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Added by the giraffe on 1 Apr 2018 03:44
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Movies the giraffe watched in 2018: April

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Noteworthy: The best films I saw this month

The breakdown: 24 films watched
18 first views, 7 re-watches (one of which I'd watched for the first time also)
3 via streaming, 15 via DVD/BR, and 7 in the theatre
Decades touched: 1940s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 90s, 2000s, & 2010s

I didn't intend for this list to get published so late, but other stuff kept coming up and delaying it. Also it's possible at this point I've left a film off the list because I didn't update it as regularly as I usually do. Ah well. I definitely didn't watch as many movies as I have every other month so far this year, but at least I caught some really good ones. And I managed to catch most of what I wanted to see on the big screen as well. Not that all trips to the theatre were worthwhile (sadly), but they can't all be great. Thanks to having the library as a back-up I managed to catch films from various decades, and then toward the end of the month I remembered I had stuff I wanted to watch on Showbox and caught two good films out of three from there. My only issue with them is it's easier to search the app for something specific than it is to browse for something to watch, and a lot of times I pick something that's longer than I have time for during the week which can turn into too much time wasted trying to find something and me giving up and going to bed. I guess one of these days I need to sit down and compile a list of what's on there I care about watching just to reference more easily.
People who added this item 642 Average listal rating (476 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.5
A Quiet Place (2018)
First viewing - April 7th

Look, if you're into horror you need to see this. If you're not, well, too bad because you're missing out on an excellent experience. A Quiet Place delivers on its hype, and I can't wait to watch it again.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 59 Average listal rating (36 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.4
The Battery (2013)
First viewing - April 24th

The Battery was put on my radar thanks to Benson & Moorhead speaking favorably about it in interviews, so when I noticed it was available via Showbox I decided to give it a chance. And I'm very glad I did. Those who wrongly believe the zombie genre has run out of ideas would do well to seek it out. It's certainly a fresh take, and the acting is pretty damn good. The whole thing feels realistic enough, and it's sold by the relationship at its center. I don't know that it was great, but it's absolutely worth watching and I'll gladly revisit it.
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Big screen attractions

People who added this item 609 Average listal rating (469 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 7.4
First viewing - April 1st

I kicked off the month of April by taking the kiddo to see Ready Player One, which was fitting. I mean, what better movie to see on Easter than one about a search for an Easter egg? And as a bonus, we spotted a plastic Easter egg hidden in a cup holder which yielded a prize for my daughter (a temporary tattoo, bookmark, and rabbit-ear headband, all from Peter Rabbit). Overall we both enjoyed the film.

Now, quite a bit was changed from the novel, but I anticipated that & went into the movie without expectations so I have no complaints about the ways it diverted from the source material. In fact, the film's best scene/setpiece is an original creation that wasn't in the book at all, so why would I be upset about it? I thought the film was solidly entertaining and captured the spirit of the book well enough, and there were plenty of pieces of it that pleased me. I don't know that I'd watch it a million times, but I wouldn't mind sitting through it again once or twice more.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 263 Average listal rating (182 ratings) 5 IMDB Rating 5.6
First viewing - April 2nd

The kiddo & I both agreed that this sequel was nowhere near as good as the first film. I'd anticipated that from the moment del Toro handed the reins of the project over to other people, so thankfully my expectations weren't too high. The film delivered well enough on the battle scenes, and John Boyega does the best with what he's given, and these aspects made the film worth sitting through once. Hopefully if they decide to expand the series further they'll take better care with the next one or else nobody will turn out for it. In hindsight, we're probably all better off ignoring this film & hoping the original returns to theatres for us to enjoy on the big screen again.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 404 Average listal rating (221 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.9
First viewing - April 6th

My favorite local theatre changed hands and their entire staff recently, and the loss of it has been deeply felt. Now the theatre runs basically whatever will draw the biggest crowds, which means there's nothing unusual enough to draw me back there. Thankfully the group that was running it before refuses to give up, and they've been temporarily hosting events in an alternate location until they can acquire a new home. When I saw they were hosting another Noir Night Out, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to support them. And since I hadn't seen The Asphalt Jungle before it was even more worth my spending the money to see it on the big screen.

Now in the past, the Noir Night Out events were always 35mm screenings. This time out, perhaps because they have no permanent home yet, it was a projected Criterion BluRay, which wasn't quite as impressive (though the film looked great, of course). To make matters worse, the sound was a mess and had me wishing I'd already seen the film before. During the louder moments the sound was really distorted, and at times this meant completely losing dialogue due to the noise. It was a distraction, and were I not determined to stay until the end regardless I might have walked out and gone home. Of course I got the gist of the picture, and overall thought it was pretty good, but it was kinda ruined by the experience. So I'll probably pick it up if I can to rewatch at home.

