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Added by the giraffe on 2 Jan 2015 05:20
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Movies the giraffe watched in 2015: January

Sort by: Showing 23 items
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The breakdown: 23 movies watched one of which was abandoned, of those 15 were via Netflix, 4 were on DVD, 2 were streamed (non-Netflix), and 2 in the theatre. Of those 18 were first views, 5 were re-watches, and they came from the following decades: 1960s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s & 2010s.

Well, my projects for the year got off to a good start. I managed to watch one recommendation from everyone participating in the Netflix Instant Project so far, and while they were all to my taste they did all have aspects I appreciated & provided some variety. My Bond project started off so well I worked in an extra film before the month ended, and I managed to get a few movies watched that had been sitting around here waiting on me. Not too bad. The only project I haven't started yet is the one where I'll be renting films for my daughter & I to watch together, but that's one I'm not too worried about hitting a goal on every month so no big deal for now. Netflix was much nicer to me this month, as they only removed a small number of films from my queue & thus I was able to watch all the ones I hadn't seen already.

The most difficult thing now that the month has ended is picking a candidate for hidden gem. Frank, Short Term 12, Death of a Superhero, and The Imposter could all take that spot for me this month. Tough to choose my favorite of them. So whichever film I wind up putting in that spot please note the rest of these could have gone there too.

Best new-to-me film for January: From Russia with Love
Best hidden gem: Frank
Worst film: Kingpin, though 47 Ronin could go in this spot too...just reluctant to put it as the pick since I failed to finish the damned thing
People who added this item 228 Average listal rating (143 ratings) 5.2 IMDB Rating 5.3
First viewing - Jan. 2nd

As the year kicked off I wasn't really sure where I wanted to start film-wise. Then my co-worker friend brought me my jump drive with some movies on it, and of what was there this one I was most curious about. While I've avoided a couple of Kevin Smith's films over the years, I've liked all his films I've seen to various degrees so I figured I'd give it a shot even though the reviews on it have been pretty bad.

And it was OK. The walrus suit is pretty damn impressive, the idea was different, and it had some good moments. Overall though the film suffers from the fact our protagonist isn't likable. He's such a jackass that I never felt much for the character & what he goes through. Now it's true that some guys can be assholes & yet endear themselves to others through charm and/or wit. This guy lacks both charm and wit, and so it was impossible for me to get attached to the character. And while Red State had a memorable performance from Michael Parks to help elevate things, this time around I was less impressed with him due partly to some clunky or at least uninspired dialogue. He does his best with his role, don't get me wrong, it's just not very well-written in my book. And then there's a surprise actor who shows up for the film's final stretch with mixed results (though to his credit he does mostly disappear into his character).

So yeah, I'd say this was barely worth watching once and I definitely wouldn't watch it again. It's not so bad I'd give up on Kevin Smith, as there's evidence here he could eventually turn out an excellent horror movie if he'll take more time & care with it. He just hasn't found the right balance yet.

Just a thought: So Haley Joel Osment grew up to be Kevin Smith. Huh.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 193 Average listal rating (132 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.4
First viewing - Jan. 3rd

I read Nick Hornby's A Long Way Down a few years ago & mostly enjoyed it, so I figured I'd give its film adaptation a try. Had I recalled sooner that the tale kicks off on New Year's Eve I might have started the month with it instead of Tusk.

Now for what it is, this is a decent movie. While I watched it I was consistently entertained but not too deeply engaged with it. I enjoyed it more than Tusk, and did connect with it more which helped, but here again there's not a character to strongly latch onto (on the upside though they didn't turn me away this time). At least not for me. Now after it ended I started thinking about it more & more & there are some story elements that aren't properly fleshed out, which bumped my rating down a little. And I'm undecided about how I feel regarding the fact the film used the book as a jumping off point (no pun intended) rather than attempting any kind of faithful adaptation of the source material. On the one hand it makes for a different experience, but on the other the end result makes the book seem even better by comparison.

