Movies You Watched in July 2017
Ben Lott
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This is a geeklist to discuss the movies you watch throughout the month of July. 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.

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1. Board Game: Unicorn [Average Rating:7.11 Unranked]
Board Game: Unicorn
Ben Lott
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Mason
Michigan
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New to Me

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Despicable Me 3 (in 3-D)
=

I am one of the people who genuinely likes the first two Despicable Me movies. I like the story of the villain who finds his heart and learns to love. It works for me and having some cute Minions thrown in for extra comic relief is great as well. I didn’t particularly like what I saw in the trailers for the 3rd installment of the franchise, but I still held out hope that they would recapture the magic. Sadly, they didn’t even come close. I’m fairly mad at this film right now, but before I start my rant I thought it would be good to say I did like some elements. The minions are still cute and have a few funny moments. Also, the new villain introduced in this movie (Balthazar Bratt) is a great character who gives me all kinds of warm fuzzy memories of the 1980s. Any time there was direct fighting with him I was on board. Now let’s tear this movie down a few pegs…

There is one simple blatantly obvious problem with Despicable Me 3 that I cannot stand. They are trying to cram too many stories into one movie. This movie attempts to do so much that it falls short of doing anything well. Allow me to list all the plot threads they attempt and why they don’t work. (Warning: some of this might be considered spoilers if you care about that stuff) =

1. The super-villain Balthazar Bratt is stealing the world’s largest diamond for use in his evil scheme, so Gru and Lucy want to stop him. This is easily the best aspect of the movie, and it is what should have been the main plot of the film. One (maybe two) small subplots could have been included to enrich this primary narrative, but nothing more. Instead it feels like there are large chunks of this film where the A-story isn’t even touched because they’re so busy dealing with all the other stories.

2. Gru and Lucy lose their jobs at the Anti-Villain League because new management takes over. This is loosely connected with the main story, so I guess it was OK, but they didn’t use it to do anything. I cannot think of a single way that this genuinely impacted the plot of this film other than creating added desperation in Gru to catch Bratt. We don’t even see the new director of the AVL again after that first scene where she fires them.

3. Gru has a long-lost twin brother who wants to meet him, and learn to become a super-villain. I cannot express how stupid this part of Despicable Me 3 felt, and it comes out of nowhere. If I hadn’t seen trailers beforehand, I probably would have said aloud “Wait, what?! We’re doing this now?” It does not connect with anything that has happened prior to that point, and it takes the entire movie down a needless rabbit trail. I genuinely think there were 2 different scripts for this movie and someone just mashed them together, and that’s why we detour for Gru and Dru’s misadventures.

4. The Minions stage a mutiny. Since Gru’s not evil enough anymore, they just don’t want to work for him. Basically the entire cast of Minions run away and have their own journey through the movie. Their spokes-minion Mel is the least-enjoyable Minion ever. He’s kind of a whiner and complainer, so I don’t like him being at the center of all their stuff. Also every time the movie shows us the Minions (since they’re off on their own) it literally means the entire plot has to slam on the brakes so we can explore what’s happening with them.

5. Lucy wants to become a better mother to the girls. It’s cliche, but for a kids movie like Despicable Me 3, I imagine this probably should have been the only B-story because it makes sense considering where the last movie left off. There aren’t many surprising beats in this little sub-plot, and you never totally get the feeling that the girls are learning to bond with her. Much of the problem is based on the fact that there is so much other stuff cluttering up the film, so Lucy gets short shrift. Still, it could have been something if they committed to it more.

6. Agnes wants to find a real unicorn. I can’t even talk about this, it was so dumb and pointless. And yet there are at least 3 entire scenes centered around this one stupid subplot. Also, they changed voice actresses for Agnes (probably because the original girl is getting too old) and it was super obvious. Now she sounds a little too old to believe that unicorns are real.

There’s more in the movie as well, but I think you get the point. Despicable Me 3 is only ninety minutes long, so it can’t sustain this much story. And they don’t even try to make strong connections between the different plots. It’s not as if everything comes together in a logical way to win in the end, we just continue to get bounced around as they separately address 6 or more things that need to be resolved. Worst of all, they were so busy shoving more and more plot into this movie that they forgot the comedy. I did not laugh through most of this film. In fact, I was so disconnected from what was happening on screen that I got bored. I wanted to take a nap in the middle of it. While I’ve certainly seen worse films in my life, Despicable Me 3 is so disappointing that it made me more angry than a lot of lesser movies. Don’t waste your time on this one.

Ranking on my Flickchart
Loses to Last Action Hero
Loses to Donnie Darko
Wins against To Catch a Thief
Loses to The Silent Partner
Wins against One Hour with You
Loses to Tower Heist
Loses to Taxi Driver
Loses to Marathon Man
Loses to Julia
Wins against Grease
Despicable Me 3 ranked 1057 out of 1260
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RPG Item: Monthly Monster 13-11DW: Khazred Häül: Flying Stone Head of Destruction
Jake Blomquist
United States
Vestal
New York
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I love this movie.

I still don't have a good feel for ratings and I was torn between 4 and 4.5 (it's definitely not quite in the top echelon; in my mind 5/5 should be reserved for like the ten or so best movies I've seen) but I figure the best way to figure it out is to just start doing it. And between the fact that there are some flaws in the movie and just wanting to err on the side of caution I landed on 4/5.

This was my third time watching Zardoz. At some point in the distant past I saw the trailer and it seemed to just be the kind of ridiculous bad movie that's fun to watch in a big group. And actually both of the first two times I watched it was in a group where people were cracking jokes the whole time. And that's fair, there are some bizarre and some ridiculous parts. But the weird thing is that it seems like some of those are intentional while others aren't, and there are also some genuinely well made parts. So it's sort of all over the place, but for me it all just works; I find myself engaged in every part of it.

It's genuinely a movie with a big idea and a point to make, and I think it successfully gets these across. I also find it much more coherent than you might suspect from the trailer (well, certainly more than I suspected going in). As long as you're paying reasonable attention, everything is justified and makes sense. But the plot is certainly not spoon-fed to you, which can be a fun experience.

