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boardgameinquisition
August 06, 2020
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Swatch Board Game Review

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August 05, 2020
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August 04, 2020
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Episode 53 - Meddling Wizards

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ubarose
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Funko Last Defense Available Now

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

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14 Apr 2020 16:35 #309260 by RobertB

jpat wrote: ...For reference, probably the best ones we've seen from the horror patch are Blood Mania, which I've seen before, and Stanley, a whacked-out 70s eco-nut snake/revenge movie.

That reminded me of Sssssss, with Strother Martin as a mad scientist who turns one of his students/lab assistants into a snake. That movie kind of sucked when I saw it at the drive-in ages ago, and I bet it hasn't improved with age.

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18 Apr 2020 22:47 - 19 Apr 2020 19:29 #309372 by hotseatgames

Shellhead wrote: Just watched an interesting kung fu movie called Unbeaten 28, courtesy of Amazon Prime. Though not actually a Shaw Brothers movie, it looks and sounds exactly like a Shaw Brothers movie. So by general standards, a movie with below average acting, story, and aside from acrobatics, even the fight scene choreography falls far short of modern standards.

But there is one compelling reason to watch Unbeaten 28: a significant portion of the movie is practically a D&D dungeon crawl in the form of a series of challenges to be overcome to prove worthy of a rare kung fu manual. There is a mixture of traps, puzzles, and combat that will seem very comfortable to any D&D player, capped by an interesting zen riddle.


I watched this. The challenges part was pretty fun, but overall the movie is... well it's a bad martial arts flick. But if you know that going in, you could do worse.

update-
I forgot that I also watched The Lighthouse, which is currently on Prime. I really like Willem Dafoe, and he turns in a great performance, as does Robert Pattinson. However... the movie really didn't do it for me. I'm not sure I can put my finger on it; it just wasn't all that enjoyable. Perhaps this isn't the greatest time to watch a movie about 2 people trapped in isolation as they descend into madness.
Last edit: 19 Apr 2020 19:29 by hotseatgames.
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23 Apr 2020 16:56 #309584 by Shellhead
Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2 was an improvement over the loud, hot mess that was vol 1. The reluctant heroes still have an interesting chemistry, and this time the movie leans into it, exploring twin themes of weird friends and dysfunctional families. As usual for MCU movies, the story ambitiously covers a lot of ground, but this time the emotional beats land solidly and even the jokes are a little funnier. I even laughed out loud once. Kurt Russell does a great job playing Starlord's dad, and I loved his deconstruction of the classic rock song Brandy. Slightly better music choices. Lots of action, and the overall story makes sense. Surprising cameos included Ving Rhames, Michelle Yeoh, David Hasselhoff, Michael Rosenbaum, and especially Sylvester Stallone.

Although I thought that Marvel's Ultimate line of comics from the early 2000's was a crappy mess, I am forced to admit that the MCU movies are the Ultimate line done right. All they had to do was make the heroes back into actual heroes instead of sociopathic jerks. Robert Downey Jr's Tony Stark is arrogant and obsessive, but now also a decent guy who takes responsibility for his actions. And Tom Holland's Spider-man is definitely the original Ultimate Spider-man, replacing much of the traditional fight banter with straight-up anxiety and stammering. And they play off each other in interesting ways in Civil War and now Spider-man: Homecoming.

Spider-man: Homecoming is my favorite live-action Spider-man movie so far, though it falls short of the near-perfection of last year's animated Into the Spider-verse movie. Even more than in the first Iron Man movie, we see a new hero humorously struggling to figure out how to even be a superhero, and sometimes making funny mistakes. The movie strikes a great balance at featuring superhero action while also addressing Peter Parker's life as a student, a nephew, and a teenager struggling towards adulthood. And Michael Keaton brings an old and forgettable villain The Vulture into vibrant life as a struggling businessman who feels responsible for his employees. I haven't talked much about this before, but the MCU movies often do a great job with their villains, making them understandable and sometimes even a bit sympathetic. By that measure, the Vulture is one of the best, as a working class guy doing the wrong things for the right reasons. A lot of story in this one, but the pace never drags or skips past a crucial moment.
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24 Apr 2020 21:40 #309629 by Ah_Pook
Michael Keaton was excellent in Homecoming. The scene where the penny drops before the dance was some top tier villainry.

Also, wife and I watched Knives Out tonight, which was a lot of fun. It was literally a big budget episode of Midsummer Murders or whatever, but I love that kind of stuff so there you go. Plus we got a lot of mileage out of mocking Daniel Craig's completely ridiculous accent.
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24 Apr 2020 22:00 #309631 by Sagrilarus

Ah_Pook wrote: Also, wife and I watched Knives Out tonight, which was a lot of fun. It was literally a big budget episode of Midsummer Murders or whatever, but I love that kind of stuff so there you go. Plus we got a lot of mileage out of mocking Daniel Craig's completely ridiculous accent.


