Lists  Reviews  Images  Update feed
MoviesTV ShowsMusicBooksGamesDVDs/Blu-RayPeopleArt & DesignPlacesWeb TV & PodcastsToys & CollectiblesComic Book SeriesBeautyAnimals   View more categories »
Listal logo
Added by the giraffe on 30 Nov 2014 11:34
1329 Views 6 Comments

DVDecember 2014

Sort by: Showing 32 items
Decade: Rating: List Type:
The breakdown: 32 movies watched, of those 18 were on DVD, 12 were via Netflix, 1 was streamed (non-Netflix), and 1 in the theatre. Of those 20 were first views, 12 were re-watches, and they came from the following decades: 1940s, 50s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s & 2010s.

I'm totally counting this month as a successful one. About 2/3 of what I watched was on DVD, and most of those were from my own collection. Nothing new came out in theatres I was especially interested in seeing, but I caught something a little older that was great. And when the annual year-end Netflix purge reared its ugly head I managed to get 10 of the 18 films that made their exit watched. Not too shabby.

And so we lay 2014 to rest. So long, sucker. On to 2015 with new things on the horizon. I've got plans for next year, and I intend to see them through. Thanks everyone for hanging with me...I hope to see you keeping up with me as time continues its persistent march onward.

Best new-to-me film of December: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (though The Maltese Falcon is a close second)
Best hidden gem: The One I Love
Worst film: Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey / The Torment (tie)

Year-end totals:
Movies watched: 307
Netflix Project recommendations seen: 20
Watched with my kiddo: 41 (plus 1/2 if you count how much of Frankenstein she watched with me; and we watched Frankenweenie twice which I didn't notice until I looked back)
Biggest month: October (41 films)
Smallest month: February (8 films)
People who added this item 6518 Average listal rating (4532 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.4
Re-watch - Dec. 1st

Decided to kick off the month with a movie I've been itching to revisit for a while now, The Shining. This was actually my second viewing ever, the first being back in the late '90s or early '00s when I managed to catch a theatre screening of it & I've got to say this film was definitely made for the big screen. Not that it's not worth watching at home, mind you, but the scope of everything is better realized as big as you can get it. And so I kinda felt like I should've waited for another opportunity to see it at Drafthouse. I also found that despite my desire to revisit it something was lacking & I wasn't as deeply invested as I was the first time around. I'm not sure what that was exactly...maybe I wasn't in the right mood for Kubrick this night? Could be...I know I've tried to watch 2001 on occasions & been bored out of my mind while other times I dig the hell out of it. At any rate, it's still an excellent movie all around I just wasn't as in love with it this time. And so I'm dropping it from a 10 to a 9, but reserve the right to bump it up again should it change my mind in the future.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 3264 Average listal rating (2120 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 6.2
Re-watch - Dec. 2nd

I picked this up for the kiddo & I at Target for $6 last month and kept distracting her from watching it until I was ready for a Christmas movie. Finally I gave in, and she enjoyed it. Her favorite part was the Grinch removing some of his memories, which she insisted I play back again before moving on. And then that night she was quoting "Dinner with myself. I can't cancel that again!"

I still dig this one too, and have never understood all the hate for it. While it does throw in an unnecessary backstory for the Grinch it never feels like it's forced or just padding, and the overall intent of the story is intact. It's fun & the effects are solid too.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 4478 Average listal rating (3022 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.9
Re-watch - Dec. 5th

There's so much comic gold here, some of it I'd almost forgotten. The opening sequence still leaves me in stitches, I quickly recalled all of the best lines, and had a blast revisiting it again.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1869 Average listal rating (1203 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.5
Pleasantville (1998)
Re-watch - Dec. 8th

It had been far too long since I last watched Pleasantville, but not so long that I'd forgotten much about it. It's still every bit as great as I'd remembered, and it was amusing spotting a few faces I didn't recognize at the time but do now. And just like the few times I saw it years ago it still works its magic on me from start to finish, spinning a tale that's stimulating intellectually and emotionally. I can't think of a single complaint to file against it.

Just a thought: And now I want to watch some more Don Knotts movies.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 412 Average listal rating (240 ratings) 8.4 IMDB Rating 8.1
First viewing - Dec. 10th

I decided to hit my local video store for a few films, and as I walked out with 4 DVDs in hand I debated whether I'd actually have time to watch them all. Then when I got home I managed to watch 3 between lunch and bedtime. Funny how that goes sometimes.

