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


Spotlight (2015)

There are a couple of different ways to start the review for Spotlight. I could talk about the cast (quite possibly the ensemble cast of the year). I could talk about the hypocrisy that is organized religion. I will mention both of these in this post. But I will choose to start with the old fashion major newspaper reporting that used to be our number source of reliable news. In many ways it is sad that newspapers aren't what they used to be and never will be again. With the invention of the Internet, it was only a matter of time before most newspapers folded while others had to majorly trim their staff, editions, and number of pages produced with each issue. Where will The Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and The New York Times be in 20 years? Well if the changes in the previous 20 years are any sort of indication, I'm not sure these newspapers will even be around in 20 years. If they are, they might be entirely electronically based. I still think there will be a place for newspapers big metropolitan newspapers such as these, but it just will not be in the print variety. For me, there are still things that I am interested in the Washington DC area that I feel can really be only fully addressed in something like The Washington Post, but I haven't purchased a physical newspaper in over a decade and only read one if I saw it sitting at a bar when I'm eating dinner, in the school library, etc. Likewise I do go online to The Washington Post go get the same information that I cannot find elsewhere, but their website isn't nearly as user-friendly as some of the other sites I go to. And finally, after I read a number of articles, I'm told that I reached my limit for the month and that I need to pay for a subscription to read anymore. Well...how hard is it to use a different device that hasn't yet recognized me to access the same material? And am I really going to need to read more than five articles a month? Nope. I have other resources that I still have at my disposal. Long story short...I still want/sort of need these major newspaper articles to survive. Yet I haven't given a cent towards any of these papers in over a decade and I don't plan to. If these newspapers are going to survive, they need to do something to tap into my monetary resources.


Begin Again (2014)

Begin Again had all of the makings of a great movie. It had an all-star cast with Mark Ruffalo, Keira Knightley, Hailee Steinfeld, and Catherine Keener (in addition to Maroon 5's Adam Levine). It had an amazing soundtrack (with a majority of the songs sung by Knightley herself). But most importantly it was tying itself to John Carney, screenwriter/director's 2007 gem Once, perhaps the greatest "musical and performing arts" movie that you've never heard of. I started off liking this movie so much and, after 30 minutes, I felt certain it was going to be as good as, if not better, than Once. The problem was that as believable as Once felt, this movie felt that unbelievable by its third act. It was a movie that stretched so far past the idea of a feel good story that you really couldn't at all take it seriously. If I had to break down the three acts, I would give act one an A, act two a C, and act three a D (based in implausibility of not just the last act itself, but because it doesn't effectively bring resolution to any of the issues the characters are dealing with in the first two acts of the film). This movie sort of reminded me of August Rush, but, to be honest, I'd have to watch August Rush again to see if that's a fair assessment. I do remember wanting to like August Rush much more than I actually did.  


Foxcatcher (2014)

I've finally found the first "award buzzing" movie of 2014 that has lived up to its hype. While there have certainly been a handful of other movies that I've found to be good, there hasn't been a movie, with the exception of maybe Nightcrawler that has lived up to the hope that I had for the movie. That has certainly changed with Bennett Miller's (Moneyball, Capote) methodical and engrossing Foxcatcher. While this movie isn't for everybody, film purists will love it. This movie is likely to garner a Best Director Academy Award and without a doubt will land Steve Carell (Crazy, Stupid, Love., Date Night) his first Best Actor nomination. Mark Ruffalo (Reservation Road, Shutter Island) likely will also earn a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award. And not to be lost is the performance of Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street, 22 Jump Street) who gives the performance of his career. Three of the best performances of the year can be viewed in this film alone.


Shutter Island (2010)

Without a doubt, Martin Scorsese's (The Wolf of Wall Street, The Departed) was one of the greatest in theater movie experiences of my life. I had been super excited for the movie ever since seeing its first preview some six months or more before he came out. There was so much hype associated with the movie that I was certain it couldn't live up to the expectations. It not only met expectations, it surpassed them. This movie is a complete masterpiece and has only been dampened by the fact that the second viewing (a very important viewing for all fans of the film) wasn't as awesome as I thought it would be. I thought that I would gain some insight knowing things about the movie that I didn't know during my first viewing. Rather than capitalizing on this new knowledge though, I instead found the second viewing to be rather dull. The excitement of seeing this film for the first time was what made it so great. This also is a movie that I think is a much better view in the theater than it is at home, regardless of how big your home television might be. It's a movie that absolutely needed to be seen in a dark theater that is full of other people viewing the movie for the first time.


Thanks For Sharing (2013)

Stuart Blumberg's Thanks For Sharing is a much softer and more humane look at the trials and tribulations of sexual addiction than is Steve McQueen's 2011 Shame. Both movies broach this once taboo topic with relatively deep character studies. While both movies tell fairly compelling stories, neither earned much at the box office. Together, the two movies generated just over $4 million domestically. I think that fact that these two movies were both made over the course of a two year period and between the two attracted stars like Mark Ruffalo, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim Robbins, Michael Fassbender, and Carey Mulligan shows that there are those in Hollywood who want to bring the issue come to light even if the general public is still a little reluctant to make it to the theater to check out these movies on the big screen.