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Added by the giraffe on 6 May 2018 04:33
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Movies the giraffe watched in 2018: May

Sort by: Showing 29 items
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Noteworthy: The best films I saw this month

The breakdown: 29 films watched
21 first views, 8 re-watches
10 via streaming, 17 via DVD/BR, and 2 in the theatre
Decades touched: 1940s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 2000s, & 2010s

May was pretty light on theatrical releases I cared about, so I wound up spending more time watching movies at home. Between the library and my streaming options I'd say it wound up being a worthwhile month overall. Taking a long weekend over Memorial Day helped me boost my numbers too, and had I had the kiddo that weekend this list would be a whole lot shorter. At least my two trips to the theatre were both worthwhile (and I anticipate that I'll make up for the shortage in June), and there weren't many films I regretted sitting through which is always a good thing.
People who added this item 495 Average listal rating (334 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.7
Appaloosa (2008)
First viewing - May 14th

Appaloosa gets so many things right. The casting is perfect, the action moves the story along and comes organically from what happens rather than being flashy and trying to look cool, the set design and costumes are wonderful, even the music is well-handled. The only thing that kept it from a perfect score is there's a moment where you think the film ends, but then it makes a small time-hop instead and it took me a little bit to fall back in with where it went after that. Perhaps on a re-watch that won't bother me, but it was mildly jarring. Overall I loved it though, and will have to add it to my collection.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 219 Average listal rating (121 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.6
First viewing - May 8th

I've seen this film pop up on lists around here, so I wanted to check it out (no pun intended). I knew nothing about it beyond what the title suggests, and wound up being very won over by it. The characters, the dialogue, the story, even the music...it all worked together to create a simple little film that I thoroughly enjoyed and would absolutely watch it again.

Just a thought: I'm glad I watched this before the accusations against Freeman came out near the end of May. In hindsight, I wouldn't have enjoyed this as much & it would've been a painful reminder of that news. It's heartbreaking finding out someone you've long admired & respected isn't as admirable as you'd originally thought.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1180 Average listal rating (710 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8.1
Rebecca (1940)
First viewing - May 26th

The few flaws Rebecca has are so minimal that only their cumulative effect prevented me from giving it a perfect score. The biggest issue being that while I can believe Fontaine's character is in love with Olivier's by the way she looks at him, there's never a clear reason provided to back up her feelings for him. His character even asks her why she loves him on a few occasions, and she never gives an answer. Clearly this is intentional, but it's still a little frustrating. Otherwise the story plays out in ways that kept me deeply engaged and eager to see what would happen next, and the acting & technical aspects are pretty excellent. It's easily among Hitchcock's best works, and I'm glad I finally caught up with it.
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Home viewings

People who added this item 1006 Average listal rating (720 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.4
Godzilla (2014)
Re-watch - May 4th

I wanted to see whether the kiddo would enjoy the newer Godzilla, in hopes I could get her interested in following what's shaping up to be an exciting new franchise. That means we'll be tackling Kong: Skull Island too in the near future, especially since by the end of this film she was enthusiastically cheering on Gojira. The MUTOs were kinda intense for her, as they definitely creeped her out. But aside from that she enjoyed it overall and wants to see more films with Gojira in them. I still think the film is a solid 7.5, though knowing from the previous viewing that it'd be more focused on the family than the titular character allowed me to better appreciate what it was doing. I still feel like we don't get enough action with the creatures, but given that most of the film is clearly from the perspective of the central family I suppose that makes sense. Here's hoping the next couple films better deliver on the action front.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 6654 Average listal rating (4817 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.4
X-Men (2000)
Re-watch - May 5th

I'd picked up X-2 from the library because I don't think I've seen it since the theatre and wanted to watch it with my daughter. Before we began I checked with her to see what she recalled about this film, and she admitted we should watch it first (to be fair, it's been about 3 years now). Turns out that opened us up to a franchise run over the weekend, as she kept asking for more. Having her get excited throughout the film elevated the experience for me as well, though I still stand by my last published thoughts on it.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 4762 Average listal rating (3292 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.4
Re-watch - May 5th

