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Added by the giraffe on 2 Jul 2014 04:56
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Movies the giraffe watched in 2014: July

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The breakdown: 35 movies watched - 22 via Netflix instant, 3 in the theatre, and 10 on DVD; of those 24 were first views, 11 were re-watches, and they came from the following decades: 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s, and 2010s.

Well, this wound up being a productive month. My only regret is that while I did manage to get to the theatre 3 times I didn't manage to get any new films watched this month. And there were a few I was genuinely wanting to see too. Maybe August will be better on that front.

On the other hand, I'm feeling pretty good about how many Netflix Instant Project films I got watched - six in all - and since all of them were well worth watching I'm encouraged to do better with the project for the rest of the year. And hey, I got all the exorcised films watched this month too!

Speaking of projects, my monthly rentals went better this month quality-wise but took a slight dip in quantity. Perhaps I can get more watched in August, though if not I'll gladly carry the leftovers into September if I need to.

Best new-to-me film for July: Lawless (though honorable mention goes to The Long Good Friday and The Duellists
Best hidden gems: The Long Good Friday, The Duellists, Sound of Noise
Worst film: Children of the Corn
People who added this item 669 Average listal rating (400 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.8
First viewing - July 2nd

Pretty sure I'd seen at least part of this on TV forever ago, but now I know for sure I hadn't seen all of it before. I was really caught up by this film, and dug pretty much everything about it. Last year I watched the '70s film version of this story, and I never felt while watching this one that the other one took anything away from or ruined it. If one excels over the other in any way, it's the endings as the '70s ending is much stronger than this one. Course that could also be partly a personal bias as I had in my mind for most of the film the way I wanted it to end, and then it didn't end that way. That's not necessarily a bad thing of course, but I feel like the way I'd envisioned the ending playing out would have been more powerful. Still, I like the fact it doesn't end with everything completely tied up in a nice little package, and I'd definitely watch it again. This was a great way to kick off the month.

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People who added this item 666 Average listal rating (424 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 7
Re-watch - July 3rd

After the intellectual onslaught of The Pervert's Guide to Ideology I needed a comedy break, so I chose to revisit What About Bob?, a film I'm pretty sure I haven't seen since the '90s ended. And it's still as amusing as I thought it was. Murray does an excellent job playing a basket case, Dreyfuss provides a perfect comedic foil for him, and the rest of the cast does a decent enough job. It's not a great film by any means, but it's solidly entertaining and delivered the comedic goods for me. I'm sure I'll revisit it again in another 10-15 years.

Just a thought: I'm sure I found it funny back when this came out, but now the angry couple calling Dreyfuss's character "Hitler" at one point just seems lame & unwarranted.

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People who added this item 99 Average listal rating (50 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.3
First viewing - July 3rd

This film caught my interest while browsing Netflix at one point, and man am I glad it did. The premise is original and executed in a fresh fashion, the music is outstanding, and ultimately I dug the whole thing. It fell just shy of crossing the line into greatness for me on first viewing, but it's possible a re-watch down the road will squeeze out an extra star from me. Regardless, I highly recommend you check this one out.

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People who added this item 870 Average listal rating (520 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.8
First viewing - July 8th/9th

I started watching this the night of the eighth, but despite the fact I was enjoying the film I couldn't stay awake. Thus I tried again the next morning & had no problems watching this oddball little film. The animation is impressive, the music excellent, the story unusual...most unusual though is the presentation as there is dialogue so minimal it makes the first part of Wall-E seem chatty by comparison. The story then requires one's undivided attention as all is unveiled visually so that wandering eyes will likely miss something. There's a sense of humor to the whole thing too, from the ways people and places are rendered to the simple rental of a paddleboat. I really admire what's been done here, and with all I've said you'd expect my rating to be a 9 or 10. But for some reason at the end I felt simply like I'd come across a curio rather than feeling like I'd watched a Great film. And as such I'm not sure I'd watch it again, but at the same time I feel like perhaps I should since this was not at all what I'd expected. Hmm.