I will say as my biggest criticism there are maybe three sequences that last longer than they probably should. They're all visually interesting sequences but before they end you're ready for them to. I don't necessarily remember this from my first two viewings, I will say in this most recent one no one spoke during the movie at all and I don't know if that affected things. Multiple of us commented on these sequences though after the movie had ended.

I watched it with four others this last time, and in the end two of them generally seemed to like it and the other two disliked it. One of the dislikes described it as incoherent, and one of the people who liked it is someone who apparently is in the habit of reading synopses of movie plots before watching and did so for this movie. So take that for what you will. But if I remember correctly my first time I got the gist even with all of the jokes being made over the movie.

Overall, this is a thoroughly unique and impressively ambitious movie, and is absolutely worth watching as far as I'm concerned, especially for sci-fi fans.
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3. Board Game: Risk: Black Ops [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:8121]
Board Game: Risk: Black Ops
Martijn Broeren
Netherlands
Nijmegen
Gelderland
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My first contribution to this list, I'll try to make more!

New to Me



I saw The Expendables 2 a few years ago and find it an amusing but average (5/10) action movie. I got the chance to see the first one yesterday so I thought 'why not?' and expected it to be better... but that was not the case.

The movie starts with some terrorists on a boat having a bunch of hostages and demanding money. Just when they want to start hurting the hostages, The Expendables show up killing all the terrorists and (miraculously) saving all the hostages. After this opening we meet the Expendable team in person, with the characters Barney Ross(Stallone) and Lee Christmas(Statham) being the main heroes. Stallone receives a new assignment from a man known as Church: assassinate a ruthless dictator of a South American island. Barney and Lee go together to investigate the island and with the help of the attractive rebel leader Sandra they discover the true nature of the conflict. Barney has to make the difficult choice now to just do his job or to follow his heart and help Sandra.

Okay I know this movie is a homage to 80's action movies but the 'story' feels a bit to much like a 1-on-1 copy of Commando and I couldn't care less about the fate of the island people. In this day and age they could do a better job portraying terrorist other then letting some dudes run around with guns and letting them speak in a foreign language.
The scenes where they show the 'bad guys' doing 'bad things' where very boring. Also, the acting of the "rebel leader" Sandra was horrible and she didn't come over as an leader at all, just a damsel in distress. But yeah, they wanted to go for that 80's action movie feel where everything meaningful is accomplished by big strong men.

There are lot's of big strong man in this movie, alongside Statham and Stallone. They are all standard stereo-type ex-something, exactly like the team from other action movies like Predator for example. The chemistry between the actors is decent and there are some good jokes thrown around. Statham and Stallone together works and the dialogue is not bad. I fail to see beyond the actors though, but I guess that doesn't matter with a movie like this.

My biggest disappointment are the action scenes: to much shaky cam and to much quick cuts. There is a car chase in the movie but it is so horrible cut that you cannot follow what exactly is going on at any point. And yeah, I understand that they go for that 80's feel where a couple of guys can wipe out an entire army but they push the boundaries of 'believable action' a bit to far here. (bottomless magazines, the heroes don't get hit when 40 guys fire upon them, huge explosions without any hero getting hurt, etc...)

So for me a disappointing 4 out of 10. It is watchable if your home alone and like to see some mindless action, but I think your better of firing up and old 80's action classic.








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4. Board Game: Space Cadets [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:1523]
Board Game: Space Cadets
Ben Lott
United States
Mason
Michigan
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New to Me


When I look down the cast list of The Right Stuff I cannot complain at all. Some of my favorite actors are sprinkled throughout this film and they are crushing these performances. Each character is unique and stands out as an individual. It's a huge cast, so some of them don't get a ton of time to make an impression, but I think most of them pull it off. Special recognition goes to Jeff Goldblum and Harry Shearer for injecting some great moments of humor.

As for the story of The Right Stuff, it is an interesting historical film. It has the feel of a biopic, but it doesn't focus in on one person. Instead it explores the history of the early manned missions into space. It's a topic that I am intrigued by, but I'm not sure it needed to have the entire first section of the film with the test pilots competing for the fastest flight speeds. In fact, the presence of Chuck Yeager as a character was a real mystery to me.

This is a long movie and so on reflection I thought the entire opening act (before the creation of the space program) could have been cut. This is not how I felt when watching it though. It felt like a smart setup because they would establish Yeager and then have him mentor Gordon Cooper, who would then take that knowledge into his astronaut career. But they barely spoke to one another and Gordon Cooper did not become the star of the film. He was there, but shared the spotlight with others.

There were so many things I wanted The Right Stuff to do, I kept having visions of what it could be. I wanted it to center on one character's journey, but it would only do that for a couple scenes and then moved onto the next guy. I thought they had potential to make a big theme out of the way these men would support and help one another through the program, but after touching on it for a moment you don't really see them lifting one another up. The movie didn't even get to the moon landing.

I didn't dislike The Right Stuff at all, there are a ton of high quality elements in it. I didn't get bored or annoyed by the film, even though it was longer than I'd usually like. However, I never felt myself locking into the story. I would watch a segment and hope to see how this was going to tie into the next sequence, but it rarely did. The entire movie felt almost like a TV show because it was a series of short stories all mashed into one film. Not a bad movie, but far from what I hoped it would be.

Ranking on my Flickchart
Loses to Last Action Hero
Wins against Donnie Darko
Wins against Mud
Wins against White House Down
Wins against Spy
Wins against Colombiana
Wins against Modern Times
Wins against Transformers
Loses to Dead Poets Society
Loses to The Hudsucker Proxy
The Right Stuff ranked 633 out of 1261
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5. Video Game: Depression Quest [Average Rating:5.79 Overall Rank:5462]
Video Game: Depression Quest
Ben Lott
United States
Mason
Michigan
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The Grapes of Wrath is a tough movie to swallow. It's basically a film about a family desperately trying to survive during the Great Depression. It's not exactly "fun" to watch so many struggles and trials being heaped on this sweet family. Everything seems to go wrong and I empathize with these poor people and hate to see it all happen.

