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Added by the giraffe on 25 Feb 2018 01:24
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Movies the giraffe watched in 2018: March

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Noteworthy: The best films I saw this month

The breakdown: 29 films watched
23 first views, 6 re-watches
9 via streaming, 16 via DVD/BR, and 4 in the theatre
Decades touched: 1930s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 2000s, & 2010s

Once again the bulk of what I watched came from movies checked out from the library and my shelves. I switched Amazon Prime back on for a month, but didn't find a whole lot there to convince me to keep it going into next month. Granted, one of the best films I saw all month came from there (thus justifying my decision to pick it up again), but most of what I see on there is stuff I'd check out more out of curiosity than genuine enthusiasm. I tend to feel the same about Netflix too though, which is why I've relied more heavily on the library lately. I'm getting to a point though where I'll have to start specifically requesting some films I want to see, but that's easily managed. The trick will be not requesting too much stuff that results in my being unable to find time to get it all watched. But it's still a good option. And then the spaces between I chose to pull from my shelves instead.

I did manage to make a few trips to the theatre, though not as many as I'd hoped. I'll make up for that in April, however, as some films I had to wait to see with the kiddo & others I'll have to catch when she's not with me. Everything I caught on the big screen this month was totally worthwhile, and in fact I'd say that overall I did pretty well quality-wise for what I caught.
First viewing - March 9th

Holy fucking shit this is great. I expected as much after Bone Tomahawk, but I wasn't prepared for the ways in which it delivered on its promise. If you haven't seen this yet, seek it out and watch it ASAP (it's on Amazon Prime if you've got that). I'm now devoted to watching anything S. Craig Zahler creates going forward.
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First viewing - March 30th

I know, I know, I should've seen this already. Now that I have I'm kicking myself too. This film deserves all the praise it gets, and should remain a great classic for years to come. I was very impressed all around, and I'm glad I finally caught up with it.
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People who added this item 1475 Average listal rating (999 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 8.1
First viewing - March 1st

As much as I dig Fincher's films, I opted out of catching this one during its theatrical run. Now that I've seen it, I don't know that it was necessary for me to watch it, but I can concede it's a well-made film and the subject matter is very much tailored to his sensibilities. I can't compare it to the source material, but the story followed a path that made sense and was even predictable to a degree, yet anticipating what was coming didn't detract too much from the overall experience. It's a dark and twisted little movie, and the cast is pretty impressive despite the lack of POC characters. I can't say I was at all impressed with the score, however, and really this is one of those films I could watch once & appreciate but wouldn't need to revisit.
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People who added this item 1356 Average listal rating (917 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.9
Pacific Rim (2013)
Re-watch - March 4th

I wanted to revisit Pacific Rim since its sequel drops this month, and I especially wanted the kiddo to watch it with me. She really dug it and is on board for its sequel. As I'd dreaded the film doesn't deliver the same experience on a TV at home as it does on the big screen, but overall I still have fun with it and look forward to seeing it again several more times. If it gets another theatrical run I'll definitely catch it there.
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People who added this item 227 Average listal rating (149 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.7
First viewing - March 6th

I'm disappointed to say this was my first time seeing L.A. Story given how much I appreciate Steve Martin's comedies. To be fair, however, at the time it came out I wasn't quite old enough to get in to see it on my own & my dad never bothered with taking me to see it (if he's seen it, I'm not aware). I don't recall ever coming across it on cable back when I used it more frequently, and so it eventually fell off my radar until I spotted it at the library. I had a blast with it overall, there are some great jokes and highly amusing set pieces. I wouldn't go so far as to call it great, but it's the kind of comedy I'd gladly watch every several years and enjoy just as much as the first time.

