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

26Dec/170

The Shape of Water (2017)

Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth, Crimson Peak) adult fairytale The Shape of Water is a movie we've seen so many different times in so many different forms that it's a wonder that we'd even be willing to see it again. Starcrossed lovers finding themselves in a situation of forbidden love while fighting off some sort of catastrophe, or at least societal pressures. Think Titanic, a nearly perfect movie that showcased this is in a way that will never be forgotten by any who watch it. So how does del Toro pull off this story in a way that is completely original, yet as equally compelling? Well, he does it in a way that only del Toro can do. And in doing so, he creates both the most unparalleled and also (with no disrespect to Call Me By Your Name) the most romantic movie of 2017. This movie certainly is not for everyone. If Thor: Ragnarok or Justice League is more your thing, then I'm not even sure I'd consider The Shape of Water. This is the ultimate independent movie and if you go into this movie with the mindset that you'll just be able to enjoy the ride and not have to think, you'll be in for a long two hours. In a year where the movies have been the worse they've been since I began my blog in 2010, it is the uniqueness of the movies (rather than the quality of them) that has really defined this year.

17Dec/170

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

In an Oscar season that hasn't been so much a run of disappointing movies as much as has been movies that just didn't wet the appetite, Martin McDonagh's (Seven Psychopaths, In Bruges) Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri has a chance to finish in my Top 10 movies of the Year, whereas I really don't think it would have had even had a chance since I began writing this blog in 2010. While I really enjoyed its dark theme, its complex characters, and even, to an extent, its quirkiness, this movie was close to perfect. The fact that it seems to be a lock for a Best Picture nomination shows just how down of a year 2017 is for movies.

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.