Henry Fonda and Jane Darwell are spectacular in The Grapes of Wrath and they add most of the heart to the film. I am totally rooting for this family because these two make me care about them. They are given the unforgiving task of delivering some heavy-handed monologues at the end, but it never came across as insincere, which had to be tough.

While I realize this movie isn't based on a history book, I appreciated the strong historical feel of the story. These specific things probably didn't happen exactly as shown, but I thought the feel of that time was captured perfectly. There were things that they experienced that did happen back in those days, and trials that wrecked thousands of lives back then.

Rating and ranking films like The Grapes of Wrath is a challenge for me. On the one hand I see some real quality and care that went into the film. I see good acting and a well-crafted story. But on the other hand, it's just not enjoyable. I feel the struggle with the characters and I don't like it. So take my rating and ranking with a big grain of salt.

Ranking on my Flickchart
Loses to Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie
Wins against Donnie Darko
Loses to Mud
Wins against When a Man Loves a Woman
Wins against Delicatessen
Wins against The Pacifier
Loses to Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Loses to Face/Off
Wins against The Lavender Hill Mob
Wins against The Maze Runner
The Grapes of Wrath ranked 801 out of 1262
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6. Board Game: Get Out [Average Rating:5.54 Overall Rank:15892]
Board Game: Get Out
Patar Absurdus
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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A black guy is going to meet the parents of his white girlfriend and spend the weekend with them. When he arrives everyone else heir behaves oddly both black and white.
To give other details could lead to spoilers.

This is a pretty enjoyable thriller. At moments it felt a bit like a M. night Shamiloninom movie.

My complaints are few. The characters all felt a bit shallow. The white characters had almost no personality at all which was weird but may have been a purposeful choice and seemed to fit the vibe. The black characters had more personality but weren't super well fleshed out.
The main character has a friend that he speaks to on the phone and he cusses too muc and without cleverness. That didn't serve the movie IMO.

I had some concerns that it could have had heavy handed politics or push a viewpoint that I found disagreeable. That wasn't an issue at all. The whole movie was from the protagonists oerspective. In his world interactions with white people are often awkward and the audience gets to experience that with him but it didn't seem to use it as an opportunity to be preachy. I found it to be quite interestingly done.
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7. Board Game: Dance Party [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Dance Party
Patar Absurdus
United States
Carrollton
TX
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"Gird Up Your Loins, Like a Man!" ~God to Job
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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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Microbadge: Blue Ribbon (Free Speech)Microbadge: Roller Skating fanMicrobadge: ChristianMicrobadge: Reality isn't made out of matter, but what matters.Microbadge: Therapist - I listen to people for a living
La La Land

A young lass wants to be a movie star but works at a coffee shop on the studio lot in the mean time. A young fellow who loves jazz wants to play jazz and keep it alive and open his own club in LA. They meet. They sing. They dance. And so the story goes.

I like musicals but am very picky about them. I don't love the really old fashioned ones and am sometimes annoyed by the more modern ones as well. My favorites are Fiddler on The Roof and My Fair Lady but I'll happily watch Grease every few years.

I was hoping that this would be a musical like those and have plenty of memorable songs to sing to myself when the movie was over. It isn't that kind of flick. It feels more like a dancical. There are songs with words and they are good but much of the music is without lyrics and the focus is more on jazz and visuals. It's pretty incredible that I found it as enjoyable as I did considering what it was focusing on.

The visuals in this are gorgeous and communicate a great deal. It can be tempting to play with my phone during some movies but it'd be too easy to miss some beautiful image if that was done here.

Great movie and a high recommend.
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8. Board Game: Train of Thought [Average Rating:6.01 Overall Rank:6798]
Board Game: Train of Thought
Ben Lott
United States
Mason
Michigan
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The Lady Vanishes is a movie that sneaks up on you. For almost the entire first act it bounces around between a number of different characters, it has a light tone, and it almost feels like a comedy. What is really taking place is great character setup. We're meeting these people and learning about their personalities so that we understand their motivations when the real story gets started.

The mystery in The Lady Vanishes is one that totally gripped me. I was hooked and trying to figure out what was happening and why. Unlike many other mysteries like this, I kept guessing but wasn't able to put the pieces together until moments before the truth was revealed. I also enjoy movies that cause you to question whether what we've seen was real or if it was all an illusion.

The cast is great. I particularly loved the 2 cricket-loving (gay?) Englishmen. In fact the movie starts from their point of view and I almost wish they had become the stars of the show because their banter with one another was superb. But Margaret Lockwood became an excellent protagonist, and her slowly developed connection with Michael Redgrave worked perfectly.

There was a certain point in the third act (when all was revealed) that I felt the movie almost came off the rails. A couple characters behaved in odd ways, and the action seemed a little forced. And that final scene, while satisfying, was a bit too cheesy for my taste. I didn't mind most of these nitpicks, though, because I was totally intrigued by the story. This is a Hitchcock classic that more people should be talking about, because I think it's a winner.

Ranking on my Flickchart
Wins against Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie
Wins against Compulsion
Loses to Nightcrawler
Loses to Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Wins against Murder by Death
Wins against The Crow
Wins against Split
Loses to The Iron Giant
Wins against Ratatouille
Loses to The Iron Giant
The Lady Vanishes ranked 241 out of 1263
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9. Board Game: Crazy Crab [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Crazy Crab
Ben Lott
United States
Mason
Michigan
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Long Time No See


It’s been decades since I sat down and watched The Little Mermaid, and revisiting a childhood favorite is dangerous. But, I’m here to tell you, it holds up. I recognize the fact that there are some small elements of the story that are weak, like the speed that people fall in love or Ariel’s youth and naivete. I forgive a lot of that stuff because it is a fairy tale and they condensed it down into a shorter runtime, so I think some sacrifices have to be made. What sets The Little Mermaid apart from most other animated movies is the fact that it has what I consider to be the greatest collection of songs in any Disney film. All of them are engaging and add to the story. It’s one of those rare films that makes me want to sing along, or even get up and dance. The animation is beautiful, and makes me long for the days of classic hand-drawn movies. Ursula might be Disney’s best villain, Sebastian is the perfect mix of conscience and comedy, and Scuttle is a hilarious addition as well. The voice cast is excellent, and they all elevate their characters beyond the visuals. I enjoy almost every second of The Little Mermaid. There are a few plot points that bug me, but they are quickly forgotten when the music swells and that next Ashman-Menken song gets started. Easily one of Disney’s best!

