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Added by the giraffe on 5 May 2014 03:28
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Movies the giraffe watched in 2014: May

Sort by: Showing 29 items
Decade: Rating: List Type:
The breakdown: 29 movies watched, two of which were short films - 17 via Netflix instant, 5 in the theatre, and 7 on DVD; of those 19 were first views, 10 were re-watches, and they came from the following decades: 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s, and 2010s.

So yeah, 29 movies in a single month & no signs of fatigue. And here I'd doubted hitting a number like that was a possibility anymore. Having no real plan in place for the month clearly paid off, and with mostly good results quality-wise judging by the star ratings on display here. Nothing rated lower than a 5/10, though I'm also finding it's getting harder for films I watch to cross the line between eights & nines.

Surprisingly I didn't get to watch everything I wanted to this month. There were theatrical screenings I missed all due to poor timing, and I wound up letting a couple films leave Netflix unseen. On the other hand I saw what I most wanted to in the theatre this month, and ended May on a positive note with my final film choice so there's really no reason to dwell on whatever I missed. Now we head into the summer season, and we'll see just what that brings...

Best new-to-me movie for May: Anatomy of a Murder
Best hidden gem: Besides the film above, They Might Be Giants / Lair of the White Worm (tie)
Worst film: Escape from L.A.
People who added this item 897 Average listal rating (621 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7
Re-watch - May 1st

I watched this to mark the passing of Bob Hoskins since it's the one film on my shelf that he has a major role in that I haven't watched recently (otherwise I would've revisited Roger Rabbit again). He really goes for broke with his character here, and it was quite a joy to behold again. I'd also kinda forgotten how great Jet Li is here, and not just in the action scenes. On second viewing, I'm not too sure my 9/10 rating is justified but it's easily an 8.5 for me so I'm leaving it. Especially since the first time I ever saw it it helped improve a bad day I was having, and that kind of thing is still much appreciated.
the giraffe's rating:
First viewing - May 2nd

I got home from work on May 2nd and after catching up on the online world I ran short on time to get a proper movie in before bed. No worries though, as this was short enough to squeeze in. It's not as funny to me now as the audience at the time clearly felt it was, but that's OK. Overall I enjoyed it & there were some brilliant insights that made me feel like it was well worth watching. I just didn't laugh as consistently as I'd hoped for.

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
Re-watch - May 4th

On May 1st, my daughter & I were in the car on our way to drop her off at preschool, when out of nowhere she said to me, "Do we have a Darth Vader movie?" I resisted the urge to cry tears of joy & told her we do. She then said, "I want to watch it with you." And thus my heart grew three sizes that day. No wait, I'm thinking of something else. Anyway, as luck would have it she woke up on May the Fourth and brought it up again, so we watched Star Wars together for the first time. And overall she liked it, but I think there was too much serious talking for her taste. At least she made it to the end (unlike E.T.). Since I recently re-watched all three films in this series (yeah, I said three) I'm in no rush to sit through the others with her, so I'll be content if she asks to watch it again. Possibly she won't want to revisit the world of Star Wars via any of the films for some time though, which will probably be better as the older she gets the better she'll appreciate it.

Just a thought: On a related note, on the same day I came across this article which touches on Star Wars & the film industry at large & found it well worth reading.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 5832 Average listal rating (3999 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.5
Ice Age (2002)
Re-watch - May 5th

The kiddo was sick all weekend & wasn't over it today either, and this was the only movie she wanted to watch (she's on a TV show kick lately & prefers them over movies right now). So I curled up with her & we watched it together. Nothing new to add for me really on this one, though in the wake of reading the article I linked to above I couldn't help but notice that none of the women in this movie have a name. Guess that's partly why Queen Latifah played the female mammoth in the sequels.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 290 Average listal rating (202 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 5.5
Re-watch - May 6th

Pretty sure I hadn't watched this one since I was a teenager, so I was glad it was everything I'd remembered & then some. This is one of those films that falls squarely in the category of "so bad it's good" with writer/director Stephen King's twisted sense of humor on display throughout. It's not at all scary because it's too far-fetched & laughable, but damn it's entertaining. I'm so glad Netflix added this one to their Instant Watch because I probably would have gone far longer without revisiting it. And yeah, my rating isn't accurate at all, but I'm leaving it because I'll watch it again some time.

Just a thought: After this ended I had to look up what Emilio Estevez has done over the years since I was struggling to recall the last thing I'd seen him in (turns out it was the first Mission: Impossible, but he definitely hasn't done much since then).