Just a thought: This is the only time I've ever found Sarah Jessica Parker attractive and it's still confusing me.
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First viewing - March 8th

This was interesting...I wasn't sure what to expect, but after seeing Oz Perkins's previous film I Am the Pretty Thing... I was curious to see whether this was worthwhile. I didn't love that film, and this was his debut so my expectations weren't high at all. As such I thought this kinda worked. The first hour or so you're waiting for something to happen, and then the last half hour delivers plenty of action. The cast is solid, and the film really takes its time with developing the characters. And yet there's not much to the characters that I could latch onto. So it wound up being more interesting in an intellectual way but pretty cold and remote emotionally. Afterwards I read up on the film a bit more, and better understood what Perkins was going for which he more or less nailed. And I thought it was better in some ways than his other film. But at the same time the first hour is such a chore to get through that I can see why it has low ratings. I wouldn't sit through it again, but I don't completely regret the time spent watching it.
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People who added this item 594 Average listal rating (354 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8.1
First viewing - March 11th

I can see the various ways Le Samourai influenced the films that followed it, and I thought it was pretty solid all around. I didn't fall in love with it, but it's an interesting movie and I'm glad I finally watched it.
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People who added this item 31 Average listal rating (15 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.8
First viewing - March 12th

This is the third film adaptation of The Front Page I've seen, and I'd easily rank it third of the bunch. That's not to say it's bad of course. I enjoy the story and once again it's told well. The lack of recognizable faces helped make the whole thing seem a little more realistic, but at the same time I wasn't especially impressed by any single performance. This time around I was bothered somewhat by the ways the men in the film treat the women, and I don't recall that being a complaint of mine before. Either I've become more aware of/sensitive to such things or it was handled differently than in the films that followed in its wake (this being the first adaptation of the play). I do think the other versions improved on this one, and so I'm more likely to revisit either of those.
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People who added this item 387 Average listal rating (273 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.7
Rare Exports (2010)
First viewing - March 13th

This was fine. I originally started to watch it the Friday night before, but fell asleep because of the pacing. I picked it back up where it lost me and managed to finish it without issue. It's an interesting story, a different take on Xmas, and I appreciated some aspects of it. At the same time there was nothing that especially impressed me or endeared itself to me, so in the end it was just something I watched and wouldn't likely revisit.
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Re-watch - March 15th

I've been wanting to revisit this since I first saw a trailer for Coco last year, but the kiddo was never in the mood for it so I decided to just watch it on my own. I still give it credit for being the first animated film I saw to tackle Dia de los Muertos, but compared to Coco it's not as great as I'd originally thought. I still really enjoy the film overall, but this time around the lack of original songs in favor of more recognizable hits struck me as lazy. Even worse is the casting of so many non-Latinx people in the roles when every character is Mexican. Thankfully the characters and story tend to make up for those shortcomings, so it's definitely a film I'll continue to revisit. But now it's been reinforced how much better it could be.
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Re-watch - March 17th

I picked this up recently due to a really great deal I came across, and given the kiddo's love for Studio Ghibli's films I wanted to watch it with her. Somehow I'd blocked out of my memory the fact that some of the human characters lose body parts, which had I recalled I might have waited a little longer to watch it with her. But after the first time it happened I checked with her & she wanted to keep going and said she could handle it, so we stuck it out. Overall she really enjoyed it, and I'm glad we watched it together.
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People who added this item 58 Average listal rating (35 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.6
First viewing - March 19th

I recently picked up a Mel Brooks collection on the cheap and this was the only film I hadn't already seen so of course it was my main priority. And while I enjoyed it I can also understand why I haven't come across much praise for it. It's definitely a minor work, and I'm rather surprised it was in the collection but The Producers wasn't. Overall it's amusing, but the laughs weren't as frequent as some of Mel's other films. Dom Deluise pretty much steals every scene he's in and remains a joy to watch. The rest of the cast is fine, and when the laughs hit the mark they really hit. I get the sense that either there's some context I'm missing to this film though, or maybe it's just that the pacing overall wasn't quite right. Whatever the case it's nothing great and I doubt whether I'll need to watch it again, but I don't regret that I've finally seen it.
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People who added this item 4 Average listal rating (2 ratings) 4.5 IMDB Rating 5.3
First viewing - March 20th

