Movies You Watched in February 2018
Ben Lott
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Mason
Michigan
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This is a geeklist to discuss the movies you watch throughout the month of February. 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: Hydra [Average Rating:4.65 Unranked]
Ben Lott
United States
Mason
Michigan
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Road to Infinity War - Week 5

Captain America: The First Avenger

Each week, leading up to Infinity War I’m going to watch a Marvel Cinematic Universe film in order by date of release. After watching it I will post one of these for you all to share your personal ranking of the movie and any opinions. This will take us 18 weeks which should be exactly when Infinity War will hit theaters.

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2. Board Game: Mother [Average Rating:2.63 Unranked]
Trey Chambers
United States
Houston
Texas
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mother!



Would recommend to fellow Arnofsky fans, but this is probably my least favorite of his.

Not as visually striking as some of his other films, and the metaphor is obvious and just kind of hits you over the head repeatedly with its message. I prefer the deeper mysteries of The Fountain.

Good performances and some very interesting scenes though.
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3. Board Game: Hostile Stars [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Bob
United States
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We don’t see many western films these days. As a fan, I had to watch...

The acting was solid. The story was engaging and thought provoking. The scenery was amazing and well done. The soundtrack was rather average and a few scenes were a bit slow. Overall, very much a winner for this western fan.

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4. Board Game: Lords of Vegas [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:350]
Joe Salamone
United States
Billerica
Massachusetts
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CASINO (1995) - Excellent movie based on the book by Nicholas Pileggi. Robert DeNiro stars as Ace Rothstein (based on Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal), an innovator in Las Vegas gaming who had ties to the mob. Joe Pesci plays gangster Nicky Santoro (based on Tony "The Ant" Spilotro). Sharon Stone steals the show as DeNiro's wife. Directed by Martin Scorsese. From my DVD collection.




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5. Board Game: T.I.M.E Stories [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:44]
Hilda Lirsch
Australia
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I re-watched my anniversary DVD of Time Bandits, which had a commentary track featuring the Director (Terry Gilliam) and some of the cast. This is a hilarious time-travelling fantasy movie.

Two of the Monty Python team co-wrote the screenplay, with Michael Palin (who also appears in a series of laugh-out-loud cameos) concentrating on witty dialogue, while Terry Gilliam focused on plot and visual gags.

Despite the film having a very limited budget, the production values look superb.

Many famous British actors played supporting roles, including Sean Connery as King Agamemnon.
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6. Board Game: Pawn Voyage [Average Rating:5.47 Unranked]
Andy Daglish
United Kingdom
Cheadle
Cheshire
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Tobey Maguire wisely playing himself rather than mentally unstable Bobby Fischer in a film he helped produce. He's very well supported by another superb performance from Liev Schreiber as Spassky. I recall my disappointment as a small child that Fischer appeared to be another nutjob who wouldn't drink after being led to the water of top-end chess. Clearly there were always problems of assessment in chess-playing ability, and these were exploited by the best players as part of match play. This Championship match in Iceland featured the greatest game ever played, so far, and also one of the most unusual, though the film cleverly gets past the technical minutiae.
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7. Board Game: Phantom [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:6951]
Pee di Moor
Netherlands
Rotterdam
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Last friday I saw Paul Thomas latest movie 'Phantom Thread' starring Daniel Day-Lewis.

Of course that alone is already special, but .... in the viewing I witnessed the film music (written by Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood) being performed live by the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra ....

Wow.
Just Wow.

Beautiful images enhanced by live music. A once in a life time experience, although I'm not convinced the film ending was the 'strongest' possible.
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8. Board Game: Churchill [Average Rating:7.74 Overall Rank:503]
Bill Eldard
United States
Burke
Virginia
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Darkest Hour (starring Gary Oldman)

My son and I thoroughly enjoyed this historical drama. The film depicts the influences and pressures on Winston Churchill as he assumes the office of Prime Minister in 1940, and decides that Britain will fight on rather than negotiate a peace with Hitler. Oldman is particularly strong as Churchill (A srtong candidate for Best Actor Oscar), and the supporting cast is also outstanding.

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9. Board Game: Justice League Strategy Game [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:8291]
Bill Eldard
United States
Burke
Virginia
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Justice League (Ben Affleck as Batman)

My wife and I watched this film. She enjoyed it more than I. For sure, there is plenty of great special effects, but perhaps a bit too much action for my tastes. I will concede that, like the Marvel films, the action is comic-books-come-to-life, and I applaud the filmmakers for this success. But I guess I'm now getting worn out on super hero flicks -- it's harder and harder for me to distinguish one movie from the other. Having been a huge Justice League of America fan in the 1960s, I never imagined that I could get too much, but I think I've reached that point.

