Movies You Watched in November 2017
Ben Lott
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This is a geeklist to discuss the movies you watch throughout the month of November. 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: Quest for the Antidote [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:12166]
Ben Lott
United States
Mason
Michigan
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New to Me



Arrowsmith
(1931) =

Arrowsmith is the story of a scientist who must often choose between living his life and working to advance medicine. It feels a lot like a classic biopic from the 30s where we go on a whirlwind through this man’s life. However, it appears it is all based on a book and not a true story. Whether real or imagined, though, I was intrigued by the story of Martin Arrowsmith. I quite liked Ronald Colman’s performance in the lead role, because he plays things very distinguished and unemotional, but I always sensed the emotions underlying it all. The movie is a flurry of events throughout his life, and we move very quickly through the years. I was able to latch on because I was interested in what discoveries Arrowsmith might make, and if he would be able to stick to his scientific roots or if his compassion would get the better of him. It’s the kind of story that could have just as easily flopped for me, and I can see why others wouldn’t enjoy it, but somehow I was engaged. My biggest struggle was with the ending, because it didn’t feel like they knew how to wrap things up in a satisfying manner. They threw in Myrna Loy at the last minute almost like an afterthought, and that didn’t work at all. I liked John Ford’s direction, because he can capture the flat dialogue scenes with enough flair to keep it from being boring, and I love how he is able to subtly build anticipation in the audience a couple of times in the film. Overall I can see why Arrowsmith was praised at the time, because even with some flaws I did enjoy it a lot.

Ranking on my Flickchart
Wins against The Santa Clause
Loses to Pitch Perfect
Wins against Fargo
Loses to The Blind Side
Wins against Beginners
Wins against The Right Stuff
Loses to Dave
Wins against The Great Escape
Wins against Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Loses to Dave
Arrowsmith ranked 404 out of 1263
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2. Board Game: Rope [Average Rating:4.27 Unranked]
Trey Chambers
United States
Houston
Texas
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ROPE



I'm trying to watch as many Hitchcock movies as I can. I started with Psycho, which I liked a lot. Then I tried Rear Window, which I loved. The premise of Rope really intrigued me, and was right up my alley as far as movie premises go.

Unfortunately, the movie was riddled with what modern audiences would call "overacting". None of the characters were believable at all. Stewart's professor was probably the best, but the two main characters only had two speeds, one was the smug, overly confident one and one was the screw-up that you knew 5 minutes into the movie he would never keep his mouth shut for 90 minutes.

And, meaningless spoiler alert:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
he didn't


I'm not a big fan of classic movies in general, but every now and then you find a gem like Rear Window or Casablanca that still holds up. Unfortunately, this one doesn't. The set is cool and memorable, and Stewart does a good job, but the rest of the performances are ridiculous and telegraphed and absolutely nothing in the movie was surprising.
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3. Board Game: Stranger Things: Eggo Card Game [Average Rating:5.24 Unranked]
Russell Miller
United States
Fairmont
West Virginia
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Stranger Things, we just finished up binge watching the second season.
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4. Board Game: Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Game [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:6164]
Atnier Rodriguez
United States
Monroe
Connecticut
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STRANGER THINGS Season 2

The first season was good enough but it was limited by its budget, thanks to its explosive popularity, the second season got a budget influx and it shows.

Lightning strikes twice as the series' cast once again keeps us hooked in their journey through the next strange phenomenon, and it is a fun ride indeed.

Some tropes are reversed (government people are no longer incompetent and recklessly evil) and some characters keep surprising us with they way they behave.

I give it an 8.5 out of 10.

It is very nicely tied, with actions by split party members directly affecting what happens to the other party members and a nice flow of events. A couple new characters are added to the mix and they are likable as well, except for a particular one that's played mostly one-note, but may be different come next season.

I wouldn't have thought something like "Stranger Things" would have made me a fan of it as I usually find horror works disappointing, but there's passion behind this project and attention to detail. Yes, it still feels like it was filmed in the '80s.

Give it a try, if you haven't. If you were okay with the first season, maybe the second season will improve the experience for you, as I find it better overall.
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5. Board Game: Sushi-Jalapeńo War [Average Rating:4.11 Unranked]
Atnier Rodriguez
United States
Monroe
Connecticut
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EAST SIDE SUSHI

A Mexican single mom, and naturally great cook, finds herself fascinated by the elegance and beauty of sushi, so she applies to a sushi restaurant as a simple kitchen help to get closer to the sushi-making art.

She learns as much as she can, even when she has a lack of support from her dad and management, but she perseveres enough to actually learn how to make sushi.

I give it a 5.5 out of 10.

It is very indie, very low-budget, and it feels like a cheap TV movie. The main character looks angry most of the time, and one significant plot point has her going through an outburst that was just poorly handled by her but it's treated as rightful.

