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Added by the giraffe on 12 Apr 2020 08:09
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Movies the giraffe watched in 2020: April

Sort by: Showing 33 items
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Noteworthy: The best films I watched this month

The breakdown: 33 films watched
14 first views, 19 re-watches
20 via streaming and 13 via DVD/BR
Decades touched: 1960s-2020s

Now that the month is over I don't have much to add beyond what's below. If you're reading this you're probably in the same boat as me, stuck at home with too much free time. Hope you're all staying safe and healthy. And if you find something from this list (or any of my lists for that matter) that you wind up checking out & digging, let me know.
People who added this item 8 Average listal rating (4 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 5.2
First viewing - April 9th

After Midnight comes to us courtesy of Jeremy Gardner, who also gave us The Battery. Once again it was put on my radar thanks to Benson & Moorhead, and Justin Benson even has a supporting role in it. It's a well-crafted film all around, and I wound up absolutely loving it. I don't want to say too much about it since few have seen it at this point, but if you're into horror at all it's worth your time. Rent it if you have to.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 306 Average listal rating (217 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 8
First viewing - April 8th

Marriage Story didn't get a theatrical release here, and now that I'm not focused on other things I figured I'd finally sit down with it. It was worth the wait. It's easily among last year's best films, as well as one of Baumbach's best. The journey the characters go on hits a lot of familiar and therefore relatable notes for me, and I connected strongly to all of it. Driver and Johansson give outstanding performance, and the rest of the cast rises to meet their level. The only thing missing for me was that perfect 10 feeling, but it came close to catching it. I can't recommend it enough.

Just a thought: I'm now even more glad when I got divorced we didn't involve any lawyers.
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Monthly focus: Coen brothers

With social distancing and stay-at-home in effect, I wanted to take time this month to spend time with the Coen brothers films I own and especially their comedies. Call it comfort food, call it just a good idea. I'm looking to these to help keep my spirits lifted while delivering a pleasant escape.
People who added this item 1371 Average listal rating (884 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.3
Re-watch - April 1st

I didn't intend to kick off the month with the Coens, it just worked out that way. I was working from home on this date, and was set to complete a project that normally takes about an hour & a half when I'm in the office. I discovered, however, that attempting the same project from home wound up taking most of the day. Once I realized how slow it was going I decided to take the opportunity to watch a couple of movies while I waited for it to do its thing. Thus I began with Raising Arizona.

I've talked about this film before on the site, but watching it this time I found myself growing more impressed with the care and craft that went into the film than ever before. The story may be fairly simple but it works like gangbusters at every step. The cast is excellent all around, and I get lost in the sheer joys it delivers at every turn. I was reminded just how deeply I love this film and that it remains among my favorites for plenty of good reasons.

Also worth noting, this was the first time I caught that when HI gets a job he's working for Hudsucker Industries , an amusing little easter egg.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 2555 Average listal rating (1698 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7
Re-watch - April 1st

After lunch I settled in with Burn After Reading, which I haven't watched in a while. It's such an oddball of a film, even among the Coens's filmography. But it focuses on a bunch of well-meaning if misguided fools that fit right in among their other characters. And JK Simmons makes the perfect audience surrogate. I don't feel like this film comes together as well as it aims to, however. At times it feels like it's struggling to juggle all the characters, a feeling reinforced by the fact that a lot of them find the end of their arcs resolved off-screen which is not a rewarding way to tie things up. Still, the film has some very memorable moments and it's fun enough to be worth revisiting from time to time.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 4217 Average listal rating (2829 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 8.1
Re-watch - April 11th

Nothing new to add here.

