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Added by the giraffe on 1 Nov 2012 11:15
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Movies the giraffe watched: November 2012

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The breakdown: 23 films watched - 7 on DVD, 3 in the theatre, 1 on YouTube, and 12 via Netflix instant; of those 20 were first views, 3 were re-watches, 2 of the 23 were short films, 2 others I failed to finish, and they came from the following decades: 30s, 40s, 60s, 80s, 90s, 00s, & 2010s.

November wound up being a better month overall than I'd anticipated. Netflix helped me out by removing a fair chunk of my IQ, though most of it I could have let go without watching (especially the 2 films I couldn't finish). Guess that's how it goes though. On the upside, most of what I chose from my IQ to watch that was NOT going anywhere any time soon wound up being more worth my time...so perhaps there's a lesson to be learned there.

I made it out to the theatre twice this month, once with my "wife" & our daughter, and once on my own (the "wife" isn't a Bond fan apparently). The family trip provided the better film, but Skyfall was definitely worth watching & I thank the Listal community for encouraging me to check it out.

This month also saw the end of the Movie Exchange Program project for me, though I do plan to (re)watch some of the films I contributed next month to properly wrap things up. It's been a lot of fun to do this project as I've watched many films I otherwise wouldn't have. We're already discussing what to do for next year, and I'm looking forward to maintaining a sense of community around here through a common love of film (even if our tastes aren't always the same...but then if they were that'd yield rather dull results, yes?).

One more month left to go...

Best film for November I hadn't seen before: Hugo/Wreck-It Ralph (tie)
Best hidden gem: Go West
Worst film: From a Whisper to a Scream (think it's safe to choose despite my not finishing it)
People who added this item 3929 Average listal rating (2502 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 8.5
Psycho (1960)
Re-watch - Nov. 2nd

Still pure perfection.

I'd planned to watch this last month, but the timing didn't work out to squeeze it in. So after ending October with Psycho II I was itching to revisit the original...an itch that had to be scratched immediately. As much as I love this movie I think it was my 3rd or 4th time to watch it (excluding those few times I came across it on TV somewhere in progress & would watch it), which seems to be a good way to approach this film. Psycho benefits from leaving time between viewings, as evidenced by how many things I noticed that I hadn't before or a few moments I'd forgotten about over time. Plus it's able to work its magic better the less familiar you are with it. I'll look forward to watching it again in about 10 years.
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People who added this item 2105 Average listal rating (1265 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.7
First viewing - Nov. 6th

The Ninth Gate is 3/4 of a great film that sadly falls apart in the end. Depp does an excellent job here, and the atmosphere throughout is perfect. The story is pretty original & well-suited for Polanski. It's sort of a companion piece to Rosemary's Baby, but the ending seems like it was conceived by somebody else. It doesn't help that much of the time the effects aren't very good either...the ending looks more like what you'd see in a made-for-TV movie than a proper theatrical release. A shame really, as I was riveted & highly enjoying it up until then.
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First viewing - Nov. 10th

Fellow Listalite PvtCaboose91 linked me to this short film he put together for his film class last month, but with the Horrorfest & other things since it took me a while to get around to watching it. I thought it was pretty damn good. It calls to mind Sin City in a few ways, and could easily find a home in that world with its violence, visuals, and sense of humor. There's not much depth to it (a difficult thing for any short film to pull off really), but it's solidly entertaining from start to finish.

Seems like our fellow Listalite is one to keep an eye on in the future. Ah, and I must insist that you not actually watch it here in my list, but rather head over to YouTube & choose the Large player option. Looks much better that way. After that, be sure to drop by his profile & let him know what you think. ;)
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People who added this item 24 Average listal rating (19 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.4
First viewing - The Comedians of Comedy: Live At the El Rey - Nov. 13th

And actually the thing I watched on Netflix with this title is one of a few of these. The one I watched had Bob Odenkirk and no Zach Galifianakis & the run time was 54 miinutes. Maria Bamford aside (not funny in my book) I was entertained & laughed quite a bit, which is generally the point of stand up comedy. The short run time meant short sets from each comedian, which was fine in Miz Bamford's case but left me wanting more from Brian Posehn & Patton Oswalt. In fact you can tell that their sets are edited, which was a minor annoyance though that annoyed me less than the camera work. I don't get why the cameramen think they have to shoot from odd angles or worse capture crowd reaction shots. It's something that typically annoys me with these things anyway, but the camera work here especially irritated me at times. Eventually I'll get around to watching the actual movie I've listed this under & hopefully they'll have better cameramen. We'll see.