It will make you want to eat sushi, but it is a forgettable, average movie.
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6. Board Game: Feudal [Average Rating:6.01 Overall Rank:3719]
Wendell
United States
Yellow Springs
Ohio
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WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?

Earlier this year, my wife and I watched the first season of the FX series, Feud. This one was about the rivalry between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford during the making of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? The series (starring Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange) was damn good.

But it occurred to us that we hadn't seen the actual movie. So we picked it up at the library and watched it. It's a psychological thriller were the clearly mentally unstable former child star of vaudeville Baby Jane (Davis) torments her paraplegic sister and former Hollywood star Blanch (Crawford).

It was pretty good, though with some of the usual caveats for 1962 movies. Definitely glad I watched it.

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7. Board Game: Bug-Eyed Monsters [Average Rating:5.93 Overall Rank:10048]
Wendell
United States
Yellow Springs
Ohio
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THE DEADLY MANTIS

This came on cable; I sorta half-watched it. Planes go missing over the Arctic. Or the Antarctic, continuity's for wusses. Anyway, turns out some big-ass prehistoric preying mantis defrosted itself and it's hungry. The US Air Force goes into action. Lots of stock footage of USAF planes flying. Oh, also some footage from some other movie of Inuits going to sea in kayaks for some reason. A hot lady museum magazine editor gets sexually harassed by a bunch of USAF guys in Greenland who haven't seen a dame in a long time. Um, buses get flipped and trains derailed as the bug flies around in the fog; it buzzes the Washington Monument.

Finally it goes into a tunnel and some guys kill it with Raid!

Surprisingly, you can't spell "Oscar" with the letters in The Deadly Mantis.

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8. Board Game: Curse of the Mummy's Tomb [Average Rating:5.27 Overall Rank:14578]
Alex H.
Germany
Berlin
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The Mummy



So with this movie we are introduced to the Dark Universe. I hear they have a couple of movies planned spanning the next couple of years and after having seen this film I can’t say that I’m excited. To be fair my lack of excitement is mainly caused by two mayor issues I had with The Mummy:
a) the poorly constructed script and
b) Tom Cruise‘s performance
Both made me cringe repeatedly.
Cruise plays a character that I hated from the first minute. A grave-robbing special forces jerk who should be dishonorably dismissed ten times over is not the kind of hero (or anti-hero, for that matter) I needed. The journey this movie sends him on is so confused, it makes the Mummy from the 90s look like a masterpiece in storytelling. The only two things I didn’t detest were Russel Crowe and the actress playing the titular Mummy. Both did their best to save the movie from itself with little success.
I wouldn’t say you should avoid this junk at all costs but it’s definitely not a must-see.
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9. Board Game: Immortal [Average Rating:7.55 Unranked]
Jonan Jello
United States
Newark
California
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♫ As the masters rot on walls ♫ And the angels eat their grapes ♫ I watched Picasso Visit The Planet Of The Apes ♫
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I just today discovered that the film, Blade of the Immortal was already released in select theaters. I hunted down the nearest cinema (Shattuck Cineman in Berkeley and about 45 minutes away from home) and scooted off to see the film adaptation of one of my favorite manga and all-time favorite comics.

The trailers I've seen over the past twelve months had me thinking the film version would be campy and just not very good.

The theater I saw it in was an old-time fun environ with a Persian decor and illuminated stars in the ceiling. The trailers were very...Berkeley-ish, but it was a nice change from the usual pre-show messages I typically receive.

At two and a half hourse, BotI is sumptuous in color, beautifully filmed and steeped in bloody violence (but not as shocking as I had read the director's style to be). It remains faithful to the first 6-7 collected volumes from Dark Horse Comics.

The third act takes liberties from the source material and I was quite surprised the fate of several characters.

Good fun. At times, it wants to be humorous, but falls flat.
I spent nearly 15 years reading the comic and highly recommend it to manga fans. It's a beautiful book with tons of tense moments and innovative action and weaponry



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10. Video Game: Thor: God of Thunder [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Luke Jaconetti
United States
Simpsonville
South Carolina
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Thor: Ragnarok

I wasn't planning on seeing this movie in the theater, but on Saturday things worked out where the kids were over at a friend's house, so my wife and I had a free date night. After dinner and the Clemson game, we used some passes and saw the God of Thunder on the big screen once again.

And the verdict is: pretty good. But not great. I understand that I am the minority, especially among the fans on my podcast network, but the Marvel movies have turned me off in the wake of Guardians of the Galaxy (which to me remains the most overrated of all the Marvel films) with their embracing of comedy and bathos.

Bathos is defined as an effect of anticlimax created by an unintentional or intentional lapse in mood. This is what happens in a Marvel film when it is a serious scene, and instead of embracing the mood, a joke is used instead to break to the mood. Examples include Rocket Raccoon saying "Alright, we're all standing now" in GotG or Dr. Strange's Cloak of Levitation wiping at his bloodied lip when he is coming to grips with his new role.

