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Added by the giraffe on 1 Mar 2020 08:27
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Movies the giraffe watched in 2020: March

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Noteworthy: The best films I watched this month

The breakdown: 28 films watched, 1 abandoned
20 first views, 8 re-watches
23 via streaming, 3 via DVD/BR, and 3 in the theatre
Decades touched: 1920s, 1950s - 2010s

Knowing I'd be dropping Prime at the end of the month allowed me to focus mainly on the films there, which thus comprise the bulk of this list. I managed to watch most of what was in my list, and made it a priority to watch the films that would be harder to find elsewhere over more common fare. Then the coronavirus outbreak started to affect things in the States, which made it even easier to find the time to watch films via streaming options. Thankfully I managed to catch all the films I'd wanted to see on the big screen before going to a theatre ceased to be an option. I miss it already, and that will only grow over the months ahead. Still, I'd rather be stuck at home with my streaming options than get sick.
People who added this item 252 Average listal rating (157 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.4
Paterson (2016)
First viewing - March 18th

Paterson is a nice little film, and was so good it made me feel even more annoyed at how terrible The Dead Don't Die was. Jarmusch and his cast & crew are firing on all cylinders here, delivering this wonderful small-scale story about a couple who view life differently yet are perfectly matched. I deeply appreciated the way the story unfolded, and was left wishing I'd caught it in theatres instead of letting it get by me. Thankfully it doesn't NEED to be seen on the big screen, and if you let it pass you by I recommend giving it a look.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 117 Average listal rating (90 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 6.8
Rio Lobo (1970)
First viewing - March 28th

After lunch I decided to have a Western double feature starting with Rio Lobo. This might have been the best film I watched all day. I dug the characters, the story was well-told, and it's just a solid film all around. I don't know that I'd go so far as to say it's great, but I was completely entertained by it and might even watch it again.
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Home viewings

First viewing - March 1st

I kicked off the month with something I've never seen before...a Western set in Africa. I'd seen great things about Five Fingers for Marseilles after it screened at Fantastic Fest a few years back and wanted to check it out since. I thought it was a fresh spin on some old ideas, and overall appreciated what it's going for. The characters are interesting, and I liked how we get to see them as children and adults for contrast. I don't know that I'd go so far as to say it's great, but the originality of it made it more than worthwhile.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 14 Average listal rating (8 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 6
Fast Color (2019)
First viewing - March 4th

Critics seem to love Fast Color so I really wanted to see what it was about. I can't say I fell in love with it, but it's a very interesting film and one I appreciated for the most part. I liked the characters and this more grounded idea of what having exceptional abilities when others don't might be like. It seemed fairly realistic, and I liked the character arcs. Plus when you look at it as a superhero film (though it's more than just that) it's a very refreshing take. It's not great, but I liked it for what it is and would even watch it again.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 648 Average listal rating (382 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.3
Re-watch - March 6th

My daughter is in the gifted program at her school, and this year one of their projects was to perform a scene from Shakespeare in a competition among all the local schools. She paired up with two of her friends and they did a scene from Much Ado About Nothing, so I figured we'd watch this version together. I hadn't seen it since high school, but it's held up as well as I'd recalled. It's a solid, fun film overall, with the main problem being having Keanu Reeves play the villain. Dude's totally out of his depth here, and even my daughter was complaining and saying she wanted someone else in his role. Thankfully he's not given too much screen time, and the rest of the cast outshines him by far.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 2843 Average listal rating (1993 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.5
Re-watch - March 7th

I don't have anything new to add about this one, though it's interesting now to see how much of the cast has been in superhero movies. I watched it with the kiddo & it kinda blew her mind which was entertaining for me. She had a blast with it.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 394 Average listal rating (226 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.9
Love Story (1970)
First viewing - March 9th

Thanks to The Kid Stays in the Picture I figured I'd give Love Story a look, and it was fine. Ryan O'Neal and Ali MacGraw are very good in their respective roles, and the story told about them was interesting and entertaining. I think it'd be better, however, if the film hadn't opened by giving away the ending.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 358 Average listal rating (220 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 7
First viewing - March 11th

The ex had this in her collection & I'd meant to watch it but never managed to. Since it was on Prime I figured I'd finally give it a look, and overall I thought it was pretty good. I liked the way the story played out and the characters, and it was an interesting little film with a really good ending. Now that I know it's a Thanksgiving movie I'll have to watch it on that holiday at some point.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 121 Average listal rating (84 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 6
First viewing - March 13th