For years now I've read so many people sing the praises of X-2 as the best of the bunch, and while I'm not quite sold on that it's definitely a step up from the first film. It handles its themes better than the first one while building off the foundation it established. There are some truly iconic moments here, and I appreciate how the story plays out far more than its predecessor. So yes, it's better but I'd argue it's not quite the best of the lot. The kiddo loved every moment, and when it ended she asked if we had any others and how many other X-Men films there are. And if we'd started watching movies first thing in the morning, she probably would've insisted on watching all of them in a single day.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 3099 Average listal rating (2161 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.7
Re-watch - May 6th

I don't own The Last Stand, so we jumped past it to the next entry in the franchise. The first thing I noticed but hadn't thought about before for some reason is how this film completely lifts the opening scene from X-Men and then follows it a little further to tie together Erik and Sebastian Shaw. It's an excellent means of not only tying this branch of films to the originals but reorienting us in the world of mutants. I'd argue the cast alone elevates this one above the original trilogy, even though I'm still dissatisfied with the portrayal of the White Queen. And again we have similar themes carried over of people viewed as "other" embracing what makes them different in their own ways. It's a blast all around, and it was fun to experience it with the kiddo being thrilled by it all next to me.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1769 Average listal rating (1140 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.9
Re-watch - May 6th

Seriously, that "Time in a Bottle" scene alone makes this the franchise's best film. And I love the storyline all around, even if some aspects of it are a little cheesy at times. It's far from perfect, but it's so damn fun that I hardly mind.

Just a thought: It's a shame Apocalypse completely ruined the good thing they had going with this series. I have no intention of sitting through it again with the kiddo, and would rather watch The Last Stand with her.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 495 Average listal rating (321 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 6.1
First viewing - May 7th

Review by PvtCaboose91

You'd think it was December given how many movies I've revisited from my shelves already this month. But it's not, so it was time to shift gears back to some films I've wanted to see but haven't gotten around to. I really wanted to watch this when it came out, but let it slip by me. Since its release I haven't seen anyone singing its praises, and now I see why. Now I'm not saying this is a bad film. It's not. You can't put together that high quality of a cast and have everything suck about it. Well, okay, maybe you could, but it doesn't happen here. If nothing else the ensemble keeps the film worth watching all the way through. The trouble is that there's no depth to any of it, which is a shame. You'd think a movie about a real-life team of men rushing to save art from destruction at the hands of the Nazis would be a great idea, and it's not surprising to see it made its way to the big screen. But there's no attempt to dig deeper into the characters. They're men who love art trying to save art, and that's assumed to be good enough. Sure, we want their mission to succeed, but it's all just surface-level dramatization with no soul. The actors get some fun moments in along the way, and it's watchable enough, but I kept waiting for it to connect with me and it wound up being just something I watched.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 195 Average listal rating (131 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.2
First viewing - May 11th

I thought I'd seen this when I was younger, but I must've been thinking of something else or else just assumed I'd watched it, because none of it was familiar to me. Well, unless you count all the things He-Man clearly lifted from it. I wish I had seen it when I was younger, because I probably would've loved it when I was in my early teens. I spent a lot of the film fighting the urge to riff on it, and kept losing. I couldn't take it as seriously as it takes itself, though I did admire the craft it took to put the sets together and bring the odd creatures to life. But it's not a great thing when I'm getting most of my enjoyment out of the animals instead of the humans. And the one human I liked best is only in a handful of scenes. So yeah, I was probably better off having assumed I'd seen it and leaving it alone.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 5852 Average listal rating (4049 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 8.1
First viewing - May 12th

I admit it, I was wrong to ignore this movie. In my defense, however, back when it came out I had no interest in anything DiCaprio was doing and even less interest in Tom Hanks doing serious roles. And no amount of praise heaped upon it was going to change my mind either. But now I'm more willing to give both actors a chance, so I figured it was time to finally sit down with this film especially since I needed something less dramatically heavy to offset the other films I'd picked up from the library. And yeah, there's plenty of drama here but it's also got a fun streak running through everything that keeps it consistently engaging. It may be my favorite of DiCaprio's performances, and the story was just spellbinding. I'm glad I watched it after all these years, and will more than likely watch it a few more times to make up for ignoring it for so long.

