Movies You Watched in April 2017
Andy
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This is a geeklist to discuss the movies you watch throughout the month of April. 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: Monster Truck Mayhem [Average Rating:7.24 Unranked]
Andy
United Kingdom
Manchester
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Monster Trucks

Monster Trucks was this weekend's Movie 4 Juniors, so I took my eldest, Joe (6).

Having seen trailers for it when it was originally released, I thought it looked like something he would enjoy, but I wasn't sure how much I'd enjoy it... I'm pleased to say it was actually super fun to watch and I definitely enjoyed it.

It is definitely a boy's fantasy movie.. to meet a friendly monster who them becomes the engine of your truck, and where the only grown ups in the movie are essentially bad guys, aside from Danny Glover's wheelchair bound junk yard owner.

The premise is rather cheesy, and there are a lot of plot device type moments... Say one monster learns to be a truck and we need two more later on in the film to instantly know how to drive... lets give them a hive mind... but the animation is well done, and the movie has plenty of laugh out loud moments. The acting is a tad on the wooden side, but the movie was a lot of fun to watch so I can overlook some of its flaws.

I had fun watching Monster Trucks, and my 6 year old loved it, so I recommend checking it out.
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2. Board Game: Disney's Beauty and the Beast [Average Rating:5.78 Unranked]
Andy
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Manchester
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Beauty and the Beast

I'm probably in danger of losing even more cred with this admission, but Beauty and the Beast is yet another animated movie that I never saw... crazy seeing as it's my wife's favourite Disney movie... However I could not realistically pass up the opportunity to see this new live action version.

It's a fairly typical fairy tale story of redemption and true love, and while the overall story was predictable, there were a few little twists that I didn't really expect. Emma Watson is very suitable as Belle and does an excellent job portraying the headstrong and modern girl stuck in a dead-end village life. Dan Stevens (formerly Matthew Crawley in Downton Abbey) does a good job portraying The Beast, whose name I don't think we ever learn. The supporting cast are excellent too.. from Ewan McGregor and Ian McKellen to Emma Thompson and even Kevin Klein as Belle's father.

There are some decent songs in the movie too... from old ones like Be Our Guest, to specially written new songs like Evermore performed in the movie by Dan Stevens as the Beast.

The animation is very good.. especially all the furnishings, such as Lumiere and Cogsworth, though there were some odd looking moments... particularly when we see the Beast walking, or even dancing.

There's also plenty to be emotional about too... like when Belle learns her father is in trouble and despite everything, The Beast sets her free to go to him... and of course there is the predictable happy ending for pretty much everyone except Gaston!

Overall I enjoyed Beauty and The Beast more than I expected to, and I'm glad I've seen it.
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3. Board Game: Kong: Skull Island Game [Average Rating:1.66 Unranked]
Jerry Wilkinson
United States
New Castle
Indiana
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I actually started watching Kong: Skull Island in March, and finished it in April. This is because my wife and I went with a friend to the late showing and it didn't end until after midnight. The wife and our friend had more desire to see it than I did. My wife didn't like it, and my friend and I thought it was ok but not fantastic.

My comment last night, which I still support, was "Kong was worth watching once for the special effects."
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4. Board Game: Seven7s [Average Rating:6.34 Overall Rank:4227]
Jonan Jello
United States
California
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♪ I'll mourn over the marble steps ♬ Junkies of the world lay across the monuments ♫ I climb and blister on the mount ♪ Drunks take a piss where heroes once bled out ♪ ♫
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My wife, son and I watched Magnificent Seven last night.
I've never seen the original, but am a huge fan of Seven Samurai.

The film was a fun entertainment we probably wouldn't watch more than once.
There are some jarring narrative changes that left us wondering about context of the situation, but it became clear as the scenes rolled on.


This modern take on the standard western definitely covers its bases to include a diversified group of racial characters
Spoiler (click to reveal)
as well as the implied homosexual relationship of two of the gunfighters and the PTSD sufferings of Goodnight Robicheaux


I read Vincent D'Onofrio's name in the opening credits, but didn't recognize the actor until later in the film. His character is interesting and hails form the 'outsider' or 'simpleton' range.
Peter Sarsgaard's villain, Bartholomew Bogue was just 'eh'.
He seemed more weak and flawed (and drugged out from his facial expressions) than intimidating.

