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Board Game Review: UFO Alarm

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Quadropolis Board Game Review

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Oceans Board Game - Review

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Masters of the Night Coming to Retail

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What MOVIE(s) have you been....seeing? watching?

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20 Mar 2020 12:24 #308372 by Shellhead

Michael Barnes wrote: I had no idea Schooly D would ever be referenced here on this site.


I knew his name from some movie, so I checked IMDB. I think he first got my attention with his work on King of New York, but I finally looked him up because of New Rose Hotel.

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20 Mar 2020 16:54 #308385 by allismom3

Jackwraith wrote: Right. He's a "leading man"-type who's never really been a leading man. Since we already have those types in the form of Clint Eastwood and others, it's difficult to give him vehicles without them ending up feeling/seeming derivative of a lot of stuff that we've already seen.

And sometimes there are bit actors who just do one thing really well. Kris Kristofferson is an excellent example. If you want someone who's gruff, steely-eyed, and whose voice sounds like Archie Bunker gargling nails, you want Kristofferson. It's all he ever does. Look at Blade, Payback, Lone Star; same thing, every time.


You could put Sam Elliot in the same category
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23 Mar 2020 09:13 #308470 by RobertB
Finally got around to watching Arrival. If you like thinky SF, I'd recommend it. Can say a lot more without going straight into spoilers.

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23 Mar 2020 10:42 #308477 by Shellhead
Continued with the MCU. Iron Man 3 is an escalation of Iron Man 2, with more action, more rapid dialogue, more technology, more, more, more. Stark makes a breakthrough that allows him to remotely summon his armor, which flies to him piece by piece. This could have just been a minor gimmick, but the writers lean in to it and take it farther into some unexpected and interesting applications. In a way, this movie shows Iron Man at both his strongest and weakest. At times, his latest tech is unreliable and inconvenient, and there are long stretches of the movie where Stark is in danger and has no armor. But when everything comes together and is working right, the technology is impressive and devastating in combat. There is still some humor, warmth, and solid character beats, and both Don Cheadle and Gwenyth Paltrow get more screentime than in the previous Iron Man movie. There is also a cute kid character, but RDJ defeats conventional wisdom about kids and easily holds the spotlight in those scenes.

Thor: The Dark World is below average for an MCU movie, though still above average compared to superhero movies in general. It opens with an unfortunate but necessary amount of exposition about dark elves, to the point where a viewer who missed the first Thor movie might think this is a recap. Hemsworth is still charismatic and impressive, and really everybody playing a named Asgardian (Odin, Freya, Heimdall, Sif, the Warriors 3) is good. Loki returns to steal scenes again, and takes on a surprising role in this story. Natalie Portman and Kat Dennings are back and deliver fine but secondary performances. But the overall movie doesn't quite come together right. The villains lack presence, the dramatic moments don't quite land solidly, and ultimately the whole affair feels more obligatory than necessary to overall MCU storyline. However, it's possible that fans may want to revisit this movie before the 4th Thor movie comes out, as that one may build upon this movie.

I also watched Dead Presidents, a movie that I managed to overlook back in '95. It's okay but also skippable. The story is about a black Vietnam veteran who comes back to his old neighborhood after four years, and turns to crime to support his kids. Stereotypical characters abound, and bad choices eventually lead to tragic outcomes. It was nice to see Keith David in action, and this movie was probably the big breakthrough for Chris Tucker. Otherwise, Dead Presidents felt about ten years too late for America's big obsession with Vietnam veterans. Still, I am greatful for the prominent inclusion of the song Walk On By, which inspired Hooverphonic to sample it to greater effect the following year with their song 2 Wicky.

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23 Mar 2020 21:56 #308507 by Shellhead
Vampire Circus is a Hammer horror movie with great promise, but doesn't quite deliver. The setting could almost be the same as Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter. The premise is that a village is locked down under quarantine during a plague. Then a mysterious gypsy performing troupe manages to evade the quarantine guards to get into the village. The gypsy performances are lively and somewhat disturbing, but the title already gives away the game. The movie starts strong in medias res, but that is a prologue that also sets up the final scenes. All that is good, but the lackluster performances and sloppy writing undermine the results.