I started with Rififi, a film I've heard great things about for the past 8 or so years now. And it's certainly a well-made film all around, with a wonderfully played out ending. It didn't quite cross the line of greatness for me, but I can see how it could for others. I'd definitely watch it again some time though.
the giraffe's rating:
First viewing - Dec. 10th

After the seriousness of Rififi, this was a welcome dose of fun. Bogey is a marvel to behold here, armed with wit and clearly having a blast with his role. The rest of the cast is full of characters I wish I'd had more time to spend with, and it's no wonder this is considered a great film. And so while I'm a little disappointed in myself for not watching it sooner, I'll gladly make up for it by watching it again in the not-too-distant future.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 2747 Average listal rating (1911 ratings) 8.5 IMDB Rating 8.5
Re-watch - Dec. 10th

I haven't seen Rear Window in at least 20 years, so I was long overdue to revisit it. And while I still dig the film & would gladly watch it again, and got far more out of it on the whole than I did the first time around, I'm no longer convinced it's great or perfect. It's certainly entertaining throughout, but I found the main source of intrigue to be far too obvious. It's clear what's going on from the start, and there was never a doubt in my mind as to whether Thorwald did what he did. Rather it's more a matter of gathering sufficient evidence which wasn't that exciting in my book. Fortunately the whole thing is elevated by the interactions between Stewart, Kelly, and Ritter, all of whom make the film enjoyable. And I definitely dig the cast of neighbors, how each of them has their own interesting life despite their minor roles. I just wasn't as impressed this time around, and thus its rating has dropped accordingly.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 614 Average listal rating (426 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 8
Rio Bravo (1959)
First viewing - Dec. 13th

This was a nice way to start my day off, with yet another film full of rich characters I enjoyed hanging out with & would gladly revisit. I'm undecided whether I personally consider it great, though there are definitely some great moments in it. Perhaps a re-watch down the road will make up my mind. When I think of it in terms of westerns, it's among the better ones but not as excellent as, say, Once Upon a Time in the West (in my book anyway). Still it's totally worth checking out & worthy of its classic reputation.
the giraffe's rating:
Re-watch - Dec. 13th

Bill & Ted double feature

Pretty sure it'd been at least 20 years since I last bothered watching either of these films, so I decided I'd pair them up & knock them both out at once. This film is still mostly fun, super cheesy but charming enough to keep me from getting annoyed with it. I still remembered the majority of it too. The thing that keeps this from being great though is the fact that it runs by so fast there's no deep connection to any of it. The pace keeps it entertaining, but the large number of historical figures they have to pick up results in the film being rushed through & thus leaves with a feeling of wanting more from it. Not that this seems to have any intention of being a serious film in any sense, and as such I wouldn't grade it too harshly. And I'll probably watch it again some time & get just as much (little?) out of it.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1012 Average listal rating (672 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 6.3
Re-watch - Dec. 13th

Bill & Ted double feature

I can't recall now if I watched this in the theatre or with my friends, but I know I only ever saw it once all the way through. And whereas I still recalled the majority of its predecessor I barely remembered this one. Turns out I should've left it that way, as the most joy I got came from brief appearances by the likes of Jim Martin of Faith No More and Primus. The only thing this film does well is stick to its narrative core, which feels more fleshed out than the first film. Trouble is the entire thing is only mildly entertaining and the characters are almost all annoying this time around. The evil Bill & Ted are obnoxious and yet their eventual defeat is so briefly executed I shrugged and was thankful only that it meant the film was almost over. The main villain isn't given much to do besides yell at everyone and insist how great he is with nothing to back it up, and Death is just pathetic (though I did enjoy the fun poked at The Seventh Seal). And I won't even get into the awfulness of the quoting of Poison lyrics being accepted as the meaning of life. Anyway, it's safe to say the next time I need to make room on my shelves this will be the first to go.

Just a thought: In my book Primus easily wins the battle of the bands, and Bill & Ted can go back to the rock they crawled out of.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 4427 Average listal rating (3021 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.1
Re-watch - Dec. 17th

Still excellent from start to finish, and this could well serve as a blueprint for how to make a superhero movie with two villains. Both Catwoman & Penguin are properly fleshed out, established solidly, and memorably portrayed. Their motivations are clear and follow a sensible progression throughout the film. Burton injects this film with appropriate amounts of humor, whimsy, and darkness, and compared to the sequels that followed in its wake Batman Returns looks like a masterpiece even today. I still have one major issue with this film, the same as I have with its predecessor, which is the way things play out for the main villain in the finale. All else considered though, that's a minor issue in my book.

