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Added by the giraffe on 3 Feb 2017 01:23
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Movies the giraffe watched in 2017: February

Sort by: Showing 18 items
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Noteworthy: The best and the worst

The breakdown: 18 movies watched total
15 first views, 3 re-watches
9 via Netflix, 5 via DVD, and 4 in the theatre
Decades touched: 1940s, 50s, 90s, 2000s, and 2010s

This month wasn't as productive as last month, but then I spent more time focusing on other things that were important instead of camping out on the couch. Fortunately I managed to see everything I was most excited for in the theatre this month, and they were all worth the trip. Netflix delivered some ups & downs which I offset with the DVD entries for the month, and if nothing else I'm at least glad to say I was able to finally cross some older films off my list that I'd been meaning to get around to.
People who added this item 24 Average listal rating (18 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 5.9
The Similars (2016)
First viewing - Feb. 16th

Best new-to-me film for the month/Best Hidden Gem

Look at that poster over there on the left. I kept seeing that image while browsing Netflix offerings and it called me to it every time. So I finally watched it and I totally loved it. You won't get much more out of me, other than a recommendation to go in with as little knowledge as possible. If you're watching it on Netflix just read their synopsis and dive in, that'll be enough preparation.

Just a thought: I sense a strong Twilight Zone influence here.

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 562 Average listal rating (424 ratings) 5.4 IMDB Rating 6.1
First viewing - Feb. 25th

Worst film

I was kind of curious about Sausage Party when it was released, but due to my indifference toward the trailers there was no way I was buying a ticket to see it. Taking it for a free spin on Netflix seemed like the better way to tackle it, and if you wanted to check it out but haven't seen it yet I'd say free is the best way to go. While the film has some excellent animated moments, and more thought to the story than you'd expect, the dialogue is atrocious. It's like someone instituted a requirement that no character could speak without saying fuck at some point during each turn they got. I don't mind profanity, but when it's unnecessarily overused like they do here it's grating. Add to that characters that range from obnoxious to average, a lack of non-obvious jokes, and comedic moments that fall flat more often than not and it's hard to recommend this one. I barely made it through to the end without turning it off, and when it ended I kinda regretted not giving up on it early.

Currently streaming on Netflix
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Home viewings

People who added this item 3629 Average listal rating (2497 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 8
Re-watch - Feb. 2nd

That's right, I watched Groundhog Day on Groundhog Day. But what I wasn't thinking about when I pulled it off my shelf to watch is that the film starts in Pittsburgh where I now live, and so I watched it on my first Groundhog Day in the city. So that was amusing to me. As for the film itself I don't think I need to explain what's great about it as plenty of others have done so better than I could, but I swear it keeps getting better every time I watch it & thus I appreciate it more deeply each time.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 17 Average listal rating (8 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 6.8
First viewing - Feb. 5th

A John Boyega film I haven't heard of? And one where he gets to put his dramatic acting chops to work in a more grounded reality? Sure, I'll bite. And hey, this is pretty good. It's nothing groundbreaking, but it's a realistic exploration of what life can be like for an ex-con in the projects, and it's equally depressing and hopeful. The cast does a wonderful job all around, and Boyega proves he's got plenty of talent to carry him beyond genre films. I don't know that I'd sit through it again, but it's worth a look.

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 2897 Average listal rating (2031 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.6
Superbad (2007)
Re-watch - Feb. 6th

I don't think I had seen this since it was in theatres, though if I watched it at home after buying my copy of it that was about 9 years ago. So I was definitely due for a re-watch. And I still really enjoy it, but I think I overreached by calling it great. At the time it came out this felt fresh and I laughed consistently through the entire film, and maybe that's because this is more of an audience-friendly film. It's still got some funny moments, and I dig the characters, but this time around I thought it fell short of greatness. I'll still watch it from time to time over the years, but I feel like maybe I've outgrown it in some ways despite still relating to moments.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1143 Average listal rating (710 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 8.1
The Third Man (1949)
First viewing - Feb. 9th

When I noticed Netflix finally brought this on board I was excited because it meant I could finally watch it, and I've been curious to do so in recent years as I've become more aware of the high regard the film is held in. And I will say it's classic status is well-deserved. The camera work is very impressive, the story is compelling, the characters are well portrayed, and the music complements the film perfectly. Orson Welles has been in other films I prefer over this one, but it's definitely well worth watching and I'd gladly watch it again.

