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Added by the giraffe on 3 May 2015 01:19
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Movies the giraffe watched in 2015: May

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The breakdown: 28 movies watched, of those 16 were via Netflix, 8 on DVD, 1 via streaming download, 2 in the theatre, and 1 on cable TV. Of those 17 were first views, 9 were re-watches, and they came from the following decades: 1940s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s & 2010s.

Well, having no real plans for the month seems to have gone smoothly enough. Overall I enjoyed far more films than I didn't, and I managed to hit up both my local video store & Alamo Drafthouse more than once. I also caught a couple documentaries, which was a nice change. And I got to enjoy 4 films with the kiddo as well. So yeah, good month all around.

Best new-to-me film for May: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best hidden gem: Witching & Bitching (honorable mentions to Wing Chun and Late Phases)
Worst film: Zombeavers
People who added this item 11 Average listal rating (10 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.9
First viewing - May 2nd

One of my co-worker friends was telling me about this documentary earlier in the day, so I figured I'd check it out. It's an engaging exploration of the demise of Atari and the urban legend surrounding the game pictured above, as well as a love letter from an Atari fan. And while it doesn't cross the line of greatness for me, I can't think of anything they could have done better. The people given screen time to discuss all the various aspects of the tale are interesting in their own way, which certainly helps, and my favorite among them was Howard Whishaw who created a few of Atari's biggest games. Sadly I never wound up playing any of his games when I was a kid, though I was aware of them, so I can't comment on whether or not they were as great as they're reported to be here. But I did spend my fair share of time with Atari games as a kid, so making connections with this documentary was easy enough. I don't know that I personally would have driven all the way to New Mexico for the dig, but it's amusing that so many people did.

Anyway, this is totally worth checking out especially if you've ever been into video games.

Currently streaming on Netflix
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First viewing - May 3rd

This was recommended for last year's Netflix project but I didn't get around to watching it then. It's been sitting in my queue since then, and on this night I decided to finally check it out. And holy hell is this a fun movie. If you like your horror with a good dose of humor, this should be up your alley. Best of all I was never entirely sure of where it was going, and was pleasantly satisfied with where it wound up. I'll definitely watch it again.

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People who added this item 541 Average listal rating (291 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.4
First viewing - May 4th

Further proof that Chiwetel Ejiofor is an actor well worth watching. This was definitely a realistic film, the rest of the cast delivers very believable performances & it's not always easy to watch. I thought I knew how it'd end, but then it sidestepped the cliche ending for one better suited to the rest of the film. It never crosses the line of greatness for me, but overall it's well worth watching & I'd be willing to watch it again some time. I don't think I'd go out of my way to do so, but if someone hadn't seen it I'd watch it with them.

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People who added this item 3018 Average listal rating (1801 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.5
Re-watch - May 5th

Rented this one so the kiddo could see it, and she highly enjoyed it. I think I had more fun watching her react to it than I did watching the film, but the film remains worthwhile after all these years. I'd be willing to bet it's been about 30 years since I last saw it in its entirety (damn I feel old saying that), so it was cool for me to experience it again after all these years. I do take issue with some of the sexism in it, and it's a little tough to relate to the character Pinocchio as he mindlessly gets through all these situations before redeeming himself at the end with a single act. But I guess we're not supposed to take it that seriously, right? The animation alone makes it well worth watching though, and the music is well done throughout. So yeah, this was worth revisiting after all these years, and it's entertaining enough I'd be willing to watch it again with the kiddo down the road.
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People who added this item 44 Average listal rating (23 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7
Wing Chun (1994)
First viewing - May 5th

Maaaan this is a lot of fun. If you've ever seen Iron Monkey this is very much in the same vein. If you haven't seen that film, go watch both of them. Michelle Yeoh kicks ass all over the place. Donnie Yen shows up and gets to kick some ass too. And it's directed by Yuen Woo-ping who would shortly go on to oversee the stunts in The Matrix. So yeah, it's wonderful and I'll gladly watch it again.

Just a thought: The tofu scene is now among my favorites.

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First viewing - May 7th

It's been nagging at the back of mind for a while now that I needed to watch this, so when we picked up Pinocchio for the kiddo I grabbed this for me. And it's pretty damn good. Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen are super cool and the whole film is solidly entertaining. I personally prefer Seven Samurai by far, but for a reimagination of that film it works well enough. And now I understand even more how both films led us to A Bug's Life later on. It didn't quite cross the line of greatness for me, but it came close and I'd gladly hang out with this bunch again.

