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Added by the giraffe on 4 Dec 2021 06:50
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DVDecember 2021

Sort by: Showing 37 items
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Noteworthy: The best films I watched this month

The breakdown: 36 films (one of which was a short) and one special watched for a total of 37
16 first views, 21 re-watches
24 via Blu-ray/DVD, 10 via streaming and 3 in the theatre
Decades touched: 1920s-2020s

Hey, I managed to touch at least one film per decade from the past 100 years...not too shabby. The best part was running through the Thin Man series, and now all that's left of it for me to watch is the documentaries on Powell & Loy. I'll pick those up in the new year before I have to return the set to its owner. And then I'll have to pick the set up for myself, because I'd gladly watch all of those films again.

Thanks to needing to eliminate a streaming service soon I managed to watch almost everything in my Epix Now account. There was one film I added to my queue that supposedly isn't available until 1/1, and since I'll have the service until 1/5 hopefully I can watch that before it's gone. The only thing that left HBO Max that mattered this month was the Pink Panther series, and I got the only one watched that I needed to. And since I'm hanging onto Shudder permanently I slipped in a handful of those films too.

And that'll wrap up the year I guess. Here then are the final tallies for 2021:
Feature films watched: 385
Short films watched: 30
Holiday specials watched: 4
Movies abandoned: 1
Most movies watched in a month: 53 in October if you only go by features, or 62 in June if you count shorts with features
Least movies watched in a month: 24 in February
Favorite new movie of 2021: Broadcast Signal Intrusion & Gunpowder Milkshake (tie)
People who added this item 129 Average listal rating (85 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.6
First viewing - Dec. 12th

There are a few moments in this film that brought me so much joy, & a lot of them revolved around Asta & him protecting his family. Whoever decided to cast that dog & those who trained him deserve all the awards in my book. On top of that though the writing is sharp once again, working to keep you guessing & keeping up the momentum with a terrific sense of humor. Overall thought this was about as good as the original, & that'll encourage me to keep going with the series.
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Home viewings

People who added this item 2757 Average listal rating (1870 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.6
Re-watch - Dec. 1st

I can't recall the last time I watched Robocop, but since I managed to pick it up on Blu earlier this year for cheap I figured I'd give it a watch. What most impresses me is how well it's held up & how much is going on in the film that I maybe didn't fully notice before. Like there's so much social commentary going on & a lot of it is still relevant all these years later...from the ways it looks at corporate power & its negative effects & consequences to the examination of the constant push toward superiority when it comes to policing/violent conflicts. And then to build such a good story around that & make it all work so well together is such a great feat. Mostly it drove home that I should revisit the film more often too (I think this was my 4th or 5th time watching it) as it's so rewarding.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 2760 Average listal rating (1779 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.4
Re-watch - Dec. 2nd

I picked up a copy of Carrie on Blu on the cheap this year too, so naturally I wanted to revisit it. It's still pretty good overall & I still like the story & the performances. I did feel like the story is a little rushed in places, and even though I haven't read the book since high school I still recall some details from it that were left out but might have deepened the story. Plus some of the ways DePalma handles some scenes kinda bug me. Like the whole opening scene seems overly gratuitous given it's high school, not college. But overall it's mostly an excellent adaptation with some iconic moments & it holds up well.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 90 Average listal rating (50 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.3
Re-watch - Dec. 3rd

How has it been 10 years since this came out & there's still no follow-up from Evan Glodell? There's so much promise, so much attention to detail, & plenty of technologically impressive aspects, not to mention the fresh vision on display at every turn. It feels criminal that he hasn't put another film out into the world, but watching this again I'm at least comforted that whenever we DO finally get another film from him it'll be worth the wait.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 3270 Average listal rating (2123 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8.4
Re-watch - Dec.

I still recall being blown away the first time I watched Oldboy back when it had its American theatrical run, & the only downside to repeat viewings is knowing how it turns out. Thankfully all the other aspects work so well that that's a minor complaint. Despite how dark & twisted the story is I can't help but enjoy watching our protagonist's journey. It helps too that the cast is perfect & the themes of the film are so well explored & communicated. For my money it's still the best of the vengeance trilogy, & I have no doubt I'll watch it at least a few more times.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1344 Average listal rating (806 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8.1
Mary and Max (2009)
Re-watch - Dec. 5th

I finally picked this up on Blu this year after realizing it was the only one of my top 10 films that I didn't have a physical copy of. That just won't do. And I still love the look & feel of the film, the characters & how the story plays out, & you best believe that ending still moves me. I noticed some details I'd missed or forgotten from the last 2 times I sat through it, & I'd bet I'll pick up more in the future. I don't think my daughter would appreciate it yet, so I'm glad I didn't try watching it with her.