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 81 Average listal rating (51 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.3
Desk Set (1957)
First viewing - Feb. 11th

Due to my focus last month on the current decade I'm feeling the need to mix in more films from before my birth, so I thought I'd give this Tracy/Hepburn picture a shot. I'd never heard of it before encountering it on Netflix, and after watching it that doesn't really surprise me. Oh, the film is fine & has some amusing moments, and the acting is solid all around, but it's just nothing great or exceptional. I enjoyed it for what it was, but was also left feeling like it could have been far better. So I don't regret watching it at all, but also wouldn't rush back to revisit it.

Currently streaming on Netflix
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First viewing - Feb. 15th

OK, so with this film I chose it mainly because it was super short & thus could be watched before I went to sleep, plus Bob Odenkirk has made some stuff I enjoyed. I thought this was a mixed bag. On the upside I've never seen this approach to the subject of greeting cards, and there are some excellent moments to be found along the way. Odenkirk & Tamblyn show great chemistry in their scenes together, even despite the difference in age between them. I guess it's a dark comedy, but I wouldn't say it's consistently funny which is somewhat problematic. The bigger issue for me though was the fact that there seem to be two types of films mashed together in ways I found tonally jarring. And after it ended I was unsure whether extending the film would have helped better tie the two together, or whether it couldn't have been saved regardless of how much more the story had been fleshed out. Which is a shame, because it's worth watching for the parts that do work. Just don't go in with any high expectations.

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 551 Average listal rating (355 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.5
Quiz Show (2005)
First viewing - Feb. 17th

I remember this being nominated for a bunch of awards back when it came out, but at the time it didn't seem like a film I'd care much for. Now that I'm older I thought I'd give it a fair chance, and I can now see why it got such accolades. The acting is very impressive, and it tells an interesting story from TV history. It gains value from treating its characters honestly for the most part, as well as from its ending. I wouldn't say I fell in love with it, but it's worth watching once. Ah, and now that I've seen all of the Oscar nominees from 1994 I can honestly say that Forrest Gump was the least deserving of the bunch.

Currently streaming on Netflix
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First viewing - Feb. 18th

With A Cure for Wellness still bumping around my head I thought perhaps a David Lynch film would be a good companion so I could have a double dose of weirdness. Well, it's definitely a weird film but I wouldn't say I enjoyed it. This would be one of those occasions where I just can't get on the same wavelength as Lynch and his film fails to connect with me. There are scenes with awkward, stilted dialogue which fall flat, and some of the scenes feel incomplete and disconnected. As the film goes on it tries to connect the dots, but I wouldn't say it connects them very successfully. After it ended I looked up some of the general consensus on what's going on in the film & while what I read helped me make some more sense of it I shouldn't have to seek out others' thoughts to get a better understanding of what a film is doing. Ah, but I had reached some of the same conclusions on my own, so they more reinforced what I'd come up with than led me to any new understanding. So yeah. I forced myself to sit through until the end and was rewarded with naked Naomi Watts, so it wasn't all bad. Heh. And there are a handful of scenes that are excellent, but they're scattered among scenes that I didn't care for so it was really a mixed bag in my opinion. I definitely wouldn't watch it again & would be reluctant to recommend others check it out because I found it so frustrating to get through.

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 2931 Average listal rating (2075 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.5
Re-watch - Feb. 18th-19th

I needed to wash the bad taste out of my mouth left behind by Mulholland Drive, so I pulled my copy of Scott Pilgrim off my shelf & watched it for the second time (first non-theatre viewing). It's such a fun film from start to finish, and I love pretty much every damn moment. It definitely improved my Saturday night and I went to bed happier than I had been before. I still don't think it's perfect, but that doesn't mean I won't keep watching it as the years go by.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 224 Average listal rating (143 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.7
First viewing - Feb. 20th

So it turns out there's another library near me that's not within walking distance but has a far better selection of everything than the one that IS within walking distance of my house. When I dropped in over the weekend I already had 2 books checked out so I was more interested in whether they had any movies I'd want to rent (though I did browse some of the books as well), and as luck would have it they had a pair of foreign flicks that have been on my want-to-watch list for a while.