By the way, I totally did NOT plan it this way, but this is the 7th film I've watched this month & I watched it on the 7th.
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People who added this item 4996 Average listal rating (3353 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.9
Iron Man (2008)
Re-watch - May 10th

The kiddo wasn't feeling well due to some kinda stomach thing, so I suggested we watch a movie together. She's said several times lately she wanted to watch Iron Man, so I figured we'd give it a shot. She was bored by a lot of it, which I'm guessing is due to a lot of what was going on going over her head. If Stark wasn't in the suit or working on it she pretty much didn't care. She did enjoy the last part of the film though, and for a moment her favorite part was "I am Iron Man." But then the post-credits scene came along & replaced it as her favorite...the girl loves Nick Fury, what can I say?

I still enjoyed every moment though, and it was nice to be reminded of why it's still my favorite Marvel movie so far.
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People who added this item 264 Average listal rating (159 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.7
First viewing - May 10th

I figured this made sense to watch on Mother's Day, which it certainly did. Faye Dunaway's performance is the main thing that makes it worth watching, as she goes over the top to deliver a memorable performance. The whole thing certainly paints an unattractive portrait of Joan Crawford, to the point where I felt like the adoption agency rep at the beginning was entirely correct in deeming her unfit to be a parent. The rest of the cast does a good job too, but ultimately this film is kind of a drag and nothing I'd watch again. It's also overlong and full of errors and things that don't make much sense. Like Christina has a brother for part of the film, then he disappears with no acknowledgement for a large chunk of the film only to reappear at the end. No idea where he went in between. And further research led me to know that there were other children adopted by Joan, yet none of them ever show up either. Kinda odd.

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People who added this item 66 Average listal rating (42 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.1
First viewing - May 11th

I recently came across a list somewhere of underrated new horror movies worth checking out & this was among them (possibly I linked to it before, but I'm not finding it). And overall I thought it was worthwhile, if you can get past the ridiculousness of it. Maybe I'm just too old to buy into it, but I can't imagine people walking around and video chatting, carrying a laptop in their hands (which happens a little too often here to believe IMO). But aside from that the film has some pretty intense moments, especially as it speeds along to the finale. The acting is decent, the music is minimal which helps sell the "reality" of it, and the ending brought it all into an amusing perspective. So yeah, this was worth seeing once.

Just a thought: And the moral of the story is: don't talk to strangers.

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People who added this item 3665 Average listal rating (2346 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 8.1
The Avengers (2012)
Re-watch - May 12th

I had a free rental & this was in so I picked it up to watch with the kiddo. I had way more fun watching it with her than I did in the theatre, but that doesn't change my rating of the film.

She impressed me when Loki first showed up, as before he's introduced or says anything he grins, and immediately she said, "I know that smile anywhere. That's Loki." (For those not keeping track, she hasn't seen either Thor film yet. Ah, but she has watched Ultimate Spider-Man with me & Loki has appeared there.) Less surprising is the fact that the above moment was her favorite of the entire film, and she wanted to watch it a couple more times after the movie ended. Then she started reenacting the scene with her stuffed animals. Heh. And I've been told I have to buy this for her so she "can watch it over & over & over & over."

So I guess we'll be watching the 2nd film together, but I don't know for sure if it'll be this month or later on. Her mom saw it already & says she thinks it's too intense for her, so maybe I should go see it alone first to determine whether I agree.
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First viewing - Mel Brooks: Make a Noise - May 12th

For some reason I couldn't get the IMDb URL to add to the site, so I'm going with the TV show to list this by instead. This was a fun and educational look at the career of Mel who has long been one of my favorite directors and writers. I like how they used old interview footage to fill in some of the gaps alongside the more recent footage (2013), and by the end of it I was wishing it wasn't so late at night so I could run through at least one of his films.

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People who added this item 608 Average listal rating (379 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.7
Re-watch - May 13th

Didn't I say the doc above made me want to watch some Mel? This one was sitting in my queue to revisit, and for the first time not only did I make it to the end without falling asleep at some point but I genuinely enjoyed it. I guess in the past I simply wasn't in the right mood for it or it was too late at night (perhaps both), but this time around I watched it during the afternoon & when I was totally in the right mood. I don't find it as hilarious as some of Mel's other films, but the characters are amusing & the story is good, the cast is solid, & the couple of songs are excellent. And yet while I'd be willing to watch it again I also don't feel like I truly ever need to.