After abandoning Climax I opted for this film and I'm not sure it was much better. The main thing it had going for it was that it wasn't actively boring the hell out of me. It also wasn't as entertaining as it clearly wanted to be though. The majority of the humor falls flat, or maybe it's just not my taste. The action sequences are decent, but not exceptional though it's rather refreshing to see women performing a lot of the stunts instead of it being all men. It's not the worst thing I've ever seen, just really average and it could be better.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 217 Average listal rating (155 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 6
Men at Work (1990)
Re-watch - March 14th

I can't tell you how many times I watched Men at Work on cable back in the day, especially given the frequency with which it aired. But it was a good time back then, and it's still a good time now. It's a rather mindless comedy, but I like it anyway. Watching Sheen and Estevez play off one another is a lot of fun, but Keith David pretty much steals the film from the moment he shows up. It's nothing great, but I'm glad I still enjoy it about as much as I used to.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 468 Average listal rating (277 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 7.1
Moonstruck (1988)
Re-watch - March 15th

I have vague memories of watching most if not all of Moonstruck with my parents back in the late '80s, so I'm trusting that this was my second viewing. Parts of it were familiar, but others had been long forgotten which has me uncertain whether I saw all of it back then. I wound up enjoying it, however, and it's just the kind of positive film I need right now. It's nothing great, but the cast does a wonderful job (even Nicolas Cage) and the story is never dull. I'm glad I finally sat back down with it, as I'm sure that back then I was too young to fully appreciate it.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 36 Average listal rating (23 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.2
The Report (2019)
First viewing - March 16th

If The Report played in theatres here at all it must have been a limited engagement, and not at a theatre I usually attend. I've heard a lot of good things, however, so I wanted to check it out. It's certainly a well-made film, and one with a subject that deserves attention. The cast is excellent all around, and it's maddening (though, sadly, not too surprising) to know that these things really happened and to see the push-back to keep it from being public knowledge. I don't know that I'd watch it again due to the subject matter, but it's absolutely worth seeing.
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Re-watch - March 19th

Counting this as a re-watch, but I want to note that this is an updated version of the film I watched about a year ago. So in a way it was also a first viewing, at least with regard to the parts I hadn't seen previously. Cal has put a lot of work into it in the time since, and it's all paid off. The change in composers is an improvement, and the sound mix was better overall. I picked up on a lot more of the humor this time around, and the effects work is excellent throughout. It's been great getting to see the progression in quality of Cal's films over time, and I look forward to the next one.
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Re-watch - March 21st

I remember loving They Call Me Bruce? growing up, but I hadn't seen it in 9 years and thought I'd watch it with the kiddo to see if she appreciates it. Overall we both enjoyed it despite its flaws and the fact that it's not aging well. A lot of the jokes in it are either weak or inappropriate now, which works against it. But it's still amusing to follow this idea of a Chinese man in America in the '80s being under misguided expectations based on American's limited knowledge. Not everyone from China can be Bruce Lee (or Jackie Chan or Jet Li or...) and to assume otherwise is foolish. Thankfully there is still some fun to be had in this silly little movie, but each time I revisit it my love for it diminishes a little more.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 83 Average listal rating (61 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 5.9
Delirious (1991)
First viewing - March 23rd

I've been itching to watch a John Candy movie I haven't already seen, and this was the best rated out of the options available to me online so I gave it a chance. Overall it was entertaining, but nothing I'd go out of my way to watch again. Candy is excellent as usual, and there's a nice message about how we often fall for people who are wrong for us and miss out on a chance with someone good for us, and the value of turning that around. The premise is rather ridiculous and yields mixed results, but the story sticks to its message and delivers in a fairly rewarding way. So it was fine.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 4971 Average listal rating (3531 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.7
Re-watch - March 25th

I decided to introduce the kiddo to The Fifth Element and she enjoyed it. Maybe not as much as I do, but she thought it was a good time. It hasn't been too long since I last watched it and all my thoughts on it remain the same.
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First viewing - March 27th

On this Friday night I needed a Horror double feature. I've been curious about I Bury the Living for a while now, so I decided to start with it. Like most horror films from the '50s it was rather tame and underwhelming. It's not bad, but there's no mystery to it and once it's all set up the film unfolds more or less as you'd expect. The cast is decent though and it held my attention, but I wouldn't sit through it again.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 232 Average listal rating (125 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.5
First viewing - March 27th

This was an interesting little horror movie. It's clearly low budget, and they make the most of what they've got to work with. I like how it kept me guessing as to who was doing what, and for a bunch of actors I've never seen elsewhere I thought the cast was pretty good. I don't want to say too much and spoil it for those who haven't seen it, but I thought it was worth watching and might even watch it again.