Whatever the rationale for this technique, it has come to the point where we have Thor 3 which is essentially a comedy with some serious bits. This technique of using bathetic humor appears in every major setpiece and is used for every major character except for Heimdall. Without hyperbole, the very first scene uses it.

I don't mind the use of comic relief in an action movie -- the original Thor has what is probably the best bit of comic relief in any of the Marvel movies, which is "I need a horse!" But that comes from Thor's "fish out of water" situation rather than simply writing him like a single camera comedy TV show. It becomes predictable and tiring for me as a viewer.

All that having been said, taken as an action comedy, this is a good movie. We have a fairly strong cast -- though if you liked the cast from the previous films, you are out of luck, as most of them are either bit players or absent. Cate Blanchett is very good as Hela. Karl Urban looks great as Skurge the Executioner, but he is given very little to do. I only know Tessa Thompson from Creed, but she acquits herself well enough as Valkyrie (although she is not a Valkyrie that I recognized from the comics). You know what to expect from Tom Hiddleston and Mark Ruffalo. Chris Hemsworth is trying to be a comedy lead, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Jeff Goldblum plays Jeff Goldblum, so... yeah.

Idris Elba is awesome, but he is always awesome.

The story is episodic, cutting back and forth between Asgard, Earth, and Sakaar as the story pinballs around. We get an extended cameo from Dr. Strange, which I appreciated because I think Dr. Strange is the best of the Marvel movies since Iron Man 3, but otherwise it is regular MCU stuff.

So, while I really would have preferred that the film be more serious and play it straight, I have to admit that it was funny and an enjoyable night at the movies. I laughed along with it despite myself. But intellectually I know that some of the truly heavy stuff they tried to do with the film is completely deflated and undercut but the incessant and non-stop comedy, and that has left a little sourness in my mouth.

Of course, this is just my opinion. If you like the Marvel film franchise, you'll enjoy Thor 3. Just don't expect it to be a Wagnerian epic.
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11. Board Game: Uniquely New Jersey [Average Rating:2.67 Unranked]
Ben Lott
United States
Mason
Michigan
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Wilson
(1944) =

Wilson is a biopic about the life of Woodrow Wilson. It is a movie that loudly proclaims the virtues of our 28th president, and makes everyone who opposes him look like a vile troublemaker. I don’t mind getting some history from the movies, and it was nice to see some of the background of his career. However, when characters are presented in such a black-and-white fashion in a biopic, it’s hard for me to avoid questioning the authenticity and accuracy of it all. Alexander Knox was fine in the lead role, but the script continuously makes the character seem like a one-dimensional goody-two-shoes. The biggest problem with Wilson is that it desperately needed editing. The material isn’t the most exciting or compelling stuff, and when you linger on scenes for an excessive amount of time you aren’t helping with that. For a while I feared this movie would never get past the Democratic convention scenes because those dragged on for so long. There were a few segments of the film that actually had something of interest happening, or where they were able to grab my attention, but my interest would die out long before the scenes ended. I cannot see anyone getting much out of this film, however if you want a loose estimation of things that happened in the political career of Woodrow Wilson, then I guess you could check it out. Everyone else, feel free to avoid Wilson.

Ranking on my Flickchart
Loses to Touch of Evil
Loses to Elizabeth
Loses to The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension
Wins against The Danish Girl
Wins against Children of the Corn
Wins against Despicable Me 3
Loses to The Hours
Loses to Goodfellas
Loses to Taxi Driver
Wins against The Omega Man
Wilson ranked 1119 out of 1264
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12. Board Game: Champions of the Galaxy [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:7579]
Ben Lott
United States
Mason
Michigan
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Thor: Ragnarok
(2017) =

The movies in the MCU are easily some of my favorites of all time, and it’s really hard to avoid getting elevated expectations for them. But with Thor, keeping low expectations was much easier. Thor has always been the black sheep in the Marvel family. While I enjoy Chris Hemsworth in the role, the character is simply not all that interesting. I don’t particularly like this idea of “gods” standing in as superheroes anyways, because their powers are too great and somewhat unmeasurable. And, I’ve found any time spent in Asgard is exceptionally boring because it’s like walking into a stylized Shakespeare play. It’s also tough when Hemsworth is constantly being outshined in his own movies by Tom Hiddleston’s performance as Loki, who has a different kind of charm (and actually has the more sympathetic origin story.)

Luckily, Taika Waititi and his writing team saw the flaws in the previous Thor movies, and what has been successful in the other MCU films. As a result, they flipped this franchise and decided to have fun with it. Needless to say, they were extremely successful. Ragnarok has been injected with a lot of humor, including some self-referential stuff that allows the audience to be in on the joke. No longer is Thor talking like a Shakespeare character, he is relaxed and downright normal as if his time on Earth has begun to rub off on him. Some will say that the humor is too much, and I can see why they would feel that way. The truth is, while other characters in the MCU might need to start injecting some more serious storylines, that hasn’t been working for Thor so we needed a break from the melodrama.

