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2022.11.29

Wingspan

Stonemaier games got famous when the owner, Jamey Stegmaier, blogged every aspect of his upcoming Kickstarter campaign. People felt confident with his struggles, thoughts and solutions.

After some success, Stonemaier created another hit. This time the game was not design by Jamey, but by the first comer Elizabeth Hargrave. Wingspan (which is currently at the high tier in BoardGameGeek) let you collect birds that provide special powers, that accumulate turn after turn. I bought it as a last year Christmas gift for my wife last year and it became one of the most played games in our collection.

Little eggs

Positives

Components and art, OMG, are all high quality and adorable. The board, the cards, the dice tower, the eggs… ohhh… don’t even mention the colorful eggs. The color do not have any gameplay meaning, but they are adorable. People always react when seeing those little eggs.

The care in creating each bird card is astonishing. The flavor text is rich of details, and most of them have a real implication in the game itself. Bird size, breeding pattern, type of food… it’s all grounded in reality!

There are objectively better birds than others, but the external objectives and bonuses may increase the usefulness of birds on each play. Considering also the large amount of cards, at least for the sake of replayability, it’s a major plus.

The core value of this game is the engine building mechanism. Each time you get a new bird, it’s powers will be used in subsequent turns. So by the end of the match, some super powerful combos will be created. It’s very satisfying to activate a multi-point machine!

Wigspan components

Negatives

This game is a multiplayer solitaire: while you can somewhat manipulates resources and face up birds a bit, it is best to be occupied to “do your best”. My nephews were hooked all the time, but mostly commenting about the birds looks and imagining their next moves.

It is very difficult to keep track of other people’s boards. So it is really hard to counter act. None will take mental notes tracking other players. But for those who actually do this, it could represent a major strategic advantage.

The abilities are fun but and require a lot of reading to understand. While the text are not long, the font is bit small.

The dice tower, despite being cute, is prone to damage over time. I already not using it in my sessions, in order to preserve it.

Wigspan components

My Rating:9β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
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2017.07.03

Hacksaw Ridge

I wanted to watch the latest Mel Gibson movie as a director because… it was Mel Gibson. I understand that Gibson plays a nuts role in most peoples minds, but as Β a director, he is a quite talented one. I did not know much about the movie, except it was about a war (probably second great war, based on the trailer) and Gibson was the project leader. It was enough to make me curious.

After 30 minutes into the movie, I had to admit that I was hooked. Cool characters, cool story, very nice production.

Now, after seeing it entirely, I have to say: WOW. What a great movie it is! I was not expecting this quality.

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Gore

If you have heart problem, have kids with you watching or do not support violence and gore, keep away form this picture. It has it all. Like some super-realistic WWII movies (like the superb Saving Private Ryan), Hacksaw Ridge shows the battles in a visceral way. Gibson is very familiar with this, because Braveheart and Passion of the Christ are also displaying violence in its crudeness.

But for all of these movies, the crude violence is informative. It sets the tone of despair and importance of simple acts. You can see the real courageous and the cowards. The cost of the victory and the burden of the defeat.

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Religion

One of the major themes is about religion prejudice. It dedicates half of its time talking about how the military (and society in general) are very prejudicial against religious people, specially those fanatics. It tries to convince that, despite the fanaticism, all people should be respected. Quite bold and powerful message in times that Muslim fanatics are doing so many terrorist acts.

But the political argument was not about muslins, but about Gibson himself. It is well knowing that Mel is a very religious person. In the last past movies, he always touched the subject. Passion of the Christ and Apocalypto address some religions views and practices. I felt that Hacksaw Ridge, sometimes, seems to be made only for the purpose of justification of his own behavior and believes.

But despite the original intention an violent aesthetics, it is a must-see.

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My Rating:9β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
Metacritic: 71
Rotten Tomatoes: 84
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2016.11.10

Mad Max: Fury Road

Breath taking.

I just watched and it is really good. Both the visuals and the high intense action are breath taking.

