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Added by the giraffe on 3 Apr 2022 01:42
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Movies the giraffe watched in 2022: April

Sort by: Showing 33 items
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Noteworthy: The best films I watched this month

The breakdown: 32 films and 1 special watched for a total of 33
29 first views, 4 re-watches
25 via streaming, 7 in the theatre and 1 via DVD/BR
Decades touched: 1920s, 50s, 70s-2020s

I spent the month alternating between HBO Max & Shudder, which allowed me to make decent progress on cutting down my queues for each. I've still got a ways to go before I'll be able to clear either out, but having a month for just the two services certainly helped. Next month I'll have 4 services to choose from as I scored a free trial for Showtime near the end of April & wanted to pick up Hulu again for May. Sadly nothing I watched at home this month made it into the top section here, but theatrical releases did. Overall I'd say watching over 30 films in a month where I went a whole week without watching any is pretty darn good.
People who added this item 106 Average listal rating (78 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 8
CODA (2021)
First viewing - Apr. 2nd

I was completely emotionally invested in this from the start, & it left me a wreck. But in a good way. The cast is terrific & I appreciate the messages & the way they were delivered. There's some great humor throughout too. Happy that it won awards, they're all well deserved.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 271 Average listal rating (209 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7
The Northman (2022)
First viewing - Apr. 23rd

The Northman caught me up in its spell from the beginning & I happily allowed myself to stay there. Sadly not all in the audience felt the same, but I ignored them the best I could. From the sound design to the costumes to the effects to the characters & everything else, it fires on all cylinders. It's dark & brutal & metal & I'm here for it. It's clearly influenced by Shakespeare (& by natural extension Kurosawa) & yet it establishes itself as its own thing. I loved it & look forward to watching it again.
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Big screen attractions

Films caught in a theatre
Re-watch - Apr. 9th

Yes, I went to see it again. Yes, it was just as great the second time around. Looking forward to having a physical copy so I can pick up even more pieces that I know I'm missing.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 25 Average listal rating (14 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 5.8
First viewing - Apr. 20th

Much like The Art of Self Defense, this is an oddball of a film that will likely earn a cult following & not much more. Those not on Riley Stearns's wavelength may not register the deadpan comedy as often as those who are, as the film sets a serious tone up front. I was one of two people in the audience that laughed, & most of the time I laughed alone. I dug the story idea, Gillan continues to impress me, & I liked everything with Aaron Paul. The style of it keeps it from reaching greatness, & the ending was a little underwhelming, so I don't see myself revisiting Dual too often. I might watch it again, however, just to see if I like it better knowing what to expect.
the giraffe's rating:
First viewing - Apr. 23rd

This was solidly entertaining, though I suspect how much you enjoy it may depend on how much you like Cage. I appreciated that it poked fun at how he seems to just take on projects to keep busy regardless of quality, & the friendship between him & Pascal's character really makes it all worthwhile. Not all of it works, but despite its flaws it was worth a look.
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First viewing - Apr. 30th

When you've made a franchise spin-off about wizards, & the only character I care about at all is a muggle, it's safe to say you've failed. Dan Fogler's Jacob is the brightest spot in all 3 films, followed by some of the creatures, & yet those aren't the main focus of these films. This series wants to be about Dumbledore's past, but instead we're saddled with Newt as our protagonist & he's never been nearly as interesting as he should be. The stories have been a mess, & this one proves the law of diminishing returns by being the worst entry yet.

Here we get a lot of lip service from the characters about what a serious situation they're in, but there's no clear setup of stakes & no real drama going on that makes clear sense. Then, when it's most obvious that the events we sat through made no sense, there's some character who steps in & says that actually it was the plan all along. There's a lot of messy CGI, & several subplots that fail to be interesting or meaningful.

