I've decided this list is big enough, so it will only represent January through June. For July 2011 onward, please visit my Watched in 2011 pt. 2 list.
The breakdown: 15 first views, 3 re-watches...out of those 15 came from Netflix instant, 2 were seen in the theatre(!), and 1 was a Netflix DVD re-watch. There was a nice mix of films time-wise as I hit every decade from the 40s to present. That's the first time I can think of that happening!
After finally giving in to Kris's insistence that I watch House of the Devil and seeing great results, I decided to call upon the Listal community to help me tackle my Instant Queue, and got a great response. Thanks to all those who have participated! Unfortunately, Netflix did a lot of house-cleaning this month and thus had more influence over what I watched than anything else. However, since I'm going into July with votes already in place I should be better able to stick more to the recommendations I've received. So stay tuned for that.
Netflix's house-cleaning wasn't all bad, however, as I found some new favorites among those that left. As you'll notice there are a lot of 9s and 10s this month, and some 8s as well. In fact, I didn't see a truly bad film all month, though there were a few that fell far short of my expectations/hopes. Still, when the lowest rating all month is a 5 I can't complain too much. Plus, the fact that I made it out to the theatres for a double-dose of comic book goodness made me very very happy. This summer is off to a good start...
Meant to get to this one last month but lacked the time to do so. Better late than never though, yes? Like those I watched last month, my sole complaint lies with the technical side of the film. A variety of scenes are added in over his performance, and I felt that they didn't add anything of value. Beyond that...
A Bill Hicks stand-up performance overflows with raw energy, untempered passion, pointed anger, and just an all around lack of smug apathy found in so much stand-up comedy today. As earnest as he his fucking hilarious. If you've never watched the late Bill Hicks, you're missing out on a major figure in comedy.
By far my favorite of the X-Men films. Michael Fassbender is great as Erik Lensherr/Magneto and James McAvoy makes a great young Xavier; the film is at its best when focused on the relationship between them. I loved the in-jokes for those of us who are/were comics fans, as well as the way it tells the tale of the team's beginning even if it doesn't quite get it right (the only original X-Men team member that's a part of this incarnation is Beast). Nice to see them incorporate the real-world social climates that helped inform and shape the comic over the years too.
Holy crap I made it to the theatre twice this month! Dare I hope for a 3rd time?
Overall I thought it was OK. The opening scenes in Asgard and with the frost giants felt like an homage to the LOTR films, which kept popping into my head. And as someone familiar with the comics (if not a fan) and Norse mythology in general, I pretty well figured out where it was going and got few surprises in return plot-wise.
However, the acting is good, the character development works well enough, and it's mostly entertaining throughout (provided you can shut off your brain). It's certainly not the worst of Marvel's films, but I feel it falls short of being among the best ones. Definitely worth a look, I'm just not as in love with it as some of my fellow Listal users clearly are.
I'm sure at the time of its release, Yojimbo was far more impressive than it is now. No doubt due to the films it's inspired since, I felt for much of the time spent watching it that I've seen it all before. In the first 30 minutes I figured out where it was going, and so in the meantime I had to find interest elsewhere. Sometimes the characters and situations delivered, at other times I either fell asleep or quit paying attention...and when I came back to it I found that I hadn't really missed much.
With regard to the technical side of Yojimbo, there's much to appreciate. The film looks and sounds great from start to finish, and I'm giving it credit for that. But despite that I was mostly bored and struggled to maintain my connection to it. I'm probably in the minority on that, and so be it.
"Jules and Jim is one of those rare films that knows how fast audiences can think, and how emotions contain their own explanations. It's about three people who could not concede that their moment of perfect happiness was over, and pursued it into dark and sad places."
--Roger Ebert, from his Great movies archive
Now THIS is more like it. My 3rd Kurosawa film and by far my favorite, largely due to perfect pacing and great characters. Thanks to Bml93, drugs, and Michael M for encouraging me to watch this, as well as Netflix for deciding to remove it from instant watch this month.
I'd intended to go to bed after updating this list with Seven Samurai, but when I looked at my instant queue I noticed this film (which I'd recently added) was also leaving today. As you can see by my rating, it was worth staying up for. I now have a new favorite horror movie for the 1940s.
All the ingredients for a great film are here, and I enjoyed every moment of it. If it fell short in any way, it'd be that it didn't have quite the emotional impact I expected it to in the end, at least not for me. Your results may vary however.
