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Added by the giraffe on 31 Jan 2013 07:30
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Movies the giraffe watched: February 2013

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The breakdown: 21 movies watched - 15 on Netflix instant, and 6 on DVD; of those 16 were first views, 5 re-watches, 1 was a short cartoon, 1 was a documentary, and they came from the following decades: 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s, & 2010s.

I'm shocked honestly that I broke 20 films for the month. I'd originally planned to watch more movies than I managed to & thus had quite a few left over at the end of the month. I didn't realize TV was getting back into full swing & that some shows would start digging away at my movie time though, and so I took advantage of any chance that arose to watch a movie with my daughter as time went on.

Unsure whether it's been a matter of moods or what but it appears that my inner critic showed up more often than usual this month. Or maybe what I most wanted from movies was to have a good time, and those films that failed to properly deliver one also failed to impress me as they might have otherwise. Hmm.

At any rate, I guess I did an OK job keeping up with my projects but I'm hoping next month I'll do a better job on the Netflix project as there's a lot there I'm itching to watch. We'll see....

Best film watched for the first time for February: Paper Moon / Beginners (tie)
Best hidden gems: TerrorVision / I'm Gonna Git You Sucka
Worst film: The Snowtown Murders
Re-watch - Feb. 2nd

Yep, I watched this on Groundhog Day. Cliche, I know, but I decided it was as good an excuse as any to re-watch it. Every time I watch this I love & appreciate it even more...which seems fitting in a way.

Just a thought: I miss this Bill Murray.
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Re-watch - Feb. 7th

My daughter found her appreciation for The Fox and the Hound this week, and after she watched it on this day I looked through the extras & found this & we watched it. I hadn't seen it in AGES so it almost felt like a first view, but I quickly recalled the song contained within. It's entertaining if far from original so I enjoyed it well enough, and worth a look if you've got about 8 minutes to spare for it.

Wasn't going to include this one, but this week wound up running short on movies watched. So :P
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Re-watch - Feb. 9th

So umm...I'm just going to leave my rating what it is for now. When I watched this I realized about a half hour into it that I was not in the right frame of mind/mood for it. Instead I just couldn't take it seriously & was left at the end wondering why I thought it was such a great film before. Had this been my first viewing I think I'd give it a 7/10, which is a big drop down, but I know that in the past I've loved it so I'll withhold any rating changes until I've watched it again.

The acting is really good & the visuals have held up well for a film that's as old as I am, so I'm a little bummed that I didn't react more favorably to it overall. Hopefully next time around I'll reconnect with its magic.

Just a thought:

Ladies & gentlemen....please welcome...Kraftwerk!
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People who added this item 1182 Average listal rating (699 ratings) 8.5 IMDB Rating 8.3
First viewing - Feb. 13th

While I can easily enough admire the technical aspects of this film all around & was consistently entertained, I can't say I ever really connected with this film on an emotional level. And the ending left me rather dry. So it's unlikely I'd watch this one again, though if someone suggested doing so I wouldn't say no in hopes maybe I'd like it better. Probably just a matter of taste.

Currently streaming on Netflix
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Re-watch - Feb. 14th

My daughter wasn't feeling well today, so she spent most of the day on the couch & I was never far away. After she watched two movies I had no interest in re-watching I thought we should give this one a try. She fell asleep midway through it & later told me she didn't like it. Can't say I'm surprised though as it's the sort of film she'll appreciate more when she's older.

