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Added by the giraffe on 1 Jan 2018 12:38
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Movies the giraffe watched in 2018: January

Sort by: Showing 26 items
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Noteworthy: The best films I saw this month

The breakdown: 26 films watched
23 first views, 3 re-watches
11 via streaming, 13 via DVD, and 2 in the theatre
Decades touched: 1950s, 80s, 2000s, & 2010s

I didn't get nearly as many 2017 films watched as I'd intended, mostly due to various access issues. To give you some idea, out of all the films from last year I'd planned to watch over the course of January I managed to watch about one-third. That led me to seek out alternative films at the library, most of which were worth watching.

I didn't make it to the theatre often either, but that had as much to do with a general lack of motivation to catch certain films on the big screen as anything else. A lot of the films that are out and have awards buzz are the sort I don't feel requires a theatrical viewing, so rather than spend money to see things like The Post or Phantom Thread on the big screen I've opted to wait. We had a fair bit of snowfall and below-freezing temperatures as well, which makes this Texan want to hide rather than go out. Oh, and there really wasn't much that came out this month I cared about seeing either...the two films I did see were priorities.

Overall though quality outweighed quantity, and for the most part I was satisfied with what I caught. We'll see how things go next month...

Oh yeah...I've decided to stop acknowledging the films that are the worst in this section. I figure the ratings and my thoughts can get that across, and there's really no reason to call further attention to them.
People who added this item 421 Average listal rating (305 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.5
First viewing - Jan. 14th

With all the awards buzz around this film I made it a priority to catch it ASAP. And I'm glad to say it's buzzworthy. Robbie & Janney are rightly being praised for their performances, and the whole film is far more entertaining than I would've expected one about figure skating to be. It's a blast from start to finish, and I'll gladly watch it again.
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People who added this item 95 Average listal rating (75 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 7.3
Lucky (2017)
First viewing - Jan. 20th

The late Harry Dean Stanton left behind this masterwork that will stand as tribute to his abilities & captures his essence wonderfully. I loved everything about it & the only thing missing for me is that perfect 10 vibe. But maybe it'll be there for you. Go find out.
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People who added this item 273 Average listal rating (198 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.9
First viewing - Jan. 11th

I could've seen this in the theatre, but the trailer didn't fully sell me on it & at that time I hadn't seen any of Taika's films. Now that I've seen What We Do In the Shadows and Thor: Ragnarok I was more curious to see what I'd think of this film. Turns out I loved it. It's smart, funny, heartfelt, and best of all original, and I had zero complaints with it. I'll have to add it to my collection, and going forward I can confidently say I'll support anything else Taika makes.

Just a thought: The church scene is easily my favorite thing Taika has written so far. It slays.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1605 Average listal rating (987 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8.4
First viewing - Jan. 18th

The praise I've seen for this film is accurate. I won't go into detail because I knew so little about it besides that those who've seen it loved it & that worked out well for me. Go watch it and let it do the same for you.
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Monthly focus: 2017 films

People who added this item 214 Average listal rating (148 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.9
First viewing - Jan. 1st

I kicked off the new year with this little action/sci-fi number starring Noomi Rapace as seven sisters in a future where families aren't allowed to have more than one child. She's so excellent throughout that she makes the film worth watching, & once again reinforces my belief she should be making more action movies. The plot is a little predictable at times, but it moves along at a pace where it's not a big issue. I thought this was well worth checking out.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 73 Average listal rating (55 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.3
Mayhem (2017)
First viewing - Jan. 2nd

Mayhem does a decent job of fulfilling the promise in its title, as carnage and chaos fill the screen for most of its runtime. Thankfully it never overruns the story and main characters either. It's very entertaining and violent and funny, and I had a blast with it. I wouldn't call it great, but I would watch it again.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 167 Average listal rating (122 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 6.2
1922 (2017)
First viewing - Jan. 4th

First off, it should be noted I've never read the Stephen King story this is adapted from so I can't compare it to its source material. I also didn't seek out a trailer or other details beforehand, so I went into it completely cold. And I thought it was decent. I appreciate the attention to detail to get the period right, and the story kept me guessing as to how it would play out. But there was nothing to it that especially impressed me, and I can't imagine it'll stick with me over time. Well, ok, the rats might. It's worth checking out, I just wouldn't watch it again.
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People who added this item 52 Average listal rating (34 ratings) 5.1 IMDB Rating 5.8
First viewing - Jan. 5th

I really enjoyed Goon, so I was curious about its sequel. I've seen a fair number of reviews claiming it was better than feared and thus worthwhile, but I was still skeptical that a sequel would be justified. Now that I've seen it, I didn't think it was.

