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

10Jan/180

All the Money in the World (2017)

You know it's a great year for actresses in a leading role when Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine, Manchester by the Sea), arguably the greatest actress of her generation gives one of the greatest performances of her career and won't even get a sniff when it comes to an Oscar nomination. But that is what we have in 2017. We have a year that, as a whole, hasn't produced a lot of great movies nor has it given us many great performances for actors in a leading role, but has given us so many amazing lead actress performances that the likes of traditional heavyweights Williams, Jessica Chastain (Molly's Game), Emma Stone (Battle of the Sexes), Jennifer Lawrence (mother!). Williams gives one of the top five performances of her career in Ridley Scott's (Gladiator, The Martian) All the Money in the World. But it likely will be forgotten for two reasons. The first is that it is not one of the five best performances of the year and thus won't be recognized during awards season. The other is that a good portion of this movie was reshot following the claims of sexual assault against Kevin Spacey, one of the key figures in the movie. The movie might be more known for what went on behind the scenes than for its final product. Scott replaced Spacey with Christopher Plummer (Beginners, The Last Station), brought in all the key players to reshoot the scenes involving this character (often 18 hour days), spent an additional $10 million to do so, and only delayed the release of this movie by three days. It was the right thing to do. I applaud Scott and all of the people who sacrificed time and money to do what was the right decision. If you've heard about this, I'll mention that I did too. But I felt it was downplayed some because Plummer was only in a few scenes. That is not the case at all. In my opinion, Plummer made this film. He stole every scene he was in and it's impossible to picture anybody doing a better job. This decision could earn All the Money in the World its only two Oscar nominations (Best Supporting Actor, Best Editing). All in all, it's a very good movie with top-notch performances. But it isn't quite as memorable nor does it hold the weight of the movies that will be recognized this Oscar season.

24Jan/170

Patriots Day (2016)

Too soon? Money grabber? These are two fair questions to ask about the timing of Peter Berg's (Deepwater Horizon, Lone Survivor) 2016 Patriots Day. The movie is based on the April 15, 2013, Boston City Marathon bombing, an event that killed three people and wounded hundreds of others. It might seem like it's too soon for a movie studio to be capitalizing on the tragic events of that day. For many, the event is still fresh in the minds. When I saw the trailer for this movie for the first time, my tendency was to agree. But after seeing this movie, I have changed my mind and instead will go with the mindset that if you're going to make a movie out of a tragic event such as the Boston City Marathon bombing, you better get it right. And I'll be the first to say that Berg and all those associated with this movie did, in fact, get this right. It was a respectful movie that looked at the incident from a variety of angles. And while I have not researched fact versus fiction yet, I am going to give Patriots Day the benefit of the doubt and say that it checked its facts before production. I do know that the lead character Seargent Tommy Sanders (Mark Wahlberg - The Fighter, Daddy's Home) is not an actual character, but, instead, is a composite of various officers in the Boston Police Department. I'm lukewarm on whether I like this or not I like this idea. As you watch this film, you'll quickly learn that Tommy has to be fictional because there is just no way one person can be in every single important situation in the film. It makes Tommy out to be a singular hero. I understand the Hollywood aspect, but I also understand paying homage to a true story. I think I would have preferred each character of the Boston Police department to be more accurately portrayed, but with already an abundance of characters, I could see how that could take away from the effective storytelling of the film.

2Oct/162

Deepwater Horizon (2016)

If you're going to make a big-budget disaster movie, it might as well be based on a true story. Personally, I'm so over the huge blockbuster disaster movies like The Day After Tomorrow, Poseidon, Independence Day, The Core, Volcano, Into the Storm, Armageddon (which I actually really like), San Andreas (which I also kind of liked), Dante's Peak...the list goes on and on. The point of these movies, and so many others, is to make a big buck. Forget about the plausibility, most of these movies are utterly ridiculous. The hero(es) always overcome the most extreme circumstances and, often, end up saving the world in the end. Now while the 2010 disaster which caused the worst offshore oil spill in United States history and made British Petroleum (BP) the most villainous company on the face of the planet at the time, the story of Deepwater Horizon does take some liberties along the way. While the unfortunate events on that night of April 10th certainly did happen, the events on that rig felt very much like James Cameron's Titanic after the ship hits the iceberg. 

18Jun/160

Daddy’s Home (2015)

With apologies to the extremely funny The Campaign, first-time co-director John Morris and Sean Anders's (Horrible Bosses 2, Sex Drive) Daddy's Home is, ironically, Will Ferrell's (Old School, Step Brothers) best-starring comedy role since 2010's The Other Guys. It's not a movie I thought I would particularly like and one that I had serious doubts about as much as 20 minutes in (I hadn't laughed but maybe one time), but as the movie progressed it got funnier and funnier and by its conclusion it became a somewhat memorable movie that I wouldn't put on the "A-shelf" comedy list, but might find itself just a notch below. What made the movie work was the dynamics between Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg (Lone Survivor, The Fighter) who didn't have quite the same chemistry they had when they teamed is partners in the buddy cop The Other Guys but were still pretty close. While Daddy's Home was 100% completely predictable, it didn't make it any less fun and while Ferrell and Wahlberg weren't exceptionally awesome in the scenes where they weren't together, it more than made up for during the scenes where they shared screen time.

14Feb/140

2 Guns (2013)

2 Guns is not my type of movie because it isn't really sure what it wants to be. It doesn't really take itself too seriously, but it does contain relationships between the characters that do seem to be meaningful. At times, it's a terrible drama. At times, it's a comedy that isn't funny. At times, it's a lame attempt at a shoot 'em up in Quentin Tarantino style. It's lead actors are all over the place.  In short, it's a movie that doesn't know what it wants to be. It's also a movie that totally wastes the talents of two great actors like Denzel Washington (Training Day, American Gangster) and Mark Wahlberg (Shooter, The Italian Job). It's a little ironic because this was Washington's first movie since his outstanding performance in Flight and the last movie Wahlberg shot before his outstanding performance in Lone Survivor. I wouldn't go so far to say it's a movie that either of these actors wish they had not done, but it is a movie that I wish they hadn't done.