Re-watch - April 9th
Now that I've watched it at home I realize that I missed about 1/5 to 1/4 of the dialogue in the film, so revisiting it gave me a much better understanding of every moment. To be on the safe side I threw on the subtitles too, which I wish they'd done at the screening. Anyway, everything in this movie is really good. The characters are interesting and you can see the ways it's influenced the heist films that followed in its wake. The cinematography is well done too. The only thing missing is a build up of tension. The overall story should have plenty of tension behind it and have the audience anxious to see what will happen next. Instead it feels more like you're just watching this story without any real emotional attachment. Or at least that's how it works for me. It's entertaining, sure, but as other directors have proved over the years there are ways to keep your audience riveted from one moment to another and this film doesn't seem interested in anything but casually observing what happens. It's still worth seeing, but I probably won't go out of my way to revisit it.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 133 Average listal rating (93 ratings) 3.9 IMDB Rating 5.2
First viewing - April 21st

From the trailers this one looked like it might be a fun time. Little did I know that the trailers pull heavily from the best and biggest moments during the first hour of the film, which meant there wasn't much more to the movie & thus my excitement over anything that happened was greatly diminished. Thankfully I'd lowered my expectations when I noticed it wasn't picking up many positive reviews, but this still could have been a lot better. For what it was it was fine, and while I'm glad I didn't spend more than $4 to see it I would've felt even better about it had I waited until I could stream it at home. The characters are lacking in depth, which I'll grant happens a lot with horror but in the wake of something like A Quiet Place or Get Out or anything Benson & Moorhead have come up with it's just lazy and disappointing now. I guess there were some decent moments, and overall it's watchable, but don't expect anything great out of it.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 907 Average listal rating (678 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7.3
Re-watch - April 21st

After the disappointment of Truth or Dare I wanted to make up for the experience and thus took my second turn with Black Panther. This is partly due to my desire to catch it again on the big screen while I could, and partly because I'm really itching for Infinity War. I'm pleased to say the film held up just as strong the second time around, and I'm satisfied with it having taken my top spot among the MCU films. We'll see whether the next installment manages to surpass it...
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1101 Average listal rating (826 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 8.5
First viewing - April 28th

The kiddo and I made our way first thing Saturday morning to catch Infinity War and the short answer is we both enjoyed it overall. It's nowhere near as good as Black Panther in my book, but there are some epic moments and plenty of fun to be had.

To say much more than the above requires going into spoilers, so if you haven't seen the film don't touch the rest of what's written here... So first off, that opening is outstanding. It perfectly sets up Thanos as the big bad he's been hinted at being throughout the franchise, and drives the point home by undoing all the good things that should have followed Ragnarok. His minions are impressive too, though most of them are never named which is somewhat irritating. The whole thing moves along well enough, though I can't imagine how it would play for someone who hasn't kept up with the franchise since nobody but Thanos really gets much attention and it relies on you having at least seen the past few films. Granted it's already over 2 and 1/2 hours long, but each character just shows up without any introduction, unless the characters meet each other for the first time in which case they exchange the barest minimum of details before moving away. Thankfully I'm up on all of it, but as I've discussed before it's lazy to assume everyone in the audience will have done their homework prior to the latest film. But the thing that bothered me most of all was the choices of who died when Thanos succeeded. The moment Black Panther dies, you know it's all bullshit and most if not all the heroes will be returned in the next film (though I'll concede that when Infinity War was filmed Black Panther hadn't been released yet, much less a sequel announced). And we've all known since before it was filmed that we're getting more movies with the Guardians and Spidey, so at the very least they shouldn't have been affected (or at least leave more than one Guardian behind, along with Spidey & Black Panther). And none of the original Avengers fall, which makes even less sense not to mention lacks true weight. Thus the ending, which should be a big gut punch, is just empty no matter how well Tom Holland sells his moment. Which is why I can't possibly rate it any higher than an 8/10, and if most of the film prior to the ending weren't so damn good I'd probably be rating it a 5 or 6. I'll probably watch it once more just to go through the best parts all over again, but I'm doubtful I'd sit through it a third time. Which sucks, because I really wanted this to deliver all around.