The story is fairly thin and thus predictable. Glatt gets injured in a fight with another player, has to quit hockey for about 5 minutes, then figures out a way to get back in so he can fight the guy who took him out. There's a little more going on around it, but that's your central plot. And it's disappointing for a number of reasons. There's all kinds of dramatic (or comedic) material that could be mined from a hockey player being forced to find work outside his vocation, but this film has zero interest in exploring it beyond a few minutes of lowbrow comedy. Booting him from hockey only to quickly bring him back is just not rewarding, and ultimately feels pointless. I got tired of the whole thing about halfway in, but finished it anyway. I'll concede that there are some entertaining moments along the way, and the comedic elements work from time to time. But it's kinda sad when the thing I'm most amused by is the choice of using Vince Dicola's song "Dare", which I know from its previous use in the animated TransFormers the Movie.

If you liked Goon then you're better off watching it again than bothering with this one.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 187 Average listal rating (143 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 7
First viewing - Jan. 25th

So much as I expected, this is basically Jackie Chan's version of Taken. It's solidly entertaining, and I'm impressed Chan can still pull off some of the stunts he does. The acting is good across the board too. I just felt like I'd seen it all before, so one viewing was sufficient.
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First viewing - Jan. 27th

Small Town Crime is entirely in my wheelhouse. I dig John Hawkes anyway, he's such a great character actor, and to see him in the lead is usually a treat. This is no exception. He does a great job of making his character likable despite his flaws, and the film is full of interesting people played wonderfully by a strong cast. Sure, some of this feels familiar, but it plays out in some fresh ways and I really enjoyed the film. I might even revisit it down the road.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 304 Average listal rating (186 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 6.8
First viewing - Jan. 29th

I can't believe I actually wasted an hour and a half watching this instead of something else. Aside from Will Oldham's speech (which kind of argues against this movie's existence) and a few mildly amusing scenes scattered elsewhere, there wasn't much to it and I'm frankly baffled as to why I've seen so much praise for it. I'll grant that the film looks good, but the first half is spent stretching each scene beyond what's necessary and could have been edited down much further. Unless you really wanted to watch Rooney Mara eat pie and sob for 10 freaking minutes, in which case you'd better give this a shot. But a movie with an hour and a half run-time shouldn't feel like it's at least 3 hours long. Add to that the complete lack of character investment or any real depth, with an intentional distancing from the two leads which deters the film from connecting with the audience and you're left with a hollow movie that I'm likely to forget beyond the fact that it annoyed me. I kept reading comments from people who praised its emotional side and admitted to shedding tears, but the only way I can see someone crying during the film is if they paid the full night-time admission price to suffer through it. I feel like a sucker for giving it a chance, and I'm disappointed that it wound up being the film I ended the month with.
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MCU run - Father/daughter short-term project

People who added this item 5209 Average listal rating (3685 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.9
Iron Man (2008)
Re-watch - Jan. 5th

With Infinity War coming up this year, and given how much the kiddo is into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I figured I'd help her catch up on the most important films in the series thus far. I don't intend for us to revisit anything we've watched in the past year or so, which helps narrow the list down. I'm also strongly of the opinion that the 2nd Thor & Iron Man films can be skipped over, especially since the goal is to get her caught up before the aforementioned big film. So this will be one of my projects I tackle this year, and I'm glad to share it with her.

We began with this, the first film in the franchise, which we last watched together in mid 2015. I figured she probably wouldn't remember it, & turns out I was correct. She especially loved his robotic comic relief, & it's safe to say she got more out of it overall this time around. In fact, she enjoyed it so much she pulled up the deleted scenes afterward & watched all of them. But my favorite thing was her cheering loudly during the post-credits scene.

