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Added by the giraffe on 30 Jun 2012 04:11
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Movies the giraffe watched: July 2012

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The breakdown: 25 films watched - 10 on DVD, 3 in the theatre, and 12 via Netflix instant; of those 17 were first views, 8 were re-watches, one of which was a documentary & one was a short film, and they came from the following decades: 30s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s, and 2010s.

I started off the month with the intention of working my way through some DVDs I'm borrowing and finishing up the 2011 films in my IQ. By the end of the month I'd managed to watch 2 of the films I'm borrowing (excluding the Movie Exchange Program filims, that is) & still had a couple of 2011 films sitting in my queue. I had a lot going on this month that kept me from keeping up with my movie watching like I wanted to, plus Netflix removed a LOT of content this month which distracted me from my goals. Still, 25 films is better than average for me, a number I managed to reach in part by watching some movies with my daughter (fortunately she wanted to watch some movies she hadn't seen before for a change haha).

I made it to the theatre twice this month, which was pretty good, got the first two of Nolan's Batman films re-watched to prepare for the new one (which I SHOULD get watched next month), and wound up with 11 films ranked 9/10. So all in all not a bad month, just not one that entirely went according to plan.

Also this month I wrapped up Xanadon't's films and thus the first round of the Movie Exchange Program which I continue to be pleased with. As I've said in previous monthly lists, I appreciate this opportunity to watch films I've unfairly overlooked or simply wasn't aware of, not to mention being able to compare notes with my fellow Listalites on the films we've all watched. Next month I'll re-watch my films that I sent out for them to watch, plus I'll have 3 films from jaytoast to start the second round. With 5 months left, we've agreed to exchange 3 films per month with breaks in October (to focus on horror movies) and December (when the holidays throw everything off). So look for that.

Best new-to-me film for July: Network
Best hidden gems: The Endless Summer / High Anxiety
Worst film: Paranoid Park
People who added this item 692 Average listal rating (407 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.3
First viewing - July 6th

Playing catch-up on the 2011 films I ran out of time to watch last month, so I started here. I highly enjoyed the humor in this one & thought the performances were stellar across the board. Probably I also appreciated it a bit more than others due to my identifying with the main character to some degree (mostly with regard to his thoughts & approaches toward dating). The coming-of-age story has been better done by others, but I felt like Submarine had enough in it to stand proudly alongside its predecessors. I felt like some aspects could have been better handled, but overall I really dug it.

Currently streaming on Netflix
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People who added this item 318 Average listal rating (223 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.8
Goon (2011)
First viewing - July 9th

Aside from the fact it follows the path you'd expect, Goon is very enjoyable. A bit too much juvenile humor perhaps, definitely more dick jokes than were necessary, but I suppose it suits the film well enough. Jay Baruchel is semi-annoying but fortunately has limited screen time. On the other hand anything I held against Seann William Scott for some of his early film choices seems to have gone away completely. Not saying he's a Great actor, but roles like this have given me more appreciation for him over time. And the film benefits by presenting a very likable main character who comes off as genuine instead of cliched. Plus the romantic subplot actually works in the film's favor, which is rare these days. So yeah, worth a look, just don't expect more brains than brawn. ;)

Thanks to Xanadon't and jaytoast for putting it on my radar (those are list links, not profile links).

Currently streaming on Netflix
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People who added this item 5730 Average listal rating (3780 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.5
Re-watch - July 16th

So apparently there's a 4th film in this series that came out over the weekend. Can't say I'm excited about it as I thought the 3rd film was a good place to end it (plus the reviews for it are mostly negative). Anyway, the subject came up over the weekend & I decided it was time I re-watched this while introducing it to my daughter. Some parts scared her it seemed, but for the most part she enjoyed it & even laughed during most of the Scrat scenes.

I still love this movie. I don't think it's a masterpiece, but the animation still looks great (especially in HD), the jokes & slapstick & Scrat scenes still make me laugh, and parts of it even tug my heartstrings. If for some odd reason you've put off watching this you should really give it a chance.
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First viewing - July 16th/17th

For a TV movie, this one's pretty good. It's based on a Stephen King story, which means there's a writer involved (played well by Dean Stockwell, though I can't help but occasionally think of his Quantum Leap character) & the man himself makes an appearance. I thought the story was the strongest element, while the effects were the worst. I was really digging this before it got ruined by obviously fake-looking CGI effects. I'm sure it was the easiest way to bring the creatures to life, but it's not at all well done. I did dig the fact that while the romantic aspects were predictable they didn't quite work out as you'd expect. Oh yeah, and Bronson Pinchot plays a madman very well if a bit over the top.

Worth a look if you've got about 3 hours to sit down with it (I watched it in 2 sittings).

