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

3Dec/170

Mudbound (2017)

An early and serious contender for 2017's Best Picture is a movie that may not have found its way to a theater had it not garnered so much critical acclaim. Dee Rees's (Pariah) Mudbound is a Netflix original movie and had it not been for The Academy of Motion Pictures' rule of all Oscar-nominated films be available to the public via movie theaters, who knows where it would have landed. This is not the Netflix's first movie to receive so much praise that the movie had to be released in the theaters. 2015's Beasts of No Nation faced a similar fate. However, the kudos that Beasts of No Nation originally received faded as Oscar season approached and the movie ultimately did not receive a single nomination. The same won't be the case for Mudbound which very well could earn a Best Picture nomination as well as nominations for Best Supporting Actor (Jason Mitchell), Best Supporting Actress (Mary J. Blige), and Best Adapted Screenplay just to name a view.  It's an early prediction and I have yet to see any of the other contenders, but this does feel like a very weak year for movies and I would be shocked if Mudbound is not nominated for Best Picture and I would be surprised if it doesn't win at least one award in one of the other categories before cinema's biggest night of the year is complete.

28Aug/150

Straight Outta Compton (2015)

Straight outta Compton and straight into the Oscar buzz. It's early and my guess is this movie is forgotten about come Halloween time (just like a majority of the really good movies released in the first eight or nine months of each year are), but for right now this is movie is hot with audiences (over $100 million grossed after eight days) as well as critics (89% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) as just about any other movie of the year. As I will explain in my review below, Straight Outta Compton didn't really do anything (besides the music itself) that was amazing on its own, but it did do just about everything really, really well. I wouldn't call it the surprise hit of the year as there were many other movies that flew much further under the radar (Ex Machina and The Gift are the two that come to mind for me), but it was perhaps a movie that had potential to be very good or very bad depending on the acting, which part of the story would be told, and, most importantly, the movie's direction. I'll talk more about F. Gary Gray (The Negotiator, The Italian Job) more later in the review, but, long story short, he nailed it. This was his most challenging work to date and his most impressive and, while I think it's an extreme long shot based on the history of the Academy and its voting, his name could still be swirling around as a dark horse for Best Director come December.