Oh yeah, and this film is set in Paterson, New Jersey, which makes it twice this month a film took me there.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 966 Average listal rating (635 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 8.3
The Kid (1921)
First viewing - March 28th

I decided today to have a quarantine marathon and knock out some films from my list on Prime before I drop it again. I chose to start with a silent film right after breakfast when I was at my most alert. I actually did try to watch The Kid once before a while back but that was at night and it knocked me out. Watching it in the morning worked much better for me. There are some amusing moments and overall I appreciated the story. The opening title card promises laughs and "perhaps a tear", and I can confirm I laughed a few times. No tears from me though. Still, it's a good story and I'm glad I finally watched all of it.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 81 Average listal rating (53 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 6.5
First viewing - March 28th

The Bellboy wound up being a lot of fun. I haven't watched enough of Jerry Lewis's films to say whether I'm a fan of his but I'm definitely a fan of this film now. It's very funny, just a string of scenes without much beyond the location and characters to tie them together yet it works. It's a lot of fun and encourages me to give some of his other films a look.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 27 Average listal rating (18 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.9
First viewing - March 28th

There's an excellent Western-style film here, tragic, thoughtful, and interesting to me given that it's set in Australia rather than America. The cast is excellent, and I found the story to be quite fascinating. My only complaint is with the film's use of flashing forward rather than following a linear path. The flashes are used a little differently than I've seen elsewhere which was initially rather interesting, but I'm just not on board anymore with films wanting to show us something that will happen and then backing up and finding their way to that moment. From a story perspective it's rather disrupting and honestly very difficult to pull off in a way that works better than just letting us stick with the characters and feel the full impact of these moments. Sweet Country is still worth seeing though, and if this approach doesn't bother you then you may dig it even more than I did.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 269 Average listal rating (142 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7
Gozu (2004)
First viewing - March 28th

Live look at me viewing the most bizarre scenes in this film

I wanted to watch one of Takashi Miike's films, and of the 3 options on Prime I hadn't watched yet this one sounded the most interesting to me. It started out all right, but as the story unfolds I gradually lost interest to the point that about an hour into it I decided I wouldn't give up on it but I would play on my phone while watching it. It's an oddball of a film, and clearly just not to my taste. I couldn't connect to any of the characters, and without that connection there wasn't enough to the story to keep me fully engaged. It felt like the entire plot could've been wrapped up in about an hour, and yet the film runs over 2 hours. There are some really absurd and memorable moments, but the whole film plods along between those moments and I couldn't hang with it. Looking at its ratings elsewhere apparently others find more to appreciate about it, so your mileage may vary.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 38 Average listal rating (22 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.8
First viewing - March 28th

I remember being really curious about this growing up, but for whatever reason I never got around to watching it until now. Probably it would've been best had I watched it as a teen or in my early 20s, as now I was not that impressed with it. The story is fine, but there's nothing to connect me to Golgo 13. Dude's got no personality and we're never let into his thoughts or emotions, and without that he's completely dull. We watch him kill people and sleep with a number of women, and he looks bored the entire time which in turn left me bored with it. The animation is decent for its time, but the CG used in a couple scenes is so primitive it's rather laughable. I was more engaged with it than Gozu, however, so I guess that's something.

More interesting to me was noticing some connections to other films I watched on this day. The weapons girl wears a shirt with 69 on it, and that's the Tramp's house number in The Kid. Our protagonist uses a revolver, and the protagonist of Gozu has a revolver barrel decoration on his shelf at home. Also, Golgo 13's actual name is Duke, which is the nickname for John Wayne. All of this wrapped a nice little bow on this first quarantine marathon.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 559 Average listal rating (376 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 5.9
First viewing - March 30th

I ended the month with a horror recommendation from a co-worker, which was leaving Starz. I didn't have high expectations for it, and so I thought it was all right. I rolled my eyes when it said "based on the true story" and opted to assume it was all fiction. From what I read after it seems it pretty much was just that. I dug the house and its history more than anything else, and watching its mysteries be revealed made sitting through the film worthwhile for me. The cast tries their best with the material, and I don't fault them for the fact that most of their characters could be better fleshed out.