I ought to add that after watching the latest Star Wars movie, I'm Star Wars-out. No need to ever see another Star Wars film.
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10. Board Game: Escape from Frankenstein [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
Joe Salamone
United States
Billerica
Massachusetts
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DRACULA: PRISONER OF FRANKENSTEIN (1972) - What a mess. This DVD is the Spanish-language movie DRACULA CONTRA FRANKENSTEIN (aka THE SCREAMING DEAD and several other titles), with English subtitles. For the most part, the subtitles are unnecessary because there are long sequences that have absolutely no dialogue. The make-up is about the same quality that you would see in a high-school play (maybe not even that good - - see below). The plot involves Dr. Frankenstein reviving Count Dracula in an effort to rule the world (or something like that). He also revives the Frankenstein monster by putting him in a box (I guess they couldn't afford an operating table) and running electricity through it. Later, a werewolf shows up and fights the monster (the choreography is similar to a WWE wrestling match). Directed by Z-movie legend Jesus Franco. From my DVD collection.












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11. Board Game: Mafia [Average Rating:5.59 Overall Rank:12358]
Joe Salamone
United States
Billerica
Massachusetts
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THE BROTHERHOOD (1968) - The first time I watched this movie (about 5 or 6 years ago) I didn't like it very much. I decided to give it another try last night and I enjoyed it. Kirk Douglas plays a mafia boss who believes in "the old ways" and is resistant to modern business ventures. His younger brother (Alex Cord, miscast in this role) wants to modernize the family business. This movie isn't as violent as some of the mob movies that followed it, but it does have an unsettling strangulation scene. I will definitely watch it again. Directed by Martin Ritt. From my DVD collection.

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12. Board Game: Flash Point: Fire Rescue [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:255]
Nalum Tei
Spain
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Backdraft (Llamaradas in Spanish) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0101393/



I decided to buy it after playing some Flash Point: Fire Rescue while listening to its fantastic original soundtrack

It is a good film and as its special effects were made with real fire, it has not aged badly.

Here you can read the designer diary for "Flash Point: Fire Rescue": https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/3749/designer-diary-bring...

What a great game!
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13. Board Game: Hog Tied [Average Rating:5.39 Unranked]
John Kaelin
United States
Shepherdsville
Kentucky
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14. Board Game: A Distant Plain [Average Rating:7.98 Overall Rank:665]
Bill Eldard
United States
Burke
Virginia
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12 Strong (starring Chris Hemsworth)

My wife and I watched this action movie today based on the story of the first US Army Special Forces ODA (12-man team) into Afghanistan after 9/11. It's based on the actual operation as captured in the book Horse Soldiers (several of the soldiers had to ride horses for the first time). It's almost non-stop combat once the team arrives in-country, and we both enjoyed it, though -- like my comments on Justice League -- I think the combat scenes were a little too long, but the story was good. My wife -- a Navy wife for 21 years -- identified with the wives of the departing soldiers.

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15. Board Game: Dragon Run [Average Rating:6.23 Overall Rank:5013]
Luke Jaconetti
United States
Simpsonville
South Carolina
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Pete's Dragon (2016)

Watched this one on Saturday night with the kids. The original one was a favorite of mine from childhood, so I was interested in seeing this new version. Other than the title and the presence of a green dragon named Elliot, there is nothing in this version remotely similar to the original, so best to take it on its own merits and not compare the two.

Anyway, the kids really enjoyed this, and Elliot was very nicely realized.
However I was in a particularly sh**y mood and did not enjoy it. I probably need to rewatch it but I do not know when that will happen.

Be forewarned that
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Pete's parents die within the first 3 minutes of the film in a car wreck. We are not shown their bodies but as he is 5 when this happens this might be pretty scary and upsetting to younger viewers.
Otherwise there is some peril but everything works out alright.

Like I said had I been in a better mood I probably would have liked it alright. Its not world changing or anything but for a live action family fantasy its alright.
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16. Video Game: Space Shuttle: A Journey Into Space [Average Rating:6.33 Unranked]
Luke Jaconetti
United States
Simpsonville
South Carolina
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Hidden Figures

After we watched Pete's Dragon and put the kids to bed, my wife picked this one out of the HBO OnDemand. She had read the book over the summer and was interested in the film.

