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Added by the giraffe on 1 Mar 2013 03:45
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Movies the giraffe watched: March 2013

Sort by: Showing 21 items
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The breakdown: 21 movies watched - 13 on Netflix instant, 3 were in the theatre, and 5 on DVD; of those 19 were first views, 2 re-watches, 2 were documentaries, and they came from the following decades: 50s, 80s, 90s, 00s, & 10s.

OK, so first off OMG I made it to the theatre 3 times & saw ALL the movies that came out this month I most wanted to see! Pretty sure that hasn't happened since the kiddo came along, so I'm pretty pleased about that. And all 3 trips were well worth the price of admission too, which also doesn't happen often. That alone makes up for the fact I fell short of most of my goals for this month & my numbers dropped off slightly.

This was also the first full month I rented movies from my local video store, some for the Five by Five project and the rest just for fun. Nice to have that ability now. And the movies I watched were all worth the trip(s), as they're not exactly in my neighborhood.

I'd really hoped to watch more of the Netflix project films, as well as the films that were leaving my queue, but it just didn't work out that way. And I'm now glad I didn't set the bar higher for my mini-focus on Eddie Murphy's films (I might have squeezed in one more but I couldn't find 48 Hrs. when I went to rent it). I got about half of what left Netflix this month watched, but I wish I'd managed to catch A Bronx Tale since it counted for both exorcisms AND the Instant Project. May have to rent it in the near future to make up for it.

Best new to me film for March: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (though Safety Not Guaranteed is a close 2nd)
Best hidden gem: Timecrimes
Worst film: Shutter or V/H/S
People who added this item 331 Average listal rating (235 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.7
First viewing - March 1st/2nd

Kicked off March in a similar way to how I kicked off last month, with a horror/sci-fi B movie. It's not the same level of insanity as TerrorVision, but then few films are. It IS still highly entertaining though thanks largely to the number of ways it pays tribute/homage to its influences. In fact at times I found the references & whatnot more entertaining than the plot itself. Tom Atkins is excellent as the cop demanding to be thrilled, but the rest of the cast doesn't quite reach his level of excellence. Still, it's a B movie and Fred Dekker's directorial debut so I wasn't expecting high quality from it. It's entertaining & fun though, and I personally dug it.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 4298 Average listal rating (2890 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 8.1
Re-watch - March 6th

Hadn't initially intended to watch this this month, but my "wife" informed me that on this date (March 6, 2013) The Big Lebowski turned 15 years old. So when I also found out that I was allowed to skip work I took my Wednesday night shift off in favor of watching it with her. Crazy how my love for it grows every time I watch it (especially given that the first time around it wound up somewhere in the 6-7/10 range for me as I didn't see what the big deal was), and now it's like hanging out with a good friend whenever I watch it.

Just a thought: Watching this with subtitles allowed me to pick up a few lines I hadn't caught on previous viewings, which is awesome.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 435 Average listal rating (269 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.1
First viewing - March 8th

Guy Night Pt. 1

On this night I managed to get together with one of my guy friends for some much needed dudes watching movies together time. We wound up watching two films (hence the 2 parts to this), and this was my pick which I chose due to the positive feedback around here.

Turns out it was well worth checking out. Unsure if it was the effect of my buzz or just the nature of the film, but I spent about half of it confused & the rest in dumb wonder at the way the film is constructed. There's a lot here to admire, but to comment on any of it too much would be a disservice to those who haven't seen Timecrimes yet. I'll definitely watch it again if for no other reason than to see how much better I understand it the 2nd time around.

Just a thought: "And following our will and wind
We may just go where no one's been.
We'll ride the spiral to the end
And may just go where no one's been.
Spiral out. Keep going."

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
First viewing - March 26th/27th

Ignored my impending mass exodus of films from Netflix tonight in favor of a movie I've been itching to see ever since the positive feedback started rolling in for it, a film which I rented & wound up keeping a day late just to see it before it went back. And I gotta say, I won't mind paying the late fee on it.

I'd been apprehensive about this film because I loved the book, and adaptations are always a tricky thing. Fortunately at this point it's been about 10 years since I read the book, so it wasn't fresh enough in my mind to make comparisons to. That said, however, I now feel a need to re-read the book. Aside from an uneven opening I felt like everything was handled wonderfully. The casting is excellent, the characters believable & memorable, the soundtrack solid, and the overall story resonates with me every bit as much as it did when I read the novel. So yeah, I loved it & would gladly watch it again. But perhaps that's not so surprising given that in high school I too was a wallflower?

