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Added by the giraffe on 1 Nov 2021 01:43
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Movies the giraffe watched in 2021: November

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Noteworthy: The best films I watched this month

The breakdown: 33 films watched
29 first views, 4 re-watches
30 via streaming and 3 in the theatre
Decades touched: 1950s-2020s

Thanks to my focus on trying to watch as many films as possible before I dropped Hulu at the end of the month, November wound up being pretty productive. It's safe to say that the best part of my Hulu experience this time around was finding that they have most of the Drafthouse Films releases housed there now, and if I was willing to keep the service through December I might have revisited the ones I've seen as well as picked up the handful I didn't get to (though the ones I didn't get to were ones I'd watch more for completion sake than because they interest me personally). I guess one of these years I'll have to switch my focus from films to TV, as the TV series offerings seem to be most of what's worthwhile with Hulu (and most other streaming services for that matter). There's a lot of TV shows I've heard great things about and would like to watch, but struggle to dedicate the time to because I'd rather watch movies. I did watch the last 2 seasons of Archer this month too, but that was all I had time for (and between its short run-time per episode & the fact there were only 8 episodes per season that time commitment was minimal).

Anyway, lots of good stuff below as you'll see, some not-so-good, and the kiddo and I made it to the theatre twice this month. I watched nothing from my shelves, but that's because I'll spend all of December with my shelves being first priority (followed by watching the handful of things I have in my queue on Epix Now since I won't renew that service past December). See the bottom of the list for a sneak preview of what's to come for that.
People who added this item 13 Average listal rating (10 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 5.8
First viewing - Nov. 14th

I loved the hell out of this oddball little film. The attention to character details worked for me and rang true, and it was refreshing to see this couple go through what they go through. It's a blast from start to finish, and I can't recommend it enough.

Streaming on Hulu
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 29 Average listal rating (15 ratings) 5.5 IMDB Rating 6
First viewing - Nov. 18th

R100 is another Drafthouse Films release that I'd missed back when it came out and had been curious to check out. And oh man I really loved it. It's so strange in the best ways, and at times had me thinking of Rubber which you should know by now is a compliment. The cast is great, the story is pretty original, and there are lots of fun moments throughout. I guess now I'll have to see if I can track down a physical copy.

Streaming on Hulu
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 223 Average listal rating (168 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.7
First viewing - Nov. 29th

I'd heard great things about Another Round and I'm happy to confirm they're true. I was totally caught up in the characters and their journey, and it unfolded in some very rewarding ways. The only thing missing was that perfect 10 feeling, but it came close to getting there. I'll gladly watch it again down the road.

Streaming on Hulu
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Home viewings

People who added this item 3955 Average listal rating (2722 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.7
Signs (2002)
Re-watch - Nov. 2nd

Kicked off November by revisiting Signs so the kiddo could see it. And she really dug it. I think it's safe to say at this point she's on board for anything Shyamalan does, and she even made comments here & there that clearly communicated to me she's connecting the dots between his films and how he approaches them. I still find the film solidly entertaining, though I don't enjoy it as much as some of his other films.

Streaming on Hulu
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 577 Average listal rating (386 ratings) 4.9 IMDB Rating 5
First viewing - Nov. 4th

When I saw this was PG-13 I decided to watch it with my daughter since it's one of the few Craven films I haven't seen yet. Turns out I could have continued ignoring it, though I'm not too surprised by that. The script is a mess, the themes are barely explored, and the CG-heavy effects are laughable. The kiddo was most amused at seeing a werewolf give another character the finger, and I'll concede that's the only time I've seen that happen in a werewolf movie. She also kept referring to Joshua Jackson as "Walmart Daniel Radcliffe", which amused the hell out of me. There's potential here and it was so cheesily entertaining that I couldn't completely hate it, but there's no reason anyone should watch it.

Streaming on HBO Max
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 219 Average listal rating (160 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.5
Love, Simon (2018)
First viewing - Nov. 5th

My daughter and I chose Love, Simon for our Friday night viewing, and I'm glad we did. When it came out a couple years ago I was indifferent toward seeing it, but I thought it was mostly well made. The cast really won me over and I enjoyed the story of this young man struggling with whether or not to come out to his friends and family. I felt like it did a really good job of handling the subject respectfully and avoided any stereotypes. It's maybe a little too mainstream-friendly, but I think that only works on its behalf to grow its audience over time. It didn't quite earn greatness in my book, but I'd gladly sit through it again.

