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Added by the giraffe on 29 Mar 2014 06:17
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Movies the giraffe watched in 2014: April

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The breakdown: 24 movies watched, one of which I gave up on & didn't finish - 17 via Netflix instant, 4 in the theatre, and 3 on DVD; of those 20 were first views, 4 were re-watches, and they came from the following decades: 30s, 60s, 80s, 90s, 00s, and 2010s.

My attempts to clean out some of my Netflix IQ resulted in my getting 17 films watched, so that's pretty good for one month I think. I did have a handful I ran out of time to watch, but only two films went away so I'm far from disappointed about that. I also managed to make it to the theatres 4 different times, a big step up from none last month, enticed by new & old films alike. A lack of time & funds early in the month prevented me from taking more advantage of free time to spend at Drafthouse, but that's been put behind me so I anticipate less missed opportunities going forward. The timing on that is perfect as we move into the summer blockbuster season which does have a handful of films on the horizon I'm very excited about. So yeah, all in all April was a good month for me, and the variety of films I got watched helped stave off boredom and feelings of overload. And so I hope to maintain an average of 20 films a month for the near future. Don't hold me to that though, as you never know when life will intervene. ;)

Best new-to-me film for April: Basquiat
Best hidden gem: In the Loop / Nightmare City (tie)
Worst film (excluding the one I gave up on): True Legend
People who added this item 377 Average listal rating (295 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.5
Re-watch - April 5th

I loved the cartoon back when it was around, so when they made the movie my girlfriend at the time & I went to see it in the theatre. And I dug it about as much as the show. Later on I picked up a used copy for less than $5, but hadn't got around to watching it again. Well, today to my pleasant surprise the kiddo pulled it off the shelf & said we should watch it.

And she enjoyed it. By the time it ended she was asking for more of their cartoons, so I'll have to get a hold of the DVDs released from the series at some point. I still enjoy it too, and was surprised to see I hadn't rated it before now. Sure it's your basic origin story, but it retains everything that made the series worthwhile without messing anything up. It's entertaining, action-packed, and displays a sense of humor that keeps it fun. It never crosses the line into greatness, but it serves as a perfect introduction for the uninitiated while covering the full background story which the show never attempted (beyond the brief retelling in the opening credits, that is).

Just a thought: I think my favorite joke is the doughnut shop full of cops that's called "Donut Thing".
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People who added this item 1660 Average listal rating (1186 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.5
First viewing - April 13th

A local childcare facility had an event on this day where they had a petting zoo & screened Frozen in their theatre room, so I took the kiddo to check it all out. And yeah, Frozen was good. She loved it far more than I did, which isn't too surprising. I thought there was far too much singing (musicals, meh) but otherwise it was entertaining enough. A bit predictable, but that tends to be the case with Disney's animated films these days. The animation is pretty awesome though for the most part, and I think I was more impressed by that than anything else. Anyway, I wouldn't go out of my way to watch it again but if she ever asks me to watch it with her I probably will.
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People who added this item 466 Average listal rating (265 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.5
First viewing - April 16th

Freaking hilarious. This film has what are now some of my favorite lines from a movie ever. It could be a little more consistently funny, but that's a minor complaint given how hard I laughed at some parts. Thank you fellow Listalites for putting this one on my radar.

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People who added this item 1169 Average listal rating (748 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 7.4
Re-watch - April 19th

Nothing new to add here really. Picked this one up on the cheap recently so I'd have it around for the kiddo, and so I watched it on this day with her. She enjoyed it & said she wants to watch it "many more times."
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First viewing - April 19th

I wanted to see this one in the theatre but it never worked out. So naturally the moment I saw it had popped up on Netflix Instant I added it so I could finally watch it. And now I'm thankful to my fellow Listalites for their thoughts which led me to lower my expectations with this one, otherwise I would likely have hated it.

