic battle, this time inside of a hollow mountain.

While it isn't fair to criticize fantasy themes as "unrealistic", most of the scenes felt staged and lacking any true peril. Even when a giant worg is biting down on Thain, it isn't enough to crush him like puppy chow; only enough to render him unconsious until just the right moment, later on.
And I do hate (in all books, as well) how a miraculous coincidence, like the light of a moon that hasn't been seen in 200 years, happens right when the characters need it. My problem with most "prophecy" themed works is that you already know that the prophecy is going to work out, somehow, no matter how convoluted it has to get first.

Hmmm. Maybe I didn't like the movie that much after all.
I'm going to give it and was for casting Barry Humphries as the Goblin King.
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24. Board Game: Octopus' Garden [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:4184]
Ben Lott
United States
Mason
Michigan
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Long Time No See


Out of all the Bond movies this has to be one of them I've seen the most times. I'm not sure why, but it somehow became a favorite for me when growing up. It has been awhile since I've seen it, but once that first scene started it all came back to me. As a result my general opinion of this film might be a little more positive than it might otherwise deserve, simply because I have nostalgic memories of Octopussy. However I was surprised when I watched it how solid the story did seem, even to my adult eyes. It holds up pretty well. I like the story (although I'm still a little confused how the gems and Faberge eggs connect to the rest of the story,) and I find myself having fun through most of the movie. The opening sequence starts things out right. It has a little drama, a little humor, and some great visual stunts in the mini-plane. After the credits roll they start setting up the story and while I totally get the bomb thing, I still have confusion on the whole fake jewelry storyline, but at least it gets Bond into the story.

There are few Bond movies where I like the villains this much. Louis Jourdan is so amazingly overloaded with charm that he seems like the type of guy Bond could befriend if situations were different. On the flipside, Steven Berkoff, is deliciously psychotic as General Orlov. I love his rants and how convincingly he sells that passion. These are great villains, and the kind that won't bother doing the dirty work themselves. The henchmen aren't quite as spectacular as the chief villains, but they're just present so Bond has a body count to leave behind. Then there's the women, and there are a lot in Octopussy. Maud Adams returns in a bigger role this time. She is tough as nails, but manages to show some genuine emotion when her character thinks Bond is dead. You can definitely see how this army of dames would follow her lead. Sadly Kristina Wayborn's character, Magda, doesn't have a real part of her own. Her character isn't really fleshed out at all, and just becomes a plot device that connects Bond to the different villains.

The race for the bomb is by far the greatest part of this film. It includes an exciting car chase, Bond putting on a disguise, and Bond fighting off dozens of American soldiers trying to save their lives. You could feel the ticking clock, and the excitement rising as the moment of truth approached. In fact that was so satisfying that I wish it was the conclusion, and we didn't have this race to catch Kamal Khan at the end. The final scenes are easily my least favorite aspect of Octopussy. The battle with the female circus army looks a little too goofy, Bond arriving in a hot air balloon is silly, and a man hanging onto the outside of an airplane in flight is downright insane. Those are the moments when this film annoys, when things get too ridiculous. Another notable moment is Bond swinging through the trees with a Tarzan yell. At that point I find myself blushing to admit I even like the film. Yet I do because, despite a few flaws, I enjoy the story and it has just enough exciting moments to keep me watching.
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25. Board Game: The Impossible Game [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
Randy Cox
United States
Clemson
South Carolina
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The Impossible 2012

I remember the 2004 Tsunami that hit Indonesia and decimated the place. I didn't know there was a movie based on one family's supposedly true-life story, but that's what this is.

The effects are pretty good at giving you an idea of how massive the thing was. But it's really hard to imagine the complete story of reunion (or not). Good one to rent from the library.
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