Afterwards I looked to see what else Adam Elliott has done, & it looks like it's all short films (one of which is among the extras on the disc, so I'll watch it this month too) (EDIT: Nope, didn't circle back to it). Given the animation style I'm sure it's less work to make shorts, but I'm hopeful that he'll turn out another feature some day. If he does I'll be there.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 58 Average listal rating (31 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.7
Re-watch - Dec. 6th

Had a long Monday that ate up my time so that I was barely able to squeeze a movie in. I picked this one because it's short & I wanted something comedic. It fit the bill, though I feel like the drama outweighs the laughs. Which may seem odd given the film centers on an improv group, but it works thematically as the film explores what happens when this group faces challenges that affect their futures & dynamic. I adore the cast & it still feels like a fresh idea movie-wise. So I know I'll watch it again, but the next time I need something more consistently funny I'll pick something different.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 247 Average listal rating (166 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.6
Re-watch - Dec. 8th

I threw on High Anxiety as I was still in need of a good comedy experience & it's been about 9 years since I last watched it. I like the various ways it pokes fun at Hitchcock, though at times the approach feels less organic & more episodic. An episodic style is not inherently bad, but it can make some moments feel tacked on or digressive. And this time around the ending felt unsatisfying to me, as some aspects are left unresolved. But look, if you give me the opportunity to watch Korman, Leachman, Kahn, & Brooks goof off for an hour & a half I'll gladly take it.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1062 Average listal rating (758 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.8
Hot Shots! (1991)
Re-watch - Dec. 9th

Finally I found a film that made me laugh often & heartily, which was just what I needed. I think this was my 4th time watching Hot Shots!, & the upside to having not seen it too many times over the years is that the jokes still mostly land. Lloyd Bridges steals every scene he's in, though that also is clearly by design. I noticed some details I don't think I'd caught before & just had a blast with the entire thing. As a result I'll probably watch the sequel too before the month is out.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 60 Average listal rating (35 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.5
First viewing - Dec. 11th

Been wanting to watch The Premature Burial for some time now, so I was pretty pumped to see it offered by Epix Now. I'm a sucker for Roger Corman's Poe adaptations, so it's not shocking that I enjoyed this one too. While I've grown accustomed to expecting Vincent Price to star in these films it was a welcome change to have Ray Milland in the lead & he does an excellent job. The rest of the cast is solid too, & I was pleasantly surprised to see Dick Miller pop up in a supporting role. I love the sets & costumes, & there are some neat uses of lighting mixed with fog on display. It's not great, but it's a solidly entertaining film & I'm glad I was finally able to catch it.

Streaming on Epix Now
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 544 Average listal rating (305 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.7
The Vanishing (1988)
Re-watch - Dec. 11th

This film is every bit as great as I'd recalled. Just a masterclass in storytelling with a perfect cast that works splendidly at every turn. There's nothing I don't love about it, though I'd love to see a 4K restoration at some point (no shade on my Criterion copy, but it was released prior to that technology being available).
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 2 Average listal rating (1 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 7.2
Re-watch - Dec. 13th

I still like this short film well enough. It's more fun than scary, & despite the obvious limitations succeeds most of the time. Given the run-time I figured I'd watch the behind the scenes footage included among the extras on my Blu-ray copy. It was pretty cool to be a fly on the wall as they shot 3 scenes, though I did feel like there was too much footage. It serves as a reminder of just how much time & work goes into making movies, & I did appreciate that. But my attention did wander a bit the longer it went on. Cool to see but nothing I'd sit through again. I will, however, watch the short a few more times.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 302 Average listal rating (188 ratings) 5.5 IMDB Rating 5.4
Re-watch - Dec. 15th