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People who added this item 957 Average listal rating (496 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.8
Waking Life (2001)
First viewing - July 9th

Linklater Double Feature



I had caught part of this once before but was not at all in the mood to watch it. On this particular night, however, a conversation with a friend put me in the mood to watch Dazed & Confused and since it was early I decided to pair it with Waking Life. While I'm glad I can now finally say I've watched this movie, I can also say I'd never watch it again.

I dug the ideas expressed throughout this film, which is largely what kept me hanging on. It was all very thought-provoking and interesting, and to an extent the style was carried over from Linklater's debut Slacker. Unlike his debut this one had a more natural and sensible flow to it thanks to the fact we're following one character throughout his dreams, as opposed to exploring random conversations with random people and no real connection between them. My biggest gripe, however, is the visual style which was frustrating to watch. It's like the animated version of shaky-cam, with distorted images and animation that looks primitive and poorly designed. I get that the intended effect was to imitate the way dreams are experienced, but it was really annoying to watch at times and were it not for the fact I was hooked on the ideas & dialogue I would have turned it off without finishing it. I soldiered on, however, and I can't say I regret the time spent watching it. I just wish the whole thing had been handled by better animators.

Just a thought: Hey, I wound up having a Wiley Wiggins double feature too. That never happens. And Nicky Katt and Adam Goldberg are in both films as well. Neato.

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People who added this item 1436 Average listal rating (807 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.7
Re-watch - July 9th

Linklater Double Feature



My introduction to Linklater back in '94 (seen on video, not in theatres), I've always loved this film for so many reasons. The soundtrack kicks ass, the characters are realistic instead of being the phony stereotypes most teens are in movies, it's intelligent, it's funny, and it's always a joy to revisit. And despite the fact that it takes place a year and a half before I was born, I see a lot of my own high school experience here...probably because I was born & (mostly) raised in Texas and had plenty of friends and acquaintances with similar characteristics to the characters portrayed here. I was never friends with any jocks, but I definitely ran with what grown-ups would have referred to as a "bad crowd" though none of my friends ever seemed like anything but good people to me. I was (am?) probably closest to Tony and Mike out of all the characters in here though. Anyway, now that I live in Austin it was also a lot of fun seeing some places that are very familiar to me now (the Top Notch they all hang out at is just up the street from me & I do drop in there on a semi-regular basis).

I still think it's a great movie, but I no longer think it's quite worthy of the 10/10 I'd originally given it & thus I have adjusted my rating. It's definitely a perfect portrayal of a single night for high schoolers & a handful of junior high kids, but I'm no longer left with that feeling of having watched one of the best films I've ever seen. Not a big deal...chalk it up to changing tastes I guess.

Just a thought: This film is one of several reasons I can't stand Parker Posey. Though I'm not sure it's the films that cause that...I think it's just her.
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People who added this item 828 Average listal rating (524 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 5.6
First viewing - July 10th

Stephen King Double Feature



See Cujo below for the first part of the double-feature.

I followed up Cujo with a King adaptation I hadn't already seen before. Turns out I should have just gone on to bed, especially since I spent most of this piece of crap struggling to stay awake. The premise is meh, the execution is cheesy & leaves much to be desired (cornfields are scary?), the acting is mostly awful due to the fact there's an abundance of child actors, and Linda Hamilton plays a weak female which I failed to buy into. I'd like to say that all the cheesiness works, but the film takes itself so seriously that the cheesy moments only derail the proceedings. How this launched a franchise I have no idea, and it's safe to say I'll continue to avoid its many sequels rather than attempt to suffer through any of them. The only thing that keeps its rating from being any lower is the fact that I've seen far worse films. You've been warned.

