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


An Education (2009)

Set in 1961 England, Carey Mulligan's (Shame, Drive) breakout performance in Lone Scherfig (One Day, Their Finest) is a movie that resonates in a way that is completely independent of its time frame as well as location. Does this mean it's a timeless classic? Well, when I think of timeless classics, I think of very different films than An Education. This beautiful film was on pace to be a timeless classic, one where everything is fine and dandy and one that I probably would not have enjoyed as much if not for a late twist. The setting of 1960's Europe doesn't exactly perk my interest. If as I write this in 2018, in my early 40's, when I am much more into the independents than I am the big blockbusters, the synopsis for this film doesn't attract, I can only imagine what I thought going into it back in 2009. I honestly have no idea what peeked my interest about this movie or what even got me past the first 15 minutes. Sure, a 95% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes will have some sort of positive effect, but even that can only care me so far. Whatever it was that encouraged me to continue on with this movie even, when I suspect, that I thought that I was getting into some sort of variation of Pride and Prejudice, Atonement or one of the many other Keira Knightley movies, I am grateful. I'd like to say that this movie had a lasting impact on me because it did. However, upon watching it for a second time, with an eight-year gap between viewings, I can unequivocally say that how I thought I remembered this movie was considerably different than what actually happened. I think I like it the same though I do feel differently about it, especially how I view the final act.


Secret in Their Eyes (2015)

Billy Ray's (Breach, Shattered Glass) Secret In Their Eyes is a movie that has a trailer that makes it look absolutely amazing. With an all-star cast that includes two Academy Award winning actresses, a mystery/suspense/drama, and a murder of a teenage girl with close ties to the main characters plot, this movie was certain to be a surefire hit right? Not so fast. When the mixed reviews started rolling in, you had to wonder what was it that was keeping this moving from being great. There were enough negative reviews that would have kept me from seeing this review or at least had me wait for a home viewing if I weren't a person obsessed about seeing as many movies as possible in the theater. Turns out I could have easily waited for or maybe skipped it entirely. While entertaining, it's not a movie that needs to be seen. When all is set and down, I can't see this landing as even one of the 25 best movies I've seen this year. It wasn't the most disappointing movie I saw this year, because I had tempered my expectations and it still held my interest the only time. However, it was very uneven, pretty far-fetched, and really didn't have an audience for it. I think these suspense/mystery/drama type movies are actually losing their audiences (at least in terms of watching them in the theater). With the influx of super hero movies, Pixar and other excellent animated films, and more and more quality independents, movies like Secret In Their Eyes are slowly becoming a dying bread. There are exceptions, especially when a movie is great and/or win it is based on a book that just about everybody reads (see the excellent Gone Girl for both of these exceptions). But if a movie such as Secret In Their Eyes gets just average or even slightly average reviews, it's just unlikely to do well in the theaters anymore, regardless of which stars are on it.