Just a thought: I'm a little surprised that Shane Black had nothing to do with the script & didn't direct it.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 45 Average listal rating (28 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 6.2
First viewing - May 12th

I forget why this slipped past me, because I really wanted to see it. Hell, I've had the soundtrack since 2006. And now that I've seen it I wish I could've caught it with a full house of OutKast fans, because that'd make the overall experience even better. Now Idlewild is not a great movie. The music and the set-pieces built around the songs are the main reason to watch this, though that shouldn't be too surprising given that rather than work with a new director OutKast opted to stick with the guy who had directed a bunch of their music videos. And as someone who typically has issues with musical films, I was pleasantly surprised that I liked those parts best. Course, to be fair, I've been a fan of theirs for a long time now, so that probably helps. The film also does a solid job of capturing the dynamic that existed between Big Boi & Andre 3000, casting them as very different people who still manage to get along and work well together while sustaining a lifelong friendship.

Where it falters, however, is in the scenes that require action and heightened drama. The action scenes are especially messy, often shot in ways that it's unclear what's going on. The worst of these is shot in rooms that are very dark, which makes what happens even harder to follow. Plus, Terence Howard isn't as menacing as he's supposed to be. He looks the part but he lacks the presence his role should have. Big Boi brings a fair bit of swagger to his role and plays it okay, but he's not really as good of an actor as Andre. Overall though it's a decent story, and while I'd be willing to watch it again I also probably don't need to as I've thought more about it. It's worth seeing though, especially if you were into OutKast beyond their biggest hits.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 490 Average listal rating (366 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.9
First viewing - May 18th

The kiddo & I were supposed to see this in the theatre, but wound up skipping it. She picked it to watch on this particular night, and we enjoyed it just fine. She liked it better than I did, and kept talking about it as the weekend rolled along. I thought it was solidly entertaining, but nothing especially deep or mind-blowing.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1803 Average listal rating (1199 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.8
Bolt (2008)
Re-watch - May 20th

We needed something to relax with on a Sunday afternoon, and she pulled this off the shelf. It was fun to watch her process everything now that she's older than the last time she saw it, and I still find it to be a fun & heartfelt movie.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 61 Average listal rating (37 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 6.9
First viewing - May 21st

Last Flag Flying never got a theatrical release near me, and as a long-time fan of Linklater's I'd been itching to catch up with it. Thankfully I was able to stream it with no issues, and overall I enjoyed it. Cranston, Fishburne, and Carell slay the hell out of their roles and make the whole thing worth sitting through. The dialogue is often great, which is to be expected of a Linklater picture. I felt like the emotional side of things didn't work as well though, largely because there's not enough focus on what the son meant to his father. Instead it's a lot of noise about the past of the trio that keeps coming back to the reason they've been reunited. Which is entertaining to watch, but it also takes away some of the power that could've been built up had more time been spent in the right places. I might watch this one again just to spend time with the characters once more, but it left me mildly disappointed so I won't be watching it a lot.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 85 Average listal rating (58 ratings) 4.5 IMDB Rating 5.2
First viewing - May 24th

As anyone who's followed me on here already knows, The Strangers is among my favorite horror films. So it shouldn't be too surprising that I was reluctant to watch its sequel, especially with it arriving a decade later and Bertino only involved in co-writing the script. I read an article a while back that talked about how the sequel kept a lot of the things that made its predecessor so effective while espousing deep love for the original, and that sold me on giving it a chance. Turns out, he was right. There's no attempt to dive into the villains on any level, which is a welcome change from most sequels. And so it's still terrifying from that aspect of not knowing why this is happening to the main characters. The film does a decent job of ratcheting up the tension, and the effects are believable all around. There are some very amusing sight gags used minimally that I appreciated, and the music tends to be needle-dropped at the right time to tie the action to it. Where the film falls short, however, is in two areas. First, the central family has a lot going on at the start of the film, but nothing ever really comes from it and it doesn't drive much of what happens later on. Which makes you wonder why they bothered. It created a sense of being detached from some characters, which isn't such a good thing. Second, there's no clear geography for the action to run though. I can let that slide a little because it puts us in the family's shoes...they're not in a place that's very familiar to them, and perhaps that's what they trying to help the audience feel. But really the audience should be able to understand how a character can move between a series of points so we know how close or far the characters may be from one another. Overall though this scratched my slasher itch in a good way and I'm glad I gave it a shot.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 999 Average listal rating (575 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.4
First viewing - May 25th