Loaned to me by phillydude
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People who added this item 2880 Average listal rating (1735 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.6
Re-watch - July 18th

My daughter wanted to watch a movie, so I decided to let her try this one. She really enjoyed it & it was fun to watch her dance along with "I Wanna Be Like You" and "Bear Necessities". The soundtrack remains one of my favorites of all the Disney films, I love the characters, & dig the almost freestyle way the story is told.

Still a classic.
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First viewing - July 19th/20th

I'd never heard anything about Ordinary People before joining Listal, which I now find a little surprising. Among my friends here it has a rating of 8.9, and after seeing it pop up on some of their lists I decided I had to check it out. I definitely wasn't disappointed.

The performances are excellent across the board here, and the film does a great job of exploring the family at its center. The romantic subplot works well too & never imposes upon the more important main story. Really, I can't think of anything negative to say here, and yet something holds me back from giving it a perfect score. It could just be due to my having to split my viewing up (I started it in the afternoon during my daughter's nap & had to stop it when she woke up an hour later), but whatever it is I'll gladly re-watch the film to see if I can figure it out.

Loaned to me by Xanadon't
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People who added this item 1974 Average listal rating (1215 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.6
Re-watch - July 21st

I like that my daughter's interest in movies gives me an excuse to revisit old favorites like this one. Robin Hood's soundtrack is also among my favorites Disney-wise, thanks largely to the choice of casting Roger Miller as the rooster. I also appreciate the fact that the songs aren't at the center of this film. So many Disney movies seem more focused on generating hit songs than keeping up with the other aspects of the film, but here the story & action take the fore (as they should for any tale about Robin Hood). The voice cast is great all around too, so really the only thing that holds me back from giving it a perfect score is that the animation could be better. Fortunately it's entertaining enough that I hardly mind.
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People who added this item 244 Average listal rating (162 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.7
High Anxiety (1977)
Re-watch - July 27th

Brooks takes on Hitchcock with excellent results. While the laughs may not be constant, they're mostly gut-busting when they turn up. Unsure how this one gets lost among his films, but it seems to be less well known as time goes by. Do yourself a favor & give it a look.

Favorite moments: the Psycho parody (above) and a scene where the entire joke is done not by dialogue but by camera angle.

Currently streaming on Netflix
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Big screen attractions

Films caught in a theatre
People who added this item 2110 Average listal rating (1406 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7
Prometheus (2012)
First viewing - July 3rd

Visually wonderful with a smart, interesting, & mostly entertaining plot, Prometheus had the potential to count itself in the ranks of Greatness. Unfortunately it fails to fully invest in its characters, and thus sadly falls short. Alien earned its spot by letting the audience get to know the characters & enjoy the group dynamics before unleashing the xenomorph to wreak havoc. Here we get to really know 2 characters out of 15 (give or take), a few we get to know somewhat, and the rest are left out aside from a couple lines of dialogue each. And of the ones we get to know somewhat a couple of those have moments which betray what's established for their motivations, which is also distressing. Fortunately everything else in the film makes this somewhat forgivable, but I was too consciously aware of these flaws to ignore them.

Also, as has been said by plenty of others, I really enjoyed Fassbender's performance & thought Noomi Rapace did an excellent job of not being Ripley.

In the end I felt like Prometheus needed another 30 minutes (at least) worked in between the cave painting discovery & their arrival on the planet's surface to better flesh out the characters so that when things start to go awry the audience is actually affected by them. Hopefully a director's cut down the line will fix that, but I shouldn't have to wait for the DVD.
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People who added this item 225 Average listal rating (150 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 8
La Luna (2011)
First viewing - July 22nd

An entertaining & cute short to lead into Brave. Not my favorite, but memorable enough.
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People who added this item 1895 Average listal rating (1219 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.1
First viewing - July 22nd

Much better than I'd anticipated, thanks largely to the feedback I've seen which lowered my expectations. I found it refreshing to see a strong female character at the center of a Pixar movie for a change, and while Merida is a princess there's thankfully very little of the typical princess themes that run through Disney's films. As I think about it now this is sort of a Scottish Mulan, and I mean that as a compliment.

The characters are memorable (the strong cast certainly helps), the animation is stellar (as we've come to expect from Pixar), and the soundtrack perfectly suits the tale. It's also full of heart & I'd be lying if I said it failed to touch mine. Brave may not be Pixar's best film, but it's easily among their better ones.
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Listal Group Project


Movie Exchange Program


See also this month's lists from: Xanadon't, phillydude, and jaytoast
People who added this item 1962 Average listal rating (1087 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.4
First viewing - July 10th

Actually I'd watched part of this a few years back at a friend's house. It was late though & we both wound up going to sleep instead of finishing the movie, and I didn't get a chance to finish it before I came home.

