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Added by the giraffe on 28 Mar 2021 09:06
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Movies the giraffe watched in 2021: April

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Noteworthy: The best films I watched this month

The breakdown: 29 films watched
21 first views, 8 re-watches
27 via streaming, 1 via DVD/BR, and 1 in the theatre
Decades touched: 1920s-1930s, 1960s - 2020s

Thanks to having a couple of goals for the month, April wound up being fairly productive. And both the short focus and Silent Sundays yielded excellent results overall. There should probably be at least one of the Lone Wolf and Cub films in this section, but I couldn't bring myself to split them up. Still not making it out to the theatre as often as I used to, but in fairness the drive-in's selections have been few and I'm still not willing to return to indoor theatres yet. Maybe in June after I'm fully vaccinated.
People who added this item 1330 Average listal rating (833 ratings) 8.6 IMDB Rating 8.5
City Lights (1931)
First viewing - Apr. 18th

Silent Sundays

I adored City Lights. The comedy slays, the story kept me engaged throughout, and it's got heart. Only thing I'm disappointed in is myself for not watching it sooner. I'll have to watch it again.
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Home viewings

People who added this item 417 Average listal rating (267 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.6
Roxanne (1987)
Re-watch - Apr. 3rd

I've loved Roxanne ever since I first saw it on cable in the late '80s, and my appreciation for it deepened when I read Cyrano de Bergerac in high school. It's a fun update of the source material, told with heart and humor. Steve Martin kills it from start to finish, and the rest of the cast is really good. As a lifelong outsider I've always related to the story, which probably explains why it continues to resonate with me. The kiddo kinda watched it with me and when she paid attention to it she was enjoying it, but she was mostly focused on playing on her phone. Not complaining though as I'd mostly put it on for me. Thankful it's on Starz right now so I could revisit it after so many years.
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People who added this item 350 Average listal rating (210 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8.1
First viewing - Apr. 4th

Silent Sundays

I've decided this month to devote time on each Sunday to a different silent film. I figured I'd watch the comedies on the Sundays my daughter is with me, and the other two when I'm on my own. Thus, we begin the month with Safety Last!, a film I've heard good things about. The kiddo didn't pay it much attention, but I had a really good time with it. There are some really funny set pieces and it's solidly entertaining. I generally tend to struggle at times with silent films, but this one I had no issues hanging with (the fact it's less than an hour & a half probably helps somewhat). I'd even watch it again. Definitely a good choice to kick things off and encourage me to keep going.
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People who added this item 19 Average listal rating (15 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 7.8
First viewing - Apr. 4th

Back in the mid '80s I got into pro wrestling and watched it regularly until 1990. After that I'd occasionally watch it if I had friends that were into it, but rarely ever just for myself, and now I can't remember the last time I paid it any attention. Thanks to that I've known for a long time now who Andre the Giant was, but given that his best years happened before I started watching I never got the full appreciation for him. And truthfully I've seen him in The Princess Bride far more times than I ever saw him wrestle.

Still, I was curious to see this documentary especially given its reputation, and I'd say it was absolutely worth a look. Andre was an interesting guy with a legendary career, and it was great to get a better understanding of what he went through thanks to the mix of archive footage and interviews with some of the people who knew him best. The film also serves as a good reminder of the value of keeping in regular contact with a doctor (something I could do a better job of too).
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People who added this item 14 Average listal rating (9 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.1
First viewing - Apr. 7th

I wanted to check this out because Elizabeth Debicki has impressed me in her other films, plus there's something alluring and mysterious about the title. I did not realize up front that Mick Jagger and Donald Sutherland were in this, so their respective appearances were a welcome surprise. The cast is solid, and the story takes some interesting turns along the way. There's also a fair bit of humor that I really appreciated, though this isn't really a comedy. It's nothing deep or game-changing, but overall it's worth a look.
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Re-watch - Apr. 9th

I decided to have a horror double feature on this Friday night, brought to me via Starz. It's been 8 years since I last watched Demon Knight, a film I've always found to be a fun time. And it still is. The effects are mostly good, the characters are decent enough, and best of all the first kill is a cop and the final girl is a Black woman. It still feels like just an extension of the TV series that spawned it though rather than being its own creation, but then that's clearly what they wanted it to be. I would never call this an essential film, but it's entertaining enough that I'll probably return to it at least once every 10 years.
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People who added this item 803 Average listal rating (556 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.5
Evil Dead (2013)
Re-watch - Apr. 9th