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
First viewing - May 7th

I've heard this one mentioned here & there over the years, but hadn't sought it out thus far. Fortunately it joined Netflix Instant this month & when I noticed it I quickly added it to my queue so I could check it out. And man am I glad I did. Everything throughout this film works wonderfully from the opening titles by Saul Bass through the ending. It was very much on the verge of being a 10/10 in my book, but something just held it back. I absolutely loved the fact that the characters are more complex than you'd expect, not so much good or bad but a mix of both which made them all the more realistic. Add to that the fact that I was still thinking about it a couple days after I watched it & that should tell you it's well worth watching. I have no doubt I'll watch it again, and the first time I come across a physical copy of it I'll be sure to add it to my collection.

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 74 Average listal rating (56 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.8
Point Blank (2010)
First viewing - May 9th

I'm not sure what prompted me to add this to my IQ, so I'm guessing it was a recommendation after I watched something else. And if that's the case then I thank Netflix for the recommendation. Point Blank hits the ground running & hardly slows for its entire duration. There's enough details given about the characters that I found myself caring what happened to them, and at one point I was even calling out loud for a certain character to get her comeuppance. It fell just a little short of crossing that line of greatness for me because it's honestly not a very original idea & thus a little predictable, but it does an excellent job of keeping things moving so fast you hardly have time to anticipate where it's going (or at least not to dwell on it for too long). I'd totally watch it again though.

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 2981 Average listal rating (1829 ratings) 5.4 IMDB Rating 6
First viewing - May 13th

Watched this one with the kiddo, and it was OK. Not bad for a family movie, though I did notice a few damns & hells along the way that I'm sure weren't in the book the film is based on. The cast is decent but far from impressive in their respective roles. And the music was mostly decent. Not surprisingly the kiddo enjoyed it more than I did.

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 612 Average listal rating (283 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.3
Prozac Nation (2003)
First viewing - May 13th

I'd wanted to check this out for a while now because I loved the book. I knew it was highly unlikely for a movie to recreate the events in Wurtzel's memoir, but I was hoping they could at least capture the overall essence of it. I don't think they really did though. The film barely scratches the surface of the source material, and thus it never truly hits home. So much is left untouched that I was left at the end wishing I'd skipped this really. That said, Christina Ricci is Amazing in her performance, and Jessica Lange does an excellent job as well. And the story is handled well enough that I wasn't ever bored, but to some degree it came off a bit cliche and I was never deeply invested in it. I couldn't help but feel like another 30 minutes or so would have allowed the film enough time to truly convey what Miz Wurtzel went through in her battles with depression, but it doesn't seem like the filmmaker was interested in going into her story that deeply. Sad really. Go read the book instead.

Just a thought: I found it a little confusing that her boyfriend went home to Dallas, Texas, but when Lizzie follows him she calls him from the Austin airport which is about three hours away. Not to mention the fact that there are two airports in Dallas she could have landed at.

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 40 Average listal rating (20 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7
First viewing - May 14th

As a long-time fan of the band They Might Be Giants, I figured I should watch this since it's where they got their name from (and thank you, Netflix, for having it available). George C. Scott is Amazing in this as a man who believes he's Sherlock Holmes and as a result his family wants him committed. He's a joy to watch throughout the entire thing, and those who are fans of Holmes will find plenty to enjoy on top of his performance. It fell just shy of that line of greatness for me, but that may have more to do with the fact that I was falling asleep during the ending due to the hour (not due to the movie). Perhaps a re-watch will bump it up a little, but regardless I totally recommend checking it out.

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
First viewing - May 20th

Picked this one to watch with the kiddo since we both like the first one. Unlike the first one, however, I have no interest in watching this one again. The food animals are a neat idea with plenty of pay-off, and the story is just entertaining enough to hold your attention through to the end. But overall it's predictable & lacks the heart of its predecessor. And after a while their joke machine ran out of steam & they get too obvious/repetitive, which doesn't help either. The kiddo dug it though, so she'll probably watch it again.

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1090 Average listal rating (741 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.6
Re-watch - May 20th

My thoughts keep coming back to this film from time to time, so I finally gave in & decided to sit down with it again. Most of it I still remembered, while a few parts had escaped my memory (like the fact Kevin Bacon is in this). It's hilarious, heartfelt, and the sort of film I'm sure to watch more times in my life. It's also the sort of film I appreciate more the older I get. It doesn't quite cross that line of Greatness for me, but I highly enjoy it anyway.

