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Added by the giraffe on 5 Aug 2014 01:38
738 Views 4 Comments

Movies the giraffe watched in 2014: August

Sort by: Showing 25 items
Decade: Rating: List Type:
The breakdown: 25 movies watched - 15 via Netflix instant, 1 in the theatre, and 9 on DVD; of those 16 were first views, 9 were re-watches, and they came from the following decades: 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s, and 2010s.

Given how much I had going on this month, I'd say I was productive enough in the movie-viewing department. Sadly I only made it to the theatre once all month, and that continues to be the one area I'd like to improve in. On the upside, the few trips to the theatre I've made this summer have been worthwhile, but I'm falling further & further behind on keeping up with new movies by allowing myself to indulge in revisiting films on the big screen. Blame Drafthouse's excellent programming on that.

The fact that I got a couple films from the Netflix project watched, and a handful from my summer project put behind me too is definitely a good thing. With regard to my summer project it's been nice to have an ongoing goal even if I haven't covered as much ground this summer as I'd hoped to. Ah, but I've had plenty of other things going on to keep me busy so really any progress at all is satisfying. Nice to see less films in my unwatched sections anyway. And once again I managed to watch everything Netflix cut from my queue before they left.

Now on to September....

Best new-to-me film for August: My Dinner with Andre (also Best hidden gem)
Worst film: Crimewave
People who added this item 305 Average listal rating (190 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 5.6
Re-watch - Aug. 1st

Best character in the whole film.

So I first saw this one in the theatre, and it's held a special place in my dark little heart for being the film that launched my crush on Katie Holmes (a crush that died the moment she hooked up with Tom Cruise). And while I still think the concept is excellent, the film leaves much to be desired. Some parts make no sense (does anyone who's in high school need someone else to tell them about the cliques?), some are underdeveloped (it feels like the film needs another hour to connect the backstory with the rest of the film), and really overall I kept thinking of ways it could be better instead of properly enjoying it. And it is somewhat entertaining, moreso if you can switch off your brain for the duration. But man it could be so much better.

Katie Holmes is still hot though.

Just a thought: This is one of those films that's best left in the '90s where it belongs.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 255 Average listal rating (164 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7.1
Robot & Frank (2012)
First viewing - Aug. 2nd

This was a neat little film. It was fun watching the titular characters do their thing, and it's not an idea that's regularly explored in cinema. It never comes close to being Great, due partly to the fact that the emotional side of the story could be handled far better, but it's solidly entertaining. Fortunately I didn't expect much out of it, so I wasn't too disappointed. I'm giving it a 7, but it's more like a 7.5 as I might even watch it again.

Interesting how things are connected: This film and Disturbing Behavior both have James Marsden as a major cast member.

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 674 Average listal rating (412 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.2
Manhunter (1986)
First viewing - Aug. 6th

Hannibal Lecter double feature

For a long time now I've wanted to check out Manhunter, pretty much ever since I first heard it existed (some time around the release of Hannibal I think). I just hadn't got around to it. No wait, I'd started it once before about a year ago but it didn't have a subtitle option & it was late so I couldn't turn it up loud enough to catch the dialogue & gave up on it. Anyway.

This was far better than Red Dragon which now feels even less well-done by comparison. The cast is excellent all around, and Brian Cox is as memorable as Hannibal as Hopkins was...I was fairly impressed by him & he was barely even in the film. The music is good too, if a little dated, but overall it's the way the story is composed & Mann's direction that makes this film so damn good. My only issue is that the ending is kind of awkwardly played out which leaves the final moments feeling tacked on somewhat. But man, up to that moment the rest is gripping, exquisite cinema.