Just a thought: I want Oswald Cobblepot to meet Chester Copperpot. And for this Max Shreck to meet Max Schreck.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 2236 Average listal rating (1404 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.4
First viewing - Dec. 17th

A good friend loaned me Garden State after we'd discussed favorite films & I admitted I'd never seen it. To be fair this wasn't at all on my radar at the time it came out, and the few people I ran into over the years who claimed it was great had questionable taste in movies so I was reluctant to check it out.

As the film started I wasn't sure what to make of it, but the longer it played the more I got into it and I wound up digging it. I don't think it's a great film, but it's definitely an entertaining one with some worthwhile observations and I'd even watch it again some time just to see if I wind up enjoying it more the next time around.
the giraffe's rating:
Re-watch - Dec. 22nd

Watched with the kiddo. Nothing new to report here.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 579 Average listal rating (314 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.3
Frankenweenie (1984)
Re-watch - Dec. 22nd

After Nightmare ended the kiddo asked me to see what else was on the DVD to watch & chose Frankenweenie over Vincent. I was going to let her watch it alone while I started dinner, but got caught up in it & watched the whole thing with her (again). Still a fun homage to one of my favorite films.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 4291 Average listal rating (2961 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 8.2
Re-watch - Dec. 25th

So I got home from spending Christmas Day with my family & had good intentions of watching the first two Die Hard movies back-to-back...but by the time I ate dinner & got everything put away & what not I found I only had time to watch one movie before I needed to get some sleep. So I revisited this one, because there's no contest between it & its sequels.

Now it's probably been about 20 years since I last watched Die Hard in its entirety, which meant I'd forgotten a few things. But for the most part it all was as I'd remembered & every bit as fun and engaging. I still love every moment of it too.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1275 Average listal rating (935 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.7
First viewing - Dec. 28th

The kiddo got this in her stocking from Santa, so today we sat down together to watch it. I skipped it during its theatrical run because the trailers looked terrible to me, but all the positive feedback that followed its release got me curious about it.

Initially I was mostly impressed by the animation and seeing all those Lego blocks composing every scene. I was less impressed by the characters, but they grew on me a bit over time & some of the secondary characters wound up being a lot of fun (especially Charlie Day's spaceman...I fondly recalled having a few of those spacemen in my own Lego collection as a child, and he damn near steals the film). And so as it rolled along I figured I'd drop it somewhere between a 6 & a 7 and write it off as overrated & overhyped, but then the ending happened & it was elevated to a film I'd gladly watch again. And now I get why all the praise for it, and feel a little bad for not checking it out on the big screen. Odds are though that Drafthouse will show it again in the near future, so I'll be sure to remedy that.
the giraffe's rating:
First viewing - Dec. 30th

Yeah, I waited for it to be on DVD before I watched it. The trailers looked terrible to me & then all the hype surrounding this film upon its release & since turned me off of it even more. But then one of my best friends sent it to me for Xmas, so I figured I'd give it a shot. And I convinced the kiddo to watch it with me too.

We both dug it. A lot of it went over her head I'm sure (her reflexes aren't fast enough yet) as she asked me a lot of questions along the way. But she liked the characters, especially Groot, and thought it was mostly fun. I went into it with a similar skeptical mindset to that I had for the above movie, then wound up having fun with the whole thing in spite of myself. I don't think it's movie of the year by any stretch (nor is it my new favorite Marvel movie), but it's so entertaining I'll gladly watch it again.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 500 Average listal rating (326 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.2
Re-watch - Dec. 31st

Decided to end the year with an old(ish) favorite, and one that captures the spirit of starting over with something new. So in that sense it was the perfect film to send me off into a new year. Plus it's fun and funny and just another reminder of how much I dig Doug Liman as a director.