Thanks to johanlefourbe, Bml93, and Hillaviina for encouraging me to watch this one, and Netflix for removing it from instant watch.
After finishing Before Sunrise, we decided we had to see its sequel. The short run-time was also a factor since it was getting late. And while we both enjoyed it, neither of us enjoyed it nearly as much as its predecessor. One dialogue exchange I felt ran far too long for its own good, and I partly feel like the film's main reason of existence is to answer the questions the first film left unanswered. Personally I liked being left in the dark better. Still, the chemistry between Hawke and Delpy is just as good as before, and most of the dialogue works so well I couldn't help but get lost in it.
Thanks to Nocturne and Frank White for encouraging me to check it out.
From start to finish it's clear that this is an early Scorsese film. The story-telling is very weak, and by the time you have a sense of what the focus is it's almost half over. I spent much of this film trying to figure out what it was supposed to be. Comedy? Drama? Crime movie? By the end I'm still not entirely sure.
Even more frustrating were the song choices in the soundtrack, the majority of which are pop and love songs, and few of which are not in stark contrast to what's going on on-screen. They kept breaking the spell for me, and since they were typically louder than the dialogue it was difficult for me to look past it.
All that said, the actors' performances were all great, and in other areas the technical aspects at least hint at the director Scorsese would become. Personally I felt the flaws far outweighed the good.
Worth watching for the final act, but what a pain it is to get there. Everything about this film screams made-for-TV-movie aside from the language. Midway into the film I decided to do dishes and watch it while I did so, but I was glad I stuck it out to the end (even if it was fairly predictable).
the giraffe's rating:
The breakdown: 9 first views, 2 movies watched in their entirety for the first time that I'd seen parts of, and 6 re-watches. Out of those 7 came courtesy of Netflix instant watch, 3 from my personal collection, and the rest were watched while I was away from home. (And while it appears there are only 16 titles here, there's another contained in Bill Hicks: Revelations, bringing the total to 17.)
Stand-up comedy dominated this month as I made my way through the Bill Hicks: Live collection, plus I introduced a future sister-in-law to Jim Gaffigan. I also caught 3 solid documentaries, the best of which was Catfish which tied with Death Becomes Her for best movie of the month. I also notice that with the exception of Black Sabbath everything I watched was from the 90s, 00s and last year.
All in all a month of solid entertainment, despite once again not making it out to the theatre. Guess I should just be thankful to get my movie fix somewhere, yeah?
Movies I watched you should avoid: Black Sabbath and The Good Heart
Well, it's not over yet & I'm already here...not a good sign. Another leftover from my Oct. 2010 Horrorfest, I'd added it to my instant queue after seeing Boris Karloff's name attached to it. This is the first of Mario Bava's films I've seen & if it's any indication of the rest of his work then he's Italy's answer to Roger Corman. Yet while I enjoy Corman's films, I only enjoyed PARTS of this one.
This trio of tales starts off solidly enough, with a tale that's OK with decent suspense and a good payoff. Then the 2nd one has little to recommend it beyond a pair of beautiful actresses being in it, and the 3rd keeps falling flat due to all of the characters being complete morons. For example, the family at the center of it says they've been told not to let their father in if he comes back after a certain amount of time...but when he shows up late (haha) they welcome him yet continually eye him suspiciously. And then they're surprised when things go awry. *shakes head*
Of course the biggest obstacle for a film divided into smaller parts is character development, which helps the viewer CARE about the characters involved. With this one there's virtually none to be had, and Bava does nothing else to generate feelings for them. Oh, and Boris Karloff setting up each of the shorts is just cheesy and sad.
Creepiest line from the 3rd part: "Can't I fondle my own grandson?" Umm...yeah.
So...if we divide them, the first part earns an 8/10; the 2nd earns a 4/10; and the 3rd earns a 1/10. Taking the average that's somewhere between 4 & 5. Ah well...on the plus side it can only go up from here.
Well, the image for this TV series is very appropriate because what I watched was Bill Hicks' performance from One Night Stand, which I hadn't seen in years. It's currently streaming on Netflix as part of Bill Hicks Live - Satirist, Social Critic, Stand-Up Comedian (and you can expect the other 3 parts to follow this month, as well as Sane Man). Still every bit as brilliant as I remembered.