Streaming on Hulu
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 21 Average listal rating (14 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.4
Hunter Hunter (2020)
First viewing - Nov. 8th

Seen some positive things about Hunter Hunter online since its release, so I wanted to give it a look. I was very impressed by how well-crafted the script is. It follows a logical progression from start to finish, to the point that even if what's happening doesn't surprise you it fits so well that that hardly matters. And I'd argue that its finale is one hell of a payoff. I wouldn't go out of my way to sit through it too often because it's kind of a lot, but it's absolutely worth a look and I'm glad I was able to find it.

Streaming on Hulu
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 98 Average listal rating (78 ratings) 5.5 IMDB Rating 5.6
First viewing - Nov. 9th

I didn't have high expectations for this one, but I was curious enough to give it a chance. On the one hand there are a handful of outstanding moments that make this worth sitting through. On the other hand the camera-work often got on my nerves and some of the characters are too stupid to endure. Plus after a while it gets a bit repetitive. So while I can't recommend that others check it out, those who intend to regardless may find some aspects that make it worth the trouble.

Streaming on Hulu
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 22 Average listal rating (14 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 5.8
First viewing - Nov. 10th

The Wretched has the odd distinction of holding the number one spot at the U.S. box office for 6 weeks in a row, though that's in 2020 when the theatrical release slate had been mostly wiped clean due to the pandemic and the only places you could catch a movie were drive-in theatres. So it's not like it earned that spot due to quality or being something beloved...it was just more or less all that you could go see. And yet I didn't, mainly because it was never paired with another film I wanted to see at the drive-in I go to and I prefer to make my trips out there fully worthwhile.

And it's yet another film this month that I probably could have gone on ignoring, though it's not all bad. I really dug the effects in it, and the Pierce brothers are good at creating atmosphere. The main trouble though is that there's no depth and nothing endearing about the main character. He's just kind of there, muddling through everything that happens with no clear motivations and they fail to give you a reason to care whether he succeeds or not. And then there's a reveal toward the end that I found a little too far-fetched. The story idea is a good one, it just falls apart in the execution in places.

Streaming on Hulu
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 16 Average listal rating (11 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 5.5
Gaia (2018)
First viewing - Nov. 12th

This is one of those films that makes me wish I did hallucinogens, because it would be even better that way no doubt. There are some outstanding visuals throughout, some of which that get really trippy. I love the creature designs, even if they are mostly rendered in CG. I dug the story for the most part, this exploration of man versus nature mixed with philosophy/religion. It didn't fully come together for me though and overstays its welcome just slightly, which means I probably won't sit through it again. But I respect what it's doing and do think it's worth seeking out.

Streaming on Hulu
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 228 Average listal rating (165 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.3
Nomadland (2020)
First viewing - Nov. 13th

Much ado has been made about Nomadland, and I can see why. The cast is excellent all around, and there are some wonderfully human moments on display. I found the story to be quite fascinating, looking at real-life modern-day American nomads in a way that's respectful of their lives. I personally would have liked to see more POC characters, but perhaps this lifestyle is only embraced by white people. I liked it well enough for what it is, but it's nothing I'd go out of my way to sit through again.

Streaming on Hulu
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 87 Average listal rating (44 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 6.8
First viewing - Nov. 13th

Apparently I need to stop trying to watch atmospheric horror at night, even though it's best suited to that time of day. Once again I found myself struggling to stay awake through one of these films. I liked the way it began and really dug the ending, but found it to be kind of a bore to travel between those points. Oh the film looks great at times, and the whole thing is a Mood, but I found spending so much time with these joyless characters rather dull. Maybe I should give it another try down the road, but I picked it because I thought I was in the mood for what it would do so maybe not.

Streaming on Shudder
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 16 Average listal rating (11 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 6
I Declare War (2014)
First viewing - Nov. 13th

So I couldn't decide what to watch after The Whip and the Body, but I knew it needed to be more modern. And as I was browsing through films on Hulu I noticed they've added a bunch of films released through Drafthouse Films, and accordingly added a handful of them to my list to watch. I Declare War is one I'd really wanted to see for a while, so the moment I spotted it I knew it was what I'd watch.