The image for this film used by Amazon Prime has a pull quote that claims this to be one of the best horror debuts since The Evil Dead, to which I raised an eyebrow and then dove in to see what, if anything, made it so good. Clearly this one hasn't found much of an audience so far, and I can't say I'm entirely surprised...though going into it blind also allowed me to meet it on its own terms, and I thought overall it was worth sitting through once. It's clearly a debut, and very low-budget, but there are some touches that made it worthwhile. If you can get past the opening being shot faux-grindhouse style, there's some really fun moments to be had here. The actors do fine for a bunch of people I've never heard of, and the effects are very well done. It's more horror-comedy than horror, so it's not really scary, but if you dig well-crafted gore and keep your expectations lowered this might be worth your time.
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People who added this item 290 Average listal rating (164 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.1
First viewing - March 22nd

Argento is very hit and miss with me I'm finding, and this was more of a miss. It's not bad at all though...the art of the film was very impressive and made it worth sitting through. From the colors to the camerawork to the set design, there's a lot here to appreciate. And the means the killer uses to keep our protagonist watching what he does...outstanding nightmare fuel. I just didn't care much for the characters though, and found the acting to be lacking at times. Plus the use of the cheesy 80s metal songs really didn't fit at all. I kept thinking that if Argento wanted to use 80s metal he should've gone with Motorhead instead. Anyway, it's absolutely worth checking out, I just never fell in love with it.
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People who added this item 297 Average listal rating (187 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.6
First viewing - March 23rd

Rollerball is worth seeing for the stuntwork alone. How they managed to put this film together and not suffer casualties among the cast I can only chalk up to professionalism and care being put into the production. The spectacle of the titular sport truly delivers an entertaining experience, all the way up until it stops being fun at which point it turns truly harrowing. I can't say there's a single reason to encourage the arrival of the future depicted here, with corporations controlling everything and women reduced to servants, and yet it doesn't feel that unlikely either. If they'd given everyone the same levels of intelligence as found in Idiocracy it might be even more realistic. Anyway, I'm glad I finally caught up with this one. It's flawed, but worthwhile.

Just a thought: I found out afterward the film is supposed to be set in 2018, so evidently now is the right time to see it if you haven't already.
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First viewing - March 23rd

I went into this one hoping it'd be in the so-bad-it's-good category, but really it was just bad. Aside from the effects there's nothing worthwhile here, unless you're just looking for a movie to riff on with your friends (in which case I recommend having alcohol handy too). I spent the first half making fun of it, and the last half fighting off sleep despite there being more "action" going on. You'd think a movie about Templar ghouls returning to get revenge on the town that blinded then burned them to death would be a good time, but not so much. Despite being a horror movie, it's not at all scary. The Templars move slower than Romero zombies, yet nobody tries to really outrun them. They supposedly can't see, yet they can find their way to your front door with no problem. And while I can get behind the idea of them being somewhat preserved over time so they can return for their revenge, there's no logical reason their clothing would survive all this time and even less logic behind them riding zombie horses. Sure, we're told the Templars had powers of immortality (which evidently only extend to their afterlives), but would they have shared them with their horses? I don't think so. My favorite stupid thing though was the townsfolk arming themselves with the SAME pitchforks the townsfolk had 500 years ago in the opening scene, as if they kept them all that time & never needed newer, modern ones. (My second favorite dumb thing was the Templars rising from the grave at the same time as the big celebration, yet they're under a late afternoon sky & everyone else is clearly celebrating at night.) Also, the human characters don't have enough depth to them for us to care about any of them, so why they're not all slain by the Templars is beyond me. Should you sit through this, you'll find the resolution is both obvious and stupid, and like me you'll probably regret wasting your time on it.
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People who added this item 1874 Average listal rating (1257 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 7.1
Re-watch - March 24th

On this particular Saturday I had some upsetting things happen, none of which I care to go into here. So by the time I was able to sit down with a movie I wanted something funny to watch, and since I'm still in a Mel Brooks mood I figured I'd watch Spaceballs. While I can now see it's the beginning of his decline I still love it overall. Sure the dialogue and acting could be better in places, but the film has enough charm and style that I don't mind. Plus the jokes still hit the mark, and let's face it, with a film like this the success of the jokes matters most of all. I should probably drop its rating since it's not exactly great, but it retains a special place in my heart and thus I'm reluctant to adjust its rating.
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People who added this item 1484 Average listal rating (1037 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 8.1
Re-watch - March 24th

