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Added by the giraffe on 1 Aug 2021 07:35
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Movies the giraffe watched in 2021: August

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Noteworthy: The best films I watched this month

The breakdown: 30 movies and 1 short film watched for a total of 31
23 first views, 8 re-watches
22 via streaming, 4 via DVD/BR, and 5 in the theatre
Decades touched: 1970s, 90s-2020s

Going into this month I had intended to pick up a 7 day trial of Paramount Plus, but since everything I most care about watching through their service is horror I figure I'll save it until October. Thus the majority of what's listed below was streamed through Netflix. I did have to do a little digging as the month began to find more to watch, and amazingly I wound up watching every film in my list but one by the end of the month. That's productivity. And so overall this was a good month. Best of all I made it to the theatre 5 times, and everything I caught was worthwhile.

As mentioned below, next month I'm switching to Prime and you can see a handful of the films I'll watch there. I know there will be more than that, but I don't want to give everything away...got to leave some surprises.
People who added this item 94 Average listal rating (61 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 6
Candyman (2021)
First viewing - Aug. 26th

I've been looking forward to the new Candyman, so naturally I had to catch it on its opening night. And I was pleased to find it absolutely great. The story gets updated for modern times and focuses on African Americans instead of white people, and it's all the better for it. The cast is wonderful, the film is effectively creepy, and I kept thinking about it well after it ended. I'm not saying it's a perfect film, but it comes close and I look forward to watching it again.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 134 Average listal rating (98 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.8
First viewing - Aug. 15th

I've known for a while now some of the details of the '68 Chicago riot during the Democratic National Convention, thanks to Hunter S. Thompson's retelling of his own experience there. Therefore it was rewarding to see this film dive deeper into the events that transpired and the court case that followed, and I suspect that more of the details here are accurate than not. The cast impresses all around, and it's very well-written (which shouldn't be too surprising given Aaron Sorkin wrote the script). On top of that it's still timely all these years removed from those events, and I appreciated the ideas presented throughout. I also feel a need to say that Langella's performance is so good I truly loathed his character. This is such a great film, and absolutely worth your time if you haven't seen it yet.
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First viewing - Aug. 29th

This caught my eye while browsing one day, and I'm so glad it did. It's a powerful short film that looks at the relationship between African Americans and the police force, very much influenced by all the incidents that led to the Black Lives Matter movement. It's great and essential, and if you've got Netflix it's worth your time.
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Home viewings

People who added this item 98 Average listal rating (68 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 8.2
First viewing - Aug. 1st

Given that August is also known as Black August in America, an annual commemoration and prison-based holiday to remember Black freedom fights and political prisoners and to highlight Black resistance against racial oppression, I felt that kicking off the month with a film focused on that history was appropriate. I've meant to check out this documentary for a while now, but kept putting it off because I wasn't in the mood or just had other films that were more of a priority for me. I'm glad I finally watched it though, as it does a great job of exploring the history of incarceration and how it relates to the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution. I learned a lot about the history that I wasn't already aware of, and it's such an essential film if you have any interest in the subject. Format-wise there's nothing too unique to it, but the content more than makes up for it. I highly encourage others to check it out if you haven't already.
the giraffe's rating:
First viewing - Aug. 2nd

As is often the case, I went searching at the beginning of the month for other films I might want to watch in case I wasn't in the mood for the options sitting in my queue, and this caught my interest. It took me a little bit to fully warm up to our protagonist, but as the film rolled along she won me over. The rest of the cast is really good as well, and I dug the way the story played out. It's a little different from your usual rom-com and I found it fresh and welcome. I don't know that I'd call it great, but I enjoyed it so well that I'd happily sit through it again some time.

Just a thought: I want the ABCs book Jessica gives her sister at the baby shower.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 30 Average listal rating (22 ratings) 4.9 IMDB Rating 4.9
First viewing - Aug. 4th

So, heh, I guess I should have looked into the ratings for this film and then I would've known to skip it. The premise is really compelling, having an event that causes almost every human on the planet to be unable to sleep. It's obvious to the audience why those who can sleep are able to from the start, which makes it somewhat frustrating to watch the characters stumble for most of the film to figure it out. The film has some moments that work (bonus points for its accuracy on how American people would behave in this situation), and the cast is clearly trying their best (hurrah for centering the story on Latinx characters), but overall this feels very much like a straight-to-video film, complete with an ending that lacks any emotional weight. I didn't hate it, but it's nothing I needed to see.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 13 Average listal rating (7 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.5
First viewing - Aug. 9th