The highlight of this film is clearly the time spent with Thor and Hulk on the gladiator world. This is where we see some good action, great character work, and even some growth for a few people. It’s also the place where we get to have the most laughs. In fact this world was so enjoyable it was almost a letdown every time we jumped back to check on things in Asgard, although I know that part is important to remind us of the stakes. Jeff Goldblum gave a delightful performance, because they simply set him free to be himself, something I haven’t seen on screen in a long time. I also loved Mark Ruffalo in this movie. He does some amazing motion capture stuff for the Hulk, that just adds to how much I already love that character. Even Chris Hemsworth, when allowed to set aside the super-serious Thor, is pretty spectacular. For once Hiddleston wasn’t outshining every other person.

After the movie I was forced to sit myself down and seriously consider where Thor: Ragnarok was flawed. Because I was on such a high from loving every action sequence, and laughing constantly, I was afraid I would over-inflate my opinion without taking a breath to consider it critically. Yet, even on reflection, I still found myself loving almost everything about it. I suppose it could have been a bit shorter, but it’s not like there were obvious scenes that needed to be cut. If anything I would say that some of the jokes were a tad predictable. Once it’s established that they are aiming for the laugh more often than not, and that they would subvert serious moments with comedy, I was on the lookout for it and could see a few coming a mile away. That didn’t stop me from laughing, though. It’s like any good joke, because even if you can predict the punchline it still works.

Of the other performances in Thor: Ragnarok, I’d say Karl Urban was the real standout. He is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors, so it was such a treat to see him here. Tessa Thompson was perfectly fine in her role, although it felt oddly derivative of another super female who has made a big splash this year, almost like they were jumping on somebody’s coattails (she wasn’t the only thing that felt like it was borrowed from Wonder Woman.) Cate Blanchett is delightfully evil, and I hope we’ll see her again so her character can be fleshed out even more. Idris Elba continues to be wasted as one of the least interesting characters in the Marvel universe. I keep waiting to see this brilliant actor that everyone in the world praises unceasingly, but this clearly isn’t the role where I’m going to find it. There are a few other surprises that I loved in Thor: Ragnarok, but I’d hate to spoil them for you. Needless to say, this movie was a massive success for me. While it’s not the best MCU film, it is one of the better ones, and certainly outshines the other chapters in Thor’s saga.

Ranking on my Flickchart
Wins against Touch of Evil
Wins against The Manchurian Candidate
Wins against Bill Cosby: Himself
Loses to Shaun of the Dead
Loses to French Kiss
Loses to Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Loses to Casablanca
Wins against Misery
Wins against Airplane!
Wins against Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Thor: Ragnarok ranked 148 out of 1265
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13. Board Game: Time Vandals [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
Jake Blomquist
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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American Vandal (2017)





This is a netflix original show that, in spite of me generally not being a big binger, I watched all in one day. It's a parody of those true crime documentaries that are so popular these days about a burnout/troublemaker type who gets accused of spray painting pictures of genitalia on the cars of 27 teachers during a teacher development day. The documentarian is an underclassman at the school, and throughout we get a look at the lives of many of the students.

I suspect for a number of people the opposite will be true, but for my taste the first half of the season was the stronger half. There the tone was relatively light and fun and it really felt like a gentle parody. But by the last few episodes it basically just became the thing it was supposed to be parodying. But by that point I was sufficiently invested in the story and the characters that I kept watching.

And it did provide a compelling story, watching the narrator trying to learn the truth along with the viewers was a lot of fun and worked really well. And it did a great job of presenting things in a way that you could play along and occasionally get ahead of the show, but not for too long. Possibly one or two things were overly telegraphed or I happened to put things together quickly, I don't know, but overall I thought from that perspective it was compelling. And be warned that they often end an episode with a big partial reveal which really did often succeed in compelling me to keep watching.

It also felt like an impressively real portrayal of a high school. Granted I'm about a decade removed but based on what I've seen on this site that still probably makes me about as close to an authority as they come.

Overall, I still really enjoyed it despite the shift in tone the series took for the second half. And if you're one of the people I keep coming across on this list who only likes Very Serious media, I'd say maybe try sticking it out through the first few episodes? And even then it's hardly wacky, just a bit lighter and willing to make the occasional joke. I guess it all feels appropriate in context, at some point everyone gets more invested in finding The Truth and so there's less levity. But it still really feels like a missed opportunity for my taste, if the tone of the first half or so kept up this could easily have broken into my top tier of shows.
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14. Board Game: Vikings Gone Wild [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:785]
Atnier Rodriguez
United States
Monroe
Connecticut
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THOR: RAGNAROK

The hype was real.