As well, Seven shows the Django Unchained influence in several scenes.
It was a fun film .





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5. Board Game: Bowling Monkees [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Andy Andersen
United States
Michigan
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One of my all time favorites
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6. Board Game: Ghost Stories: White Moon [Average Rating:7.92 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.92 Unranked]
Trey Chambers
United States
Houston
Texas
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GHOST IN THE SHELL - I was a big fan of the original anime and its sequel, and the live action movie does it justice, about as much as one could hope a Hollywood version would.

On the ScarJo controversy - one of the defining characteristics of the Major is she had big, doll-like eyes in the anime. ScarJo has that, maybe more than any other actress in the world. Visually, I think she was more convincing as the Major than a Japanese actress would have been. The name change threw me,
Spoiler (click to reveal)
though that is explained.



The whitewashing of the role really bothered me at first, but after seeing it, I think it might have been the right call. ScarJo also does a great job as playing an android/human hybrid. Flashes of human and robot seep through in the right amounts, just like the anime. Anyone who thinks she is a bad actress apparently hasn't seen Skin, Don Juan, or Lost in Translation. Or this movie, apparently.

The plot is, of course, dumbed down and not as philosophical as the anime, but that was to be expected and it's not to the extent most people assumed it was. 50-75% of the plot is ripped straight from the anime, as are many of the scenes of the movie.

Overall, I give it an 8 out of 10. Visually it was nearly perfect. There were some excellent performances, like the Major, Director, and Batou (though Cutter was absolutely terrible). The score was amazing. It was by far the best live action anime ever (not a high bar to surpass) and a well-above average sci-fi movie in its own right. It's certainly no Blade Runner, but as a poor man's Blade Runner, it works.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST - I realize this is heresy, but I enjoyed it more than the cartoon version in nearly every way. 8/10

MANCHESTER BY THE SEA - Does Michelle Williams act in any movie that isn't crazy depressing? Still, it was quite good. 8/10

MOONLIGHT - Meh. It was okay. Above average at best. Some good performances but the best character/actor was killed off in the first 30 minutes after only 15 or so minutes of screen time! La La Land should have won. 6/10

AMERICAN HONEY - Overlong and overwrought. Exciting premise that eventually became predictable and repetitive. Extra points off for being so needlessly looooong. Nearly 3 hours! 5/10
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7. Board Game: Six-Word Memoirs [Average Rating:5.22 Unranked]
Ben Lott
United States
Mason
Michigan
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I had a simply delightful time with this wacky comedy. It was nice going in without knowing what to expect because I didn't have any idea what was coming next. It was fun to uncover who was doing what and why as I watched the film. This did force me to watch more closely so I sometimes put more serious thought into it instead of just laughing along. I think I might like it even more on a rewatch because I will be able to relax and enjoy the humorous ride, knowing the main plot points.

The performances were all great, but Brad Pitt stood out because he was so over the top. Frances McDormand was hilarious, and her matter-of-fact delivery made it all seem weirdly realistic despite the nuttiness of everything that was happening. But my favorite scenes by far were the couple of scenes with JK Simmons. He presented such a great range that perfectly summed up all that had come before. It was awesome having those moments where everything is explained, but then I had the realization that it sounds ridiculous to an outsider (like Simmons' character) who doesn't know how it all started.

The setup in the first act was probably the weakest part of the film for me. While I appreciated all the back story so that I could comprehend what was going on, it took so long for the different character stories to intersect that I wondered if it was ever coming. The second act is where things escalate for all the characters and stories start to collide. I thought the humor really picked up here and it didn't let up until the very end. I have a sneaking suspicion that, with a few more views, this could easily become my favorite Coen comedy.

Ranking on my Flickchart
Wins against The Accountant
Wins against Sita Sings the Blues
Wins against How to Steal a Million
Loses to Tommy Boy
Loses to Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Wins against The Bourne Identity
Loses to Chef
Loses to The Court Jester
Loses to Doctor Strange
Loses to Wayne's World
Wins against Heart and Souls
Burn After Reading ranked 128 out of 1191
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8. Board Game: The Seven Years War [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:9082]
Ben Lott
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Mason
Michigan
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I feel like there's something going on in Barry Lyndon that's deeper or has more meaning than I can see on the surface. I mean the decisions that Kubrick made here are so odd and feel wrong in so many ways. Is this intended as satire? At first glance I'd say everything is played as if it's a serious drama, but there were a number of moments where I just had to chuckle because a scene was that bad. And I couldn't help thinking that voiceover was dripping with sarcasm.