Re-ranking on my Flickchart
Wins against Last Action Hero
Wins against The Book of Eli
Wins against Nightcrawler
Loses to Speed
Loses to Terminator 2: Judgement Day
Wins against Chef
Wins against Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Loses to Hoosiers
Wins against The Silence of the Lambs
Loses to Knight and Day
The Little Mermaid moved from 505 to 124 out of 1263
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10. Board Game: Meatgrinder: Battle for Xuân Lộc 1975 [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:12239]
Board Game: Meatgrinder: Battle for  Xuân Lộc 1975
Ben Lott
United States
Mason
Michigan
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New to Me

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Okja
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This critically-acclaimed Netflix film from Bong Joon Ho is one that didn’t work for me. The relationship between Mija and her beloved pet Okja was great, it had some strong setup and made me care about these two (although having the pig actually save her life might have been a bit much.) Sadly, this movie isn’t content to be about the love between a girl and her pet. Instead they have to head back to civilization, and make it a movie about corporate greed and animal cruelty. I’m not sure what direction was given to the actors in this film, but it seemed every person besides Mija was trying out their latest SNL characters. People are doing wacky voices and have over-the-top mannerisms. It feels like the story in Okja is attempting to be a serious one, but then they fill the screen with ridiculous characters. Am I supposed to be laughing at the guys who are fighting to free Okja? If the attempt is to make this a statement movie about how cruel the livestock industry can be then maybe they shouldn’t make the people in the industry, and those fighting against it, a punchline. There was enough heart between the main character and her CGI pig that I wouldn’t consider it to be a straight-up bad movie, even the plot works. Plus I have to give them credit for nailing the CGI, because it’s pretty convincing. However, I find everything else going on around the main character and her story to be way too distracting. I can see why people might love it, but they must be much more forgiving of the horrible acting performances (surprisingly from great actors.)

Ranking on my Flickchart
Loses to Last Action Hero
Wins against Donnie Darko
Loses to Sicario
Loses to When a Man Loves a Woman
Loses to Into the Woods
Loses to True Romance
Wins against Twins
Loses to Angels in the Outfield
Loses to Overboard
Loses to Good Night, and Good Luck
Wins against Zookeeper
Okja ranked 934 out of 1264
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11. Board Game: Troyes: The Ladies of Troyes [Average Rating:7.97 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.97 Unranked]
Board Game: Troyes: The Ladies of Troyes
Atnier Rodriguez
United States
Monroe
Connecticut
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GLOW

Netflix TV series loosely based on the real-life G.L.O.W. (Glorious Ladies of Wrestling) that existed for a few years in the '80s, which broke ground, showing that women could be wrestlers as well, no matter their body type.

The series is equal parts drama and comedy, with heavy doses of sarcasm, especially coming from their director.

Let me warn you, it starts a bit rough with offensive humor, and it is not shy of showing the racism, sexism and absurdity of the '80s, wrestling, and B-level Hollywood productions, but as the series goes, the characters develop and show their vulnerabilities and their willingness to change when called out by others or when life challenges them to.

Not a family show, as it is vulgar, but I do recommend it as another good, modern comedy series.

I give it an 8 out of 10.

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12. Board Game: Vulture Race [Average Rating:6.75 Unranked]
Board Game: Vulture Race
Ben Lott
United States
Mason
Michigan
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Spider-Man: Homecoming (in IMAX 3-D)
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Admittedly, I’m a fanatic for the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, but I think Spider-Man: Homecoming is another big win for them. I’m a huge fan of the character and this film portrays Spider-Man closest to the way I remember him in the comic books, and also nails Peter Parker. Tom Holland is awesome and makes Peter someone you can identify with easily. The portrayal is authentic for a teenager who is struggling to balance his life, while also seeking the approval of his father figure (Iron Man.) He endures a lot but never feels whiny to me, and he has good comedic timing, so Tom Holland is probably the actor best-suited to the role that we’ve seen so far on the big screen.

Marvel is often criticized for having weak villains, well that wasn't a problem here. The Vulture may not have looked like the comic book character, but Michael Keaton made him so much better than that 2-dimensional portrayal. He was intimidating, smart, and actually felt like a match for Spider-Man. I loved him in this role because, like most of the best villains, he believed that he was in the right. The other named villain felt almost like an afterthought, but I didn't mind because he worked as an extra barrier that Spider-Man had to overcome. The movie apparently has a number of little Easter eggs that hint at future villains or allies, but they were subtle enough that I didn't catch on.

The comedy was extremely effective in Spider-Man: Homecoming. It was a mix of quips (which is an essential part of the character) and physical/situational gags. I laughed a lot, and it never felt unearned. I also appreciated that most of the humor was created through the normal events of the scene, it never felt tacked on or like an afterthought. Ned, Peter’s best friend, was one of the biggest sources of jokes. *Spoiler revealed in the trailers*: I wasn't the biggest fan of Ned knowing Spider-Man’s secret identity, it rarely works for me to have those revealed to people so early. But they used that to add more jokes for Ned and to make him a confidant for Peter.

They try to put a timeline on a lot of the MCU history which I thought was unnecessary. It makes things confusing when you start trying to nail down exactly when things happened, and I question how the events of this movie line up with the past. But I did love how connected Spider-Man was to the Avengers universe while remaining on the periphery. The bond he is forming with Tony Stark and all his associates works great. It had moments that felt like an Iron Man movie because of how much Tony and Happy were involved in Peter’s adventures. I am delighted that they were able to coordinate with Sony and get Spider-Man into this universe because he fits perfectly.

The story isn't as focused on homecoming and Peter’s school as I expected. I mean his classmates are important characters in the plot and they have a fair amount of screentime, but this is not a high school (John Hughes style) movie with a superhero added. It's definitely superhero first and high school as a backdrop. That doesn't bother me because I love this hero, but if you're looking for something vastly different from other MCU movies, I don't think you'll get that in Homecoming. It's a good story and it takes Peter and some of his friends on a real emotional journey. I'm so excited to see what they will do next with the web-slinger in this universe, because this is a great start.