Just a thought: It's a shame John Candy is gone. I can't help but feel that had he lived longer he would've had some excellent dramatic roles, and it's a shame he rarely if ever got to explore his talents in anything but comedies.

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 23 Average listal rating (15 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.4
First viewing - May 21st

Despite all the negative feedback I've seen on this one, I couldn't just ignore it when I saw it was added to Netflix Instant. And as a long-time fan of Calvin & Hobbes, I can't honestly say I regret the time spent watching it. The film is basically a bunch of people talking about how great the strip was, which anyone who has read it should be aware of. As such it gets repetitive & could easily be boiled down into a half-hour instead, but there's enough worthwhile commentary to make it worth sitting through, or at least I thought so. If you cut it down to a focus on his fellow cartoonists, the people he worked with, and the library that has his originals, you wouldn't really need anything else. But at the same time I get why the filmmaker, a self-professed fan, would want to throw in various nobodies' thoughts too. Because part of being a fan of something is finding other fans & talking about the aspects of it you love. And that's cool. The film's not deep or original, and I can see how some would find it grating after a while. But I liked it okay. And now I want to reread the whole series, because it's been a long time since I've done that.

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 137 Average listal rating (83 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 5.8
First viewing - May 21st

This film can be summed up in one word: uneven. For every great idea on display there's something else that's off or just doesn't work. And it says something when the best parts of a primarily live-action film are the animated sequences. There's some serious creativity going on all over the place, but the trouble is it's just that, all over the place. With a tighter focus this could be destined for cult classic status. As it stands though, it's more likely to be forgotten.

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 312 Average listal rating (202 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.2
First viewing - May 26th

I was long overdue for a trip to my local video rental store, so I decided to drop in & pick up a pair of movies for the holiday weekend. And on Memorial Day I finally got a chance to sit down with both of them.

I started off with Vanishing Point, a film I've heard about off & on over the years including its mention in Death Proof. Going into it I didn't know much beyond the car at its center, so I was pleasantly surprised by the thematic elements in the story. Come for the car chase scenes, stay for the social commentary. It was entertaining & I liked it, but it fell short of being great in my book. Still, it's definitely worth watching & I'd probably watch it again.

Just a thought: Hey, now I know where the final bunch of lyrics in GNR's "Breakdown" come from. Cool.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 2524 Average listal rating (1676 ratings) 8.7 IMDB Rating 9
Re-watch - May 26th

The last time I watched this I was a teenager, in either junior high or high school...whichever it was, it was definitely a classroom viewing. And while I certainly liked it then, I'm not sure I caught everything that goes on in the dialogue here. The cast is stellar, and it was fun seeing who was in it since I only remembered Henry Fonda (I definitely didn't realize Jack Warden was in this). It's still a powerhouse of a film, and certainly worthy of its classic status. I'm glad I finally watched it again.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1440 Average listal rating (826 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8.3
Vincent (1982)
Re-watch - May 27th

So on this particular morning, the kiddo wanted to watch Nightmare Before Christmas again. I turned it on for her & spent most of its run-time doing things around the house. But as it neared the end, I pulled the disc's box off the shelf & it reminded me that this & the original Frankenweenie were included in the extras. So I figured I'd show both to the kiddo & watch them with her. She enjoyed both, but I think it's safe to say she liked Frankenweenie better. Of course she's not yet aware of what exactly both shorts reference, but that will come later when she's ready to be introduced to the source materials that inspire them (source materials which I'll gladly introduce her to).
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 580 Average listal rating (315 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.3
Frankenweenie (1984)
Re-watch - May 27th

My love for the original Frankenstein film automatically carries over to this one. So much fun from start to finish.

Just a thought: Look no further than this for proof that Burton has always been involved in taking established worlds and putting his own spin on them. It's just too bad not all his reimaginings are this inspired.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1688 Average listal rating (976 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 7.9
First viewing - May 31st

Rather than watch one of the two films I had left that were about to leave Netflix Instant, I chose to end the month with Manhattan since I've seen it mentioned a lot lately for some reason. And it was mostly good, pretty realistic to some extent I thought at least with regard to complex relationship dynamics. It's a little predictable, and fell short of being great in my book, but overall I liked it well enough & might even watch it again some day.

Just a thought: I love that Groucho Marx was name-dropped in such a perfect place. That and the ending were enough to bump this from a 7 to an 8 for me.

