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Added by the giraffe on 6 May 2019 02:51
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Movies the giraffe watched in 2019: May

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Noteworthy: The best films I saw this month

The breakdown: 25 films watched
17 first views, 8 re-watches
15 via streaming, 5 via DVD/BR, and 5 in the theatre
Decades touched: 1950s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 2000s, & 2010s

Joining Hulu temporarily provided me with some variety but also a lot of what I watched on there fell into the average category. By the time the trial runs out I'll probably be out of movies I want to watch there, so the only reason to keep it active is if I wanted to keep watching TV shows. It doesn't surprise me that their TV options are far better than the movies, but as I've never been one to watch a lot of TV that doesn't appeal to me much.

Anyway, this wasn't a great month overall but there were some very worthwhile films I caught which kept it from being too disappointing. And the kiddo continues to keep things interesting whenever we're together, helping me step a little outside of my norm. Thankfully though our tastes run similar most of the time, which means we're both rewarded usually.
People who added this item 305 Average listal rating (196 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.7
Johnny Guitar (1954)
First viewing - May 26th

When people talk about Westerns this film doesn't tend to get discussed which is a shame. It's excellent all around, and I can't think of a single complaint for it. The only thing it was missing was that 10/10 feeling. I'd gladly watch it several more times.
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People who added this item 44 Average listal rating (33 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7
First viewing - May 25th

I was pleasantly surprised to find Shadow playing here, and immediately jumped on the opportunity to see it. Much like Zhang Yimou's Hero and House of Flying Daggers the film is richly composed and often a wonder to behold. There's one sequence specifically that will absolutely be among my favorite scenes of this year. The story is full of twists and turns that pay off well, and overall I highly enjoyed it. I'm not sure it crossed my personal line of greatness, but it came close and I'd gladly watch it again.
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People who added this item 21 Average listal rating (13 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 8.2
First viewing - May 13th

So I scored a free trial for Hulu for 30 days, and this was the first film I wanted to check out. I've heard a lot of praise for this documentary, and it's absolutely well-deserved. What starts out as a documentary about a group of skater friends slowly unfolds into something deeper and more interesting. I don't want to give anything away, but it's quite fascinating and challenging. I don't know that I'd go out of my way to watch it again, but I'd gladly introduce others to it.
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People who added this item 142 Average listal rating (97 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.8
First viewing - May 11th

I'd seen a fair amount of praise for Long Shot from various critics I follow online, so I figured I'd give it a look. And I wound up really enjoying the film overall. It's easily the best thing Rogen has done in years, even though he's more or less playing a similar type as always. It probably helps that he didn't write the film also. Theron shines throughout and her chemistry with Rogen is believable enough. I'd gladly watch this one again, which is saying a lot for a romantic-comedy.
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People who added this item 217 Average listal rating (161 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 7.9
First viewing - May 25th

Much ado has been made over Shoplifters, and it's all justified. The performances are stellar, the story is engaging and plays out in some surprising ways, and it's got moments of pure joy and true sadness. It didn't quite cross my personal line of greatness, but it's absolutely worth your time.
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May the 4th Be with You Marathon

The kiddo wanted to celebrate May 4th with a Star Wars marathon, so we ran through the five films below between breakfast and bedtime. We both enjoyed it, though now I'm fine with not experiencing anything Star Wars-related until the new movie comes out in December. No further thoughts needed on these, aside from I'm glad to have the de-specialized editions of the original trilogy so she can grow up knowing them.
Re-watch - May 4th

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Re-watch - May 4th

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Re-watch - May 4th

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People who added this item 1552 Average listal rating (1095 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.9
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Home viewings

People who added this item 587 Average listal rating (302 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7
Hesher (2011)
First viewing - May 8th

I remember being curious about Hesher thanks to its trailers, but catching it during its theatrical run was not a priority. Turns out I could've gone on ignoring its existence. It's not necessarily a bad movie, as there are some scenes and aspects I appreciated. But the story never comes together in a satisfying way, and thus the film feels a bit empty in the end. It doesn't help that we're clearly expected to find the titular character more amusing and endearing than he actually is, a fact that works against the film at times. And despite there being a clear connection between every scene in the film, the tone is all over the place so that I wasn't sure how to feel about what I was watching. It seems like there's a decent idea here, but maybe it would've been better realized in the hands of someone else.
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People who added this item 3 Average listal rating (3 ratings) 5.3 IMDB Rating 5.8
First viewing - May 10th