I, on the other hand, still absolutely love this movie, though as I get older I tend to better notice the ways the animation & live elements fit together, which is at times a little sloppy or else just isn't aging well. I also did a better job this time around of connecting the narrative dots as they're laid out along the way. But overall I personally find Who Framed Roger Rabbit to be a lot of fun & a film I'm always happy to revisit. Perhaps that's to some degree due to what Roger says, "A laugh can be a very powerful thing. Why, sometimes in life, it's the only weapon we have." This film is fully loaded.
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People who added this item 2849 Average listal rating (1715 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.3
Re-watch - Feb. 20th

My daughter asked to watch Dumbo so I decided to watch it with her today since I had nothing else going on. I'd actually attempted to watch it in December but fell asleep instead. So aside from the little bit I saw then I hadn't seen this one since childhood. What's most surprising is how well I recalled some parts of it (like the pink elephants sequence, the scene above, & the scene with the crows), and yet other aspects I didn't remember at all. It's still a decent story with excellent animation for its time. But whatever I may have thought of it in childhood it never reaches greatness in my book now. Still worth watching though.

Currently streaming on Netflix
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People who added this item 688 Average listal rating (401 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.2
Beginners (2010)
First viewing - Feb. 23rd/24th

I've been looking into various options to determine how I'm going to keep up with the Five By Five project, as I'm now down to one movie that I can watch via Netflix Instant. And my research led me to a local indie video store, which my "wife" & I checked out as part of a date night on the 23rd. I liked it so well I signed up for a membership & brought this little movie home.

And I'm so glad I finally watched it. It's one of those rare treats where the characters are able to convey as much through silence as dialogue, and every character is a joy to get to know flaws and all. The chemistry between Ewan McGregor and Mélanie Laurent is palpable & I found myself as swept up in their romance as they were (a very rare thing for me when it comes to romantic films). And I loved the style & presentation of the story over all. Really I could go on & on talking about everything I liked/appreciated about it, but instead I'll simply recommend that you go watch it and find out for yourself.

I'll have to add this one to my collection.

Just a thought: I think I'm in love with Mélanie Laurent now.
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First viewing - Feb. 28th

Earlier this month my daughter was supposed to go to preschool but wound up sick & unable to go. She had to make it up before the month ended, so I chose to send her today & take advantage of the time by watching this film to end the month. I don't think I would have got it watched otherwise given its excessive run time.

Honestly I feel this film is somewhat overrated, but I think that's more a matter of personal taste than anything else. Yes, it excels on every technical level from acting to score to cinematography & so on. Yes, it manages to be entertaining for most of its 220 minutes. But I never really felt any deep feelings for it, and it ended up pretty much the way I'd anticipated it would. Maybe some editing would have helped it & I wouldn't have kept looking at the clock now & then. Anyway, I'm glad I finally saw it just to see what all the fuss was about (and thanks to phillydude for loaning it to me), but I wouldn't ever sit through it again.
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Netflix Instant Project 2013


Netflix Instant Project for 2013


My secondary project for 2013 involves recommendations of lesser-known/lesser-seen films that are currently streaming on Netflix, also from my fellow Listalites. If you use Netflix Instant Watch & want to participate, please check out the list above & the thread in the Movies Forum.
People who added this item 100 Average listal rating (71 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 5.7
TerrorVision (1986)
First viewing - Feb. 1st

I kicked off February with an '80s sci-fi double feature. TerrorVision is a wonderful slice of absurdity that had me almost falling off my couch laughing several times over. By no means is this a great movie, nor does it ever have aspirations to be, but I couldn't help but love it in all its so-'80s-it-hurts insane glory. Throw in ridiculous dialogue, over-exaggerated facial expressions, and equal amounts of love & hate for metal, and you've got a winner on your hands. And yeah, I'm rating it higher than it probably deserves, but I had so much fun watching it that to rate it any lower would be unfair.

Just a thought: Why is the blonde kid in this NOT Ricky Schroeder?

Currently streaming on Netflix
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First viewing - Feb. 2nd

In hindsight, I watched these films in the wrong order. Killer Klowns just simply could not compare in the wake of TerrorVision, and as the movie dragged on I found it harder & harder to stick with it. I dug the set design on the spaceship and the funhouse, and the clowns look great. There are a few entertaining moments but they wound up being few & far between, which became problematic as the characters continued to take everything far too seriously. So where TerrorVision was so bad it was Awesome, this one is just bad in my book. Bummer.

