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


Passengers (2016)

Passengers is one of those movies that your interest would be better served if you looked at the audience score rather than the critics' scores. A 30% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes would suggest that you skip this one. But a 70% audience score suggests something more. This was one of my most anticipated movies of the year. Plus I try to see everything. But even I was skeptical when I saw how it was getting panned by so many different critics. Even my most respected site (Roger Ebert's site) only gave the movie 1.5 stars. But I talked to a couple of different people who go to the movies a lot, and they said, despite some holes, that they recommended it. The only thing I knew about Passengers going in (I never saw a trailer) was that it starred Chris Pratt (Jurassic World, Guardians of the Galaxy) and Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook, Joy) and that they were lost in space. And while I suppose there were holes in this movie, they didn't in any way deter my enjoyment of this film. The parts that I found more troublesome than anything else were the personal emotions and the relationship between the two leads and, really, I didn't even have a problem with that.


The Magnificent Seven (2016)

I'm starting to think that Hollywood is either completely out of original ideas or knows that they are guaranteed a minimum hundred million dollars at the box office if it remakes a movie and has a starting cast of Hollywood A-listers. There is absolutely no reason why The Magnificent Seven needed to be remade. I have not seen the first one, but I imagine it was probably a pretty good movie when it was made...56 years ago. There have not been many great westerns produced in this century and, while they were good, most of them have been remakes (3:10 to Yuma, True Grit). There have been others (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, The Homesman), but there really haven't been many in this genre of film when compared to others. While I appreciate a good western (Young Guns was my number one movie of all-time from when I was 15 until I was about 25), I dislike a bad western just as much as I dislike a poor  movie in other genres. And while I wouldn't necessarily call The Magnificent Seven a poor movie, I definitely would call it an unneeded one. Unless you love westerns, there's no need to see this movie. This absolutely is a movie that you don't need to see on the big screen.


Jurassic World (2015)

It's been 12 years since see was last saw the Tyrannosaurus Rex tearing up the supposedly revamped dinosaur park in Jurassic Park III. The movie, while much better than the 50% rating it earned on Rotten Tomatoes, pretty much signaled the end of the franchise. Gone were Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum. There was talk over the last decade to reinvigorate the series, but nothing ever materialized. The move to call this Jurassic World rather than Jurassic Park IV and add all new players to the game. Had this movie been released in 2005 (to continue the pattern of every three years), I think this movie would have stunk. Even with its 2015 release date of 2015, it still could have stunk. But it didn't stink. It wasn't the original (93% on Rotten Tomatoes and $350 million domestically + another $50 million on re-release in 2013, not to mention the millions it earned overseas and through rentals), but it was still very, very good. In fact, I'll go as far to say that if this was the first movie with Jurassic in the name that it would have earned higher than its respectable 71% on Rotten Tomatoes. With over $200 million earned on opening weekend it's likely to smash any of its predecessors at the box office (by contrast, Jurassic Park earned just $50 million in its first weekend). Regardless, I felt that if the movie earned a rating of over 65% fresh, it would probably do very well at the ticket office. I just didn't think it would do this good. But I feel like it deserves its positive reviews and its revenue. It was a very entertaining movie and one that I recommend seeing on the big screen.