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Movies the giraffe watched in 2016: March

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The breakdown: 34 movies watched, 15 were via Netflix, 12 on DVD, and 7 in the theatre. Of those 24 were first views, 10 were re-watches, and they came from the following decades: 1940s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s & 2010s.

Well I'm pretty amazed I watched as many films as I did this month. Normally the only month I watch more movies than there are days is October, but then I did have plenty I wanted to see & being on vacation allowed me more free time than usual. I caught up on the unwatched films I recently added to my collection, and did finally manage to rent a pair of films from my local video store. Wish I could have rented more, but other things got in the way of doing so. And for the third month in a row this year my favorite film wound up being a new release I caught, which is a good sign I think for movies this year.

All of the films I watched from the Netflix project earned my support, and I'm thankful to see more Listalites participated in March. Hopefully they'll keep coming back. Anyway, I'm too tired right now to ramble on & on about the films below. My thoughts on them are already there for you if you haven't seen them yet. On to April....

Best new-to-me film for March: Everybody Wants Some!! (though The Big Sleep was a close second)
Best hidden gem(s): Cold In July and He Never Died and everything I watched from the Netflix project(s)
Worst films: Final Girl / The Assassin (tie)
First viewing - March 3rd

I've been wanting to see this for a while now, so when I came across a copy at a price I couldn't resist I figured I'd buy it & hope it was worth keeping. In fact, most of what you'll see in this section will fall under that category this month. Anyway, I'd say it was worth the purchase.

The cast is excellent, though that's to be expected I think. The story isn't great, but it's interestingly told and consistently entertaining. It's safe to say that I dug the music more than anything else, which when I found out it came courtesy of Nick Cave & Warren Ellis I understood why I was so impressed with it. Seeing Cave's brief appearance was a pleasant surprise as well. So yeah, I'll watch this again.
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People who added this item 840 Average listal rating (547 ratings) 5.4 IMDB Rating 5.6
First viewing - March 4th

First a little background here...when this came out I was dating someone who rarely wanted to watch movies, so I missed its theatrical run. Thus my introduction to Eli Roth was Hostel, an uneven film with a handful of worthwhile moments that turned me off the idea of watching anything else he did. His "Thanksgiving" trailer in Grindhouse was Awesome, but not good enough to sway me to check out anything else he was doing. But then I noticed that some people around here with good taste in horror thought this was worth watching, so I figured I'd give it a chance some time. Then I found a copy for $2 & decided that time was now.

And I've got to say that had this been my first impression of Eli Roth I would have been willing to give all his efforts a decent chance. Here he pays homage to some of the great 70s & 80s horror movies while delivering his own story, and it all works very well. The effects are well done, the cast is solid, and overall I was very satisfied by it. It didn't quite cross the line of greatness, but it came close & I'll definitely be watching it again.
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People who added this item 850 Average listal rating (524 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 8
First viewing - March 5th

What can I say about this film that hasn't already been said? I was very impressed with the banter & the writing & just loved everything about it. Only thing missing was that perfect 10 feeling. I look forward to watching this one again.
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People who added this item 30 Average listal rating (19 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 6
First viewing - March 9th

This was a fun little B horror movie out of Australia. The cast is solid, the plot is amusing, and it occasionally throws out a surprise. It's never great, but if you want a simple & fun horror movie it'll do the trick.

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People who added this item 44 Average listal rating (33 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.4
He Never Died (2015)
First viewing - March 18th

After watching the new Pee-wee movie in the theatre, I came home & wanted to watch something else. Fortunately I noticed He Never Died, a film that's been on my radar due to Henry Rollins being in the lead. Now, granted, Rollins being in a movie isn't always a good reason to watch it...I've made the mistake in the past of watching something he was in only to find it turn out to be crap. But fortunately with this film that's not at all the case.