And it's pretty damn good. It's very well-written, with great attention paid to its characters. Basically you have these kids playing war, only the film respects their imaginations and lets us see it through their eyes most of the time so that it's more realistic. And like the real thing, war makes monsters of some of these kids. It's a very different and fresh take on the subject, and I really appreciated what it was going for. I did not, however, appreciate some of the dialogue. There are derogatory terms thrown around which may be accurate for young boys, but that doesn't mean it has to embrace that as often as it does. It's a minor complaint, however, and wouldn't keep me from suggesting that others give this one a look.

Streaming on Hulu
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First viewing - Nov. 14th

I wanted to catch Summer of Soul in the theatre, but the timing never worked out for me. Thankfully it's streaming now and I was finally able to give it a look. I found the whole thing pretty fascinating, and enjoyed hearing a lot of the music. I also appreciated the ways it mixes in the historical context with each artist who performed at the festival. My only complaint was that there were times where they interrupted the performance to talk about whatever and most of the time I wished they'd shut up and let me hear the song and talk around it instead (especially egregious when it's Nina Simone). Granted had they done that it'd probably be a 3 hour film, but I personally would have preferred that. It's absolutely worth a look though.

Streaming on Hulu
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 58 Average listal rating (39 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.4
First viewing - Nov. 15th

This was a film that I appreciated what it was going for but felt like it fell flat in a lot of respects. They do a great job of creating what a day in the life of someone who might work for Harvey Weinstein would have to deal with, as well as the culture that spawns around that environment. And yet I didn't feel like it had much to say about its subject, and when it ended it left me dry. It's worth a look, but just expect it to be somewhat tedious.

Streaming on Hulu
the giraffe's rating:
First viewing - Nov. 17th

I needed something lighter in the wake of The Assistant, so I threw this on even though I had little interest in it from the moment it was announced. That's the fun thing about streaming services, however, is you can wind up watching a film you only halfway care about just to satisfy your curiosity. Anyway, the film is fine. There are some nice moments created even though I knew pretty early on where it was headed, and it's even a little fun at times. I still think they could have stopped with the first film, but at least this wasn't a slog like the 2nd one. Hopefully now they'll let the franchise rest.

Streaming on Hulu
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First viewing - Nov. 19th

New Sion Sono? Yes please and thank you. I absolutely love the world created here, the visuals, the costumes, and the fact it's got that lived-in feel to it all. There were times when it called to mind some of Gilliam's work. Seeing Tak Sakaguchi (Versus) pop up was a pleasant surprise too. The story doesn't always make a lot of sense, but if you can just patiently ride its waves maybe it'll work for you like it did for me. Overall it's not a great film, but I appreciated it in spite of its flaws and will probably watch it again just to spend more time in this world.

Streaming on Shudder
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 51 Average listal rating (37 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.4
The Furies (1950)
First viewing - Nov. 21st

Barbara Stanwyck was a Great actress, and this is just another example of why. She impresses at every turn, and the film would be a great showcase for her if it wasn't also a really good story full of some rich characters. I struggled a little with the romantic side of the film, but everything else works well enough I can probably let that slide. I'm glad I was finally able to give this a look as it was well worth my time.

Streaming on Hulu
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 19 Average listal rating (10 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 5.2
First viewing - Nov. 21st

My hopes weren't too high for this one, but I wanted to give it a look just out of curiosity. The film should really come with some content warnings up front given where it goes, and the subject matter instantly makes it a film I wouldn't sit through twice. The cast does a decent job and the whole film has serious atmosphere, but I can't say I liked it as it left me wanting a shower when it ended.

Just a thought: Further proof that we don't need to let white dudes be in charge all the time.

Streaming on Hulu
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1074 Average listal rating (680 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 7
First viewing - Nov. 22nd

Picked this one to recover from the previous film, wanting something more upbeat...and it did the trick. The film is nothing great, but I liked the characters and enjoyed watching this fictional band navigate the perils of a quick rise to fame in the music industry. It's maybe a little too wholesome, but I felt like it worked anyway. Glad I finally gave it a look.