Just a thought: I always seem to forget that Aimee Mann plays the nihilist's girlfriend.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 2558 Average listal rating (1686 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.7
Re-watch - April 11th

It's been less than 3 years since I last watched this film, and I thought it would pair well enough with Lebowski. Both films center on a trio on a journey they can't anticipate and struggle at times to get through. Both films are a lot of fun, well-crafted, filled end to end with stellar musical choices, and leave me with a smile on my face.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1114 Average listal rating (685 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.8
Re-watch - April 25th

I decided to spend the last Saturday of the month watching movies, and kicked it off with a trio of Coens films. It's been 9 years since I last watched Miller's Crossing and it remains a masterpiece full of stellar performances and a story that keeps you guessing. I love it and can't think of a single thing to complain about.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 3373 Average listal rating (2258 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 8.1
Fargo (1996)
Re-watch - April 25th

I found Fargo on the Starz app and decided to throw it into the mix. I swear I've seen it in the past 10 years, but apparently it's not in any of my movies watched lists. Odd. It remains for me a solid entry from the Coens, but still falls short of greatness. The story and cast are decent, but for reasons I can't entirely put my finger on it doesn't blow me away. Which also explains why I'm watching it via a streaming service instead of owning a copy to watch.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1373 Average listal rating (859 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7
A Serious Man (2009)
Re-watch - April 25th

A Serious Man was actually one of my highest priorities for the month, but I opted to save it for last. It's so rich with themes and subtext and metaphor and meaning, and I just adore it from its odd, unrelated opening through its seemingly abrupt ending. It's also a lot of fun, especially watching Sy Abelman (unintentionally?) make Larry uncomfortable every chance he gets. Plus the soundtrack slays.
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Home viewings

Debated dropping the title of this section given there's no alternative to watching films at home right now, but I'll hang onto it for consistency.
People who added this item 811 Average listal rating (489 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.5
First viewing - April 1st

I tried to watch this when I lived in Austin during one of my Horrorfests, but the disc wouldn't play. Thankfully Prime has it as of this month, and I had two days left to watch it before my subscription ended. So I jumped on it right after dinner.

On the one hand, this adaptation hits a lot of familiar beats, which I guess is to be expected. But then it takes a fascinating turn by switching out Lucy and Mina and then allowing Lucy to have agency instead of relying on the men who surround her to save her. The approach was quite refreshing and deeply appreciated. The pacing is really slow at times, which I get is a precedent set by the original Nosferatu and Dracula, but it doesn't always work well for me. I suspect I'm not alone in finding this trio of films to be a bit too slow for their own good. Aside from that, however, it's still well worth watching and I'm glad I finally managed to catch up with it.

Just a thought: I'd love to have Drac's clock.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 44 Average listal rating (31 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.9
Re-watch - April 2nd

For my final film on Prime, I made the kiddo watch Support Your Local Gunfighter with me. It's a sequel of sorts to Support Your Local Sheriff, bringing back some of the same cast but changing the story entirely. It's got some really fun moments, but falls short of its predecessor in my opinion. The story feels a little bit rushed, and the jokes don't hit their mark as often as they should. It probably doesn't help that if you saw the first one you can pretty much figure out how this film will play out, but for a simple, silly film it's all right. The kiddo liked it well enough, so next time I'm able I'll have to show her the first one.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 323 Average listal rating (197 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8.1
Re-watch - April 3rd

The kiddo wanted to watch Song of the Sea again, and while I was initially reluctant to revisit it so soon, I ultimately gave in and let her have her way. And then of course I was glad that I did because I had about as much fun as I did the first time we watched it together.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 431 Average listal rating (258 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.6
Re-watch - April 4th

It's been even longer since I last watched The Secret of Kells, and since the kiddo hadn't seen it I felt it was time to finally fix that. It's a solid film, but I still say they improved greatly on all aspects with Song of the Sea. My daughter enjoyed it about as much as I did I think, and she asked about other films from the same animation studio. She's not ready for The Breadwinner yet, but it looks like they have 2 films scheduled to come out in the next couple of years so hopefully those will be more to her taste.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 111 Average listal rating (81 ratings) 3.7 IMDB Rating 4.2
Re-watch - April 4th

Since I picked The Secret of Kells, I let my daughter pick our next film and she chose A Wrinkle in Time. Neither of us had seen it since it was in theatres about 2 years ago, and she was excited to find it on Disney+. Since we last saw it I've read the book and thought it did a decent job of capturing the ideas and essence of the story the book tells. The film also deserves credit for the casting, especially Storm Reid who shines as Meg. The CGI is not without faults, but for my money the emotional throughline works so well that I'm willing to let the visuals slide somewhat. Clearly we remain in the minority in liking the film. So be it.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 137 Average listal rating (88 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.5
Re-watch - April 5th

The kiddo and I could not come to a consensus on what to watch on Sunday, so I picked One Crazy Summer and made her deal with it. She didn't love it as much as I did back when I first saw it, but she enjoyed parts of it a lot (especially the Godzilla moments).