Here's hoping this is the final entry in this franchise due to lack of interest, because I really don't want to sit through the other 2 films they were planning. Granted, I tolerated the 2nd one & had no urge to bother with this one. But my daughter enjoyed the 1st 2 films, & we went for her sake. While she also said it's the weakest film in this series, I suspect she'd still want to see any further films if they do happen just for the sake of completion.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 97 Average listal rating (75 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.8
First viewing - Apr. 30th

This was fun enough, though I really expected to laugh more than I did. I haven't read the books it's based off of, but my daughter has & we saw it together. The ensemble cast makes it worthwhile, & the animation is solid. The plot is similar to Despicable Me to an extent, but feels like its own entity. It's nothing great, but it's a decent watch which I may revisit once or twice.
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Home viewings

People who added this item 141 Average listal rating (89 ratings) 5.4 IMDB Rating 5.5
First viewing - Apr. 4th

Shudder

I haven't dug into Tobe Hooper's filmography much, so when this popped up on Shudder with a few others I added them all to my list to fix that. I saw a few reviews of X that referenced Eaten Alive, so I opted to begin here. Can't say it was a great start to my journey.

Oh, the film has its moments. The effects impressed me at times, & the soundtrack is full of unusual noises mixed with dark country songs. The cast tries their best with their roles & are game to rise to meet the weirdness. And on that note, I now know that Quentin Tarantino based one of his Kill Bill characters off Robert Englund's character here. The film is full of interesting color choices too, as if Hooper watched some Argento before diving in.

But all of the positive can't outweigh the negatives. Especially because so much of the story makes no damn sense. Logic gets thrown out the window quickly, from the popularity of this rundown hotel hidden in the woods to the husband going off on his wife & ranting about losing an eyeball he didn't lose. The allodile is massive in the water, but shrinks dramatically on land...& somehow it's never full no matter how many times it eats in one night. One character wears a heavy layer of make-up for no discernible reason & it looks obviously fake, not to mention its unnatural color. And let's not forget the constant screaming from most of the cast, & lack of depth & clear motivations. Mostly by the end I just felt gross & irritated for sitting through it all, & that's not what I come to horror for.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1292 Average listal rating (769 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.1
Re-watch - Apr. 6th

HBO Max

This re-watch was inspired by Everything Everywhere All at Once. I didn't love it quite as much as I did the first time around, but it's still a really good exploration of longing and the ways two people might navigate being left behind by their respective spouses. I still feel like there are some things that could be better handled, but it's absolutely worth a look.
the giraffe's rating:
First viewing - Apr. 7th

Shudder

This is really in the top tier of found footage horror for me. Normally these films lose me with having characters that will pick up cameras to film even when all hell breaks loose, & it breaks the spell. Every time someone wakes up to noise & chaos in the middle of the night & picks up a camera on the way to investigate, it's just stupid. This time they're literally strapped in & can't stop filming, which makes for some ugly shots but at least it's more sensible. As the film moves forward it generates some effectively creepy moments, & while some aspects may be predictable it makes even those worthwhile. The cast is solid & I really dug the ending. Were it not for some of the technical weaknesses it could be great, but as it stands it's a solid horror ride.
the giraffe's rating:
First viewing - Apr. 9th

HBO Max

This was my introduction to Jerrod Carmichael, & now I'm curious to check out his other specials. It's beautiful, honest, raw, & deeply human. As comedy specials go I found it rarely funny, but when the content goes this deep I have to ask myself if that's a bad thing or just a necessary casualty. I liked it & was very engaged with it, but I have no idea what to rate it after a first viewing. Maybe next time around...
People who added this item 22 Average listal rating (15 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 5.5
Ritual (2012)
First viewing - Apr. 9th

Shudder

Spent the first half or so of this film being really frustrated by the character work that was playing out, & then finally they revealed their hand & it all made more sense. Going in blind & being patient with it ultimately paid off, but it didn't fully wash away the ill will it had built up. Plus there's a couple details that didn't work even after it ended. It's worth a look, especially if you like Joko Anwar's other films, but best if you know nothing about it & keep reasonable expectations.
the giraffe's rating:
First viewing - Apr. 9th