I couldn't help feeling like this role was written with Rollins in mind, because he does such a wonderful job of bringing his character to life. Not only does he make his protagonist feel like he's lived in this skin for a long time, but he's believably menacing while also being awkward in a way that I found quite entertaining. The rest of the cast does a good job too, and I dug the plot & the way the whole thing played out. I hate to say too much given how little I knew going in...but if you like films that are darkly comic and violent then I recommend giving it a chance.

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First viewing - March 20th

So this is in the same four-film set as The Big Sleep, and the only one I hadn't already watched. I wish I could say I saved the best one for last, but no dice. Oh, sure, everything in this movie is fine...the acting, the story, the way it's all put together...but I never deeply connected with it & it mostly reminded me of other films that have similar plots but execute them better. So in the end it wound up being good enough to watch once, but I doubt I'll watch it again.

Just a thought: I know it was socially frowned upon at the time to get a divorce if you fell in love with someone else, but it seems like that'd be the easier path than plotting a murder.
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Re-watch - March 20th

Holy crap, this movie is now 20 years old. I remember seeing it opening weekend & loving every minute of it, and I still really enjoy it all around even now. I wouldn't go so far as to claim it's great, but it's so fun & entertaining as it pays homage to older alien B movies that I'm always glad to sit down and watch it again.

Oh, and it had been a long damn time since I last watched this, which meant I'd forgotten some of the actors who show up here. So that was fun too.
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First viewing - March 21st

Pretty sure I jumped on this one thinking it was The Final Girls, which is a simple enough mistake. Final Girl is just a dumb, obvious movie, and if you go watch its trailer then you've basically seen it. The acting is okay, and the film is shot well enough & moves quickly enough that I wasn't overly frustrated with it, but the main trouble is that there's no doubt of where the film is going or how it will end. And of course they never attempt to tell you otherwise or mislead the audience, which makes it all just a waste of time.

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People who added this item 1554 Average listal rating (974 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 7.4
First viewing - March 22nd

Yep, it's a Marvel movie. Superheroes fighting the bad guys & leveling every city block around them in the process. I feel bad for whoever has to pay for the damages they leave in their wake, though if it's Stark I guess he has money to spare. Overall this is about on the same level as the first Avengers movie, with some very pleasing moments and no attainment of greatness. Ultron and Vision are both well-handled all around, Quicksilver & Scarlet Witch are all right (I personally prefer the version of Quicksilver in X-Men: Days of Future Past), and I appreciated that they made some room for characters like Falcon & War Machine to participate while also fleshing out the Avengers that don't have their own series.

So yeah, it's entertaining enough to watch once, and now I'm caught up for the next Captain America movie.
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First viewing - March 22nd

Review by PvtCaboose91

I recently got into Joe Lansdale's writing, so when I found out this was an adaptation of his work I wanted to check it out. He's worked before with Don Coscarelli & I've loved those films, and here we have Jim Mickle directing who I dig after seeing Stake Land and We Are What We Are. I've got to say I kinda liked this one more than those films. It refuses to be pigeonholed in any single genre, which is what most works to its benefit. The story unfolds in a way that you're never sure exactly where it's headed, and the cast is stellar all around. It falls just shy of being great for me, but I'd definitely watch it again.
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People who added this item 473 Average listal rating (291 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.8
Re-watch - March 24th

It's been so long since I last watched this it felt more like a first viewing. Man, Mitchum is super menacing in this...you can feel the threat he poses to the family just by the way he carries himself. Everything here is wonderfully done, and the only thing missing is that perfect 10 feeling. So glad I finally bought a copy for my collection.
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People who added this item 1126 Average listal rating (775 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.8
Re-watch - March 24th

The kiddo wanted to watch this with me, so we curled up on the couch together & enjoyed it. I dug it even more this time around, so evidently it's growing on me. I'm still reluctant to say it's great, but I'll gladly keep revisiting it.
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People who added this item 99 Average listal rating (51 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.6
First viewing - March 24th

I wanted to watch one of moviewatcher122's recommendations for this month, but neither is available on Netflix where I am. So I picked a film he recommended for last year's Netflix project that I didn't get around to before.