Just a thought: I was also disappointed that despite the big final battle being held in Wakanda the war rhinos never showed up. I really wanted to see those armored beasties plow their way through some aliens.
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Home viewings

People who added this item 654 Average listal rating (415 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 6.9
First viewing - April 2nd

Enemy is a film that requires a fair amount of patience to get through it. Much of the film is left unexplained, but if you're willing to pay attention and roll with it you can understand what it's doing. It's extremely interesting and thus makes for a wonderful experience on an intellectual level. At the same time it's a bit on the cold side emotionally, which may be intentional but prevents it from being something I could completely love. Ah, but this tends to be my experience with Villenueve's films thus far, so it's not too surprising. I probably don't need to watch it again, but I'm tempted to just to see if it grows on me with another viewing. Consider that 7 more of a 7.5 bordering on being rounded up to an 8.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 362 Average listal rating (222 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.6
Shaft (1971)
First viewing - April 4th

I'm not sure how I'd managed to not see Shaft all this time, especially given that I wasted money to see the Sam Jackson one in the theatre. But thankfully that's now been fixed, late as it may be. I appreciated the film overall and it's great to see Roundtree be such a badass for over and hour & a half. I felt like the film spent a bit too much time following Shaft as he walks around New York though, as these scenes eventually felt more like padding than anything essential to the film. There's not a lot of depth here, but it makes up for that by giving Shaft a bunch of classic one-liners and letting Roundtree effortlessly ooze coolness. Oh and the other characters are amusing too, especially detective Androzzi who has great chemistry and banter with the titular hero. So yeah, it's totally worth seeing, but also nothing especially great.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 683 Average listal rating (416 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.5
Spellbound (1945)
First viewing - April 7th

Another Hitchcock film crossed off my list. Spellbound is elevated by its leads who make every scene they're in worth watching. Evidently this was the first time a major motion picture brought psychology into the story, and I thought those aspects were pretty well handled. The film follows a logical if occasionally obvious trajectory, but it's so engaging that I hardly minded. I don't know that I'd go so far as to call it a great film, but it's definitely on the upper end of Hitchcock's output and I'm glad I finally saw it.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 49 Average listal rating (31 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.6
First viewing - April 7th

Kawaki was released stateside as The World of Kanako via the now (sadly) defunct Drafthouse Films. It's not at all an easy watch, and I felt like I needed a shower when it ended. There's only one or two truly sympathetic characters in the entire film, and none of them are the main characters which makes this experience frustrating to go through. About an hour into it I was tempted to turn it off, but since I was halfway through I stuck it out. Now I'll gladly give the film credit for being impressive in an artistic sense. The opening credits sequence was outstanding, and there are a lot of moments where the visuals made me glad I was still watching it. The soundtrack features some excellent choices that tempt me to seek it out, except that I worry listening to the songs will cause me to recall moments from the film. Mostly the characters made me hate it though. Those of you who sing the praises of the Bad Lieutenant films will probably love this too. The rest of us would be better off ignoring the existence of this film, and I regret having given it a chance.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1085 Average listal rating (649 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 7.9
Re-watch - April 7th/8th

I needed something more life affirming and uplifting to end my night on, so I chose to revisit Harold and Maude before going to sleep. This was a wise choice as the film totally washed away all thoughts & feelings the previous film left me with. I still love everything about this movie, and I'm so glad it exists.
the giraffe's rating:
First viewing - April 8th

I keep seeing praise for this film, so I wanted to check it out. I appreciated the unique story as well as the acting. I felt at times like I was watching a documentary instead of a fictional movie, which tells you how perfect the acting is here. I kept waiting for it to hit me emotionally, but it never really did. Otherwise it was good though, and I'm glad I gave it a chance.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1258 Average listal rating (745 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.7
Porco Rosso (1992)
First viewing - April 13th

I picked this up to watch with the kiddo over the weekend, and it's safe to say we were both underwhelmed. She didn't think it was exciting enough, though there were some moments she enjoyed. I felt like it's more geared toward adults than kids, and so while I appreciated it more than she did I didn't think it was anything outstanding. I'm glad I've finally seen it since I'd been curious about it for a while, but I doubt I'll watch it again.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 300 Average listal rating (180 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.9
First viewing - April 13th

I remember reading Lord of the Flies in high school, but I have stronger memories of the Simpsons episode where they did their take on the story. It's safe to say both of those are better than this adaptation, which isn't bad nor exceptional. It adapts the book just fine, but I never felt the same emotional connection with the film. I felt more like I was passively watching it, and kept waiting for something to bring me closer into the film. That never happened. Aside from that it's well made enough and the cast of boys is decent. So this is another film that I'm glad I finally saw but wouldn't watch again.
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Re-watch - April 15th

The kiddo & I originally planned to go see Rampage on this day, but she decided she'd rather hang out at home and wound up choosing to watch this with me instead. It had been several years since I last watched it, and since I've avoided all its sequels after the atrocious third film I was able to fully enjoy every last moment of it. The kiddo had a ball too, and I'm sure if I let on that it's a series she'd probably be bugging me to watch them all. I don't plan to mention it to her. I'm just glad it's held up so well.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 485 Average listal rating (277 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.4
In the Loop (2009)
Re-watch - April 17th