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Re-watch - July 13th

The kiddo said she wanted to watch a movie with me, and originally pulled Aladdin off the shelf which I was fine with. But then I told her that we have more "Darth Vader movies" if she's ever interested in them, and she insisted we watch one of those instead. So I pulled this one off the shelf & we watched it together. My thoughts have already been covered on this & the other 2 films in the trilogy recently, so instead I'll focus on what she thought here. Several times during the movie she turned to me and exclaimed, "I love this movie!" And at the end when I asked what she thought she told me it was great. That's my girl.
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People who added this item 764 Average listal rating (470 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.3
Lawless (2012)
First viewing - July 14th

Been wanting to check this one out ever since I first heard about it, so I was excited when Netflix added it to their streaming inventory recently. And Lawless did not disappoint. The cast is excellent all around, even Shia & I usually can't stand that guy. Nick Cave's script is impressive and proved to me that his storytelling skills know no bounds (I'm also reminded I still need to watch The Proposition). The soundtrack is really good too, and I could babble on & on about everything else I liked but suffice it to say that the only thing missing here was that magical 10/10 feeling.

If you haven't seen this yet, go check it out.

Just a thought: Why is Tom Hardy so Amazing?

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First viewing - July 15th

A co-worker friend recommended this to me the other day, so I figured I'd give it a look. Turns out I was more than familiar with the work of the man this film focuses on, an example of which you can see above. I'd simply never bothered to find out who it was that was creating those images I'd seen throughout my life, and so this was a fascinating documentary all around. Also a little depressing, as it serves as a reminder that movie posters have moved away from artist illustrations and into the realm of photoshop. That's not a direction I'd choose to move in, and hearing that his last movie poster works were relegated to special edition releases instead of for advertising their respective movies is both shocking and aggravating. Yet another reason to hate the Hollywood system. On the plus side though, he gave up the movie poster live as a career & from what I saw he's creating some incredible work. I just hope I get to see more of it outside this doc.

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People who added this item 2806 Average listal rating (1720 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.2
Tarzan (1999)
Re-watch - July 20th

Spotted this on Netflix recently & figured I'd revisit it with the kiddo. It's still pretty much as I'd remembered, solidly entertaining but pretty much all you'd expect and nothing overly impressive. The kiddo started out insisting she'd seen it before but somewhere along the way changed her tune & said she'd only seen part of it. Anyway, it's got its moments & we enjoyed it well enough, but I doubt I'll go out of my way to watch it again.

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People who added this item 529 Average listal rating (358 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 5.9
Barbarella (1968)
Re-watch - July 21st

Even worse than I'd remembered, and I'm pretty sure when I saw this as a teenager it was on cable without the nudity. Why they didn't go ahead & make this a porno is beyond me, as that's the only thing that would justify its existence. The only thing this film has going for it is the set design, which is pretty impressive, and those creepy dolls with sharp teeth. And yeah, Jane looks great the whole time which I guess also counts, but beyond that it's a beating just sitting through the whole thing. No idea why I didn't turn it off in favor of watching something, anything else. Call it the train-wreck effect.

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People who added this item 1169 Average listal rating (727 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7.4
Re-watch - July 22nd


See my thoughts here

Kiddo wanted to watch it, I had nothing better to do. Voila.
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People who added this item 968 Average listal rating (689 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 7
Maverick (1994)
Re-watch - July 23rd

I had to do something to mark the passing of James Garner, so I decided to pull this one off my shelf and watch it again. And while it was a decent enough way to spend some time watching Garner it also served as a reminder of the days when we all loved Mel Gibson. Anyway, it's still a fun film from start to finish, solidly entertaining, the cast is good, parts are highly memorable, and when it ends I'm satisfied. Oh sure, there are a couple things that aren't properly explained but when I'm having this much fun it doesn't bother me so much.

RIP James Garner and thank you.

Just a thought: Seriously considering doing a double feature next month of Support Your Local Gunfighter and Support Your Local Sheriff to really celebrate Garner's work. Only question is whether my local video rental store has both of them.
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People who added this item 532 Average listal rating (361 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.5
Killer Elite (2011)
First viewing - July 25th

My new friend at work hooked me up with 4 movies last week, so I thought I'd start with this one since he kept going on & on about it. And it was pretty good, nothing exceptional but the film has more brains and talent than your usual Statham vehicle. Grounding it in reality helps quite a bit, it's not utterly predictable, and the action is solid throughout. Plus Yvonne Strahovski is in it, which was a nice surprise because I've had a crush on her for almost a year now. It's not the kind of movie I'd watch more than once, but it was entertaining enough I was content when it ended.

