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Added by the giraffe on 20 May 2021 04:26
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Movies the giraffe watched in 2021: May

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Noteworthy: The best films I watched this month

The breakdown: 31 films watched, plus one attempted and abandoned
30 first views, 1 re-watch
29 via streaming, 0 via DVD/BR, and 2 in the theatre
Decades touched: 1920s-1940s, 1960s - 2020s

Hey, I finally average a movie a day again. Nice. Digging into Almodovar's films helped (and yielded the bulk of my favorite films from the month), and I'm pleasantly surprised to realize I only rewatched one film all month long. Next month may turn out the same, as you'll see noted below. Best of all though is feeling safe enough to return to the theatre again (knowing I'm vaccinated is quite a relief). Sadly I missed a bunch of indie films due to the timing of things, but at least through the end of the year I should be able to keep up with new releases on the big screen as I'd prefer to. Anyway, looks like I also did pretty well on catching films from different decades, though I missed the 1950s entirely for the second month in a row. I'm sure I'll loop back around to the '50s eventually.
People who added this item 345 Average listal rating (213 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 7.9
First viewing - May 8th

Why have I not seen this before now? And why does Max not have any of its sequels? I absolutely adored everything about The Thin Man, especially the performances from William Powell, Myrna Loy, and the doggo that plays Asta. It's so much fun from start to finish and tells a good story well. I have zero complaints.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1418 Average listal rating (843 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.8
First viewing - May 9th

I watched this on Mother's Day because it was too perfect. And wow did I love this film. The story, the characters, everything works so so well. I appreciated that it gives a nod to trans mothers too, which feels timely now but was ahead of its time in 1999. The only thing missing for me was that perfect 10 feeling, so, yeah, I'll be watching it again.

Left HBO Max May 31st
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 626 Average listal rating (349 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.2
First viewing - May 21st

Another outstanding film from Almodovar, one I so enjoyed that after it ended I added a bunch of his other films that I hadn't already planned to watch this month to my list (and by the end of the month I'd watched all but one). I dug the cast and the story and just everything about it. I'd gladly watch it again.

Just a thought: I really want someone to make the werewolf film the characters came up with. And on a related note, I dig how Almodovar keeps talking about and referencing horror films in his despite having never made a full-on horror movie himself.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 287 Average listal rating (165 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.5
First viewing - May 22nd

I'm ashamed I hadn't seen this already, especially given how many times I've watched the remake. I love the way the story plays out, the cast is excellent all around, and it's just a great heist picture. One of its strengths is that while I anticipated it would turn out the way it does it had me questioning myself for a bit, doubting whether I was right. I had some minor issues with it that kept it from being perfect, but nothing that would keep me from watching it again down the road.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1689 Average listal rating (997 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.6
Volver (2006)
First viewing - May 23rd

I really enjoyed Volver, though its "mystery" was fairly obvious to me long before the characters figured out what was going on. Thankfully the cast is so stellar throughout that I hardly minded. Plus it's a heartfelt story that thoughtfully explores death and family. I'm so glad I finally caught up with it.
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Home viewings

People who added this item 105 Average listal rating (78 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 7.5
First viewing - May 1st

So HBO Max finally got their act together and have this available in Japanese with English subtitles, therefore the kiddo and I kicked off May with it. And it's pretty good, there are definitely some moments I really enjoyed and the visuals are often great. It never fully comes together though, I felt, and if you've seen the film I suggest checking out Film Crit Hulk's write-up which gets at the issues well enough. It's absolutely worth a look, but I doubt I'd watch it twice. The kiddo and I had a pretty good time with it though overall (and she'd love to have the umbrella pictured above).
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People who added this item 11 Average listal rating (7 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7
First viewing - May 3rd

After jumping ship from the film near the bottom of this list, my options for getting a film watched were reduced to those that are around an hour & a half or less, out of which I picked Showbiz Kids. As documentaries go it's fairly standard, but I found the subject matter quite fascinating. Hearing all these stories from various actors who began working as children was insightful and interesting. It's pretty tragic what a lot of them went through, even more so when you realize it's so widespread in the Hollywood system. I don't know how much impact this documentary will have on getting that changed, but it's encouraging to know that some of the actors speaking here are willing to work to improve conditions for future actors. If you're curious about the history, it's worth a look.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 860 Average listal rating (546 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 6.8
First viewing - May 5th