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 464 Average listal rating (323 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 6.5
Re-watch - Jan.

So, wow, I haven't seen this since I caught a theatrical sneak preview in 1998. Oh, I've caught a scene here & there on cable over the years back when I had access to such a thing, but it was never uncensored & commercial-free so I never stopped to watch it. And damn is it still hilarious. On this particular night I wanted something fun, and it delivered in spades. The acting is the main weakness of the film, but when I'm laughing this heartily and often that doesn't bother me at all.

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
Re-watch - Jan. 13th

Picked this up on the cheap & watched it with the kiddo. I'm still in awe of the animation throughout the film, and will happily sit down with her and watch it again any time.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 422 Average listal rating (268 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7
Frank (2014)
First viewing - Jan. 14th

I remember catching a glimpse of a poster for Frank last year & being curious to check it out. So when it appeared on Netflix I figured I'd take it for a spin. And I really enjoyed it. I want the band Soronprfbs to be a real band & keep making music, though I'd recommend they get a new keyboard player. I loved the way they interacted with each other, which felt genuine. And yet I'm undecided whether the film crossed the elusive line into greatness for me...but I'll gladly watch it again to find out for certain.

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1385 Average listal rating (937 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.7
First viewing - Jan. 15th

This was a Christmas gift from one of my best friends (see also last month's Guardians of the Galaxy), and on this particular night I figured I'd finally sit down with it. And yeah, it's good. I liked it about as much if not slightly more than Abrams' first Star Trek. It's solidly entertaining & a decent twist on my favorite ST film Wrath of Khan. Some aspects seem a little pointless (Kirk & Spock being demoted for all of 15 minutes mainly), and I find the color use to be obnoxious with the heavy reliance on orange/yellow & blue...so overdone I started getting excited when another color showed up briefly. So yeah, it's not great but I did like it well enough that I'd be willing to watch it again at some point. I'll keep it in my collection.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1088 Average listal rating (690 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.7
First viewing - Jan. 30th

So I actually tried to watch this earlier in the month & wasn't in the right mood for it. This time around I was more in the mood for it & thought it was pretty well done for the most part. I like that the characters are human instead of obviously fictional creations, and the whole thing is believable enough. The trouble is that it goes on far too long for its own good, and the ending drags on so long I was falling asleep off & on & had to keep backing it up to catch what I'd missed. I'll give the ending credit insofar as it didn't deliver exactly what I'd expected, but I'd be lying if I said I was especially impressed. Probably this simply isn't to my taste, and as such for me it was only worth watching once.

Currently streaming on Netflix
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Year-long focus: James Bond series

When I was growing up I watched most of the James Bond series with my dad. He'd find one of the movies on TV & call me in to join him, and at the time I liked them all. I haven't seen any of the Sean Connery or Roger Moore films since the '90s began though, so I figured I'm long overdue to revisit them as well as check out the rest of the lot. So I'm spending 2015 with about 2 Bond films per month, watched in the order they were released. At this point I'm not planning on going through the Daniel Craig films again, but I reserve the right to change my mind on those down the road. The only Craig Bond film I definitely intend to see this year is Spectre & by that point I should be about done with the series.
People who added this item 1335 Average listal rating (921 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.2
First viewing - Jan. 7th

So first off, I had previously believed I had seen Dr. No and From Russia with Love but since almost nothing from either film was familiar to me I must be mistaken. The first ever look at Bond in this film was the only moment that was familiar, and that's mainly because that shot has widely made its rounds.

Overall this one is definitely a solid movie. It establishes the formula that would define the series for years to come, the cast is solid, and it's mostly entertaining. Personally I found the tunnel sequence near the end went on longer than necessary, and I wasn't very impressed with the villain. Those complaints may not be major, but they did prevent the film from moving past an 8/10 for me. And if I'm being honest, it's barely an 8 in my book because a week later I'm already forgetting some parts of it. So while I'd certainly watch it again, it might be as much to remind myself what happens in it as because I'd enjoyed it.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1139 Average listal rating (764 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.4
First viewing - Jan. 8th

Now this is a Bond film that hits all the right marks. Aside from a couple of predictable moments I couldn't think of anything to complain about. The cast is memorable and a joy to watch, the film flows much better than its predecessor, and the villain is better utilized within the plot. And Connery seems to relish his role as Bond so far, which also elevates these films. When it ended I was so pleased that I re-watched the ending one more time, and I almost never do that.