Straight ahead drama based on the NASA team at Langley during the early days of the Space Race, focused on three African-American women who initially work as computers. Katherine Goble is assigned to the Space Task Group as a computer to check calculations, but her vast knowledge of mathematics quickly makes her a trusted part of the team as they address issues arising during planning the first US manned space missions. Dorothy Vaughn wants to be a computer supervisor, and uses her knowledge of mechanics to learn Fortan in order to program NASA's first IBM machine. Mary Jackson holds degrees in physical sciences, and applies to join NASA's engineering program, despite women not being welcome in that field, and the requirements changing to specifically exclude her.

Being based on true stories, there is a sincerity to this film which helps it. Frankly I don't enjoy being preached about how awful I am with regards to events that took place 2 decades before I was born. But while the film does address the racial issues inherent with being set in Virginia in the early 1960s, it is not preachy or overwrought.

The cast is the strong suit here. The three leads -- Taraji P Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe, are all really good, and turn in compelling performances. Henson is the lead of the ensemble and she really shines. Kevin Costner, who plays the head of the Space Task Group, looks like he was cosplaying as himself from JFK. He plays a 1960s guy so well. Glen Powell, whom I had not heard of before this film, is great as John Glenn.

Anyway, this one is worth watching, especially if you have any interest in the Space Race or STEM in general.
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17. Board Game: Paradox [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:2794]
Ron A
United States
Coronado
California
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Cloverfield Paradox

3d in the Cloverfield franchise. Found out during SB that Netflix was IMMEDIATELY dropping the film after the game ended. Being on the west coast, it was a no brainer to watch last night.

Uh, don't wanna give away spoilers, but I will say it is connected to the 1st Cloverfield film (more connected than 2nd movie is connected to 1st).

Personally, this one wasn't as scary as the first two films, YMMV.

No herky jerky camera POV (that is a good thing!).
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18. Board Game: Paradox [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:2794]
Trey Chambers
United States
Houston
Texas
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CLOVERFIELD PARADOX



Just an Alien knockoff with forgettable characters. The set design was really cool, and a few of the special effects were good (though a few others were lame and very fake looking). That's about all that was redeeming about it. By far the worst of the three Cloverfield films.
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19. Board Game: The World Cup Game [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:1780]
Andy
United Kingdom
Manchester
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Early Man

On Sunday I took my the boys to see Early Man.. the latest animation from Nick Park and Aardman animation.. I can usually expect good things from the creators of Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run, but the idea of a Stone Age tribe against the Bronze age didn't exactly appeal... however I'm pleased to say it is another wonderful tale... if not quite up to the level of W&G.

Early Man is a peculiar tale, as the story kinda revolves around football (or Soccer as you may know it).. and the whole Stone Age vs Bronze Age is really a metaphor for English Football in particular. The Stone Age tribe are the originators of the 'beautiful game' but they eventually discover they are no longer any good at the game and get beaten by the other tribes they teach.. The Bronze Age team, in my view, equate to the kind of England team we've been fielding in international games of late... a bunch of supposedly great players who all think it's about them... Needless to say the Stone Age tribe eventually win through team work.

The film makes a number of solid moral points, and is genuinely very heart-warming... Indeed I got far more emotional than I had initially expected to.

There is a fantastic voice cast, from Eddie Redmayne as Stone Age Dug, to Tom Hiddleston as Bronze Age Lord Nooth.. as well as a host of well known British favourites: Timothy Spall, Miriam Margolyes, Richard Ayoade, Mark Williams, Johnny Vegas and not to mention Rob Brydon who does fantastic impersonations of football commentating legends John Motson and Alan Hansen.

Despite not actually being a football fan, I enjoyed Early Man a whole lot... definitely more than I expected. Not Aardman's best, but still a charming and entertaining movie. Both my kids really enjoyed it to and said they want to see it again!
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20. Video Game: Marine Fighters [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked] [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Luke Jaconetti
United States
Simpsonville
South Carolina
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The Marine 4: Moving Target

Had to fly back from Dallas yesterday, and so I downloaded this one to the phone to watch on the flight to Atlanta. Mike "The Miz" Mizanin reprises his role from the previous film as former US Marine Jake Carter, now working for a civilian private security agency. He and the rest of the team are assigned to escort young woman, Liv, who has dirt on the Genesis Defense Corporation, a corrupt defense contractor. The escort is ambushed by a team of mercenaries hired by Genesis, Jake manages to escape with Liv, and the chase is on.