What in heaven's name is Ryan O'Neal doing in the lead role of this film?! In what world was that a good idea? He plays Barry Lyndon so bland and emotionless that I never get on board with him as a protagonist, and he sucks most of the emotion out of the film. That was bad enough, but there's also the lack of an accent that he sometimes tries to throw in there anyways (and that's disastrous.) He never seems like he belongs in this world at all. There were a couple of acting performances that I actually liked in the movie but most of the cast was not good.

The one aspect of Barry Lyndon that is undeniably great is the visuals. It is sumptuous, from the battle scenes to the fancy dinners. The lighting is great, the costumes are elaborate, and naturally every shot is framed perfectly. I understand Kubrick even acquired a special camera just for this film to capture candlelit scenes, and he certainly took full advantage of that. I don't know if the fact that the film was nice to look at was enough to make it worth more than 3 hours to watch (complete with an intermission,) but it doesn't hurt.

That length was a real hurdle for me to get past. There was enough going on in the plot so I didn't get overly bored, but considering I found the main character so unlikable I just wanted it to end. In every way I wasn't connecting with the character of Barry Lyndon, because he was emotionless and he kept making the worst decisions. I'm willing to grant that the movie was well-made, and that there may be more to it than I am able to comprehend, but I found the overall viewing experience frustrating.

Ranking on my Flickchart
Loses to The Accountant
Loses to The Jungle Book
Loses to The Host
Wins against An American Werewolf in London
Wins against The Wedding Planner
Wins against Planet of the Apes
Loses to Amy
Loses to The Philadelphia Story
Loses to The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension
Loses to Yi Yi: A One and a Two
Loses to Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones
Barry Lyndon ranked 1058 out of 1192
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9. Board Game: Genesis II [Average Rating:8.33 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.33 Unranked]
Ben Lott
United States
Mason
Michigan
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While I never saw Wrath of Khan I was aware of a number of key plot points because of my time in geek culture. So, how is it possible (knowing it was coming and even seeing the moment out of context before) that I was crying at the end of this film? I have to chalk it up to strong characters, and good story structure. There was enough build and excitement that I basically forgot more drama was coming. Ending the film in that way was a bold choice and I am impressed that they didn't cheapen it in the same way Into Darkness did when it emulated the same climax.

My only complaint about Wrath of Khan comes in the slow build of the first act. There seemed to be a lot of references to how long it had been since they were on the Enterprise and how old they were getting. It was a bit of nostalgic reflection that might suit fans, particularly at that time, but felt a little drawn out to me. I know the trope of the over-the-hill guys pulling together for one last hurrah, but knowing they would do this several more times in the movies kind of weakened that scene for me.

Otherwise, once Moby Dick in Space gets going, I was hooked. Most of the space battles and action sequences are actually fairly brief, yet I was tense through every single one. I loved the interactions between Kirk and Khan, as they kept trying to outdo one another, and pushed one another's buttons. The sequence where the Enterprise crew hacks the shields was so well done I was clenching the arms of my chair in anticipation.

I have to say, considering everyone in the world seems to think Wrath of Khan is the best Star Trek film, I kind of expected to find it disappointing and unable to live up to the hype. Yet this truly is one of the greatest Star Trek films of all time. I haven't had a franchise movie impact me on such a visceral and emotional level in a long time. This one accomplished that and then some. It's a movie I was thinking about for hours afterwards, and will probably seek to add to my collection.

Ranking on my Flickchart
Wins against The Accountant
Wins against Murder by Death
Wins against How to Steal a Million
Loses to Tommy Boy
Loses to Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Wins against Heart and Souls
Wins against Chef
Wins against About Time
Wins against The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
Wins against Zootopia
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan ranked 112 out of 1193
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10. Board Game: Happy Families [Average Rating:4.71 Overall Rank:16024]
Patar Absurdus the Shananigator
United States
Carrollton
TX
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"We're put on this earth to do a job. And each of us gets the time we get to do it. And when this life is over and you stand in front of the Lord... Well, you try tellin' him it was all some Frenchman's joke." ~Betsy Solverson
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Happy Valley (BBC Show)

I recently finished all the available seasons on Netflix of this show.