See also: PvtCaboose91's review
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People who added this item 62 Average listal rating (45 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 5.2
Silent Night (2012)
First viewing - July 25th

To end this particular Friday night, what I wanted was a solid horror movie and this one delivered exactly what I craved. It's basically a typical, straight-up slasher, set on Christmas Eve...the sort of film that's probably best watched during a Horror marathon. Since that's the sort of film I was wanting, this delivered in spades. There are some excellent if unoriginal kills, and there's a decent bit of humor along the way. On the other hand it's so formulaic I'd understand others hating on it, and probably had I seen Silent Night, Deadly Night before it I'd think even less of it...but I haven't seen that one yet (though now I'm more inclined to check it out) & like I said this was what I was in the mood for. I'd probably watch it again too at some point, though I doubt I ever need to.
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People who added this item 2505 Average listal rating (1587 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.5
Re-watch - July 31st

My work has been having some fun activities to end out the month, including running old school movies via Netflix. Obviously since I'm working I don't have time to watch any of them in their entirety, but when they ran this & its predecessor back-to-back I realized I was long overdue to watch this. In fact, I'm pretty sure now I only watched it once all the way through & caught parts of it on TV here & there over the years.

It's still solidly entertaining, but definitely not Great like the first film. Some moments had stuck with me all these years, while others I'd completely forgotten about, and it's uneven in places. I still love the characters though, so I don't mind the flaws so much. And yeah, I'll watch it again, just clearly not as often as the first. Decent way to end July.

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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 431 Average listal rating (289 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.6
First viewing - July 2nd

Recommended by moviewatcher122



First off, I'd like to point out that I watched this & Invasion of the Body Snatchers a few hours apart, not back-to-back. And yet in a sense they do share a thematic commonality, albeit from completely different approaches. This fact was not lost on me as I was watching this movie.

Chapter 2 hits the ground running as it rolls off the end of its predecessor and barrels forward to its conclusion. Wan again proves to be a master of winding you up until your nerves are frayed & you're yelling at the characters to not do things they're clearly going to do anyway. It helps that the majority of the cast & crew from the first film have returned here, thus ensuring that the same level of quality carries over from Insidious. That said, I did feel like the opening sequence was a little clunky, and there were a couple moments after that that didn't work as well as they could have. I'm not sure whether that's due to Wan pulling double duty working on this installment and The Conjuring together (with an obvious preference for the latter) or something else. But as well as the film's final third plays out I'm totally willing to let most of those flaws slide as they don't truly ruin the film at all. Let's also acknowledge that it's a pleasure to see what Wan can do with a sequel rather than letting someone else take over another series from him. Let's just hope that if/when Chapter 3 comes along he's up to take it all on again.

Just a thought: I really shouldn't watch any of Wan's films right before bedtime when I need to wake up early the next day.

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First viewing - July 3rd

Recommended by VierasTalo



I was supposed to work on July 3rd, but my car broke down & had to go into the shop so I called in & spent most of the day at home. Thus I decided to get a few movies watched in addition to cleaning up & whatnot. I began with this documentary, which I'm glad I didn't save until night to watch as I might have fallen asleep. That's not to say this film is boring, mind you, but it's a very intellectual film and having to listen to one guy assert his ideas for over 2 hours straight gets a little tiresome. I loved the presentation though, with film clips mixed in with shots of Slavoj Zizek in similar locations. It really enhanced the material and helped reinforce his points. So really my only complaint was that, for me, it ran too long, and maybe would be better if he had another person to engage in a conversation about his ideas instead of just delivering it all himself. Then again, a conversational presentation would probably have added another hour so maybe that's not a great solution.

Oh yeah, and I also would have appreciated it had he not talked about endings to some of the films. Now I've got a few films I have to put off watching until I can forget what he said about their endings. Sigh.

Anyway, it's definitely worth checking out once.

