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


All the Money in the World (2017)

You know it's a great year for actresses in a leading role when Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine, Manchester by the Sea), arguably the greatest actress of her generation gives one of the greatest performances of her career and won't even get a sniff when it comes to an Oscar nomination. But that is what we have in 2017. We have a year that, as a whole, hasn't produced a lot of great movies nor has it given us many great performances for actors in a leading role, but has given us so many amazing lead actress performances that the likes of traditional heavyweights Williams, Jessica Chastain (Molly's Game), Emma Stone (Battle of the Sexes), Jennifer Lawrence (mother!). Williams gives one of the top five performances of her career in Ridley Scott's (Gladiator, The Martian) All the Money in the World. But it likely will be forgotten for two reasons. The first is that it is not one of the five best performances of the year and thus won't be recognized during awards season. The other is that a good portion of this movie was reshot following the claims of sexual assault against Kevin Spacey, one of the key figures in the movie. The movie might be more known for what went on behind the scenes than for its final product. Scott replaced Spacey with Christopher Plummer (Beginners, The Last Station), brought in all the key players to reshoot the scenes involving this character (often 18 hour days), spent an additional $10 million to do so, and only delayed the release of this movie by three days. It was the right thing to do. I applaud Scott and all of the people who sacrificed time and money to do what was the right decision. If you've heard about this, I'll mention that I did too. But I felt it was downplayed some because Plummer was only in a few scenes. That is not the case at all. In my opinion, Plummer made this film. He stole every scene he was in and it's impossible to picture anybody doing a better job. This decision could earn All the Money in the World its only two Oscar nominations (Best Supporting Actor, Best Editing). All in all, it's a very good movie with top-notch performances. But it isn't quite as memorable nor does it hold the weight of the movies that will be recognized this Oscar season.


Alien: Covenant (2017)

Ridley Scott's (Gladiator, The Martian) brainchild franchise proves a few things. The Alien series still has legs. Its sequels continue to evolve. And Scott has no plans of letting his baby fall into the wrong hands again. Ridley's monster first burst onto the screen in 1979's Alien, a movie that did for space travel what Steven Spielberg's Jaws did for swimming on beaches just four years prior. It certainly wasn't the first movie set on a spaceship. And it certainly wasn't the first horror film. But, if it wasn't the first horror film set in space, it was certainly the first one we all remembered as being the first one. And, just as the tagline of the original movie poster suggests, In Space, No One Can Hear You Scream, nothing can be truer as sit down and prepare ourselves for one of the Alien movies (minus the two Alien Vs. Predator movies of course).


The Martian (2015)

Fans of the self-published debut novel will not be disappointed by Ridley Scott's (Alien, Gladiator) adaptation of Andy Weir's The Martian. This is a good movie that should be viewed in 3D on the largest screen that you can see it on. While it doesn't come close as delivering the same experience as Gravity or even Interstellar, it is one of the rare movies that truly benefits by being seen in 3D. Before I get into this review, I want to mention that I will try to write it from the standpoint of someone who has not read the fictional novel as best as I can as I know this is something that most people have not read. With that said, I will refer to the novel. I will also give some spoilers, but I will give notice before diving into any of these. If you read around the paragraphs marked spoilers, you will be fine with reading this review before seeing this movie. The Martian is a very good movie, but it is not a great movie. I was not disappointed by it. If I hadn't read the novel, I think that maybe the trailers and the hype would have left me wanting more. This movie currently sits as my #6 movie of 2015, but I think there is less than a 1% chance that it will finish in my end of year top 10. It is a movie that I am very glad that I watched (again on the big screen and in 3D), but is one where one viewing is plenty. It didn't have the emotional impact that Gravity had nor does it have the What did I miss? I need to watch this movie again type of feeling Interstellar had. Also, as I will mention, something was missing overall from the performances especially considering that Scott landed the cast of the year. While I will heavily critique this movie, I again want to say that I really, really liked the movie. It was a very good adaptation of the book. It held my interest throughout its 2 hour 14 minute time frame. 


Exodus: Gods and Kings

A movie that I thought was going to be great, then I thought was going to be terrible, and then I thought would be okay ended up being pretty good. I am a huge fan of Christian Bale (The Dark Knight Rises, Out of the Furnace) and Ridley Scott (Alien, Gladiator). Bale has had numerous hits over the last decade. I'd say 13 out of his last 15 movies I have seen and big a fan of. Scott, once as reliable as they come, has had some misses in recent years, most notably The Counselor and Robin Hood. Both of these movies should have been great and both underwhelmed. Even after my research, I still have almost no idea about what the plot of The Counselor was. And even though neither of these men was associated with the disaster that was Noah, that movie also had a respected actor (Russell Crowe) and director (Darren Aronofsky) and it was easily my least favorite movie of 2014. Fairly or unfairly, Noah tempered my expectations of Exodus: Gods and Men. It did not help that the Bale/Scott venture got panned by the critics (28% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) and was sort of equally shunned by audiences (just $65 million domestically despite a $140 million production cost). And I am not well-versed enough on the story of Moses to know how true this movie was to the Biblical story. What I do know was that I really, really enjoyed this movie. It currently is my 12th favorite movie of 2014. I don't expect it, at this point, to fall any lower than that.