This is a well developed story with interesting characters. It features criminals that are a bit dumb and desperate like Fargo but without any sense of whimsy or humor at all. It is a pretty bleak and depressing affair. It is lifted from the emotional mire by the main characters all being fairly sympathetic. None of them are wholly likable or good but I can see where they are coming from.

This show does an amazing job of making the villains perspectives seem somewhat reasonable or understandable while they do truly terrible things. I wanted them all to hang but also felt sad for the situations they put themselves into.

This is a really good show. The lack of humor makes a re-watch highly unlikely but I am glad I saw it.
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11. Board Game: Luther: Das Kartenspiel [Average Rating:6.83 Unranked]
Patar Absurdus the Shananigator
United States
Carrollton
TX
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"We're put on this earth to do a job. And each of us gets the time we get to do it. And when this life is over and you stand in front of the Lord... Well, you try tellin' him it was all some Frenchman's joke." ~Betsy Solverson
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Luther (BBC show)

Likewise, I recently finished this on Netflix as well. I think that there are 4 short series available.

On the humor scale this sat somewhere between Happy Valley and Sherlock Holmes. Luther is all kinds of cool and has a cool sense of style as a show and as a character. That also helps. I think I will re-watch this eventually.

This show did something really incredible for a cop/detective show. It was essentially totally episodic and yet still engaging. It felt like a modern show without having nearly as much of an ongoing arch. That changed a bit for the last 2 series.

The first episode the show felt like it was trying to emulate a bit of Batman. Luther is Batman, Ripley is Robin, and Morgan is the Joker sort of. Looking at the characters from that lens make the way the story play out very interesting. This is the bleak Batman that goes a bit too far not the bright blue wearing campiness from before I was born.

One other interesting factor in this show is that Luther was not always entirely sympathetic.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
I really thought that his actions were uncalled for at times. He was quite the vigilante in some respects.
The above shouldn't be a true spoiler based on his actions within the first 5 minutes of the show but whatever.

One disappointment from one plot line:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
There is a plot in the 3rd season in which a vigilante is killing criminals. At first his actions are totally justified, then they are a bit more grey, after that they take a turn and become evil. I would have preferred that they always stay sympathetic or a tad grey. That would have been much more interesting. The way that it went he became less interesting as his story went on. Other events during his story kept things really interesting though.
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12. Board Game: The Record Game [Average Rating:5.25 Unranked]
Ben Lott
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Mason
Michigan
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Rob Gordon isn't the easiest protagonist to empathize with in this movie. He makes some terrible decisions, he whines (or complains) about his situation almost constantly, and he can be a little conceited. There were a few times when I rolled my eyes at him, and wanted to tell him to just stop! His buddy played by Jack Black wasn't much better, but at least he had a lot of excited energy that somehow made his attitude more acceptable. I wouldn't say John Cusack's characterization was insufferable, but he wasn't my favorite kind of guy.

There were a couple of things that made the movie transcend the annoyance of the lead character for me. First and foremost was the breaking of the fourth wall throughout the film. I've always enjoyed that type of thing in movies, and it works great here. This allows us to get inside Rob's head and understand his behavior. It was great to hear him walk through a bunch of his Top 5 lists with us just like he did with his coworkers. The framework of the Top 5 Breakups was a superb way of building back-story and establishing his character.

The other thing that helped me enjoy High Fidelity was the structure of the story, particularly the way it ended. All my frustration with Rob's behavior was washed away when I saw there was a reason to a lot of this, and things could change (and he could grow.) It's hard to get into specifics without spoiling it all, but to put it simply...I liked that he had an arc. In fact, now that I'm aware of the way things are headed at the end, I bet I would enjoy the movie even more when I watch it again.

This is where I should probably mention that I'm not all that knowledgeable about music. While I like listening to it sometimes, and certainly enjoyed some of the music they play in High Fidelity, a lot of their conversations about bands flew right over my head. Since everything centers on a guy who works in a vintage record store, there's a lot of conversation about musical artists, their albums, and their songs. It even seems like there were some jokes about music, but I didn't follow it. I was thinking things like "Is it a well-known fact that song is terrible? I kind of like it."