Just a thought: Seeing SPECTRE in these two films has elevated my excitement for the new Bond film. I'd kind of forgotten about them over time.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1526 Average listal rating (990 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.7
Goldfinger (1964)
Re-watch - Jan. 25th

I really had intended to stick to two Bond movies per month, but since I enjoyed the first two so much I figured I'd watch one more before the month ended. And it's a decision I don't regret at all.

Now this one I do remember watching before, even if it was back before I was old enough to drive. Watching it again I have a deep appreciation for the villain here who provides one of the best adversaries Bond has ever faced. He's so smart he almost defeats Bond, and that deserves respect. And of course his main henchman Oddjob is especially memorable between his hat-throwing and being nigh indestructible. I had no complaints about anything here, and the only thing missing was that magical feeling I get from the films I give 10/10 to. That said, I'd give a slight edge to From Russia with Love at this point just based on my overall enjoyment of the two films. Really though they're equally awesome.
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Netflix Instant Project for 2015

Netflix Instant Project for 2015

The ongoing Netflix Instant Project involves recommendations from my fellow Listalites of lesser-known/lesser-seen films that are currently streaming on Netflix. If you use Netflix Instant Watch & want to participate, please check out the list above & the thread in the Movies Forum.
People who added this item 326 Average listal rating (217 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.3
Dark Skies (2013)
First viewing - Jan. 12th

Recommended by moviewatcher122

I'm making it my goal for the year to watch at least one of the two recommendations each month from everyone who participates in the Netflix project, so we'll see how that goes as the year goes on. For now it's an easy enough thing to accomplish, and I decided to start with Dark Skies as much due to run-time & what I was in the mood for than anything else.

And it's OK. It moves at a pace that kept me engaged and somewhat entertained, but suffered mostly from being predictable throughout. A scene would start & I'd know more or less exactly how it'd end up, or something would be said & I'd anticipate how that would come into play later on. It got old after a while. So if you can turn your brain off then I'd give this a stronger recommendation, but really it's nothing essential in my book.
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First viewing - Jan. 13th

Recommended by VierasTalo

There's something very alluring to me about the title of this film, and it had already caught my attention before VT recommended it. It's definitely a different film, and not one that's for everyone. For my part, I started off thinking it was pretty amazing especially artistically, but as it plodded along I started getting annoyed with its style over substance approach and eventually felt like it was a chore to sit through until the end. And while the ending was certainly memorable enough it wasn't very rewarding for all my efforts. So yeah, I can see where some people would love it but I barely made it through & would be reluctant to recommend it to others. Of course your mileage may vary.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 149 Average listal rating (101 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7
The Trip (2011)
First viewing - Jan. 17th

Recommended by Mackenzi

I've skipped over The Trip many times while browsing Netflix, as much due to my ignorance of it as the fact that I'm mostly unfamiliar with its leads. In fact it wasn't until after watching this & looking up their respective filmography that I discovered I've seen them in more films than I was aware of.