Thanks to my fellow Listalites for encouraging me to let go of my cynicism & give it a chance. :)
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Big screen attractions

Films caught in a theatre
People who added this item 304 Average listal rating (183 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.4
First viewing - March 2nd

I went into this film knowing nothing other than that it's the latest offering from Don Coscarelli, a director who has become a favorite of mine over the years for his oddball sensibilities & the fact that he clearly makes movies he wants to see, the rest of the world be damned. This means that the one thing you're guaranteed with each of his films is a unique experience, which John Dies at the End delivers. I'm not sure I followed it entirely, but that's not a bad thing in my opinion. After all, that's what physical copies of movies are for, right? They give you the chance to revisit a film whenever you want to gain better understanding or simply relive the experience. In this case I'll be buying a copy to do both, and I anticipate I'll love it just as much with repeat viewings.

Just a thought: Be careful with soy sauce.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 809 Average listal rating (506 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 6.8
Stoker (2013)
First viewing - March 23rd

Managed to ship the kiddo off to my parents so the "wife" & I could have a date night. Can't say this is a very good date movie, but fortunately we've been together long enough that that doesn't really matter. ;)

For those who are already fans of Chan-wook Park's films, I can say you'll be pretty happy here. The cast is all Americans, but I felt like I was watching a foreign film populated by American actors. Park has retained everything that's made him an interesting director so far, so the initiated should be very pleased. The script is smart too, and I found myself constantly wondering where it was going & what would happen next, with little time to stop & think very far ahead. These are all good things.

On the other hand it's a somewhat hard story to swallow due to the subject matter. To say I "enjoyed" the film is partly true, but also a little misleading. There are moments where you can't help but feel uncomfortable, moments which I admire the execution of but aren't exactly enjoyable. It's a hell of a film, to be sure, and at the end I had a strong urge to re-watch it to see what pieces I overlooked or missed due to misdirection & whatnot. But despite that urge I think I'll wait a while before I revisit it again. I had to watch something comedic when I got home to help me recover.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 139 Average listal rating (61 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 6.3
Wrong (2012)
First viewing - March 30th

Writing about Wrong seems rather pointless honestly, and yet I feel like I could fill an entire page with my thoughts on it. I'll simply say this...Quentin Dupieux has solidly earned my respect & support, and I can honestly say I'm a fan of what he's doing. And while I dug this film, I got more enjoyment out of Rubber. That doesn't mean, however, that you or anyone else will feel the same way I do.

Bottom line: if you crave an original & truly different cinematic experience, you should give this a shot. If you prefer your Hollywood blockbusters & standardly presented films, give this one a pass.
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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:
jaytoast's Dear Cinema Diary - March and April
Phillydude's Movie Log - Spring 2013
lotr23's March-April Movie Journal
Xanadon't's March 2013 Movie Journal
Mack's Movies 2013: March
People who added this item 1096 Average listal rating (782 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.5
First viewing - March 5th/6th

Recommended by phillydude

To some it may come as a surprise I hadn't already watched this, but when it came out I was 5 & by the time I reached an age where I could watch it it wasn't really on my radar. Unless of course you count the film's title being dropped in Scream, but even then I wasn't inspired to check it out. Turns out if I had been I might have enjoyed it more.

For a so-called comedy I hardly laughed, which is the first strike against the film. Add to that the fact that several of the gags & the overall plot I've seen done elsewhere which made the whole film feel like I'd already seen it before. Can't say for sure if I've seen these things in films inspired by it or in films that inspired Trading Places but either way I spent most of this film being mildly amused but never really that into it. In its favor I can say that Dan Aykroyd gives a good performance throughout, and the rest of the cast is solid as well despite some of them being saddled with stereotypical, cliche roles. But while I wanted to like this film I just couldn't summon up much enthusiasm for it.

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
First viewing - March 22nd/23rd

Recommended by Xanadon't

This film starts off with a brilliant visual style that puts you squarely in the main character/narrator's head, and then injects enough humor and tragedy along the way to keep you engaged & entertained throughout. The cast is flawless, the story is beautiful & poetic...really I can't find a single thing here to complain about. The only thing missing that holds me back from giving it a 10/10 is that magic feeling that tens tend to give me. But that could have been due to my daughter waking up twice while I watched this & breaking the spell at the same time. A re-watch will be relished to find out for sure.

Just a thought: Funny to me that my daughter wanted to read Dr. Seuss's Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? tonight not long before I watched this.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 391 Average listal rating (170 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.7
Kontroll (2003)
First viewing - March 30th/31st

Recommended by Xanadon't

Well this is a neat little film. Not often that you see the occupation of subway security portrayed in this way, so it was interesting & refreshing to watch, not to mention solidly entertaining. The acting is solid too, but not exceptional really, just believable. I never felt deeply invested in the film though on any emotional level, and I'm not sure the ending totally worked for me. But I'm glad I watched it & thank Xanadon't for giving me the opportunity to do so.