Good riddance, 2014. 2015 will be a better year...mostly because I'm determined to make it so.
the giraffe's rating:
Add items to section

Big screen attractions

Films I caught in a theatre
People who added this item 1787 Average listal rating (1098 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.5
First viewing - Dec. 3rd

Review by PvtCaboose91

This has been on my want to watch list for a while now, so when I found out Drafthouse was screening it on a night I was off I bought a ticket quick. And I'm so so glad I did. It's a lot of fun from start to finish, well worth the time spent watching it & I'd be glad to watch it again. If you want more details than that, see the linked review as it perfectly sums up anything else I'd say.
the giraffe's rating:
Add items to section

Non-DVD offerings

People who added this item 819 Average listal rating (512 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.7
First viewing - Dec. 3rd

I kept the kiddo home for half the day rather than drop her off at preschool early because she'd been sick. So we curled up together & watched this. Now I'd tried a couple years ago to watch Muppet Christmas Carol, but wasn't in the mood for it and nobody else was paying much attention to it either so we turned it off. This time around I totally enjoyed it, as did the kiddo. The only thing that keeps it from getting a higher rating than it does is the fact it's still the same story we all know, just with a cast of muppets instead of people. I'd watch it again of course, but I didn't think it was especially great.

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 179 Average listal rating (115 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.1
First viewing - Dec. 4th

I knew virtually nothing about this film other than that Mark Duplass is in it, which is enough to get me to check it out. And what I got was an entertaining, thoughtful, and interesting film that I was still thinking about over the weekend that followed the viewing. I liked it so much that after watching it I added it to the Netflix project in hopes others will check it out too. I think that pretty well sums it up.

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 22 Average listal rating (19 ratings) 5.4 IMDB Rating 4.7
Torment (2013)
First viewing - Dec. 11th

This was a Horrorfest leftover, and the only one of the non-Netflix streaming films I had left that I was actually curious about (there's two more but I have zero interest in them & thus won't likely watch them). As it turns out, Torment is a mixed bag. The villains are very interesting & their masks are damn creepy, there are a few intense moments, and the effects are very well done. On the other hand most of it is predictable, a fact not helped by things like the camera lingering far too long on a sharp object left behind or the empty spot where said object used to sit as if the audience is too fucking stupid to know where that's going. A more subtle approach would have greatly benefited the film, but clearly that's not in the director's wheelhouse. So I was entertained enough to not turn it off or completely regret the time spent, but I'm reluctant to recommend it to others & definitely wouldn't watch it again.
the giraffe's rating:
Add items to section

Netflix exorcisms

Films I caught before Netflix removed them from my queue
People who added this item 198 Average listal rating (101 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.3
First viewing - Dec. 9th

This one was added to my IQ during last year's Instant Project, as recommended by Mackenzi. And if it wasn't on its way out I might add it next year. It's definitely a different movie, which I think is what I most enjoyed about it. There's an odd humor to the entire thing that worked for me, and every time you start to think nothing much happens here or it's dragging a little something pops up, often unexpectedly, and reinforces your patience while keeping you hooked for a little longer. And while that may sound like trickery or something manipulative, it's not at all nor does it ever seem forced. So yeah, this was totally worth checking out.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 157 Average listal rating (106 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.2
Bunraku (2011)
First viewing - Dec. 18th/22nd

It appears this guy wandered onto the Kill Bill set.

So I started watching this on a Thursday night & was really digging it, but fatigue won out & I went to bed about an hour into it. Then over the weekend I managed to fall asleep about the same time my daughter did every night & thus didn't get a chance to finish it until the next Monday. Anyway, I thought it was decent enough. The visuals are the most impressive aspect, and I liked the cast even though there's not much depth to the characters. It also added some excellent new lines of dialogue to my memory banks, and I liked it well enough I'd probably watch it again. It's not Great, but I thought it was solidly entertaining. Plus it got big bonus points when the end credits rolled & I found out the narrator was Mike Patton.

Check it out.
the giraffe's rating:
First viewing - Dec. 23rd

OK, so I'd asked for recommendations on the films exiting Netflix & moviewatcher122 warned me about this flick. But on this particular night it was the shortest film in my queue & I felt that anything longer would have put me to sleep so I lowered my expectations & gave it a shot. And since I'm a long-time fan of the Ramones I was consistently entertained. The music is great, the plot & characters are fun and kinda cheesy, and it had some humorous moments along the way. Plus it left me with Ramones songs playing in my head through the next day, which is a good thing in my book. It's not a film I'd ever need to watch again, but if the opportunity presented itself I might sit down with it one more time.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 251 Average listal rating (122 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.6
First viewing - Dec. 26th

This one caught my interest because it's Woody Allen's take on Alice in Wonderland, and the best thing is that the source material is an influence only rather than this being in any way a faithful adaptation. In many ways this feels like a typical film from Allen, and I couldn't help but hear his voice come through several times in Mia Farrow's dialogue. It's definitely interesting, thoughtful, and entertaining, with solid performances across the board. I was never overly impressed by it, but I did enjoy it for what it was & thought it was worth checking out.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 867 Average listal rating (570 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.8
First viewing - Dec. 27th

I'm admittedly behind on my gangsta/hood movies, though I feel like watching Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood pretty well covered it all for me back when it came out. What I didn't realize is how much that film borrowed from this one, and as such I wasn't as impressed by this film as I might have been had I seen it first. I also couldn't shake some of the jokes from the spoof from my head as I watched this, and had I had time when it ended I would've revisited Don't Be a Menace before I crashed. Alas it was far too late at night & I wasn't feeling well so staying up later was a bad idea all around.