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26 Mar 2020 11:26 #308604 by dysjunct
So in all the cluster in the world these days, I missed that Stuart Gordon (Re-Animator, Dagon) died on the 24th. He was one of the few people keeping the HPL flame burning before it became ubiquitous in pop culture.
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29 Mar 2020 11:58 #308674 by Shellhead
Continuing the MCU movies, I got to Captain America: Winter Soldier. Like many Marvel movies, this one is a combination of at least two genres, action + something else (epsionage in this case). As we have come to expect from the MCU, there is a star-studded cast, lots of action, and also an actual story with some decent character moments. I am personally a bit conflicted about this second Captain America movie, though it is considered one of the very best MCU movies. Chris Evans is great as Cap, and really every noteworthy actor turns in a decent performance. The story is good, the action is great, and some of the stunts make Cap somehow just as impressive as the more powerful superhumans of the MCU, like the excellent elevator fight scene. But I feel that the MCU movies have a tendency to cram in enough story for two normal movies, so some of the dramatic moments don't land as solidly as they could. There are some nice humorous touches, like the Black Widow trying to play matchmaker for Cap, but overall this is a darker movie than most for the MCU. Compared to most superhero movies, Captain America: Winter Solider is one of the best.

Guardians of the Galaxy is a hot mess, though most people enjoyed it. It has all of the typical MCU merits, with a strong cast, big budget, and lots of action. But there are some significant differences from the formula. The heroes are mostly criminals who have some positive qualities. The music takes a more prominent role, often to comedic effect, and is focused on second-rate hits and one-hit wonders from the '70s. There is more humor, but the jokes produced mostly smiles instead of laughs. The alien setting is a mixed bag, with a lot of visually-interesting stuff going on that occasionally becomes overwhelming during the action scenes. The best part about Guardians of the Galaxy is the surprising chemistry between the team members. They are all plucky losers with annoying qualities, but somehow there is a synergy that elevates them into a team that is both entertaining and inspiring. This is not one of my favorite MCU movies, but it offers some distinctive qualities that make it a welcome change of pace.
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29 Mar 2020 13:24 #308676 by Jackwraith
I'm kinda with you on both. I felt like they constructed Winter Soldier something like a Bourne film or like an early 1970s spy thriller, both of which were generally more plot-heavy than typical Marvel/superhero films. I felt like the comparison with 70s films was apt because it felt like a trip back to that era of Captain America, which still had the atmosphere of Steranko's moody pencils and plainclothesed Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson fighting alongside SHIELD.

I was the only person I know who was utterly unimpressed by Guardians of the Galaxy. It was boilerplate plot, confined roles (Gamora, the so-called 'deadliest assassin in the galaxy' as a "love interest" for the goofy Chris Pratt), not very good performances in those confined roles, and a lot of jokes that were left plain, rather than with the audience. In other words, they tried to play them straight, rather than with insight to the genre. There were a bunch of funny moments in The Avengers because the audience was in on them (knowing that when superheroes meet, they have to beat the crap out of each other; Hulk with the "puny god" moment; etc.) All of the Guardians moments of humor were straight plays and, honestly, weren't that funny. The whole thing just seemed like service to the overall Thanos plot, rather than building a story of its own with characters that were interesting for their own sake.
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29 Mar 2020 14:51 #308677 by hotseatgames
Watched Anna on HBO. It’s in the vein of Atomic Blonde or Red Sparrow, with the key difference that this one is boring as fuck. Pass.
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29 Mar 2020 19:55 - 29 Mar 2020 20:49 #308678 by ChristopherMD
True Grit (2011) - "They told me you had grit and that is why I came to you."
This popped up on reddit recently so I decided to revisit it. I liked it the first time and even more this second time. True confession; I've never liked John Wayne at all so this is automatically better than the original. I think I've only seen Hailee Steinfeld in this and Bumblee and she was the best actor in both movies. Not that there's any bad acting in this movie. Its also visually authentic-looking, the story is good, and there's some real good dialogue. I don't think its the best western ever made, but I could fit it into a top 10 and maybe even top 5.
Last edit: 29 Mar 2020 20:49 by ChristopherMD.
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29 Mar 2020 20:54 - 29 Mar 2020 20:54 #308679 by ChristopherMD

hotseatgames wrote: Watched Anna on HBO. It’s in the vein of Atomic Blonde or Red Sparrow, with the key difference that this one is boring as fuck. Pass.


