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Added by the giraffe on 1 Sep 2021 02:33
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Movies the giraffe watched in 2021: September

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Noteworthy: The best films I watched this month

The breakdown: 28 films watched
20 first views, 8 re-watches
25 via streaming, 1 via DVD/BR, and 2 in the theatre
Decades touched: 1950s-2020s

My month spent with Prime was OK I guess. Saw some good stuff, a handful of not-so-good stuff, revisited some films I hadn't seen in a while, and best of all managed to do it all via a free trial. Didn't make it to the theatre much, but that was more due to a lack of films I really wanted to see than anything else. And I wish I could see I caught everything I most wanted to, but as you'll see below that didn't happen. It'd be great if Amazon would bother to alert users to films leaving the service, but alas they don't seem to care. Ah well. Overall not a bad month though.
People who added this item 45 Average listal rating (31 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.1
First viewing - Sept. 1st

Given all the critical acclaim for One Night in Miami... it was a high priority watch for me when I returned to Prime. And you can believe the hype, because it's pretty great. The cast is outstanding, it's very well-written, and everything fires on all cylinders. I'm glad I watched it after having finally seen Malcolm X so I could connect it with the real history, even if the story itself is a fiction spun from real events. Highly recommended.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 133 Average listal rating (90 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.8
First viewing - Sept. 11th

After being disappointed by Malignant I needed something guaranteed to be worth my time, so I sat down with Sound of Metal. And it was as great as I'd heard. Riz Ahmed gives an outstanding performance, and I liked that it told a story well while effectively using understatement as needed. It also did a great job of making me thankful I haven't lost my hearing yet. The only thing missing was that perfect 10 feeling.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 290 Average listal rating (183 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.5
First viewing - Sept. 15th

My Name Is Nobody is a total blast, a super fun Western that I enjoyed from start to finish. I've never seen Terence Hill in any films before this one, but he won me over so well I'll pick up another before the month ends. His character quickly earned a place among my favorites, just so well-written all around and a joy to watch in every scene. He even outshines Henry Fonda, which isn't an easy thing to do. So yeah, I loved this one and will be recommending it to anyone who will listen.
the giraffe's rating:
First viewing - Sept. 4th

The kiddo and I caught Shang-Chi on its opening weekend in IMAX, and when it ended it had shot to my top 3 Marvel films. It's so refreshing to see a Marvel film full of martial arts, well-staged action scenes, and subtitles. Tony Leung kills it every moment he's on screen and Simu Liu and Awkwafina have great chemistry together (bonus points for keeping them best friends instead of trying to force a romance). The ending could have been better tied into the themes, but I was satisfied enough with it that I didn't mind that in the moment. I still thought it was great overall, and I look forward to spending time with it again in the years ahead.
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Home viewings

People who added this item 505 Average listal rating (319 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.7
Fido (2007)
Re-watch - Sept. 6th

I decided to spend Labor Day watching zombie films, and opted to kick it off by revisiting Fido which I hadn't seen since prior to joining Listal. And it holds up. It's solidly entertaining, the cast is solid, the effects are good, and it's a welcome divergence from the usual zombie flick thanks to its 1950s setting. It's not a film I need to watch a bunch of times, but one I'm happy revisiting periodically.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 41 Average listal rating (30 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 6
First viewing - Sept. 6th

I've seen positive feedback online about this film, so I was curious to give it a look. And it's pretty good. The film gets bonus points for having a protagonist that plays the situation safely and intelligently, and sets up some effective moments as his mental state shifts over the course of time. I was a little surprised that while the film is set in Paris everyone speaks English, but this did not detract from the film in any way. I would have preferred a more definitive ending than it delivers, but overall it was absolutely worth a look.

Just a thought: It's pretty impressive they were able to make a city like Paris seem completely devoid of life.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 842 Average listal rating (536 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.4
Slither (2006)
Re-watch - Sept. 6th

I can't recall how long ago I watched Slither, but I know it wasn't in theatres at the time. This is my second go-round with the film, and it was a different experience given that I've come to better know James Gunn over the years. It was amusing seeing the parallels between this and The Suicide Squad (intended or not), and not just in the casting department. There's also one scene that's clearly influenced by Society, and the effects across the board are a treat. It's not a very good film, but more of a so-bad-it's-good film and I enjoyed it well enough. I'll probably watch it again down the road, but it's not a film I enjoy enough to need to own or anything.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 3 Average listal rating (2 ratings) 5 IMDB Rating 3.6
First viewing - Sept. 8th

