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

2Jun/170

Lights Out (2016)

Lights Out is based on a 2 minute and 41 seconds short by directing newcomer David F. Sandberg. Creepy from its opening scene all the way to its final second which WILL creep you out, the film got the funding to be developed into a full-length film that stars not one, but two well-known actresses. The 2016 release flew under the radar. I never even heard of the film until it was brought up on repeated occasions of The Film Vault, a movie podcast site that inspired the Six Pack feature on my blog. If you're a person who watches A LOT of movies, the Film Vault is a weekly must listen to. Anderson and Bryan review all the recent films while also doing a Top Five segment each week (top five stabbings, top five divas, top five movies we can't wait to show our kids, etc.). Also, they assign each other movies that the other one probably would never see on their own and require each other to follow through on these assignments. Like almost all podcasts, it can get a little long at times and sometimes the movies they discuss are so obscure that you might have only seen two or three of the 15+ films they discuss each week. But if you watch a lot of movies, even if you don't necessarily agree with their lists entirely, you're going to be introduced to a lot of movies you've never heard of. And, if nothing else, you'll at least be intrigued to research some of these films to learn more. That's exactly what happened to me with Lights Out

28May/170

Alien: Covenant (2017)

Ridley Scott's (Gladiator, The Martian) brainchild franchise proves a few things. The Alien series still has legs. Its sequels continue to evolve. And Scott has no plans of letting his baby fall into the wrong hands again. Ridley's monster first burst onto the screen in 1979's Alien, a movie that did for space travel what Steven Spielberg's Jaws did for swimming on beaches just four years prior. It certainly wasn't the first movie set on a spaceship. And it certainly wasn't the first horror film. But, if it wasn't the first horror film set in space, it was certainly the first one we all remembered as being the first one. And, just as the tagline of the original movie poster suggests, In Space, No One Can Hear You Scream, nothing can be truer as sit down and prepare ourselves for one of the Alien movies (minus the two Alien Vs. Predator movies of course).

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.

19Jan/170

Elle (2016)

Paul Verhoeven (Basic Instinct, Total Recall) Elle opens with a scene that even the most jaded person would find difficult to watch. Whenever we see a rape scene on the big screen, we are mortified. Rape is a crime we abhor and, next to murder, the one we find most unacceptable in society. To start a movie with a brutal rape sets the immediate somber tone of the movie and, ironically, a tone that we often get away from. There are so many genres in this French subtitled film. It can be classified as a drama, romance, suspense, thriller, revenge, mystery, and even comedy. I'd be lying if I said I understood every component of this movie without having to do some research for it afterward. Apparently, the older gentleman didn't have that problem as he began clapping as we rolled to credits. The reason I saw this film was because Isabelle Huppert (Things to Come, Amour) is a lock for a Best Actress Academy Award nomination after winning a Golden Globe. I think she has a solid chance to win. I think her only real competition are Natalie Portman (Jackie) and Emma Stone (La La Land) I'm uncertain, at the time of this writing, which way I would lean. I wasn't the biggest fan of Jackie, but Natalie Portman did nail the role perfectly. It was dark and dreary and I wasn't sure the movie was needed. Elle was fresh and original and while the content was dark, Huppert gives a career-defining performance as Michele, a woman who refuses to show any reactionary human emotion for the events she is put through. If someone forced me to make a pick today, I would say that my heart says Huppert, but my mind says Portman. It would not be unprecedented for an actress to win cinema's top prize. In fact, there have been two winners in the past decade (Marion Cotillard - La Vie en Rose and Penelope Cruz - Vicky Cristina Barcelona) as well as a slew of other nominations, including two in the past four years. And Portman already has her Oscar for Lead Actress (2010's Black Swan). While Huppert might be an unknown commodity in the western hemisphere, she has been one of the most revered actresses in Europe for the past 40 years. With no Oscar nominations to her name yet, the one she receives this year may come with the trophy itself.

25Nov/160

Allied (2016)

While a 65% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes would suggest that a movie should be checked out (2 out of every three critics liking the film), sometimes you wonder why the score isn't higher. Allied, the Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, The Walk) World War II love story set in both Casablanca and London about two intelligence officers from opposite sides of the world says a lot. The movie, set in both Casablanca and London, has been loosely referred to as Mr. and Mrs. Smith (because of Brad Pitt) meets Casablanca (because of the period and location). While I understand the reference, this is far from the truth. I did not like either of these other two movies (I know. I know. Casablanca is one of the greatest movies of all-time...yawn), but I really enjoyed Allied.