Just a thought: Line from the film that comes closest to describing my feelings on the whole thing - "I made it through Korea I can make it through this bullshit!" (spoken by the only character I liked, no less)

Currently streaming on Netflix
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First viewing - Feb. 2nd/3rd

I can now say I've seen not only one of John Wayne's movies, but one of John Ford's as well. And it was pretty good...solidly entertaining, good story, decent acting. I liked it a lot but never quite loved it. If anything it's started my interest in Lee Marvin who is pretty badass here. Ah and it was mildly irksome to see a movie where the characters in the "past" don't look much younger than those in the "present", making the time difference rather questionable. But still, it's worth a look, I just didn't think it was Great.

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People who added this item 85 Average listal rating (37 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.4
First viewing - Feb. 12th

This film would be so much better if they could pick a tone and stick with it. Much of the film felt rather light & comedic to me, which in turn negated the emotional impact of the film's most tragic moments. It's almost like you're not supposed to take the rather bleak circumstances of the characters seriously, which is a little confusing. On the other hand, the film's lighter moments make for a very watchable film & I couldn't completely resist the charms of Jennifer Lawrence (whose performance alone makes this well worth watching) & the rest of the cast. In the end I wound up liking it well enough, but I don't think I'd watch it again.

Just a thought: Nice to see David Alan Grier, even if he's playing a character he created way back when he was on In Living Color (if not before then).

Currently streaming on Netflix
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First viewing - Feb. 14th


Review by PvtCaboose91

As I get older I find it harder & harder to give a crap about characters who get killed off or whatever before you're given any reason to feel anything for them. Instead I spent the time during the attack on Kersey's family thinking about how similar it was to the first HOME scene in A Clockwork Orange. And then I felt like Kersey's lack of emotion regarding the tragedy perfectly mirrored my own. Fortunately the rest of the film is mostly entertaining, if a bit repetitive, and there's a bit of social commentary that keeps it from being completely mindless.

Not a favorite by any means, but I'm glad I finally watched it.

Just a thought: Really wish someone would upload the shot of Bronson in front of the Vigilantism poster, as it's the perfect image to represent this film. *EDIT* phillydude found it...thanks!

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People who added this item 4010 Average listal rating (2346 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8.5
First viewing - Feb. 19th/20th

Here we have another cinematic illustration of the horrors of WWII/the Holocaust. Brutal? Yep. Depressing? That too. It's also very well done & chock full of excellent performances. It ran a little long for me though with a few scenes I thought could have been cut without ruining anything. But overall it's an excellent story & well worth a look. Just not a personal favorite.

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Five by Five Project 2013


2013 - Five by Five


Last year I did the Movie Exchange Program with fellow Listalites jaytoast, phillydude, and Xanadon't. This year we've modified our project, expanded our group to include lotr23 and Mackenzi, and set out to watch 25 films throughout the year with 5 films recommended by each member to each other member. See the above list for all recommendations, and as soon as I have links to everyone else's lists to share I'll include them here.

See also: lotr23's Jan-Feb 2013 Movie Journal
Mack's Movies 2013: February
Phillydude's Movie Log - Feb 2013
jaytoast's Dear Cinema Diary - Feb 2013
People who added this item 92 Average listal rating (51 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 7.8
Dark Days (2000)
First viewing - Feb. 11th

Recommended by Mackenzi



Can't say I was ever deeply engaged by anything here. The people captured on film are somewhat interesting, but never really endeared themselves to me in any way. And by the end I'm not sure what exactly the point of this documentary was other than to document the lives of the homeless people that used to reside in a subway tunnel in NYC. I was entertained enough to stick with it, but I wouldn't watch it again.