Ranking on my Flickchart
Wins against Last Action Hero
Wins against Kill Bill Vol. 2
Wins against WALL-E
Loses to Speed
Loses to Terminator 2: Judgement Day
Loses to Hell or High Water
Wins against Annie Hall
Wins against The Court Jester
Loses to Gravity
Spider-Man: Homecoming ranked 141 out of 1265
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13. Board Game: Planet of the Apes [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:6252]
Board Game: Planet of the Apes
Andy
United Kingdom
Manchester
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Rise of the Planet of the Apes

When I first saw Rise of the Planet of the apes at the cinema in 2011, I was blown away by the effects, the interesting story regarding a cure for illnesses such as Alzheimers, and the performances from the likes of John Lithgow, James Franco, and especially Andy Serkis as Casear. Times change, effects move on, and we grow to appreciate things differently, and while I enjoyed Rise a lot second time around, 6 years on, it wasn't as mind blowing as it had been... and I was more aware of some of the plot holes. I still enjoyed the movie... and especially looked out for all the references to the original series, such as lines re-used (E.g. "It's a Mad House!" and "Take your stinking paws off me you damn dirty ape"), props used (like a toy statue of liberty) and names re-used (like Bright eyes and Cornelia)... and Andy Serkis' performance as Caesar is exceptional.

I've never watched Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, so that is next on my watch list in an attempt to get caught up before War for the planet of the Apes is released next week.
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14. Board Game: Marvel Dice Masters: The Amazing Spider-man – Collector's Box [Average Rating:7.37 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.37 Unranked]
Board Game: Marvel Dice Masters: The Amazing Spider-man – Collector's Box
Andy
United Kingdom
Manchester
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Spider-Man: Homecoming

It's fair to say I'm a pretty big fan of Spiderman as an on-screen super hero... I grew up watching the animated spiderman a friends series, and I mostly enjoyed the Toby Maguire movies.. especially Spiderman 2 with Doctor Octopus. I didn't like the fact that they rebooted spiderman with Andrew Garfield, and avoided those movies for a long time, however, when I saw Tom Holland's Spiderman for the first time in Captain America : Civil War I was about as excited as Agnes was about finding a unicorn! In the short amount of time he appeared in that movie, both as Peter Parker and Spiderman, he was the BEST version of the character I'd ever seen... So I had high hopes for this.

And pretty much I was not disappointed at all. There were a couple of things that bugged me... firstly, that in Civil War he seemed much more skillful and in-tune with being spiderman, than he did in Homecoming, so it felt a little weird to be going backwards... and secondly I was actually a little disappointed with the character of Aunt May... She seemed not very with-it... for example when Peter doesn't come home from school and she's obviously let Ned in to Peter's room to wait for him.. she's far more interested in her meatloaf recipe than in the fact that Peter has appeared half-naked in his room without ever coming in through the door! One final thing that bugged me was how difficult it was to see the action atop the plane in the final reel because it was so dark.. I just wish I could have seen that action better.

All that said, I really enjoyed Spiderman Homecoming... I thought Tom Holland was perfect in both roles... as Peter who was the typical nerdy outsider, but never really whiny or angsty... I thought as spiderman he was suitably talkative and jokey... and I really liked the personal storyline of him wrestling with his two personna's.. hoping desperately to get back into the Stark internship programme! Stark is clearly the father figure in the movie, and he does give Peter some good advice.. even taking away his suit at one point to help him realise he is more than just the gadgets. He's also a lot like an absentee father, as often neither he nor Happy Hogan seem to be around or want to talk to Peter.. even when Peter has something important to tell them.

I really liked what they did with The Vulture... I thought the whole idea of him being a salvager, scavenging alien tech and turning them into a flying suit and dangerous experimental weapons was really cool... and Michael Keaton was brilliant as both Adrian Toomes and The Vulture... he was an interesting and memorable villain, who really stands out against a lot of Marvel's other lacklustre villains. His self-rightousness especially makes him believable and intimidating.

I was also pretty satisfied with what they did regarding Peter's classmates and friends too... I admit I was a little anxious based on the trailer, especially regarding Ned... but I thought Ned was pretty perfect as a character and a foil for Peter... Michelle (played by Zendaya) too was an interesting character, and I liked how they portrayed Flash Thompson as well... who didn't seem the usual sports jock that we often see bullying Peter.

As you'd expect from a Marvel movie, there are some pretty incredible action sequences.. especially the Washington Monument sequence, and the Staten Island ferry sequence (both of which were featured in the trailers)... though as I understand it the ferry's no longer transport cars since the attacks on September 11th, so that was a bit of a continuity error.

Overall I was really happy and very satisfied with this portrayal of Spiderman, and I am really looking forward to seeing the character in future Marvel movies.
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15. Board Game: Driver [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Driver
Andy
United Kingdom
Manchester
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Baby Driver

I loved Edgar Wright's Baby Driver when I saw it last week, and, since I have a cinema subscription, I really wanted to see it again before it left theatres... so I took myself off to see it for a second time on Friday night.

I was not disappointed second time around... The film is super cool and features some spectacular car chases. The dominance of the music gives the whole film a unique rhythm, with every beat of the action falling on a beat of the beat of the music.. like the gunfire in the shoot-out sequences timed perfectly to the beats of the drum solos in songs like Tequila and Hocus Pocus. Edgar uses the music in such an unusual and deliberate way that it really makes the movie unique. A lot of the background is very deliberate too.. with song lyrics appearing in the graffiti on the walls, and in the shop signs.. and with clips on television foreshadowing conversations that will happen later in the movie.

I really appreciated the dialogue too.. every character has a particular way of speaking.. Baby often uses dialogue he's heard... Doc has a peculiar way of speaking that makes him sound a bit intimidating.. as does Jamie Foxx's character Bats, who is rather unhinged. I also really liked John Hamm's performance as Buddy, who ends up having a larger role than you first expect.

