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Added by the giraffe on 7 Nov 2019 12:50
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Movies the giraffe watched in 2019: November

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Noteworthy: The best films I saw this month

The breakdown: 22 films watched
19 first views, 3 re-watches
16 via streaming, 1 via DVD/BR, and 5 in the theatre
Decades touched: 1970s, 80s, 90s, and 2010s

I began the month by trying to wipe out as much of my Shudder watch-list as possible before the subscription ended, and then shifted gears to focus on the content available via Starz. Along the way I managed to watch three films via another streaming service before it gave up the ghost, which was unfortunate but for the near future I should have some options that will keep me going. Plus next month I turn my attention primarily toward my collection, though I'm not letting my paid services go untouched. Overall the month was a mixed bag, but at least there were some gems to be found.
People who added this item 340 Average listal rating (240 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 8.6
Parasite (2019)
First viewing - Nov. 2nd

All you need to know at this point is that Parasite is currently my favorite film of 2019. That doesn't mean it won't get dethroned in the next month, but I loved it and can't wait to revisit it multiple times.
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People who added this item 56 Average listal rating (41 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.3
First viewing - Nov. 1st

I kicked off the month with Dolemite Is My Name, which has had a lot of positive buzz leading up to its release on Netflix. And I'll gladly throw in with those heaping praise upon it. It's a joy to see Eddie Murphy actually acting and clearly having a great time in a role again. Wesley Snipes threatens to steal the film, but Murphy manages to outshine him overall. I loved the story of Rudy Ray Moore and his journey from nobody to stardom, and there are some wonderfully memorable scenes here. I'd gladly watch it again, though first I think I'll track down some of Moore's movies.
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People who added this item 53 Average listal rating (18 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.4
First viewing - Nov. 2nd

Shudder recommended this to me, and overall I thought it was pretty terrible. I fought to stay awake as it plodded along (which makes the image above appropriate), the acting is average, and as time moves me away from it I'm already forgetting the details. There were a couple of death scenes that gave me respect for the effects crew, but aside from that I was mostly bored and wouldn't bother with this ever again.
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People who added this item 330 Average listal rating (198 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 6.6
First viewing - Nov. 6th

I'd forgotten that I tried watching Inferno once before and shut it off because I wasn't in the mood for it. This time I managed to stick it out until the end, but I spent a lot of the time struggling to maintain my interest and consciousness in the face of a glacial pace. Add to that the fact that new characters keep emerging for no real reason other than to get killed off, and the thread connecting them all is tentative at best. The art of it is commendable, and the acting was fine, but this falls near the bottom of my rankings for Argento. Clearly it's got its fans, and they can have it.
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People who added this item 9 Average listal rating (7 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 5.9
Re: Born (2016)
First viewing - Nov. 8th

This popped up on Shudder, and when I realized it starred Tak Sakaguchi from Versus I figured I'd give it a look. Watching him deliver the goods in every action sequence is a joy to behold, and I thought the story was engaging and interesting overall. There are a few times where the fighting drags on for longer than necessary, but at least it's well-shot and something different besides a guy with a gun shooting other guys with guns repeatedly. It's not great, but I dug it and wouldn't mind watching it again down the road.
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First viewing - Nov. 9th

The kiddo and I watched this together, and we had a fun time with it. It's not as good as Teen Titans Go! to the Movies, but it's entertaining enough. Watching the silly version of the Titans interact with their serious counterparts delivers some amusing moments, as does the whole multiple universe angle. It's nothing great, but if you're a fan of either cartoon then you'll probably appreciate it.

When it ended the kiddo wanted to watch the other film, and I watched about half of it before I had to start dinner which is why I'm not including it here.
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People who added this item 3704 Average listal rating (2438 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8.2
Re-watch - Nov. 10th

I think my love for this film is well-known, so no comment is needed.
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People who added this item 20 Average listal rating (14 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.3
Knife + Heart (2018)
First viewing - Nov. 13th

I wanted to watch one last thing on Shudder before my month ran out, and I didn't want to watch something I'd already seen. Somehow I opted for this, which in hindsight was not a great pick. By the time I was debating with myself whether to watch something else it was too late, however, so I just did my best to hang with it until the end. Knife + Heart starts out really well and is clearly paying homage to Giallo films. As it goes along it kind of loses sight in some ways of what it's doing. Plus there's a lot of time spent watching the characters shoot gay porn, because that's their career of choice. Such sequences are well-realized but not at all to my taste so it felt overwhelming at times. It's not graphic enough to be NC-17 rated, thankfully, but it still got old after a while. No doubt this will wind up finding a cult following eventually, but it's safe to say I won't be among its supporters despite being able to see some value in it.
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First viewing - Nov. 15th

All I knew going into The Death of Dick Long was that it was directed by one half of the team responsible for Swiss Army Man and that was enough to spark my interest. It wound up being the last film I could watch via an app I've been using which died on me with less than 20 minutes left in the film. I then I had to track down another way to finish it, which took some time and thus kinda derailed the film's momentum. But I was successful, thankfully.