Seeing The Death of Stalin last month had me itching to revisit In the Loop, so I picked it up from the library. My rating for it hasn't changed, and I appreciated all the same aspects as last time I saw it. Amusingly enough I watched it almost exactly 4 years after my first time seeing it (4/16/2014). I still don't think it's great, but it's always a good time and I love the ways it satirizes the post-9/11 rush to war.
the giraffe's rating:
First viewing - April 20th

I'd really wanted to see Ravager in theatres when it came out, but I moved around the time it was released and didn't get the chance. I was pleasantly surprised to find I was able to stream it free, and quickly took the opportunity to do so. As it turns out, it's just as well I didn't pay money to see it. The CG work is so pathetically cheap that it's distracting and kept breaking any illusion the film was working to create. If I hadn't already spent 4 films with the characters, I probably would have hated this movie. Thankfully they helped elevate the film somewhat, though the mediocre dialogue and presentation couldn't have been saved if they'd put a bunch of great actors in the film instead of the returning cast. I can't help feeling like Coscarelli should have handled it instead of turning it over to someone else, and if that would've meant he never would have completed it then that'd be fine too if this was how it was always going to turn out.
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Re-watch - April 20th

So my work friend hooked me up with the original trilogy on Blu, and they're the despecialized versions. I've been trying for a while now to talk the kiddo into watching them with me, but she's not having it I guess, so I decided to finally watch just this one. It was quite a treat getting to see the film the way I grew up watching it before Lucas started throwing new technology at it and made it an episode. I kept geeking out over some of the new modifications being gone, and had a total blast with it. If the other two films are as well done then I'll gladly discard my special editions, though I'm tempted to keep everything but the discs just to have improved packaging.
the giraffe's rating:
First viewing - April 21st

This felt like a homework assignment. I was curious to check out another of Melville's films, but this one was tedious. I couldn't stand any of the characters, and the whole thing felt repetitive. The brother and sister argue and escalate things and then the scene is over and we get narration that's grating and keeps explaining things rather than letting us experience them or allowing the actors to emote. It took me longer than it should have to watch this because after about 30-45 minutes of it I kept falling asleep and having to back it up. And the sad part about that is I watched it right after dinner, so it wasn't even late. I wound up getting a decent nap at one point which kept me awake enough to watch the film that followed, and that's probably the only good thing I can say for the experience.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 96 Average listal rating (55 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.2
First viewing - April 21st

I finished my Saturday marathon with Fritz Lang's Ministry of Fear, a solid thriller that I'd picked up while browsing the library's Criterion section. I was very engaged with it (far more so than the film above), and I liked the characters well enough. The plot even had some surprises for me, or maybe I just was too busy enjoying the way it played out to figure out where it was headed. I doubt that I'd go out of my way to watch it again, but I wouldn't mind revisiting it.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1550 Average listal rating (995 ratings) 4.8 IMDB Rating 5.7
Re-watch - April 22nd

Sunday was a busy day, so by the time I found myself with enough time to watch a movie there wasn't much available. I decided to pull this off my shelf, as I can't recall the last time I watched Not Another Teen Movie. I remember having a blast with it in the theatre, and this was my 3rd or 4th time watching it. I'll concede it's not a great movie, and honestly it isn't holding up too well. This time only a handful of moments really made me laugh, and the rest of it I watched with mild amusement. Probably my favorite thing is the ability to look back at some of these actors who have moved on to bigger and better things. There are absolutely flashes of Captain America in Chris Klein's performance, and it was highly amusing at times given what his character goes through to recognize that connection. Also interesting is the fact that I remember people getting really excited over Chyler Leigh and Mia Kirshner when this came out, and yet neither of them went on to do anything especially noteworthy since (or if they did I'm not aware of it). Anyway, it's fun and mindless, but nothing I enjoy enough to watch a bunch more times. If I sit through it again before another 10 years have gone by I'll be surprised.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 47 Average listal rating (37 ratings) 5.4 IMDB Rating 5.3
First viewing - April 26th

The first 45 minutes of Beyond Skyline is a beautiful thing. It's intense and every new moment escalates from the one before to the point where you're sure it'll run out of energy at any time or collapse under the weight of what it's building. And then it doesn't so much fall apart as take a break to give you a chance to breathe for a little while instead of constantly trying to one-up itself. We settle in with the humans and take a couple beats to process what we've gone through so far, and then it delivers a satisfying finale. I had a blast with it, and I'm glad the Birth Movies Death team kept talking it up or it would have slipped past me.

Just a thought: I didn't fully intend to watch this on Alien Day, but it suited it anyway.
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