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


mother! (2017)

There are two different types of people in the world. There is the group of people who, when asked if they've seen Darren Aronofsky's (The Wrestler, Black Swanmother will say no. And then there is the group of people who kind of look at you with a bizarre look on their face and shamingly say, "Yeah" and hope that you don't ask any follow-up questions. And that's not to say they are embarrassed by admitting that they've seen the movie (we've all been at theater before when we walk out with our heads down, hoping that we don't see anybody that we know because we don't want them to know we just paid to see a movie that was THAT bad), but because the film is so far out there that a follow-up question asking the person what they thought about it or if they liked it might allow them to draw conclusions about us. Aronofsky makes movies that you either love or hate. I absolutely adored The Wrestler and Black Swan, but passionately hated Noah. I have a certain respect for Requiem for a Dream and have desperately tried, but have been unsuccessful in my attempts to sit through The Fountain. If you have not liked a single one of the movies that I just referenced, I can almost guarantee that your experience with mother! will not be an enjoyable one. However, if have liked one or more of the five previously mentioned film and are willing to go into mother! with an open mind, I cannot promise that you'll enjoy it, but I do think you will appreciate it. I found myself appreciating it far more than enjoying it, but I THINK I still enjoyed it. I will say this...the film started like a normal film might start, but ended differently than any film I've seen before. And the entire time, I could not look away from the screen. This film absolutely offers something that you just haven't seen before, especially with a cast as magnificent as this one.


Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015)

Honestly, there is no point in reading this review until after you've seen the movie. There is no way that my review on a Star Wars movie is going to influence whether yo go see this movie or not. So this review will have spoilers. You've been warned. Not to belittle my review, but this is one is mostly my open thoughts on the movie and not whether you should see it or not. If you come here quickly to look at the score, I gave it an 89/100. Undoubtedly if you've watched the other films, you need to go see this film in the theater. If you are newer to the franchise and wonder if which movies, if any, that you need to see before watching Episode VII, I would say you should watch IV, V, and VI. Those are the ones that will help you best understand this film. There is absolutely no need to see I, II, or III. I don't know if you can fully appreciate VII though without seeing IV, V, and VI first. It is assumed that you have seen these films. If you haven't, there is no real effort or desire to explain anything that happened in the past.

My first question to anyone who has an issue with Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens would be, "What were you expecting"? This was a great movie and I think it met all expectations. I sort of feel like if you are a fan of a franchise and you don't like this movie that you were not going to be satisfied regardless of what director, screenwriter, and producer J.J. Abrams (Star Trek, Cloverfield). When it was announced that Abrams would take over the franchise, there was a lot of concern that Star Wars would too closely resemble Star Trek. These two franchises have been stacked up against each other for the past 40 years. In some ways they are very similar, but in many ways they are very, very different. Personally, I love the Star Wars franchise while I think the Star Trek franchise has always been a little too geeky and much too cheesy for me to appreciate. By no means was Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens too Trekky. Quite the opposite actually. It reestablished credibility to the franchise while, in at least some small way, paying homage to all six previous films.


Brooklyn (2015)

Hands down, the best romance of 2015 is John Crowley's (Intermission, Boy A) terrific Brooklyn. Note that I did not say that this is the most romantic movie of the year, but rather the best romance. This movie features no wining and/or dining. There are not the passionate, hot and heavy, sometimes stir a little in your seat scenes that you might be used to in movies like Titanic, The Notebook, Pretty Woman, Before Sunrise, (500) Days of Summer, Dirty Dancing, or Ghost. This isn't R-rated. It isn't PG-rated. It is very appropriately rated as a PG-13 movie. It's the closest thing that well resemble the process of two people meeting each other by chance, getting to know each other first casually and then on a much deeper level before falling into a very deep and meaningful love that is both believable and beautiful. I did not know this was a love story going into the film. My mantra this year and sort of been to know as little about a movie as possible going into it. That doesn't mean I'll see just anything. I do have to see first that the movie is getting positive reviews. But if it does have decent reviews and it does have Oscar buzz, I'll make every effort to go see it. Brookyn was a movie that was both the easiest film in the world to understand, but at the same time almost impossible to truly comprehend. And in a word, that is love.


Ex Machina (2015)

Sometimes when you see a movie that you know nothing about, you are treated with an unknown little treat...a movie that will stick with you forever. Ex Machina is that movie this year. My comparison here is to the Brad Pitt/Morgan Freeman gem Seven. It was a movie that I knew nothing about. I had only heard that it was a movie I must see through word of mouth. Seven probably has a place forever reserved in my all-time top 25. That's how good it was. But I think a lot of this initially high rating was because of how in awe of it I was when I saw it in a little, creaky stage theater converted to a movie theater in Lexington, VA in the fall of 1997. Now, Ex Machina is not in the class of Seven. But like Seven, it is a movie that is gripping, carefully scripted, and one that will stay in your head for a very, very long time after its viewing. Ex Machina is going to be hard to beat for the best movie of the first half of 2015.


Unbroken (2014)

The two best series of trailers for 2014, in my opinion, have been for Unbroken and American Sniper. These were two of, if not the, most anticipated movies of the year for more. With apologies to Foxcatcher which had an amazing trailer, was a a movie I was highly looking forward to, and one that not only met but exceeded expectations, it was these two Christmas Day movies that have had me buzzing for months. As the reviews began pouring in, I realized that both of these movies were probably going to fall short of expectations. American Sniper is currently in the 70% range on Rotten Tomatoes, while Unbroken was way down at around 50%. I have not yet seen American Sniper, but based on the small reviews I have read, I believe I know where it is going to fall short. I really believe that if this movie had been screened by outsiders before its completion, there could have been some influence about the sequencing of the movies that would better tell Chris Kyle's story after his tours of duty. Again, this is my prediction before viewing the movie, but I have a feeling I'm going to say that it was a good movie that could have potentially been in my top ten of all-time. I did not feel the same way about Unbroken. The trailer didn't live up to the movie and I'm not sure any editing could have changed that. I found this movie to be very disappointing.