On the one hand this film is not easily predictable. As it rolls along you get a good idea of where it's going, but the mystery at its center proves to be quite the surprise as it unravels. The acting is pretty good, and I didn't recognize any of the cast from anything else. In the end it wasn't great, but I thought it was worth watching once.
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People who added this item 125 Average listal rating (93 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.8
Matinee (1993)
First viewing - Nov. 18th

This month I signed up for Disney+ and when I did I was offered three months of Starz for $5 a month. I took it and found plenty of films that I've been wanting to see, and thus it'll deliver most of what I watch from here on out this month.

I vaguely recall Matinee being released in the '90s, but for whatever reason it wasn't something I cared about watching. Now that I've finally seen it, it's fair to conclude that back then I would not have appreciated it as much as I do now. It's a fun love letter to '50s and '60s B-movies, and having seen my fair share of those I deeply enjoyed it. It's not great, but it's so much fun that I'd gladly watch it again at some point.
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People who added this item 332 Average listal rating (219 ratings) 5.3 IMDB Rating 5.8
Bulletproof (1996)
First viewing - Nov. 20th

You would think as much as I loved Adam Sandler in the '90s I would've seen Bulletproof already, and yet I never did. I skipped its theatrical run, and while I did come across it on cable a few times it was never at the beginning so I only caught pieces of it before finding something else to watch. Turns out it's not all bad. The relationship between Wayans and Sandler's characters makes it worthwhile, despite being set against a backdrop of formulaic action movie junk. It's entertaining enough, but nothing I'd need to revisit. At least I didn't regret watching it, which I'd feared would be the case.
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People who added this item 448 Average listal rating (287 ratings) 5.5 IMDB Rating 5.8
First viewing - Nov. 22nd

Joe Versus the Volcano is another film I remember seeing trailers for and having zero urge to watch it. Then again, at age 12 the last thing I was interested in was romantic comedies. It's an oddball of a film, which is probably why I liked it more than I expected to. But despite all of its oddities it's still a rom-com that more or less ends up just as you'd expect. Hanks and Ryan each do a solid job, though it's safe to say we'd all be disappointed in them if that wasn't the case. There are some fun moments along the way, and I'm glad I finally watched it even if it's unlikely I'd sit through it again.
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People who added this item 40 Average listal rating (25 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 4.8
Stroker Ace (1983)
First viewing - Nov. 23rd

I was hoping this would be in the same quality range as Smokey & the Bandit, but, well, no, it's not. Oh the cast is fine, but the plot is so thin it's barely worth bothering with. Add to that a main character that never experiences any real catharsis and a lazy approach to filmmaking, and it's tough to see who the audience for this film even is. Maybe just for the Burt Reynolds die-hards. During racing scenes any time there's a crash they just insert stock footage from NASCAR races instead of staging their own which results in a disconnect, especially when you see a car get wiped out and then the next moment the same car is back in the race. It's maddening. And then there's the scene where Stroker argues with himself over whether or not he should sleep with Loni Anderson's character after she passes out which is uncomfortable to watch to say the least. If you haven't seen this, I'd say don't bother as you're not missing anything.
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People who added this item 964 Average listal rating (629 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.9
Re-watch - Nov. 23rd

Do the Right Thing keeps popping up in my head from time to time, so I thought I'd revisit it to see if my opinion has changed any from the last time I watched it. And I've come to a better appreciation of it on this second viewing. Maybe I was in a better headspace, maybe it's because I've changed in the past several years, or maybe it's just that I'm now better acquainted with Spike Lee's filmmaking style, but overall I thought it was really well done for the most part. After it ended I read up on some of the context around its creation which deepened my understanding of it even further. Of course by now most of the events that fueled the film's creation are forgotten or unknown to a lot of people, and had I not been curious to know more about the events directly referenced by the characters I'd still be ignorant of their meaning. Doing your homework clearly pays off. Maybe I'll drop in on this film again some time in the next decade and wind up rating it even higher, but for now it moves from a 7 to a solid 8. It may one day wind up at a 9, but it'll never be a 10 because Rosie Perez will forever grate on my nerves.
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People who added this item 424 Average listal rating (278 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.7
Serial Mom (1994)
First viewing - Nov. 24th