I've seen a lot of hype about Goodnight Mommy, and I'd have to say that this film failed to deliver on it for me. It's definitely a dark, twisted little horror film with impressive performances, but I think I appreciated more what it was going for than the actual execution. The biggest issue for me was that while I could empathize with the characters there was no direct connection established that allowed me to deeply care about what they went through. So it was a passive experience most of the time, and the parts that did connect were those that hit me on a purely visceral level. I hate to say too much to spoil something for those who haven't seen it, or I'd go into deeper detail. Rest assured though that while in the end I felt like it was worth seeing I won't be watching it again.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 856 Average listal rating (530 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.3
Cachรฉ (2005)
First viewing - Feb. 23rd

I was under the impression that this was a horror movie, but after watching it I can say it's not at all. Haneke's main concern here is the human behavior, the characters' reactions to what they're put through, with no thought given to making it scary. I guess it might count as a thriller to some degree, but that seems like a stretch. It's definitely a drama with a touch of mystery, and as it rolled along I kept wondering how it would play out. The acting is excellent across the board and it's consistently interesting. I wasn't as impressed with the ending, however, which felt anticlimactic & thus somewhat disappointing. So here we have another film I felt was worth watching once.
the giraffe's rating:
First viewing - Feb. 28th

I couldn't end the month with a shitty movie, so I turned to Netflix one more time and took a chance on this little film. It's written & directed by Macon Blair, a name you may be familiar with if you watched Blue Ruin and Green Room. And while this film shares some similarities with those two films, it also has moments which manage to set it apart. I identified pretty heavily with the protagonist played wonderfully by Melanie Lynskey, and the film does a mostly decent job of mixing humor with the more suspenseful and intense moments. Blair has also picked up how to effectively use violence from Jeremy Saulnier, which is an admirable asset. The rest of the cast does a solid job in their respective roles, and I dug the music used throughout the film. It never crosses the line into greatness, but I'm glad I watched it & would be willing to revisit it to share it with others who haven't seen it. Best of all it ended my month on a good note.

Currently streaming on Netflix
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Big screen attractions

Films I caught in a theatre
First viewing - Feb. 4th

Originally I didn't have any interest in this film, but as time has gone by I've seen enough positive feedback that I decided I would give it a chance at some point. As luck would have it, Row House Cinema screened it as part of their awards of 2016 week, so I took advantage of the opportunity to see it with an audience on the big screen. And thankfully I'm in agreement with those who fell in love with this film. It's so well-crafted from start to finish, and while it's evidently related in some way to Cloverfield there's no need to know anything about that film (which is good because I've avoided it & have no intentions of giving it a chance). The more I thought about the plot points as the weekend rolled along, the more I realized just how much care was taken to ensure that the plot points were laid out logically & compellingly & taking time to address the questions that popped into my head that I'm finding myself itching to revisit it already. Plus John Goodman rocks the hell out of every scene he's in, and it was rewarding to see him given a more prominent role than he tends to get in movies. So yeah, I highly enjoyed this one & would encourage anyone who wasn't sure whether they wanted to watch it to give it a chance too.

Just a thought: This would be well paired with Split.
the giraffe's rating:
First viewing - Feb. 4th

A few years back there was this little movie you may have heard of called Trollhunter that was a fresh dose of found footage filmmaking and a complete joy to behold. The director returns with this film, delivering a straight-up horror flick that takes its cues from some of the best horror filmmakers in the business & delivers the goods. Suspenseful, creepy, and consistently entertaining, I was engrossed for the entire run-time & left the theatre deeply satisfied. There was still one question left in my head at the end, but that's more my own curiosity than a failing of the story & it's probably the best approach to leave that question unanswered as it might dispel the mystery a bit. Or someone could come up with another entry to answer it I guess, though I'd prefer that not happen. That said, however, if given the right script and the right creative minds behind it I'd be willing to take another spin through this world.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 476 Average listal rating (370 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.3
First viewing - Feb. 12th

Took the kiddo to see this opening weekend, and we both enjoyed it overall. I loved all the references to Batman's cinematic and small-screen history, and look forward to the day when the kiddo & I can watch this again & she'll understand why I laughed more often than she did. She's not old enough yet to be exposed to Burton's films, much less Nolan's, but I could probably let her see the '60s version of Batman as well as The Animated Series before much longer. It's not a great film though, as there are moments that fall flat or drag a bit longer than necessary, but it's a fun film and I'll have no complaints about watching it again in the future.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 264 Average listal rating (180 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.4
First viewing - Feb. 18th

AV Club Review

I agree with the review above, for those seeking a more in-depth analysis than I usually provide. This isn't a great film by any means but the visuals are often impressive & I enjoyed it for what it is overall. It's a bit overlong and has occasional uses of CGI that are questionable, but I thought it was worth seeing despite the flaws.
the giraffe's rating:

I decided that rather than publish my February list early I'd wait until it was over to send it out. Feel free to sound off in the comments section as to whether you appreciated this approach or wish I'd made it available sooner. I'm debating whether to hold them until the end of every month going forward.

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