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People who added this item 270 Average listal rating (185 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.2
Silverado (1985)
First viewing - July 9th

Recommended by portlander



Kevin Kline, Danny Glover, Kevin Costner, and Scott Glenn star in this, and the cast also includes John Cleese, Brian Dennehy, Jeff Goldblum, and Rosanna Arquette...kind of an odd mix for a western, and yet it works. I wouldn't say it's an original movie, but it is solidly entertaining, and a decent way to pass the time. I liked the characters and there were some fun moments. The ending was predictable and overall it followed a fairly common formula for a western, but I enjoyed it enough that that's a minor complaint.

Just a thought: I never would've thought John Cleese would be good in a western, and yet he's good in this one.

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People who added this item 533 Average listal rating (356 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 6
Cujo (1983)
Re-watch - July 10th

Recommended by portlander
Stephen King Double Feature



So at work today I met a new co-worker & we hit it off talking about movies during our lunch break. He's into horror, sci-fi, anime, and comic book movies so we had a lot of common ground. By the time I got home I was itching to watch some old-school horror, so I decided to make it a Stephen King night starting with a film I haven't seen in almost 20 years. And my rating still stands.

Dee Wallace is awesome in this, but that's to be expected. Most of the scenes with Cujo are really intense, which keeps the film worth watching. At the same time though, the same scenes can be kind of cheesy and definitely frustrating as the characters fumble their way to figuring out how to take down a big rabid dog. I do like the somewhat realistic approach here, as the rabid dog idea is plausible enough and thus more likely to actually be a threat than say a guy in a hockey mask who never dies. The film works out OK, but a better cast would definitely have helped. Danny Pintauro plays the little boy you start to wish would get eaten already, and most of the cast that's not Dee Wallace are merely adequate in their roles. I know I read the book back in the late 80s/early 90s too, but I'd be damned if I can remember any differences between it and this adaptation...so I'm a little curious to go on a King novel kick to see how his books compare to what I recall. Too bad I got rid of most of them as I didn't think I'd read them again. Ah well.

Oh, and on a side note Netflix insists in their description that Cujo gets turned into a "satanic killer". Umm yeah, not sure how that works. It's a dog.

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People who added this item 598 Average listal rating (378 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.4
Mud (2012)
First viewing - July 22nd

Recommended by moviewatcher122



Matthew McConaughey continues his run of good movies, and I'm hoping the run doesn't end too soon. He's far too good to slum it in any more rom-coms. He's easily the best part of the film, but then he's the titular character so that shouldn't surprise anyone. I thought the teen actors were pretty good as well, which is surprising given that usually young actors ruin movies. Parts of the story hit home for me, and yet I never felt like the emotional side ran very deep...could simply be me though. The only real disappointment then lies with the ending, specifically the cliche gun battle part of it which I'm growing more & more tired of in general as time goes on. It seems especially lazy in a film that's this good to use that as a means of wrapping things up, though fortunately it's not all there is to the ending. I'd probably watch it again though at some point, and perhaps in a different mood the emotional side of the film will connect more strongly with me.

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People who added this item 142 Average listal rating (66 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 7.7
First viewing - July 29th

Recommended by djprojexion



Wake in Fright first caught my attention when Drafthouse Films announced they were distributing it & saving it from oblivion. And while I personally wouldn't call it a Great movie, it's interesting and different enough that I'm glad it was saved. The acting is so well-done that the characters have a lived-in, true-to-life feel about them. There's not much of a plot really, as we merely follow Gary Bond's character through a holiday vacation that starts off great and thanks to one bad choice quickly spirals downward...from there you're merely holding on to see what will happen next & whether he'll survive the whole thing. At times it's not easy to watch, but it's all pretty damn memorable. Were it not for the fact that by the end I enjoyed it but would never need to watch it again, my rating might be higher. It's definitely worth checking out, especially if you dig dark films in which case your rating may be even higher than mine.

Just a thought: If this film is any indication of how Aussies drink, I doubt I could keep up with them.