Just a thought: Regardless of her costume, Eszter Balla is beautiful.
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Small monthly focus: '80s Eddie Murphy films

I figured if I'm finally going to watch Trading Places this month, why not go ahead and watch/re-watch some of Murphy's other '80s work? After all, that's when he was at his best.
People who added this item 1845 Average listal rating (1196 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7.3
Re-watch - March 12th/13th

First off, on this night I'd set out to watch Manhunter. But unfortunately for me to watch a movie at night I need subtitles so as not to disturb the sleeping kiddo (our place isn't big), and none were available. I might have been able to work around it though, were it not for the fact that much of the dialogue (from what I saw) is delivered quietly. So I gave up on it & decided to watch this instead. Doubt I'll get Manhunter watched before it leaves Netflix now, but maybe I'll rent the DVD later & hope it has subtitles.

Anyway, it had been so long since I last watched Beverly Hills Cop the only part I remembered was the scene where he puts bananas in the cops' car's tailpipe. So this felt more like a first viewing honestly. And while I was worried after watching Trading Places that maybe I wouldn't like it anymore, those worries quickly faded away as the movie rapidly endeared itself to me. The only thing holding back my rating on it is the fact that the story is nothing new & has been done to death. But fortunately everything else is so well handled that I didn't care, and while I knew more or less how it would end there were enough little surprises along the way that I didn't mind. Eddie Murphy is great as Axel Foley, and it's little wonder that this spawned a pair of sequels. I may have to check the 2nd one out in the near future.

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1667 Average listal rating (1157 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 7
First viewing - March 25th/26th

OK so it would seem that I'm not a big fan of Murphy & Landis's collaborations, which is disappointing since I've been a fan of both separately. I enjoyed this one more than Trading Places, but I found it to be overlong & uneven. The first hour or so is especially uneven with too much time given to allowing Murphy & Arsenio Hall play multiple roles for no real reason. I'll grant that with make-up on there are times where both actors are unrecognizable, but it's overdone given how little comedic payoff there is. However, most of the second half of the film works well & by the end I found myself actually caring how it ended & pretty pleased with it despite the fact it ended as one would expect.

So not all bad, but with a half hour or so trimmed it'd be easier to recommend.

Just a thought: While the Trading Places characters' cameo was somewhat amusing, do we really want to see those guys given the means to get rich again? And how did they wind up on the streets of New York when they were from Philly?

Currently streaming on Netflix
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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 500 Average listal rating (336 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.9
First viewing - March 4th/5th

The music and the off beat quirkiness of the characters drew me into the story right from the beginning - I enjoyed the relationship between Kenneth and Darius, two fish out of water type characters who don't seem to fit in anywhere, but find kindred spirits in each other - and I liked how the movie kept me guessing about whether Kenneth was for real or just plain nuts, I wasn't sure where it was going until the very end, and even then it was left open to interpretation, but I know what my feeling was...for the most part this was a funny, heart warming movie that kept me smiling the whole way through - I am sure I'll be watching it again.
--phillydude from his January 2013 Movie Log

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 396 Average listal rating (212 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.5
First viewing - March 7th

Thought-provoking & illuminating...so glad I finally watched this one & that this project helped inspire me to do so. I can't say that it's an exceptional film outside of on an intellectual level though, as I thought the overall style & presentation was pretty average. But I was entertained for the most part & learned something which means my day hadn't been wasted. ;)

Just a thought: I think this is the only context in which I've enjoyed something from John Waters (and it wasn't the footage from his movie).

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 387 Average listal rating (267 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 5.8
First viewing - March 16th/17th

I really hate the shaky-cam style of filmmaking, so it should come as little surprise that this film failed to win me over. It's like watching a handful of short films on YouTube uploaded by users instead of people who know what the hell they're doing...annoying to watch, full of characters you can't stand, and at the moments when you'd MOST want to see what's going on the camera gets distorted/pushed out of frame/shut off which I guess is supposed to be "edgy" or perhaps even hail back to the old days of cinema when the unseen was scarier than what was on camera. In this case, however, it fucking FAILS.

The best thing I can say for the film is that IF you can look past the visual aspects it's overall entertaining enough that you're not bored. Ti West's tale wound up being my personal favorite in large part because it looked like it was shot by someone who knows how to frame a shot without going overboard on the shakiness, but also for delivering the most entertaining segment of the bunch (for me, that is...you may find another one better for other reasons). Beyond that each of the tales provided some aspect that I appreciated, but all of them failed at giving me any reason to give a shit about a single character, much less anything worth remembering beyond next week. Now had some of these been fleshed out to provide full-length films (not all would be worthwhile to extend any farther), they might have been more worth my time. But as it stands, this was pretty much a wasted Saturday night for me. Thankfully I had a strong alcohol buzz to ride these waves...otherwise I would have shut it off before Ti West's segment.