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
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Big screen attractions

Films I caught in the theatre
People who added this item 790 Average listal rating (533 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 6.5
Re-watch - May 5th

I don't usually celebrate Cinco de Mayo, but since Alamo Drafthouse screened ยกThree Amigos! as a Quote-Along how could I resist? They gave each person a pair of maracas to shake anytime music was played, a pair of caps to explode during the gunfights, and a cowboy hat to get everyone in the right mood. It was a blast, and I can't think of a better way to revisit this film I've loved since childhood.

I'm rather surprised by the low ratings I see above for this film. Granted, it's not a masterpiece by any means but it's so funny & so much fun that anything less than a 7/10 seems wrong to me. Then again, humor is subjective so I guess it's all a matter of taste.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 246 Average listal rating (167 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.4
First viewing - May 6th

The kiddo woke up on this day feeling much better, so I finally took her to see Muppets Most Wanted. Turns out the timing was perfect, because they let her in for free and I had a $2 off deal for snacks I'd earned through their loyalty program that was about to expire. As for the movie, well, I'm sad to say I was pretty disappointed. I felt like the muppets largely took a back seat to an overload of cameos while being mostly relegated to an overuse of song-and-dance numbers, and the usual sense of fun was missing for me. That's not to say it doesn't have its moments, as there are a few excellent songs and some good laughs along the way. But where The Muppets was clearly a labor of love from start to finish, this one seems to have lost a bit of that loving feeling, perhaps due to studio pressure to turn out a sequel so quickly. Even the kiddo didn't enjoy this one as much as some of the other muppet movies, as she turned to me about halfway into it & asked if we could watch something else. But we stuck it out & afterward she said she liked it, though unlike previous trips to the theatre she didn't want to sit through the credits to stay as long as possible. (Though once we were in the parking lot she did ask if they had any other movies we could watch.) So yeah, it was OK, but I think we would've been better off re-watching The Great Muppet Caper.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1257 Average listal rating (891 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.2
Re-watch - May 15th

I last watched this one back in 2011 at Drafthouse & so enjoyed the experience I was all too glad to do it again. This is easily one of the most FUN movies ever made, and the only way I could've had more fun watching it again is if it had been a Quote-Along. And man I love the set design throughout the entire film.

Just a thought: Drafthouse's 35mm print of this is excellent aside from the first reel, which is so worn out it skips a few random words of dialogue along the way. Kinda irksome.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1045 Average listal rating (754 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.4
Godzilla (2014)
First viewing - May 16th

Every time this year I've watched the trailer for Godzilla I've had chills & goosebumps, so seeing it opening weekend was a no-brainer. I'd actually planned to watch it in 2D, but due to inattention on my part I bought tickets for a 3D screening instead (that's what I get for having multiple tabs open at the same time to help me decide which screening I want to attend). And as it turns out 2D would likely have been better as the 3D didn't seem to add much to the experience.

But aside from that, this was a pretty solid flick & far better than that previous American Godzilla movie. The story is decent, they take time to establish the characters (though with one exception none of them are given any depth), and there's some decent payoff in the monster battle scenes. I personally would have preferred more monster fight scenes and less humans running around, but maybe that will be fixed whenever they make the sequel to this (a sequel which, given the mostly positive feedback it's getting, seems highly likely). I wouldn't go so far as to call this film Great, but it's a worthwhile blockbuster I might even watch again at some point.

Just a thought: Drafthouse's pre-show entertainment for this was worth the admission price, and that tempts me to go see it again in 2D while I can. Here's a sampling.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1852 Average listal rating (1204 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.9
First viewing - May 28th

^Best scene in the whole movie.

You didn't really think I'd miss this one in its opening week run, now did you? I'm just glad I now have Wednesdays off so I can catch new movies at the matinee price without fighting the weekend rush. Anyway, I'm happy to say this one is possibly the best of the mutant bunch so far. I'm not sure it was truly Great, but it's definitely entertaining from start to finish and left me with zero disappointments (aside from maybe wanting more of Quicksilver). The "hidden" scene was pretty damn obscure though & didn't seem worth waiting for (even after I figured out what it meant). But given everything that preceded it that's a very minor complaint.

