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Added by the giraffe on 2 Aug 2017 02:10
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Movies the giraffe watched in 2017: August

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Noteworthy: The best and the worst

The breakdown: 27 movies watched
24 first views, 3 re-watches
5 via Netflix, 7 via Showbox, 10 via DVD, and 5 in the theatre
Decades touched: 1930s, 40s, 70s, 80s, 2000s, & 2010s

Quality-wise this was a pretty good month, especially given that I couldn't choose between the three films I rated highest as to which was my favorite for the month. They're placed in this section in order I watched them, so don't go assuming the order means anything else. The first half of the month most of what I watched came from the library, which continues to be a worthy resource for watching films at home. What you won't see is the pair of films I'd checked out but wound up returning unseen, and hopefully I can pick them both up again at a later date. The last half of the month one of my friends at work encouraged me to download Showbox which I'm thoroughly enjoying so far. They've got a ton of movies & TV shows on there, and far more variety than I was getting with Netflix. In fact I wound up dropping Netflix at the end of August, and am switching to Prime for the foreseeable future. Perhaps down the road I'll grow bored with it too, but looking through their offerings I found a lot more films I genuinely want to check out than Netflix has had in over a year. Ah, and it looks like Showbox gets some content from Netflix so odds are I'll be able to catch the things that matter most. Course I can always switch back should I feel the need to. We'll see.
People who added this item 1728 Average listal rating (1090 ratings) 8.4 IMDB Rating 8.5
Modern Times (1936)
First viewing - Aug. 5th

Best new-to-me film for August (3-way tie)


I checked out Modern Times from the library, and since I knew it's a silent film I watched it early to kick off my Saturday after my errands were done. There are some wonderful comedic moments that had me laughing heavily and often, and I liked the way the story was basically four smaller pieces tied together to make a whole. Paulette Goddard shines on screen and proves to be up to the task of balancing the film with Chaplin very well. Overall it's a great film that's certainly worthy of its reputation.
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People who added this item 1820 Average listal rating (1253 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.6
First viewing - Aug. 6th

Best new-to-me film for August (3-way tie)


OK, so I left it off this list but I originally sat down after lunch with Throne of Blood which I'd picked up with the above non-Netflix films. However I quickly realized I wasn't in the mood for it, so I returned all the films to the library and picked up a few more after spotting Rise on the shelf. I've looked for it every time I've walked into the library since I made the mistake of watching Dawn first, and today was the first time it was available.

So before dinner I fired it up, and it's sooooo much better than Dawn is. The story is so well-told, at turns exciting, funny, and tragic, which left me feeling very satisfied with everything. Unlike Dawn the events weren't playing out in fairly obvious & predictable ways, and the characters are well-defined all around. And so it kinda bums me out that Rupert Wyatt didn't stick around to direct the rest of the trilogy, turning the reins over to Matt Reeves instead. Or maybe the blame should fall more or equally on Mark Bomback's shoulders as he joined the writers of this film for that sequel. Not that I think the writing or direction of Dawn sucked, but to my mind there's a clear drop in quality levels from the first film to the second. Whatever the case, the writing here is so strong throughout that I fell pretty hard for the whole thing & I'd gladly watch it again.

Matter of fact, I enjoyed it so much I decided to give up going to bed at my usual time & took off after dinner to the theatre to catch a screening of War since I won't likely get another opportunity to see it before it moves on from theatres here.
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People who added this item 56 Average listal rating (58 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.2
Logan Lucky (2017)
First viewing - Aug. 20th

Best new-to-me film for August (3-way tie)


I spent my Sunday morning/afternoon at the theatre catching a pair of new films. I kicked the day off with Soderbergh's return to the big screen, and was handsomely rewarded for doing so. The cast is great, the story is smartly constructed, and there's never a dull moment. I knew it'd be good, but didn't think it'd be as good as it is, and so I walked away from it elated. I'll be thinking & talking about this one for the next few days at least.
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People who added this item 35 Average listal rating (25 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 6.5
First viewing - Aug. 3rd

Best hidden gem


When I realized this film came from the same writer/director of The Loved Ones, I knew I had to check it out. The story elements work together well for the most part & the cast is very good all around. It's not often we get horror movies where heavy metal plays a prominent role, so it was fun to have that be the case here. It's not silly either, which also doesn't happen often when heavy metal does factor in strongly. I'd probably watch it again, though I think next time I'll chase it with Deathgasm as they'd complement each other nicely.

Currently streaming on Netflix
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People who added this item 72 Average listal rating (50 ratings) 5.4 IMDB Rating 3.9
Starcrash (1978)
First viewing - Aug. 29th

Worst film


I decided to end my movie run with Netflix by taking a look at one of the new MST3K entries so I could have a taste of what the new cast has to offer. And holy crap are they great. I laughed more at the riffing on this movie than I have at the past few older ones I've watched this year. If the rest of the new run is this consistently funny and well put together then they've earned my respect. Perhaps after I burn myself out on Amazon Prime I'll return to Netflix, and if that should happen I'll gladly run through the rest of the entries they have.