This is a hell of a tale, a coming-of-age story that's not easy to swallow. As such I find it hard to say I enjoyed it, but I certainly respected it for how it's put together & appreciated the different story. The acting is definitely great all around, which helps make the tale more believable. So it wound up being a film I'm glad I finally sat through but wouldn't go out of my way to watch again.

Just a thought: Bonus points for me for recognizing Giancarlo Esposito despite not knowing who he was prior to Breaking Bad & him being much younger here.

Currently streaming on Netflix
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Re-watch - March 25th

Still a fun, often hilarious movie. I don't think it's great so much anymore, but it's definitely got many memorable moments & is important in its own way. I kinda want to run through some of their other films now, as I haven't watched any of these since high school.

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First viewing - March 26th

This is the del Toro film everyone gets excited about? Really? I mean, it's good, don't get me wrong, but I don't get why this has such a strong reputation. Thanks to the flashback opening there's no real mystery behind the ghost (unless you weren't paying attention or walked in late), so the best thing about him is the way he looks. As ghosts go he's not especially scary, though this film is lacking all around in the suspense department.

But as a faux historical film about boys in wartime it works well. I liked the boys, and thought that side of the story was mostly well-handled. The adults are interesting enough too, though about half of everything they do is predictable. I don't know...maybe my expectations were just too high on this one. Then again I wasn't impressed by The Orphanage either & people seem to love that film too. Ah well. At least I've finally seen this one & can move along.
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People who added this item 134 Average listal rating (71 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 6.3
First viewing - March 28th

I've heard great things about The Assassin, so when I saw it hit Netflix I immediately made plans to watch it. From the opening it's obvious that the film will be slow-paced, so I accepted that fact & did my best to hang with it. Sometimes a slow pace works so well that you don't mind it, but I wouldn't say that's the case here at all. The whole film is beautifully composed & if visuals are all you care about then I guess you'll enjoy this one. If you care about stories & characters, however, this film will likely leave you cold. I spent the last half hour or so entertaining myself with other distractions, only looking up if I heard dialogue or the sound of something actually happening. Supposedly the run-time is only an hour & 45 mins, but it felt like at least 3 hours the damn thing moves so slowly & for no discernible reason either. The characters aren't fleshed out very well, so I never connected with any of them which also killed my interest in what was going on. I couldn't even keep track of who a couple of characters were because they looked similar & had nothing to clearly identify them, which is a failure in my book. And the story is enough to fill maybe an hour, which makes the lingering shots on whatever's going on feel like a forced attempt to stretch the film to feature length. So the stars below are for the visual craft, because there's no other reason to watch this.

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Re-watch - March 29th

After the debacle of the previous night's movie, I needed to watch something I love. I've seen this movie several times over the years, but it's safe to say that I've seen the last part of it starting with Cameron's freak-out over the car more times than I've actually watched all of it. Somehow whenever I stumble across the movie on TV it tends to be right at them getting the car back from the parking garage...odd.

Anyway, the bonus of not watching it all the way through often is that the jokes hit their marks better for me than some other comedies I've seen a million times. I love these characters & the situations they go through (especially Cameron's journey), and in my book this is easily John Hughes's best movie.
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Re-watch - March 30th

Last time I watched this movie it was in theatres, so this time around I watched the unrated extended cut. Honestly though I couldn't tell you what was any different about the slightly longer version. Regardless I still think this is a wonderfully written & acted film, and I thank Jason Segel for putting it out there for us. Some of the humor completely misses the mark for me, but the heartfelt honesty of the rest of the movie works so well that I'm willing to shrug that off for the most part. And while the ending is kind of to be expected, it's properly earned so that I'm not bothered by that either. Thus it's a film I'm glad I have in my collection & will watch again down the road.