Anyway, I will say that the cast here is impressive for the most part, and the story is well-told & worth experiencing. It's not a film I'd go out of my way to revisit any time soon, but it is one I'd gladly recommend to others.

Just a thought: I really wanted Keenan Ivory Wayans to pop up a couple times & yell "message!"
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 280 Average listal rating (196 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.3
First viewing - Dec. 29th

My appreciation of Paul Newman led me to add this one to my queue, and now that I've finally watched it I'm glad I did. It's a lot of fun for the most part, and a decent story too. The cast of misfit hockey players endeared themselves to me, and overall I was definitely entertained. It never quite crossed the line into greatness, but I'd gladly watch it again some time.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1937 Average listal rating (1174 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 8.1
First viewing - Dec. 30th

Well, this was more or less what I expected. A serious film about serious events with an excellent cast and zero re-watch value. It's kind of the Rwandan version of Schindler's List, yet it never hit home the way Spielberg's film did for me. I was engaged the whole time, and the atrocities on display definitely upset me for all the right reasons, and so in a sense it worked well enough. I just wasn't blown away by it nor in love with it. Ah well.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 714 Average listal rating (426 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8.1
First viewing - Dec. 31st

I have a tendency to fall asleep watching black & white movies at night, so I figured I'd kick off my mini marathon of films exiting Netflix on the first with the only black & white film I was set on watching. And I liked pretty much everything about this movie, from the characters to the story to the message to the music. And compared to other films of the '40s it's easily among the best out of what I've seen. It didn't earn a perfect score from me for some reason, but it does get my strong recommendation.

Just a thought: I should read the book.
the giraffe's rating:
First viewing - Dec. 31st

I hadn't planned on catching this one, but it was between it & a couple of Woody Allen movies based on their respective run times. And I'm done with Woody Allen for the year, so I picked this instead. And it was entertaining as exploitation films tend to be. Seeing Sid Haig and Pam Grier on screen together was a lot of fun, and as long as you know better than to take this sort of film seriously it's got some decent moments. It's definitely nothing great though, and the way the ending plays out makes one question the story logic (why would a group make this plan and then only let its two leaders carry it out? Where's the back-up?). Could be worse though.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 59 Average listal rating (38 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.1
First viewing - Dec. 31st

Hey kids. Don't get addicted to gambling. If you need reasons, watch this movie. It'll tell you all you need to know.

Just a thought: I figured this and Swingers would go well back to back since both involve gambling to some degree. Kinda cool then when both films took short trips to Vegas.
the giraffe's rating:

Once again I'm making my primary focus for the month of December be DVDs, whether it's films on my shelves or rentals. Unlike previous years though I'm not going to mostly avoid Netflix. I'll just make sure I'm watching more DVDs than streaming content.

Added to

30 votes
the giraffe's movie lists guide (195 lists)
list by the giraffe
Published 11 years, 9 months ago 2 comments
12 votes
the giraffe's lists for 2014 (14 lists)
list by the giraffe
Published 9 years, 1 month ago 3 comments

Related lists

Movies Watched in 2014
274 item list by mirinbuddy
33 votes
My Top 100 Favorite Films of 2010s
137 item list by mirinbuddy
29 votes
Movies Watched in 2014
195 item list by ThePackMan
17 votes 2 comments
Film Diary 2015
193 item list by Toby White
22 votes 1 comment
My 2011 movie year in review
54 item list by the giraffe
32 votes 10 comments
October 2014 Horrorfest
41 item list by the giraffe
33 votes 12 comments
When I was 31... movie diary, November 2014
19 item list by Villiana
31 votes 4 comments
Top 10 Best Films I've seen at the cinema in 2015
26 item list by mirinbuddy
18 votes

View more top voted lists

People who voted for this also voted for

More lists from the giraffe