I have vague memories of seeing part of this film on TV with my dad, but I definitely never watched it all. When I noticed the library had it on hand I finally took the opportunity to see it. And...it's fine. I can see its influence on other films (especially Dazed and Confused) and as it rolled along I got more into it. I like all the music in it which is good, but of course it's not as easy for me to relate to the film as a whole because it's very much a product of its time which was before I was born. So I'm sure someone who was a teen in the late '50s/early '60s would enjoy this more than I did. But it's got some really amusing moments, a bunch of comedic bits that fell flat for me, an interesting cast, and some likable characters. I didn't think it was anything especially great, but I'm glad I finally saw it.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1325 Average listal rating (808 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 8.1
First viewing - May 25th

So I immediately followed up American Graffiti with The Wall because I figured it made sense to watch the two music-heavy movies I'd picked up together. Turns out it would've been better to watch them in reverse order, or else given them plenty of breathing room between instead. The Wall is a visual feast, but also pretty depressing. My love for the music makes me able to sit through it all, but it's nothing I'd need to watch again. I did really enjoy the animated sequences, but because there's almost no actual dialogue the live action sequences fall short of being anything deep or great. They manage some rather iconic and impressive visuals, but it all rings hollow because we're never brought into the narrative in a satisfying way. So if you just watch it as a long-form music video I guess it's fine, but I'd hoped for a bit more from it.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 34 Average listal rating (21 ratings) 5.4 IMDB Rating 5.6
First viewing - May 25th

The Cured starts with an interesting premise about former zombies being reintegrated back into society, and wisely chooses to stick mostly to one of them as he navigates this transition. The acting is solid across the board, and there are a number of interesting ideas explored along the way. Unfortunately some are left hanging as the film struggles to juggle all the subplots. And you know a film isn't working as well as it should be when a main character breaks down in tears and you feel nothing about it. So while I appreciated the attempt at a fresh take on a zombie film, it fell short in several respects from being truly satisfying.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 807 Average listal rating (561 ratings) 5.3 IMDB Rating 5.7
The Purge (2018)
First viewing - May 25th

After years of hearing that this series has gotten better over time, I've decided to finally check it out for myself. This is generally agreed to be the weakest entry in the series thus far, and if that's the case then I'm looking forward to seeing what comes next. I thought it was decent enough. Nothing earth-shattering, but nothing terrible either. I appreciated the ways it looked at how a handful of people would respond to this situation even if the social commentary aspect was a bit obvious and a little weak. It's consistently entertaining though, and I found myself enjoying it more than I expected to (thank you, lowered expectations). It's not a film I'd revisit, but I thought it was worthwhile.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 846 Average listal rating (625 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 7
Re-watch - May 26th

I've been itching to revisit Last Jedi for a while now. I'd planned to see it in the theatre a second time but the timing never worked out. Since I had plenty of extra free time over this weekend and no urge to waste my time on Solo, I felt it was the perfect occasion to finally watch it again. And I've got to say I loved it even more the second time around. Matter of fact, my rating bumped up this time and it's pretty rare for any film to go from a 9 to a 10 for me. My belief that most people who disliked it had issues with it defying their expectations and delivering something different has been reinforced even more. This is the first film since Return of the Jedi that feels new and cares more about moving the franchise forward in logical ways than trying to recapture the past, and it's a very welcome change of pace.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 604 Average listal rating (396 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.8
First viewing - May 27th

The Outlaw Josey Wales is a very well-made film. I can't dispute that. Over the course of the picture I went from initially disliking the titular character to warming up to him, and I especially appreciated most of the ways the film handles Native American characters. Overall it tells a good story, and I'm glad I finally watched it...yet I doubt I'll go out of my way to watch it again.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 18 Average listal rating (11 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 6.2
First viewing - May 27th

I spotted this at the library and picked it up because it had originally ended the AV Club A History of Violence series as the top pick for 2017 (and I agree with most of the linked article, by the way). The opening scene is an all-timer, and there are some other action set-pieces that are very impressive here. I also dig the diverse cast, and it's a reminder that good films don't need their cast & crew limited to one country. I didn't fall in love with it, but it's definitely a worthwhile entry into the action film canon and I wouldn't mind watching it again.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 495 Average listal rating (317 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.2
First viewing - May 27th

