365 Movies By Day Reviews of Movies I Watch that I Feel Like Writing About

19Feb/170

Hell or High Water (2016)

David Mackenzie's (Spread, Asylum) 2016 surprise is a movie that you'll like if you go in with very minimal expectations. If you think it's going to be your typical bank robbery thriller, you might be disappointed. If you think it's going to be filled with drama and suspense, you might likewise be disappointed. If you are interested in a simple character driven story with a little more than meets the initial eye, you might enjoy Hell or High Water. It's definitely a bit more quirky than you might think. If you are expecting a heavy bank caper drama, this isn't it. Mackenzie tries to take a different angle with this movie, adding some humor, recklessness, and interesting side characters to a story that is, primarily, still a bank heist film first. And while this movie has a 98% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes, this doesn't mean that most reviewers are scoring it a 9.8/10. Rather it means that 49 out of 50 give this movie a positive review. While it is an interesting film (and the first one of 2016 that I have watched twice), it is by no means a Best Picture candidate. I know there was talk that it might sneak into the race. I have no idea how it got a nomination for Best Picture whereas a movie like Sully did not. While Hell or Hgh Water is a decent movie, I think a lot of people (including myself) expected it to be something far greater than it actually was.

10Feb/170

Paterson (2016)

Adam Driver (Silence, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens) hasn't been the most endearing character early on in his career. It's not entirely his fault though, and Jim Jarmusch's (Broken Flowers, Coffee and Cigarettes) has given me a new appreciation for him. The first movies that I saw starring Driver were movies I absolutely abhorred (This Is Where I Leave You, While We're Young) and while my reason for disliking these so much wasn't because of him, the characters her portrayed certainly did not help the cause. Even in movies like Silence and Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, I was not overly invested in his characters. He annoyed me in Star Wars more than anything else, and he clearly played second fiddle to Andrew Garfield in Silence, a movie in which his more talented counterpart completely overshadowed Driver. Paterson has opened my eyes to his depth as an actor and, in really the fifth movie that I've seen him in (I do not recall his performance at all in Inside Llewyn Davis, Lincoln, or Midnight Special), he proves to be someone who is relatable to and not someone who I find to be annoying.

7Feb/170

Hidden Figures (2016)

I get knocked a little bit when I talk to my friends about Hidden Figures. The Ted Melfi (St. Vincent) directed movie based on the untold story of Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson - Hustle & Flow, Four Brothers), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer - The Help, Snowpierecer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe - Moonlight, Made in America) as brilliant African-American women who were hired by NASA and who served as the brains behind the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation's confidence, turned around the Space Race, and galvanized the world. When I rip on the movie a little bit, it is not because I think the movie is not good, but rather that it's just a little too predictable and too PG for me. While I really do enjoy and recognize a movie that is based on a true story, I appreciate a darker, edgier movie that much more. When I say a movie is too Disney for me, it doesn't have anything to do with Disney at all. It has to do with a movie being too toned down for my jaded self to be able to appreciate it. And, unfortunately, that's my feeling on Hidden Figures. Based on the preview alone, I had no intention of seeing it unless it got nominated for best picture. When it did, I reluctantly dragged myself to the theater and even paid the extra three dollars because it was playing in my theaters featured auditorium. With all of that said, Hidden Figures is by no means a bad movie. It just felt like a "been there, done that" type of movie for me. I feel like I've seen movies about overcoming adversity, fighting segregation, achieving a goal in the eleventh hour, and much more of what this movie does. In fact, I'm often drawn to this type of movie. But, as someone who sees movies a lot, I just feel like I've seen this exact movie a lot recently and it just lacked the intensity and edge that I appreciate at this point in my life.

27Jan/170

Fences (2016)

We all know about Alonzo Harris (Training Day). Most of us know about Frank Lucas (American Gangster). Some of us even know Tobin Frost (Safe House). Add Troy Maxson to that list of vile characters portrayed by Denzel Washington. Okay, so the character he portrays in Fences (a movie he also directed) isn't AS bad as the characters in portrayed in those aforementioned films. He's a different kind of bad. There is some good in Troy. I think he means well. But he is a complete hypocrite. He talks about doing right by others, providing for his family, and teaching them the importance of right over wrong. But in the end, Troy does only things that fill his massive ego. And in doing so, he hurts every single person who has ever cared for him.

24Jan/170

Patriots Day (2016)

Too soon? Money grabber? These are two fair questions to ask about the timing of Peter Berg's (Deepwater Horizon, Lone Survivor) 2016 Patriots Day. The movie is based on the April 15, 2013, Boston City Marathon bombing, an event that killed three people and wounded hundreds of others. It might seem like it's too soon for a movie studio to be capitalizing on the tragic events of that day. For many, the event is still fresh in the minds. When I saw the trailer for this movie for the first time, my tendency was to agree. But after seeing this movie, I have changed my mind and instead will go with the mindset that if you're going to make a movie out of a tragic event such as the Boston City Marathon bombing, you better get it right. And I'll be the first to say that Berg and all those associated with this movie did, in fact, get this right. It was a respectful movie that looked at the incident from a variety of angles. And while I have not researched fact versus fiction yet, I am going to give Patriots Day the benefit of the doubt and say that it checked its facts before production. I do know that the lead character Seargent Tommy Sanders (Mark Wahlberg - The Fighter, Daddy's Home) is not an actual character, but, instead, is a composite of various officers in the Boston Police Department. I'm lukewarm on whether I like this or not I like this idea. As you watch this film, you'll quickly learn that Tommy has to be fictional because there is just no way one person can be in every single important situation in the film. It makes Tommy out to be a singular hero. I understand the Hollywood aspect, but I also understand paying homage to a true story. I think I would have preferred each character of the Boston Police department to be more accurately portrayed, but with already an abundance of characters, I could see how that could take away from the effective storytelling of the film.