As a B-movie action picture in every sense of the word, this was well suited to watching on my phone during a plane trip. Lots of gunplay, lots of headshots, a few knife fights, but not a whole lot of story or character. The narrative is essentially one extended chase scene, with Jake and Liv trying to stay ahead of the mercenaries. Mizanin is perfectly fine as the lead, but to be fair the script does not ask him to do much in the way of emoting. He comes off as much more likable than his heel wrestling persona (which this film and the others he has made helped to shape). I would like to see him get a chance to do something with a bit more range. The other actors are typical DTV types and don't really stand out much. One of the mercenaries is Summer Rae, and while she looks great and hits the military girl trope well, she is a secondary character without any depth and almost no lines.

Overall, it was a diverting 90 minutes as I cruised on the plane. Nothing I would ever watch again, but I will watch the others which Mizanin has done (Which are 3, 4, 5, and the upcoming 6 -- I have seen the original with John Cena, but not the second one with Ted DiBiase, Jr.).
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21. Board Game: Clover [Average Rating:6.25 Unranked]
Pater Absurdus
United States
Carrollton
Texas
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The Cloverfield Paradox

As a fan of 10 Cloverfield Lane I was pretty excited to see this arrive on Netflix.

The gist is this: there is a world wide energy crisis and the solution is putting astronauts from all over the world onto a space station in order to use a particle accelerator to solve the energy crisis.

Everything goes haywire, of course, and creepy sci fi stuff happens in space!

It was fun. If I had paid $10 to see it in the theatre I may have been a bit disappointed but as it stands it was pretty fun.

It reminds me a bit of Life (2017). I definitely preferred Life and 10 Cloverfield Lane.


Flick Chart:
Loses to The Red Pill
Wins against Batman vs Superman
Wins against Insidious the Last Key
Looses to Home Alone
Looses to Orphan
Looses to 1922
Wins against Childs Play
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22. Board Game: Rude Gestures [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Pater Absurdus
United States
Carrollton
Texas
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There's really no wrong way to use a margarita pool
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"What is best in Life? To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women."
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A Futile and Stupid Gesture

The story of the dude that started the National Lampoon magazine and co-wrote Animal House and Caddy Shack.

Overall this was a bit meh for me. It is difficult for me to separate my lack of enthusiasm for the protagonists humor and style and the movie itself. I enjoyed how the movie referenced itself and the use of voice over narration was fun. The nostalgia throughout the movie was pretty cool.
I also really respect the protagonists work ethic. This guy worked really hard. He didn't know how to manage it but he did work hard.
It was hard to sympathize too much as things fell apart though because he was such an A-hole.

Comedy is a very personal thing. It seems to me that Douglas Kenney had a major impact on comedy over the last 45 years which is interesting to see. I wish that someone else had been the primary influence though.

Flickchart:
Losses to Thor
Wins Against Batman vs Superman
Losses to Insidious the Last Key
Losses to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Losses to 1922
Losses to Childs Play
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23. Board Game: Uncle Happy's Train Game [Average Rating:3.56 Unranked]
Pater Absurdus
United States
Carrollton
Texas
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There's really no wrong way to use a margarita pool
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Manchester by the Sea (2016)
Starring The Affleck That Doesn't Suck

I normally dislike Feel Bad movies. Intense drama's that are intended to be Oscar bait tend to just make me feel crappy and/or annoy me without being entertained.

This movie pulls off something. It made me think about fatherhood, marriage, and grief in a way I generally don't. I never felt like I was being written to or manipulated. The movie just tells the story and takes us along. I haven't felt this good about a movie in a while, a couple years at least.

Its not pleasant at all but I somehow enjoyed it anyway. I think that their may be something slightly uplifting about the way the protagonists struggle is presented.

It was really hard to rate on Flickchart below. Perhaps it should have won against all those match ups. It deserves a high spot on my list for sure.

Flickchart:

Wins Against Thor
Wins Against Xmen Days of Futures Past
Losses to The Man Who Wasn't There
Wins Against Kill Bill Volume 1
Wins Against Death Proof
Losses to NightCrawler
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24. RPG Item: TIME LORD [Average Rating:5.41 Overall Rank:7346]
Luke Jaconetti
United States
Simpsonville
South Carolina
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Doctor Who: The Curse of Peladon

I have a weird relationship with Doctor Who. For many years, I thought that when people talked about "Doctor Who," that they meant an Asian madman character, like Doctor Who / Doctor Huu from King Kong Escapes. (I swear that is a shoot and I am not making that up.) Why exactly lots of people liked this Fu Manchu type of character, I don't know, but hey, who am I to judge? I also remembered seeing the commercials for the Fox telefilm, but did not watch it.