Now I'm not saying I think this is a bad movie. It held my attention and was even entertaining at times. Add to that the fact that it effectively defies any expectations one might have based on Dupieux's previous films by trying something decidedly different, which does earn my respect. But honestly I don't think it works very well. The trouble is that the film is full of unlikable characters, none of whom possess enough charm to endear the audience to their antics. So the audience is likely to either be turned off completely or else remain passive for the most part like I did. The lack of a strong plot doesn't help either, as the whole thing plays somewhat like a slice of life film but of a world that's clearly not real. I was somewhat prepared for all of this, which probably explains why I'm not rating Wrong Cops lower, but it still left me at the end with a feeling of disappointment. That said, sometimes directors we love turn out a film or two that sucks compared to the rest of their creations, so I'm not giving up on Dupieux just yet. But it's safe to say I'll never watch this one again.

Just a thought: By far my favorite moment was Jack Plotnick's cameo. And seeing what could have been the tire from Rubber in a homeless man's shopping cart was also a nice touch.

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People who added this item 836 Average listal rating (538 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.9
First viewing - April 25th

So one of my best friends had me convinced I wasn't missing anything by skipping this film, so it was never much of a priority for me to check it out. But then it popped up on Netflix & I figured I'd give it a shot. And now I'm sorry I listened to him.

Robert Rodriguez's directorial debut is a solidly entertaining film from start to finish. The story is fairly similar to Desperado, minus the recognizable faces. But that doesn't mean it's not worth watching. It never crosses the line of greatness, but it has all of the hallmarks of RR's style & thus is a joy to watch to see how far he's come.

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People who added this item 2065 Average listal rating (1286 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8.2
First viewing - April 28th

Yet another Scorsese film that's impressive on technical levels & has a decent story, yet fails to make me fall in love with it. As you probably know the cast is excellent, especially De Niro's performance, and it's an interesting biopic through & through that works well as a character study. But I find it difficult to get deeply invested in such an unlikable character, and Jake La Motta is definitely that. Even when he's working his way up through the ranks with obvious talent, he's disrespectful to women so that coupled with his jealousy issues made me cheer any time a woman left him or shake my head any time Vickie gave in to him. Raging Bull does a great job of showing La Motta's rise and fall, and by the end of it I felt like he ended up more or less where he belonged. So while I appreciated many aspects, I can't say it's a film that endeared itself to me nor one I'd be too interested in watching again.

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People who added this item 42 Average listal rating (21 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.4
First viewing - April 28th

After the machismo of Raging Bull I decided to balance things out with a heavy dose of feminism with this documentary about Kathleen Hanna. I've long been aware of Miz Hanna by name & reputation, as she helped launch riot grrl with her band Bikini Kill and became a major voice for feminism since the early '90s. But I never really picked up any of their albums, nor Le Tigre's, and not for any good reason. The Punk Singer was released last year to coincide with the release of the debut album from Miz Hanna's new project The Julie Ruin, and ultimately it feels like a marketing tool for her comeback.

This doc serves to give insight into Miz Hanna's musical past, and for the most part does an excellent job. However, there's very little criticism that comes up, and when it does it's addressed directly by Hanna & her supporters. It would make more sense to me to bring in a handful of detractors & let them speak their minds, but at the same time there's an overall positive attitude here that that approach would likely take away from. Still, it kinda irked me. Then too, the film seems to assume that its audience would be full of people who are already fans, rather than approaching the material as a way to attract new fans & inform the uninitiated. Songs get commented on before or while they're played, rather than playing a song first for the audience to hear & letting whoever comment on it after (which makes more sense to me).

Now don't get me wrong, I mostly enjoyed this doc. It encouraged me to pick up some of the albums I've ignored over the years, and reinforced the interest & support sparked by The Julie Ruin's album. But I felt like it could have been even better.