I appreciated The Innkeepers a little more the second time around. The characters are really well created, & the mostly single location setting works wonderfully. The Yankee Pedlar Inn feels very real & they do a very good job of making it feel haunted. The story mostly plays out well, & while it never crosses the line into greatness it's a very solid horror flick & I'm glad I picked it up on the cheap.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1064 Average listal rating (766 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.6
Re-watch - Dec. 16th

Yep, wound up watching this after having so much fun with the other one. This one falls short in a lot of respects, but still has some really funny moments like the Middle Eastern versions of products during the opening scene. Plus I love Miguel Ferrer's line delivery for "War: it's fantastic." Other jokes don't land at all though, & the one that most annoyed me was the racist name given to the cheerleaders in Thailand. Not surprising they never managed a third film in the series, but if you can forgive its flaws it can be fairly fun.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 225 Average listal rating (123 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.4
Versus (2002)
Re-watch - Dec. 18th

I picked up Versus on Blu this year & wanted to watch the Ultimate cut. And while more Versus is always a good thing in my book, watching it after dinner on a Saturday night I actually fell asleep in the middle of it. I blame that on my getting my Covid booster, though, not the film itself. Ah well, guess I'll just have to watch it again sometime soon.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1148 Average listal rating (736 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 6.2
Re-watch - Dec. 22nd

I think the last time I watched this was back when Diary of the Dead was released in theatres, so it's been a while. I still really enjoy the film overall. I like how the zombies are less villains this time around & more sympathetic. All the social commentary still works & holds up, & it's solidly entertaining from start to finish. Some of the CG effects don't hold up so well, but thankfully they're mixed with some practical effects that do work. It's not Romero's best zombie film, bit it's still a good one & I'm glad it exists.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 569 Average listal rating (360 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 5.6
Re-watch - Dec. 22nd

I also hadn't seen this since its release, & I'd forgotten some of the details. The found footage approach isn't my favorite, but it works fine here. Once again the social commentary works & there's some humor mixed in which hits the mark without totally killing the overall mood. The effects are more of a mixed bag due to the heavy use of CG, which is disappointing. Overall it's nothing great, but I like it well enough for what it is.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 758 Average listal rating (492 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 8.1
The General (1926)
First viewing - Dec. 23rd

As a comedy, this didn't work so well for me. I chuckled 2 or 3 times total, which either means it's not funny or the humor didn't work for me. Thus far I'd still call Chaplin the king of silent-era comedy.

As a historical account, however, it works pretty well. The events recreated throughout are mostly believable thanks to the attention to detail & use of real trains. Despite being told from a pro-Confederate viewpoint, the story held my attention & the characters were believable even though I didn't like any of them.

Mostly this film succeeds as a stunt showcase, not just given the time the film was shot in, but the fact so many stunts could only be pulled off once & with no faking them. Watching the characters hop on & off moving trains to keep them from derailing was a great experience, & there's a bridge sequence that's an all-timer. Ultimately I'm glad I finally gave this a look, because despite my issues with it there was enough present to make it worthwhile.

Streaming on Epix Now
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 62 Average listal rating (47 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 6.7
First viewing - Dec. 23rd

Now this was funny. I had a great time watching Stan & Ollie in this story of the lengths a man might go to in order to get over the woman who broke his heart. There's some great slapstick & the comedic setpieces just work. I don't know that it's great, but it's a lot of fun & I'm glad I was finally able to see it.

Streaming on Epix Now
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 193 Average listal rating (120 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.2
First viewing - Dec. 23rd

It's no Tombstone, but this was pretty good. Lancaster & Douglas work fantastically well together as Wyatt & Doc, & the rest of the cast brings their A game. I was engaged with the story the entire time, & apart from a couple of the narrative threads just dropping out instead of being organically concluded it's well constructed. Absolutely worth a look & I'd watch it again.

Streaming on Epix Now
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 160 Average listal rating (94 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.4
First viewing - Dec. 23rd

In some ways this reminded me of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. I really liked the characters & thought the story was mostly well told. It's nothing great, but it's solidly entertaining & I might even watch it again.

Streaming on Epix Now
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 91 Average listal rating (48 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.2
First viewing - Dec. 23rd

Some horror writers sang the praises of this film earlier this year, so I wanted to check it out. And now it's among my favorite slashers. It doesn't reinvent the style, but it is a fresh spin, well-crafted with solidly developed characters. If you have Shudder & haven't seen it, give it a look.