Despite all my misgivings about things in High Fidelity, I still enjoyed it. The arc of the main character paid off for me, and had me smiling at the end. I loved the format with all the narration done through breaking the fourth wall. Its positives outweighed all the negatives that I found in it. And it was bolstered by a very strong cast, with the possible exception of Iben Hjejle who made for a very odd romantic lead. She wasn't bad, I just wasn't sure if I believed she had any feelings for Cusack. Otherwise the cast was great, and made a good movie even better.

Ranking on my Flickchart
Wins against Point Break
Loses to Elf
Wins against My Favorite Year
Wins against Now, Voyager
Wins against Hellboy
Loses to The King of Comedy
Loses to Requiem for a Dream
Loses to The ‘Burbs
Loses to Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Wins against Mr. Baseball
High Fidelity ranked 332 out of 1195
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13. Board Game: Universal Tapestry [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Patar Absurdus the Shananigator
United States
Carrollton
TX
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A Solitary Man (2010)
Michael Douglas

I really like this movie a lot. It paints an interesting picture of an interesting guy.
Michael Douglas is a 60yo man that spends all his time chasing women. He used to be a successful car dealer but something happened to that so he is looking for other financial opportunities. I don't want to give anything else away since the way the plot and character development unfolds is really fun.

A bit hard to pin down genre wise which generally makes me happy.
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14. Board Game: Race Through Space [Average Rating:5.59 Overall Rank:12497]
Patar Absurdus the Shananigator
United States
Carrollton
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River (BBC Detective mini series)



Very fun show. Saying that seems odd but somehow it pulls off a pleasant vibe in spite of being pretty dark in many ways.

It is the story of an older schizophrenic detective whose partner was recently murdered in a drive by assassination in front of him. He has audio/visual hallucination in which dead people from his past speak to him. I am not sure that someone with as severe symptoms as him could be quite as high functioning as he was but it made for a cool story and it worked quite well.

The story has a fair number of twists and turns. They were well conceived and delivered.

It would be great if they made another series but it works well as a stand alone also.
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15. Board Game: Bus [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:1902]
Ben Lott
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Mason
Michigan
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Alexander Supertramp was as unusual as his chosen name. I found the story of his life interesting, and I thought Emile Hirsch did a great job of portraying his independent spirit. I could see why he was so disillusioned by the world we live in, and I liked the scenes from the early parts of his life because they gave some strong insight into why he became this man. I also appreciated the non-linear structure of the film because it breaks up some of the slower parts of the story.

The unfortunate reality is that there are a lot of slow parts in Into the Wild. I got the idea of the journey and how he lived his life early but we continue to see it all unfold gradually. There is maybe one piece of information that is revealed that I found interesting, but otherwise there is not much that surprised or deepened the story for me. It was mostly a long road trip movie where he'd meet one group of people after another and then leave them.

The entire film seemed to center around the ways Alexander affected the lives of others because he changed very little himself. Towards the end it seemed that might change and Alexander was going to experience some growth, maybe even have an arc. Sadly, nothing resolves. There is no satisfying finale, there is no uplifting moment to inspire hope, it just ends. I know this is a symptom of basing a film on a true story, but it left me feeling hollow.

Delving into spoilers for a moment, I must admit Into the Wild also bothered me slightly because it did something I deeply dislike. In movies based on a true story, I hate when they try to reenact what happened as if it was factual when all the concerned parties did not survive. Like the entirety of the movie A Perfect Storm, all these scenes (at least from the Magic Bus on) are just supposition based on a few short notes scrawled in a journal. It's probably a silly pet peeve, but that has always annoyed me. I can't say I actively disliked Into the Wild as a film, because I was invested in the main character's journey, I just didn't love the overall story as it was presented.

Ranking on my Flickchart
Loses to The Dead Zone
Loses to Bring It On
Wins against The Host
Wins against 101 Dalmatians
Wins against Super
Loses to The Revenant
Wins against Circle
Loses to The Bourne Ultimatum
Loses to The Illusionist
Wins against All Is Lost
Into the Wild ranked 919 out of 1197
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16. Board Game: Star Wars: Rebellion [Average Rating:8.46 Overall Rank:6]
Andy
United Kingdom
Manchester
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Rogue One

I saw this twice while it was on at the cinema, and jumped at getting the bluray as soon as it was released. It is one of my favourite Star Wars movies, certainly beats the prequel trilogy films, and I consider it better than The Force Awakens too.