I've been itching to revisit Fury Road, though I admit I've been reluctant to watch it at home simply because the stunts are so impressive on the big screen I worried they wouldn't hold up as well. Thankfully my fears were wrong, though the stunts definitely work best on the biggest screen you can watch this on. Why the world continues to make action movies after this one's release I'll never know, but maybe some day either another film will measure up to the high bar it set or else George Miller will kick out another film in the series that either matches or surpasses its excellence.
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People who added this item 47 Average listal rating (18 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 5.5
First viewing - March 26th

I was pleasantly surprised to find Season of the Witch on offer from Prime, and so I had to finally check it out for myself. I went into it not knowing much beyond brief things I've read over the years, so I didn't have any real expectations & thus was better able to meet the film on its own terms. I suggest others do the same if wanting to check it out.

I wouldn't go so far as to call this one of Romero's best works, but I appreciated what he was doing with it. If you go into it expecting a horror movie you'll surely be disappointed. It's more of a drama that includes some occult elements, and thus not out to frighten us. I didn't think it was bad at all, and while I probably won't go out of my way to revisit it I'm glad I finally saw it.
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People who added this item 238 Average listal rating (152 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.7
Re-watch - March 28th

Did I mention I'm on a Mel kick this month? I watched Silent Movie with the kiddo, and she was pretty entertained by it. I hadn't seen it since the year she was born, and most of the humor in it still has me laughing heartily. Now that I've seen more silent films from the past, I also better appreciate just what Mel was doing here. Most amusing is the fact that the film is very much a matter of art imitating life imitating art, as the film's story is also basically the true story behind its production. And really with a cast this good it's no wonder it went on to be a hit. I'm glad I finally own a copy so I can watch it as often as I want.
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People who added this item 724 Average listal rating (459 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7.1
Side Effects (2013)
First viewing - March 29th

So evidently when this came out a lot of people were disappointed in it, and after watching it I've concluded that those who weren't impressed probably had higher expectations for the film just because it was supposed to be Soderbergh's last. Any time a director we admire announces their final film we generally expect them to go all out for us, and that's not at all the case here. Nor is it the point. The film is certainly not great, but it's a solid thriller all around. Jude Law shines brightest here, even with his character being shaded in gray. All of the characters are presented as people rather than good guys and bad guys, which works well & left me with quite a bit to chew on after it ended. I doubt I'll need to watch it again, but it still earns an 8/10 because I'd be more than willing to revisit it should the opportunity arise.

Just a thought: This would pair nicely with Unsane.
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People who added this item 421 Average listal rating (289 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.1
First viewing - March 29th

I've seen this title pop up from time to time in the years since its release, so I was curious to see what it was like. Course having Tom Hardy in it helped encourage me to give it a shot too. I thought maybe it'd be a thriller, but it's not at all. Instead we get adult drama that plays out while Hardy drives his car and talks to people over the phone, and it works wonderfully. I was captivated by the whole thing, and Hardy delivers a wide range in his performance that makes the whole thing absolutely worthwhile. I don't know that I thought it was great, but it was certainly different and I would totally watch it again.
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First viewing - March 29th

This was good, but not anything great. I was engaged with the story and consistently entertained & invested in what was going on, and yet when it ended I didn't feel like it was much that I hadn't seen before. And so I won't be too surprised if I eventually forget about it, but I don't regret giving it a look.
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People who added this item 19 Average listal rating (12 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.5
First viewing - March 30th

I have some very mixed emotions about the experience of watching Chuck. It's definitely an interesting story, based on the real-life boxer that served as the inspiration for Rocky. It's got nothing on that film, however. Oh it's well-made, sure, and the cast does an excellent job. But Chuck is not at all the type of person you'd want to spend much time with once you get to know him, and so I struggled to feel much sympathy for his plight. It doesn't help either that the back half of the film follows pretty much exactly the trajectory you'd expect and with little payoff. So it's an interesting character study, but I never really loved it and probably wouldn't watch it again.
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People who added this item 1131 Average listal rating (760 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.6
First viewing - March 30th

