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Added by the giraffe on 13 May 2017 03:52
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Movies the giraffe watched in 2017: May

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Noteworthy: The best and the worst

The breakdown: 28 movies watched
24 first views, 4 re-watches
9 via Netflix, 16 via DVD and 3 in the theatre
Decades touched: 1940s-2010s

Another productive month, thanks mostly to the library giving me plenty of films I'd wanted to watch. I'm thankful to have it as a secondary resource for home viewing as Netflix persists in failing to add new movies I'm excited for. It's telling that the worst films I watched in May have homes on Netflix, though not everything I watched through them was a waste of my time. And I got out to the theatre for everything I cared about seeing, which wasn't much compared to last month or next. There are at least 5 movies out in June I'm excited for, plus the latest from Bong Joon Ho hits Netflix so hopefully June will be even better than May.
First viewing - May 25th

Best new-to-me film for May

I went into this knowing nothing beyond the fact that some people whose taste in movies I respect enjoyed it, and encourage others to follow my example. It's totally worth seeing & I hope others will find it & deeply appreciate it like I did.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 17 Average listal rating (5 ratings) 8.4 IMDB Rating 7
First viewing - May 12th

Best hidden gem

This film was put on my radar thanks to Xanadon't, but it's been tough to track down over the years. So I was pleasantly surprised to find it at my local library, and even more pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the film. Its original story was greatly appreciated, as was the heart & humor on display throughout. I found myself really loving it by the end, so if I ever manage to find a copy for purchase I will likely take advantage so I can see it a few more times.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 13 Average listal rating (8 ratings) 4.6 IMDB Rating 5.3
First viewing - May 2nd

Worst film for May

Given the cast, plus the fact it's adult animation, I thought maybe this would be worth watching. It's really not. The whole thing plays like a bad Adult Swim show...the humor fails repeatedly, the drawings are crudely realized & cheaply animated, and it barely manages to stay interesting as it rolls along. It didn't annoy me enough to make me want to turn it off, but it never really engaged me either. So if you spot it on Netflix, just ignore it.

Netflix suggested I'd rate it 5/5, but I didn't realize that due to them changing their ratings system nothing is accurate anymore. Lesson learned.

Currently streaming on Netflix
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Home viewings

People who added this item 27 Average listal rating (19 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 5.8
First viewing - May 4th

Small Crimes is the latest film from Evan Katz who last gave us Cheap Thrills. It's never as insane as its predecessor, but it also never tries to be which is fine. The cast is solid, the story is well-told, and I found it consistently entertaining. It's nothing great, but it was worth watching once.

Currently streaming on Netflix
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People who added this item 457 Average listal rating (317 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.9
Re-watch - May 5th

I haven't watched this movie since high school, but I watched it several times back when it was on cable all the time. It's still my favorite Thor movie, though it blew my mind to find it was Vincent D'Onofrio who played the Thor-like character. Even when I saw his name in the credits I couldn't believe it was him. Anyway, the movie is still entertaining and fun, so I'll probably sit through it again down the road at some point.

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 2771 Average listal rating (1721 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.4
First viewing - May 6th

The kiddo wanted to watch a movie with me after we got back from seeing Guardians Vol. 2, and we wound up agreeing on Happy Feet out of the options on Netflix. It's a cute movie, despite its ridiculous third act (which even she questioned the logic of). I'm all for kid-friendly films that showcase pride in one's individuality, and it had some very amusing moments. I didn't think it was essential viewing, but it was worth sitting through with her.

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 24 Average listal rating (18 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.5
First viewing - May 6th

After the kiddo went to bed Saturday night I decided to tackle another entry from MST3K, which was this film. Parts of the movie make no sense, but its bigger problem is that the whole thing is so uneven with scenes stretched out for no reason. I wound up sleeping through part of it, but from what I saw Mike & the Bots did a fine job of riffing on it. I don't think it was good enough to be showcased in the collection, but then the show wasn't always great so whatever. I wouldn't sit through the episode or the film again.

MST3K rating: 7/10

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 90 Average listal rating (60 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.1
Dragon (2011)
First viewing - May 8th

A man with a hidden past and the offbeat detective trying to uncover the truth...nothing new here. Donnie Yen has some good fight scenes, but he's been in far better ones in much better movies. Overall it was pretty average & I doubt if I'll remember much about it as time passes.