Being a prequel, it was inevitable that the film had to end in a particular way, in order to tie in with the original Star Wars, but I still enjoyed the plot and the backstory to the Death Star and the rebellion. I also really liked the new characters, from Jyn and Cassian to Chirut and Baze and everyone in between... especially K2SO who is a piece of comic genius.

Overall I really enjoyed this incarnation of Star Wars and I am excited as to what they do with the next spin-off movie.
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17. Board Game: The Mission [Average Rating:6.54 Unranked]
Ben Lott
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Mason
Michigan
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I took on the task of watching Christian Mingle as a personal challenge. Allow me to suggest that you don't do the same, unless you're watching with friends who want to make fun of it with you. This is quite possibly the laziest film production I've ever seen. The set design is terrible, the costumes are bad, the script is awful, and the message it is trying to convey is muddled at best. I'll try to sum up the plot quickly: It is about a woman who is not a Christian, but she is so desperate to find a good man that she registers on the Christian Mingle dating website. What ensues is an extremely predictable attempt at a romantic comedy where she must pretend to be something she's not in order to hang onto this guy she likes. It's awkward, uncomfortable, and feeds into every false stereotype of Christians.

There was a moment when watching this movie that I actually chuckled at a joke, but that was due to the magic of Stephen Tobolowsky. No other actor is even decent, and John O'Hurley looks like someone killed his pet before filming. Lacey Chabert and Jonathan Patrick Moore have less than zero chemistry with one another. There's really no reason that these 2 people should be falling for each other, and yet they do because the script demands it. Morgan Fairchild is in the movie, which in itself should be enough to turn anyone away from watching, and she's horribly miscast. Corbin Bernsen even wrote himself into the script and he shows up twice with no explanation of why he is there or how Chabert's character knows him. Even what seems like the most basic movie role, the sassy black friend, is bungled by Saidah Arrika Ekulona.

As a Christian myself, I'm used to most of these movies made-by-Christians-for-Christians being terrible. Frankly, I usually avoid them because they embarrass me, as if I'm complicit in their awfulness. What bothered me most about Christian Mingle was how awful it made the believers look, and how it failed at even the most basic doctrine. In the inevitable moment when Chabert's deception is discovered she is met by extreme judgement, and is totally spurned by all the believers around her. If representing Christians as judgmental and hypocritical isn't bad enough, this whole sequence gets even worse. The main character basically begs this guy she's been dating to evangelize to her, and he responds "I don't think that's how this works." ARGH!! Just don't watch this movie. It has some unintentional humor that helped me maintain sanity, but it's a garbage movie no one needs to watch.

Ranking on my Flickchart
Loses to Point Break
Loses to The Champ
Loses to The Host
Loses to An American Werewolf in London
Wins against The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Loses to La Femme Nikita
Loses to Volunteers
Loses to Avatar
Wins against The Trail of the Pink Panther
Loses to Green Lantern
Christian Mingle ranked 1149 out of 1194
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18. Board Game: Whodunit [Average Rating:5.69 Overall Rank:12394]
Ben Lott
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Mason
Michigan
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The atmosphere of The Third Man is superb. It captures that dark, noir feel and creates an ideal mood. I like a good murder mystery, and there was a number of interesting puzzles to solve as the movie progressed. The cast is quite good, in particular I loved the scenes where Joseph Cotten interacted with Trevor Howard or Orson Welles. They had some intense sequences with more going on than what each character would come right out and say. My biggest struggle with The Third Man was the fact that there was no mystery in it for me. I figured out what was going on very early, and I can't even explain why I was so convinced that I was correct, but turns out I was right all along. This took away a lot of the intrigue, and there wasn't enough other stuff going on in the story that I could keep my interest level high. It's not a total failure of the film or the script, but part of my enjoyment in murder mysteries is the struggle to unravel the truth, and I didn't get that here. It also felt like the stakes were low, and that sucked some of the tension out of the climax. Finally, it's worth a mention that this movie's score should probably go on an all-time worst list. It is almost all composed of one tune played on a zither again and again to the point where I wanted to scream. It becomes downright oppressive to the point where I dread the next break in the action because I know that music is coming. Aside from this frustration I'll admit The Third Man is well-made, and probably deserving of all the critical praise, but it was only OK for me.