This week hasn't been a good one to squeeze movies into, so I'm thankful to have Bill Hicks to fall back on. Watching these performances in order has helped me see the evolution of his jokes, several of which from his One Night Stand turn up here again with added variations. So whenever he'd wander into already familiar territory, any thoughts of "I've already heard this" were still rewarded by his embellishments.
Overall this is another excellent performance from a great (and sadly now absent) comedian & absolutely worth watching. I can't quite give it a 10/10 in part for the repetition, but more for the fact that the transfer is visually terrible. It looks like the camera was rarely in focus, or like they tried put a haze over his performance. Add to that a couple of obvious jumps where you can tell they edited separate performances together...blah. I probably shouldn't hold the technical aspects against this, but they annoyed me so often I feel I have to.
My woman's eldest sister spent part of this weekend with us, and a conversation between us revealed she'd never seen any of Jim Gaffigan's stand-up. I insisted we watch this one (I own it and King Baby on DVD), and succeeded in converting another person I know into a fan of his.
I think this was my 5th time watching it, and I still laugh until I cry at some parts.
It's been about 10 years now since I last watched this film (and at that time it was in theatres), so I was due for a revisit. Fortunately, my woman's eldest sister chose it from my collection for us to watch (as well as the film above, which I feel no need to comment on).
I stand by my original rating and thoughts on it. It's a solid, well-made film. It's entertaining, the effects are excellent, and the story follows a logical path from start to finish. The ending clearly sets up for a sequel, but because so many people hated Burton's film that sequel will never see the light of day.
Unfortunate, really, because the only reason I can see for anyone to hate this movie is because it defies one's expectations. From the start it's clear this is no remake, nor a more faithful adaptation of the novel, so if you insist on holding either the novel or its first adaptation against Burton's film then it's your own damn fault you aren't enjoying it. Sure there's room for improvement, and the 1968 film is better (hence why Burton didn't even attempt to remake it). But it works very well for what it is, providing solid entertainment and escapism.
My girlfriancee spotted this one, and my intention was to let her watch it alone & let me know if I'd like it later. I was in the room when she started it, however, and the opening caught hold of me so we watched it together.
It's definitely the best Edward Norton film I've seen in several years, and a pleasant surprise from Tim Blake Nelson who wrote, directed and played a major supporting role in it. For now I'm giving it an 8, but I suspect a re-watch will bump it up to a 9. I could say more, but I prefer not to. Go check it out for yourself.
At the time this came out, I had no interest in seeing it as I'm not much of a Denzel fan and the tale didn't sound like my cup of tea. Well, I happened to catch the start of it on cable in the hotel room I'm in tonight & it was better than I'd expected.
Much like Relentless, my only complaints here lie with the technical aspects. Again we have some jokes from his One Night Stand and Relentless performances, and again he's added something new to each. Such a brilliant guy he was.
After watching this I watched the all-too-short documentary (It's Just a Ride) which makes up the 4th feature in the aforementioned Bill Hicks Live set. Always good to hear what others thought of someone you're interested in, and they talked to friends, family, critics, and stars who were fans of his. Mixed in are clips from various performances, including from the 3 I'd watched before this which is forgivable since his career was cut short.
Anyway, Revelations also earns a 9/10, while It's Just a Ride earns a 7/10.
No new information for me here really, besides some of the specific examples used to illustrate the points made. I've known for years now that corporate news outlets can't be trusted...it's why I get my news from sources like NPR/PBS (when I pay attention to the news at all). Regardless, there's a lot of good information here and I respect the overall intent of the documentary to show how media outlets have changed and encourage people to stand up for non-partisan news.
I'm staying with family in Spain right now, and there are 4 kiddos in the house with us. The TV has been on much of the time, with a variety of kid-friendly movie fare. I could list them all, but I figure it makes sense to only list the ones I actually sit through most/all of. So far this is the only one I've done that with, and it was as good as the first time I saw it.
I'd watched most of this before, so I can't really say first viewing this time around. This was, however, my first time watching all of it at once (last time I watched about 2/3 of it before having to turn it off for a family dinner). I like the ideas here & the way it explores life after death, and the performances are solid all around. I also especially dug the visual contrast between heaven & hell. I felt like there was some room for improvement, but for what it was I enjoyed it.
Entertaining enough while I watched it, though the ending was ridiculously bad. Then I analyzed it afterward and my appreciation for it diminished. So while I don't regret the time I spent watching it, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone else.