My first exposure to non-world conquering Doctor Who was when the new series was aired on Sci-Fi/SyFy in the mid 2000s. The first episode I saw was, appropriately, "Rose." That opened my eyes to what people meant by Doctor Who and suddenly it made more sense. I watched the Chris Eccleston series as it aired and eventually did some research on the history of the series on Wikipedia. From there, I found myself intrigued by the Colin Baker Doctor and gravitated towards his stories, starting with "Attack of the Cybermen" as the new Cybermen had just appeared on the show (having switched over to Tennant at this point) and I really liked them. I dug that serial, and kept seeking out the Colin Baker ones. Later I would find out that apparently everyone hates Colin Baker except me and one other podcaster I know.

My wife and I watched the Tennant era, then she quit when he did ("the new guy looks too young"). I watched the first season of Smith, but after that the episodes became increasingly hard for me to obtain, as SyFy had lost their license and my cable package did not offer BBC America. So I haven't seen a full new episode of Doctor Who since the two parter which started Smith's second season.

My friend Shag, a loooong time Who fan, sent me a ton of Who novelizations, and I have been dabbling in the other Doctors via the books and when I can find old episodes to watch. I just finished reading the novel of Doctor Who And The Sea Devils (adapting the serial The Sea Devils naturally), and I really enjoyed it, my first real exposure to the Third Doctor Jon Pertwee. So I did some digging and was able to locate this serial from his third season in the role (and immediate predecessor of The Sea Devils).

Our story involves the Doctor and Jo landing on the planet of Peladon right in the middle of a meeting of representatives of the Federation of Planets (including a pair of Ice Warriors) on whether to induct Peladon. Pretending to be the delegates from Earth, The Doctor and Jo end up part of an intrigue as it seems that a curse from Peladonian legend has come to life in order to prevent Peladon from joining the Federation.

Overall, I enjoyed this story quite a bit. It reminded me a little bit from a thematic standpoint of one of my favorites, Vengeance on Varos, in that it is the style of story where the Doctor interjects himself into the complicated political scene of another planet. Jo is well meaning and kind hearted, and there is a whole bevy of neat aliens on display here. There is also a monster, Aggador, who is amusing in his cheapness but well designed. (I have long held that the BBC was working with budgets that the folks at Tsuburaya and Toei would have loved to have, and they still have a hard time making a decent monster, while those Japanese outfits, working on tighter schedules and less money, cranked out better monsters on a weekly basis. BBC could do aliens alright, but not monsters. At least not that I have seen.)

Pertwee is fantastic. I was instantly sucked in my his charm and demeanor. I never questioned his intelligence or his genuine concern to do the right thing, but at the same time he is a man of action, as he has to fight the King's champion in a gladiatorial pit. I was cheering for the Doctor to use some Venusian akido in that scene, and he did not disappoint, using a judo throw at one point.

I have begun to track down more Pertwee episodes, including The Time Monster and Planet of the Daleks. It is unfortunate Pertwee never had a Cyberman story. But between the novel and this story I am really enjoying his depiction of the Doctor and am looking forward to seeing more of him.
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25. Board Game: Serenity: The Unofficial Board Game [Average Rating:6.40 Unranked]
Wendell
United States
Yellow Springs
Ohio
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SERENITY

Over the past couple of weeks my wife and I watched the entire Firefly series, curious about what all the shouting was about and inspired by the very funny Alan Tudyk series Con Man. Then we finished it by watching Serenity tonight, the movie that wrapped up (sorta) the canceled TV show.

Firefly was, well I guess it was pretty good. Maybe expectations were too high, because though decent, it wasn't all that. Same with the movie, Serenity. Good start to Serenity, I thought, but the second half slipped IMO.

Couple of thoughts. The Serenity's crew are very much like the old Timex commercials - they take a licking and keep on ticking
Spoiler (click to reveal)
(except poor old Wash, who suffered the indignity of being killed by a pole, and Ron Glass' shepherd; pity we didn't get more on his backstory)
.

The future's terraformers sure seemed to have a thing for dry planets.

It appears - despite the excellent Zoe (competent warrior) and Kaylee (competent mechanic) characters - the future holds few roles for women outside of rolling in the hay for money. Chalk it up to appealing to the male teen market, maybe.

So my overall Firefly assessment - decent. Not THAT great, but pretty decent.

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