I went into this one after reading The A.V. Club's Random Roles interview with Ms. Shaye, and it's worth watching for her performance. She does a stellar job of bringing her character to life. Unfortunately the rest of the film falls in the realm of direct-to-video or late-night made-for-TV movies. The rest of the acting is average at best, though that helps to let Shaye shine even more I guess. And while it's tragic to see what her character goes through, by the end of it I didn't much care about how things played out for her. It was better than Hesher, but not by much, and I wouldn't watch it again.
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People who added this item 733 Average listal rating (462 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.2
Re-watch - May 11th

It's been at least 10 years since I last watched The Hudsucker Proxy, and after two disappointing films in a row I figured I'd watch something I knew I'd at least enjoy before diving into another new-to-me film. It still falls short of greatness, but it's a solid Coens film all around full of their usual touches. It's a lot of fun, the cast is wonderful, and I'll probably watch it again in another 10 years.
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People who added this item 135 Average listal rating (86 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.2
First viewing - May 15th

As you'd expect given the title, the sound design in this film is the best reason to watch it. That and watching these people create a variety of sounds for a giallo film were about all I appreciated here though. It's never predictable, but it got quite tedious in my opinion by never offering any satisfying payoff to all of its shenanigans. Probably it's just not my kind of film, though it seemed like it could've been. Ah well.
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People who added this item 735 Average listal rating (492 ratings) 5.4 IMDB Rating 6.1
First viewing - May 17th

Days of Thunder was not a film that I was interested in at the time of its release, though I do recall getting toys of the cars in it from a fast food chain at the time. When I saw the cast and that it was directed by Tony Scott, I figured it might be worthwhile. Eh, not so much. I mean, I wouldn't say it's a bad movie but there's nothing present to get me emotionally invested. The only character who gets fully fleshed out is Robert Duvall's, which is kind of a problem given Cruise is the lead. It probably doesn't help either that I'm not a fan of car racing (especially not NASCAR). It moves along fast enough to be entertaining, but it's pretty empty and nothing worth remembering.
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People who added this item 193 Average listal rating (124 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 6.1
First viewing - May 18th

The kiddo wanted to watch a movie, and after digging through all the options available on Hulu she couldn't make up her mind. Then I spotted this and said we'd just watch it. One thing that struck me is that it's listed among the kids films, but there's a lot of expletives throughout the film. How it's PG and not PG-13, I'm not even sure. Aside from that, I appreciated the ideas and concept of monsters living under the bed and having their own world and odd rules. Howie Mandel's antics are occasionally annoying, but overall he does a solid job. Fred Savage is, well, Fred Savage which is fine. The film doesn't do a great job of communicating why the monsters want his character so much, which also works against the film. It's got some fun moments, however, and the kiddo enjoyed it so it wasn't a total loss. It could be better though.
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People who added this item 128 Average listal rating (74 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.4
First viewing - May 21st

So far this month just isn't going well movies-wise. Here we have another average film that I'll likely forget I watched in a few years. Paul Rudd does a decent job of playing someone a little different from his norm, and watching his character and Emile Hirsch's play off each other results in some amusing enough moments. But ultimately it's all just fine and nothing I'd go out of my way to revisit.
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People who added this item 286 Average listal rating (177 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.1
Re-watch - May 24th

So it's Friday night and all I wanted was some horror, so I opted to revisit Splinter. My thoughts from the last time I saw it remain the same.
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First viewing - May 26th

I saw the remake of this film during its theatrical run, so I was curious to see the original. The fact it's got Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway was further justification to do so. And while it's certainly an entertaining film, it's got its share of problems too. For one thing, no matter how badass McQueen is it's difficult to care about a wealthy character whose sole motivation is trying to stave off boredom. There's also a technique used during the heist sequence of using multiple shots on the same screen, and while it's initially interesting due to the novelty of it, it gets used to the point that it doesn't really add that much to the film and becomes more distracting than anything else.