Rating: 6/10
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People who added this item 315 Average listal rating (215 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.8
Bernie (2011)
First viewing - Nov. 16th

It's possible I got more out of Bernie than some people around here simply because I've lived in Texas for so long that the characters ring completely true for me. I loved the presentation of the story, which enhanced the fact that it's based on real events, and Jack Black gives one of his best performances. I was entertained from start to finish, but for some reason it fell short of crossing the line over into greatness for me. Definitely worth a look though.

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People who added this item 187 Average listal rating (83 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.6
First viewing - Nov. 17th

This one was originally put on my radar thanks to Xanadon't who also recommended I watch it with my "wife" which is exactly what I did. We both enjoyed it, but I personally found it predictable & a little repetitive. It's definitely nothing I haven't seen before, but the leads have a chemistry that makes it well worth watching. Also there's a great sense of humor to the film which I dug.

Ah, but I'd give it 6 stars anyway just for having an hour-and-a-half or so to watch Vanessa Paradis. ;)

Currently streaming on Netflix
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People who added this item 1670 Average listal rating (1058 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.9
Bolt (2008)
Re-watch - Nov. 26th

This was my 3rd or 4th time watching Bolt, and my daughter's 2nd (so far). It's still as solidly entertaining as the other times I watched it & at times the animation truly impresses me. It never quite crosses over into greatness & there are some minor things that are irksome, but overall I really enjoy it.
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People who added this item 2001 Average listal rating (1205 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.5
Hugo (2011)
First viewing - Nov. 30th

So rather than end the month by knocking out one or two more expiring Netflix films, I decided I'd rather watch Hugo which just joined instant. And I'm very glad I did. It's a visual feast & a wonderful celebration of imagination and purpose that I found myself enjoying more than any other film of Scorsese's I've seen. As a love letter to cinema it also excels, though it's possible I got more out of it since I watched A Trip to the Moon earlier this year. There's a warmth & humor that's usually lacking in his films, which I found both refreshing & endearing. And yet something just holds it back from earning a perfect score from me. I'm not sure what it is exactly, but I'll definitely be revisiting the film in the future to see whether I figure it out.

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People who added this item 326 Average listal rating (228 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 8.3
Paperman (2012)
First viewing - Nov. 20th

A black-and-white animated short in 2012? Cool. Can't say I was overly impressed by this otherwise, but it's memorable enough & worth watching.
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People who added this item 1484 Average listal rating (1052 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.7
First viewing - Nov. 20th


See also: Review by Joshua "LF"

Thanks to Alamo Drafthouse's Baby Day, the "wife" & I were able to take the kiddo & all go enjoy a movie together as a family (outside of Baby Day screenings, no children under age 6 are allowed at Drafthouse for any screenings). And overall, we loved it. The only thing that holds this film back from earning a perfect score is, as the above review also notes, the moments where the film overindulges in potty humor. Such moments serve only to highlight the fact that Sarah Silverman is voicing her character, and otherwise contributes nothing worthwhile to the film. That aside, the combination of humor & heart works largely in this film's favor, & I loved the various ways it touches on so many video games throughout its short history. Definitely a film worth seeing & easily among my favorites for this year.
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People who added this item 1814 Average listal rating (1229 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.8
Skyfall (2012)
First viewing - Nov. 30th

Nice to see Bond back in good form. The last film was bad enough that I wasn't initially excited to check this one out, but then the positive feedback rolled in & I made it a priority. And I'm glad I did.

Unlike the last 2 films with Daniel Craig in the role, this time the entire film is wonderfully shot. Gone are the shaky-cams & confusing set-pieces, and good riddance to them. This film falls more into the spirit of the Bond franchise at it SHOULD be. The script is well-constructed, the characters are well-developed, and aside from a handful of lagging moments the pacing is well-handled. The only problem really is that while the film certainly impresses, it also falls almost too self-consciously into a habit of ensuring certain expectations of Bond films are met. This mostly works to the film's advantage because they get it right. But at the same time I feel like it's formulaic & thus prevents the film from achieving the status of a Great film.

How about Javier Bardem as the bad guy though, eh? Pretty impressive says I, even if at times his antics recalled The Dark Knight.
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Listal Group Project


Movie Exchange Program


See also this month's lists from: Xanadon't and phillydude
People who added this item 1512 Average listal rating (925 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.7
25th Hour (2002)
First viewing - Nov. 10th

Technically this was my first FULL viewing, as I'd started to watch this once before at my parents' house. As I recall, my dad sat down to watch it too at some point & I wound up changing the channel rather than watch it with him (possibly about the time Marty launches into his fuck everyone tirade).