My whole family loved it. Over the top from everyone.

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25 Apr 2020 21:18 #309645 by Gary Sax
Crimes of Grindelwald is one of the worst, most boring, movies I've seen in a long time. Making like 8 characters with no energy or charisma is a real choice, as is centering the movie on a completely emotionally unengaged and uncommunicative protaganist. Even if you have good explanations for his behavior it's still bad filmmaking!
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26 Apr 2020 01:14 #309647 by Michael Barnes
Yeah, it’s shocking how bad Crimes of Grindlewald is...I mean, it is astonishingly bad. It reminds me of watching movies like Hudson Hawk or Nothing But Trouble...movies where you can tel that nobody involved really gave a shit because the writing is bad, the characters suck, and the film has nothing to say or express. I watched it on a plane to LA , I fell asleep like three times.

They need to just hang it up on that series. The first movie was pretty bad too, there was nothing enchanting or endearing about it. The lack of imagination was stultifying- “No-majs”, really?

Anyway...Blackcoat’s Daughter was terrible. I generally have good feelings toward slow, pretentious, arty horror...I buy into the whole A24 thing mostly, despite The Lighthouse being utterly worthless. But this one just didn’t spark at all. Some of the spookiness was actually silly (was that the Tailypo?) and the twist felt cheap. Meh. I do really want to watch the director’s new one, Gretel & Hansel. Looks awesome.

The bit in Homecoming where he does the voice thing is hilarious. But yeah. even though it’s good Spiderverse just completely stole its thunder.
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26 Apr 2020 13:01 #309649 by hotseatgames
I watched the 2007 film I am Legend. I had actually never seen it before. For some reason I seem to end up watching films that have unintended impact during this pandemic.

Anyway, I was surprised at how good it was. At first I wondered... why the hell had I never seen this movie before? Then I remembered... when it came out, my kids were 1 year old. I didn't do ANYTHING back then.
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26 Apr 2020 13:26 #309650 by charlest
Yeah I Am Legend is pretty solid. I think I slightly prefer the more wild Omega Man take on the book but they're both entertaining.
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26 Apr 2020 20:10 #309653 by hotseatgames
I also watched Extraction, the new Chris Hemsworth movie on Netflix. He is a mercenary hired to rescue a kid who was kidnapped by a drug lord. There's a lot of good firefights, and overall I enjoyed the film.

I will say I wish they had spent a bit more on the FX budget. Some of the green screen looks subpar.

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27 Apr 2020 10:38 #309676 by Shellhead
Thor: Ragnorak is another high point for the MCU movies. A lot of story, but it moves at a brisk pace with a great mix of action and some humor. But there is also room for some tragedy, including the slaughter of some supporting characters who never quite got enough screen time in the previous Thor movies. Hemsworth and Hiddleston are excellent as usual, and it was good to see Mark Ruffalo and his alter ego back again. I'm not a big fan of Jeff Goldblum, but he was well cast as the Grandmaster. Tessa Thompson was a pleasant surprise. She was good on Veronica Mars, but that was more than a decade ago and I hadn't seen her in anything since. Karl Urban doesn't get a lot of screen time, but just enough to show some actual character development in his story arc. The first time I saw this movie, I was taken aback by how it was mostly a science-fiction movie (or more like science-fantasy like Star Wars), but that's actually appropriate to the original Lee/Kirby concept in the comics. They showed Asgardians as an advanced star-faring civilization that just happened to use a seamless blend of magic and technology.

I have talked here before about Black Panther, because I have always been a big fan of the comic book character. Since I am talking about it again in the context of my re-watching of the entire MCU movie run, I will try to focus my remarks on that perspective. Although Black Panther features the usual MCU mix of lots of plot, some comedy, and loads of actions, it is less funny than any Marvel movie since the Incredible Hulk movie of 2008. This is actually appropriate, since the comic book version of Black Panther has generally been depicted as extremely serious and almost devoid of a sense of humor. Christopher Priest lightened his BP comic run by introducing a comic relief character K. Everett Ross, who was often intentionally drawn to resemble a young Michael J. Fox. However, MCU Panther goes the opposite route, making Ross a straight man target for jokes while humanizing the Black Panther with a dry sense of humor. It's a choice that must have arisen at some point after casting, as Ross is played by comedian/actor Martin Freeman.

The Black Panther movie is visually stunning. The sets are often gorgeous, and the wardrobe of the Wakandan characters managed to catch my attention as both vivid and attractive. The chase scene in Busan, South Korea is against a neon wonderland background, and the subterranean train lines of Wakanda seemed like a futuristic version of Disney's Space Mountain ride. Wakanda itself is an earthly counterpart to Thor's Asgard, a shining city heavily decorated with traditional symbols and textiles and cutting edge technology.