Most of the "scary" elements leave much to be desired though, as you can often see them coming and anticipate what they'll be. The effects are decent enough, but they don't matter much if they have no real effect on you. So in the end this wasn't the best way to end the month, but we can't always go out on a high note.

Just a thought: The entire film was shot in Canada, which is further proof that nothing about this story is true.
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Big screen attractions

Films I caught in a theatre
People who added this item 109 Average listal rating (79 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.5
Onward (2020)
First viewing - March 7th

The kiddo and I caught Onward in IMAX for its opening weekend, and we both really enjoyed it. The characters are a lot of fun, the story is heartfelt and engaging, and I wound up appreciating it more than I'd originally thought I would. Some of the humor fell flat for me at times, however, and if we compare it to some of the best Pixar it falls short of those heights. But it's absolutely worth seeing, and I wouldn't mind watching it again.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 37 Average listal rating (18 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 6.8
Emma (2020)
First viewing - March 14th

I'd already reserved tickets for Emma. and Wendy prior to coronavirus concerns in the US, so I figured I'd go since it may be the last time I can go to a theatre for a while. Hindsight being what it is, I could've just cancelled my seats and waited but here we are.

Jane Austen is not at all my wheelhouse, but since I've become a fan of Anya Taylor-Joy I wanted to give this a look. The trailer I saw suggested it was a fresh take on the subject matter, which I can't speak to given that I've neither read the book nor watched any of its film adaptations prior to this. So I can only judge the film on its own merits. I felt it took its time to find its footing, which made the opening stretch a little tough to hang with. The whole thing looks great, but I found the characters lacking at first. Bill Nighy is clearly supposed to provide some comic relief, but I felt he was underused. Overall, however, the cast does a solid job all around and eventually the story came together well enough that I didn't regret sitting through it. But I could just as well have waited on it, and I doubt I'd sit through it again.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 7 Average listal rating (4 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 0
First viewing - March 14th

I'll grant that we don't need another Peter Pan adaptation at this point, but given that this came from the director of Beasts of the Southern Wild I felt I should give it a chance. And I thought it was a refreshing take on the story. Moving the setting and grounding it more in reality makes the story easier to relate to, and the cast of unknowns makes the whole thing more believable. The characters could've used more depth perhaps, but otherwise the film is consistently visually interesting and I was entertained by it. It's such a unique take that I suspect it won't find much of an audience, especially since it's not trying to be kid-friendly despite the cast of child actors. But I'd say it's worth seeing, and while I might watch it again it didn't quite become a new favorite. I respect it though.
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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.
People who added this item 140 Average listal rating (99 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.5
First viewing - March 22nd

The last time I watched this it was the dubbed version and I didn't care for it much (rating 6/10). This Criterion set is confirming what I'd suspected at that time, however, which is that these films work best in the original Japanese without any outside (American) influence. I thought the effects were pretty good for the time, especially with regard to bringing Mothra to life. The cast is as good as they've been in the previous films, and I like how this time around most of Godzilla's destruction seems more accidental. It almost makes him comedic relief. The final battle between the two is well done, however, and I'm more likely to revisit this film than its American dubbed counterpart.
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I tried, but I gave up

People who added this item 136 Average listal rating (92 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.1
Climax (2018)
Attempted viewing - March 13th

Clearly Climax is just not my taste at all. I found it extremely tedious as the first 30-ish minutes is mostly people dancing around which eventually starts to feel like it's lasting hours. It probably didn't help me either that I couldn't stand the music they were dancing to. There was some dialogue mixed in too, but none of it endeared any of the cast to me which made it even more frustrating. I reached a point where I was trying to skip past all the dancing, but then realized if I couldn't sit through that then I probably won't be able to sit through the rest of the film. So I abandoned it. Clearly the film has its fans, however, (maybe it picks up after where I stopped) and I'll concede that the technical aspects were solid, but it's just not for me. Your mileage may vary.

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