Another one I can't exactly say was a first viewing, but was my first time to watch all of it at once. I've caught pieces of it on cable over the years, mostly from the last half, but that didn't keep me from really enjoying this movie. The performances are awesome, the effects/make-up are great, and there were some added touches along the way that I really dug. Good stuff all around.
Caught this as the first of 2 films on our flight home from Spain, lured in by the presence of Paul Dano and the fact that I hadn't seen or heard of it. Unfortunately it wasn't the best choice for an in-flight movie because the sound quality was bad. The (excellent) score sounded fine, but the dialogue was often difficult to hear/understand no matter how loud my headphones were turned up. That didn't keep my future wife & I from watching it anyway, but it frustrated us at times.
As for the film itself, from the start there's no question of where it's headed, nor any attempts to deviate from said expectations. It held our attention nonetheless due to the 2 primary characters being interesting and some intriguing moments. The whole story was missing emotional depth, however, and the romantic subplot was thrown in without being fully developed. Blah.
Excellent documentary about people who met on Facebook. I'll say no more than that and highly recommend you watch it.
the giraffe's rating:
The breakdown: 15 first views, 4 re-watches; all but one courtesy of Netflix instant. Another decent range time-wise for what I watched, as I hit the 30s, 50s, 60s, 80s, 90s, 00s and the present decade. Also this month I watched my 100th film of the year (Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome).
Most of what I watched was in the 9-10 range, which makes me happy. Catching up on some classics certainly helped, as did the MST3K films. The worst film I watched (in my opinion) was The Orphanage, though "Cigarette Burns" and My Bloody Valentine were close to it score-wise (all fell in the 5-6 range). Nothing I hated or regretted though, which is good.
Even the lone trip to the theatre proved to be worthwhile (see Rubber...no really, go see it, it's On Demand if not in your local theatre), and not just because I finally got there after almost 2 months. And thanks to Netflix's tendency to cast off random things, I even squeezed in a documentary!
By today's standards this film is somewhat dated (certainly with regard to the special effects), but for 1933 it's a king hell of a film. Now that I've seen it I'm less surprised the Germans banned it from being seen upon its release. Not only does the titular character set forth the values of crime (such as they are) and make a case in support of acts of terrorism, but there's some profanity (a handful of damns and goddamns) too which at least would've kept it out of American theatres in '33. The performances here are excellent, the story is compelling, and there's some great moments of comic relief sprinkled throughout. The sound leaves a bit to be desired at times, but that's probably due to the movie being shot in the early days of films having proper sound throughout.
Absolutely worth watching, and while at first I was reluctant to call it a masterpiece, after watching M later this month I feel better about doing so.
I set out to watch F for Fake, but couldn't get into it & turned it off 30 minutes in. I then decided I wanted something guaranteed to entertain, so I dialed up a MST3K attack of this film.
Both sides had their moments of hilarity. The MST3K trio delivered as many excellent jokes as ones that fell flat, and when they failed to crack me up something terrible in the movie usually succeeded. None of the main characters in Teenagers from Outer Space can act, everyone who dies gets turned into a skeleton, and there's a giant lobster running around. Oh, and the so-called teenagers all appear to at least be in their 20s.
MST3K's rating: 7/10 Currently streaming on Netflix
Of the war films I've watched recently, this one excels by engaging me more on an emotional level than Platoon or Black Hawk Down did. I liked the overall story, definitely more than the aforementioned films, but it doesn't quite cross the line into greatness for me. The scenes with Tom Skerritt broke the spell for me (I kept thinking of Top Gun), and it took a little longer than it could have for everything to come together. Good thing Monica Bellucci was there to help hold my attention through the slow build-up.
After watching Tears from the Sun I needed something fun. Revisiting Empire Records (the "Remix: Special Fan Edition", whatever that means...didn't really notice anything different about it, though I hadn't seen it since the '90s) did the trick.
Much like last night, I needed another fun movie to watch. So I fired this one up in hopes it would do the trick.
Oh man did it ever do the trick.
Why this took so long for me to get to I'm still not sure. It's over-the-top, the effects/gore are still awesome by today's standards for the most part, and it's a hell of a fun ride from start to finish. I even fell off my couch laughing so hard at one point. If I had one complaint it's that the acting could be a bit better in places, and had it not consciously bugged me this would be a perfect 10 in my book.