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Monthly focus: Netflix IQ clean-up

So one summer a few years ago I asked people to vote on what was in my IQ in hopes it'd help me figure out what to watch. And to some degree it worked out well. However, I've still got a handful of films that received votes which I haven't got to yet. There's only 5 left at this point (as far as I can tell, anyway, and not counting any that left Instant before I could get to them), so I'm making it my priority to finally get them watched before another summer rolls around.
People who added this item 1368 Average listal rating (703 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.7
First viewing - April 6th

The above date makes it look like I watched this all in one sitting, but the truth is that I started it after midnight, was falling asleep about an hour into it, and had to watch the rest later the next night. So it's entirely possible that my rating would be higher had I watched it all at once...but I kinda doubt it. Because, see, here's the thing. This is a very interesting movie with some very entertaining moments. In between said moments, however, we have dialogue-free visual sequences that tend to go on longer than seems necessary which causes the whole film to feel longer than it is. And at late hours of the night, the only impression these scenes leave on me is sleepiness. Pretty sure if you cut them out this would clock in under an hour & a half, which also suggests filler. Or maybe I'm missing some cinematic artsy-fartsy point somewhere. It happens.

Anyway, I'm glad I finally watched Dead Man. The cast is excellent, and for the most part I did like it. The music got really repetitive & thus a little irritating after a while, but before it wore out its welcome with me I was kinda enjoying it. Which I guess could be true of the film as a whole.

I dunno. Maybe I should watch more of Jarmusch's films & come back to this one again later? If anyone has feedback on that idea, please let me know, because this is the first film of his I've watched all the way through (I tried to watch Broken Flowers but it bored me so much I gave up on it).

Just a thought: Now I know where Jack White gets his image ideas from.

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People who added this item 299 Average listal rating (165 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.9
First viewing - April 7th

This is one of those films I'd never heard of until I joined this website & saw others sing its praises (come to think of it, that's true of all the films listed in this section except Basquiat). Thanks to Netflix I knew it was a documentary, so I was surprised to learn that the majority of it is shown without comment or narration. And that's cool, because it lets the visual majesty of these small creatures speak for itself. I'd be lying though if I said I didn't create my own commentary here and there, but that made it fun too. Toward the end I decided I should leave this in my IQ just to put on randomly in the background whenever people are over & see what they comment on. Seems like it could be fun that way too.

Also I started thinking about how much it'd suck for millipedes if they had to wear shoes. "Well, I got all my shoes on. And it's bed time. Guess I'll sleep in them so I can do something tomorrow." What would happen if they lost a shoe while walking? With that many legs they'd be bound to spend 1/5 of their day replacing lost shoes & retying laces. Unless they wore slip-ons, which would surely save them time. And what about socks? Would they lose them in the dryer? Could a dryer withstand so many socks? Would all their socks have to match or would they take whatever they could get? Oh man, I bet laundromats would HATE millipedes that came in to wash their socks. And I bet millipedes would really hate it if you untied their shoes, or tied some laces together.

Anyway, yeah, I'd say this was worth a look.

Just a thought: As entertained as I was by this film, it's not as entertaining as this or any of the other "True Facts About..." videos.
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People who added this item 1110 Average listal rating (603 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.4
First viewing - April 8th

Yep, still catching up on Peter Jackson's older films. I thought this one was really good. I loved the two main characters & the friendship they had, and as a result the whole film was definitely entertaining. I didn't realize this was Kate Winslet's first movie role, but her talent was obvious even then. Course I also didn't realize this was something that really happened, but finding that out only made it more fascinating. I'm not sure that it crossed the line into greatness for me, but I definitely enjoyed it & would gladly watch it again.

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First viewing - April 10th

In a lot of ways this reminded me of American History X, which is not a bad thing. The cast is great, the story is well-told with some thought-provoking & hard-to-watch moments, and there's the similar themes of white supremacy & racism at the center. I really appreciated everything they did here, but it didn't leave me with much to say about it I guess. I liked it & I'd watch it again some time, but it fell just a little short of crossing the line into greatness for me for some reason.

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People who added this item 371 Average listal rating (201 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.9
First viewing - April 12th

So I knew I was in for a treat as the credits rolled by & I saw who all was in this movie: Gary Oldman, Dennis Hopper, Benicio Del Toro, Christopher Walken, Willem Dafoe, hell even David Bowie is in this (as you can see above). And I was not disappointed at all. Now, granted, I'm not familiar with Jean-Michel Basquiat, so perhaps my response to it would be different if I was. But I thought the film was very entertaining, the cast was excellent (especially Jeffrey Wright in the lead role), and by the end of it I wanted to learn more about the artist & his work. So I can only conclude that it succeeded on all levels, at least for me.