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 342 Average listal rating (166 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6
First viewing - May 11th

It took me far longer than I would've preferred to watch Gilliam's latest film, but fortunately it was worth the wait. Waltz does a stellar job of bringing his character to life, the set design & visuals are (not surprisingly) really creative and impressive, and the story is pretty original & thought-provoking. I wouldn't go so far as to say it deserves a place next to Gilliam's masterpieces, but I thoroughly enjoyed it & would watch it again.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 408 Average listal rating (259 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8.1
First viewing - May 13th

I decided to have a classic crime double feature at home by pairing this with Bonnie & Clyde, and they definitely complemented each other well. White Heat lived up to its reputation with the stellar performance from James Cagney & a compelling story. I didn't fall in love with the movie, but definitely enjoyed it & would be willing to watch it again at some point. I can see why it's considered great but for me personally it fell just short of reaching that status.
the giraffe's rating:
First viewing - May 13th

Bonnie & Clyde was even better than I'd remembered, a wonderful alternate version of their lives full of great performances. It's damn near perfect as movies go, yet didn't quite earn a perfect score from me. I definitely won't go as long without revisiting it again, as I hadn't seen it since I was a teenager & had forgotten some of it.

Just a thought: Faye Dunaway is insanely gorgeous in this movie.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 380 Average listal rating (262 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.4
The Blob (1958)
First viewing - May 14th

I thought The Blob was fun & solidly entertaining. The cast is a mixed bag and it rarely rises above being a B-movie, but for what it is I enjoyed it. I didn't realize it was shot not too far away from me, but now that I know there's an annual celebration called Blobfest where they recreate the scene with everyone fleeing the theatre combined with a film festival I'll have to attend in the near future. Sounds like a fun time.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 639 Average listal rating (393 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7
First viewing - May 16th

I've been holding back on watching this one mainly because the ending has been spoiled & I kinda figured that mattered. Turns out knowing the ending kinda does ruin the film, or at least lessens the impact of the ending, which was disappointing. I thought the best reason to watch this movie was seeing the final performance from Edward G. Robinson, who plays the only character I really cared about. Everything else had its moments, but I failed to connect too much with Charlton Heston's character & felt like a lot of ideas were presented but not deeply explored. So in the end I guess it was worth watching once, but I wouldn't sit through it again.
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First viewing - May 19th

Mifune was an actor that consistently impresses me whenever I watch his movies, so finding out more about who he was led me to check out this documentary. It's nothing groundbreaking, but if you're curious about the man and his life & works it's worth checking out. It does go into spoiler territory with Throne of Blood though, so it may be better to hold off on seeing this if you haven't seen that movie yet (had I known I would've waited).

Currently streaming on Netflix
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Re-watch - May 21st

The kiddo wanted to watch Pee-wee's Playhouse, but I wanted to watch a movie with her, not TV, so we compromised by revisiting Big Adventure which she'd mostly forgotten but totally enjoyed. Once again she found Large Marge funny, not scary at all, which amuses me. She also asked if we could have a house like Pee-wee's which I'm mostly fine with. I just don't want to have to set up the breakfast machine.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 145 Average listal rating (102 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 6.3
First viewing - May 22nd

With the holiday weekend coming up I returned to the library to check out some more films & decided to kick off my run through them with Mr. Right. I'd wondered why I hadn't heard much about it since I'd liked the trailer, but now that I've watched it I get it. The film is this weird mashup of ideas that works intermittently, a fact not helped by the fact the script is so odd that the director never seems to know how to properly balance it. Perhaps some changes to the script would've helped too as there's almost too much going on for its own good. Thankfully Sam Rockwell is in the lead & his charisma & acting abilities elevate the film whenever he's on screen. Anna Kendrick's character is too quirky for her own good, which I found grating for the first third of the film but over time I warmed up to her & she has good chemistry with Rockwell. The rest of the characters are often annoying or poorly portrayed, so when neither of the leads are on screen the quality tends to drop out. Then again without the subplot involving gangsters from New Jersey we wouldn't get RZA almost stealing the movie, so I can't complain too much.