Currently streaming on Netflix
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People who added this item 183 Average listal rating (101 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.6
Snowtown (2011)
First viewing - Feb. 22nd/23rd

Recommended by lotr23



Nope, not for me. This one felt like a bad homework assignment & I really struggled to keep watching it. Were it not part of this project I probably would've turned it off; instead I hung on until the end even though I wound up not caring how it ended. I'll grant that it's an unusual film with mostly solid acting, and I'm sure some will find a deeper appreciation than I had for it. But there was never a character to latch onto, which was my biggest problem. I guess I'm supposed to care about Jamie just because of what he goes through, but we're never allowed to really know much about him other than the way he handles himself in the situations that come his way, none of which was remotely likable. John is a charismatic character and the most interesting one in the film, but his juvenile behavior initially turned me off & his motivations wound up confused as the film went on. Then there's the problem that the cast is far too large to keep track of much less get invested in any of them (at times I forgot who a couple of the characters were). And finally we have the ending, where the film basically stops & throws up some text letting you know what happened to the main characters after that, at which point I realized it was based on true events (if it said so before then I missed it entirely).

So yeah, I had lots of problems with this one. And while I'm sure this is a film some will enjoy & get more out of than I, I can't possibly recommend it due to the dark subject matter. Watch at your own risk.

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Netflix exorcisms

Films I caught before Netflix removed them from my IQ this month
People who added this item 404 Average listal rating (245 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 8.1
First viewing - Feb. 16th/17th

Great characters, great story, great everything really. I was very enamored with the banter between the two main characters & could easily watch them over & over again. I'd take a string of sequels too, or at least one that would catch up with them far down the road. Ah, but it's probably best if all the magic gets bottled up once & is never messed with again. Something just kept it back from earning a perfect score from me, but it came damn close. So so glad I finally watched this one.
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First viewing - Feb. 19th

Why the hell haven't I watched this already? If you were ever a fan of In Living Color, you should watch this. If you liked Black Dynamite or have ever enjoyed a blaxploitation film, you should also watch this. It's low budget (which suits it actually) & the acting isn't anything great, but oh man is it funny. I laughed hard & often & thus thoroughly enjoyed it.
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People who added this item 784 Average listal rating (527 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 7
First viewing - Feb. 25th/26th

It's no Jackie Brown, but this Elmore Leonard adaptation is solidly entertaining. I'm not a fan of Jennifer Lopez, but I thought she did a decent job here & the rest of the cast is solid too. I liked the story & the way it played out, and it was amusing to see Michael Keaton briefly reprise his role from Jackie Brown. I didn't care much for some of the stylistic flourishes though (the freeze frame transitions didn't work for me at all), and I can't say I was especially blown away by it overall. But it was enjoyable enough & thus I'm glad I finally gave it a chance.

Just a thought: White Boy Bob's death is almost as hilarious as Marvin's in Pulp Fiction.
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People who added this item 498 Average listal rating (327 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.6
First viewing - Feb. 26th/27th

I wanted to see this one because Ridley Scott directed it & I like Michael Douglas. Turns out I could've skipped it. The acting is solid across the board & the score is good, but the story is so plot-by-numbers I was left underwhelmed. It's predictable and nothing new at all, which is disappointing. On the other hand it manages to be mostly entertaining, though the last half loses some momentum as the plot gets dragged out a half an hour longer than seems necessary.

Worth a look if you've got nothing better to do I guess (I can think of far worse films I've sat through), but definitely a film people can go on ignoring otherwise.

Just a thought: Thanks to MST3K, whenever a character in a film says it's title a voice in my head exclaims "we've got movie title!"
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First viewing - Feb. 28th

I wanted to check this out mainly because Fritz Lang directed it. And for the most part I really enjoyed it. The cast is excellent and the story is very entertaining. The problem lies with the ending, and unfortunately I can't comment more than that without spoiling it. Were it not for the ending I could easily have put this at an 8 or maybe even a 9. Bummer.
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Shorter month, lower expectations. I started to do a "classic" films focus for the month, but then the Netflix Instant recommendations rolled in for February & I decided to abandon that idea. Maybe next month.

Also I've been distracted this month by Netflix's excellent new series House of Cards, as well as other TV shows I like that have just started up. So my movie-watching has taken a hit from that, unfortunately.

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