Pi is interesting on many levels...sonically, visually, thematically, performance-wise. I found myself very engaged with it & am mildly surprised as I look around & see a lot of confusion as far as what the film is trying to say (maybe you should watch it again). I got a lot out of it, I just didn't fall in love with it enough to give it a perfect score.
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Re-watch - July 31st

I first watched Sympathy for Lady Vengeance a few years ago & struggled with it. I kept falling asleep at the time, and given how much of it was familiar to me on my second viewing I missed even more of it than I'd thought. This time it was also putting me to sleep, but I did a far better job of staying awake & not missing anything. Probably I just shouldn't watch this film late at night haha.

Anyway, I thought the film was Amazing visually, the story is really good, and the performances are mostly excellent. My problem with it though is that it's far too long & drawn out for its own good. I felt like if it were 15 to 30 minutes shorter it'd be much better. All the lingering shots and long silences wore out their welcome for me. Still, it's well worth a look & better than I'd originally thought.
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Year-long series focus: The Marx Bros.

I've decided this year I want to re-watch all of the Marx Bros. movies in order. Since there's 12 of them total, that gives me one per month.
People who added this item 180 Average listal rating (114 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.7
Re-watch - July 14th

I'd forgotten that I had a big problem with this one: the musical parts. Watching it again this month, I'm struck by just how forced & thus unnecessary the musical interludes are here. In previous Marx Bros. films, the ones heaviest on music set the audience up for the musical numbers, usually in the first 15 minutes or so. Here the first one comes along so late it feels unnecessary. I feel like Allan Jones had it in his contract that he had to sing 2 songs to be in the film & they obliged him. Unfortunately neither of his songs is memorable & both give way to drawn out & even less essential moments (a ballet number which almost kills the film's momentum and a song-and-dance routine that's merely OK despite being the best song the film has). The only good thing to come out of the musical side of things is the Chico/Harpo club scene where the piano Chico plays gets turned into Harpo's harp. Had they let Chico & Harpo have their musical moments it would've been fine since they fit into the story somewhat, but even then I feel like the film would most benefit from losing all the musical interludes.

Aside from that, everything else here works Great: lots of memorable comic bits, a solid story that makes room for the Brothers' antics, and a strong supporting cast. I'd originally given this one a perfect 10 (perhaps because I owned it on VHS for a long time before getting it on DVD & thus assumed I liked it better), but now I've adjusted it.
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Series focus for July: Nolan's Batman

Not sure whether I'll catch The Dark Knight Rises in the theatre this month, but I'm going to revisit the previous films at least just to get ready.
People who added this item 7215 Average listal rating (4821 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 8.3
Batman Begins (2005)
Re-watch - July 21st

This is my first time to watch Nolan's Batman films since reading this article which discusses the ways in which both films explore terrorism & America's response to it after 9/11. I hadn't given much thought to that before, but I was able to see it well enough this time around. And while the exploration of terrorism adds depth to the film, it still works Great as an origin story, not to mention as a redemption/restoration of a character whose image was tarnished by the non-Burton Batman movies that preceded it. There's honestly not a single aspect of Batman Begins that I have a problem with...I still love it.
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People who added this item 7619 Average listal rating (5007 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 9
Re-watch - July 24th/25th

Doubt there's anything I can say about this one really. I love the opening scene, which ranks among the best of any film I've watched, Ledger consistently steals the show, the film wonderfully builds off its predecessor & sets us up for some interesting things to come for the 3rd installment. My only disappointment with The Dark Knight has been & remains that we'll never get to see Ledger's Joker outside of this film due to his untimely death. I would have loved to watch him go toe-to-toe with Batman & company again.
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Netflix exorcisms

Films I watched before Netflix removed them from my IQ this month
First viewing - July 3rd

Romantic double feature part 1


This is one of those "everyone is connected somehow" movies, which are neat & all but I found this one to be simply average. The way it jumps around keeps Intermission from being predictable, which is its biggest asset. As a result, it's consistently entertaining but I can't say I was really impressed by any of it. The performances are good but not exceptional, and I personally didn't care much for the soundtrack. Still, there are far worse films you could pass the time with.
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People who added this item 88 Average listal rating (48 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.7
The Baxter (2005)
First viewing - July 4th

Romantic double feature part 2


I have a feeling that most of my enjoyment of The Baxter comes from my being a fan of its creator & most of the cast, not to mention the fact that I'm as much of a nice guy as the central character (and thus, perhaps, its limited target audience). Nothing here is especially hilarious (I was more amused than rolling in my seat) & aside from a couple of jokes the film could just as easily have been set several decades ago. Ah, but then Michelle Williams couldn't upstage the entire cast like she does since she wouldn't have been born yet. But while watching it, the only real problem I had with The Baxter was that despite its attempts to put a fresh spin on romantic comedies & the fun it pokes at their conventions, it winds up ending exactly like you'd expect.
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People who added this item 718 Average listal rating (396 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.7
First viewing - July 4th

Note to self: if jaytoast strongly argues against my watching something, don't watch it.