I really liked Kelvin Harrison in Luce, so I wanted to watch another film of his. I thought this one was pretty good, and ties into Black August as well. Watching his character navigate between prison life and his life before is really interesting, and I really came to feel for his character as the film rolled along. To me that makes the film a success. The rest of the cast does an excellent job, and the film gets its messages across well. I didn't think it was great, but it's really good and I would watch it again.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 6 Average listal rating (3 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 6.4
First viewing - Aug. 11th

This just popped up on Netflix recently, so I figured I'd give it a look. And it's not bad. I liked the characters, and it's a fairly fresh approach to a martial arts movie in that our central characters are middle-aged and not as good as they were in their youth. I found it a welcome change from watching experts mow down their enemies every time while taking minimal injuries. I also appreciated the arc between the father and son, though I thought it could have been better plotted out to carry more emotional weight than it does (plus the mother is pretty one-note instead of feeling like a full person). There's some good humor sprinkled throughout as well. So I enjoyed it well enough, though it fell short of greatness for me and I'm unsure whether I'd watch it twice.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 418 Average listal rating (305 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.8
First viewing - Aug. 14th

I was determined to finally get this watched this month given all the praise heaped upon it. And if all you care about is how a film works on technical levels, then yeah this is great. The cast is stellar all around, and despite the absurd run-time I never found myself bored with it. It's a meditative look at gangster life that I don't think Scorsese could have pulled off when he was younger. I especially enjoyed the friendship between De Niro and Pacino's characters. I didn't care much for the fact that the female characters are barely fleshed out (or not at all), and it bugged me that of the few POC characters only one gets any lines. So yeah, I doubt I'd sit through it twice but overall it was worth seeing for those aspects that do work.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 2245 Average listal rating (1393 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.7
First viewing - Aug. 14th

Hey, another gangster film that sidelines women and POC characters. Wait, I don't think there even were any POC characters in this. Sigh. Beyond that it's fine I guess. I wasn't bored with it and thought the story played out well enough (though I saw that ending coming). The cast does a good job all around, and I thought it paired well with The Irishman. Much like that film, however, I wouldn't sit through this again.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 16 Average listal rating (13 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 6.3
Time to Hunt (2020)
First viewing - Aug. 14th

After two films where white people are central, I really needed something different. So I picked up this Korean film, and it was a welcome change. I liked the characters and their friendship, and the world-building was very well done. There's nothing novel to the way the heist plays out, but I liked that it's not the full focus of the film and follows the characters beyond it. There are some really great suspenseful moments, and the film was really winning me over. But then the ending came along and seemed to counter what came before in some ways. Not that the ending is necessarily bad, but it's not as rewarding as it could have been with a few tweaks. For obvious reasons I don't want to dig into it in detail. I do think the film is worth a look though.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 132 Average listal rating (96 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.3
Re-watch - Aug. 15th

I didn't have a lot of time to watch something after dinner, so I decided to revisit Cop Car which I hadn't seen since it was in theatres. And it holds up; I enjoyed it just as much the second time around.

For a deeper dive, check out PvtCaboose91's review.
the giraffe's rating:
First viewing - Aug. 16th

Some of my co-workers have talked about how much they like this film, and were it not for them I would've missed it. I'm glad they put it on my radar because as romantic movies go it's easily among the better ones. The cast is really strong, the story is well told with both humor and heart, and there's some excellent music throughout. I'm not sure it was great, but it came close and I could see how others might feel it is.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 145 Average listal rating (101 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.6
First viewing - Aug. 18th

Were it not for the critical acclaim this film has received I probably would've ignored it. And given that I thought it was totally worth seeing, I'm glad the praise led me to it. Hopkins and Pryce bring their A game to their respective roles, and watching these two men interact with and verbally spar with one another is a treat. I personally have no connection to Catholicism, and yet I found myself engrossed in every moment. My only issue with the film was in regard to proper representation. Nothing against Pryce, but he should not be playing a Latinx character and I can't believe they couldn't find someone more appropriate for the role. It's still worth a look though.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 132 Average listal rating (93 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.1
Re-watch - Aug. 19th

I had to watch something in honor of Sonny Chiba's passing, and since it was a weeknight I opted to watch the original The Street Fighter again. I've got a cheap DVD set that has it along with two of its sequels, though they're all dubbed versions. That's fine, but at some point I need to pick up a copy on Blu so I can watch the subtitled version. Thankfully his performance is mostly impressive due to his physicality, not so much his words, so I'm able to let it slide. I like the film well enough still, it's just hard to truly like a protagonist that mistreats women. I guess liking him isn't necessary though, but the misogyny bugged me anyway. So it's nothing great, and the ending seems abrupt, but I'm still glad I watched it again.