Ranking on my Flickchart
Wins against The Great Gatsby
Loses to Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure
Loses to Meet the Robinson’s
Loses to Young Ones
Loses to Bernie
Loses to Sleeping Beauty
Loses to Side Effects
Wins against The Dead Zone
Wins against Moonraker
Wins against What If
The Third Man ranked 587 out of 1196
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19. Board Game: 13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:513]
Trey Chambers
United States
Houston
Texas
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13 Hours

Interesting premise absolutely squandered by Michael Bay. Action scene after action scene where you have no idea what the fuck is going on. Unbelievable and superficial exposition and character development.

3 out of 10

How the fuck does Michael Bay still get work? Oh yea, people flock to his films.

So the real question is, WHY DO YOU PEOPLE LIKE MICHAEL BAY FILMS?

Every one is a irredeemable clusterfuck.
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20. Board Game: Trains [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:392] [Average Rating:7.21 Unranked]
Trey Chambers
United States
Houston
Texas
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THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN


I love dark suspense thrillers. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is in my top 10 movies of all time.

The Girl on the Train is not nearly as good, but I thought it was competently made and acted. The big problem is the predictability. I had literally everything figured out before the halfway point. Never a good thing for a plot based on a mystery.

But still, I was entertained throughout. I have no idea why the reviews were so poor. I almost didn't watch it because I'm so busy these days I tend to avoid poorly reviewed films. But it was certainly better than most of the dreck coming out of Hollywood these days. Definitely worth a watch if you enjoy the genre as much as I do.

7 out of 10
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21. Board Game: Nightmare [Average Rating:5.80 Overall Rank:8353]
Jonan Jello
United States
California
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♪ I'll mourn over the marble steps ♬ Junkies of the world lay across the monuments ♫ I climb and blister on the mount ♪ Drunks take a piss where heroes once bled out ♪ ♫
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Last night, the wife and kids went to the movies and I settled in to watch Nightmare Alley on YouTube.

My interest to view the noir film was piqued when, earlier in the day, I was browsing my Amazon Wishlist and remembered the comic book adaptation of the William Lindsay Gresham novel, Nightmare Alley by underground artist Spain Rodriguez.



I soon discovered there was also a much-touted 1947 movie based on the novel.


The noir film looks evocative and grim with the requisite shadows, conniving men and beautiful women.


The lead, Tyrone Power, was apparently a prominent actor back in the day and his performance of carny and conman, Stanton "Stan" Carlisle is quite good.

Opposite him is actress Coleen Gray and she is perfect and gorgeous as the young carny beauty who pairs with Stan and plan their con on victims



An iconic moment when Gray’s character, Molly peforms the ‘electric chair’ stunt for a local sheriff out to shut down the carnival

Thanks to a six-mile jaunt we hiked in the afternoon and my shots of whiskey, I managed to make it through half the film, but was soon slumbering from exhaustion and the Maker's Mark.

When I awoke, the film was still going and I'd missed a few scenes but understood the gist of what had transpired with the characters. As well, I awoke with a sense of dread. The storyline had wormed its way into my psyche thanks to the carny characters succumbing to the lure of alcohol and unable to avoid their destinies.



What an unsuspecting and entertaining film this was to view!
I definitely need to read an ‘essential film noir’ list and get to viewing more of these old gems.









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22. Board Game: Jamaica [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:421]
Ben Lott
United States
Mason
Michigan
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Long Time No See


As a fan of sports, I’ve always enjoyed a good uplifting movie focused on sports. Cool Runnings has been a favorite for a long time because it has all the heart of a good sports drama, but it also has some comedy mixed in to keep it light and fun. I know the story is a heavily fictionalized tale of the first Jamaican Bobsled team, but I don’t really mind that, because I never looked to it for any kind of historical accuracy. The cast is great, full of actors I didn’t know from anything else when they appeared in this film, but supported by the legendary John Candy. In many parts of this movie Candy actually plays it straight and allows the other stars to get the laughs, and it works well. Each character has a few unique and well-established character traits, they all have their own motives, and there are a few different people who experience an arc. The soundtrack is loaded with perfect reggae music that fits the setting and story, and I think Hans Zimmer does a great job of utilizing that style to influence parts of the score. Then when the real dramatic moments come, Zimmer expertly transitions to more orchestral swells to enhance the emotion.