Streaming on Shudder
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 252 Average listal rating (186 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 6.2
Re-watch - Dec. 25th

Keeping the annual tradition.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 3 Average listal rating (2 ratings) 8.5 IMDB Rating 8.1
First viewing - Dec. 25th

This was recently uploaded to Youtube in very good quality, so I watched it with my daughter before she went to bed. She was kinda bored with it after a while, but I enjoyed it. Odds are we'll never get to see the muppets, the Sesame Street gang, & the Fraggles in the same production again, so it's a treat to be able to get that here. It does go a little overboard with Christmas carols, but I didn't mind too much. Unsure how I missed this when it came out, but I'm glad I could see it now.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 900 Average listal rating (629 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.7
Re-watch - Dec. 26th

I wanted my daughter to see this film, & when I first brought it up to her she replied with, "but I haven't seen the first one." I assured her that wouldn't matter, which is largely true. The film fills in enough backstory that it works on its own, & it made me miss the days when that was the norm instead of now where most franchises require you to remember even the smallest details from previous films. She seemed a little bored with it at times though, so I'm unsure how much she liked it. It's still my favorite Trek film that I've seen, & I think it mostly holds up well.

Just a thought: For some reason in my head I thought William Katt played Kirk's son in this, though that's clearly not the case.

Streaming on Epix Now
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 2173 Average listal rating (1363 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.1
Hard Candy (2006)
Re-watch - Dec. 28th

It's been so long since I last watched Hard Candy that I'd forgotten most of what transpires in it. I knew the broad strokes of the plot, but that was about it. Which made this almost feel like a first viewing instead of a rewatch, & I found it fascinating all over again. The story is well crafted, the characters feel mostly real, & while vigilantism isn't OK, in these circumstances I can understand how our protagonist would see it as the only available means to resolve things. I don't know that I like the film much now (tough for me to say I like a film centered on predatory behavior), but I appreciate what it's doing & think it's worth seeing.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 6 Average listal rating (2 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.2
Re-watch - Dec. 29th

Since I've seen the film twice in recent years, I decided to dive into the extras instead of sitting through it again. I chose the making-of documentary, which was much better constructed than the one for Inviting the Demons. Hearing about the experiences of making the film from various people involved was pretty fascinating & entertaining, & you can tell everyone had a mostly fun time working on it. Sadly I didn't have enough time to watch the full thing though. I'm not sure how long it runs, but it wasn't done by the time I needed to go to bed & I was about an hour & 45 mins in. Thus I'll have to finish it another time.
the giraffe's rating:
Re-watch - Dec. 31st

Parts of this film seemed familiar, which makes me think I'd seen some or all of it with my dad when I was younger. So I'll count this as a rewatch, even though I could just as honestly call it a first viewing given how much was unfamiliar to me. Overall I didn't care much for it. A lot of it drags on & on, & the comedic parts mostly fell flat for me which is odd given how much I usually enjoy these films. I also didn't appreciate Clouseau constantly talking about Kato's "yellow skin" or Catherine Shell's character laughing at everything Sellars does (usually in comedies the rest of the cast wouldn't laugh, so I'm unsure whether they wanted her character to laugh or she just couldn't keep her composure). Mostly I enjoyed the parts with Herbert Lom's chief & not much else. Maybe I wasn't as in the mood for this one as I'd thought, or maybe it's just not as good as I'd thought.

Left HBO Max on Dec. 31st
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 4 Average listal rating (2 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 6.5
First viewing - Dec. 31st

This popped up on some best of 2021 horror lists, & when I read it was written by Joko Anwar, who made Satan's Slaves & Impetigore, I couldn't resist giving it a look. Once again he delivers a well crafted tale of a family facing off against supernatural elements & the sins of the past, & I'm here for it. The film earns big points for making my skin crawl on multiple occasions too. My only issue with it was that some of the CG effects looked a little too fake, but overall it's totally worth a look.