I'm guessing the sports-centric story is mainly what kept me from watching this sooner, but I'm glad I finally gave it a look. Woody and Wesley play so well off one another that I'm realizing I need to watch more of the films they've made together. I dug that the story plays out the way it does, and overall it's a mostly fun time. Nothing great, but I'd watch it again.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 54 Average listal rating (39 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7.1
First viewing - May 7th

Figured I'd go with a VOD rental on this Friday night, and I picked Shiva Baby after seeing some positive feedback for it online. And it's absolutely worth the rental. The dialogue is so well-written it felt real most of the time, and it's really entertaining to watch our protagonist squirm for most of the film. The cast is excellent all around, and I was mostly pleased with the ending. I'm so glad I checked it out and will probably watch it again.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 305 Average listal rating (183 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.5
Adam's Rib (1949)
First viewing - May 8th

I was really enjoying Adam's Rib up until its final moments. Hepburn and Tracy are expectedly wonderful playing off each other, and their performances cannot be faulted. I can imagine the impact this film must have had at the time of its release given the way it looks at female equality, and for the most part the script handles the subject wonderfully. But then the ending comes along and kind of goes against it and it just didn't sit right with me. So I'm not sure I'd sit through it twice, but I don't regret the opportunity to finally watch this.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1189 Average listal rating (730 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.6
First viewing - May 8th

I'm doing an unofficial focus this month on Almodovar's films because Max has a handful of them, and I opted to kick things off with The Skin I Live In since it's so widely appreciated. And rightly so, though I felt like the non-linear approach was the one piece that didn't work so well. Granted it probably makes the film more interesting in some ways, but on an emotional level I felt like it lost some of its power. For what it is though the film works mostly well, and the performances are high caliber across the board. I don't know that I'd need to watch it twice but I'm glad I finally caught up with it.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 684 Average listal rating (430 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.6
First viewing - May 10th

I've been debating for a while now whether to watch this with the kiddo, but on this night I decided I wanted to watch it and she wasn't with me so here we are. For the most part this is super fun. Getting to watch The Beatles goof around between performance of their songs is entertaining and enjoyable, and it doesn't even matter whether they're actors or not because they've got good personalities. Some of the extended musical moments get kind of dull, but if you dig the music that helps balance things out. It's ultimately nothing great in my book, but I'd gladly sit through it again.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 2436 Average listal rating (1578 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.9
Re-watch - May 14th

The kiddo picked this for us to watch, and my feelings on it are pretty much the same as they were four years ago (though I'd say it's about on par with Raimi's first film now that I've revisited that one). To my amusement she also disliked the choice of how to render the Lizard's face as much as I do, and then when I asked her how this one compares to the other Spider-Man movies she's seen she gave it a 0 out of 10. And I should note that at this point the only films she hasn't seen are Spider-Man 3 and the sequel to this one. She did enjoy it, but clearly it's her least favorite.
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First viewing - May 15th

Another kiddo pick. I like this take on The Borrowers and we both had a mostly good time watching it. The film gets extra points for giving us a different ending than we were anticipating too. I liked the characters well enough and overall it's a solid film. I don't think I'd need to watch it twice, but I wouldn't complain should that occur.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 14 Average listal rating (10 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7
First viewing - May 18th

I've known who Hervé Villechaize is for a long time now, but beyond his roles and how he died I didn't know much about him. This film gives some good insight into his life, and it's elevated by the performance from Peter Dinklage and Jamie Dornan. Dinklage remains one of my favorite living actors, and learning that playing this role was a passion project of his makes total sense after watching the film. Hervé's story is entertaining and engaging, mixed with tragedy but told with a sense of humor. It never quite reaches greatness, but it's absolutely worth a look.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 391 Average listal rating (281 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 8
The Raid 2 (2014)
First viewing - May 19th