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Big screen attractions

Films I caught in a theatre
People who added this item 3481 Average listal rating (2239 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.6
Kung Fu Panda (2008)
First viewing - July 15th

As some may recall, I'd rented this for the kiddo last year but declined the opportunity to watch it with her. At the time this was released I was annoyed with Jack Black and thought it looked stupid so I skipped it then too. But when she watched it last time the few times I paid attention to it while doing chores around the house I was amused, so when I found out Drafthouse was doing free kids screenings of it I took her with me. And it was pretty good really, definitely entertaining and funny. It's not great & I doubt I'd rush into the sequel, but it was fun to watch and a good way to spend time with my daughter. I'd be willing to watch it again too.
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People who added this item 1753 Average listal rating (1080 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.5
Re-watch - July 18th

So the Alamo Drafthouse closest to where I currently live is in the same theatre building that originally screened Texas Chainsaw Massacre back in 1974. I wasn't aware of this fact until they announced they were screening the film for its 40th anniversary, but once I heard I bought my ticket as soon as I could. They had a restored print, so the whole film looked just like it would have back then...pristine & perfect. And as horror movies go this one has maintained its intensity over the years. The only weakness really is the acting at times, but who cares when it all works so well. I'm glad I got the opportunity to watch it in the same place it originally screened, and should they do it again in 10 years you can bet I'll be there.

Just a thought: If you enter a stranger's house without being invited, you get what you deserve.
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People who added this item 2431 Average listal rating (1532 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 8.1
Re-watch - July 28th

One of my favorite movies ever got some Quote-Along screenings, so naturally I had to go. Drafthouse gave us inflatable swords to duel with, wedding bells to ring during the romantic parts of the film & all mentions of love, and bubbles to blow whenever. Twas much fun.
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Summer Rental Project 2014

I was looking over my best of lists & decided that I'd tackle some films that have been on my to-watch list for far too long over the summer. I'm focusing on films released between the year I was born and 2000, and mainly ones that are NOT in the Horror genre. Those will probably wait until October, though I may make an exception or two along the way.
People who added this item 218 Average listal rating (118 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.7
First viewing - July 16th

This was every bit as good as I'd been led to believe. Smart script, stellar cast, solid soundtrack, and just superb all around. Hoskins fully embodies his character to the point that he seems to be living it, not acting a part. And how many actors do that? I'll have to add this one to my collection so I can watch it at least a few more times. What a ride.
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People who added this item 231 Average listal rating (144 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.1
The Limey (1999)
First viewing - July 16th

Perhaps it wasn't the best choice to follow up The Long Good Friday with this one, though I'm glad I didn't wait until late at night to watch it either. Aside from Terence Stamp's performance there's not much to recommend this one. The story is your typical revenge plot with nothing new to offer. The only thing that saves it is the way it slowly unveils what happened to Wilson's daughter, but after a while you can easily figure it out on your own. More irksome is the artsy style which doesn't suit the film at all. I guess Soderbergh had to do something to distinguish it from other films, but it's just annoying to watch as for example characters carry on single conversations in three separate locations he rotates them through. So yeah, this was a big let down and mostly a mess.

Just a thought: Soderbergh is hit or miss with me, and if it wasn't for the films of his that hit I wouldn't keep working my way through his back catalogue.
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People who added this item 259 Average listal rating (149 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.5
The Duellists (1977)
First viewing - July 17th

I had no idea this film existed until I dug through Ridley Scott's filmography one day and saw this was his first directed film, at which point I marked it for watching later. And now I'm disappointed that it's not more well-known because it's Excellent. Scott definitely knew what he was doing by the time he started work on this film, as the whole thing is wonderfully shot and put together and directed. Really, the only complaint I had was that Harvey Keitel failed to sell that he was French (not surprising though really), and yet he brings such intensity to his role that it's easily forgiven. I'd be hard pressed to come up with someone who would have been better suited to play his character, though it would've been nice had they managed to find a dialect coach to help Keitel out. Aside from that I was very impressed by all aspects of this film, especially given that it was Scott's debut (though to his credit he had been working as a director for some time prior to The Duellists, he just hadn't finished a feature film & got it released).