Starcrash is super cheesy and cheaply made, and definitely nothing I could have watched on its own without tearing into it like Jonah & the bots do. It's not the worst film I've experienced through the show, but that's not saying much.

MST3K rating: 8.5/10

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Home viewings

People who added this item 492 Average listal rating (320 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.8
Innerspace (1987)
Re-watch - Aug. 4th

I remember watching this in the theatre when it first came out, and I may have seen it again on cable at some point but it's been forever ago. It's still a fun movie, nothing deep but memorable enough given the plot. I'd forgotten how exactly it ended, which worked in its favor & I wound up appreciating the finale even more as a result. The humor isn't as consistent as it could be though, and some of the supporting cast is weak. Overall though I'm glad I watched it again, and feel satisfied enough that I shouldn't need to watch it again.

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People who added this item 299 Average listal rating (146 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.6
First viewing - Aug. 5th

I've known who Bettie Page is for many years now, but never took the time to find out much about her beyond the images she's most known for. This is very much a standard biopic in construction, but it's helped greatly by the writers & director having respect for the subject as well as being female. A male-guided film could likely have gone the wrong way, and thankfully that didn't happen. Gretchen Mol does a superb job of capturing the essence of Ms. Page and bringing her to life, and the supporting cast works well overall with some strong performances. It's not great, but it's certainly well worth watching, especially if you're interested in her history.
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People who added this item 508 Average listal rating (338 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.9
Trance (2013)
First viewing - Aug. 8th

I don't recall hearing much about Trance when it came out, but since I dig Danny Boyle's films in general I figured I'd finally give it a look when I noticed it was available to check out. And after seeing it I understand why there wasn't much hype over it, because it's kind of an uneven film. The cast does a fine job, but there were times where the story felt like it was dragging along to where it needed to be. The beginning and ending were both very strong, it's just the points between connecting them together that could've been better. So I'd say it was worth watching once, just don't expect it to be great.
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People who added this item 440 Average listal rating (311 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 6.2
Re-watch - Aug. 11th

Watched this again with the kiddo. I don't think there's anything else I can say about it at this point, I'm just glad she enjoys it also.
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People who added this item 21 Average listal rating (17 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6
Desierto (2015)
First viewing - Aug. 11th

After the kiddo went to bed I noticed Desierto was on Netflix and dove right into it. For those not aware of it, it's the directorial debut of Jonás Cuarón, son of Alfonso, which is why it stayed on my radar. And overall I thought it was a solid debut. There's not much to the story, but I felt like it kept things tense enough that I was anxious for the next moment to arrive which is a good thing. If the film has a weakness it's that the characters aren't very well developed, but given how few of them get names we're clear about that seems like a conscious choice. In the credits they almost all have names though, which was odd to me. Anyway, for me it worked well enough that I'll check out his future films, and hopefully he'll grow into an even better filmmaker.

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People who added this item 1708 Average listal rating (987 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.9
First viewing - Aug. 12th

I picked up this and Spirited Away with the intention of watching both with my daughter. Once again we made it through both films in Japanese with subtitles, though for the first half hour of this film she asked a handful of times to switch to the English dub instead (I talked her out of it). This was a fun movie, nothing very high stakes really but I enjoyed the characters and the story anyway. The animation is excellent for the time, but nothing mind-blowing or especially inventive. I wouldn't need to watch it again, but if the kiddo wanted to watch it with me I would.
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People who added this item 4403 Average listal rating (2795 ratings) 8.4 IMDB Rating 8.6
Spirited Away (2001)
Re-watch - Aug. 13th

The kiddo preferred this film over Kiki, and it's hard to argue with that. I can't honestly comment on it in any great detail as I kept falling asleep during the first half of the movie despite it being right after lunch when we watched it. I love the visuals of the film, and wish I'd been more alert so I could have fully enjoyed it with her. Had it not been due back to the library the day we watched it I might have sat down with it on my own and tried again, but another watch will have to wait until another time. As much as she enjoyed it I'll likely get that opportunity in the near future.
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People who added this item 53 Average listal rating (28 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6
Baghead (2008)
First viewing - Aug. 14th

As a fan of the Duplass brothers I've been curious to check out Baghead, and was pleased to find a copy of it at the library. It's a solidly entertaining film that mixes up comedic and horror elements satisfyingly enough. I really enjoyed the cast despite my unfamiliarity with most of the actors. It's not a film I'd watch a bunch of times or own, but I would watch it again down the road at some point.
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People who added this item 44 Average listal rating (20 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 6.1
I Smile Back (2015)
First viewing - Aug. 17th