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 299 Average listal rating (194 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.5
First viewing - March 18th/19th

The idea behind this film & the first hour or so definitely make this one well worth watching in my opinion. I deeply appreciated the fact that most of the violence & bloodshed was left off-screen to be told by various characters so that I had to use my imagination instead of being shown everything. It worked far better to ratchet up the tension than the typical approach. I also loved the way it's set which lends a feeling of claustrophobia to the proceedings. The cast does an excellent job, and the score is good. Really the only weak point I found was with the doctor showing up & trying to rationalize what's going on. But these days most horror movie filmmakers seem more intent on rationalizing things than leaving them unexplained, so it wasn't too big of an issue for me. Fortunately I went into this with no real expectations other than Netflix trying to mislead me by saying it's a zombie film (which it's not unless you're extremely flexible on how you define "zombie"), and looking around here afterward it seems like I'm in the minority on digging it. Fine by me.

Currently streaming on Netflix
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 539 Average listal rating (326 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.1
First viewing - March 29th

Visually? Wow, Amazing. Acting? Yep, pretty damn good & I couldn't help but wonder what the hell Mickey Rourke did that's resulted in his not being a major star & only recently earning some respect. Story-wise it was OK, nothing I got overly excited about. I liked some of the ideas presented in the film, and could well relate to the big brother when his father says (and I'm paraphrasing here) that he could do anything he wants but doesn't have a clue what he wants to do with his life. I think lots of us find ourselves in the same position...full of potential yet unable to decide exactly where to focus our energies. So I've given it bonus points for making me think, even though I wasn't completely in love with it. Definitely worth watching though.

Left Netflix April 1st
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Netflix exorcisms

Films I caught before Netflix removed them from my IQ this month
People who added this item 37 Average listal rating (17 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.4
First viewing - March 2nd

Wanted to check this out primarily because I dig Zoe Bell, but the subject matter of stuntwomen in general wound up being both entertaining & enlightening. So it wound up being worth my catching before it left Netflix.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 67 Average listal rating (40 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 4.7
First viewing - March 4th

Terrible film yet entertaining enough I managed to sit through it all. I watched it out of my respect for Roger Corman, but it turns out I could just as well have skipped it. Most of my entertainment came from how bad/cheesy the whole thing was, including the fact that the only insects seen in the entire film are clearly BEES. I guess that's because bees are easier to wrangle than wasps, but still it's fairly disappointing. I also loved that you can tell the "wasp woman" is clearly wearing gloves as evidenced by a few shots where the ends of them aren't covered by her long sleeves. Heh.

So if you need something to MST3K your way through, by all means give this one a shot. But really your time could be far better spent.

Just a thought: For some reason the fact that the first few characters in the film all wore beekeeper masks was highly amusing to me, so I was disappointed once they stopped introducing characters that wore them.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 184 Average listal rating (98 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.9
Ink (2009)
First viewing - March 8th

Guy Night Pt. 2

Ink was my friend's suggestion, a film that he & his wife watched on a date night last year after it was recommended to them by their friends on G+. And as it turns out this was also its last night on Netflix Instant, so the timing was perfect. However, if I had it to do over I think I would have chose to watch this before Timecrimes. Ah well.

The story here is pretty good, but I didn't care much for the visual style which was occasionally annoying in its attempts to be...artsy? original? *shrug* All I know is I had no appreciation for it. The acting is OK throughout & at times I cared for the characters though that was diminished by them dragging out the plot for longer than felt necessary. I think the film could easily lose 20 minutes and be better off for it, or they could have spent the time that felt empty doing something like, oh, I dunno, exploring the characters in the film deeper? And if you don't see the "twist" coming by the midway point you're really not paying much attention. But uh, yeah, I was somewhat entertained by it I guess. Just not a movie I'd bother watching again.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 602 Average listal rating (391 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7
First viewing - March 21st

Meh. Not sure who or what exactly put this one on my radar, but I could just as well have not watched it at all. In fact, I watched an hour of it & decided I'd be better off going to bed than finishing it. The cast does a decent job, and the idea was somewhat interesting, but so many things along the way irked me. Plus the attempts at horror were mostly laughable, whereas the film takes itself seriously (not a good combination usually).

Don't bother.

Just a thought: I worry about any parent who keeps their kid's corpse in their home indefinitely.
the giraffe's rating:

I've got lots I want to do this month, so we'll see how productive I wind up being. TV series keep cutting into my time here & there which could derail my plans somewhat (not to mention SXSW may pull me away for a day or night). Last month I fell behind on the Netflix project so I intend to play some catching up in that area. I've also set a small focus for the month on Eddie Murphy's '80s films. I don't plan on watching too many of them though, so hopefully that won't interfere too much. Both those sections could theoretically grow beyond what I've initially planned here. We'll see how it goes....

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