I have no idea how Selah and the Spades got put on my radar exactly. I suspect it was probably on someone's best of 2020 lists, though having seen it I'm questioning whether that's the case. The film is kind of a mess really. I'll grant that the cast is decent and it held my attention, and the story takes a different approach. There's definitely some artistic merit here too. But when it ended I was like, really? That's it? I felt it failed to get its point across very well or dig into its themes with much depth, as I struggled afterwards to figure out what the point of it all was. And days later I'm still unsure what message it was trying to convey. It's not a bad film necessarily, but it could be a lot better.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 13 Average listal rating (10 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.2
Get Duked! (2020)
First viewing - Sept. 9th

This was kind of fun and silly. I liked watching the characters stumble into success and the protagonists are likable enough. There are some really funny moments here and there, and the premise is fresh. It's nothing great, but it's a good time. I probably don't need to watch it twice, but I might sit through it again once or twice.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 39 Average listal rating (26 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 5.8
First viewing - Sept. 12th

One fun thing about going into films blindly is when you don't realize whether or not something is a sequel. In this case, Gator is the sequel to White Lightning, a fact I didn't know until the opening of the latter film. Thankfully both films stand alone with regard to their narratives, so this wasn't an issue...had I known, however, I might have flipped the order. Ah well.

I thought this was pretty fun overall, despite being kind of a mess. The film opens with an epic boat chase as our titular character outwits a police force trying to catch him, but all that effort is immediately negated right afterwards when they get hold of him anyway. That's the first instance of a flawed script, and while there are other issues along the way the cast tends to balance it out. Jerry Reed does a great job as the villain, Burt is Burt, and I was consistently entertained as it ran along. There's even a crazy cat lady that got some good laughs due to the absurdity of her character. I wouldn't need to watch it again, but I thought it was decent enough for what it is.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 34 Average listal rating (17 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.4
First viewing - Sept. 12th

White Lightning is the stronger film of the pair all around. The cast is really good, the story plays out well, and Burt seems more serious about his role here than in some of his other films that followed in its wake. The film maybe spends a little too much time investing in Gator being undercover, but I felt it eventually paid off. It's another film I wouldn't need to sit through twice, but I dug it well enough.

I can't forget to mention that I've wanted to see this film for over 20 years now thanks to Primus referencing it in their song "Camelback Cinema". Glad to finally cross it off my list.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 648 Average listal rating (460 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.6
Re-watch - Sept. 13th

I've been wanting to revisit Attack the Block for a while now, so Prime having it gave me the opportunity to finally do so. It's so damn good, just fires on all cylinders from start to finish. I think it falls just shy of greatness for me, but I'd gladly sit through it many more times in the years ahead. I really need to buy a copy for my collection.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 145 Average listal rating (100 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 6.5
Dirty Work (1998)
Re-watch - Sept. 14th

Losing Norm MacDonald was kind of a shock, but then that's his fault for keeping his cancer battle under wraps. I'm not saying he needed to tell people, just that not knowing made it more of a surprise than it would've been otherwise. After spending a good amount of time mourning him via social media and all the videos people were sharing, I wanted to also make sure to watch Dirty Work again, a film I've always enjoyed. Sadly he never got a chance to be the lead in another film, but if he was only going to get one shot at it I'm glad he left us this one. There are so many great lines in it that live rent-free in my head, and it plays so well to his comic sensibilities. It's nothing great, but it's a film I keep returning to every so often and will continue to do so. RIP Norm, we'll miss you.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 23 Average listal rating (13 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 5.5
The Boy (2015)
First viewing - Sept. 16th

Those of you who keep up with my lists have heard me mention Clay McLeod Chapman, whom I found my way to via the 2020 Chattanooga Film Festival. Well, turns out he co-wrote the script to this film as well as wrote the story it's based off of, and that meant I had to give it a look despite the ratings suggesting it may not be worth the trouble. Now that I've watched it, it's got me curious to read the story that spawned it because I suspect that'd be a better experience than this was. Not that The Boy is a bad film necessarily. I appreciated it for what it was, and think the story idea works well enough. The cast is decent too. My main issue with the film lies with the camera lingering overly long on some moments to the point it eventually feels more like an attempt at filler than functional and makes the film feel longer than needed. If you're looking for a dark tale and have the patience to hang with it, this might be worth a look. I just wish I'd enjoyed it more than I did.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1035 Average listal rating (686 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 6.4
Arachnophobia (1990)
Re-watch - Sept. 19th