For my part, my opinion of it doesn't change. As I stated in my June 2014 list the last time I watched it:
I've loved this one ever since I first saw it back in the late '80s and every time I watch it I notice things I missed before & thus my appreciation for the film grows a little more each time. It's nothing ground-breaking of course, but I love the characters, the mix of animation & live elements, the soundtrack, the hijinks, the insanity of the whole thing. Moments like Bobcat Goldthwait getting trapped inside a Godzilla suit and Uncle Frank's obsessive antics regarding the radio contest always make me smile & laugh in equal measure. It's unfair that this film seems doomed to be forgotten.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 74 Average listal rating (50 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 6.2
First viewing - April 6th

It's not often than Danny DeVito gets the lead role in a film, so I wanted to check this out to see what it was like. And really I should've left it alone. I'm not sure who this movie is for, and I spent several days trying to figure it out. It's not aging well at all, which largely contributes to my issues with it.

DeVito plays a guy on Wall Street who holds stock in a company that is temporarily doing well, and he wants to go in and shut it down to make himself and all the other stockholders rich. Gregory Peck plays the guy who owns the business, and he's basically the little guy standing up to the Wall Street big-shot. He brings in his lawyer daughter (Penelope Ann Miller) to help him fight to keep his business open, and while she seems capable she spends most of the film sparring with DeVito who objectifies her and makes a pig of himself trying to win her heart. It felt like the film wants us to like him despite his flaws, and we're supposed to want them to wind up together, but that wasn't the case at all for me. Rooting for the underdog therefore seems justified, but the film takes the darker route and there's no reward in hoping to see them succeed. And while ending everything on a dark note might pay off well, there's a sort-of epilogue final scene that undermines everything that came before it. It's a mess, to say the least. The cast does their best with their respective roles, but it's like someone stepped in at the last moment and told them they needed to make the film more fun and change the ending. As a result, you get a film that's destined to be forgotten, so if you haven't seen it don't feel like you need to check it out now.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1764 Average listal rating (1170 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.6
Re-watch - April 10th

I watched Death Becomes Her with the kiddo, and we both had a lot of fun with it. She even complimented the effects a few times. I caught some details I didn't notice before this time around, and it's a joy to see Bruce Willis play against his usual type. It's exactly my taste in movies, and I'm glad she dug it.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 10 Average listal rating (6 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 0
First viewing - April 11th

Horror at sea double feature


This list is getting overwhelmed with repeat viewings, so I set out to make up for that after my second Coens double-feature this month. I chose to watch Harpoon which was put on my radar thanks to an article on Rotten Tomatoes where they asked Mike Flanagan for some recommendations. Given that I'd seen all but 4 of the films he listed, and most of those were worthwhile, I decided to make a note to check out the rest. Thus I began with Harpoon, as it was the only one called out as a comedic thriller.

And I guess it is that, though I didn't find it to be as comedic as it might have been. Most of the comedy is left to the narrator rather than coming organically from the characters, but it's not overused and thus makes for a welcome relief when things get too intense. There were some nice surprises along the way, and the twists and turns made for a welcome little diversion. It's not great, but I thought it was worth seeing.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 14 Average listal rating (10 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 5.7
Sea Fever (2020)
First viewing - April 11th

Horror at sea double feature


After Harpoon I first considered checking out another recommendation from the list, but opted instead to watch another film about people at sea instead. The two films have some things in common, despite taking a completely different approach overall. This one has clear influences from The Thing and Alien, though it never quite reaches the heights of those films. It's far more grounded in reality, which surprisingly works well enough. The cast is solid enough, but the characters could be better fleshed out. While I appreciated the brief run-time, I wouldn't have minded had it run a little longer if it took more time to make the characters memorable. Overall it was worth watching, and while I could watch it again at some point I don't know that I'd go out of my way to.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1622 Average listal rating (1122 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 7
First viewing - April 12th