It's been about 5 years since I last watched Evil Dead, and I still haven't bought a copy for my collection. Shameful. My thoughts remain pretty much the same, so feel free to use that link I provided. I will say though that I now really regret not catching it on its opening weekend with a crowd. But at the time of its release I was determined to avoid it, so that's on me. Perhaps one day I'll be able to catch a repertory screening with a room full of fans and have a blast with it that way. Until then I'll keep coming back to it on my own.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 307 Average listal rating (184 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 6.9
First viewing - Apr. 10th

I suspect it'll take me at least a few more years before I catch up on Spike Lee's films that I haven't seen. This puts me one step closer. And it's fine. He Got Game has a solid cast and a decent story that seems fairly well grounded in reality. I'm not much into basketball, or perhaps I might have appreciated it more. But thankfully it's not only about that, and it's got some important things to say. It's absolutely worth a look, I just wasn't in love with it.
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First viewing - Apr. 11th

Silent Sundays

I spent most of the time watching this marveling at the quality of the images throughout the film. The Criterion transfer is impressive, so detailed that I could see the hairs in some characters' ears, and given how long ago this film was made I found it admirable. Beyond the visuals though I didn't care much about what was going on in this film. The way Joan of Arc was treated was awful of course, but not surprising really. I struggled to connect with her character though beyond the surface, and given there's no other character to like in the film it kept me at arm's length. I'm glad I finally gave it a look, but it's nothing I'd bother sitting through twice.
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People who added this item 1477 Average listal rating (906 ratings) 4.6 IMDB Rating 5.2
First viewing - Apr. 11th

I wanted something less heavy after the film above, so I decided to give this a look since I've got a weakness for Uma Thurman. And I didn't think it was as bad as its reputation suggests. Not that it's anything great either, but I thought it was fairly fun. The effects side of things could be stronger, and had me wondering if they'd waited a couple of years whether the film would be better all around. I appreciated getting a different look at superheroes at least, and most of the comedy worked well enough for me. I doubt I'd sit through it twice, but I don't regret giving it a chance.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 569 Average listal rating (315 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.7
First viewing - Apr. 14th

The artwork throughout Fantastic Planet is so wonderful that it makes the film worth sitting through. I also liked the allegorical story it presents, and the animation of it is unusual. It's a little slow at times though, and the ending felt rushed, but overall it's worth a look.
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Re-watch - Apr. 17th

I noticed this is now added to Disney+ when my daughter and I logged in to catch up on Falcon & the Winter Soldier, and she wanted to watch it again so we did. I've talked about it before so I don't have anything new to add beyond that I'm just glad it exists. Hopefully with Disney+ it'll find more people who appreciate it.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 15 Average listal rating (8 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 5.5
First viewing - Apr. 23rd

All I needed to know going into Jakob's Wife is that Barbara Crampton made a new vampire movie. If that sounds like your kind of jam, then you should give it a look. I needed a horror fix on this Friday night and it delivered all around. I might even watch it again.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 706 Average listal rating (457 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.6
First viewing - Apr. 24th

I thought this was leaving Starz this month, so I wanted to catch it before it did...and now it looks like it may not be. Ah well. Once I got past the absurdity of Tom Cruise playing an Irishman, I really enjoyed the film. The story is very well-told, the cast is strong all around, and it got me emotionally invested. I doubt I would have appreciated it back when it came out, so I'm glad I didn't see it before now. It's not a film I'd need to watch twice, but I wouldn't mind if I did.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 516 Average listal rating (348 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.8
First viewing - Apr. 24th

Stagecoach tends to rank highly in the Western genre, and it's clear why. There's a colorful cast of characters and their journey to their ultimate destination is never dull for a moment. There are a few minor things that mildly bugged me, but they didn't detract too much from the overall experience. I'd gladly sit through it again some time.
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First viewing - Apr. 24th