This is what happens when I finally give in to curiosity...I wind up watching something I could've gone on forever ignoring. Oh I'll concede that Kathleen Turner is clearly having a ball with this role. And unlike most of John Waters's films I didn't spend the entire run-time being actively annoyed by it. However the whole film is supposed to be a comedy and I think I laughed once, and not all that hard either. Mostly I found it rather tasteless and only passively entertaining, so while I stuck it out to the end my only reward was seeing L7 play one song. Not worth it though.
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People who added this item 1561 Average listal rating (1043 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 7.1
Tremors (1990)
Re-watch - Nov. 24th

My opinion remains the same as it was 4 years ago.
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People who added this item 88 Average listal rating (56 ratings) 5.5 IMDB Rating 5.2
Dr. Giggles (1992)
First viewing - Nov. 24th

Dr. Giggles isn't anything great, but it was just what I wanted on this particular night. It's a decent slasher with a villain who delivers so many punny one-liners you'd think that was his actual occupation. And I thought it refreshingly different that the titular character is primarily driven to help our protagonist, even if it seems rather misguided and potentially fatal to her. I just wish I'd had access to it for October as it would've been perfectly suited to my Horrorfest. I don't know that I'd go out of my way to watch it again, but if I found someone who wanted to watch it with me I wouldn't object either.
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People who added this item 237 Average listal rating (141 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.9
First viewing - Nov. 25th

Another Spike Lee film, and this one wound up ending the month for me because I went out of town on vacation the next day and didn't get another movie watched over the last few days. Clockers has a lot on its mind regarding young African-American men and the ways they navigate life, and tells its tale within that framework. It never quite crosses the line of greatness, but it's thoughtful and mostly delivers a clear message which I can respect. The cast is solid all around, and the soundtrack is more or less what you'd expect which is fine I guess. Reading up on the film I discovered that Scorsese was originally supposed to direct it but bowed out to make Casino, and I can't see the film working as well in his hands as it does Lee's. In the end I thought it was definitely worth watching, just not entirely to my taste.
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Films caught in a theatre
People who added this item 188 Average listal rating (130 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 8
Jojo Rabbit (2019)
First viewing - Nov. 2nd

In Taika we trust, and Jojo Rabbit is further proof of why. It's a fun film, thoughtful, funny, and heartfelt, and I had a blast with it. I don't know that it quite crossed my line of greatness but it came close and I'd gladly watch it again.
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People who added this item 24 Average listal rating (17 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.3
Harriet (2019)
First viewing - Nov. 3rd

My expectations for Harriet weren't very high going into it, which was probably for the best. My main reason for watching it was because I'm a fan of Cynthia Erivo, and once again she gives a performance that's rewarding. Too bad it's the only good reason to watch this film. They try, but the rest of the cast never quite rises to her level (which, ok, sure, only one name is in the title, but still) and the story is entertaining but nothing really new. I thought it was worth watching once, and wouldn't be surprised if everyone forgets about it in the next few years.
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People who added this item 543 Average listal rating (404 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 8.6
Joker (2019)
First viewing - Nov. 23rd

I liked this better when it was called Taxi Driver. Or The King of Comedy for that matter. And yes, Phoenix swings for the fences and gives a good performance but it never feels like he's Joker. It feels like he's playing a role that got dressed up with Batman paraphernalia in order to ensure more people saw the film. But hey, apparently a lot of people loved it, and you can have it. If I hadn't been able to see it for free I wouldn't have bothered, and in hindsight I could've skipped it.
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People who added this item 104 Average listal rating (75 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 8.2
First viewing - Nov. 23rd

Thankfully I watched this after Joker, as it allowed me to leave the theatre on a more positive note. I wasn't impressed by the trailers, but wound up being entertained overall by the story. The entire cast does a really good job, and it came close to being great. Unfortunately it does that awful American thing where they make it pro-America to the point the Italian rivals have no depth of character in order to make it easier for the audience to root against them. If you can overlook that then you might appreciate it even more than I did, but I'm docking it points accordingly. Thankfully they're not the primary antagonist, but with all the attention to detail and willingness to take the time to tell the story well it's disappointing all the same.
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