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.

17May/170

The Wall (2017)

First things first, if you think you're going into this seeing a John Cena movie, you will be sorely disappointed. This movie is similar to a move like 127 Hours, Cast Away, I Am Legend, or All Is Lost in the sense that it revolves almost entirely around a single character. The are a couple of major differences though between this one and those just stated. There are no flashback scenes. This movie is done almost entirely in real time. And it occurs in a single location, though 127 Hours, for the most part, does as well. The Wall is similar though in the sense that each of the mentioned movies experiences EXTREME periods of hopelessness during a part or a majority of the movie. The Wall isn't nearly as good as these other movies, but it was unique enough that it held your interest. Whereas 127 Hours was based on a true story, where All Is Lost is easily believable, and where I Am Legend is more of a science fiction movie that we have to suspend our belief for, The Wall falls somewhere in between. I loved that it was just 81 minutes long. It didn't need to be any longer so why drag something out when it doesn't have to be? And the first 20 minutes were completely engrossing. I knew a little bit about the movie, but not enough to know where it was going. But then it took a turn for the weird that took the believability aspect out of it and turned it into a game of cat and mouse that, while entertaining, was not something I'd expect out of my war movies.

29Apr/170

The Lost City of Z (2017)

The Lost City of Z was a movie that had all of the makings of a movie I should love. I love aa good adventure movie and the idea of floating down a wooden raft in the Amazon River sounds like something I'd enjoy. I'm a big fan of John Grisham novels, but most of us law thrillers (with the exception of ones like A Time to Kill or The Firm which were adapted into films) often tend to blend together. That is, with the exception of The Testament, a novel that was equal parts big city courtroom as it was Amazon Jungle adventure. There is something about The Amazon that I find intriguing, almost like I can't get enough of it...especially when it's displayed onscreen as a true adventure story. This is exactly what James Gray's (Two Lovers, The Yards) is. Despite not knowing anything else about this movie I was intrigued by this one sentence plot line and the fact that it had an 87% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes at the time of its release. Unfortunately, this movie did not live up to my lofty expectations. At 140 minutes it was often too slow and meandering. But at the same time, it was not long enough to tell the entire story. There was too much to tell and the cuts between the various events happening. So many parts of this movie needed to be longer. Yet at the same time, the movie felt like it was way too long to begin with. It was one of those "damned if you do, damned if you don't" scenarios. I don't know if it ultimately failed. But it certainly did not succeed. 

13Apr/170

I Am Michael (2017)

Justin Kelly (King Cobra) goes for broke in the second feature film of his career leading an ensemble cast that includes current A-listers James Franco (127 Hours, Rise of the Planet of the Apes) and Emma Roberts (Celeste and Jesse Forever, We're the Millers) as well as the always underrated Zachary Quinto (Margin Call, Star Trek) and veteran Daryl Hannah (Wall Street, Splash) with a controversial true story that is very near and dear to me personally as person who identifies himself as a Christian and also someone who is completely okay with homosexuality, despite what The Bible and fundamental Christians feel about it. I am unwilling to get into a debate about my personal beliefs, but I have no problem sharing them with those who are willing to listen and want to hear my thoughts on this. In fact, this post could be as far removed from an actual movie as you might find on my blog. Of course, I will discuss the movie plenty, but I am also using this as an avenue to express my beliefs on a subject matter that I feel very strongly about. Even you're willing to listen, awesome. If you aren't, I'll simply say move on from this post and read the review on Roger Ebert's website instead to determine if this movie is for you.