Just a thought: Peter Dinklage continues to be Amazing.
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Netflix exorcisms

Films I caught before they left Netflix Instant
People who added this item 197 Average listal rating (115 ratings) 5.3 IMDB Rating 5.2
Silent House (2012)
First viewing - May 19th

Last October my brother-in-law & I bonded over a common love of horror movies, and he told me this was worth checking out mainly because of Elizabeth Olson's performance. And that much is true. Also working in its favor was the fact I didn't bother to look into what it was about, I just added it to my IQ for future viewing. And as a result I appreciated the ways it toyed with what I thought the film might be about as the truth slowly unfolded. I also thought that for about 2/3 of the film it ratcheted up the suspense so tightly that I was anxiously anticipating whatever would happen next. On the other hand, they do a poor job of establishing the interior of the house so it's never entirely clear where the rooms are supposed to be or where the doors lead to. The occasional use of shaky-cam doesn't help either, but at least it's not an all-shaky-cam-all-the-time film. And sure, there are cliches along the way which make it a bit predictable in places, but that was a minor complaint for me. And then there's that ending which renders some earlier parts of the film nonsensical. So yeah, I didn't really regret watching this one but it's nothing I'd go out of my way to recommend either.
the giraffe's rating:
First viewing - May 23rd

Pretty sure I caught part of the middle of this one night at a friend's house several years back, and this is definitely one of those films you need to watch from the beginning to truly appreciate. You also have to love absurdity and be a fan to some degree of cheesiness. For this film is most certainly those things as well as fairly intelligent. As you can probably tell from the poster to the left of here & the picture above there are plenty of WTF moments too. All of this only served to endear Lair of the White Worm to me, and I'm so glad I watched it.

Just a thought: Hugh Grant should do more horror movies.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 438 Average listal rating (289 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.4
First viewing - May 24th

So first off, the entire time I watched this film I kept thinking of the Coen Bros' version and thus eventually concluded I prefer theirs. That said, I did find much to appreciate here though it's probably safe to say that's mostly due to having such strong source material (the book it's adapted from) to draw from. The cast is excellent across the board here, and had the Coens not come along & improved on it I'd easily rate this a 9/10. Still, it's definitely worth watching & I'd probably watch it again some time. I'd just watch the Coens' version first.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1183 Average listal rating (814 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 6.5
First viewing - May 28th

So it turns out I've seen parts of this before, just not the entire thing. Most memorable of those for me was the scene with Gilbert Gottfried, who I've always been a fan of & it was still funny to me. The whole thing was solidly entertaining I thought, despite the fact it's overrun with cliches. Murphy is still funny & a joy to watch, which helps distract from the film's flaws. Sure, the plot is a mix of ridiculousness and predictability, but that's why you've got Murphy pulling off crazy stunts along the way (also, that's the '80s for you). So yeah, I liked it, and if I ever stumbled across it again I'd probably watch it one more time but I wouldn't go out of my way for it. I anticipate that if/when I watch the third installment in this series it'll be awful, but we'll see.

Just a thought: I'm sure he didn't, but part of me wants to believe Axl Rose dubbed himself that as an homage to Axel Foley.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 895 Average listal rating (629 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 5.8
First viewing - May 30th

I'd put this one off for a long time because I'd always heard mostly negative things about it. Since the year it came out the only connection I've really had with it is I bought the soundtrack & still listen to the songs from it from time to time. But now that I've watched more of Carpenter's films I figured I should give it a chance in hopes people were just judging it too harshly or something. Turns out, not so much.

Now this is the definition of a mixed bag. For every aspect that works there are at least two that don't. It doesn't help that the whole thing is basically a retread of Escape from New York, and at one point Snake acknowledges this on screen, but nothing is ever done to create its own identity. Sure the location is different, and thus so are the characters surrounding Snake, but it's just never enough. And you'd think with the cast they've gathered it could rise above the first one but they're saddled with a dull script they can't seem to improve on. The jokes on L.A. are amusing but obvious, and really I was left indifferent to the film overall. I didn't like it, but I didn't entirely dislike it and so I was left wishing Netflix had an option in between.

I'll keep listening to the soundtrack, but no way will I be revisiting this one.
the giraffe's rating:

I think I'll just go with the flow this month & not make any plans beyond what I hope to catch in theatres. I noticed a pair of limited release films are set to come out in May, but have no idea yet if they'll show up where I live so I can catch them. So while I've gone ahead & added them here, that's mainly so I remember to keep an eye out for them. There may also be some more special Drafthouse screenings to come, but so far the dates aren't working out in my favor to catch them so I haven't included them yet.

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