The third entry of the Thor franchise comes barreling in full Kirby style and its radical change is most welcome indeed.

I know comedy is very subjective, but it really worked out for me here, even when I failed to connect with Waititi's "What We Do in the Shadows" when I watched it.

I do not think they put too much comedy in it, it just made it more fun as an overall experience, while still keeping Hela's threat serious enough.

Listen, you can get your good serious superhero movies like "Winter Soldier", "The Dark Knight" and even darker with "Logan", and you can get your fun superhero romps like "Guardians of the Galaxy" and now "Thor: Ragnarok", that are not too silly or too crazy or too out-of-whack. They got good action, likable characters and cast, attractive and inspiring visuals, and you just know you are going to have pure fun at the movies. I mean, I was so much looking forward to it, that I made it in the midst of recovering from appendectomy, and it did not let me down, quite the opposite.

I give it an edge over "Spider-Man: Homecoming" because I think juggling the comic book absurdity of Thor/Asgard mythos, with the world-of-its-own levels of depth of Marvel Cosmos, while quickly condensing and paying homage to the storyline of "Planet Hulk", while both referencing what has come to past in previous Thor and Avengers movies and connecting to what's about to come down the MCU pipe, all shown through quirky, colorful visuals in a franchise that has just been okay enough for two straight movies...well, it was just a much bigger endeavor to get it right, and they did.

Also, everything was balanced equally: Thor, Valkyrie, Hela, Hulk, Planet Hulk, etc. Everybody got the right amount of time. Except for Skurge, but he didn't really matter.

I give it a 9 out of 10. It was just a blast to watch, an excellent reason to pay full ticket price at the theater.

Some thoughts on certain characters:

Thor - Hemsworth needed to flex his comedic muscles since he's just so naturally charming, and he did it very well.

Hulk - Ruffalo gets more to do here when the big green hero has stolen the spotlight with just CGI. Good to see this unique actor get more to do within the MCU. First time he voiced the Hulk while Hulk (Ferrigno did it before) and mocapped for the CGI's movement as well.

Loki - He is not driving the story here, just a willing/unwilling participant, and he keeps his overall duplicitous nature interesting enough still, after so many appearances. I like how his relationship with Thor has evolved a bit further, to keep it a bit different.

Valkyrie - She was okay. Got more interesting as the movie went on, but wasn't that groundbreaking.

Hela - I really enjoy Cate Blanchett's elegance on the screen, and she seems to be having so much fun being a bad-ass Goddess of Death. Not much to her character in layers or development, but she raised the stakes and felt indeed like a god-level opponent.

Grandmaster - Let Goldblum be Goldblum and magic happens. A delightfully quirky guy in real-life and this character is not too far off from how he really is.

Skurge - Disappointing. Especially because the biggest thing he ever did in the comics was a certain
Spoiler (click to reveal)
last stand at a bridge.
The movie tried to create that moment and it had no weight behind it. I think they dialed him too far into the coward/survivor persona, that there was not enough time to bring him back up to something worthwhile.

MCU Hero Cameo -
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Dr. Strange's cameo felt perfect. Whereas Falcon's appearance in "Ant-Man" felt forced and relatively unimportant, in here,
Dr. Strange's cross-over was both plot-significant, and gave us a good look at his progress as Sorcerer Supreme, making him look powerful, cool, and left us wanting more.


Korg - I consider this the best new character in the franchise, being funnier than every other funny element in this already fun movie. That he is voiced by the director is just trivia cream whip on top of it all.

I really hope Waititi sticks around for a Thor 4, and that it has more superhero crossovers. Also, Lady Sif needs a better representation!
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15. Board Game: Pelican Bay [Average Rating:6.17 Overall Rank:6900]
Ben Lott
United States
Mason
Michigan
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The Birds
(1963) =

Well, The Birds certainly takes a turn, doesn’t it? For what seems like almost an hour this movie barely even hints at what it will become. It feels like a simple relationship drama as we see these two characters meet and grow closer while dealing with all the family and friends that surround them. We wander through a series of scenes that introduce us to all our characters, as they run around from one place to the next. All of this is vital information that makes the rest of the film work. We care about the characters because we got to know them early in the film, and we know where they are headed at any given time because we already are aware of the layout of the town.

When the tone shifts, it turns on a dime and truly becomes a horror film. This is where we totally get to experience the amazing talents of Hitchcock. There are so many scenes where the tension builds brilliantly, and that’s what makes for a film that is genuinely scary. We can feel the dread along with the people in the film, and even when they don’t see it coming, we do. There were a couple of those classic horror movie moments where you get annoyed with the characters for doing something stupid and risky, but it added to the scares so it’s hard to complain. Hitchcock also has a knack for framing shots just right, and he knows how to use sound (or leave it out) to heighten the mood.