Shout out to Quentin Tarantino for featuring this film in True Romance and thus leading me to seek it out along with other Chiba movies. RIP.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 33 Average listal rating (25 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 8.4
Re-watch - Aug. 24th

I had a feeling Bo Burnham's comedy would be my daughter's style, so I opted to try this special with her first. I watched it before a few years back (along with his other special What) and really enjoyed it, and I appreciated it even more the second time around. My daughter liked it so well she asked if there was another one we could watch. So....
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 45 Average listal rating (33 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 8.6
Re-watch - Aug. 24th

We chased Make Happy with Inside, and I quickly discovered she knew most of the songs already. She hadn't seen the visuals that accompany them, however, so she appreciated the opportunity to see the original presentation. Watching it again I'm convinced it's a great work all around, so I've bumped up my rating accordingly.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 931 Average listal rating (692 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7.4
Re-watch - Aug. 25th

The kiddo and I had a movie marathon today, and I let her pick the movies. She chose this one to start out with, and I don't have anything new to say about it. Still a fun time all around.
the giraffe's rating:
Re-watch - Aug. 25th

This was the only film in our marathon my daughter had not already seen, and while I have a Blu-ray copy that has 3 options we went with the theatrical cut since that's how I first saw it. And of course it still holds up, and it's great, and so on. This is the second time watching it as an adult, and again I didn't think it was quite perfect so I've finally dropped it from a 10/10 rating.
the giraffe's rating:
Re-watch - Aug. 25th

We ended our marathon by revisiting this film, which I gave my daughter as a birthday present. We both enjoyed it just as much the second time around as we did the first.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 68 Average listal rating (52 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.9
First viewing - Aug. 27th

I adore this little film. Loved the cast, loved the story, love the fact that it's not afraid to be its own thing. It's funny and heartfelt, and I'd gladly spend time with it again. It's not quite great, but that doesn't mean it's not worth a look. We need more high school movies like this one.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 69 Average listal rating (36 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.2
American Me (1992)
First viewing - Aug. 27th

American Me takes a look at a Mexican gangster's life from the perspective of one who has found his way back to prison for the second time and reflects on his journey. The whole story is pretty bleak and a downer, but I don't see how it could be any other way. I appreciated that they're not trying to glorify the gangster life, and showing a causal relationship between the characters' actions and consequences. The acting is solid across the board, and there's never a dull moment. It's not a film I'd go out of my way to watch again, but it's absolutely worth a look.

Just a thought: This would have paired well with The Irishman.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 63 Average listal rating (42 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.1
First viewing - Aug. 27th

I thought The White Tiger was a pretty good exploration of what happens when someone in India encounters ideas from the West that challenge ideas of dharma and the caste system. The performances are solid all around and the story is told well enough I wasn't trying to anticipate what would come next much. I don't know that I need to watch it again, but I wouldn't mind doing so.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 16 Average listal rating (12 ratings) 5.4 IMDB Rating 5.4
The Old Ways (2020)
Re-watch - Aug. 27th

The Old Ways hit Netflix this week, so I watched it again to support it in hopes its audience will grow. It was every bit as much fun the second time around as it was the first. Go check it out.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 132 Average listal rating (88 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 6.8
First viewing - Aug. 29th

Closing out my run this month of critically acclaimed Netflix-only releases with Mank. And I was hesitant to even bother with it given I don't care much for Citizen Kane, but I've seen all of Fincher's other films so I figured I should give it a look if for no other reason than completion's sake.

And it's fine. The whole thing plays way too hard like it wants to be a dramedy from the 1940s, but at least that keeps it entertaining. It's really odd to me that Gary Oldman's playing a character whose age is 43 when he's over 60, but that's Hollywood I guess. Of course he does a great job anyway, and the rest of the cast is solid even if I occasionally lost track of who one or two of the characters were at times. I can't say I loved it, but it was worth seeing once.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 9 Average listal rating (5 ratings) 4.8 IMDB Rating 4.4
First viewing - Aug. 29th

I really wasn't going to watch this just because of the average ratings listed above, but I didn't want to break my streak this weekend of ending each day with a horror movie. So here we are.