Whatever you have to do to hunt this film down, do it.
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People who added this item 477 Average listal rating (292 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.5
A Simple Plan (1998)
First viewing - July 20th

At one point I was thinking to myself that this may well be Raimi's masterpiece, what with the stellar acting, unpredictable plot full of twists, and solid technical aspects. But then there were a few missteps along the way that knocked it down a peg or two, so that by the end I'd kind of lost that feeling of greatness. Still, it's a damn good film & one I'd gladly watch again every several years. Just mildly disappointed that it didn't maintain the excellence it was running on for at least the first half to maybe 2/3 of the entire film. So close.
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Netflix exorcisms

Films I caught before Netflix removed them from my Instant Queue
First viewing - July 7th

Thanks to Dead Man I went into this one expecting it to be slow-paced which got me through the first part. Fortunately after that it picked up & kept getting better. Forest Whitaker continues to be an underrated actor whose work I enjoy, and I liked the way the film uses the Samurai book excerpts to explain his motivations and actions. The soundtrack is pretty good too, and I was cracking up at the old mobster that likes Flava Flav. The film never quite crossed that elusive line of greatness for me, but I'd definitely watch it again some time.
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People who added this item 98 Average listal rating (60 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.6
Clay Pigeons (1998)
First viewing - July 24th

This is definitely an odd duck. I dug Clay Pigeons the whole time I was watching it, and yet I was never truly connected to any of it so the overall experience left me wanting more. Vince Vaughn does an excellent job of playing a guy who is clearly uncomfortable in his own skin, there's some good dark humor running throughout the film, but the plot is a bit too unbelievable at times. Plus there's no real depth to the film, which is probably why I failed to connect with it on more than a superficial level. It's quirky enough though to be worth a look, just don't expect too much out of it.
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People who added this item 742 Average listal rating (469 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.4
The Good Son (1993)
First viewing - July 25th

Well, that was everything I expected it'd be. And thus I definitely could've gone on without watching it. The trailer pretty well covered the whole film as I recall & there are no surprises at all. That's not to say it's a bad movie, as it's worth watching just to see Macauley Culkin play the villain at that age while going head-to-head against Elijah Wood. But seriously, there are far better films to spend your time with than this.
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People who added this item 70 Average listal rating (30 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.1
First viewing - July 30th

I first came across Bill Plympton's animation back in the '90s when MTV started airing it, and I thought it was really interesting & entertaining. I haven't thought much about his work since that decade ended, but when I saw Netflix had this film of his I knew I had to check it out. And it turns out it was worthwhile.

Now, it requires some patience as there's no dialogue at all. The only words are delivered via the songs that play throughout the film, and less than half the songs actually have lyrics. But true to Plympton's style the visuals are excellent, the subject matter is dark with a sense of humor, and it's thought-provoking. I really liked it & am now tempted to dig to find out what else he's done since the '90s & check that out too. It's not the sort of film I'd watch again, but I have no doubt it'll stick in my head for a good long time.
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People who added this item 1372 Average listal rating (862 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 7.1
Valkyrie (2008)
First viewing - July 30th

I've seen some positive feedback on this one since its release, so I figured I'd give it a look. And it was OK. It's fairly entertaining and somewhat interesting from a historical standpoint, but because it's a historical film you know pretty much how it'll end. Add to that the fact that it fails to evoke any emotional response beyond the stray chuckle, and you've got a mediocre film overall. The cast is decent, but they've all put forth better performances elsewhere. So what's the reason to check it out? I have no idea honestly. It's not a bad movie I guess, just lacking any real depth or anything to engage on a more than superficial level. It ends, you shrug, you go on with your life. At least that's how I experienced it. Ah well.

Just a thought: Kind of amusing that I had heard "Ride of the Valkyries" on a classical radio station this morning.
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As the summertime rolls along, I'm keeping my summer rental focus going but I noticed recently that I've slipped in keeping up with the Netflix Instant Project for this year. So I intend to make that project a priority too this month. Beyond that, I'll still hit up whatever calls me to the theatre and throw in some other miscellaneous debris just for good measure.