I’ve often heard people say that Hitchcock struggles with ending movies, so it seems his solution with The Birds was simply not to end it at all. This movie stops so abruptly that I thought the blu-ray had somehow skipped a final scene. I don’t need to have the reason for the bird attacks explained, it’s alright that we’re left to guess. I don’t even need for the movie to tell me what happens next for our characters. But I need to feel like the movie genuinely concluded. Even if it’s just “The End” on the screen or something. This wasn’t enough to ruin The Birds for me, but it did leave me on a sour note. Otherwise this was a very well-crafted movie with a great cast and some of Hitchcock’s best scares ever.

Ranking on my Flickchart
Wins against Defending Your Life
Loses to Mother
Wins against Hacksaw Ridge
Wins against O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Wins against Pollyanna
Loses to The Road Warrior
Wins against The Mark of Zorro
Loses to Ratatouille
Loses to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Wins against The Cabin in the Woods
The Birds ranked 343 out of 1270
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16. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:2240]
Wendell
United States
Yellow Springs
Ohio
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BLADE RUNNER 2049

Wandered down to the local movie house and saw Blade Runner 2049 tonight.

I guess my main comment is that interior design choices for semi-mad geniuses making slaves I mean replicants hasn't changed much.

But seriously, I thought this was a worthy sequel to Blade Runner. Gloomy as hell - I don't want to live in the Blade Runner future; too crowded and the weather sucks. But thought-provoking, especially on the issue of what constitutes life.

It's a good one.

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17. Board Game: Blade Runner: Rep-Detect [Average Rating:6.83 Unranked]
Andy
United Kingdom
Manchester
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Blade Runner 2049

My neighbour, Chris, who is a big Blade Runner and Ridley Scott fan, had been unable to join me when I went to see this last month, so I offered to see it again with him before it left the cinema.

Not much more to add to my previous review... it was very good, except that this time it did seem to drag ever so slightly, and felt just a tad too long.

Great visuals, excellent performances from the cast.. especially Ryan Gosling, Robin Wright, Carla Juri, Sylvia Hoeks and Ana de Armas... with Jared Leto being the only real weak link (though he was better here than in Suicide Squad).

Overall this was pretty much all I could have hoped for in a Blade Runner sequel.
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18. Board Game: DC Comics Dice Masters: Superman and Wonder Woman Starter Set [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:7391] [Average Rating:7.59 Unranked]
Andy
United Kingdom
Manchester
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Wonder Woman

The kids and I picked this up on bluray for my wife's birthday at the end of October, and after a couple of abortive attempts, we finally got round to watching it.

Mostly it is very entertaining.. with a decent storyline, great performances from a solid cast. Though while I do like David Thewlis a lot as an actor, I don't think it really worked to have him portraying Ares in full battle mode. The best performances, for me, were Lucy Davis as Etta, and Danny Huston as Ludendorf, while Gal Gadot and Chris Pine gave decent performances in the lead roles.

To be honest the final battle is a tiny bit of a let down, however the earlier action set pieces are pretty spectacular.. especially the slow motion fight sequence (the one in the trailer), the storming of the trenches, and the liberation of the town.

Overall it was fun to watch again, despite a few obvious flaws.
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19. Board Game: Gang Rush Breakout [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:8573]
Martijn Broeren
Netherlands
Nijmegen
Gelderland
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I'm a fan of the 'Cornetto trilogy' so i was exited to see what Edgar Wright would do with his first American movie. It apparently has a lot of music in it so that should be a good start!

The movie opens with three gangsters and a getaway driver about to do an armed robbery in Atlanta, Georgia. The young getaway driver employed by the gangsters boss is named 'Baby' (Ansel Elgort), who suffers from tinnitus but listens to his Ipod all day to block it out.
With the right track playing, Baby is able to perform amazing driving skills. The gangsters successfully escape the police, thanks to Baby and they meet up with the boss, named Doc (played by Kevin Spacey) to distribute the loot. Apparently Baby is not really working for Doc , he's actually paying of a debt because he tried to steal a car from Doc in the past.
But Baby has almost paid off the debt with Doc and he meets a lovely girl named Debora (Lily James) so things are starting to get better for him. But on his last job he has to work with a very dangerous gangster named Bats (Jamie Foxx) who really dislikes Baby. On top of that Doc forces Baby to continue to work for him, threatening to hurt Debora if Baby refuses.
So far his love for music kept Baby going but now that his new love interest is threatened, the gangsters get more dangeroous, will he still get through it all?

Overall this was a very entertaining movie, the action is fast paced and exciting, the car chase scenes are sublime and the acting is decent. Some characters are a little over the top. Jamie Foxx goes a bit overboard playing a dark gangster and Jon Hamm, who plays a more relaxes gangster, get's a bit 'larger then life' later on in the movie.
I liked the performance of the young cast, Ansel Elgort and Lily James. I was not a fan of Ansel's previous work but I think he's getting better. Sadly his character is the only one given a decent background but it's done well, especially how they use music to describe his moods.