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 6483 Average listal rating (4554 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.6
Re-watch - Aug. 6th

Hannibal Lecter double feature

Speaking of gripping, exquisite cinema...I hadn't watched this one all the way through since the '90s, which made the experience even more enjoyable as I caught so many things this time around that I'd missed before. If only the major story points didn't stick so well in my head so I could experience the film fresh again. But no matter. The film complements Manhunter very well too, as both are composed by master filmmakers with perfect casts and crews to realize their visions. As 9/10s go, this one does rank slightly higher than its predecessor mainly because there are no real missteps. It falls just short of being a 10 for me personally, but I can see why others might rate it as such. Not really sure why that is, but there you go. The only complaint I have is pretty minor & that's that the opening credits are in a ridiculously huge font that I found annoying. *shrug*

By the way, I had a brief temptation to revisit Hannibal when this ended purely because it's on Netflix too. But I fought that urge as I felt it made no sense to end on a lesser film.

Interesting how things are connected: This is the third film in a row I've watched revolving around serial killers.

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
Re-watch - Aug. 6th

I did my double feature during the afternoon on this day, and honestly had no intentions of watching another film. Matter of fact, I'd grabbed my book & was attempting to finish it when I started getting texts from one of my best friends who said he was watching the South Park movie and started sending quotes from my way. That got my brain going on it & I decided I'd watch it too.

And it's still damned entertaining. The songs are great, I love the plot & social commentary, and parts of it still have me rolling with laughter. You could criticize the animation I guess, but that's the way the show is so it's silly to expect them to do it differently (though the afterlife sequences are pretty great looking at times). And for the first time I noticed that Jesus winds up joining the army...not sure how that had slipped by me before. Anyway, yeah, I still love it and I'm glad it's in my collection so I can watch it whenever.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 338 Average listal rating (197 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.2
Re-watch - Aug. 11th

Robin Williams RIP double feature

I heard Robin Williams died from a stranger whose phone call I answered at work, which wasn't the way I would've preferred to hear such information. I've been a fan of his for most of my life, so I had to do something to mark his passing. And so I decided to watch his first great movie and his last great movie back-to-back.

The first time I watched Garp was back in the late '90s, and this was my second viewing. I appreciate it even more now that I've had more life experience, and it impressed me how much range Williams already had when he made it. The rest of the cast is stellar, the script is smart, and really I'm hard-pressed to come up with anything I dislike about it. For some reason though it still falls just shy of being a 10/10 for me, but I wouldn't argue with anyone who said it was worthy of the same rating for them.

Interesting how things are connected: It didn't even occur to me at the time I also picked a pair of films with the word "World" in their titles.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 363 Average listal rating (230 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.9
Re-watch - Aug. 11th

Robin Williams RIP double feature

What a slice of black comedy gold. It's one of those films I want to recommend to everyone, but am reluctant to because it goes so many places most people are uncomfortable with & therefore probably wouldn't appreciate it. I for one completely agree with the overall sentiment of the film as delivered in the last lines of dialogue, and there are so many insights along the way and twisted little moments that make me laugh that I can't help but love it all. Plus I really want the Night of the Living Dead poster that's hanging on our main character's wall.

Those who claim Robin Williams didn't make any films worth watching during the last years of his life should give this one a look.

Just a thought: You'd think with as many films as Williams did where a character committed suicide it wouldn't have been the way he went out.

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 19 Average listal rating (8 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.6
Gallants (2010)
First viewing - Aug. 12th

I can't recall exactly where, but I do remember that at the end of 2010 I saw this on some movie critic's best films of the year list & decided I should check it out. It starts off pretty amazing, but as it goes on it runs out of steam. I liked the characters well enough and the story is decent, but the last third of the film didn't click along for me like the rest of it. It's possible that I was just getting more tired as time went on, but usually if a movie is awesome that doesn't matter. That said, I was still thinking of the ending the next day. Anyway, it was worth checking out once, but I wouldn't watch it again.

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
First viewing - Aug. 13th

I'm sure it'll come as a surprise to nobody that I picked this one just to have something to watch with the kiddo. And it was good, nothing exceptional but not awful either. I personally thought it was a good choice to do the whole thing via narration rather than trying to make the animals "talk", but the kiddo was a little confused by the fact the characters didn't have their own voices. I'm not sure how I managed to avoid this film for so long, and as a result there are no childhood memories associated with it that might cause me to rate it higher. As it stands, it was cute & worth watching with my daughter once. Especially when she started singing part of the theme song repeatedly after it ended.