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Big screen attractions

Films I caught in the theatre
Re-watch - April 21st

All month long, Alamo Drafthouse has been showing some "Class of 1984" movies. Sadly I missed Purple Rain, and less sadly I missed Temple of Doom (not my favorite of the series, but they had a dinner menu screening with "chilled monkey brains" and a Quote-Along, either of which would have made it totally worth sitting through again). But no way was I going to miss this one, what with it permanently sitting somewhere in my top 10 horror films ever. Back in the late '80s/early '90s I fell in love with this series, as well as the TV show it spawned Freddy's Nightmares, and this was the film that started it all for me. 30 years later it still holds up pretty damn well & I still get that magical feeling when it ends. Sure, some of the effects are a bit dated now but I honestly don't care. The only thing that mildly irked me this time is some flawed time logic near the end, but again it's forgivable given how much enjoyment I get from this movie. Now if I can just get Drafthouse to do a Nightmare-athon of the first 6 films & New Nightmare, that would be Awesome (and yes, I've already asked someone there about doing it).

Just a thought: Best part of Drafthouse's pre-show entertainment for this one was easily them showing the entire music video for the Fat Boys' "Are You Ready for Freddy?".
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First viewing - April 24th

First off it should be noted that I generally dislike Cap'n 'murica. The whole boy scout thing annoys me & he's just not that interesting of a character in my book. So I skipped the first film, but the trailers for this one looked pretty good & the feedback on it has been generally positive so I figured what the hell & bought a ticket to see it (in 2D, in case that matters). And surprisingly I have zero regrets about that decision.

Of all the Marvel sequels so far, this is easily the best one. It works great as a standalone film, in that you don't need to know the origin tale to get what's going on. And you don't need to have seen the rest of the films in the Marvel universe series either, as the story is self-contained (though it also serves to influence the overall direction of the series leading up to the next Avengers film, as well as the next CA movie). The action sequences are excellent all around, the story is solid...actually about the only thing I thought didn't work so well is the fact that it's obvious early on who the "Winter Soldier" actually is, which means all their attempts to surprise you with it are ultimately pointless. And I thought the latter of the two "hidden" credits scenes was kinda pointless. But otherwise I really dug this film & would gladly watch it again.

Just a thought: My two favorite things both involved Nick Fury: the story about his grandfather and the epitaph on his headstone.
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Re-watch - April 26th

Starting at the beginning of this month, Alamo Drafthouse has been screening ALL of the Marx Brothers' films in order of release, one per weekend. Sadly I haven't been able to make it to any of the other screenings before this one, but hey, at least I finally made it to one of them, right? And best of all was the timing on their screening of Duck Soup, which allowed me to take my dad (the person who originally sat me down to watch a Marx Bros. movie) for his birthday.

As you can tell from my rating I love the hell outta this movie, and I think I've discussed it enough on this site over the years. So suffice it to say I'm so glad I got the chance to see it on the big screen. I just hope one day they screen some of the other ones again.
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People who added this item 828 Average listal rating (506 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 5.8
Noah (2014)
First viewing - April 30th

As a long-time fan of Aronofsky, I'd already decided to watch this despite my indifference to the source material. And as luck would have it, going on a weekday afternoon allowed me to watch it all by myself which was very nice. The film itself, however, was more or less what I expected. I was certainly entertained by Noah, and there are some interesting ideas put forth about the titular character's choices and actions. The visuals also made it worth catching on the big screen, and I don't think home viewers will get the full scope. The CGI effects are a mixed bag as on a few occasions I was consciously aware that I was watching something fake. And I was a little surprised the film got a PG-13 rating given the amount of blood & violence in the film, but then again there's a complete lack of expletives and no nudity so I guess that means it doesn't need an R (and yet most PG-13 movies aren't allowed to show blood). Anyway, Aronofsky has made another good film here, but it never crossed the line into greatness for me & to be honest while I was entertained well enough this is just one of those films I'll never need to watch again. In fact it's probably safe to say this is my least favorite of his films.

