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

21Feb/180

Hostiles (2017)

The very first scene of Scott Cooper's (Crazy Heart, Out of the Furnace) under the radar Hostiles lets you know one thing right off the bat. We get a good 10-minute scene of a four-man group of Comanche warriors comes rolling out of nowhere, attacks a family of five in the brutalist of fashions, before burning down the ranch and taking off with their horses. After this scene, we get the title Hostiles pop up on the screen and we know quickly we are in for something different than Will Smith's Wild Wild West. This movie is not for the weak at heart. If you do not like tragedy, this film is not for you. If you have a stomach for, sometimes, senseless killing, characters who carry anger so deep that it burns their souls, and guilt so heavy that it tears lives apart, then this movie could be for you. If you crave a good old-fashioned western, then this movie surely will suffice. And if you want to see A-listers like Christian Bale (The Fighter, The Dark Knight Rises), Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl, A United Kingdom), Jesse Plemons (The Post, Other People), Timothee Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name, Lady Bird) and Ben Foster (Hell or High Water, Lone Survivor) continue to cement their names in Hollywood, you can't go wrong with Hostiles, easily one of the five best movies of 2017. Though it's unlikely to dethrone Wind River for me, it's doing its most darn make its case in the 11th hour.

7Feb/180

Brawl in Cell Block 99 (2017)

I absolutely LOVE a good prison movie. Just like I enjoy films set on trains, edgier (i.e. PG13 or greater) sports movies, alien movies, shipwreck movies, or survival movies set in the jungle, there is something about a good prison movie that perks my intrigue, keeps me interested, and has me thinking about it long after it's over. The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Hurricane, Rescue Dawn, Escape from Alcatraz, Lock Up, Murder in the First, Midnight Express, Brokedown Palace, Dead Man Walking, The Longest Yard, Felon, Law Abiding Citizen, Death Race...the list goes on and on. So what could a prison movie offer that we haven't seen before on the silver screen or television dramas like Prison Break or Oz or on television documentary shows like Lockup or Locked Up Abroad? There is no shortage of options when it comes to getting your prison fix. But there definitely something that you haven't seen before in S. Craig Zahler's (Bone Tomahawk) Brawl in Cell Block 99. Could it be that it's the most brutal prison movie ever made? You could argue that it is. It certainly could be the goriest. If you haven't seen the horror-western Bone Tomahawk yet, prepare yourself. I had heard about it but still wasn't ready for what I saw. I hated it. But I am going to go back and watch it again. And the reason for that is because of how much I really, really enjoyed Brawl in Cell Block 99.

2Jun/170

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

5Jun/160

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

26Nov/150

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.