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Comments

Posted: 3 years, 5 months ago at Jul 13 15:35
Cool that you liked the original Invasion; I have a similar experience with it, seeing only about half of it at some point. What I saw of it looked really cool so it's been on my finish this -list for ages. Regarding Triplets, well. I mean that film has nothing but the visuals. If those visuals don't give you that oompf, something you're really looking to get out of film, it probably won't rise to that great level it did for me. To me it was the combination of the grotesque visuals with the way that movie managed to still be incredibly cheerful that I just fell in love with.

If you ever want to see a good version of what Children of the Corn could be, look up Who Can Kill A Child?. The remake of that is actually on Netflix (Come Out and Play I think it's called).

Also, glad to see you liked The Pervert's Guide to Ideology. If the length was an issue, I'd hardly recommend the prior film from Zizek&Fiennes, The Pervert's Guide to Cinema, which lasts a bit longer than this one. That being said, Zizek has such a way with words while being a charismatic obese man that I couldn't get bored with the film. Especially since even when I absolutely don't agree with what he's saying, the theories are often so outrageous that it's just hilarious to see unravel. Funny about those endings though; I mean, an ending in itself doesn't say much about a story. It's always about the journey and all that cliche nonsense literary teachers talk about.

PS. Noticed you have Grave of the Fireflies on your to see -stuff. If you want another double feature, check out Barefoot Gen along with that for a more depressing, and better, anime film about the same stuff.
Posted: 3 years, 5 months ago at Jul 15 1:14
@VT - Oh, I definitely dug the hell out of the visuals in Triplets of Bellville, and I'm with you on the grotesque yet cheerful bit. It was definitely impressive, but my first impression didn't run very deep I guess. Still, I think that a revisit would be worthwhile, if for no other reason than to experience it again.

Zizek is definitely an interesting guy, and charismatic as well. I was more left with a feeling of it being too much of a good thing. And true, films are not only about the endings, but getting an in-depth observation of one can lead to coloring my own experience if/when I get around to checking the film out.

Thanks for the rec on Barefoot Gen; I've added it to my list to rent. And I'll look into Who Can Kill a Child? as well.
Posted: 3 years, 5 months ago at Jul 15 17:31
I'll be checking back to your list again to see what you think of the movies in coming attraction cause some big names are there.
I'll definitely check sound of noise as per suggestion :)
Posted: 3 years, 4 months ago at Jul 16 18:20
You've raised your kid right! (In regard to Star Wars.
Posted: 3 years, 4 months ago at Jul 16 21:00
I'm really glad to see that you liked Lawless as much as I did. I agree that the casting in this movie was great, especially Shia LeBeouf and as far as I'm concerned it's his only good performance. While I did enjoy Waking Life more than you did, I can see how the animation could be annoying and I think that A Scanner Darkly is Richard Linklater's better animated film.

I see some good movies in the Coming Attractions and I highly recommend that you watch The Long Good Friday as soon as you can.
Posted: 3 years, 4 months ago at Jul 23 21:10
Mud truly continues the Jeff Nichols -trend of great films ruined by horrible endings. Speaking of those films, you should really watch Take Shelter, what with it being a great film despite the horrible ending and all. I'd argue it's superiority over Mud any day of the week.
Posted: 3 years, 4 months ago at Jul 27 20:23
I like the remake of Silent Night quite a bit because it is nothing like the original. It has a killer santa and that's about it. It's fairly refreshing in the brutality it indulges in.
Posted: 3 years, 4 months ago at Jul 27 20:34
@VT - Yep, the brutality was definitely refreshing and exactly what I was hoping for. And what is it about woodchipper scenes that I love them all?
Posted: 3 years, 4 months ago at Aug 3 2:27
I love hearing about your child's experiences watching classics like Empire Strikes Back. Sounds like she's getting well educated by her father hehe. And yeah, as for Texas Chainsaw Massacre, DON'T walk into a stranger's house uninvited, especially out in the middle of God know's where. :P

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