I wanted the kiddo to watch Arachnophobia with me, and we had a good time with it. Last time I watched it I had some issues with it, but this time around I was able to just settle in and enjoy it for what it is. It's not great, but I bet I'll watch it a few more times in the years ahead.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 455 Average listal rating (271 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 8.1
Re-watch - Sept. 20th

I'd intended to have a whole week of new-to-me Billy Wilder films this week, and might have made it had one of them (Irma la Douce) not left Prime without warning. Thus I set out to revisit Ace in the Hole, which I haven't seen since 2012. It's still a great film, an entertaining, thoughtful, and painfully honest look at what greed and fame can drive a man to do. Douglas's Tatum becomes a reverse King Midas, turning everything he touches rotten...though that feels apt given he's rotten too. It's so fascinating and well-crafted all around, and I'm glad it exists.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 165 Average listal rating (105 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.3
First viewing - Sept. 22nd

One of the critics I pay attention to started singing The Fortune Cookie's praises from the moment it hit Prime, and thus it was a priority for me to check out this month. And he's right, it's absolutely worth seeing. Lemmon and Matthau shine as per usual, playing opposite types and sparring wonderfully. The rest of the cast does an excellent job too, and I liked the way the story played out with its twists and turns. I'm not sure I'd call it great, but it came close to earning that distinction from me and I'd sit through it again.
the giraffe's rating:
First viewing - Sept. 23rd

This was pretty good too. I liked the way it connected its dots as it went along, the cast is really good all around (I got really excited when Christopher Lee turned up), and it's solid from start to finish. I found it quite refreshing to experience a Sherlock Holmes story from a different perspective too. At one point I thought it was going to do something really groundbreaking, but then it kind of walked it back to my mild dismay. Guess they didn't want everyone mad at them. Still, I'm glad I finally got to check this out.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1355 Average listal rating (903 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.6
The Abyss (1989)
First viewing - Sept. 25th

Back when The Abyss came out I didn't care much about it. The trailers failed to inspire me to see it, and my dad never bothered to take me to see it and thus it went unseen. I generally like James Cameron's films, however, so I figured now maybe I'd finally give it a shot. And it's a decent enough film. It's entertaining on the surface, but not very deep in my opinion. I liked the characters well enough but didn't love any of them, and thus never got deeply attached to them. The effects have mostly held up well, which is a good thing. So yeah, it was worth a look but I doubt I'd watch it again.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 146 Average listal rating (81 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.1
First viewing - Sept. 25th

Hey, a film that's been on my list for a while now to check out but I kept putting off. Thanks to watching Mandy first, I knew I'd have to be patient with this one, though I can't say that helped me much. Because holy crap is this movie slow. Even the characters speak slowly, as if they're trying really hard to drag it all out to a proper feature-length run-time. And maybe they are. After all, if you edited the film down to the moments where anything that actually moves the plot along occurs I suspect you'd have a 30-45 minute film. Ah, but Cosmatos wants to play around with atmosphere and visual style and sound, to the point of dragging every scene out far beyond its use. And yeah, he manages some cool shots along the way, but what does that matter if you don't care and they're not serving the story? After a while I was playing on my phone and checking in and out of it. But I managed to stick it out to the end, even though it wasn't really worth my time or trouble. It's tedious, and unless you just love the style and don't need a plot it's not really worth wasting your time on in my opinion. At least Mandy went somewhere.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 402 Average listal rating (286 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 6.8
Phantasm (1979)
Re-watch - Sept. 25th

I couldn't let my Saturday night end on a bum note, so I watched the Remastered version of Phantasm in which the film looks and sounds better than ever before. And look, if you don't dig Phantasm then I don't know what to say to you.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 11 Average listal rating (7 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 7.8
Val (2021)
First viewing - Sept. 26th

I've long appreciated and respected Val Kilmer, even though I haven't kept up with his films as well as I probably could have over the years. I also generally ignore celebrity news, so this was my first time finding out he lost his voice to throat cancer, which is a shame. I like the way they worked around that by having his son speak for him most of the time, and seeing that he's making art in other ways helps lift one's spirits despite the downturn his life has taken in recent years. Overall this was an excellent doc and I'm glad I was able to check it out.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 748 Average listal rating (496 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.8
First viewing - Sept. 26th

I tried watching The African Queen a while back and wasn't really in the mood for it. I decided to give it another shot, and wound up genuinely enjoying it this time around. Hepburn and Bogart play well off one another, and I liked their characters and how the story plays out around them. It's nothing great, but it's a solidly entertaining film and well worth a look.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 72 Average listal rating (47 ratings) 4.4 IMDB Rating 5.3
First viewing - Sept. 26th

