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


Lights Out (2016)

Lights Out is based on a 2 minute and 41 seconds short by directing newcomer David F. Sandberg. Creepy from its opening scene all the way to its final second which WILL creep you out, the film got the funding to be developed into a full-length film that stars not one, but two well-known actresses. The 2016 release flew under the radar. I never even heard of the film until it was brought up on repeated occasions of The Film Vault, a movie podcast site that inspired the Six Pack feature on my blog. If you're a person who watches A LOT of movies, the Film Vault is a weekly must listen to. Anderson and Bryan review all the recent films while also doing a Top Five segment each week (top five stabbings, top five divas, top five movies we can't wait to show our kids, etc.). Also, they assign each other movies that the other one probably would never see on their own and require each other to follow through on these assignments. Like almost all podcasts, it can get a little long at times and sometimes the movies they discuss are so obscure that you might have only seen two or three of the 15+ films they discuss each week. But if you watch a lot of movies, even if you don't necessarily agree with their lists entirely, you're going to be introduced to a lot of movies you've never heard of. And, if nothing else, you'll at least be intrigued to research some of these films to learn more. That's exactly what happened to me with Lights Out


Triple 9 (2016)

If you watched season 1 of HBO's True Detective and you were as much of a fan of the six-minute single-shot shootout scene that ended episode four's (titled Who Goes There) as I was, you might just very well like John Hillcoat's (The Road, Lawless) underappreciated Triple 9. If you watch Game of Thrones and found the intense battle between the Jon Snow led wildlings and the white walkers at the end of season five episode eight (titled Hardhome) as the best single scene in the history of the show, you might just very well like the star-studded Triple 9. If I had trusted my instincts and not those of the critics, I would have been able to appreciate this gem of a popcorn flick on the on the big screen. Instead, I let the movie pass through the theaters, knowing I would see it eventually at home, but convincing myself that, despite the awesome previous, I would be disappointed by this movie. Recently, one of my colleagues at work asked why I hadn't told her to see Triple 9, knowing that it was a movie right up my wheelhouse. She was really the first person I actually knew who had seen the movie. So I feel obligated early on this review to try to match this movie with an audience that can best appreciate it. If you like the intensity that comes with a bank robbery movie (my two favorite bank robbery movies are The Town, which is my second favorite movie ever, and the original Point Break), I can't think of a reason that you wouldn't like Triple 9. There are plenty of underlying storylines, but just like those two movies, Triple 9 refuses to take its foot off the accelerator and doesn't confuse its audiences by undervaluing the ferocity of its story by wasting even a single scene that isn't relevant to its story. In 2016, you almost need a caveat when talking about movies. So while Captain America: Civil War is the best movie to be released in the first five months of the year, the best non-superhero movie is Triple 9


It Follows (2015)

Total creep fest. 2015 was looking for a legitimate horror. While this movie has completely flown under the radar for the general public, word of mouth has allowed the independent It Follows to quickly become a cult classic. Not only is this the best horror movie of 2015, it is the best horror movie in years. Honestly, the feeling that I got while watching this movie was what I expected to feel in, perhaps, the most over-hyped horror movie of all-time, 1999's The Blair Witch Project. I think when I saw The Blair Witch Project in the theater, I was expecting to be scared in ways that I had never been scared before. I know that a few of the friends that I went with were completely freaked out and I was wondering if we had just watched the same movie. The Blair Witch Project is a different type of horror than, say, A Nightmare on Elm Street. I think that perhaps as a 23-year-old, I hadn't yet adapted the idea that what you might imagine could be more terrifying than what you actually see. I've mentioned on this blog a couple of times that I need to go back and watch The Blair Witch Project just to see if I view it the same way that I did 16 years ago. By looking at its 87% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes, I'm willing to admit that I am probably missing something when I give it a grade of a D-. But this is neither here nor there. This about It Follows, which is much more like The Blair Witch Project than it is A Nightmare on Elm Street. It's 96% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes is very much on par to my view of the movie. It Follows is an instant horror classic.


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.


Sicario (2015)

With three months left to go in 2015, we have a new contender for the best movie of the year and the name of that movie is Sicario. This movie is an amazing ride that will keep you thoroughly engrossed and guessing the entire time. Like a lot of the great movies over the last couple of years, the less you know about the movie going in, the more I think you'll like this movie. For me, this has been the case recently with movies like Ex-Machina, The Drop, The Gift, and Chef. All of these were unexpected surprises and each are movies that I plan on watching again in the future. The same can be said about Sicario. Once you know how the movie ends, you'll want to watch it again to try and see it again through a new set of lenses. It's intense. It's filled with drama. It will leave you with your mouth hung ajar. That is if you let it. This is a movie where you need to really pay attention. If you doze off for even a couple of minutes, you might miss something important. If you miss something important, you might feel lost. If you feel lost, you might get frustrated. But if you are willing to work as hard as the movie does, you'll be rewarded with one of the most exciting, well-crafted, and original movies that you are likely to find this year (or any year for that matter).