There are definitely some cheesy moments in Cool Runnings. It makes a caricature out of some people, particularly Doug E. Doug’s character Sanka. Most of this is used for comedic purposes so that doesn’t really bother me. I could also see someone who is more critical taking issue with the fact that the film lacks subtlety. Most of what is said can be taken at face value, and there isn’t much nuance in the dialogue. Perhaps the most blatant example of this is when John Candy rants about all the responsibility that falls on the driver of the sled, including all the things he will do, and then later we actually see the driver doing these exact things as described. It makes the movie a little predictable, but I just don’t care. Because I connect with the characters and I’m emotionally moved by the climax of the film, I forgive most of its shortcomings. Cool Runnings is a great family film (if you don’t mind one swear word repeated a few times) because it has humor that should translate for all ages and it has a strong story that could impact anyone. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend you give it a shot.

Re-ranking on my Flickchart
Wins against Scrooged
Wins against Primal Fear
Wins against Pan’s Labyrinth
Wins against Young Frankenstein
Loses to Frequency
Loses to Tomorrow Never Dies
Loses to Hot Fuzz
Loses to Stardust
Loses to Rope
Loses to Speed
Loses to I, Robot
Cool Runnings ranked 75 out of 1196
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23. Board Game: Crazy Dancing [Average Rating:5.67 Overall Rank:13222]
Ben Lott
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Mason
Michigan
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Tony Manero is a movie about a man who is obsessed with John Travolta’s character in Saturday Night Fever. Let’s be clear, I’m not saying he’s simply a guy who really likes to watch the movie, this man will do anything to be like Tony Manero. There’s no reason given for why he feels this way and no indication of what his life was like before Saturday Night Fever existed. When we meet him he’s already fully entrenched in his insanity. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to cling onto or enjoy in this movie. He is a despicable character, most of the people around him aren’t much better, and the entire tone of the film is dour and depressing. Every minute we see the star (Alfredo Castro) in this movie, he has a look of either frustration or boredom, which made sense because so did I. Every aspect of Tony Manero failed for me. It didn’t tell a compelling story, it had an undesirable cast of characters that I didn’t want to spend any time with, it had bland or downright non-acting, even the cinematography was terrible. In the climactic moment when the main character, Raul, gets to show off his talent impersonating Tony Manero it seemed tailor-made to perfectly nail the camerawork because you just match the shots in the original film. Instead we are treated to awkward over-the-shoulder shots, odd close-ups, and strange moving cameras around him. It was all the worst choices, and made it feel simply like the actor never got the dance down well enough to make it look right. After watching this movie, I felt like I needed to take a shower, it was so unpleasant and upsetting. I can’t fathom why anyone would want to see Tony Manero, but if it sounds interesting to you then by all means enjoy it, I will gladly never sit through it again.

Ranking on my Flickchart
Loses to Spider-Man
Loses to How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
Loses to The Host
Loses to An American Werewolf in London
Loses to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Loses to Children of the Corn
Loses to Boogie Nights
Wins against Before Midnight
Loses to Local Hero
Tony Manero ranked 1189 out of 1198
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24. Board Game: Walt Disney's Fantasyland Game [Average Rating:3.38 Unranked]
Patar Absurdus the Shananigator
United States
Carrollton
TX
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Walt before Mickey

This is the story of Walt Disney as a young animator struggling to make it with cash flow problems. The acting was effective but there just wasn't enough material for the time. It should have covered more of his life or more of his relationships more deeply. Also, I can really dig on voice overs when done well but this felt like a cheap way to tell a story. What he was describing could have been shown pretty easily.
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25. Board Game: Capital Punishment [Average Rating:3.64 Unranked]
Patar Absurdus the Shananigator
United States
Carrollton
TX
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"We're put on this earth to do a job. And each of us gets the time we get to do it. And when this life is over and you stand in front of the Lord... Well, you try tellin' him it was all some Frenchman's joke." ~Betsy Solverson
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Punisher 2004

I remember being unimpressed by this but thought I would try it again. The funny thing is that I think the casting was great. I like all the actors in the roles they were in. One clear issue that the characters are not developed at all. Peoples behavior often makes little sense. I would have preferred more explanations for why people do what they do. Also, the story is cheesy and ridiculous so some Desperado/Kill-Bill/Evil Dead flair could have gone a long way.

Without sensical motivations, minimal development, and no stylistic flair from the director it just sort of falls with a plop. At least I didn't watch The Hulk.
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