Just a thought: I would love to see a completed version of the Dracula puppet show.
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People who added this item 32 Average listal rating (17 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 6.5
Extracted (2012)
First viewing - March 30th

OK, after watching 2 movies I've seen before I was finally in the mood to tackle another film I hadn't seen yet & chose this one. Netflix said I'd love it, and while that's not accurate I can say that I dug it & I thought about it long after it ended. There are some very interesting ideas the film explores, which reminded me to some degree of Black Mirror though it's not as expertly handled as episodes of said show. The acting is decent, but not exceptional, and overall I dug the story. The fact that it kept me thinking about it makes it easy to recommend, though I'm on the fence about whether I'd go out of my way to watch it again.

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Big screen attractions

Films I caught in a theatre
People who added this item 391 Average listal rating (246 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 6.9
Re-watch - March 1st

It's been 5 years now since I last watched Zombie AKA Zombi 2, and the moment I saw Drafthouse planned to screen it again I bought my ticket. This is one of those films where if you love horror like I do then you can't help but appreciate the entire production. Fulci nails the mood of the thing perfectly, balancing the horror and the dramatic elements like a pro. The effects are still a joy to behold throughout, and where else will you get to see a zombie take on a shark? So cool.

Sure the acting is kinda crappy at times, but it hardly matters when you're having this much fun. My only real gripe this time around is that the print Drafthouse got was fucking terrible. It may be impressive that they managed to snag an original print of the film, but having a slew of imperfections plus horizontal lines run through the entire thing was really damn annoying, and in several places the colors were too washed out. Fortunately the sound was mostly good (though a couple lines of dialogue got lost along the way) or I might have asked for my money back. But hey, the poor film quality didn't prevent me from enjoying the film too much...it was just distracting. Hopefully the next time I catch this on the big screen it's a better print.
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People who added this item 188 Average listal rating (117 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 6.3
First viewing - March 5th

I knew this was out, and yet Drafthouse wasn't screening it for some reason. As luck would have it there's a theatre just up the street from me that was showing it, so I figured I'd give them a chance so I could check it out. They're similar in set-up to Drafthouse, but I'm not sure just how much they have in common because I got held up elsewhere & by the time I arrived the previews had started. The seats were comfy & the food was pretty good, so maybe I'll go back soon.

As for the film, it was decent. Solid cast, well paced, not too predictable...these things I appreciated. The story isn't very exceptional though, and while the acting was good I never felt close to any of the characters. I left the theatre feeling like it was worth watching once, and while I wouldn't say no if someone wanted me to watch it again with them I also wouldn't go out of my way to revisit it.
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People who added this item 976 Average listal rating (708 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 8
First viewing - March 12th

I took the kiddo to see Zootopia, not really knowing what to expect from it. The one trailer I saw was amusing but didn't give any clues as to what it's about...which honestly works in any film's favor for me. And so I'm reluctant to dig into plot details (oh wait, I hardly do that anyway), but I will say that it's smart, thoughtful, and easily the best non-Pixar animated Disney film in a long time. I dug the characters & most of all appreciated its message, and so I'll be proud to add it to my collection in the near future.

The kiddo enjoyed it overall, talking about the parts that made her laugh after it ended. A couple scenes scared her, but she said she wants to watch it again so it must have been minor.
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Re-watch - March 17th

Since I was too young to see this in a theatre back when it first came out, the fact that I even had a chance to see it on the big screen couldn't be passed up. I still love this silly little movie despite its flaws.
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First viewing - March 18th

Of course I was going to see the new Pee-wee movie on its opening weekend, but thanks to Drafthouse I didn't have to watch it at home. For the opening week they're doing free screenings of it, all you have to do is purchase a $5 food & beverage voucher (which is easily spent). So I got the theatrical experience with it, and it was nice to be able to watch it with an audience who also appreciated it.

Pee-wee returns to form here, and we get the bromance of the year. It's consistently funny & endearing, retaining all the qualities that made me get into Pee-wee in the first place back in the '80s. And much like Big Adventure it's full of whimsy, oddball characters, and a minimal plot. But hey, plot doesn't matter when you're having this much fun. If we're going to get more Pee-wee in the near future, this movie has made me more than happy to welcome him back.