I still think this one is among the best work they've done in the series, though I also recognize the template it established for the films that followed in its wake. The most important thing to note, and the lesson a lot of film companies fail to learn, is that Marvel focused on making a great film to kick off their universe, and then expanded on it after it was successful. Sure, they clearly wanted to drive everything toward Avengers, but they took the time to ensure they were delivering a film that respects the source material as well as left people wanting more. As Universal recently learned, you don't announce your franchise plans first and then turn out a film that nobody cares about. I get that Hollywood sees the MCU money & wants to create franchises wherever possible, but if you're not going to set a strong foundation then you're doomed to fail.
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People who added this item 3358 Average listal rating (2314 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7
Thor (2011)
Re-watch - Jan. 7th

Ok, so it's been established that Thor is my least favorite character in the MCU (though his last film has moved him closer to my favor). But this one is pretty important to the franchise as a whole. We get the dynamic between Thor & Loki, Thor's first encounter with SHIELD, and some world-building that plays directly into Avengers. So while I'd prefer to skip it in some ways, I couldn't justify doing so. On the upside, revisiting it confirms how much better Ragnarok is overall. But now that we're so far into the continuity I appreciate more how much it sets things up that follow, and you can tell Marvel had a clear vision for where they wanted to go from here on. And it does a solid job of injecting a fair bit of comedy and keeping a tight pace to avoid being a total bore, unlike its first sequel.

The kiddo enjoyed it, but also voiced her preference of Ragnarok over this entry. And I was amused when she lamented the big kiss, complaining it wasn't necessary & questioning why so many movies go there. One day perhaps she'll understand.
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First viewing - Jan. 15th

First some background...I've long known Cap's origin story, and growing up I wasn't really a fan of his comics. In fact, the only time I recall enjoying any of his comics was during a brief period where Steve Rogers was out of commission. So I skipped this movie during its theatrical run & really had no plans to ever catch back up with it. However, the kiddo expressed curiosity in how he began, and with our little project I figured I'd finally watch it with her.

Thankfully it's better than I'd feared. And while it hits the main points of his origin, it's handled in a way that makes it feel somewhat fresh & is buoyed by the emotional throughline. Best of all it plays really well sandwiched between Thor &
The Avengers. So I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed it, and now I can say that of all the characters with a trilogy to their name his is the best. Which messes with my mind given that outside these films he's one of my least favorite characters, but there it is. The kiddo enjoyed it too, and she's really looking forward to seeing his next two movies.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 3926 Average listal rating (2723 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 8
The Avengers (2012)
Re-watch - Jan. 15th

I think I've expressed my thoughts on this one enough times. I still think it's good but short of being great.
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Other home viewings

People who added this item 197 Average listal rating (152 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.6
First viewing - Jan. 9th

I've been wanting to see The Final Girls for a while now, and was pleasantly surprised my local library had it. I never saw a trailer, but I know my fellow horror buffs have spoken well of it which kept it on my radar. And so I'm proud to join the ranks of those who watched and enjoyed it.

I don't want to say too much about it as going in blind worked well for me. Suffice it to say that if you're a fan of the genre you should find plenty here to admire. I'd gladly watch this again.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1124 Average listal rating (765 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.6
First viewing - Jan. 12th

Well this was pretty unnecessary. I mean, it's got some amusing moments, sure, but the dynamic between Wahlberg & Ferrell wasn't as much fun as I'd hoped for. It also doesn't help that Adam McKay tries to turn it into political commentary, which runs rampant over the credits. But hey, I've sat through worse.

Fun fact...I almost left this off the list because I'd forgotten about it.
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People who added this item 1267 Average listal rating (740 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8
First viewing - Jan. 13th

Ok, so I know I said my main focus this month would be 2017 films, but Showbox has been working against me lately & sometimes I need some older fare. I've fallen back into the routine of picking up movies from the library, so I figured it was time to finally cross this one off my list when I spotted it.

The acting is excellent across the board, which surprises no one. The story is compelling enough that I was able to hang with it, and I truly had no clue where it was headed. And yet I didn't love this movie by any means. I'll concede that it's well-made and worth watching, but I don't fully see what the big deal is with it. Or maybe it's just not to my taste.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 572 Average listal rating (321 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 6.7
First viewing - Jan. 13th

Another film I'd been mildly regretting not seeing in theatres, because while I may not love everything PTA makes I can usually at least appreciate what he comes up with. This film falls squarely under the heading of appreciated but not loved. I really struggled to maintain my connection with the film & its characters, largely thanks to the way the dialogue is written (and especially the narration). I have no doubt this is Pynchon's doing, despite having never read the book. But a lot of it comes off as odd just for the sake of oddness...and thus it feels forced rather than organic, and this was extremely frustrating at times. Mostly though I felt like I should've revisited The Long Goodbye, which is similar in some respects but a million times more enjoyable.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 315 Average listal rating (204 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.1
Elle (2016)
First viewing - Jan. 16th