And you know what? Maybe low expectations helped but I enjoyed more of it than I didn't. The first and fourth tales were really well done overall, and the frame story was pretty good. The second and third tales were a mixed bag, but that's how anthologies tend to go. I was never bored with it, but it's also not anything I'd need to sit through twice.

Might be important to note that the budget for this is low...probably even lower than the original. Some of the cast sucks. The opening of the film with the skeletons looks like a Halloween screensaver from the early '00s, and the CG and green screen work in the finale is awful. But I thought the ideas and themes explored made up for the flaws somewhat. It could all be better, but I felt like they tried their best with what they had. Plus I can't hate any film with Keith David in it, and if you're not a fan of his please let me know in the comments section. I haven't blocked anyone on here in a while.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 250 Average listal rating (204 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 6.4
First viewing - Aug. 30th

It's been ages since I read the book this is based off of, so I won't attempt to compare the film to its source material (though some parts were familiar). As animated Batman movies go, I feel like it's solid enough. I mean, you've got Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill providing the voices of Batman and the Joker respectively, and you can't do better than that IMO. The story is well-told and the animation is really good all around. Given how much love is heaped upon the story it's based off of you'd think this might be great, but it's all just average. It never reaches any heights, perhaps because it spends the first half of the film on a separate story before bringing the Joker into it, and rather than tie the two parts together in a meaningful way they just jump forward in time. It's not bad, but it's nothing I'd need to watch again either.
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Big screen attractions

Films caught in a theatre
People who added this item 298 Average listal rating (225 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.2
First viewing - Aug. 5th

I decided I couldn't wait a week to catch The Suicide Squad, so I went on opening night to see it in IMAX. If you've heard it's better than the last attempt to bring these characters to the screen, you heard correctly. It's far more fun and wonderfully weird, and overall I had a blast with it. I'm especially loving how Harley Quinn's arc from the other two films she's been in are carried through this story, and any chance she gets to shine is a treat. I don't know how much longer Robbie intends to play the character, but as long as she does I'll keep following her.

As for the other characters, Elba's Bloodsport is well-realized despite being the exact same character as Deadshot, Polka-Dot-Man and Ratcatcher 2 deliver emotional arcs that work to lift up the film, and King Shark steals pretty much every moment he can. The rest of the cast does their best with their respective roles, even if they're only on screen long enough to be killed off. Make no mistake, Gunn is not shy at all about his violence...in fact it's rather gleeful. Cena's Peacemaker is a weak link, however, and I can't say his character is endearing enough to make me want to spend time watching his upcoming series. I'd much rather watch Ratcatcher 2 & King Shark go off on adventures together. My other complaints lie with regard to the way the finale plays out which has some questionable decisions and lacks any unifying emotional outcome/payoff. Thus the film never quite achieves greatness. But I'd gladly sit through it again every several years.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 144 Average listal rating (103 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 6.6
First viewing - Aug. 7th

Jungle Cruise is a lot of fun despite essentially being a remake of Pirates of the Caribbean in a fresh coat of CGI. So many plot points from that film are carried over to this one it's laughable. Thankfully the performances from and chemistry between Johnson and Blunt help keep it worth watching. And Plemons is clearly having a blast with his character. But yeah, it's nothing we haven't seen before and were it not such a fun, breezy couple of hours I would have liked it a lot less. The kiddo and I both enjoyed it for what it is, and while I could easily sit through it again I don't need to.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 242 Average listal rating (171 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 7.1
First viewing - Aug. 24th

Free Guy is everything a summer blockbuster should be. It's consistently fun, the action and comedy are equally well-handled, and the cast is solid across the board. It's not great, but it doesn't need to be either. The kiddo and I had a great time watching it and it's safe to say we'd watch it again.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 63 Average listal rating (48 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.5
First viewing - Aug. 28th

I've seen a lot of positive feedback online for The Night House, so I figured I'd give it a look. I didn't realize until afterwards that it's from the same director that did The Ritual a couple years back, though if I had known beforehand I might have been more excited for it. That's fine though. David Bruckner brings his knowledge of how to craft scares and creepiness into this psychological thriller, and I'll admit I even jumped once. Rebecca Hall gives an outstanding performance throughout, and the rest of the cast does a good job as well. I found the ending to be underwhelming though, and the more I thought about everything after it ended I wasn't sure that the whole thing made much sense. But the first 3/4 of this film make it absolutely worth a look.
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The Shape of the Month to Come

Next month I take my streaming business to Amazon Prime. So below you'll find some films from there I intend to watch as well as the usual theatrical releases.

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