I'm not sure I've said so before, but back in the '80s I loved Eddie Murphy. The trouble was though that I was a child and my parents did NOT love him. Therefore they wouldn't take me to see his films, and by the time I was old enough to see them on my own he was making things like The Nutty Professor and Dr. Doolittle which I had zero interest in. So I've spent much of my adult life slowly playing catch-up. This was a blindspot that definitely needed correcting, and I'm ashamed of myself for not seeking it out sooner. The story is well-told, the cast is excellent all around, there's a brief moment where it relates to Trading Places that pays off hilariously, and it's just an utter joy to watch. Now I'm even more excited to see what they do with the upcoming sequel (though I'd argue it's not necessary, but we'll see).
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 26 Average listal rating (15 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 5.1
Spookies (1986)
First viewing - April 15th

Spookies is one of those films I keep hearing mentioned in Horror circles but was never able to track down. Thanks to Alamo Drafthouse's virtual programming through "Alamo-At-Home" I was able to finally watch it and have my own Terror Tuesday for the first time since I moved away. And while it was a joy to get to have the pre-show entertainment and the intro, the film itself was a mixed bag. That's not too surprising, however, because Spookies was pulled together despite conflicting ideas of what it was supposed to be. The story, therefore, is kind of a mess. Some moments were clearly included despite having no clear connective tissue to the rest of the story. It's the kind of film that would undoubtedly be improved by a lack of sobriety, but since there's no liquor in my house that wasn't an option. Thankfully the effects are outstanding across the board and hold up really well. And the score is pretty good. But the cast could be better, and with no character to latch onto it's even tougher for the story to work well. So I wouldn't sit through it again, but there was enough to appreciate on technical levels that I don't regret finally seeing it.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 482 Average listal rating (302 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.5
Re-watch - April 17th

This was a test to see if the kiddo can handle a horror movie, and it turns out she can. She called Vic Morrow's character "a Trump", loved the "Kick the Can" story despite it not being scary at all, deemed the creatures in the 3rd story to be more amusing than scary, and came up with her own name for the gremlin in the final tale. I doubt it's made her excited for more horror movies, but we'll see. I'm just glad I was able to enjoy this with her as my dad did when he first watched it with me.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 4033 Average listal rating (2775 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 8
Casino Royale (2006)
Re-watch - April 18th

The kiddo wants to see No Time to Die, so we need to catch her up on Daniel Craig's run as Bond. I don't need to tell anyone here how good this film is, but I think it was too serious for her tastes. She does want to keep going, but I suspect she'll get more enjoyment out of the other Bonds we've had. Stay tuned to find out.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 285 Average listal rating (188 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.5
Re-watch - April 18th

It occured to me that I hadn't watched any of the Pink Panther movies with my daughter yet, and now seems like a good time to remedy that. Since the original film is rather slow I decided to start her off with A Shot in the Dark. She enjoyed it, though I was laughing far more often than she did. Not sure whether she didn't know what to make of it or if slapstick just isn't that funny to her. Hopefully she'll want to watch the others.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 135 Average listal rating (89 ratings) 5 IMDB Rating 5.7
Cadillac Man (1990)
Re-watch - April 22nd

I recall watching Cadillac Man on cable back in the day and thinking it was pretty decent. It's been ages now though, and watching it again I felt like I hadn't watched all of it back when I saw it. If I did, I'd completely forgotten most of the first 30 minutes. Then again, I can't say this is a memorable film or any of the actors' best work. Given the set-up you'd think the story would end on a darker note, but whether they were terrified to kill off Robin Williams's character or were committed to making it more comedic I don't know. If it was the latter I'm not sure it worked because I rarely laughed at any of it. That's not to say I wasn't entertained, but its efforts to redeem this guy seem somewhat misguided. At least now I know I won't need to watch it again.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 776 Average listal rating (532 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 6.4
Tango & Cash (1989)
First viewing - April 24th

I decided to have a double feature of action movies with a titular pairing since Starz had this and the film below. Tango & Cash proved to be the better of the two films, though not by a lot. It mainly gets by on the star power of Stallone and Russell, and watching them play off one another works well most of the time. You can tell, however, that a lot of changes were made along the way because the ending doesn't make much sense. Plus there's one moment where you see Benny "the Jet" in silhouette, but then he never shows up on camera again. I'm guessing too much coke was involved. Still, it's pretty fun despite the mess and I had a good time with it and the often absurd places it went to.
the giraffe's rating:
First viewing - April 24th

This film was not as much fun. Rourke and Johnson are both perfect for their respective roles, and I dug the story of these two unlikely friends trying to save their friend's bar. But the supporting cast is either terrible or primarily there to be fodder for the violence so our heroes can escape. I wanted something more from it, and never got it. It's not the worst film I've ever seen, but it definitely could've been better.