I've enjoyed more of Sarah Silverman's work than I haven't, so I really wanted to give this a look. Her fearless performance alone makes it worth watching as she fully commits to bringing her character to life and going some pretty dark places. It's definitely a film that doesn't go where you'd anticipate, which is also refreshing. Unfortunately it's also a total bummer, and there's not enough depth provided to allow the audience to connect with and understand where her issues stem from. We're given pieces of the puzzle, but never allowed in her head to see through her eyes despite the amount of time she's on screen. So while I do think it's worth sitting through I also don't expect anyone to want to sit through it more than once.
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People who added this item 739 Average listal rating (438 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 8
First viewing - Aug. 18th

Evidently this is Hitchcock's favorite of all his films, which encouraged me to pick it up. The cast does a wonderful job all around, and I liked the ways the story defied expectations along the way. I was engaged throughout, and while I'd definitely watch it again I didn't think it was one of his masterpieces. It fell just short of crossing the line to greatness for me, though that's probably more to do with my having seen similar films it influenced but that can't really be helped. Maybe a revisit down the line will change my mind about that though.
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People who added this item 37 Average listal rating (23 ratings) 5 IMDB Rating 5.8
Wilson (2017)
First viewing - Aug. 19th

I really wanted to see Wilson in the theatre, but the timing of its release didn't work in my favor so I had to wait. I recall it not being very well-liked by the critics from what I saw, and looking at its Listal & IMDb ratings it seems they're not alone. Now, I never read the comic book it stems from, so I can't possibly compare it to its source material. I would hope, however, that the fact the script was written by the same guy who penned the comic means that it was done the right way.

I thought the film worked more often than not. Woody Harrelson clearly relished the role as he goes all out to bring the oddball titular character to life. Laura Dern gives a similarly strong performance, and I liked most of the rest of the cast as well. I enjoyed a lot of the ideas the film conveyed along the way, and really had fun spending time with these characters. There is one point in the story that seems too far fetched to easily swallow, but at the same time the places that unlikely event leads to wound up being fairly rewarding overall. So I'll just sit here in the minority of those who did appreciate Wilson for what it is, and wouldn't even mind watching it again at some point. It's not great, but I also don't think it's as bad as the critics would have you believe.
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People who added this item 1534 Average listal rating (950 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.7
50/50 (2011)
First viewing - Aug. 19th

I've waited far too long to catch this movie, so the moment I finally came across it I couldn't wait any longer. Levitt gives yet another top performance that proves he's one of the best actors of his generation. Seth Rogen is basically Seth Rogen, but here he's more amusing than he has been in recent years. I really used to enjoy seeing him on screen, but as time has passed he's annoyed me to the point I quit rushing to see everything he does. This is one of his better roles, though that may partly be because he's not the lead.

Anyway, I thought the story worked well enough to keep you guessing whether or not Levitt's character would survive, and I liked how it sent him to some dark places while balancing those moments with comedy that worked well most of the time. It's not a perfect film, but it's one I deeply appreciated all the same and I'd gladly watch it again.

Just a thought: The film using my favorite Liars song "The Other Side of Mt. Heart Attack" was a pleasant surprise.
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People who added this item 355 Average listal rating (254 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.6
First viewing - Aug. 21st

I've seen a lot of positive feedback on this movie, but the trailers didn't sell me on it back when it came out. I finally gave in to my curiosity though, and as it turns out this was worth watching. I don't think it's great nor as funny as some seem to think it is, but I definitely appreciated what they did throughout the film and was mostly entertained by it. Possibly a revisit will earn more points from me, but for now it's more like a 7.5.
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People who added this item 771 Average listal rating (591 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.3
John Wick (2014)
First viewing - Aug. 24th

Here's another film I've seen plenty of positive feedback on, and after watching it I feel like it's overrated. The film is a very standard revenge movie, with no depth and a lack of humor. So it's predictable and not much fun in the end. Indeed, I found myself getting bored after a while with watching Kenunu shoot his way through endless henchmen. I did appreciate the fact that the action is shot in a way that it makes visual sense most of the time, as well as the attention to detail by actually having the guns run out of bullets & require reloading. But I could just as well have gone on ignoring this film, and won't bother with its sequels.
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People who added this item 56 Average listal rating (41 ratings) 4.9 IMDB Rating 6.8
Leap! (2016)
First viewing - Aug. 25th

The kiddo wanted to watch Leap!, and when I found I could stream it for free instead of paying money for it I decided that'd be worthwhile. The version we saw is evidently a little different than the one released in America over the weekend, with some different cast members & the title Ballerina instead. Overall I thought it was fine, nothing exceptional but nothing horrible either. It's your basic follow-your-dreams movie for kids, solidly entertaining but forgettable. She enjoyed it more than I did, but then she's the target audience so that should be the case.
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People who added this item 1364 Average listal rating (890 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 7
Paul (2011)
First viewing - Aug. 25th