Baby Driver is definitely one of the best movies I've seen in 2017, which is saying something given how many enjoyable films I've watched already this year... and it's defintely my favourite Edgar Wright film.. and although I would have liked to see his version of Ant Man, I'm glad he got the chance to make this now, instead!
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16. Board Game: A Distant Plain [Average Rating:7.88 Overall Rank:814]
Board Game: A Distant Plain
Wendell
United States
Yellow Springs
Ohio
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WHISKY TANGO FOXTROT

I watched this war comedy film this afternoon. It's not the greatest movie ever - it dragged in a couple of spots. But I found it interesting and it delivered some laughs, though much of the humor was more wry than laugh-out-loud.

Based on the experiences of the real-life Kim Baker (played by Tina Fey), who was a war correspondent in Afghanistan 2003-06. It was interesting to see the portrayal of the 'scene' in Kabul - addiction to danger and excitement; sex, drugs, and booze; lies and made-up backstories; "Kabul 10" and the Kabubble; cut-throat competition between correspondents for stories that would 'hit' back home as war fatigue sets in and attention shifts to the new war in Iraq. The idea that people there all left home - US, Canada, Britain, New Zealand, Turkey, wherever - for some reason rings true; for Baker, she was bored with her job and life back in New York.

I watched it also while thinking about the experiences of friends who have been in Afghanistan, either with the US military or as US government civilians. The movie never used the phrase "hunk, drunk, or chunk" to describe the three ways people coped with Afghanistan (and Iraq) assignments (working out, drinking, or overeating respectively), nor the "skunk and monk" additions (cheating on the spouse back home, or totally isolating one's self), though you see some of it.

It was a little depressing, too; most war-centered movies I also find depressing. Still, I thought it was pretty decent. I like Tina Fey and Martin Freeman, the two leads in WTF, and Billy Bob Thornton's rather absurd Marine general was amusing. Plenty of explosions though nobody's wearing a cape.

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17. Board Game: Leaving Earth [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:543]
Board Game: Leaving Earth
Martijn Broeren
Netherlands
Nijmegen
Gelderland
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Re-watch, from a few years ago...

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Interstellar (2014)


I watched this epic movie a few years ago and I really liked it. I wanted to see it again and my girlfriend had not seen it yet so we decided to dive into this space adventure movie together, and we both really enjoyed it.

For the ones who don't know what Interstellar is about a short summary: In the distant future (I guess ~2070) it is becoming difficult for humanity to survive on Earth. The climate has changed drastically, the air is getting harder to breath and food is becoming harder and harder to come by, with corn being the only grain left that can be grown.
Because of this; science, space exploration and engineering are trades that are rendered obsolete, and all resources are put into farming. However, there is still a small organisation left that searches for another solution for Earth's problems: relocate to a different world.
A couple of decades ago, they discovered a wormhole near Saturn that leads to another Galaxy with possible habitable worlds. A mission is planned to explore behind the wormhole, but is humanity ready for interstellar travel?

I liked this movie the first time I've seen it and I liked it even more this time. Everything in this movie is really well done: the cast (Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway and Matt Damon especially) , the story, the special effects, the sound & music and the mix between adventure & drama. The mix between drama and science fiction is not for everyone but in my opinion Christoper Nolan did a great job in keeping the two genres balanced and working together to create a journey that keep your eyes glued to the screen for more then two and a half hours.

The ending in the tesseract was the only thing that confused me on first time viewing but seeing it again I got a better understanding of it and the movie really grew on me as a result. It really ties the movie together for me. My girlfriend was a little confused about the tesseract part but really liked the final, emotional scenes of the movie so we both got a great ending of the movie.

If you haven't checked out Interstellar yet you should. Even if science fiction is not the genre for you, there is enough in this movie for everyone and it get's you thinking about the future of the planet. For me it is one of the best movies in recent years so it deserves a 10/10.

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18. Board Game: Bandits [Average Rating:5.91 Overall Rank:10709]
Board Game: Bandits
Ben Lott
United States
Mason
Michigan
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New to Me


I still have significant issues with Wes Anderson and the way he tells stories. There's this matter-of-fact way that people behave and talk that is off-putting to me. I can't count the number of times someone just tells you exactly what they are doing or are planning to do. And whenever something out of the ordinary occurs there is rarely a reaction, everyone behaves as if every moment is exactly what they expected. The one good thing about this style is that it prepared me so that I wasn't in the least bit surprised when the humans and animals just started communicating with each other as if they all spoke the same language.

There were some humorous moments in Fantastic Mr. Fox that did work for me. I laughed occasionally at the physical humor and some of the running gags. I should also give a lot of credit to the skill that I know it took to make the stop-motion animation work. I've never been the biggest fan of how stop motion looks, and this is probably my least favorite ever. The fur on the animals looked scratchy like everything is made out of straw. I'd rather look at old Rankin/Bass Christmas specials than this stuff. Still I recognize the art that goes into this style of film. It takes so much talent and patience, so I feel like a jerk for not loving it.

The story of Fantastic Mr. Fox worked better for me than Wes Anderson's typical movie. It seemed a little more clear cut and there were actual motivations for all the characters that made sense. I just wish I liked the characters more. I mean, Mr. Fox might be on my list of least sympathetic protagonists ever. I don't think there's a single thing he does in this movie that redeems him for me. They certainly try to make us forgive him, but it never worked for me. Then his son, Ash, is a jealous bully. That also makes me want to scream. So, a strong story with some effective humor, but with unlikable main characters and odd style. I'd say Fantastic Mr. Fox is definitely not a film for me.

Ranking on my Flickchart
Loses to Last Action Hero
Wins against The Kids Are All Right
Loses to Sicario
Wins against When a Man Loves a Woman
Wins against Delicatessen
Loses to Demolition
Loses to Barton Fink
Loses to Cloud Atlas
Loses to Oblivion
Loses to Edward Scissorhands
Loses to Out of the Past
Fantastic Mr. Fox ranked 828 out of 1266
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19. Video Game: Spiderman & Friends II: Doc Ock's Challenge [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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wayne r
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Spider-Man Homecoming

I saw the movie this past weekend and overall, I rank it above the other 2 previous Spider-Man movies. It had a bunch of Easter Eggs such as Peter's best friend. It had comedy (mostly through his interaction with best friend). Finally, in terms of the Spider-Man, character, it was the closest to the comic books. However, I do not believe Tom Holland portrayed Peter Parker as well as Toby Maguire. In the comics, Spider-Man always had something funny to say during fights with villains and I felt Toby's portrayal had that down. Also, the spider sense seemed to be "muted". I loved the spdey sense effects in the Raimi movies and it was down played in this iteration.