Just a thought: Why is everyone in this film white?
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Netflix Instant Project 2014


Netflix Instant Project 2014


Last year I ran the NIP, but this year I've been too busy to manage it. So portlander stepped in & took it over for 2014, and the forum thread is here if you'd like to join us.
People who added this item 136 Average listal rating (102 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 6.1
First viewing - April 3rd

Recommended by VierasTalo


After the boredom of Easy Rider, the next time I sat down for a movie I decided to pick something in the Action category so I'd more likely be entertained. And this film did the trick. The fight scenes were so good I couldn't help but be consistently entertained, and the story was pretty good. As films go it's not very original, but the way it treated the story it felt fresh enough. Keanu still isn't very impressive acting-wise, and he's got a long way to go with directing too before anyone gives him accolades, but for his debut he does a decent enough job. The side plot with the police could have been better handled (and one moment was especially unbelievable), but it works to break up the story a little so we're not just watching a million fight scenes in a row & little else.

Overall though I was satisfied with this one, and I'd probably watch it again down the road. It won't change anyone's life, but if you're looking for a decent martial arts flick you could do far worse.

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People who added this item 82 Average listal rating (48 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 5.7
First viewing - April 21st

Recommended by VierasTalo


After watching Elm Street I decided to have a Nightmare double feature when I got home & sat down with this film. And I was not at all disappointed that I did. This Italian B horror movie gave me everything I wanted. People dying because they made stupid decisions? Check. Crazy blood & gore? Check. Random nudity? Check again. Hilarious dialogue? Check big time.

My only concern was I thought the ending was going to ruin it, but then it didn't at all. I'd totally watch this one again.

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First viewing - April 26th/27th

Recommended by Aaron Widera


I'd never heard of this one before, and now I guess I see why. You'd think a Fritz Lang film starring Henry Fonda would be pretty damn good, right? More like mediocre in my opinion. Honestly the whole story could have been wrapped up in about 30 minutes, but it gets stretched out to an hour & a half & thus drags along for the most part. I knew more or less where it was headed from the beginning, so I should have just turned it off & gone to bed instead of fighting to stay awake until the end. Now that's not to say it's a bad film all around. The acting is good and it does have some entertaining moments. The music's pretty good too. But I was more passively entertained along the way, when I wasn't annoyed/falling asleep thanks to the plot being stretched farther than necessary.

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Netflix exorcisms

Films I caught before Netflix removed them from Instant Watch
First viewing - April 11th

I'd added this one to my queue last year when it was part of the Netflix Instant Project, but it got dropped before I got around to it. Well, this time around I managed to catch it in time, though I won't be too surprised if it returns again. Anyway, I can't say I was too impressed with it. It's pretty cheesy, clearly a B movie, and the best thing I can say is that it was entertaining enough I was never tempted to turn it off. But I was never deeply invested in the proceedings and thus wouldn't watch it again.

Just a thought: Not sure I'd consider this a zombie movie despite the term "zombie" being used in it to describe the deteriorated humans who survive the comet's effects. The number of zombies is less than the number of humans for one thing (at least as far as what we see goes) & they're more of a side note to the overall story.
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People who added this item 99 Average listal rating (62 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.4
First viewing - April 13th

I love Yuen Woo-Ping, so I wanted to check out this film of his. Turns out I should've skipped it. It starts out really well, full of the excellent sort of action sequences the man has become known for & I was digging it. The villain's motivations are kinda stupid, but I was able to let that slide so long as the other parts of the film were working well, which I thought they were (shoddy CGI work aside). Then the film's last half hour comes along & it all falls apart mainly because it's never properly tied into the first 3/4 of the run time. After spending almost an hour & a half on a revenge plot, it ends & we follow our main character as he takes on foreign invaders whom we haven't seen before or heard talked about by the other characters. This disconnect left me scratching my head & ultimately I was disappointed by the film as a whole. Had they either stuck only to the revenge tale or else pared it down to half the movie & given us at least an hour fleshing out the invasion subplot, this could have been a damn good movie. Instead it's just a mess.