After the kiddo went to bed I decided to watch Paul, a film I'd wanted to see in theatres but missed since its release fell while the kiddo was in her first year of life. And I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It works as a love letter to sci-fi as well as a wacky buddy comedy. I loved all the references sprinkled throughout, and found it to be solidly entertaining. It never crosses the line into greatness, but that's not a bad thing in this case. It's a fun movie that I'd gladly revisit a few more times in the years ahead.
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People who added this item 15 Average listal rating (11 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 6
First viewing - Aug. 27th

I didn't know much about this movie, but it was put on my radar earlier this year when I read an article about female directors that included it. It's definitely original, with basically three stories tied together by the main character played by Rami Malek. This approach requires patience from the audience, as we jump between narratives for more time than we understand how else they connect. I was reminded somewhat of my first time watching Donnie Darko or Lost Highway, though I wouldn't go as far as to put this film on the same level as either of those films. And the main reason it falls short is because when everything does more or less come together it's in a vague way that doesn't leave a strong impression. It's clear we're building to something, but when it comes there's no real payoff and no emotional attachment to it. I'm still not sure what the hell happened in Lost Highway, but it felt rewarding on some levels in a way this film does not. And it's lacking any of the style of Darko, though Malek earns big points for his performance throughout and proves he could carry a film. Let's hope his next outing is better structured to warrant more acclaim. Same goes for the writer/director Sarah Adina Smith who clearly has ambition but needs to work on her communication of her ideas.

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People who added this item 31 Average listal rating (14 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7
First viewing - Aug. 28th

As a big fan of Hunter S. Thompson I came to know Ralph Steadman's work through him, and I've read Ralph's book he wrote about his time with Hunter so I wasn't sure how much of this would be worthwhile. Fortunately it all was. Sure the doc touched on their time together, but it also explored Ralph's entire artistic run which I haven't explored as deeply as I should. So this was certainly worthwhile for me, and while I could easily watch it again I doubt I'll need to.
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Films I caught in a theatre
People who added this item 27 Average listal rating (23 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 5.9
First viewing - Aug. 5th

The Little Hours was playing at the theatre in my neighborhood, so after watching Modern Times I took a walk and sat down with it. I'd seen the trailer for it when I caught Blood and Black Lace last month, and had been excited for it since. Turns out it delivers well on the trailer's promise as there are plenty of humorous scenes sold by the ensemble cast. There's a lot of fun poked at religion and how messy humans can be, and it's solidly entertaining. It's not great, but it's not trying to be either so that's fine. It was worth my time though, and I'd gladly sit through it again at some point.
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People who added this item 197 Average listal rating (170 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.6
First viewing - Aug. 6th

And it turns out that catching this on the big screen while I could was worth the trip. I'd put it slightly above Dawn but below Rise. I like where it takes the trilogy, but at the same time having characters show up who were introduced to the world in the original Planet of the Apes was mildly distracting. I suppose they could be introducing them to lead us forward within this newer series, and that could work out fine. On the other hand I've enjoyed having this trilogy exist as potential prequels to the original film, and from that perspective it doesn't seem like enough time would pass between this film and that one for said characters to be at their respective ages here. So I'll hope they go ahead with the former if the series will carry on beyond this entry, and the quality of these three films will ensure I show up for more.
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People who added this item 12 Average listal rating (12 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 7.5
Brigsby Bear (2017)
First viewing - Aug. 19th

My friend from work was really excited to check out Brigsby Bear, and after I watched the trailer I agreed to meet up with him so we could both see it. As it turns out that was a worthwhile decision. This is an original and uplifting film that is well worth your time and attention. I'm not familiar with Kyle Mooney, but he did an excellent job with his character, and it was a treat to see Mark Hamill in a much different role than we usually get from him. It's just on the verge of being great in my book, and perhaps over time it'll get there the more I revisit it. Looking forward to coming back to this movie for sure.
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People who added this item 76 Average listal rating (95 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 6.6
First viewing - Aug. 20th

After a break for lunch, I returned for this prequel of a prequel which I'd heard some good things about. And it was okay I guess. Sandberg knows how to stage a scene to make it intense & creepy, and he takes advantage here of your expectations by diverging from them when it suits the scene. Unfortunately there's not a lot of depth to the characters, probably because there are far too many to keep up with, and not much to the story overall. The origin is pretty straightforward with nothing especially new to offer. If the horror elements didn't work well there wouldn't be any need for anyone to watch this, and with that said I'd say it's only worthwhile if you really love horror movies that deliver creepy moments.

Just a thought: Nice touch tying in the actual Annabelle doll, that was probably the moment I appreciated most of all.
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