Streaming on Shudder
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 252 Average listal rating (181 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.6
Re-watch - Dec. 31st

Since I didn't go out & party on New Year's Eve, I figured it made sense to watch a movie about a party which also serves as a good reminder of why I rarely attend them. And while I'd forgotten about it, the film connects to the previous film in the list by kicking off its narrative with our protagonists driving to a reunion & hitting a living creature with their cars. So that was nice. I still love everything about this film, but especially the way it crafts its central events & builds so much foreboding atmosphere along the way. I also appreciate its exploration of how we deal with grief & loss, & the places it can push people into. It felt like a fitting way to end 2021 in a lot of ways, & I'm glad I landed on it as my final film of the year.

Streaming on Shudder
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Films caught in a theatre
People who added this item 70 Average listal rating (49 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.7
First viewing - Dec. 4th

Benedetta is a hell of a ride, a tale of faith & sexuality & love that perfectly suits Verhoeven's sensibilities. The cast is excellent all around & the attention to period details is spot on. I was captivated by the story & appreciated the way it allows the audience to draw our own conclusions as to whether our protagonist is what she claims or faking her way through it. I'm not sure it went deep enough to be great in my book, but it came close & I'd gladly watch it again sometime.

Just a thought: If your art encourages religious groups to protest its existence, you've earned my support.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 438 Average listal rating (354 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 8.2
First viewing - Dec. 17th

The overall experience of seeing this film with an opening weekend crowd was just the best, easily the most fun theatre trip of the year. The film delivers more often than not, & managed to make me rethink my decision to completely avoid Spider-man 3 & Amazing Spider-man 2 (though I mostly got what it did in relation to those films). There are some wonderful & heartfelt payoffs, & it's a joy seeing some of the cast get to shine. I don't know how anyone could watch this & have a bad time. Sure it's got some flaws, but the good far outweighs the negative. The kiddo loved it too.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 161 Average listal rating (106 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7
First viewing - Dec. 18th

I haven't read the book or seen the original film adaptation of it, so I can't compare this to either of them. The story is well-told, the cast is excellent, & everything pretty much fires on all cylinders. It ended up right where I expected it to, but the journey to get there was pretty rewarding. I don't know that it earns the distinction of being great in my book, but it came close.
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Series focus: The Thin Man

I watched The Thin Man earlier this year and totally loved it. So when I was at my daughter's maternal grandparents' house for Thanksgiving and spotted a DVD set of all the films in the series, I struck up a conversation about it with her grandfather and he said I could borrow it. So in the interest of getting it back to him I'll be watching the other 5 films I haven't seen this month. There are also two documentaries in the set on a bonus disc, and if I get to them I'll add them below.
People who added this item 74 Average listal rating (55 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.5
First viewing - Dec. 12th

Had such a blast I wanted to watch the next film before bed. This sequel was about as good as its predecessor, and it was a treat seeing Samuel "Shemp" Horwitz in a small role. Like the other two films it's smart & funny & solidly entertaining, & if this keeps up I'll be buying the set for myself.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 68 Average listal rating (47 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.3
First viewing - Dec. 19th

You could argue this is more of the same, & you'd probably be correct. But when you've figured out a winning formula you don't break it. I dig that they change the setting for each film so that we get some new characters & shake things up. My only disappointment with this entry is that for the first time the Charles's have a Black servant portrayed in awful stereotype. Apart from that it's a solid film.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 63 Average listal rating (43 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.4
First viewing - Dec. 19th

I feel like it speaks volumes that I'm happily watching two films in a row with this series. This one was about as good as Shadow, and full of some memorable characters. Seeing what Nick is like around his parents makes for some amusing moments, & overall it comes together pretty well.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 58 Average listal rating (35 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 6.9
First viewing - Dec. 27th

This is easily the weakest film in the series, which makes it both understandable & disappointing that it's the last entry. The jokes don't hit as often, & the story is kinda messy with a rushed ending. Powell & Loy do their best, & I was amused to see a very young Dean Stockwell in the role of their son. I liked it okay despite its flaws, but it's a bummer the series couldn't have ended on a better note than this.
the giraffe's rating:

Continuing my annual tradition of pulling titles from my shelves, dusting them off, and taking them for a spin. Thus the bulk of the month will be re-watches instead of new films, though I'll squeeze some new ones in where I can. I've got at least one series I'll be making my way through, and I intend to get my Epix Now queue wiped out before I drop the service in early January. Plus I'm sure there will be at least one film leaving HBO Max that I'll need to catch. So yes, lots to do and let's get to it...

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