So I'd say if you really want to watch this one, turn it off as soon as the revenge tale runs its course & spare yourself the rest.

Just a thought: I can't deny I was amused by the nods to Kill Bill by having Gordon Liu play a character that looks like Pai Mei & David Carradine showing up as the leader of the foreign fighters.
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People who added this item 406 Average listal rating (276 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 7.1
Bull Durham (1988)
First viewing - April 29th

I've seen parts of this over the years, because it's one of those movies my dad watches every time he comes across it on cable, but I'd never sat down to watch the entire thing until now. And it's fairly good. Mostly though I felt like the writer watched Major League when it came out in 1986 & wrote this script as a more mature, down-to-earth version of that story. Hotshot rookie pitcher with a wild arm? Check. Catcher that's past his prime? Check. Baseball team that isn't working well together? Check. Secondary character who believes in voodoo? Check.

Fortunately the ways in which it differs from Major League do help the film find its own identity, but it's pretty obvious how it will end even if it does manage to avoid going over the top. So while I did enjoy it it's definitely not great, and I wouldn't go out of my way to watch it again. If I had cable though, maybe I wouldn't skip past it, provided nothing better was on.

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I tried, but I gave up

People who added this item 1291 Average listal rating (793 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.4
Attempted viewing - April 2nd

You know a movie isn't working for you when you decide to get up & clean your house. And then when you stop & come back to see what's going on & you haven't missed anything? Well, that's when I turn it off. How this became a classic film I'll never know, because I clearly don't have the patience to sit through it all. What a lame way to start off the month.

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Starting this month off with a big bang with the plan to tackle my Netflix IQ & finally rid it of some films I've intended to get watched for far too long now. April looks to be a very productive month as far as watching movies goes as I'll have more free time thanks to a (much needed & overdue) job change, so I intend to go a bit overboard this month. Though by doing so I'm likely setting myself up to dial it way down for May, but let's just enjoy this while it lasts.

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Comments

Posted: 4 years, 3 months ago at Apr 20 6:19
I don't blame you for giving up on Easy Rider. During the first half of the movie I thought it was decent, but found it overrated. However when Jack Nicholson appeared, I liked the movie even more and the acid trip scene was good enough for me to bump it from a 7/10 to an 8/10. There is a part of me that wants to call this movie overrated though, but I think it's more because of how this movie doesn't hold up as well as it would've in the 60's.

Frozen was a movie I was strongly disappointed by. I won't say much about it right now because I'm going to save it for my movie diary, but I do agree that there was too much singing.

I see some good stuff in your coming attractions.
Posted: 4 years, 3 months ago at Apr 20 10:48
Oh, had completely forgotten about In the Loop. But it surely is hilarious!
Posted: 4 years, 3 months ago at Apr 20 17:54
With regard to Easy Rider: I shut it off before Jack showed up, so I can't comment on his performance. Maybe some day I'll be more in the mood to sit through it until he shows up, but it's not sounding like it's essential for me to do so.
Posted: 4 years, 3 months ago at Apr 21 13:40
You should probably check out The Thick of It, the TV show In the Loop is based on. It basically fixes the big problem of the film, being in smaller chunks than a huge sprawling thing. As a result it's more consistently funny. And it still has the same characters mostly, including Capaldi's insane Malcolm Tucker, in scenes I'd argue are much more fun than in the movie.
Posted: 4 years, 3 months ago at Apr 22 12:30
@VT - Thanks for the rec. I'll look into it!
Posted: 4 years, 3 months ago at Apr 22 12:35
You have some great movies listed here.
Posted: 4 years, 3 months ago at Apr 23 7:54
Man, the ending to Nightmare City is just such fabulous nonsense, much like every other second of it.
Posted: 4 years ago at Jul 31 18:22
Easy Rider, yep what a long boring ass film then it just gets worse. Your not missing much from the ending. There a few others road movies from that era and actually "Easy Rider" was the easiest to sit through for me... I turned the others off.

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