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Re-watch - May 14th

More Mel? Why not? I've watched this so many times now that it's not as funny to me as it used to be, but at the same time I caught some jokes that I'd missed before for whatever reason (possibly laughing at other jokes). It's still a lot of fun from start to finish though, and here again the music is excellent along with everything else. The only thing that keeps it from being perfect in my book is the structure of it, which makes it feel more like a series of skits than a proper movie.
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First viewing - May 16th

This one caught my attention the moment it popped up on Netflix, and then VierasTalo recommended it as well, so I was eager to check it out. Nick Damici channels Charlie Bronson the entire film, to the point where I decided that had this somehow been made 20-30 years ago Bronson could've just had his role. I dig the setting of it & the choice of the main character being blind kept it fresh too. The effects are mostly excellent as well. It never crossed the line of greatness for me (which was not helped by the fact Netflix decided to have issues which disrupted the last third of the film at the worst times), and I figured out early on who the villain really was, but it's definitely worth a look & I'd probably watch it again some time.

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People who added this item 250 Average listal rating (159 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.2
First viewing - May 17th

Actually I had started this on the night of May 13th & fell asleep before I was halfway in. Then I forgot I was watching it until I noticed it among my recently watched section in Netflix, which all probably sums the film up well enough. It's not bad really, but it's pretty average & forgettable despite the powers of the cast. There are some highly entertaining moments, especially in the first half, but the last half fails to keep up as well. Entertaining enough for a single viewing.

Just a thought: Does Simon Pegg only make great films with Edgar Wright?

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Re-watch - May 24th

The kiddo's pick. Pretty sure I've gone over this one enough & my thoughts haven't changed any on it. Entertaining enough to watch with her but nothing great. Katie remains my favorite character thanks to her absurdity.
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First viewing - May 26th

The poster image for this one initially caught my eye, and Netflix insisted I'd love it. I can't say they were right, but I definitely dug several aspects of this film & am glad I checked it out. First off, the way it's shot is beautiful & parts just look iconic. The soundtrack is also impressive, full of artists I'm now curious to check out more music from. The acting is solid across the board too, and it's not exactly predictable. My only minor gripe is it's pretty minimal where some additional fleshing out of characters & additional dialogue might have helped me connect with it better. That doesn't mean you'll agree, and I'm sure there are some around here who will love the film where I didn't. So while I'm rating this a 7, I'd like to add that I may check it out again down the road to see if my feelings on it change.

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First viewing - May 27th

As suspected, this one is overrated. My co-worker friend hooked me up with it, and I was tired of thinking about how it was blocking my way from seeing some other, hopefully better films he wants to send my way. The acting is good and all, and I thought it did a decent enough job of portraying the changes someone like Chris Kyle went through due to his military service. As such it's pretty brutal & depressing, and I can't deny a few scenes were fairly intense. But ultimately I just can't relate to Mr. Kyle & didn't like him much which meant the whole film left me dry, and I felt a little short-changed by the ending. So while I can admit this film was well made I can't say it endeared itself to me in any way.
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First viewing - May 28th

I wanted something short & silly before bed on this night, and this film fulfilled those duties at least. It's uber-cheesy, as expected, and the characters are mostly annoying which kept it from being as much fun as it might have been otherwise. I did dig the fact this used actual creatures instead of CGI, and I think I even saw an arm or two moving the puppets around. Heh. It was barely worth watching once, honestly, so if you're thinking about checking it out just set your expectations REALLY low.

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People who added this item 6304 Average listal rating (4279 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8.6
Re-watch - May 30th-31st

I was out of town for a couple days for work & was set up in a hotel room. Saturday night I returned to my room with the intent of going to bed soon, but turned on the TV to see what was on instead. And that's when I stumbled on Seven right as it was starting & knew I had no hope of going to bed just yet. I still love everything about this movie, the only weak spot being that the ending loses some of its punch on repeat viewings. But I'm willing to let that slide because I still recall how powerful it was that first time & the film isn't really hurt any overall. Anyway, I was very thankful I came across it so my month could end on a high note instead of with the film above.
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Big screen attractions

Films I caught in a theatre
People who added this item 1017 Average listal rating (722 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.7
First viewing - May 6th

First off, the acting in this film is exceptional across the board & I can't imagine anyone else in these roles. Oscar Isaac & Domhnall Gleeson continue to impress me, and Alicia Vikander pretty much knocks it out of the park here. I love the way the film is put together, and especially appreciated the ways the science of the film is presented intelligently yet easy to understand. My only complaint here is that it ended up pretty much where I expected it to, so I was underwhelmed by the ending. Everything up to that is golden though, and I'd gladly watch this again. I just wish I hadn't anticipated where it was headed.
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People who added this item 1484 Average listal rating (1047 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 8.1
First viewing - May 15th

No way was I not seeing this on opening night, and hell yes this was worth the wait. As I left the theatre I was thankful for the fact most of my drive home was via highway, but bummed that I lacked both the loud roaring engine & a handful of drummers in the back to play me along. Ah well. George Miller knocked this one out of the park, and I love him for it. It's mostly practical effects & stunt work, which I also love him for. The cast is great all around too. My only complaint is the overuse of blue & orange which reminds me that I'm watching a movie & breaks the spell at times. Fortunately everything else is golden, which renders that a minor complaint.