Paranoid Park is about 20 minutes of "story" and 65 minutes of artsy-fartsy filler crap. Ridiculously extended shots of the main character when he's doing absolutely NOTHING (which could be forgiven if he was at all capable of displaying emotions through his facial expressions and/or the look in his eyes, but he's not), pointless skating scenes, repetition of images to the point you want to shoot somebody...seriously, I'm confounded by the 6.8 average ratings on here & IMDb (not to mention a favorable rating on Rotten Tomatoes). Were this a short film that focused solely on the things that actually matter, it might be worthy of a rating between 6 and 8 (or higher if it were in better hands), but as it stands the only way I managed to make it to the end was with a LOT of skipping forward past shit that obviously didn't matter.

Avoid. Avoid. Avoid.
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First viewing - July 17th

Had I watched this as a teenager I just might have been crazy enough to head west & learn how to surf with the intention of spending the rest of my life riding waves. I'm sure that now most of the undiscovered places documented here have been sought out by other surfers, but it's great to follow along on the subjects' long trip in search of good waves. The narrator is a delight to listen to...his sense of humor keeps the film from ever growing tiresome, which is good because his voice is about the only one you get to hear. And I guess that'd be my only complaint, that the documentary would be even better if he'd captured the sound side of things well enough that he didn't have to tell us all about it. Fortunately his narration is good enough to render it a minor complaint.

Highly recommended.

Currently streaming on Netflix (it left July 20th & was re-added on July 23rd)
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People who added this item 44 Average listal rating (23 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 5.5
First viewing - July 19th

Romantic comedies are almost always predictable. This one is certainly predictable, but I didn't mind so much because watching Sophia Loren & Peter Sellers was such a treat (the latter seems miscast honestly, but he pulls off the role well anyway). The supporting cast is solid & includes a few really good, memorable characters, & I liked the story despite the fact it was rather ridiculous. It wasn't Great, but I'd say it's both underrated & worth a look.
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First viewing - July 23rd

By no means a great movie, but too much fun to get too hung up on its flaws. I dug the social commentary but enjoyed the silly carnage even more. It's also pretty hilarious to see David Carradine win a fight against Sylvester Stallone given that it wasn't long after this that Stallone got famous for his Rambo & Rocky characters. Worth a look, especially if you like gratuitous B movies.
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First viewing - July 24th

I was not prepared for how brilliant this was. Clearly the creative minds behind this film are well versed in the slasher subgenre of horror, as they both pay tribute to & poke fun at its conventions. The film also provides a fresh take on slashers which I highly enjoyed. The only issue here is that it ultimately submits to formula instead of figuring out a way to escape it. But I highly enjoyed it.
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People who added this item 1068 Average listal rating (661 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.1
First viewing - July 24th

A hell of a film, with lots to say about the ways TV affects us as well as a terrific exploration behind the scenes. Most impressive to me is that the ideas in the film are still relevant today, even though we're almost 30 years past its creation. I feel like it should be shown on TV once a month to ensure more people see it, that's how important the messages in the film are.

So why haven't I given it a perfect score? I felt like the ending didn't have quite the impact that it should/could have, though as I've thought about it more I can see lots of things to appreciate about the way it plays out. So perhaps a re-watch down the line will pull that final star out of me.
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People who added this item 239 Average listal rating (144 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.6
"Homecoming" directed by Joe Dante
First viewing
- July 31st

"Homecoming" is a brilliantly executed satirical horror tale. I personally really enjoyed it for what it was, though the idea seems a little stretched out even for an almost 60 minute run time. Joe Dante does a great job here, and there's even some of his trademark in-jokes hidden in the backgrounds.

Sad to see this entire series leave Netflix instant, but I'm hoping it'll find its way back by October. I still had several of these episodes sitting in my queue to watch.

Episode rating - 8/10
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Continuing my efforts to keep track of my thoughts on the movies I watch, one month at a time. Last month I tried to get all the 2011 films in my IQ watched, but fell a little short when Netflix decided to remove a LOT of content (didn't get all the films they removed watched either). So this month I'm finishing off the films that were left in hopes of maybe finally getting a Best movies of 2011 list worth publishing, as well as tackling a few DVDs that are sitting around being neglected.

See also:
the giraffe's lists for 2012

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