Anyway, I'm giving it a 7 because I liked it overall despite its flaws, but to be honest it's more of a high 6.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 657 Average listal rating (475 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.4
Moonlight (2016)
First viewing - May 23rd

I was somewhat surprised to find this was available through the library, and figured I'd pick it up before it disappears indefinitely. I'd wanted to see it but didn't feel like it was a film that required I see it in a theatre, so I held off. Turns out I was right about that so no regrets on waiting.

However I don't think this was the best film of 2016 by any stretch. Sure, it's well acted. And given the low budget they pull off what they set out to do with the film. But honestly I don't feel like this is much different from any other coming-of-age film & don't see what all the hype is about. I enjoyed it for what it is, but was never blown away by it & so I doubt I'd sit through it again.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1180 Average listal rating (798 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 8
First viewing - May 26th

My friend & I were talking about movies one day this week at work, and wound up exchanging some films that we owned but the other person had never seen. I loaned him Leon: The Professional, Scent of a Woman, and Kung Fu Hustle in exchange for this film, La La Land, Hoop Dreams, and Waking Sleeping Beauty.

I thought this was a good story (its formulaic nature keeps it from being truly great), and was very impressed by the acting especially McConaughey & Leto who each disappear into their respective characters. While I have my doubts as to how much of the film is actually true, I bought the struggle to get help thanks to the FDA & enjoyed the look at Woodroof as portrayed here. I enjoyed it enough that I'd sit through it again at some point.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 2460 Average listal rating (1596 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.9
First viewing - May 27th

Talking movies with my co-workers lately encouraged me to finally check this out. I'd wanted to see it when it came out in theatres but wasn't able to get away to see it, & thanks to mixed reviews it earned I didn't make it a priority to catch later on. I thought it was well made all around & was satisfied with it. The action set pieces worked fine for me, the humor sprinkled throughout hit its mark, and I thought Emma Stone & Andrew Garfield had good chemistry together. The Lizard was well animated, though his face never looks right to me (perhaps making him look like the comics would've been too scary for the kids they wanted to see it?). It's been ages since I watched any of the Sam Raimi entries, but I kinda preferred this one over his first film. It's not great, but it was worth watching & I'd sit through it again some time.

Just a thought: This may be my favorite of Stan Lee's cameos.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 998 Average listal rating (703 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.6
First viewing - May 27th

OK, so, I messed up on this one. I thought I was picking up the first film in the series. Oops. Fortunately the film is told in a way that doesn't require seeing the first one to follow it. And so I found it to be solidly entertaining but nothing I was overly in love with. It was fairly predictable and didn't deliver much in the way of surprises story-wise, so that held it back for me. Still, I'll grant that it's a well-made film and the way they've brought the apes to life makes them believable even if deep down I kinda miss the ape suits at times. I wouldn't need to watch it again, but thanks to my mix-up I'll go back & check out Rise to see if I'm impressed enough to catch the third film this summer.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 66 Average listal rating (37 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.6
First viewing - May 28th

My friend insisted I should see this as a fan of film & Disney in general. And it was definitely interesting to see what happened behind the scenes over the 10-year period that's detailed here. I thought it was an interesting choice to not show the people unless they were speaking during the archived footage they put together...having voice-overs instead of talking heads worked well. It's nothing great, but if you're into Disney & want to know more about how they got from The Black Cauldron to The Lion King it's worth a look.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 978 Average listal rating (669 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 8
First viewing - May 28th

As you probably know, I'm not a fan of musicals in general. So it's not surprising that I didn't rush out to see this in theatres. My friend has seen it a bunch of times since its release & added it to the stack of films he loaned me so I could finally watch it.

And, yeah, it's fine. The whole film looks great, and it's full of nods to Hollywood history/other movies, which is amusing enough. I spent the first 30 minutes or so waiting for it to get good, and fortunately as it runs along it does improve over the opening part of the film. Emma Stone & Ryan Gosling are fine in their respective roles, and I appreciated where the story went with them. I don't think it's great, but I get why others would and they're welcome to it. I don't see myself watching it again, but it was worth sitting through once.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 104 Average listal rating (74 ratings) 5 IMDB Rating 5.7
First viewing - May 28th

I'd wanted to check this out from the first trailer I saw a few years back, and after seeing the excellence of Cop Car (which is also written & directed by Jon Watts, as is the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming) I was even more curious about it. Well, now I'm hoping the issues it has are due to it being his debut film & that it'll wind up being the low point of his career.