And yeah, I'll almost definitely see this at Drafthouse again before it leaves. If you don't see this on the big screen, you're doing it wrong.

Basically, this sets a high bar for the summer movie season, and I'll be damned if anyone comes close to it this year or even next. This was made all the more clear to me as I sat through a trio of previews which served as minor annoyances slowing me down from seeing something truly awesome.

See also: TinyMixTapes review
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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 705 Average listal rating (446 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.1
First viewing - May 20th

I thought I'd seen this before, but pretty much all of it was lost from my memory so I'm going with this being a first viewing. Funny thing is that what I'd originally rated it when I thought I'd seen it still stands. The Spy Who Loved Me is entertaining enough but never manages to cross any lines into greatness. It's pretty much just your standard Bond film all around, which is fine enough but aside from Jaws it's likely I'll forget what happened before long. Despite my rating I wouldn't be opposed to watch it again, I just wouldn't go out of my way to do so.
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People who added this item 635 Average listal rating (434 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 6.3
Re-watch - May 22nd

Now this one I did remember parts of, mainly the space scenes. And yet I found it far more entertaining than its predecessor for a variety of reasons. First off there are some truly stellar action set pieces throughout the film, and the opening is especially memorable with the girls using the gun as a trapeze. Plus we get more Jaws and he's given some depth despite the fact he still has only a couple of lines in the entire film. My only complaint here is that it's a bit over-long, but most of the time it's entertaining enough. And the villain is kinda meh, but at least his master plan takes us to some interesting places along the way. I'd be more willing to watch this again than the film above.
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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.
Re-watch - May 8th

Recommended by moviewatcher122


I still dig the hell out of this film. It's got great characters, great style, and a solidly entertaining story throughout. It's a lot of fun whether you've seen it before or not, and I'm glad it's on Netflix so I could revisit it.
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People who added this item 63 Average listal rating (28 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 5.9
Young Ones (2014)
First viewing - May 23rd

Recommended by djprojexion


I feel like there's a really good movie hidden in here. The cast does an excellent job all around, and I dug the visuals & characters which kept me hanging on. The world created here is also interesting, and a potential future is presented that's not unreasonable. On the other hand it's predictable & a lot of the emotion is stripped away by the fact you see everything before it's revealed to our main protagonist. As a result the film left me dry in the end, which is a shame given the potential it hints at along the way. Perhaps the director's next film will be better.

Interesting how things are connected: This makes 2 movies I've seen this month where Nicholas Hoult is running around in the desert.
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Netflix exorcisms

Films I watched before Netflix removed them from my queue
People who added this item 133 Average listal rating (82 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 5.5
Hatchet II (2010)
First viewing - May 21st

This is nowhere near as much fun as the first film. Tony Todd is the best reason to watch it, and the other thing I most enjoyed was the fact it referenced Behind the Mask. Beyond that it's pretty lame. The characters are obviously just fodder for the nigh indestructible Victor Crowley, and their deaths are overly exaggerated. Sure watching them die generates a few laughs before you get bored watching them convulse excessively, and the one guy going out of his way to provide comic relief does all right. Beyond that though it's obvious how this will all end up, and there's not much payoff for it.

Now a friend of mine insists that the 3rd installment is better than this one, so I may go ahead & sit through that film in the near future. Personally I anticipate it being about as worthwhile as this one, but I could be wrong.
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People who added this item 521 Average listal rating (341 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.4
First viewing - May 25th

Back when this came out it didn't interest me for whatever reason, so I ignored it. I've seen some positive feedback on it over the many years since though, so I figured I'd finally check it out. Turns out it's better than anticipated. It's somewhat predictable, which keeps it from being great, but otherwise it's fun & I was totally entertained. I'd even watch it again some time, though I wouldn't add it to my collection to do so.

Just a thought: As often as I've seen Timothy Dalton play villains over the years I'm wondering if I'll be able to accept him as Bond when I get to his films.
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You'll forgive me for not having many films planned for this month, but aside from my projects the only film I truly care about seeing this month is Mad Max: Fury Road. Normally the start of the month brings new content to Netflix I want to check out, but this time around everything they added I've either seen or have no interest in. So I'll just randomly watch whatever strikes my fancy (or the kiddo's) at any given time & we'll see how that goes.

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