I felt that, if a blink, I lose something important. I miss the experience. I plan to, someday, watch again.

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Everything Miller did was right. The cast is excellent. The new Max (which I would bet that he is not the same Mel Gibson’s. Maybe the son?) is likable. The secondary characters are likable. Even the super weird archenemy is likable.

The music is again very good but what makes this movie great are, as said before, its visuals and the unstoppable actions scenes.

The scenes, mostly made using practical effects (real live cars, explosions and doubles) are amazing. And Miller transformed it entirely by post processing it fully, like it was shot against the blue/green screen. The desolation from the desert came not form a Earth’s landscape, but from a computer. However it is not a demerit. In fact, due the correct and artistic way it was employed, the virtual scenery an color correction makes the movie a one-of-a-kind.

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I totally recommend you to watch.

My Rating:9β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
Metacritic: 90
Rotten Tomatoes: 97
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2016.10.03

12 Angry Men

I was looking for quite some time for some stories that used a minimal amount of resources, like scenarios or visual effects, and were mainly focused on characters. I was interested on these kind of story mostly because I was planning to write some stories that would allow me to produce them by my own. Therefore an inexpensive production is a requirement. I needed an inspiration. Some real case examples to put into my wall and see that is a possible feat.

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Then I stumble, in a short period of time, in 2 articles (a video from WatchMojo and an article from IGN) that listed a series of movies that features the characteristics. Among both articles, a unanimous praise for a very old movie staring Mr Fonda called 12 Angry Men (the Brazilian Portuguese title is 12 Homens e Uma Sentença, something like 12 Men and a Sentence). So I gave it a shot.

And man! Instant classic. Instant love.

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The principle here is simple. The 12 jurymen have to decide, unanimously, if the accused boy is guilty or not guilty. But what seemed to be a very easy and straight forward decision reveals to be more intricate. Because the unanimously condition have to be followed, it forces all the characters to level their beliefs and reasons towards one single point. That is what the whole conflict is placed: they all differs in backstory and value different things.

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Fonda (which I cannot recall the name. In fact, I think the characters are never presented by name) is the main star of the film, but there is a very distributed character relevance here. I’m not going to say that the twelve characters are equal, but there are at least five that are constantly relevant throughout the whole story. They control the flux of the story. Fonda is the protagonist because the whole conflict and he is the major force towards one line of the thought. And there are a central antagonist, that opposes Fonda all the way. Yet is one of the most distributed stories I can remember.

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All happens into a single room. In a rainy night. All the shots take place from different angles from this tiny room. It is definitively a challenge for cinematography, but they done it. It becomes very personal and intimate. There is not much visual demand here because the lighting and the scenario is very mundane.

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The performances are convincing and all characters fell that they have their own personality. From the talkative salesman to the awkward accounting.

Classic. Entered in my personal Best movies of All Time list. A must-see.

My Rating:9β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
Metacritic: 96
Rotten Tomatoes: 84
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2014.11.17

The Fault in Our Stars

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I was waiting a moment with my girlfriend to watch what I was expecting to be a silly romance story. The Fault in Our Stars was a best seller book, adapted to the big screen. And it is more than enough to make me shiver. Twilight Saga and Fifty Shades of Grey are recent proof of what book editors are best selling.

But for my surprise, this one is a great movie. Amazing character development, very sad story with a great dosage of first love romance. I cried from start to end.

The actors deliver the characters with nice performances. I cannot remember right now a single actor that was bellow-par. Shailene Woodley is gorgeous and with the make up and different haircut, she is even more beautiful. Great actress too, because she makes you care deeply about her character, the protagonist Hazel.

Her friend and lover Augustus, played by Ansel Ergot, is less believable, but very likable. He is always positive about life and drives the whole dark tone of cancer with much lighter.

The human relations, even on very dare moments of life, is really

I totally recommend this movie.

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My Rating:9β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
Metacritic: 68
Rotten Tomatoes: 81
Bruno π•„π”Έπ•Šπ•Šπ”Έ