Shudder

Wanted something fun to end my Saturday night, & figured I'd give this a try in hopes it'd scratch the itch. It wasn't quite what I was looking for, but not bad either. I like the fresh take on vampires here & most of the characters were worth spending time with. Not so crazy about the opening scene being moved out of place from the rest of the narrative, & the storytelling overall could be a bit better. It was ultimately worth a look, but I probably won't watch it again.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 3147 Average listal rating (2134 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8.1
Gran Torino (2008)
First viewing - Apr. 10th

HBO Max

Gran Torino is a mess, but it's a watchable one I guess. Racist jerk does the white savior thing for his neighbors after they force their way into his life & he realizes they're not as worthless as he'd assumed. I'm sure Eastwood's heart is in the right place, but the execution is horribly misguided. I liked his neighbors, & think this story told from their perspective would be far more interesting. Of course to do right that you'd have to get a Hmong writer & director & start all over. Maybe this plays better to those like Walt, but it's tiring to keep sitting through his BS & then the ending is rather tacky. The most positive thing I can say for it is that I'm glad I finally crossed it off my list so I can leave it behind me.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 243 Average listal rating (177 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.4
First viewing - Apr. 10th

HBO Max

Pretty sure this is supposed to be a comedy, & yet I genuinely laughed less than 5 times. Other than that it's fine. I like Clyde, he's very talented. Eastwood does a decent job as Philo, though I liked Orville, Ma, & Echo more. The ending is exactly what you'd expect, but it's a fairly entertaining trip to get there. Overall it was worth watching once.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 252 Average listal rating (164 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.6
First viewing - Apr. 17th

HBO Max

There may not be much new to the messages delivered by this film, but the ensemble cast lured me in & delivered across the board. There are some moments that really ring true & felt honest, & I appreciated that. The humor doesn't always hit, but it worked more often than not. And the ending is more or less what you'd expect, but it felt right for the story. Overall it was fine & I'm glad I gave it a look.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 137 Average listal rating (100 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.2
First viewing - Apr. 18th

Shudder

The effects in this are mostly good, & Tommy Chong is a treat as usual. Stanley does a satisfactory job of delivering the Lovecraftian visuals, & his cast is up to the challenge. Too bad the story is a mess, with a clunky opening & pacing issues. Sadly it didn't earn a spot among my favorite Lovecraft adaptations, but if you're a fan it's worth a look despite its flaws.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 364 Average listal rating (175 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 7.8
The Devils (1971)
First viewing - Apr. 18th

Shudder

Oh hey, now I see what influenced Benedetta the most. Couldn't pass up the opportunity to see The Devils when I noticed Shudder added it, as it's one of those films that's more often talked about than available to watch. And yes, it's very well made all around, plus undoubtedly & justifiably controversial at the time of its release. I appreciated the overall exploration of Christianity & its witch hunts, & the cast is mostly excellent. Ultimately though it's one of those films I respect more than enjoy, so I doubt I'd sit through it twice. Absolutely worth a look though.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 8 Average listal rating (5 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 5.8
First viewing - Apr. 18th

Shudder

Super fun & gory little throwback horror film with equal love for slashers & Giallo. I'm here for it. I especially dug having the whole thing set in a theatre, & kept geeking out over the posters (especially Anguish, bonus points for that one). The only thing that bugged me was that no film reels are ever changed on an hour & a half movie...I'm no expert on 35mm film projection, but I'm pretty sure you can't get a film that length on one reel. Not sure it's good enough to call great, but I highly enjoyed it & would watch again.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 51 Average listal rating (35 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 5.5
First viewing - Apr. 18th

Shudder

About a decade ago, Subspecies was on Netflix & I had it in my queue. Back then I asked our community to vote on the films in that queue as a way to help me prioritize what to watch, & this one got voted against so much that I let it slip away. Then it popped up on Shudder this month, & I decided to finally give it a look while keeping my expectations low.