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 393 Average listal rating (234 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 5.8
Rubber (2010)
Re-watch - Aug. 18th

Something different double feature

I brought this and Hausu with me on vacation because one of my best friends has a new friend he's been introducing to a variety of films & I thought this pair would be worthwhile. As it turns out I never met the new friend, but we watched both films together anyway after I got tired of hearing him talk about how there's no originality left in movies anymore. So I decided to give him two movies that are anything but common.

My best friend said he'd heard many bad things about Rubber, and when it ended he said it was better than advertised. I'll take that.

I think I've talked enough about my love for this one before, so I'll just leave you with this thought: this film has one of my favorite openings ever.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 483 Average listal rating (272 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.4
House (1977)
Re-watch - Aug. 18th

Something different double feature

Still every bit as insane and wonderful as the last time I watched it. And now that I wasn't as overwhelmed by the visuals I got more out of the story side of things. It's still too weird & cheesy to earn a perfect 10, but I love it anyway. And yeah, I still want to invite a bunch of people over & put it on in the background just to get reactions to it.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 874 Average listal rating (582 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 6.4
Mouse Hunt (1997)
First viewing - Aug. 20th

Another choice watched with the kiddo, and if you can suspend your disbelief it's very entertaining. We both roared with laughter at a few moments, chuckled through several more, and I spent much time shaking my head at the poor choices the characters made throughout. Ah, but without poor choices there'd be no film I guess. The mouse in question is far too intelligent to be believable, but then perhaps the writer read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy before working on it. Who knows? Again, suspend your disbelief as much as you can and you may not mind so much.

Anyway, it was entertaining enough that I'd probably watch it again with her, though I wouldn't go out of my way to revisit it alone. I'm just glad I watched it with her because had I watched it alone instead I probably wouldn't have had the patience for it.

Just a thought: When you're down on your luck & someone offers to buy something from you for millions of dollars, just take the money & run.

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 904 Average listal rating (615 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.8
The Grey (2012)
First viewing - Aug. 20th

It's not easy for me to rate this one. On the one hand there are some really intense moments and the ending leaves it all open to interpretation. On the other hand I never cared very deeply for any of the characters despite the film's attempts to give them all depth & differences. So I definitely didn't think it was great, though some aspects of it were. But none of its shortcomings were enough to justify a rating on the low end of the spectrum. Which puts it somewhere in the 6-7 range I guess, and probably more of a 7 than a 6 all things considered. But don't let my rating determine whether you'll watch it...instead I say go watch it & make up your own mind (if you haven't already).

Currently streaming on Netflix
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Netflix Instant Project 2014

Netflix Instant Project 2014

Last year I ran the NIP, but this year I've been too busy to manage it. So portlander stepped in & took it over for 2014, and the forum thread is here if you'd like to join us.
People who added this item 41 Average listal rating (24 ratings) 5.1 IMDB Rating 5.5
First viewing - Aug. 7th

Recommended by VierasTalo

On this particular night I wanted something horror-ish, so I gave this film a shot. And in some ways it did the trick. The film does a good job of creating some creepy moments, and I thought the effects were solid. There's also a performance by Ted Levine as a fictional version of Hunter S. Thompson which is the best reason to give this a chance. On the other hand, the way the story unfolded failed to sustain my suspension of disbelief. It's all supposed to be based on/inspired by real events but then so many things are unrealistic it gets ridiculous. Plus the lead character is pretty fucking stupid, which left me wondering how she got into journalism at all. And after the first couple of flashback scenes the rest felt really damn repetitive. The story idea was really interesting, but I felt it all fell apart in the execution. Pretty disappointing.

Interesting how things are connected: Seeing Ted Levine's name pop up in the opening credits made me smile since I'd just watched Silence of the Lambs. Also, prior to starting this film I'd finished the book I was reading & picked up one of Hunter S. Thompson's books to read next.