I needed a break from white people, so I opted to check out Curse of the Golden Flower. It was OK. The story was interesting, there are some decent action sequences, the entire film is visually gorgeous, and apparently it's based on real events to boot. The costumes and set design are often jaw-dropping. Only trouble was it never engaged me on any deeper level, which meant it was a fairly passive experience. Thus I wouldn't sit through it again, but it was worth a look.
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First viewing - Apr. 25th

Silent Sundays

Well, this was not quite what I expected...though I guess the title should've let me know it'd be a mix of documentary and fictional styles of filmmaking. That mix puts it ahead of its time by far, and overall I liked it well enough. I did, however, take a short nap during the 5th chapter, but when I woke up I went back to ensure I caught up with it. I was hoping to keep my streak of staying awake, but ah well.

Here are some thoughts I had while watching it:
1. The witch in Chapter 2 has a skeletal shark mouth with a human skull placed between the jaws and I want one for my home.
2. They believed witch's ointment could make you fly. And there's a saying about a fly in the ointment. Unsure if they're one and the same (without looking it up, which I haven't yet) but my mind put those two ideas together.
3. Devils churning butter are hilarious.
4. Witches sure had to kiss a lot of ass.
5. Creature effects & make-up get an A+.

Definitely worth a look.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 4783 Average listal rating (3371 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8.4
Alien (1979)
Re-watch - Apr. 26th

Look, sometimes the heart wants what the heart wants. It was Alien Day and I found myself with enough time to revisit this perfect film, so I did.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 258 Average listal rating (168 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 6
Re-watch - Apr. 28th

I think my dad was the one who initially got me to watch Blind Date via cable back in the late '80s or early '90s, and after that I watched it a handful of times on my own. I don't think I've seen it in at least 20 years though, so I figured I'd give it a look. And the moment the first scene began I was like, oh, this is the James Brown car alarm radio ad isn't it? And it was. And then as the film rolled along I remembered some parts very well and others not at all.

The comedic aspects work well enough that I still have a good time with this movie. Bruce Willis, Kim Basinger, and John Larroquette do an excellent job in their respective roles too. It's nothing deep, but that's fine sometimes. It could be better in some respects though. For one thing Willis's character never makes amends for his behavior, but he needs to. I'd also argue that Basinger's character could be more fleshed out than she is, especially since she's the female lead. But for a simple comedy it's good enough that if I shut my brain off I can enjoy it now and then.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 875 Average listal rating (496 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.7
First viewing - Apr. 29th/30th

First off, let's note that I started this on Thursday afternoon because I was off work so I could get my first Covid vaccine shot, and I thought I had time to watch all of it. Then I got interrupted by my ex, who wanted me to pick the kiddo up earlier than usual, and this just isn't the kind of film I can watch with the kiddo. So I had to put it on hold and wasn't able to finish it until after she went to bed Friday night.

As for the film itself, it's good but not my taste I think. The acting is strong across the board, the subject matter is interesting and somewhat thought-provoking, and it kept my attention as I waited to see how it all played out. I just couldn't get that much into it, however, and I think it's more me than an issue with the film itself. Suffice it to say that it's worth a look but I wouldn't sit through it twice.
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People who added this item 1620 Average listal rating (1093 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 7.1
Tremors (1990)
Re-watch - Apr. 30th

I don't have anything new to add about this film. Only reason I watched it is because it's on Starz (along with most of its sequels) and I knew the kiddo would enjoy it. And she did.
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Big screen attractions

Films caught in a theatre...these days the drive-in
First viewing - Apr. 3rd

The kiddo and I headed to the drive-in to catch Godzilla Vs. Kong on the big screen because of course. We both had a good time with it. The fight scenes made it very worthwhile and I was pleased and satisfied with them. The human side of things could be better, but that tends to be the case with these films. I may not have cared about most of the human characters, but I'll give them credit for casting strong actors in most of the roles to help me feel better about the lack of depth. I mean, I can't complain about Brian Tyree Henry or Rebecca Hall or Demian Bichir or Julian Dennison as actors. Overall it was worth sitting through, and I wouldn't mind sitting through it again.
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Monthly short focus: Lone Wolf & Cub

I've long wanted to check out these films, so I figured this month will be a good opportunity to knock out the entire series.
First viewing - Apr. 5th

Let's just get this out of the way...I've heard about and been aware of Lone Wolf and Cub since I was a teenager. I'd see the Manga periodically in comic shops (or maybe it was the Dark Horse collections), but never picked it up. Later I heard about this series and it's been on my list of things I'd like to check out. It's not available everywhere, however, and I wasn't about to shell out a bunch of money for the whole series on the chance I might not even enjoy it. So when I noticed Max has all 6 films I added them to my list as fast as I could.