1. Isabelle Huppert's performance is the main reason to watch this. Amazing.
2. I loved the humor running throughout this film.
3. Some moments are so well handled they'll stick with me long after I've stopped thinking about the film.
4. Some aspects are so uncomfortable to experience that I'd never sit through this again.
5. This film would be tough to enjoy any time, but in the midst of the #MeToo wave it's even tougher.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1395 Average listal rating (1059 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8.5
First viewing - Jan. 22nd

On the eve of the Oscar nom announcements, I finally caught up with a past nominee that I've been meaning to get to. Whiplash turned out to be a more complex film than I'd anticipated. On the one hand I really enjoyed the ways it explores how great art can come out of adversity & the ways artists can rise to greatness. As a lifelong music lover, it was fascinating to me the way this student-teacher relationship played out. On the other hand, to some degree the film seems to be pro abuse as a result, which is troubling. I could also gripe about the lack of significant representation of minorities in a jazz movie, but at the same time I can't deny the two leads consistently knock their respective roles out of the park. So yes, I did enjoy it overall, but it's got its fair share of issues which kept it from being truly great in my book.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 148 Average listal rating (105 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.7
First viewing - Jan. 23rd

Given my deep appreciation for Frances Ha and Lady Bird, I figured I should seek out Mistress America. And while I enjoyed it I also think I wasn't in the right mood for it. Or maybe it was really just ok. The performances are admirable, the humor was hit and miss for me, and at times the dialogue was overwhelming. I was mostly entertained overall, but I never got caught up in the emotions that ran through it. So I doubt whether I'll sit through it again, and I'm disappointed I didn't enjoy it more.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1235 Average listal rating (792 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.4
Tootsie (1982)
First viewing - Jan. 26th

For years I've ignored Tootsie based on assumptions which I'm glad the film proved wrong. I figured it was mainly an excuse to get a man in drag for cheap laughs, but that's certainly not the case. Sure there's humor throughout the film, but it's also a thoughtful look at how men and women treat each other and the lessons we can learn by actually walking in another's shoes. Plus Bill Murray kills it in every scene he's in. I liked it so well I watched both documentaries included on the Criterion DVD (don't watch them before if you haven't ever seen the film), and I'll most likely watch it again at least once.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 933 Average listal rating (568 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8.1
First viewing - Jan. 27th

Watching Lucky had me itching to finally see Paris, Texas, which is not an easy film to track down. Thankfully the library came to my aid. Not surprisingly Harry Dean Stanton delivers one of his best performances as Travis, and the rest of the cast brings their respective A games. The story is not predictable thanks largely to the inscrutable nature of Travis, and I really appreciated it overall. I don't know that I would need to watch it again, however, but I'm glad I was able to see it.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 101 Average listal rating (70 ratings) 5.4 IMDB Rating 5.5
Mom and Dad (2018)
First viewing - Jan. 27th

This was...fine, I guess. The premise is amusing, but far from being anything deep and I felt like Cooties did a better take on a similar idea. Nicolas Cage & Selma Blair do a wonderful job, and it's pretty amusing to see Cage destroy a pool table while singing "Hokey Pokey". Probably this would have been a better experience had I caught it with an audience that was on its wavelength, but watching it at home it failed to hit me very strongly and I noticed its flaws more than I might have if I'd enjoyed it more. I didn't care much for some of the editing/stylistic choices, and the only character I truly cared about was a supporting character which is problematic. Lance Henriksen shows up long enough to elevate things, but it's short-lived. Suffice it to say I can't think of any reason to sit through it again, but at least I don't entirely regret the decision to watch it.
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Big screen attractions

Films I caught in a theatre
People who added this item 210 Average listal rating (151 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.8
Paddington 2 (2017)
First viewing - Jan. 20th

The kiddo had three movies in theatres she wanted to see, and as luck would have it Paddington 2 was the only one that the timing worked out for us to catch. We both highly enjoyed the first one, and I'm glad to say this is a worthy sequel. It's smart, funny, heartfelt, and I deeply appreciated the world building & how it riffs on immigration. Some of it gets a little ridiculous, but when your main character is a talking bear that's to be expected. There was one scene I had serious complaints with, and surprisingly the kiddo brought up the same issue to me afterward. But it's still worth seeing, especially if you enjoyed the first film.
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After spending December mainly revisiting films, I'm always pleased to jump into more new movies in the first month of the year. So this month my main focus will be catching up with as many 2017 films that I missed as I possibly can. And who knows? Maybe this year I can confidently publish my Best of 2017 list before 2019. ;)

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