The funny part is that Atomic Blonde, Red Sparrow, etc are all in the vein of Nikita (aka La Femme Nikita) which is the same writer/director as Anna; Luc Besson. A crappy remake of his most influential movie wasn't the way to go.
Last edit: 29 Mar 2020 20:54 by ChristopherMD.

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29 Mar 2020 20:56 #308680 by Shellhead

hotseatgames wrote: Watched Anna on HBO. It’s in the vein of Atomic Blonde or Red Sparrow, with the key difference that this one is boring as fuck. Pass.


I haven't seen Anna or Red Sparrow, but I liked Atomic Blonde. Really, all I liked about Atomic Blonde was the soundtrack and the action, especially when they went well together.

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30 Mar 2020 08:43 #308682 by hotseatgames
Watched Snowpiercer, having not seen it when it came out. I recall a lot of negative comments about this film when it came out, but I don't think it was bad at all. I don't think it's as good as Parasite (same director), but you can definitely see the connection since they both deal with class society.
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30 Mar 2020 14:45 #308691 by Joebot

hotseatgames wrote: Watched Snowpiercer, having not seen it when it came out. I recall a lot of negative comments about this film when it came out, but I don't think it was bad at all. I don't think it's as good as Parasite (same director), but you can definitely see the connection since they both deal with class society.


I love Snowpiercer! I read that movie as a big middle finger to all the genre fans who insist on incessantly EXPLAINING everything to death. Why does the train have to keep moving? Who build the train? Why a train in the first place? Who gives a shit!!! Just tell me a cool story. Love it. That movie is such a breath of fresh air.

I've been rewatching the LOTR trilogy with my son (10). Some of the digital effects now look a little dodgy, but it's held up remarkably well, especially all the practical effects with miniatures and costumes. And Gollum is still a remarkable creation. We just finished The Two Towers, which is probably my least favorite of the three. The Rohan stuff is just so dull and talky. Eomer barely gets any screen time, and Eowyn is just there to look pretty and make googly eyes at Aragorn. And yes, I'm still upset about Faramir's character assassination!

For as big as these movies were when they came out, I feel like they haven't had much of a cultural footprint. Ten years down the road, I never really see or hear anything about them anymore. Maybe the shitty Hobbit movies damaged their reputation?
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30 Mar 2020 15:28 #308692 by Jackwraith
Re: Snowpiercer. I didn't think the film was BAD. I thought it was an attempt to transition it to a new medium that was doomed to failure. As close as comics and film are (far closer than film and prose, for example), the key difference is timing. The film director has two hours to tell a story and has to apply a rhythm to it that meets those constraints. In that way, some things that do need more elaboration- not plot elements, necessarily, but story mechanisms -often don't receive it. The comic writer/artist, OTOH, can tell his/her story at whatever pace they like and the reader gets to read it at whatever pace they like. If they want to linger over a couple panels where the visuals speak to them, fine. They can do that. You can pause a film and stare at a frozen picture but the effect really isn't the same. Comics allow for more measured storytelling than films frequently do. I think the film version of Snowpiercer suffered from that and missed out on a lot of the texture that the comic version employed.

I think the impact of the LotR movies is broader and, thus, somewhat more subtle. Would Game of Thrones have been as well and widely received if Jackson's films hadn't drawn in a huge audience to the concept of fantasy done well? Would you have seen the surge over the past 20 years in all kinds of genres related to but outside of standard SF without them? Probably not. I do think the awful Hobbit films may have impacted that specific audience to some degree (I saw the first one, detested it, and only halfway saw the second after being dragged to it by a woman I was dating.) But I think some of the problems with Tolkien's work, specifically (it's kind of laborious in its language and is the very definition of "stock fantasy" (elves, dwarves, orcs, etc.)) may be burdening the LotR films in later years. People want something different and the tropes are so embedded in the culture that they seem very 'old hat' to a lot of people. It's the same reason younger viewers have a much less enchanted view of Pulp Fiction. They've seen it regurgitated in many ways since 1994.
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