Just a thought: Did Billy Corgan steal Baldwin's look (aside from the hair, that is) from this film?
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1472 Average listal rating (950 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 6.2
First viewing - April 25th

I keep running into people who insist this is one of the better remakes, so I decided to finally give in and see if I can agree. On one hand I appreciate the choice to not do a faithful remake and tell a different story in the same framework. After all, the original is damn near perfect the way it is, so rehashing it beat for beat would've been pointless. At the same time, it's nigh impossible to watch this without keeping the original film in mind and I'll concede that this tends to work against it. They try though. Biel and Ermey are both good in their respective roles, and some of the changes work fairly well within the film. But unlike the original this film is never scary. It's often uncomfortable to watch (like the scene in the van where Ermey is making the guy recreate the hitchhiker's suicide), but there's no real terror here. I kinda like the ending for what it is, but it doesn't come together as well as it could have. So in the end I could've gone on ignoring it, much as I'd suspected. But at least now I can better speak to the original's superiority.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1114 Average listal rating (691 ratings) 5 IMDB Rating 5.4
First viewing - April 25th

As I think everyone knows, I'm not a fan of this franchise. But some people insist that this is one of the better entries (*waves at VierasTalo*) so I figured I'd finally give it a look since I'd just watched another horror movie. And I'll concede that it's more fun than the 3 films that preceded it, largely because it's refusing to take itself too seriously this time out. There are a few good jokes, often at Chucky's expense, and Ms. Tilly elevates the whole film. It's nothing great, but it's a fun time overall. I don't know that I'll bother with Seed of Chucky though at this point it's the only one I haven't seen so who knows.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 2115 Average listal rating (1457 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7
Prometheus (2012)
Re-watch - April 26th

Initially I wasn't going to do anything to celebrate Alien Day, but since I didn't have the kiddo with me and I recently picked up a set of all 6 Alien films on Blu I figured I'd finally revisit the two most recent entries. And hey, I wound up liking this film far better the second time around. Watching it back-to-back with Covenant really drove home the themes Ridley Scott is exploring in these films, and it all worked for me. Plus this one has a murderer's row for the cast...Idris Elba, Logan Marshall-Green, Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron, and Fassbender? Amazing. I'm not sure that either film quite crosses the line of greatness for me, but I appreciate both of them far more and will definitely be revisiting them in the years ahead.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 544 Average listal rating (387 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 6.4
Re-watch - April 26th

See above, though I'll go ahead and add that someone needs to throw Ridley Scott the money to make the 3rd film he'd planned to wrap up this series.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1021 Average listal rating (590 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.6
First viewing - April 29th

Everybody loves Blow-Up and for years I've been wanting to seek it out to see what the fuss is about. Well, I finally tracked it down and...it's fine. It's a well-made film, decent cast, and a scene that clearly inspired Austin Powers. It's also got more going on than it initially seems like, though the fact that I had to read up on the film to find that out rather than it coming across while watching it tells me it could have been better communicated. I didn't get enough out of it to justify sitting through it again, but at least I can finally cross it off my list.
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Year-long focus: Godzilla's Showa era

I picked up the Criterion Collection release of Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films, 1954-1975 in 2019, and have decided to watch all of the films in it over the course of 2020. There are 15 films in all, so I'll watch no more than two per month.
First viewing - April 19th

This was pretty fun, and I like how the creature aspects have grown as the series progresses. I'm also noticing that the new run of Godzilla films is very much in keeping with the series by giving more focus to the humans than the kaiju, which is realigning my expectations in positive ways. Not sure if the kiddo was bored with this one or just had some pent-up energy she needed to release, but she barely seemed to pay attention to it which distracted me and has me questioning whether I should have done this without her. Too late now though.
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