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People who added this item 231 Average listal rating (144 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.6
First viewing - March 20th

Man, that Jeff Nichols sure knows how to put together a gripping & entertaining film that cares about its characters. The acting is solid all around, and it all fires on its cylinders. It didn't quite cross the line of greatness for me, partly because it decides to reveal something late in the film that didn't pay off as it could have for me but the film isn't ruined or anything by it. I guess I would've preferred that reveal to be left to the imagination instead, but it's a minor gripe all things considered. Definitely a film that's worth watching & one I'll revisit later on at some point.
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First viewing - March 31st

So I ended the month in a similar fashion to how I began it...watching a movie in a theatre. This time around however it was not my beloved Drafthouse, as I'd gone to another local theatre to catch a sneak preview of Mr. Right. Due to shitty traffic I arrived too late to get into the free preview, so since I'd gone to all the effort to be there I decided I wasn't going home without watching SOMETHING. And when I noticed that this was screening I bought a ticket to watch it instead. And I can say I have no regrets.

As you've likely heard this is indeed the spiritual successor to Dazed and Confused, a hang-out movie with a group of college dudes with no real plot to speak of. And much like its predecessor it's the wonderful personalities that keep the whole thing worth watching, there are philosophical discussions & goofy fun, plus there's a killer soundtrack to boot. It'll be interesting to see how many of these actors go on to bigger & better things, as they all have the potential to do so. I had such a blast watching Everybody Wants Some!! that it took me a while to wind down for bed after I got home, and I've been debating all weekend since whether I should go see it again. To be fair there are plenty of other upcoming films I want to catch also, so maybe I'll just wait until I own a copy & then watch the hell out of it. Suffice it to say I'll be hanging out with these guys often in the years to come.

Just a thought: The soundtrack is so stellar I'm now hoping that Drafthouse will have some sing-along movie party screenings down the road. I had to fight the urge to sing along on this first viewing, so it'd be great to have that option.
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Monthly short focus: The Dragon Tattoo trilogy

I watched the original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo a few years back, but have neglected to follow it up by watching the sequels. So I figured this month I'll revisit that film and chase it with the sequels just to wrap it all up. Sorry David Fincher, but I won't be checking out your remake.
Re-watch - March 5th

It surprised me how much I'd forgotten from this film in the few years since I last watched it. The investigative parts mostly stuck with me, but most of the ending seemed unfamiliar for some reason. The acting is excellent throughout the film, and the whole thing is suspenseful & well put together. As a father of a little girl it's really hard for me to watch all these fathers (plus one horrible guardian) abuse their daughters, though I'd hope those scenes are difficult for everyone to watch. Once again I picked up on some thematic similarities to Seven, which I'm sure works in Fincher's favor in his remake. I still have no urge to watch his remake though because I'm satisfied enough with this version...besides, when a story is set in Sweden it makes no damn sense to Americanize it.

After a second viewing I don't believe it's a great film, but it's definitely really good & worth seeing.

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First viewing - March 12th

This was definitely a solid follow-up to the first film. The characters are what makes it most worthwhile, and the story is intriguing despite occasionally being obvious where it's headed. I never thought it crossed the line into greatness, and I'm on the fence about whether I'd watch it again some time. I will say that I very much appreciated the ending, aside from the fact that it was too late at night to immediately chase it with the final film. Ah well. Perhaps if I leave about a week between them I'll enjoy the last one more.

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First viewing - March 19th

And thus the trilogy is satisfactorily tied up in a nice little bow. One benefit to the entire series here is that it was all put together by the same people, so the quality is consistent across the board. Which means how much you enjoy it will be up to your own personal taste I guess. So it's not too surprising that I thought it was just as good as the film that preceded it.