Coming 2 America seems to be mostly hated, but I couldn't resist giving it a look. Lowered expectations helped somewhat, but I wouldn't say I loved it. A lot of the humor in the film falls flat or is cringe-inducing, and there are more musical numbers than seem necessary. It's also obvious how the whole film will play out early on, and only occasionally worth the trouble to find out how it does so. Were it not for the charms of the cast, I might not have been able to sit through it, and thanks to them I was mildly entertained by the entire thing. At least I found out for myself, and now I won't have to sit through it again. Given that the film mostly exists to celebrate the original that spawned it, you're better off just revisiting the original instead.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 153 Average listal rating (95 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.5
First viewing - Sept. 27th

As I said above, I wanted to watch another of Terence Hill's films and this was among the few Prime had to offer. It's a super fun movie about two guys trying to get their dune buggy back from some kinda inept villains. There are some great action sequences and lots of laughs from start to finish, and I had a great time with it. My only complaint was that there's one song that's used throughout the film, over and over, to the point that it got annoying and any other song was welcome. I'd totally watch it again, I just wish they hadn't relied so heavily on the one song.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 680 Average listal rating (422 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.5
Re-watch - Sept. 29th

I was originally going to watch The Extra Man on this night, but Prime pulled it. I really hate their app. There's never any warning about films leaving, and when they do leave the film sits in your list forever until you remove it yourself. It's so dumb and not at all user-friendly. Anyway, I eventually settled on watching this instead, which I hadn't seen since it was in theatres.

And I still think it's a solidly entertaining film that falls shy of greatness. The messages are understated but communicated clearly enough. Our titular protagonist isn't very likeable, but that's also the point and Oscar Isaac's charms come across often enough to offset that somewhat. If nothing else the film is worth revisiting for the scenes around "Please Mr. Kennedy", which remains its best moment. But there's just nothing here that endears it enough to me to love it as much as some of the Coens' other films.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 304 Average listal rating (175 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.1
Klute (1971)
First viewing - Sept. 30th

I picked HBO Max back up because they offered me a 6-month discount, so I figured I'd end the month by catching a film that was leaving the service. I went with Klute, a film I wasn't too familiar with but had heard of before. I recall back in the '90s we had a thing in America called Moviefone, and you could call them to find out showtimes, using your dialpad to search for either theatres or movie titles. It was far more time-consuming than using the Internet is now, but worked well enough if you didn't have a newspaper handy since that was the other way you could find times. I recall calling them at one point and hearing the voice say "Klute" and not knowing what the hell it even was (must have been a repertory screening).

As for the film itself, it's fine. As whodunits go, it tips its hand a little too early which keeps it from being great. But the cast is really good and I was entertained well enough. I wouldn't need to watch it again, but it was worth a look.
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Big screen attractions

Films caught in a theatre
People who added this item 58 Average listal rating (42 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.3
Malignant (2021)
First viewing - Sept. 11th

When James Wan delivers a horror movie, you go. And so of course I was going to catch this one on opening weekend. It was probably a sign of things to come that compared to when I saw Candyman the theatre was mostly empty on a Saturday afternoon. The dude sitting to my left even slept through most of the film, waking up for its bonkers finale.

And bonkers is an apt descriptor for the film as a whole. It's not scary, nor creepy even. Themes are touched on but never tied into the story in any meaningful way. The film has a tendency to over-explain what's going on, which is especially annoying when you've already figured it out long before any of the characters catch on. And when it ended my feeling was that it was pretty stupid, which is something I've never said of any of Wan's horror movies. That's not to say it's completely devoid of charms, however. There's one shot as we follow our protagonist through her house that I absolutely loved. The film is never shy about its bloody violence. And the final stretch of the film is pretty hilarious as it goes all in on the silliness of its premise. Clearly Wan is having a blast with his film, but that's not to say it works well or that others will get much out of it. I wouldn't even say it's so bad it's good though. And it brings me no joy to say any of this, as I'd eagerly anticipated this film, but it's easily the worst of Wan's films.

Just a thought: I like how this film is set in "present day" but there's no issues with finding a working VCR.
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The Shape of the Month to Come

It's Horrorfest time! Here's some of what I'll be watching. Expect my list to pop up as soon as I get the chance to post it & I'll be updating it as I can throughout the month instead of holding it until the list is finished. Let's goooooooooooo!!!!!!!

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