But enough about the surface of this movie. Black Panther is really a movie that is deeply concerned with justice, moreso than most of the MCU's superhero flicks. The primary villain has dedicated his life to avenging his father and also righting all the historic wrongs visited upon people of African descent across the planet. The Black Panther himself struggles with the conflicting desires to protect his people but also help struggling people across the rest of Africa. His best friend W'Kabi breaks with Black Panther over a failure to bring another murderous villain to justice. And the Black Panther even discovers an unjust decision made by his own father. These characters collide in their individual quests for justice, and the violence escalates to the level of a civil war. The ending still shocks me. Rather than end with the traditional triumph of good over evil, the hero and villain go on to share a quiet conversation while watching the sunset. Then the Black Panther acknowledges that the villain had a real point to make regarding injustice, and decides to take up a non-violent version of his cause, starting with the L.A. housing project where the villain was raised.

Like all the MCU movies, Black Panther has a great cast. Quality veterans include Angela Bassett, Forrest Whitaker, Andy Serkis, and Michael B. Jordan of The Wire, and there are some great newer actors as well. Jordan threatens to steal his every scene, but Chadwick Boseman manages to hold his own as the quiet and dignified Black Panther. I was not surprised to see an almost entirely black cast for this movie, but was very pleasantly surprised to see that several female characters got great roles that gave each of them the chance to shine.
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27 Apr 2020 10:57 #309680 by Gary Sax
I think the number one thing that lets black panther down is its B team CGI. The CGI fight scenes look shockingly and distractingly bad for an MCU. You can tell the main team was on the avengers movie.

But overall it's a pretty good film.
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27 Apr 2020 11:10 #309682 by jeb
I liked BLACK PANTHER a lot. Just from a pacing perspective, it moves at a clip that other one-hero movies rarely manage. It's also not trying to jam at the frenetic pace of an AVENGERS flick, so I think it's probably the tightest one since RAGNAROK, probably a function of more talented directing.
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27 Apr 2020 11:18 #309685 by Shellhead
Great point about pacing, Jeb. I normally mention pacing, and I often resent movies that run over two hours because those movies tend to feel padded out. Black Panther clocks in at 2 hours and 14 minutes, but it needs that time and doesn't waste it. The pacing is always just right. Fast in the action scenes, and then slowing just enough for the character moments to land properly.
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27 Apr 2020 11:46 #309686 by Jackwraith
My problems with Black Panther were somewhat more esoteric and had a lot to do with the origin story that Lee and Kirby dreamed up. So, you're telling me that the shining example for justice and equality in not just Africa but the world is... a hereditary monarchy, the succession of which is decided by single combat? Also, despite a hyper-technologized state, they've somehow never decided to protect the crucial plant that makes BP who he is from simple vandalism? I guess one could posit that the fact that they still do everything in the traditional cave and cliffside is just a marker of how tradition is hard to shake off... except that this is the state that's supposed to be so forward-looking that they're conducting espionage on behalf of repressed groups around the world, which doesn't exactly synthesize with a tradition-bound society. Part of the problem, again, is that origin story. It's very tied to Heart of Darkness/noble savage stuff that demonstrates a pretty limited understanding of what Africa was at the time that Stan and Joe dreamed it up.

On the filmmaking side of it, while the performances were good, I think it's a measure of my growing disdain for the MCU, in general, in that I endured rather than enjoyed the last third of the film. To that point, we had a fairly tense and interesting political thriller that then flipped a switch into the cyber-rhinos and explosions that are apparently necessary to conclude every offering that Marvel presents. Yes, I know. Superhero fans are here for the explosions. Fine. But they actually had a decent film going up to that point and then it turned into a Saturday morning cartoon. I'm just over that now. My favorite MCU film is Iron Man, because it's not just a good superhero film. It's a good film, period. But even I was doing the "let's move along" motion with my hand during the big fight with Stane at the end and that was 12 years ago. Marvel has not changed that formula at all and it's gotten to the point where I'm just not interested in their output any longer. I gave up reading superhero comics over 25 years ago for that reason: it's the same thing, over and over. It was disappointing that Black Panther was tied to that same cinderblock.

The funniest moment was sitting in the theater with my girlfriend who, in reaction to the bright colors, music, and dancing taking place before the succession fight (Single combat? Really? For the leader of the most advanced state in the world? You couldn't come up with anything better (both culture and writers)?) leaned over and whispered: "It's like a Disney movie." I chuckled and said: "Well, considering who owns Marvel, it actually IS a Disney movie."

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