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Netflix Instant Project for 2016


Netflix Instant Project for 2016


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 & submit your recommendations.
People who added this item 143 Average listal rating (101 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.8
First viewing - March 7th

Recommended by VierasTalo


I think it's safe to say this is the best film I've seen Simon Pegg in that's NOT directed by Edgar Wright. If I'm wrong on that, then it's the best one he's been the lead in anyway. I love the dynamic & chemistry between Pegg & Lake Bell in this, and the story is full of memorable moments. Most of the time with rom-coms a lot of it is old hat & I'm not so deeply invested in the characters, but this time around the ending is well-earned & I walked away satisfied. I'd even watch it again, though I wouldn't go so far as to say it's Great.
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First viewing - March 8th

Recommended by Ricky49er


This has been sitting in my queue about as long as I've had one, but for whatever reason (mood mostly) I kept putting it off. Thanks are due then to Ricky49er for recommending it for our project so I finally had proper motivation to get it watched. Now if only someone would recommend about 100 more of what's in my queue...heh.

First off, the artwork & animation here is just stellar. It's a good thing the plot is kept pretty simple, because otherwise it would've been drowned out by the visuals for me on this first time through. I kept geeking out over the things I was seeing, and it was wonderful. The story is engaging & while its themes have been covered before they're presented in a pretty fresh way. Only shortcoming is that I didn't connect with the characters & story as deeply as I'd hoped to, which kept the film from crossing my personal line of greatness. But it was so worthwhile that I'll be watching it again, and perhaps down the road I'll change my mind on that.
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People who added this item 387 Average listal rating (260 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.5
Re-watch - March 11th

Recommended by TrekMedic


While it hasn't been too long since I last watched Oculus I also didn't give it my undivided attention the other time I saw it. On this night, however, there were no distractions & I got much more into it. I love the way it twists up the past and present until they're almost inseparable, and it's got some memorable & often eerie visuals. So I'm glad I gave it another shot, and would be more willing to do so again in the future.
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People who added this item 90 Average listal rating (50 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.2
Trash (2014)
First viewing - March 23rd

Recommended by djprojexion


Trash had me thinking at times of Slumdog Millionaire and City of God. The performances are believable all around, to the point where I occasionally forgot that this wasn't a documentary. The story is well-constructed, and I appreciated the fact that it was grounded. There's one part in particular that I don't think I could sit through again, though I doubt anyone would find it enjoyable. And I liked the film's final message too. So yeah, this was worth checking out once.
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Netflix exorcisms

Films I watched before Netflix removed them from my queue
People who added this item 530 Average listal rating (295 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 5
Cosmopolis (2012)
First viewing - March 14th

Cosmopolis seems to have the worst reputation out of all of Cronenberg's films, and after seeing it I guess I understand why. The cast is a mixed bag, the early scenes in the limo are ugly to the point of distraction, & overall it's kinda all over the place. And yet I found it to be more compelling as it rolled along, producing some subtle social commentary while closely examining how celebrity can quickly come to a crashing halt. There are a lot of ideas throughout the film, delivered with sophisticated vocabulary which surely turns off some audience members...heck, even I found it grating at times.

So, I don't know...I didn't think it was a bad movie, I just see the potential there for it to be a better film than it is had the casting been different at least with respect to the lead. Pattinson does well at times, but isn't that great of an actor. That fact is driven home further when he goes head-to-head with Giamatti, who easily gives the film's best performance. It earns points for making me think & giving me plenty to write about here, but I wouldn't watch it a second time.
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March will be a busy month movies-wise. Lots of good stuff is hitting the theatres, plus Drafthouse is screening some older films I can't miss seeing on the big screen. And since I'm kinda bored with Netflix (partly their fault) & not doing the best job of getting to my local video store anymore (totally my fault), I'll be watching some films I've picked up on the cheap recently. Oh, and I've got some time off coming up, so that will allow me to binge a bit on films (and maybe then I can make it to the video store finally).

All right, let's do this....

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