Revisiting this one made me realize that it's even better than I remembered it being. The few flaws are FAR overshadowed by the rest of the film, especially once it reaches the point where none of the characters can trust each other anymore. Why more of John Carpenter's films aren't this excellent baffles me, though I suppose if they were I wouldn't appreciate this one as much as I do.
Worthy of its renowned status, this is an excellent film, very ahead of its time with a stellar performance by Peter Lorre. I love the ideas it sets forth, especially with regard to serial killers. At times, however, I felt a bit bored watching it (which never happened with Mabuse, and as such I've altered my initial rating of it), mostly during the police investigation scenes which occasionally dragged on longer than I felt was necessary. Perhaps a re-watch in the future will change my mind on that, but until then I'm giving it a 9/10.
I've been curious to check out some of Kurosawa's films for some time now, but haven't really known where to start. After doing some digging & finding out this was the film that first earned him fans in the Western world, I figured I should start here. I'd tried to watch this last night after watching M, but was too tired to keep from falling asleep. Thus I put it on hold, and started all over today.
Aside from the plodding pace, I think it's a great film. I like the frame narrative and multiple contradictory narratives. Visually there's a lot to admire too, and the acting performances are mostly excellent. I can definitely see its influence over other films, and I respect that. But it dragged itself along so much I started wishing it was about 45 minutes long. At an hour and 20 minutes it feels like a 2 & 1/2 hour film. If the pacing helped to create tension or something, I might have been OK with it. Instead I felt like the actors were told to stand around looking at each other to stretch the film out to feature-length.
So I'd say it's worth checking out, but make sure you're wide awake when you do so.
After Rashomon I needed something to cheer me up. The I Accuse My Parents episode of MST3K is among the funniest I've ever seen. Joel and the bots are firing on all cylinders in this one for the most part, and listening to them mock the educational short film they sat through before the film made a great extra treat.
I dug a lot of the little touches of humor inserted into many of the scenes, as well as the way the film goes against one's expectations of a werewolf movie. The acting is excellent for the most part, especially from Dee Wallace (which I've come to expect from her). Effects-wise, I thought it was mostly good (some effects are laughably bad) but nowhere near as awesome as An American Werewolf in London (which is also by far the better werewolf movie all around). Definitely worth watching though if you're into horror & haven't seen it yet.
Overrated and predictable (and I went into this knowing nothing beyond that others have rated it highly around here). At times I was reminded of Poltergeist and The Sixth Sense, but unlike the first time I saw those films there were no surprises here for me. The acting and some of the technical aspects were well-done, but as the last 20 minutes or so unfolded the way I expected them to, all I could do was shake my head in disappointment. So much potential squandered.
Late last year I revisited the first Mad Max, and I've been wanting to revisit the others ever since. Fortunately Netflix finally got around to adding the 2nd film to instant (at the time it was the only one NOT on instant), so I put both sequels in the queue. Now Thunderdome is leaving instant, so I figured I'd better get on it.
Of the 2, this one was much better than I remembered. It's not quite as good as the original, but it's just as memorable and the action sequences are awesome. I miss CGI-free stunts like these.
Not as good as I remembered, but the first 45 minutes is still awesome. I feel like the film would've been better had Max been left in Bartertown and found his way back into Thunderdome again. Ah well. Still entertaining for the most part.
Finally made it out to the theatre for the first time since February! This is the most original film I've seen in quite some time. Probably not for everybody, but if you check out the trailer and get excited for it then it's definitely for you. I found it highly entertaining.
First viewing - John Carpenter's "Cigarette Burns"
Tonight I wanted to watch a movie, but since it was late I decided instead to watch a pair of shorter films. "Cigarette Burns" was a holdover from my October 2010 Horrorfest, so it's been sitting in my queue for a while. It was entertaining enough, but I felt it could've been much better in many areas. I've watched many of the Masters of Horror shorts, and this one is more mid-range.
Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
Right, but, see...this year goes to 11.
Listed in order of when I watched them, starting on the first of each month. Current month displayed at top, previous months beneath. Updated once per day that movies are watched (or perhaps the day after), so check back. First views will say so, otherwise you may assume that I'd seen the movie prior to 2011. Comments, thoughts, links to Listal reviews & so on included to expand on my ratings, if I think it's necessary.