Streaming on Hulu
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 4 Average listal rating (3 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 5
Horror Noire (2021)
First viewing - Nov. 25th

This came about as a result of the Horror Noire documentary, and it's an anthology film comprised of 6 stories from Black filmmakers. Unlike most anthology films, this one lacks a frame story and opts to just lay out all 6 with a title screen separating them. So when it winds up being uneven, that's not too surprising. The whole thing is absolutely watchable, the cast is solid throughout, and I was mostly entertained as it ran its course. It's just that some of the stories worked better for me than others. If I were to rank them, they'd look like this:

1. "Brand of Evil" 2. "Sundown" 3. "Bride Before You"
4. "Fugue State" 5. "Daddy" 6. "The Lake"

Streaming on Shudder
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 131 Average listal rating (94 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.9
Pig
First viewing - Nov. 26th

Been hearing great things about Pig since its release, so I made it a priority and watched it the day it hit Hulu since my daughter spent Thanksgiving night with her grandparents. And yeah, it's pretty darn good. I really dug the story, and was glad I watched it when I wasn't hungry or it would've had my stomach growling throughout I bet. Give me this approach to this kind of story over the John Wick / Taken variety any day.

Streaming on Hulu
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 92 Average listal rating (68 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 8.1
Re-watch - Nov. 26th

I wanted to watch something with my daughter, and after she turned down a lot of other suggestions we managed to land on this. Which I just watched not long ago, and my thoughts are here. She liked it, though she was getting on my nerves a little trying to get me to spoil the ending for her (nope).

Streaming on Disney+
the giraffe's rating:
Re-watch - Nov. 28th

It's safe to say I hadn't seen this since it was in theatres, and honestly I could have left it there. But the kiddo wanted to see it, so here we are. I'll grant that there are some really good moments sprinkled throughout the film...everything with the raptors, the compy attack, and the T-Rex in the city. And the cast is fine. A lot of the script is technobabble though, to the point even my daughter was like "yeah, those are words" at times. The story takes its time to get going, but doesn't spend that time really establishing some of the characters beyond their surfaces, and parts of the story make no sense. And really the whole idea should have stopped with one film/book, but piles of money outweigh good sense apparently. So yeah. It's possible she'll get me to revisit the 3rd film but I refuse to go past that.

Streaming on HBO Max
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 26 Average listal rating (16 ratings) 5.2 IMDB Rating 5.1
First viewing - Nov. 28th

After I dropped the kiddo off to her mom, I came home, had dinner, and decided to have a Ben Wheatley double feature. And hey, they paired pretty well together on a number of levels. This one reminded me a little of Gaia, and thus could have also been paired with that film. The story is really interesting, at least up until the ending where it kinda falls apart a bit. Or maybe it just went over my head a little. But it was mostly good and thus is worth a look.

Streaming on Hulu
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 97 Average listal rating (62 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 6.2
First viewing - Nov. 28th

I remember seeing trailers for A Field in England back when it came out, and I decided then that it looked like a pretentious drug-friendly movie so I wrote it off. But Ben Wheatley has proved to be an interesting filmmaker, so I figured I'd finally give it a chance. And those first impressions aren't wrong, but there's enough going on here in addition to those aspects that I was engaged with the whole thing. There's a bit too much left off the page, which requires some additional legwork to connect all the dots within the film, and I can't help but hold that against it a little. If I have to go and read analysis to fully get what you're trying to do, you've fallen short in my book. But maybe if I sit through it again down the road I'll have a better appreciation for it as a result. We'll see.

Streaming on Hulu
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 16 Average listal rating (11 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 5.6
First viewing - Nov. 29th

Bad Hair is an interesting little throwback film with some social commentary, nothing great but worth a look. The cast is solid, the effects are pretty good, and I dug the story and that it was set back in the '80s with a fictional version of the battle between MTV and BET. I don't know that I'd need to watch it twice but I don't regret watching it either.

Streaming on Hulu
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Big screen attractions

Films caught in a theatre
People who added this item 258 Average listal rating (200 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 6.3
Eternals (2021)
First viewing - Nov. 6th

Of course my daughter and I caught Eternals opening weekend. And it's fine, given how much they had to try to squeeze into it. I love the diversity on display with its casting, the tone of the film is different from your standard Marvel film, and there are some really interesting choices made that I appreciated. And unlike a lot of people I've talked to, I was engaged with this one from start to finish, and found some entertaining aspects that worked for me.