And it's not as bad as I'd anticipated. Angus Scrimm gets a small role, the antagonist Radu is super influenced visually by Nosferatu, (can we get more of that?) & the effects & costumes are mostly good. Most of the acting is a mixed bag though, & the ending was cheesy. I didn't care much for any of the characters, & I kept being tempted to riff on it. Can't say it was essential at all, but at least now my curiosity can be laid to rest for this one.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 62 Average listal rating (44 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.7
Speedy (1928)
First viewing - Apr. 19th

HBO Max

This is my second Harold Lloyd film, & I think I'll have to keep digging through his filmography. Speedy is a lot of fun, with a story that never runs out of steam. Some of the situations go a bit over the top, but that's comedy for you. There's a dog that almost steals the whole film, & the film really helped me see why Coney Island was so popular. Glad I don't need to buy a suit to go there should I decide to though. So glad I gave this a look.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1101 Average listal rating (640 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 8.1
First viewing - Apr. 19th

HBO Max

Wild Strawberries is an interesting exploration of love, regrets, & life from an intellectual perspective. While I can appreciate that approach & the overall execution, it never transcended into my emotions. It definitely gave me plenty to think about, but ultimately left me dry. Thus I didn't love it, but I do respect it.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 260 Average listal rating (107 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 5.9
First viewing - Apr. 20th

Shudder

I'm not sure what to do with this film. On one hand the pacing is so glacial & the story told in a muddling way that by the end it felt like a short film stretched beyond necessity to a feature. And yet the pace & storytelling feel intentional, plus there are some moments that will stick with me long after I've stopped thinking about it. It's definitely more arthouse than horror, which isn't necessarily a bad thing...though I confess I was more in the mood tonight for the latter. So it's possible that my mood is to blame for being lukewarm to the overall experience, or perhaps the film simply isn't to my taste. Whatever I end up rating this, take it with a grain of salt & keep all I've said in mind. By the end you too may need a shower to wash this one away...
the giraffe's rating:
First viewing - Apr. 21st

HBO Max

I have zero interest in the latest live action MK film, but I've seen generally positive things about this one. As someone who tapped out around the time the 4th game came out in arcades, I'm not a big fan of the franchise anyway. I did spend many hours in my youth playing the 1st 2 though. So it's kinda nice that this film takes place back at the beginning.

It's basically an alternate take on the original live action film, with more attention given to devoting a character arc to Scorpion. And it mostly works well enough for what it is. The animation is pretty good overall, especially when it comes to the blood & gore. The humor mostly fell flat for me, to the point that when it did hit it took me by surprise. My biggest issue, however, is that everything directly related to Scorpion's arc works best, which left me wishing they'd been brave enough to just follow him the entire time. I think that approach would yield better results than breaking away from him several times to set up the supporting characters, none of whom managed to really resonate with me. I'm sure somebody decided fans would be upset if they didn't devote more time to Liu Kang, Sonya, Cage, etc. But from a narrative perspective it breaks up the momentum, especially with the strong work put into Scorpion's intro.

It's worth a look if you're a fan at all, but I wished it'd been better executed. I'll probably check out its sequel just to see how it compares, but it's not a high priority.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 8 Average listal rating (6 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 5.4
Virus-32 (2022)
First viewing - Apr. 22nd

Shudder

An interesting take on the fast plague zombie idea, but nothing great or essential. I liked the characters enough to stick with it, & the film keeps the mother/daughter relationship mostly in its center. It wasn't fully clear to me at first what was up with the titular 32 seconds, & it felt like by the time it was clarified & necessary to the action it was a little late. I've seen enough of these films to anticipate most of how it'll play out, & it rarely surprised me. But there are some good tense moments along the way, & I was fairly entertained by it despite not connecting with it very deeply. Not a bad way to pass time on a Friday night.
the giraffe's rating:
First viewing - Apr. 24th

Shudder

Noticed this leaves Shudder at the end of the month & it's fairly well-liked, so I gave it a shot. I thought it was a pretty average Giallo until the ending came along & won me over. The cast & effects were good too. Glad I gave it a chance.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 195 Average listal rating (118 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 6.8
Ms .45 (1981)
First viewing - Apr. 24th