Anyway, everything here is well done & nicely put together. The performances are mostly excellent and the story is compelling from start to finish. It works as well as a character study as it does a study of the character of post-9/11 NYC. Some of Spike Lee's visual choices don't do much for me personally, and I'm not sure I'd go out of my way to watch 25th Hour again. But I appreciate what Lee has done here & would say it's well worth watching.
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People who added this item 1270 Average listal rating (733 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 8
Talk to Her (2002)
First viewing - Nov. 24th

Initially I didn't think much of this film other than that it was well shot & put together. But as it rolled along I found myself engrossed in the story, despite the fact that it seems like something plucked from a soap opera at times. The characters are well developed by the end, the acting is excellent, & I liked it overall even if some parts were easily predictable. I can't say I ever loved it, but it's definitely worth watching.
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Year-long series focus: The Marx Bros.

I've decided this year I want to re-watch all of the Marx Bros. movies in order. Since there's 12 of them total that gives me one per month, but I skipped last month for the Horrorfest this month there will be two films.
People who added this item 73 Average listal rating (48 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 6.9
At the Circus (1939)
Re-watch - Nov. 8th

A solid if unexceptional entry from the Marx Bros. It's entertaining, the cast is decent, and there are some good laughs along the way. The plot could easily be wrapped up in 30 minutes, but gets stretched out to almost 90 minutes. That could be a problem if you're not a fan of the Marx Brothers' comedy, since the plots of their films are usually secondary to the humor anyway, but this time out there aren't many big memorable moments like most of the films that preceded it.
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People who added this item 62 Average listal rating (40 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 6.9
Go West (1940)
First viewing - Nov. 16th

One of the coolest harps ever.

Somehow I'd missed this one until now, but I'll be sure to watch it again in the future. The comedy side of things fires on all cylinders here & the supporting cast never overstays their welcome. Some of the characters could be better handled, but I laughed so often & heartily that I hardly cared. It may fall a little short of their best films, but not by much. Kind of a shame then that it's rarely talked about.
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Netflix exorcisms

Films I watched before they left my IQ this month
First viewing - Nov. 5th

Simply put, this is to Australian genre films the same thing that Going to Pieces is to slasher movies. It's a solid exploration of Australia's film history with regard to low-budget & exploitation films, one that provided me with plenty of movies to add to my want-to-watch list. Quentin Tarantino is on hand to discuss the films as a long-time fan of them, which I personally enjoyed as much as the interviews with various people who worked in the industry over the years. It's a little too thorough, meaning it runs out of steam eventually, and I didn't appreciate the frequency of spoilers given the fact I've only seen TWO of the films discussed. But the upside is that I'm now aware of a bunch of films I hadn't heard of before & interested in checking them out, which says the documentary did its job.
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People who added this item 483 Average listal rating (341 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.7
Religulous (2008)
First viewing - Nov. 6th

I mostly enjoyed watching Bill Maher run around & ask questions of a variety of religious people throughout Religulous. It's very entertaining to see him stump them & poke fun at some of the ridiculous things that people accept as true despite evidence to the contrary. Unfortunately there's not much here I didn't get out of reading Sam Harris's book The End of Faith & the film runs out of steam as it moves along. While I appreciate Maher's efforts to include as many religions as he can, it winds up getting repetitive with less insights being delivered. In fact the last part seems more like arguing for the sake of arguing rather than constructive discussions. There's also the curiously slipshod way the film is put together, as microphones frequently drop into the frame which is distracting.

Anyway, I thought it was worth watching, but could have been a lot better.
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People who added this item 134 Average listal rating (96 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.5
Re-watch - Nov. 11th

Thought I was in the right mood for this one, but I wasn't at all. I was able to overlook the dubbing (my main problem with the last Godzilla movie I'd watched), but still found myself unable to enjoy it much & eventually decided to clean up the kitchen while half paying attention to it. The characters take everything far too seriously IMO, the special effects are obviously fake (which I did expect, but the overall seriousness worked against the laughability of the effects), and there's a scene where Americans show up to fight Godzilla for no fucking reason (and they never show up again either). I really used to dig the Godzilla franchise as a teenager, and I'm beginning to think that that no longer holds true. Bummed.

Gojira is still excellent though.
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People who added this item 604 Average listal rating (387 ratings) 4.7 IMDB Rating 4.9
Dracula 2000 (2000)
First viewing - Nov. 14th

By no means is this a great film & in fact it barely qualifies as good in my book. Much of it is cheesy & sub-par & Gerard Butler gives easily my least favorite performance as Dracula. Ah, and the first half winds up looking like an ad for Virgin record stores. All that aside I was consistently entertained & I kinda dug the alternate take on who Drac is. So my lowered expectations on this one worked out in its favor I guess.
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People who added this item 96 Average listal rating (66 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 5.6
First viewing - Nov. 20th

Meh. There's a clever idea here, but unfortunately it's not very well-executed. Sad really, given that Gene Wilder co-wrote AND directed the film in addition to starring in it. Overall it's fairly amusing, but in no way does it ever go beyond being merely average, nor is it very laugh-out-loud funny, & thus this is a film I could just as easily have gone on ignoring regardless of my love & appreciation for Gene Wilder. Ah well.
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People who added this item 1082 Average listal rating (551 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.5
First viewing - Nov. 25th/26th

I haven't read the book this is adapted from, so you won't get any comparison between the two. I dug the film, quirks & all, and found myself highly enjoying Eugene Hutz's character & overall performance. I know he's an excellent frontman from having seen his band Gogol Bordello in concert, but had no idea what to expect from his acting abilities & was thus pleasantly surprised (often those who perform music and act only possess the talents for one but not both).