Anyway, this was ok enough. There are some really hilarious moments along the way, I just wish it was a little more consistent. I definitely felt as annoyed with Rob as Steve is throughout the film, and I dug some of the subtle messages the tale presented. But I was never overly impressed with it. Worth a look though.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 242 Average listal rating (152 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.5
The Imposter (2012)
First viewing - Jan. 20th

Recommended by djprojexion

This was definitely interesting. My attention was grabbed from the start, and it raised a lot of interesting questions as it unfolded. It seems pretty ridiculous that a family would accept someone as a long lost family member without fully questioning the authenticity of a dubious identity claim, and the fact that it happened as detailed in this doc makes you wonder why they were so quick to do so. It seems the answers to that question are elusive though, which casts a suspicious light on all the events and people involved. Proof truth is stranger than fiction, I suppose.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 171 Average listal rating (121 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.5
First viewing - Jan. 28th

Recommended by Dolleater

Dead End is not without its moments, but it suffered a bit by being (in my opinion anyway) far too obvious about what was really going on. The upside of this is that when the ending plays out it's not so much a twist, but rather the revealing of what I'd already accepted as fact. And if you figure it out early on, which is easy enough unless this is somehow the first horror movie you've ever seen, the only thing left is watching how everything else plays out for the characters. Fortunately it's entertaining enough to keep me watching, though I'd be lying if I said anything much impressed me beyond Lin Shaye's performance. Then again she's about as good here as she is in any other movie she's in that I've seen. So yeah, this was all right...I wouldn't watch it again though.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 348 Average listal rating (231 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8
Short Term 12 (2013)
First viewing - Jan. 31st

Recommended by Starweevil

All I have to say on this one is I totally dug spending time with these characters & would gladly do it again. Totally worth checking out.
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Big screen attractions

Films caught in a theatre
Re-watch - Jan. 26th - Quote-Along

This was, I believe, my second time seeing this on the big screen, and I know it was my first time to see it given the Drafthouse Quote-Along treatment. It's definitely a film that's worthy of having an audience play along with it and quote its many memorable lines. I've got to say though I was a little disappointed with the props on this one, as we were all given inflatable clubs to beat each other with during the scene where Walter takes on the Corvette, and a glow stick for the dream sequences. Kind of underwhelming. It was nice of them, however, to offer discounts on White Russians for the screening (I didn't have any though, as I'm not a fan) & they had the right idea of having a bowling contest to kick it off (the ball & pins were also inflatable). Still, it was fun & worth going to.

Interesting how things are connected: Lebowski was referenced in Tusk, and the emcee for tonight's proceedings mentioned Kingpin which I'll likely watch before the week is out.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 247 Average listal rating (158 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7
UHF (1989)
Re-watch - Jan. 28th

When I found out Drafthouse was screening UHF, I jumped at the chance. This is a film that screened for about a week in theatres when it first came out, so like most people I first saw it on VHS and had to settle for being part of its devoted cult following. Now I have added my name to the short list of people who have seen it on the big screen as it was intended to be seen, and for that I'm grateful. The only way it could have been better is if they'd made it a Quote-Along or had Weird Al show up. To their credit though, they did stage a 3-man competition to see who could eat 5 Twinkie wiener sandwiches the fastest, and the two losers got to share the contents of a large cardboard box they had sitting in a corner. If you've seen the movie, you should be able to guess what was in the box. Plus they gave everyone a UHF pin as a souvenir, which was pretty great. Now I just have to decide whether I'm keeping it for myself or giving it to my daughter since Weird Al is currently her favorite musician. Maybe I'll keep it for myself for now & give it to her later on.
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Netflix exorcisms

Films I watched before Netflix removed them from my queue
People who added this item 62 Average listal rating (24 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.1
First viewing - Jan. 19th

So after leaving behind 47 Ronin I browsed my Netflix queue in search of something better to watch, and noticed a handful of films leaving in the near future. Since this one was slated to go before the end of the month I figured I'd better catch it while I could. And it was definitely a better experience.