Just a thought: This month is getting overrun with films I won't watch again, and it's sad to see this fall among them.
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People who added this item 76 Average listal rating (45 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.2
Columbus (2017)
First viewing - May 26th

Columbus is a really interesting little film. The characters are worth spending time with, and the whole thing maintains a tight focus on the day-to-day events for two people who are stuck in the titular city. There are echoes of Lost in Translation here, but I felt like it did a better job of telling its story than that film did. My only complaint is that there's a moment where we're intentionally shut out of the dialogue, which was frustrating as it could have given even more depth to one of the leads and I'm not sure what the point was of keeping the audience out. So it's not great, but it's worth watching and I might even see it again at some point.
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People who added this item 168 Average listal rating (115 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.5
Sightseers (2012)
First viewing - May 26th

I ended my day of movies at home with Sightseers, which I could also have gone on ignoring. There are some amusing moments here, and credit is due to the cast who does a fantastic job of realizing their characters. But it's not an easy film to get behind, and by the end of it I felt nothing for it.
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People who added this item 4335 Average listal rating (2912 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 8.2
First viewing - May 27th

Back when this came out its marketing campaign was so omnipresent that I didn't care if I ever watched it. Add to that the fact that I'd figured out more or less what was going to be happening with the film from the trailers, and my ongoing ambivalence toward DiCaprio, and it was very easy for me to ignore it. Over the years since its release I've seen plenty of praise for it, which makes sense given most people love Scorsese and DiCaprio more than I do. I finally decided to give it a chance, because let's face it Scorsese doesn't make shitty movies. He might make some that don't work well, or have flaws, or just aren't to my taste, but even when I don't enjoy his films there's always something I appreciate about each one.

Shutter Island wound up being better than I'd expected, even despite it confirming I'd figured out what was really going on all those years ago. Thankfully there's more depth to the film than I'd anticipated, and Scorsese does his best to make you question whether you're right about DiCaprio's character. And the ending is especially excellent. It's not a film I'd watch over and over, as I think most of its power lies in not knowing what's coming, but I'm glad I gave it a chance now.
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Big screen attractions

Films I caught in a theatre
People who added this item 346 Average listal rating (267 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.6
First viewing - May 18th

This was the kiddo's first cinematic priority this month, and who am I to turn her down? She loved it, but then it'd be surprising if she didn't. I thought it was just okay. The CGI used to bring the various Pokemon to life is well rendered, and Ryan Reynolds has some amusing lines along the way. A lot of the humor fell flat for me, however, and the human side of things doesn't come together as well as it should. Overall it's entertaining enough, but I wouldn't watch it again for myself.
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People who added this item 188 Average listal rating (136 ratings) 5.5 IMDB Rating 6.1
Brightburn (2019)
First viewing - May 25th

I followed up Shadow with Brightburn, and wound up being disappointed I couldn't watch them the other way around (chalk that up to the theater's showtimes). On the one hand it's amusing to see what's clearly a B movie embrace its status. The gore effects are a lot of fun despite the occasional obviously fake CGI bits, and the film sticks to its promise of showing a version of Superman from a horror perspective. But there's not much else to the film, unfortunately. There's no depth to it at all, and there's never a moment where you think Brandon will redeem himself or resist the urge to go full-on villain. I'm not saying I regret watching it, but had I watched it first I could've left the theatre in a more satisfied spot than I did seeing it second.
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Re-watch - May 29th

The moment I found out I could see Once Upon a Time in the West on the big screen I bought my ticket. This was back in March. And as I'd suspected the film plays even better on the big screen with an audience than it did when I watched it at home, alone, several years back. There's not a single flaw in sight, and now that I've spent the years between these two viewings catching up on other Westerns I can confirm it's one of the best Westerns ever made (maybe even the best). The only thing missing is that perfect 10 feeling, and I can't fault the film much for that.

Just a thought: Ennio Morricone is a genius and I'm glad he's scored so many films throughout his life.
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