People keep telling me I should see This Is the End, so I finally decided to give it a chance. I thought it was just OK. On the upside, while there's certainly plenty of profanity it's not as overdone as some of Rogen & Goldberg's other films. The acting is fine I guess, but it's not much of a stretch to play yourself so there's nothing impressive here acting-wise. There are some good jokes, but I didn't find it to be consistently funny and thus just sat back and let it do its thing and felt like my life was no different when it ended. Kind of a weak note to close out the month of March, really, but I guess that's fine.
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People who added this item 99 Average listal rating (56 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.3
First viewing - March 11th

Thoroughbreds is consistently engaging, thanks largely to the pair of ladies at its center. Anya Taylor-Joy has already earned a spot on my to-watch list thanks to her roles in Split and The Witch, and she continues her excellent streak here. Watching her interact with Olivia Cooke makes the entire film worth seeing, and my heart hurts again for the loss of Anton Yelchin who has a small role here and makes the most of it. I don't know that I'd go so far as to call it a great movie, but it's different and a wonderful mix of darkness and humor, and I'd definitely watch it again.
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People who added this item 86 Average listal rating (54 ratings) 3.7 IMDB Rating 4.2
First viewing - March 17th

Evidently I'm in the minority so far for supporting A Wrinkle in Time (as I type this the Listal rating is 4.6 and IMDb is 3.4). I took the kiddo to see it (she read the book ahead of time, finished it in one day), and we both really enjoyed it. I was so caught up in the story and the characters and the emotional throughline (which hits all the right spots) that if it had any shortcomings I wasn't aware of them. That's not to say it's a great movie, but I'd gladly watch it again. The visuals are often well-done, but more important is the diversity of the cast and the refreshing experience of seeing this story led by an African American girl. It's a shame this film isn't being more celebrated for that, but hopefully over time it'll find its audience. I'll be reading the book soon to see how it compares to the source material (I think I read it when I was a child, but it's been at least 30 years now...I know it used to be on my bookshelf with A Wind in the Door and A Swiftly Tilting Planet, two books I've also long forgotten the details of). The kiddo mentioned something being left out from the book that she wasn't happy about, but said she still liked the movie a lot.

Really the only complaint we had was with a boy seated behind us that kept talking during the first part of the movie until I told him to be quiet. Thankfully he listened and we were able to better enjoy the experience.
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People who added this item 92 Average listal rating (57 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.8
First viewing - March 25th

Probably you've heard about Unsane being a Soderbergh horror film shot on iPhone. I'd say thriller rather than horror, but otherwise that's accurate. Soderbergh takes advantage of the technology to get some really interesting shots, and the film looks pretty good. Claire Foy deserves most of the praise though for her performance, as she really goes deep to bring her character to life throughout the film. The rest of the cast does a good job as well, and there are clear lines drawn between what happens in the film and some things that have gone on in the real world. There's one aspect that seems too far-fetched, if I'm being honest, but otherwise the film works very well to deliver what it should. I don't know that I'd need to see it again, but Unsane is absolutely worth your time.
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First viewing - March 25th

After watching Unsane I grabbed lunch & then caught The Death of Stalin which was put on my radar last year when it screened during Fantastic Fest. Those who reviewed it from there sang its praises loudly, so I was curious to check it out. Add to that the fact that it's the latest film from Armando Iannucci who gave us the outstanding In the Loop plus the stellar cast & there wasn't much chance I'd let this pass me by. And again we have a movie that's well worth seeing. The cast performs as well as you'd expect, and there are some really funny moments along the way. It didn't quite reach greatness in my book, and when it ended I was left with a feeling something was missing that I can't put my finger on. And so it's borderline between a 7 and an 8 for me, which means I'll have to revisit it once more later on to see if I can figure it out.
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