Here's another film I meant to see in theatres. In this instance it never happened because the kiddo was a handful at the time & it was harder to get away, especially for a film her mom and I wanted to see together. Eventually it drifted to the back-burner in my head, but every once in a while I'm reminded I still hadn't seen it. After two gun-festival films in a row I was in no rush to watch something similar again, so I opted for this as a palate-cleanser. And it did the trick, while also being a fun time overall. Jason Segel and Emily Blunt have great chemistry together, and there are plenty of hilarious moments along the way. Not all the humor worked for me (Chris Pratt's character mostly fell flat IMO) and it's nothing especially great, but I thought it was worth seeing.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 2223 Average listal rating (1544 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 7.2
True Lies (1994)
Re-watch - May 28th

I know it had been at least 18 years since I'd last watched True Lies, and the more I've thought about it it's possible that I only saw it in the theatre & wound up catching parts of it on cable during the '90s but not the entire thing. This allowed the film to work its magic on me better than if it had been a film I'd spent hours revisiting when I was younger. The whole thing is silly, but it's so entertaining I hardly cared. It's pure non-stop fun, and I should probably watch it at least once a decade just for the experience.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 108 Average listal rating (79 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.3
Revenge (2018)
First viewing - May 29th

I've seen some positive things about Revenge lately, and holy hell did it deliver. I never caught a trailer for it, so I went into it blind. Now I'll concede that after the first 30 minutes you can pretty well figure out where it's headed, but how we get there is never obvious which is much appreciated. The effects are particularly impressive and occasionally tough to watch, and the film feels timely, almost like a fantasy film for the #MeToo movement. It helps that it's written and directed by a woman, and finding out afterward that it's her debut only made it that much more impressive. It doesn't quite cross the line to greatness, but it's absolutely worth seeing and I'd sit through it again.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 449 Average listal rating (323 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.4
First viewing - May 31st

Anarchy takes all the things I wished the first film dug more into and does just that. As such, it's a big step up from its predecessor. It's not great, but it's a damn good time and I found myself on the edge of my seat occasionally. Frank Grillo proves he's one of our most treasured character actors working today, and the rest of the cast does a solid job of keeping up with him. I'll be catching up with the next entry in June, and then the fourth film in the franchise drops in early July and I'll likely see it too.

Just a thought: I'm unintentionally catching up on Frank Grillo's filmography. No complaints on this, however.
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Big screen attractions

Films I caught in a theatre
People who added this item 136 Average listal rating (93 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7
Tully (2018)
First viewing - May 12th

I kicked off my Saturday by catching Tully since I'd had my daughter the weekend it came out. I thought for a while I'd be seeing it alone as I sat there, but then a couple walked in at the end of the credits and tripled the size of the audience. I'm hoping people are going out and seeing it though, because it's absolutely worthwhile. Charlize Theron gives one of her best performances and thus justifies buying a ticket to see it. Thankfully it's also got a well-written script and characters that feel very real. I'm not sure that it'd resonate as strongly for those without children, but since I have those experiences to draw on it hit a lot of familiar notes which sold me on it even more. I wound up deeply enjoying it, and look forward to watching it again.

Just a thought: If we can get Diablo Cody and Jason Reitman to make a film together at least once a decade for the rest of their lives, I'd be content with that. Bonus points if they can get Theron to return for each one.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 699 Average listal rating (524 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.7
Deadpool 2 (2018)
First viewing - May 17th

I caught Deadpool 2 on its Thursday opening night, which I don't usually do but since I knew I'd have my daughter with me all weekend I didn't want to wait. I was pleasantly surprised to be able to not only get into a screening but the theatre I chose still had plenty of open seats (thus I was surprised again to find out it had a record-breaking night that Thursday). Anyway, I had no expectation that this would be any improvement over its predecessor and really it wasn't. It's still solidly fun though, thanks to it retaining the same sense of humor that made the original work so well. The cast is mostly excellent, but the story isn't quite as good as I'd hoped for. The credits stinger was so great though it tempted me to forgive the film for its flaws. Overall I enjoyed it, but I also thought it could've been better in places (if I could do half ratings this would be a 7.5 instead of just a 7). Maybe the third entry will finally improve over both films. Here's hoping...
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