OK, so obviously this was not going to match the excellence of its predecessor. That film had a perfectly composed script, full of clear objectives and obstacles, and loaded with impressive action sequences from start to finish. Naturally the sequel is loaded with some impressive action sequences too, though as the world is expanded I felt like there were too many subplots going on to the point we even lost track of our protagonist at times. I needed to pause it at the 2-hour mark, and when I realized there was still another half hour to go I felt like it was overstuffed. Thankfully that last half hour has one of the best fight sequences of the entire film, but that doesn't make the film feel any less bloated. Add to that the fact that our protagonist's main objective feels unresolved at the end, and I'm mildly disappointed in it. I definitely wouldn't sit through it again.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 77 Average listal rating (54 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6
First viewing - May 22nd

Since I've enjoyed the other Taylor Sheridan films I've seen to varying degrees, I couldn't ignore the existence of a new one. And I'm thankful it's available via Max so I didn't need to drop money to see it in a theatre as it's just OK. I was solidly entertained enough to stick with it, but there's not much going on here and I will probably forget its details as time goes by. Oh yeah, I also had some issues with the villains' choices given their mission and how they would agree on one thing and then break it for no good reason. Could be better, but could have also been far worse.
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First viewing - May 22nd

The Kid Detective is an interesting take on the noir genre mixed with a coming-of-age tale, and it works well enough I guess. I never connected with it on any deeper level, but I appreciated what it was going for and there were moments that are pretty fun and memorable. I like that it has things on its mind at least, as displayed in its themes. Maybe I was expecting something else or maybe I just wasn't in the right mood for it, but I don't know that I'd sit through it again to confirm.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 487 Average listal rating (324 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8.1
First viewing - May 23rd

Decided to kick off another Sunday afternoon with a silent film since it paid off well last month. The Circus is one of two Chaplin films on Max I hadn't seen yet, so away we went. And it's a lot of fun, solidly entertaining but nothing I'd go so far as to call great. I'd happily sit through it again some time.
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First viewing - May 24th

Here's where I start digging into Almodovar's earlier work, and I had mixed feelings about this one. I was certainly engaged with the entire film, but I struggled to connect with the characters and their journey. It's well acted and doesn't overstay its welcome, but by the end of it I felt like I could have skipped it.
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First viewing - May 25th

This one was amusing enough, but fell short of greatness for me. I dug the way the ensemble's respective arcs play out, and the film is a fairly light look at love and relationships. It's not great but definitely worth a look, and I might sit through it again at some point though I don't think I need to.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1288 Average listal rating (731 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.4
First viewing - May 26th

I could tell pretty quickly that this was a very personal story for Almodovar, albeit one where enough details have surely been changed to make it fiction. I appreciated the exploration of religion versus one's sexuality, and as per usual the cast is pretty great overall. I don't know that it's great in my book, but it's very good and I wouldn't mind watching it again.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 656 Average listal rating (359 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.4
First viewing - May 28th

The first thing that struck me was how the animation style seemed pretty far behind the times for 2006. Not that it's bad, but it's unimpressive and thus mildly disappointing (not to mention a little surprising given Studio Ghibli's track record). I could say the same of the film as a whole. I barely hung with the story from start to finish...while I liked the world-building the characters were just OK and the story is fairly forgettable. I picked it because the kiddo couldn't make up her mind what we should watch and I'd heard some good things about it, but she paid less attention to it than I did. Ah well.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 23 Average listal rating (14 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.9
First viewing - May 29th

I had some time to myself on this afternoon as the kiddo completed some school work, so I opted for this short film from Almodovar. And it's really good, simple yet effective. And, let's face it, if given an opportunity to spend 30 minutes with Tilda Swinton, regardless of what the story is, you'd take that chance, right? Right. It's nothing great, but it's a solid little tale that I enjoyed.
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First viewing - May 30th

I've loved Robin Williams for as long as I can remember, so of course I was going to check out this documentary of his life told mainly through his words from interviews and his work. And as a fan it was absolutely worthwhile. I appreciated the fact it covered as much as possible, and by the end of it some of my gaps in knowledge of his life had been filled in. I'll miss him for the rest of my life, but I'm glad he left behind so many great performances that I can spend time with.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1411 Average listal rating (812 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 8.1
Barry Lyndon (1965)
First viewing - May 31st

I've wanted to see Barry Lyndon for a long damn time now as it's one of the few Kubrick films I hadn't seen. Tracking it down is generally not easy, and I didn't want to buy it without watching it first, so I was pretty stoked when it got added to Max. The only obstacle left was finding the 3 hours to sit down with it...and now here we are.