And yep, this is my kinda jam. Revenge, sword fights, arterial blood-sprays, and by the end of it I was invested enough in our main characters that I'll willing to follow them through 5 more stories. I don't know that I'd call it great, but I'm definitely a fan and hope the rest of the series delivers on its promise.
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First viewing - Apr. 12th

The second entry builds off the first film and wound up impressing me even more. This time around our protagonists must contend with an all-female clan of warriors and a trio of brothers known for slaughtering all who cross their paths. As a result the pacing is pretty tight, and I highly enjoyed it. I'm now even more thankful for this opportunity to watch the series.
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First viewing - Apr. 19th

The third entry fell somewhere between the first two for me. I liked the new characters in this one and the way their stories played out, as our protagonists save a woman from ruin and contend with another ronin struggling with his journey. I feel like I need to make note of some of the plot details, otherwise these films could well run together in my mind. As the series runs along, I find myself appreciating Daigoro more too, and I'm glad to see the series explore how this lifestyle would affect him. If I had one complaint it's that having the knowledge that there's another film prevents me from worrying too deeply about the protagonists. There are times where it seems like Ogami Ittล is at death's door, but they only work so far. On the other hand, I'm growing more curious to see whether or not he can survive the final entry.
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First viewing - Apr. 21st

I really dug the way this film uses the story of a woman who has mastered the short sword and ties it into our protagonists' journey from more than one angle. And the ending is the closest they've come yet to making me think it's all over. But then by the start of the next film our protagonists are just fine.
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First viewing - Apr. 25th

This entry changes things up with regard to how our protagonists get their assassin job regarding a letter and a ruling family with a big secret. They also throw in a side plot with Daigoro getting tangled up with a pickpocket. It wraps up with a big action sequence that had me thinking of the House of Blue Leaves fight from Kill Bill and thus was almost certainly an influence on it. All good stuff.
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First viewing - Apr. 28th

Two things separate this film from the rest of the series. For one, it's set in winter and we get to see snow for the first time. And the other thing is we get some '70s funk mixed into the music, as well as one song that invokes "A Night on Bald Mountain", which has me itching to find the soundtrack. Watching all these villains fall to Ogami Itto's sword and weapons has me wondering why you'd sign up to fight him at all. Seriously, at some point you'd think somebody would turn tail for self-preservation...but no, even when they're one of the last people alive in the area they still run up to take their turn as if they're sure deep down that they can win when 50 others or whatever have died ahead of them.

My only issue with this film is it ends as though they were considering making one more, but then they didn't (there IS one more film, but it was made in 1993 so it doesn't count). It makes for a less satisfying finale due to the arc being left open.

Overall I had a blast with these films though, and I'd gladly sit through them again. I love the attention to the characters and the fights, and as I've said before I deeply appreciate finally getting the opportunity to finally watch all 6 films.
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Max exodus

Films that left HBO Max this month
People who added this item 288 Average listal rating (211 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7.1
Re-watch - Apr. 1st

I decided to kick the month off by revisiting last year's The Invisible Man before it leaves Max. It's just as good the second time around. I love the craft and the use of cinematography to keep you looking in every corner to try to figure out where the titular villain might be. The cast is excellent all around, Ms. Moss impresses as usual, and I just love this story and the ways it looks at the lingering effects of an abusive relationship. It's too bad the failed attempt at a Dark Universe didn't have this as its starting point, and yet I'd argue we're all the better for it.
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The Shape of the Month to Come

HBO Max just added a handful of Almodovar's films, so I think I'll watch as many of them as possible in May. The rest of the films listed below are mostly ones I'll watch before they leave their streaming services with one new release and some other stuff mixed in for good measure.

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