Archive for board game

‘Beyond the Gates’: Go get those keys!

Posted in drama, horror, Movies, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2017 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Director: Jackson Stewart

Studio: Destroy All Entertainment

Review Rating: 7 out of 10

A pair of brothers come together after a long estrangement to take care of their missing fathers effects, and come across an old board game that may very well hold the key to finding their father.

So, it’s not a bad premise to start off with. The very beginning of the movie shows a proud Dad (Henry LeBlanc) with his wife (Caryn Richman) and two younger sons, preparing to open what looks like a hole-in-the-wall comic-book-gaming-store. Then suddenly its some years later and the two older brothers have come back together after some time apart, to close down Dads store and pack everything away, since Dads been missing for some seven months now. The proposed timelines in the film, and the complete disappearance of Mom after that initial first scene, were kind of muddled, but whatever, we go on.

Gordon Hardesty (Graham Skipper) is the far more serious of the brothers, whereas his sibling John (Chase Williamson) is kind of flighty and humbly admits to not having a serious job or girlfriend when they reunite. John sports this drifter friend Hank (Justin Welborn), who seems like your average barfly asshole, and both brothers seem to recall not-so-fondly from their childhoods their acquaintance Derek (Matt Mercer), who’s now become a policeman in their old town. Gordon’s girlfriend Margot (Brea Grant) inevitably shows up at some point, because we need a female Protagonist in there somewhere too, and that mostly rounds out the roster of the movie. Which is fine, there doesn’t have to be a slew of actors in a given movie.

So Gordon and John discover this old VCR boardgame Beyond the Gates, and decide to play it for the hell of it, kind of a memorial to their father. And suddenly this ghoulish-looking woman, Evelyn, is on their TV giving commands on how to play the game and potentially free their father from, say it with me, beyond the gates.

Inevitably, the brothers need a series of keys to unlock the gates. And the finding of these keys involves a goodly amount of Voodoo-like bloodshed, but its in these scenes where the movie truly shines. Exploding heads and trailing guts as practical effects are hard to do well, but this movie managed it, I thought. But after keys are procured and more creepy instructions issued by Evelyn, the film kind of falters and seems to lose steam rather than gaining it. Did they run out of money, or ideas? I don’t know, but it was a pretty standard trope to have the girlfriend possessed, have the brothers go to hell (or wherever), fight a pair of demons and then roundaboutly save their father.

It would have been nice to have some more background on a great many things in Beyond the Gates – how Dad got involved in the boardgame in the first place, where the Curio shop fits into all of this, what the hells happened to Mom, etc. – but I guess there’s only so much time to fit in everything. The soundtrack is pretty good, and it’s always nice to see Barbara Crampton in yet another Horror role.

Look into what’s Beyond the Gates on Netflix!

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Battleship

Posted in Action, comedy, drama, Fantasy, Historical, Movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 8, 2012 by aliciamovie

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio: Battleship Delta Productions

MPAA Rating: PG 13

Director: Peter Berg

Review Rating: 7

During a rare joint exercise and training mission between the American and Japanese navy and military in Hawaii, alien technology attacks and Earth is forced to defend itself!

The film is done in a very Michael Bay style, replete with explosions and twisty metal bits that shift in midflight awesomely everywhere, and sadly we end up watching the film in a very Bay fashion too. That is, like Transformers 3 for example, half the movie is spent in superfluous dubious humanity, where the hero of the film is screwing up and we’re supposed to care, all the while waiting for the mind boggling alien tech and the BOOMS! we just know are coming. They better be, since we’re sitting through this tearjerker stuff tacked onto a movie based on a Hasbro military strategy game, ok?

So in an unprecedented move, the navies and militaries of America and Japan decided to have joint wargames and whatnot, here in Hawaii. There’s a lot of hoo-hah about Pearl Harbor, that sort of thing. And sure, there’s more or less friendly competition between all involved, which of course leads to strife between our American protag Alex Hopper (did anyone else get shades of Hot Shots with that name?) and his Japanese counterpart Yugi Nagata, acted by Taylor Kitsch and Tadanobu Asano, respectively. All that is completely forgotten when, in the midst of games and training going on amongst the navies, some alien tech falls out of the sky and, I kid you not, sets up the playing field so noone can escape, and then proceeds to play Battleship with, well, everyone.

These are the moments that make the movie worth watching, despite knowing what it’s based on. Not Liam Neeson barking orders as Admiral Shane, despite my love for the man. Not singer Rihanna either, I hadn’t even known that until I saw it in the credits. Not Alexander Skarsgard as Commander Hopper either, he’s still yummy anyway. No, when the alien tech proceeds to split apart into four separate water units, each one striped with a different neon color, OMG just like the boardgame, that’s what we want! Or like when the alien tech proceeds to start firing on the earth forces, these giant pegs that dig into our ships hulls and explode mightily soon thereafter – they’re shaped like giant versions of the pegs one uses to “sink my Battleship” in the board game, ha! The rolling spikey balls of alien tech doom are a bit much, as are the flying planes, since neither one has a thing to do with the boardgame, but hey, they had to keep the audience’s attention somehow. And while I did enjoy the revamp and use of the retired floating museum, being piloted by the rather old war veterans who’re the only ones who remember how, I find it a bit hard to believe that all that badass alien tech could be destroyed like that. However, we’re so far beyond reality with this movie, just sit back and laugh – don’t pick it apart or expect it to be realistic in any way.

And yes, sorry to disappoint those of you expecting it – very little about the alien tech that caused these games in the first place, is revealed at the end of the movie. We’ve won the game, here’s a ceremony for all the men and women who get approbations and such for defeating the alien tech, annnnnd the movie’s over. Aw. For the most part, I actually enjoyed the film, one just needs to remember not to think of it as any kind of dramatic cinema, but rather a romp through Berg’s twisted imagination that made a boardgame into a movie!