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 222 Average listal rating (159 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.8
First viewing - Aug. 26

Recommended by portlander

So this film starts out by informing the audience that they're about to see things they've never seen before, which doesn't take into account the fact that future generations will have seen everything here and more but whatever. Kind of creates false expectations I thought. From there you've got your standard team on a mission to save some dude story, which is entertaining enough but nothing original. The visuals were surely Great for the time, but have been far surpassed now of course. But hey, it keeps the film entertaining so it's cool. And then of course you've got your "mystery" villain who is easy enough to guess from the start and thus no surprise when he's revealed later on. So there's nothing exceptional here, but if you've got nothing better to do it's not bad either.

Just a thought: Now I want to revisit Innerspace.

Currently streaming on Netflix
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Big screen attractions

Films I caught in a theatre
People who added this item 2018 Average listal rating (1305 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.2
Rango (2011)
Re-watch - Aug. 12th

When I found out I could take the kiddo to see Rango on the big screen for free, I couldn't resist. And I think it was even better all full-size like it was intended, so I'm glad we went. I love this oddball little film that's not really a kids movie but still appeals to them. It's a love letter to westerns, a metaphor, and it's got a cameo by Hunter S. Thompson which is always amusing to me.

Interesting how things are connected: See Banshee Chapter for more HST.
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Summer Rental Project 2014

I was looking over my best of lists & decided that I'd tackle some films that have been on my to-watch list for far too long over the summer. I'm focusing on films released between the year I was born and 2000, and mainly ones that are NOT in the Horror genre. Those will probably wait until October, though I may make an exception or two along the way.
People who added this item 232 Average listal rating (126 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.8
First viewing - Aug. 27th

"Riding around in taxis, surrounded by comfort, and all I thought about was art and music. Now, I'm 36, and all I think about is money."
Boom, that's when this film grabbed me. Because you know what? I AM 36, and I think about money far more than art or music these days aside from when I'm thinking about films like this one. So I connect with Wallace Shawn's character, and then he meets Andre and they have one of the best conversations ever captured on film. Thoughts I've had are expressed along the way, and I just fell totally in love with everything about the movie & kept thinking about it after it ended. It may not be the most visually interesting film ever made, but it's definitely great on all other levels and now I've got to add it to my collection & make other people watch it too.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 723 Average listal rating (425 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.3
Dead Ringers (1988)
First viewing - Aug. 27th

So I go to rent these movies, and I'm looking for Grave of the Fireflies because it's been on my list for a while now. Alas I come to find out it was stolen, but their other location does have a copy. I didn't feel like making the trek to the other location, so I decided to just drop my anime picks for this month and rent this instead.

I'd actually intended to wait until October for this one, but now I'm glad I didn't because it's not exactly a horror film even though it kinda is. It's definitely a Cronenberg film and as such I really dug it. Plus Jeremy Irons is beyond Amazing as he plays the twins at the film's center. The whole thing is interesting & thought-provoking, and while I'm not sure I'd buy a copy of it I'd definitely watch it again...like once every decade.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 635 Average listal rating (415 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.8
First viewing - Aug. 28th

I liked this movie, but I'm not entirely sure what the point was. Cage turns in one of his rare great performances, and the rest of the cast is solid. The film is definitely interesting, but then it ended and I was left feeling like they forgot something. It was good, but like most of Scorsese's films it wasn't anything that especially impressed me. Not sure what it is about his films but most for me are worth watching once and that's it. Matter of taste I guess. The soundtrack was great though.

Just a thought: Dude, we get that you love New York City warts and all. You don't have to remind us.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 69 Average listal rating (46 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 5.7
Crimewave (1985)
First viewing - Aug. 27th/30th

I initially tried watching this film in the wake of My Dinner with Andre and was not at all in the right mood for it. So I turned it off and tried again a couple nights later. And I was horribly disappointed.

You'd think the fact that the film was written by the Coens (post-Blood Simple) and Sam Raimi (between the first two Evil Deads) would make it awesome. And had it been directed by the Coens instead of Raimi, maybe it would've been. But no, not at all. There are a few moments along the way I appreciated, but overall I was bored and annoyed with it. The comedic timing rarely works, the characters are annoying, and much of the story plot points don't really make sense (starting with the hero pleading his case on the way to the electric chair instead of in a courtroom or interrogation room). I guess it's supposed to be like a live-action cartoon, but it never worked for me. Probably it's best if you're not remotely sober when you watch this one, but if so that's a poor excuse for it being awful.