The movie is not without problems though. The romance between Baby and Debora is a bit forced and feels like it came out of a fairy tale. But perhaps this was intended?
And it suffers from the usual action movie tropes like people treating point blank shot-wounds like it's noting but a scratch, the police is nowhere to be seen and some characters are just evil for evil's sake. (I just want to make lot's of money and that's all!)
I expected more jokes in this movie as well and felt the movie could use it, but perhaps Wright didn't want to make another 'cornetto' style movie.

The best part of the movie is the amazing soundtrack. Every track feels like it belongs there and it brings the movie to a higher level, especially during the car chase scenes.

Baby Driver is a very entertaining movie with an excellent soundtrack. Worthy of watching for the soundtrack alone, especially if you like car chases.
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20. Board Game: Shootin' Blanks [Average Rating:7.64 Unranked]
Ben Lott
United States
Mason
Michigan
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Alibi
(1929) =

While this movie is a talkie, it has the tone and feel of a classic silent film. So you have to be prepared for some extra melodrama, and overacting. The movie is about some crooks and some cops and the girl who loves people on both sides. While this story is one that will feel familiar to modern audiences, at the time I imagine it was much more unique and special. There were a couple of scenes that I thought really elevated Alibi. The best scene of the entire movie is an interrogation scene where the police try to intimidate someone into talking. That moment includes some interesting visuals, great acting performances, and strong drama. The climax is also a big highlight, because you don’t know exactly how things will play out. Mae Busch is the girl in the middle of everything and unfortunately she was not given the greatest role. Even though she has some important things to do in the plot, like most movies from that era she is almost completely controlled by the men around her. The one part of the film that will give modern audiences the most laughs is everything from Regis Toomey. For half of the movie he is pretending to be drunk, and it is a comically over-the-top performance. Then there is a death scene late in the movie that is so drawn out and ridiculous that it goes from dramatic to silly quickly. Yet, despite some things that don’t work for me as a modern viewer, I still think Alibi is a strong film for the era and I can see why it was one of the first movies nominated for Best Picture.

Ranking on my Flickchart
Wins against The Peacemaker
Loses to The Manchurian Candidate
Loses to E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
Wins against Big Hero 6
Wins against Zero Effect
Wins against The Help
Wins against Moana
Wins against Sunshine
Wins against The Orphanage
Loses to Touch of Evil
Alibi ranked 475 out of 1266
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21. Board Game: Cheater [Average Rating:4.01 Overall Rank:15214]
Ben Lott
United States
Mason
Michigan
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The Rose Tattoo
(1955) =

This is such a strange film. At first I thought it was a heavy drama with all these deep emotional things going on. But then there were moments of real levity, to the point that I was almost laughing out loud, but then it would get dark again. I found it tough to nail down the genre, and part of that was the performance of Anna Magnani. She plays the vast majority of this film very straight, so it’s hard to think of it as a comedy, even when Burt Lancaster is hamming it up in the same scene. She is going through some serious things in her life and she takes it out on everyone around her. I was starting to get very impatient with The Rose Tattoo, because everything centered around Magnani’s character and she is so unpleasant. There are also a lot of little subplots swirling around her. While they play into the main storyline either directly or indirectly, it takes some time before you can get your bearings and understand what story they want to tell. The entire film was a mixed bag for me, because at times I was enjoying it, then I’d be annoyed by it, and then I’d just be confused. It never had the kind of focus and direction that I wanted, so it didn’t impact me as powerfully as I think they intended. Still, I will admit that The Rose Tattoo has some strong performances and a few scenes that are enjoyable.

Ranking on my Flickchart
Loses to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Wins against Elizabeth
Wins against Hugo
Loses to Battleground
Loses to The Usual Suspects
Wins against All the Right Moves
Wins against Outland
Loses to The Intern
Wins against The Theory of Everything
Loses to A Christmas Carol
The Rose Tattoo ranked 756 out of 1267
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22. Board Game: Heavy Metal Heroes [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Ben Lott
United States
Mason
Michigan
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Little Sister
(2016) =

Little Sister is a quaint little indie drama about a nun who is about to take her vows when she is called home to spend time with her dysfunctional family, especially her brother who has been disfigured in the war. I felt this movie rode the line between comedy and drama fairly well, because it is dealing with some heavy things, but the way each person in this family finds to cope with it can be quite humorous. I liked some of the unexpected things that the main character would do, because we come in with certain expectations of a nun, and she simply doesn’t fit in that box. There are a lot of important topics that no one talks about in this movie, even though you know they are issues that need to be addressed. However, that felt like a choice because real families will often avoid confrontation in the same way. The sad thing that I didn’t enjoy about Little Sister is the fact that these issues, because they remain unaddressed, also never get resolved. So this is not the kind of movie that I ordinarily enjoy. I get annoyed with some of the things that the characters do (or don’t do,) and there’s not a satisfying resolution in the end. Most of the acting performances were decent, even if everyone was fairly mild and soft-spoken. There were enough laughs in Little Sister, and because I was eventually able to accept the fact that they deliberately denied resolution, I could see myself recommending it to others. But it certainly won’t be everyone’s cup of tea.

