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.

29Aug/170

Wind River (2017)

There are so many takeaways from Taylor Sheridan's Wind River that I don't even know which one to bring out first. I guess that I'll start by saying that, though flawed, this is the best movie of 2017 through the first eight months of the year. It's an epic masterpiece that might be missed by the common moviegoer who is so overwhelmed with the commercialization of movies like Wonder Woman, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and War of the Planet of the Apes, that they might not even know it existed, let alone a movie that it might be interested in seeing. In a 2017 Hollywood that has seen a massive uptake in remakes, reboots, sequels, and prequels, it's becoming increasingly more difficult to find originality in a story and then, if you do, for that originality to come out in a way that encourages you to see it again and, hopefully, has a lasting impact on your life. That is what Sheridan, an incredibly gifted screenwriter, has done here in his first film behind the camera. Already to his screenwriting credit are the memorable Sicario and Oscar-nominated Hell or High Water. It's unlikely that Wind River will receive the same box office success as his first movie or the same critical acclaim come Oscar season as his second, but this is one hell of a directorial debut.

5Apr/170

Life (2017)

Wow! Life > Alien.!

Yup. You heard that right. 2017 is off to a tremendous start! January, February, and March typically combine for the worst quarter of the year for movies. I've been reviewing movies since 2010 and each year has confirmed this belief. I didn't anticipate 2017 feeling differently but is slowly happening. First, there was the surprising Split, which I personally wasn't a fan of, but one that did fantastic with audience and critics. Then there was Logan, which at the time of this writing is one of my five favorite Marvel movies ever. Sprinkle in the surprise hit Get Out, the quality reboot Kong: Skull Island, the live-action smash success Beauty and the Beast and you already have five movies that, won't necessarily be up for awards at the end of the year, but will be remembered as success stories for 2017. Now add a late March release of Life, the Jake Gyllenhaal/Ryan Reynolds vehicle that has been wowing potential audiences with both extended trailers and television advertisements during some marquee events. And for good reason. The trailer drew my interest and, barring a complete rejection by the critics, I knew this would be a movie that I saw in the theater. I am actually surprised by the 66% critics score and even more shocked by the 61% audience score. This movie isn't necessarily a thinker in terms that you're going to get confused, but it does make you use your brain to follow along. For this reason, I don't expect an audience score to be 95% or whatever, but I would expect it to be much higher. Perhaps it was a little slow for some people at times. I certainly did not think so. I was hooked from the beginning and thoroughly engrossed the entire 103 minute run time.

2Apr/170

Logan (2017)

James Mangold's (3:10 to Yuma, Walk the Line) Logan is about to set the standard for the next wave of superhero movies...the death of a major character. In an age of movies (particularly superhero ones) where we've seen sequels, prequels, and reboots, we have yet to see the beginning, middle, and definite conclusion of a story. We've seen plenty of superhero movies that COULD be a conclusion story, but we've all learned the hard way that we think is the end probably isn't the end unless we see that character killed off. And, let's be honest, even then we don't really know. When there is the potential for hundreds of millions of dollars to be made, who are we to believe that the end is the end. Often times, the end is determined by a crappy movie in a series that doesn't resonate with audiences or critics. Sometimes, that movie can be a concluding story, but often times it is not. But (spoiler, but not really) based on what happens at the end of the film, I don't expect to see him back. I know I probably will in some other fashion, but that can be an argument for a different day. Until then, I'll continue to sing the praises of Logan. And at the time of this review, I have it as a top five Marvel movie of all-time.

20Mar/170

Kong: Skull Island (2017)

Kong: Skull Island was definitely my most anticipated movie of the first quarter of 2017. Granted the first three months of the year aren't usually known for producing the year's best films. And while Kong: Skull Island won't be up for any end of year honors and won't end up on my year's top ten list (unless this year is God awful for movies), I found it to be a very engaging, exciting, and, if it's even possible, original. While it wasn't nearly perfect, this movie was awesome. As excited as I was to see it when I originally saw the trailer, I wasn't feeling it the day of my viewing. Even with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 79%, I still felt like I was going to be disappointed. I haven't seen the most recent King Kong movie (the 2005 one starring Naomi Watts and Adrien Brody) since seeing it in the theater. I remember liking it a lot. But I don't remember many of the details. I do remember it being extremely long. It honestly felt like it should have been two movies and I think that's why I haven't watched it since, even though there has been a copy of the DVD sitting on my bookshelf for the last decade. Kong: Skull Island was certainly not a sequel or a prequel and it didn't feel completely like a reboot to me either. Sure, there have been other King Kong movies about a group of unknowns visiting Skull Island, but either this one had a different twist than the other ones or I just wasn't paying enough attention (which is entirely possible), but this movie had a sense of freshness in it that I didn't suspect. That plus its visuals, sound, lack of dull/unimportant moments, and relatively short length (118 minutes) allow me to fully endorse this movie as one that you should try to see in the theater. Plus, this movie was not created in 3D when it very well could have been. This is a definite plus.