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


The Accountant (2016)

Gavin O'Connor's (Pride and Glory, Miracle) The Accountant is a movie that resonated with audiences ($86 million at the box office, 78% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes) but nearly as much with critics (a score of just 51% on Rotten Tomatoes). I saw the movie on its opening weekend because I thought the trailer looked fantastic and I've been a big fan of just about everything Ben Affleck (Argo, Gone Girl) touches, both in front of behind the camera since 2007's Gone Baby Gone, a film that the led to his reemergence as a Hollywood A-lister. The Accountant looked like it would be the type of movie I love, a gritty drama/thriller that is dark, mysterious, and violent. The Accountant is just that, with its lead character is some masterful number cruncher by day and assassin by night. I was disappointed that I did not enjoy as much as I had hoped. More perturbing was that so many of my friends would ask me if I liked the movie and when I would have to tell them that I didn't, they would be surprised and said that they liked it. I chalked it up to me not having a good day at the theater. Perhaps I was tired, didn't feel like being at the movies that day (unlikely), or caught up in texting someone in an empty theater (more likely). I decided I would give the movie another chance when it came to Netflix and, this time, really pay attention. Since so many people saw this movie or are wanting to see it, I was determined to give it as solid of a review as I could. While I did like my second viewing more, I still didn't love it. And I think a lot of it had to do with me wanting to know everything that was happening and wanting to make sense of it. I was struggling to do this. I had to look at some spoiler sites and read some reviews of others to really appreciate this movie for what it's worth. There is an audience for it. If you like the Jason Bourne movies, you'll likely like this. Likewise, if you like movies that have its lead characters dealing with a group of complex disorders of brain development, which is one definition of Autism, you'll like this movie. The Accountant is a movie that I recommend with the preface that you really need to pay attention to this film at all times as there is a lot happening at once. And, also, you need to suspend your beliefs to really enjoy the film. The Accountant (Affleck's character) is a man who can do it all. But then again, so is Jason Bourne and most people (including me) love those movies, especially the first three.


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.


La La Land (2016)

Don't let the first ten minutes of Damien Chazelle's (Whiplash) La La Land influence you too much. As much as it might seem like West Side Story, Grease, or a host of other musicals, rest assured it is not that kind of movie. Ten minutes in, after a supporting cast of characters who you never see again finished performing a song and dance on top of and around their cars while in a traffic jam on the 105/110 interchange in Los Angeles, CA, I wondered what the heck I had gotten myself into. There was a reason I have never been able to get through Chicago or Moulin Rouge. I am sure that these are fine movies, heck Chicago won Best Picture and Moulin Rouge was a Best Picture nominee. I'm just not into musicals as much as I am other genres. There is nothing wrong with them (I don't like animated movies much either), but they just aren't my cup of tea. I think the only reason I was able to sit through Les Miserables was because my dad had already tricked me into watching it in the theater. My biggest fear was that La La Land would be either all song and dance (which was implied from the trailers early in the year) or a lot of song and dance (which was inferred from later previews). However, neither was the case. While there was a lot of music in this film and it certainly was a musical, it's not JUST music. There is so much more. I think if you're at least willing to give this movie a chance, you'll enjoy it in some fashion.


Whiplash (2014)

There's really just one main reason to see Damien Chazelle (Grand Piano) Whiplash. Despite it's outstanding 96% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it's not a movie that offers anything very original. It's a good film, but not a great film. However, it does deliver one of the finest (if not the finest) supporting performances of the year. We've seen this story in books, in television, and on the big screen hundreds of times. The content changes, but the story stays the same...a young person trying to do whatever he/she can to win the approval of someone that they are trying to impress. In this case the young person is Andrew Neyman (Miles Teller - The Spectacular Now, 21 and Over), a first year drumming major at New York's Shaffer Conservatory of Music which is one of the top music prep school's in the country. And the person he is unsuccessfully trying to win over is Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons - television's Oz, television's The Closer), the school's most well-known teacher and maestro of the school's top jazz ensemble. It's well-known that if you can succeed in Fletcher's group, you've got potential for a great career as a musician. The movie is good. Teller, who I think is highly overrated, is good. But Simmons is phenomenal. For those of you who did watch HBO's Oz, imagine his viscous Vern Schillinger character minus the witty comedy. Simmons's Fletcher is a ruthless man in his pursuit of making his band, not just great, but flawless. It's one of best supporting performances of the year and I think it's a lock that Simmons is rewarded with his first Academy Award nomination.