No wonder nobody talks about this film.
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Netflix exorcisms

Films I caught before Netflix removed them from my Instant Queue
People who added this item 593 Average listal rating (347 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.4
The Raven (2012)
First viewing - Aug. 4th

Mixed reviews led me to lower my expectations on this one, which paid off in the long run. Cusack would never be my choice to play Poe (especially when Jeffrey Combs nailed the role on Masters of Horror) but he does a decent enough job. The rest of the cast is solid too, and the story is consistently entertaining I thought. The story idea itself reminded me of Theatre of Blood among others, so that wasn't too impressive, but I thought it made up for it with mood/atmosphere that worked well. And I didn't figure out who the bad guy was until well into the film, so that's a plus. As usual I was disappointed by the CGI at times, and there's some stupidity at the beginning of the closing credits which left a bad taste in my mouth, but overall the film was worth watching once. You'd do better, however, to watch the aforementioned Masters of Horror episode "The Black Cat" if you're looking for a (short) film with Poe as a character in it.

Just a thought: Luke Evans is like a cross between David Morse and James McAvoy.
the giraffe's rating:
First viewing - Aug. 22nd

Much like the book this was entertaining enough to stick with but unexceptional enough to never need to revisit & I probably won't remember it much later on. And this really drove home how old Jeff Bridges is now, which was kinda depressing. Or maybe he just needs to keep his face hidden behind a beard.
the giraffe's rating:
First viewing - Aug. 24th

If you've seen Not Quite Hollywood this is the kung-fu movie equivalent. Unlike that documentary though, you don't have to listen to a bunch of people go on & on about how great such & such movie is. Instead you get an animated character who serves as our narrator, providing a thorough rundown of the best the genre has to offer from its beginnings through 2010. I was mainly left with the feeling that I haven't watched nearly enough films in this genre & a strong urge to hit up my local rental store & come home with as many as I can carry. Fortunately I wasn't able to follow up on that urge because when the doc ended it was about time for all of them to close.

Anyway, as docs go it was pretty standard really, definitely amusing enough and loaded with knowledge and recommendations (several of which I would also recommend). It's so rapid-fire it'll be a miracle if I can remember half of what I wanted to see, but hopefully when I go seeking the films I'll remember some of them then. And if not, I may have to revisit this documentary and be sure to take notes the next time around.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1493 Average listal rating (852 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.3
Capote (2006)
First viewing - Aug. 25th

Thanks largely to a masterful performance by the late great Philip Seymour Hoffman, this was well worth watching. I can't speak to the accuracy of the film, but it paints an interesting portrait of its subject as he manipulates those around him to get what he wants. One moment he's saccharine, the next he's laughing at someone behind his back. I personally found the whole film very compelling, the cast is solid all around (I might have picked someone else to play Perry Smith though), the score is good, and in the end I was left satisfied. I'd definitely watch it again some day, but I wouldn't buy it just to do so.

Just a thought: Now I need to finally watch the film adaptation of In Cold Blood.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 150 Average listal rating (98 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.1
Re-watch - Aug. 31st

I hadn't watched this since the '90s, and back then I saw it twice yet somehow I'd forgotten most of what happened in it. So the fact that it was a little better than I'd remembered shouldn't be much of a surprise. Matter of fact, the only issue I had with Lord of Illusions this time around is the cheesy CGI employed throughout. Fortunately there were some practical effects too which worked well enough. And the story is solidly entertaining & engrossing, so it was well worth revisiting after all this time. Glad I caught it before it left Netflix.
the giraffe's rating:

Not letting myself get too carried away with planning out this month in advance movie-wise. I'm taking a minor road trip to my former hometown this month, so that plus my kiddo's birthday later on will likely keep me from reaching the productive level I hit last month. If I manage to get all the movies I've got here for my summer project rented I'll be satisfied, and there aren't even that many.

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