Also, is it my imagination or is Aunt May getting younger with each new iteration of Spider-Man? Seriously Tomei does not fit a Aunt May neither does Zendaya as MJ. I also could not understand why the studio decided to name her Michelle instead of Mary. Finally I know that this day and age it is trendy to change the sex or race of a character but it alsways rubs e the wrong way. In this case, MJ is not portrayed as a white red headed beauty. Instead, we get an actress that resembles no where close to the comic book version of MJ Watson.

Overall, I do like this movie above all previous Spidey movies done. I like that they did not do another origin story. I liked that Peter is much younger than what was portrayed in previous movies. Finally I love the hgh tech spidey suits!
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20. Board Game: Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game – Paint the Town Red [Average Rating:7.94 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.94 Unranked]
Board Game: Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game – Paint the Town Red
Atnier Rodriguez
United States
Monroe
Connecticut
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SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING


Finally, an actor that does both Peter Parker and Spider-Man personas right, with the appropriate amount of energetic humor and dramatic reactions to the infamous results of his own Parker luck.

Tom Holland was very well cast, and he rides the momentum of his hyped guest role in Civil War all the way into a potentially successful long run in the Marvel cinematic universe.

Another excellent fit is Michael Keaton, instilling real qualities and palpable menace into a comic hero that is quite forgettable and bland in the comics source but it is far much better in the movie, especially since Marvel movies have been sadly known for their dearth in the quality and depth of their villainous roles.

I give it an 8.5 out of 10.

This is a very fun movie with lots of humor, and I believe it is better than the venerated "Spider-Man 2", because it no longer has Tobey Maguire or Sam Raimi's tight dance around the campiness that he so adores. "Spider-Man 2" was great for its time and it will hold some nostalgia, but this is the modern Spider-Man movie we have been craving that Garfield's films so spectacularly failed to deliver.

A couple more notes:

The tie-in to the rest of what's been happening in a world where the Avengers have been operating for a while was nicely crafted. Spider-Man does feel like he is been living in the same world, just not brought to the forefront of it. It was a clever move to integrate Vulture's origin story to the New York events of the first Avengers movie.

Interesting that there's no "spider-sense" or "with great power comes great responsibility" but this is a more tech-based and tech-reliant Spidey that is still testing the range of his abilities. As for the quote, it has been used so much by now that even if they don't say it, we know it is part of the character. No need to drag us with another scene about Uncle Ben and Peter's guilt.

By the way, they did manage to create a lot of tension in spite of being a lighter superhero movie. Both the action scenes and the dialogue scenes between the hero and Vulture kept us at the edge of our seats.

Thank you Disney Marvel, for showing Sony how it is done.

Now take over Fantastic Four and modernize it as Future Foundation, with the F4 as responsible, veteran heroes acting as role models for their powerfully advanced kids and all their crazy technology.
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21. Board Game: The Amazing Spider-Man Game [Average Rating:3.00 Unranked]
Board Game: The Amazing Spider-Man Game
Patar Absurdus
United States
Carrollton
TX
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I have yet to rget as the other reviews since I knew I was going to watch this regardless. I'll read them after I post this.



Spider-Man Homecoming

The movie was pretty freakin great!

How I rank the Spider-Man movies:
1. Homecoming
2. The Amazing Spider-Man
3. Spider-Man (Tobie original)
4. Tobie sequel
5. Tobie SM 3 (very bad)
6. TASM 2 (one of the worst super hero movies of all time)

I though Tobie was passable as Spider-Man and was happy with him at the time. Garfield was a big improvement although the second one with him was amazingly awful. This kid takes it to a new and better level. Very very good.


Complaints:
None so far. I may have minor quibbles on subsequent viewings but view #1 was about as good as I could hope.

What made it great:
-Excellent bad guy. His motivations and choices were clearly wrong but we're also somewhat sympathetic. The reason he made the gadgets also made sense. He wasn't as amazing, interesting, or complex as Joker or Loki but i don't recall any other bad guys as effective so he sits in the top 3-5 bad guys.
-it used a teen made home movie style shot that could have been awful but worked well.
-the music fit really well (not like guardians of the galaxy level but still quite well integrated)
-The kid that played Spider-Man was excellent. He captured the excitement, sense of responsibility, intellect, humor, etc of the source material really well.
-The love interest was appropriately subdued based on the age of the kids. It didn't try for a melodramatic or overly serious romance that can become really annoying.
-The mentorship of Stark and the growth from Parker were well handled and felt natural. They were treated as important central parts of the story and they worked as better anchors than what other film makers often use.
-There was also plenty of well handled humor.
-Peter really feels like a real hero. He can't help but save people and try to do what he believes is right. He reminded me a little bit of Captain Americas during the first movie. His desire to be good is just so strong.
Spoiler (click to reveal)

-I thought that the vulture might open the door and attack Peter. I really didn't suspect him to be who he was and it was a great move for the story.
-The interplay between him and Stark at the end was surprising and really well done.
-Ned the buddy was perfect as well. He was mature and immature at the right times. He did a really good job of making a little fun of his trope filled role while still being a bit of a trope. Really well played.
-Young aunt May was excellent. She just worked.



What's really great about Spider-Man is that it has done really well at multiple things. A movie can survive on plot, character development, humor, or action and be good enough to enjoy and rewatch. This movie nailed it in all those areas and more.
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22. Video Game: Despicable Me: Minion Rush [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Video Game: Despicable Me: Minion Rush
Andy
United Kingdom
Manchester
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Despicable Me 3

Both my kids are big fans of the Despicable Me movies, so when this 3rd instalment was advertised, my eldest in particular was desperate to see it... Our youngest always complains about watching "movies", but invariably enjoys them in the end...