Shudder

Watched this on the 41st anniversary of its release, & no regrets but maybe it would've been cooler to wait until the 45th? Anyway, solid rape revenge tale elevated by the performance from Ms. Lund. While the choice to make her mute denies us easy access to her interiority, she rises to the challenge through her facial expressions & body language. The rest of the cast is good, but she shines above them all. The story is fine, & kept me engaged. Don't know that I'll watch it again, but I'm glad I finally got around to it.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 226 Average listal rating (177 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.4
Nobody (2021)
First viewing - Apr. 25th

HBO Max

This wound up being better than expected. Still not great, but a solidly entertaining action flick with a handful of memorable moments (tattoo shop & bus easily among them). There's at least one montage too many, & the gunplay gets tiresome, but neither goes too far. I wanted a little more from the family side of things too. Still, not a bad way to spend an hour & 1/2.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 213 Average listal rating (128 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 5.9
The Funhouse (1981)
First viewing - Apr. 27th

Shudder

My 1st film watched from Shudder this month was Eaten Alive, so it felt fitting to choose another Tobe Hooper jam to be my last Shudder film for the month. I liked this one far better. It kicks off with a scene full of nods to the horror genre, only to pull back & let us enjoy some horror-free moments with our protagonist & her friends, before connecting back & forging its own path. I loved carnivals growing up, & this brought me back & left me wanting to go to one again. But maybe not this one.

Love the whole design of the titular funhouse, plus the fact it even shows off the less visually stimulating guts of it. The villains are somewhat sympathetic, which I also appreciated. Lots of great stuff going on sound-wise too. The acting isn't always great though, & there was one scene where an effect looked laughably fake. Ah, & there's some nudity that felt creepy & exploitative. Flaws aside, it's totally worth a look & I'm glad I've finally seen it.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 4 Average listal rating (4 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.4
Lucky Grandma (2020)
First viewing - Apr. 28th

Showtime

There's plenty to like in Lucky Grandma...the performances, the twist on a familiar story idea, the music...but nothing that I genuinely loved. Tsai Chin is especially noteworthy as our protagonist, & she's a joy to watch. There are a small handful of story threads, all of them more or less get concluded, but I felt like there could've been more depth or just MORE from them. I'll be curious to see what the next film is from the creative minds behind this one though, given this is a solid debut.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 565 Average listal rating (432 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.9
Re-watch - Apr. 30th

After our day out at the theatre and dinner, I asked my daughter to pick out one last film for us to watch. Rather than choose something from our streaming options, she picked Knives Out, which I recently bought a physical copy of on the cheap. It's just as good the second time around. I love the ensemble cast, and the story fires on all cylinders consistently. It's a solid whodunit and I'll gladly revisit it several more times.
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Max Exodus

Films that left HBO Max this month
People who added this item 1554 Average listal rating (1046 ratings) 5.1 IMDB Rating 5.4
First viewing - Apr. 8th

Look, nobody watches Snakes on a Plane & expects great cinema. We expect a dumb fun movie. And it delivers that well enough. Sure, the CG snakes look totally fake. And the night-visiony snake cam is kinda lame. But I'm not taking any of this seriously, & neither should you. Sam Jackson is badass as per usual, the rest of the cast is decent enough, Dave Koechner has a blast with his role, & best of all no white people get to save the day. I had fun with it. Do I need to watch it again? No. But I might, if the mood struck me.

Oh yeah, bonus points awarded for it giving me the one thing I most wanted to see, which was the fate of the Chihuahua.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 227 Average listal rating (142 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 6.6
Re-watch - Apr. 19th

I hadn't seen Summer School since my teenhood, when I watched it several times on cable. It's pretty much just as I'd remembered. I love all the stuff with Chainsaw & Dave, and have always appreciated the story idea about a teacher who finds compromises to encourage his students to do better. Best of all it keeps things fairly grounded by not having all the students ace the test they're studying for, or with touches like the student having a crush on her teacher that's not reciprocated nor taken some gross advantage of. It's nothing great, but it's a fun time and I might even watch it again down the road.
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