Ranking on my Flickchart
Wins against The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Loses to The Manchurian Candidate
Loses to E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
Wins against Wonder Woman
Wins against Rebecca
Wins against This is Spinal Tap
Wins against Fargo
Loses to The ‘Burbs
Wins against Sunshine
Loses to The ‘Burbs
Little Sister ranked 480 out of 1268
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23. Board Game: Smoking Gun [Average Rating:6.30 Unranked]
Ben Lott
United States
Mason
Michigan
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Miss Sloane
(2016) =

I love movies like Miss Sloane where we are introduced to a character who is smarter than everyone else in the room. Jessica Chastain is brilliant as this amazing lobbyist who has extreme amounts of determination and drive that propel her to being the best at what she does. There are so many instances where we see her controlling a room, and making a point of being 5 steps ahead of everyone else. There are also a lot of twists and turns in this story, because we are rarely filled in on the plan, so we get surprised by it just as much as the people around Miss Sloane. The struggle I have with a story like this is that it feels like the logic breaks down a bit when I start thinking things through. When I trace back the steps of what she has worked out in some of these scenarios and how far in advance she has planned, I find myself questioning how she could have arranged all the minutiae needed to make the pieces perfectly fall into place. Although strangely, instead of feeling like there were deep flaws in the story, I find myself just wanting to watch it all again to see if I can make sense of it. Frankly, even if it falls apart like a house of cards under closer scrutiny, I still think Miss Sloane is well worth watching just for the thrill of all the little surprises in the plot. Even if you see some of them coming in advance (which I did) you still get a satisfying rush watching it all play out. The more I reflect on it the more I want to watch it again, which is a really good sign, so you should check it out as well!

Ranking on my Flickchart
Wins against The Santa Clause 2
Wins against The Manchurian Candidate
Loses to Josie and the Pussycats
Wins against Hairspray
Loses to Avengers: Age of Ultron
Wins against Pan’s Labyrinth
Wins against The Spectacular Now
Loses to The Sound of Music
Loses to National Treasure
Loses to Nightcrawler
Loses to Ant-Man
Miss Sloane ranked 207 out of 1269
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24. Board Game: The Tree [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Ben Lott
United States
Mason
Michigan
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Mister Roberts
(1955) =

Mister Roberts is a film that could easily feel like more of the same, because it is another film about the crew of a ship during WWII. But there are a couple of things that make this one stand out as a little better than most of the other films that have similar stories. First of all, it is not about these guys putting their life on the line and spending the whole film dodging bullets and bombs. Instead this is a cargo ship that is away from all the combat. So the enemy that these guys are fighting is monotony and boredom. That lends this film a unique feel. The other excellent thing in Mister Roberts is the cast. In particular the trio of Henry Fonda, William Powell, and Jack Lemmon made me smile every time they were on the screen. Their banter was fun, and you could see a real connection between all three. I did have some issues with James Cagney, though. He was a little over-the-top, and not in a good way. It didn’t ruin the movie because he’s supposed to be an antagonist, but this is where I have begun to question whether I even like him as an actor because it seems every time I see him he’s acting this same way. There were also a few sequences in Mister Roberts that carried on longer than necessary, but otherwise I thought it was a solid film. It also touched me emotionally in the end, which isn’t something that I can say about all war films. They did a great job of making me care about these characters. It’s not the best war film around, but Mister Roberts is one that I think is worth a look.

Ranking on my Flickchart
Wins against Black Christmas
Loses to Identity
Wins against Oliver!
Wins against Wild Target
Wins against Taken
Loses to Prisoners
Loses to Kind Hearts and Coronets
Loses to The Goodbye Girl
Loses to The Peanuts Movie
Loses to Frailty
Loses to Murder by Death
Mister Roberts ranked 356 out of 1271
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25. Board Game: American Dream Game [Average Rating:5.50 Unranked]
Wendell
United States
Yellow Springs
Ohio
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REQUIEM FOR THE AMERICAN DREAM

A documentary - a series of interviews with Noam Chomsky, famous linguist and left-wing activist.

I won't go into detail here. The primary theme (which I think is correct even if I don't agree with everything here) is that too great a concentration of wealth is bad for democracy, and concentration of wealth has been increasing in the United States over the last few decades.

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