Telling this story would probably have worked better as a Disney+ series instead though, as there's just too much going on and not enough time to explore it satisfactorily. There's a lot of glossed over character work going on, like we're told repeatedly that Sersi cares deeply about humanity but we hardly see her engage with other humans around her to back that up (and being in a relationship with one doesn't automatically mean she cares about all humans). The ending is super awkward too, leaving us with unformed and meaningless pieces that will be left for someone else to figure out, and thus only serve to please the comic superfans who might get excited by what it could mean because they've read everything. I doubt that's as large of a portion of this film's audience as they'd like to think, however...I mean even back when I read comics I don't recall ever coming across any of these characters or the Eternals mythology, which gives me the impression these are minor characters in the grand scheme of things. Clearly the powers-that-be at Marvel intend to change that with their current plans, but I suspect that a lot of people will be indifferent toward that decision after watching this film.
the giraffe's rating:
First viewing - Nov. 27th

I personally never needed any sequels to Ghostbusters, but the kiddo wanted to see this one so naturally I took her. And it's fine. The overall plot is kind of a retread of the original film from a different angle, for better and worse. Thankfully the cast is solid all around, which helped me sit through it even though there are missing details for some of them that irked me. And the Stay Puft Marshmallow scenes shine above everything else in my opinion...that first one especially will sit among my favorite scenes for the year. I don't think we needed this film, but at least it's not as bad as it might have been.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 227 Average listal rating (176 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 7.2
Encanto (2021)
First viewing - Nov. 27th

Of course my daughter and I were going to catch Encanto on its opening weekend, and I'm glad I missed the marketing campaign for it and was able to go into it blindly. Fairly early on I figured out where it was headed, but it made that journey in a mostly rewarding way with a solid emotional throughline that paid off. I personally would have liked a little less singing, but what's there mostly works well. Heck, I'd gladly sit through it again in spite of the musical overload, and that should tell you something.
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Max Exodus

Films that left HBO Max by Nov. 30th
People who added this item 1348 Average listal rating (896 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 6.4
Rat Race (2001)
Re-watch - Nov. 7th

I have a blast every time I watch this stupid movie, and I wanted the kiddo to see it before it leaves Max (granted, I own a copy on DVD, but still). Rowan Atkinson steals every scene he's in and it's just a fun time watching these people jump through hoops to road trip to reach $2 million dollars. She laughed almost as often as I did, and when we got to the ending she asked me if we could turn the sound off, much to my joy. Sure it's a little over-the-top at times, but that's how comedy goes sometimes. When I'm having this much fun I don't mind.

Left HBO Max on 11/30
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 185 Average listal rating (133 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 6.7
First viewing - Nov. 20th

The Hammer Horror franchise remains a blind-spot for me that I'm determined to fill in as many blanks as I possibly can, so naturally when I saw a handful of their films on Max I added them to my queue thinking I might catch them last month. Alas they had to wait, but better late than never.

This one is all right. I thought it was better constructed than its Universal predecessor at least, and differentiated itself admirably enough. My main issue is that mummies just don't scare me at all, so while it may do well at crafting an atmosphere I'm never frightened. The story is mostly solid, though it kind of drags out a little longer than it needs to. If nothing else, seeing Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee on screen together makes it worthwhile. I wouldn't need to sit through it again, but I'm glad I finally crossed it off my list.

Left HBO Max on 11/30
the giraffe's rating:
First viewing - Nov. 20th

The best aspect of this Dracula film is that it's genuinely fun from start to finish. It's not taking everything super seriously and slowing it all down unnecessarily. Just one idea of how less serious this one is comes early on when one character falls down and cuts his head, and the blood just happens to fall onto Drac's coffin and trickle into his mouth. Hilarious. The whole film MOVES, and I appreciate that. There's also some neat set design throughout, with lots of rooftops that the characters run around on which gives the film a fresher feel. It's nothing great, but it's a good time and I'm glad I was able to watch it.

Left HBO Max on 11/30
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The Shape of the Month to Come

Next month I'll be primarily focused on the films on my shelf as I do every December, so some of that is below. There's also some content from Epix Now because my trial will run out in December and I've only watched one film through that service so far. And of course there are some theatrical releases I hope to catch. Should be a busy month.

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