Turns out I was right not buying it without watching it first as it's nothing I'd need to watch twice. It's an interesting look at a rags-to-riches story, humorless and distant as Kubrick generally tends to be. I was never bored with it thanks to the visuals, the cast, and the overall storytelling. I think the bottom line is it's just not to my taste, despite the aspects I appreciated. Still, I'm very thankful I finally got the chance to watch it after so many years.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 209 Average listal rating (139 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.9
First viewing - May 31st

I opted to end the month with the only one of Charles Grodin's films I had access to and had not seen yet in honor of his passing this month. While Heart and Souls is not the best showcase for him, he's in it enough that it still counts. The story is pretty amusing, though only one of the 5 major characters had a story I was deeply invested in. It's nothing deep or life-changing, but after all the heaviness of Barry Lyndon I needed something lighter and it did the trick.
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Big screen attractions

Films caught in a theatre
First viewing - May 30th

Now that I'm fully vaccinated I decided it was safe enough to return to the theatre, and I took the kiddo with me as there were two films opening this weekend she wanted to see. I only had interest in this one, which is funny given how little I cared for it. Oh in the moment it's entertaining enough that I hung with it, but throughout the film its treatment of POC characters was quite frustrating. And as I thought more about the story afterwards the film fell apart even further. The cast is solid and there are some strong tense set pieces, but it fails to live up to the original at all. I've seen rumors there may be a third film, and unless some major changes are made on the creative side of things I'll skip it.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 234 Average listal rating (170 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 7.4
First viewing - May 30th

For a film I had zero interest in, not to mention one that sounded unnecessary, I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed Cruella. Both Emmas are outstanding in their respective roles, the film is a visual feast, and the soundtrack slays with fantastic needle drops all over the place. If you're expecting a direct prequel to 101 Dalmatians, I feel it's pretty clear that's not what they're going for here. It's more of a retcon origin story for the titular character, call it an alternate universe thing if you will. It's a bit overlong though, and there's a mid-credits scene that's baffling, but aside from those and a couple other minor gripes it's a good time overall. I don't need to watch it again, but I didn't mind that the kiddo gave me the opportunity to watch it.
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Max exodus

Films that left HBO Max this month
People who added this item 1252 Average listal rating (780 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.5
Doubt (2008)
First viewing - May 12th

I've been watching Barry this month, and one of its episodes references a scene from Doubt and thus encouraged me to watch it sooner than I might have. And I kinda wished I'd watched Doubt before Barry, but at least nothing was really spoiled. The performances are excellent across the board, which is to be expected, and it's an interesting look at the subject. It's nothing I'd go out of my way to watch again, but it's worth a look and I'm glad I finally checked it out.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1611 Average listal rating (987 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.7
First viewing - May 22nd

I've got to say I was not prepared for there to be as much humor in this film as there is. Don't get me wrong, it's definitely a drama, but the interactions between McAvoy and Whitaker's characters are mostly fun and had me laughing consistently. Both actors give outstanding performances, and the rest of the cast does a very good job too. The story is compelling, and if it has a fault it's that we know this is the doctor's story and it could not be told had he not survived it. Still, this was absolutely worth a look.
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I tried, but I gave up

First attempt - May 3rd

The Hanzo trilogy popped up as a recommendation last month when I watched the Lone Wolf and Cub films, so I figured I'd give it a look. And before long I was like ha ha ha ha nope. The protagonist is into self-torture because he feels like it gives him a better understanding of the criminals he's after, and watching two self-torture scenes in less than 30 minutes was at least one scene too many. Like, come on, we got it the first time. And if that's any indication of what to expect, no way am I sitting through 3 films of it. Plus I was getting heavy Bad Lieutenant vibes from it, and I didn't like those films either. So yeah, this is not at all my taste and I can't recommend it to others.
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The Shape of the Month to Come

June will be a challenge for me. As we head into it I'm planning to end both Starz and Max at the end of the month, which gives me a LOT to watch in a short amount of time. That means less time to revisit films as I'll want to focus on catching ones I haven't seen yet. Add to that the fact that I've signed up to attend the Chattanooga Film Festival from the 24th-29th and my month will be packed (none of those films are listed here). Feel free to place your bets now on how much of what's below I'll actually get through.
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