My only issue really is that it didn't affect me on an emotional level quite like it could/should have, though that may be largely due to my having to split my viewings up. I'll have to watch it again to find out for sure.
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I tried, but I gave up

People who added this item 34 Average listal rating (14 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6
First "viewing" - Nov. 23rd

You see the kind of crap I was dealing with here. I wanted to watch this because Vincent Price is involved, but as far as I could tell he only had a bit part. It's possible he shows up later in the film, but I simply couldn't bring myself to sit through it far enough to find out. There's a lot of odd/bizarre stuff going on that made me feel like the film was intentionally fucking with me, and overall it was just poorly put together & dumb from what I saw. I gave up around 40-45 minutes in because I couldn't take it anymore. Evidently it's an anthology, but I didn't get past the first story so take that into consideration.
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People who added this item 448 Average listal rating (296 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.2
Harry Brown (2009)
First "viewing" - Nov. 23rd

I think I watched about 40-45 minutes of this one too before abandoning all hope. Seems like a well made film I guess, but it failed to generate any enthusiasm on my part. The pacing is terrible, far too many scenes & shots are dragged out (some no doubt in an attempt to be "artistic"), which made it fucking boring to watch. Didn't help that it's a very generic vigilante tale, nor that it failed to get me invested in any character including its lead. As much as I like Michael Caine, I simply didn't give a damn about his character here. *sigh* Oh well.
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November tends to be a bit of an off month for me, between post-Horrorfest burnout & a variety of events sprinkled throughout the month (Fun Fun Fun Fest, Thanksgiving, etc.). So we'll see how this month goes. There definitely won't be much planning going into the month beyond keeping up with the group project, my year-long Marx Bros. thing, and catching whatever leaves my IQ.

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Comments

Posted: 5 years ago at Nov 12 6:47
I need to see Psycho. A terrible shame, that I haven't seen this movie.
Posted: 5 years ago at Nov 12 8:21
The only movies on this that I have seen are Psycho and The Ninth Gate. I liked both and I totally agree with your comments on both. Nice list!
Posted: 5 years ago at Nov 12 8:51
Looks like you're off to a pretty solid start for the month! Glad to see you enjoyed The Ninth Gate, even if the ending undoes a good chunk of the over-all effect. I'll have to sit down with it again to see what I really think about it.

Happy also that you dug 25th Hour well enough, even if it doesn't amount to a new personal favorite or anything. Both docs are thing that I've been contemplating giving a watch for a long time now, but just haven't gotten around too. I was on a documentary kick for a while there, but these days I just can't be bothered with them. So meh, some other time.
Posted: 5 years ago at Nov 14 16:06
Nice list! I loved the first two myself as well as the 25th Hour. I haven't seen the others though. I might have seen the Godzilla pic when I was a kid. Maybe I need to revisit.
I love the way you set this up. I'm still figuring this site out and all I can manage are the basics.
Posted: 5 years ago at Nov 17 18:02
I thought of you (and some other people) during that scene in Bernie in which the old guy describes the people of Texas by geographic region- and I suddenly realized that the only people from Texas that I know/am friends with are from that central area, haha. Glad you liked the movie as I imagined you would. :)
Posted: 5 years ago at Nov 21 4:35
Great list; I completely agree about Paperman. Also, thanks for adding my review!
Posted: 4 years, 11 months ago at Dec 1 9:49
Hey, alright! Glad you watched and enjoyed Hugo so much!! As you know it was nearly my favorite movie of last year. And I rank it right up with the very best of Scorsese's work, so it's nice to read that you think it may actually be your favorite of his.

Glad to see you found several aspects to enjoy in Talk to Her. You're right on when you allude to soap operas- and really I've found that most of his work has a certain soap opera feel to it somewhere or another. Yeah, he's a strange director, but I've really taken to his unique eye and voice for story-telling.

Hmmm, now I've got two animated features on my radar: Wreck it Ralph and Rise of the Guardians. I don't know if I'll catch up to either before they leave theaters. On the other hand, I've found that fun and clever "kid movies" are the perfect thing for the odd afternoon where I'm on the couch fighting off the late stages of a hangover.
Posted: 4 years, 11 months ago at Dec 16 10:52
Saw Bernie awhile ago..I totally agree with your review.

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