So, after the unmitigated disaster that was the completely unnecessary Minions movie, it was with some trepidation that we went to see despicable Me 3... and while it was no where near as good as the first or second movies, it was a lot better than Minions.. There was a lot of humour, and I found myself laughing out loud quite a lot... there are some interesting characters, including the latest villain Balthazar Bratt, voiced by Trey Parker. I wasn't particularly enamoured with the introduction of Gru's brother, Dru.. but I guess it added a new dimension for them to explore.

Sadly, ever since they felt the need to explain the origins and raison d'être of the minions, it has made having them as Gru's henchmen kinda impossible now that he's no longer bad... which meant they appeared to be sidelined for the whole movie, going their own way, in the same way that Scrat does in the Ice Age movies.. this made the whole film feel disconnected. And while there were some funny scenes with the minions in, like the talent show sequence, they just felt superfluous.

There are also other threads going on within the movie, such as Agnes' search for a unicorn, Lucy's attempts at becoming a mother and Margo's accidental engagement, but instead of enriching the characters and enhancing the story, they just seemed to detract from the main story.

That said, I asked the kids afterwards if they enjoyed it, and they both loved it... so for that reason it gets an extra star! Overall it is not as good as the first two, but definitely better than the Minions movie.
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23. Board Game: Quicksand [Average Rating:6.10 Overall Rank:4038]
Board Game: Quicksand
Ben Lott
United States
Mason
Michigan
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I did my best to pace myself and planned a break midway through Lawrence of Arabia, because I can sometimes be biased against long films. I have to grant this movie one thing, unlike most other epic historical films I've seen, it gave me a clear protagonist and a personal story that made me care about all the big events happening around him. Lawrence is a very engaging character, and stands out as unique from the other British officers he works with. Peter O'Toole delivers an spectacular performance.

Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, I just couldn't hold interest in this story for the full runtime. If it was only the first half I would have called it brilliant, and a superb historical film. That entire first half seemed to be building towards a specific goal and had some great moments. But the second half seemed to lose direction. It felt like it was split up into a number of vignettes instead of having a singular focus. There were select moments or scenes in the later part of the film that worked but I was in danger of boredom.

The visuals in Lawrence of Arabia are breath-taking. I never thought desert could look so amazing, but they capture the beauty in the scenery. You get a genuine feel of being there in the desert, and can sense the dangers surrounding the characters at all times. Some of these big sweeping shots are truly iconic. And equally as iconic is that music. The score from Maurice Jarre is one I recognized without ever seeing the film. It is a truly legendary piece of music and sets a tone that fits the story well.

I wish I was more of a history nerd so I knew better what was going on in every beat of Lawrence of Arabia. I think I followed most of it, but there were some people (like Alec Guinness' racially questionable character) whose role I kept struggling to figure out. I sensed there were a number of underlying agendas that I wasn't picking up on. But the important part I understood. I certainly didn't actively dislike Lawrence of Arabia, in fact for awhile I was loving it. I just felt with a little more focus and a little less time it might have worked better for me.

Ranking on my Flickchart
Loses to The Running Man
Wins against The Heat
Wins against Mud
Loses to Big Hero 6
Wins against The 33
Wins against One Fine Day
Loses to Uncle Buck
Loses to Brazil
Wins against A Time to Kill
Wins against Star Trek: First Contact
Lawrence of Arabia ranked 725 out of 1267
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24. Board Game: Psycho [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Psycho
Martijn Broeren
Netherlands
Nijmegen
Gelderland
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American Psycho's story is about a young banker named Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) who at age 27 has it all: a high position in his dad's company, a very expensive apartment in the heart of New York City, he's very handsome, is engaged to a beautiful woman (with a few girls on the side..) and he likes to kill random people because he likes it...
Yes our Patrick is actually very unhappy about his life and claims he doesn't feel empathy or love at all. He's so out of touch with humanity that several people mistake him for someone else, even people he knows for years. His only escape out of his life of wealth and power are his fantasies of sex and violence and acting out on it. But how long can he go on without people suspecting something? Or is everyone so busy with boosting their own ego's that they fail to notice that there is a psycho in their midst?

This movie does a good job in displaying how a mind as twisted as Patrick Bateman works and how he is on a downward spiral as the lines between his violent dreams and reality get more and more blurry. I was impressed with Bale's performance, especially the scene where he breaks down and calls his lawyer and when he is going full blown crazy running around with a chainsaw. The rest of the cast also does a fine job in portraying the rich snobs and dumb girls that circle around Bateman. The only voice of reason and the only person who shows empathy is Bateman's secretary (excellent performance by Chloe Sevigny), I really liked her role in the movie.

The movie started a bit slow though, the first 45 minutes could be chopped in half because some parts don't add much and are a bit dragged out. It also didn't feel like the 1980's, I was often wondering what the time period was supposed to be, despite the excellent 80's soundtrack. And I couldn't help but compare this movie with another story about a psychopath: Clockwork Orange, one of my favorite movies of all time. But I guess it takes a movie maker like Kubrick to really show how the mind of a psycho works. But like clockwork orange, this movie ending get's you thinking. It leaves it up to the viewer how to interpret-ate the events that happened.

So all in all a good movie with a great performance of Christian Bale. Definitely check it out if you like movies about crazy people and don't mind a few violent/sexual scenes.
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25. Board Game: Bank Account [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Bank Account
Atnier Rodriguez
United States
Monroe
Connecticut
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THE ACCOUNTANT

Action film with Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, and J. K. Simmons.

I give it a 6 out of 10.

It is mostly generic with a couple of interesting quirks, but the overall product still felt meh. Like any regular action movie plot stopped and tried to be a bit smarter here and there but not radically changing the plot to be at that constant level throughout.

Ben Affleck is not very convincing as someone with a mental condition somewhere in the autistic spectrum.

Also, the freaking closed-captions (I watch movies with closed-captions to not miss dialogue, a remnant of my days learning English) spoiled a plot twist that doesn't come out until the very end. Wow. Good job, CC team.

I did like what they went for in the final confrontation in the movie as it was simply different, but it was not enough to put this in the recommended or rewatchable category.

It is going to have a sequel, but I'm not really interested. Liked it more than John Wick though.
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