The characters here are detailed strongly enough to connect to them, the animated sequences provide some visual variety as well as a means inside the head of the central character, and the whole film is engaging and memorable. The soundtrack is really good too. Funny enough I noticed Netflix offers it as a hidden gem, which is exactly what this film is. And I have VierasTalo to thank for putting it on my radar two years ago when he recommended it for that year's Netflix project.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 917 Average listal rating (568 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.4
First viewing - Jan. 21st

Growing up my parents used to watch the M*A*S*H tv show, and it never really grabbed my attention for more than a few fleeting minutes. Perhaps if I were to watch it now I'd get something out of it, but that remains to be seen. Now that I've watched the movie by the same name I understand why it translated into a long-running TV show. The way the film is structured it may as well have been televised, as the plot (such as it is) is episodic. Which is fine for a show but not so great as a movie, in my opinion. I liked some parts of the film while others fell flat for me. The last 30 minutes especially dragged on longer than I could bear, and I spent much of it wishing they'd hurry up and end the damned thing. But the first hour and a half was mostly enjoyable, watching an excellent cast make the most of their roles as young troublemakers stuck in an awful situation where they're forced to be adults & reluctant to fully embrace that status. Part of me found the entire thing too juvenile, to be honest, but entertaining nonetheless...at least up until the football game started, then not so much. So yeah, I guess this was worth watching once, but too problematic for me to watch it again.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1259 Average listal rating (842 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 6.2
First viewing - Jan. 22nd

I vaguely recall seeing posters & ads for this when it came out, but let it slip past me at the time. Had I paid attention to the fact it was directed by Joe Dante I likely would've seen it back then. The upside though is that I had a solid appreciation for it all around. The character animation is stellar for its time, there's satire & dark humor throughout, and the cast is full of actors I dig. Despite being about toys it's not a kids' movie, winding up more aimed at the same audience that enjoyed Gremlins (which is acknowledged here). I was totally entertained, and while it doesn't cross the line into greatness when it ended I wanted to watch it again. Course that was mainly due to the fact they wait until the end to reveal the voice cast behind the supporting members of the two warring toy groups, but even so I'll revisit it another time or two.

I have a feeling this was mis-marketed & as such set inaccurate expectations for most people who went to see it. Too bad.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 636 Average listal rating (439 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.9
Kingpin (1996)
First viewing - Jan. 27th

I'm not sure what exactly compelled me to add this to my queue in the first place unless it was just curiosity. Surely at some point I noticed this was a film from the Farrelly brothers, which generally means I have zero interest, but somehow that fact was overlooked somewhere along the way. True to form this film is filled with feeble attempts at humor that insulted my intelligence and failed to elicit laughter on almost every occasion. Similar to the horribly overrated There's Something About Mary I think I laughed 3 times all in all. Unlike that film, however, I felt that buried beneath all the stupidity there was a decent story in here & one that kept me hanging on despite my better judgement. I liked the way Woody Harrelson's character's story played itself out, and so he mainly carried me through it all to the end. Bill Murray seems to be having fun playing Harrelson's rival, which was also nice to see. The rest of the cast was a mixed bag, though whether that's their fault or to be blamed on the script is hard to determine. Anyway, when it ended I couldn't help feeling like the whole thing would have turned out better if it was handled by a completely different creative team while retaining the main story idea. As it stands though, it's pretty awful.
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I tried, but I gave up

People who added this item 575 Average listal rating (378 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 6.3
47 Ronin (2013)
First attempt - Jan. 19th

I couldn't get into this at all. Too much CGI, mediocre acting (and for most of what I saw the actors looked bored to be involved in the film), and a plot I'm certain I've seen before left me with two impressions. One that I might get more out of it had it been made pre-CGI or with practical effects instead, and two that I could be watching something better. So about the time Kenunu decides to team up with the guy who has hated him for most of the film to go rescue the girl & defeat the bad guy I decided to quit. And I'd be surprised if anyone wants to argue that I was wrong to do so because I missed something worth seeing.

New year, new projects. I'm planning a year-long focus on the James Bond series, and a separate year-long focus on introducing my daughter to more classic films she hasn't seen yet but should enjoy. I'm also keeping alive the Netflix Instant Project for 2015, because that's brought a lot of worthwhile films my way & I like sharing what I find with others on the site. The only thing slowing me down this month is having to work mandatory overtime at work every week, which cuts into my movie time on Wednesdays. Otherwise I'm excited to dive into another year of new and old films. So, let's get this ball rolling, shall we?

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