Clown has a lot of promise, but never fully delivers on it. Instead it contents itself with being a by-the-numbers horror movie, which renders it predictable and results in mediocrity. Which is a shame, because I can think of ways it could've been better if not great. The make-up & effects for the clown are well handled, and the acting is solid enough, but that's about all I can say in its favor. I can't even say it's worth sitting through once, unless your expectations are really really low or you're just insanely bored and in need of a horror movie you haven't seen. If it's the latter, maybe take a moment & ask someone for a recommendation instead of sitting through Clown. You're better off ignoring it.
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Re-watch - May 30th

I decided to end the month on a strong note by revisiting a film I was long overdue to sit back down with. I'd kinda forgotten how much I enjoy this movie, with the combination of jaw-dropping action scenes and romance and well-developed characters. Everything works beautifully together and it's a joy to behold.

For those seeking an in-depth look at the film, I recommend checking out its entry in the History of Violence series at AV Club.
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Big screen attractions

Films I caught in a theatre
People who added this item 1090 Average listal rating (789 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.6
First viewing - May 6th

Of course the kiddo & I had to see this opening weekend, and the ex even came along with us. All three of us enjoyed it, though the kiddo clearly loved it the most as she said she'd like to see the Guardians have the longest movie series ever. I thought it was pretty much as good as the first film, and appreciated both the humor throughout & the fleshing out of some of the secondary characters. Having 5 post-credits scenes was excessive, but at least most of them were entertaining (note I didn't say necessary). One of them made me really excited for what's coming down the road.

Ah, and of course we got a trailer for the new Thor movie which looks like it'll be as boring as the last one aside from when Hulk shows up. I know a lot of people have high hopes for it given the director, but honestly I'll probably skip it entirely or else wait for Netflix to have it so I don't have to spend money to see it.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 5043 Average listal rating (3589 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.7
Re-watch - May 14th

Holy crap The Fifth Element is 20 years old now. Several theatres around town were screening it for its anniversary, and since I haven't seen it on the big screen since the late 90s at a midnight screening I took advantage of the opportunity. I kinda forget how much I love this movie as time passes, which is probably why it earns a 9 from me instead of a 10. The good news is that it's aged wonderfully & still looks great. I love the characters & the world that's created, and it's always a fun movie to watch no matter how many times I see it. If it pops up on the big screen around here again, I'll definitely go.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 589 Average listal rating (424 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 6.4
First viewing - May 18th

Since Covenant arrived on a kiddo weekend, I made a point to catch it Thursday night so I wouldn't have to wait through the weekend. I then spent the weekend reading various reviews & articles about it, as much out of personal interest as to test my thoughts & feelings on the film against the opinions of others. And I can confidently say that overall I enjoyed it. It's not a perfect film, but it learned some lessons from the missteps in Prometheus and therefore didn't annoy me while I was watching it. I appreciated the new creatures and the themes the film explores, not to mention every moment that Fassbender is on screen. I've seen a fair bit of complaints about the ending, but I didn't have any issues with it. If you're reluctant to go see it but have enjoyed the other Alien films then I'd say go and make up your own mind about it.
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Netflix exorcisms

Films I caught before Netflix jettisoned them from streaming
People who added this item 1645 Average listal rating (1005 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 8.1
First viewing - May 29th

I swear this has been in my queue forever, but then I realize that Netflix removed it once before & just brought it back earlier this year. Otherwise I would've watched it back in November when I cleared out my queue.

Anyway, as I expected it was a dark film, but not as much of a downer as I'd feared it'd be. I liked the way it told three stories that eventually cross paths, though it also had me thinking of Pulp Fiction as a result. No doubt it's influenced by that film, and at least it's not as derivative as some of the other films Pulp Fiction spawned in its wake. The acting is often excellent throughout, and it tried to keep me guessing while also winding up in places I'd anticipated. I didn't fall in love with it, but I'm glad I finally saw it.
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