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


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.


Nocturnal Animals (2016)

Almost perfect. While it may not even end up in my top five movies of the year, Tom Ford's (A Single Man) Nocturnal Animals was almost perfect. There was so much I liked in this movie and Ford almost created a masterpiece, but the movie just felt short. An A- for sure. Maybe even an A. But it won't be the 49th movie that I've seen that I would classify as an A+. Jake Gyllenhaal (Love and Other Drugs, Everest) is better than ever and he COULD end up with an Oscar nomination for this film. In a perfect world, he would, especially since he very well may have been the odd man out both in 2015 (Nightcrawler) and 2016 (Southpaw) for a Best Actor Academy Award. But with four of the five slots pretty much locked up (Tom Hanks - Sully, Denzel Washington - Fences, Casey Affleck - Manchester by the Sea, Joel Edgerton (Loving), that leaves only one more nomination between Gyllenhaal, Ryan Gosling (La La Land), Warren Beatty (Rules Don't Apply), and Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge). And, to be honest, while his performance was great, it wasn't nearly the performance he gave in either Nightcrawler or Southpaw. Ford's chances for a Best Directing nod look even dimmer, and an impressive performance by Amy Adams (The Fighter, American Hustle) may be completely overlooked because she will likely receive a nomination (and may even be the frontrunner) for Arrival, a movie that was released just a week before Nocturnal Animals.


Arrival (2016)

Alien, Fire in the Sky,  Independence Day, Men in Black, Starship Troopers, Cloverfield, Signs, Prometheus. These are some of the many movies that have successfully explored contact in some form with extra-terrestrial beings in some form. And then you have movies like E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Cocoon, Contact, Solaris, District 9, Gravity, Interstellar, and The Martian that are also movies about either extra-terrestrial encounters or innovative space exploration that deal more with the human component or relationship building than they do action, adventure, and/or a post-apocalyptic future. Add Denis Villeneuve's (Sicario, Prisoners) Arrival as the latest movie to try to get itself on this impressive list. The critics (93% on Rotten Tomatoes) and audiences (82%) have both enjoyed this movie. I wouldn't say that I disliked this movie, but I don't have the same praise as many of these others. If you haven't seen Villeneuve's Sicario, please see this movie. It was one of the five best movies of 2015. I haven't met many people who have seen this movie and didn't like it. It's an incredible movie. I hoped Villeneuve could recapture that same success with this follow-up, but, ultimately, it was a movie that I found interest in, but one that was a little all over the place and not one that I could ultimately relate to or, to an extent, even understand its purpose.


The Girl on the Train (2016)

The Girl on the Train will often be confused with, as well as often compared to Gone Girl, 2014's box office success that also registered well with the critics. Both were highly anticipated adaptations of successful novels by two of the more popular present day writers. Both movies revolve around complex lead female characters who clearly are not completely mentally stable. It's easy to see how some people might say that The Girl on the Train could be a be considered a rip-off of Gone Girl, but it's not. The book had already been written and, I believe, the movie had already been in the works. The movies actually are quite different from one another. And, with that said, it's easy for me to see how The Girl on the Train might achieve the same financial success, but how its 43% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes is slightly less than half that of Gone Girl's 88%. The movie was far less captivating and much less memorable. Nonetheless, The Girl on the Train is a fine movie. In my opinion, it is much better than the book. And while it doesn't offer the same intriguing storyline as Gone Girl, it's worth checking out.


10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

Perhaps one of the most unconventional sequels of all-time, 10 Cloverfield Lane assembles almost no resemblance to 2008's cult classic Cloverfield other than maybe its name. The movie takes place in rural Louisiana while Cloverfield took place in New York City. We never truly know how much in the future that 10 Cloverfield Lane is, but we can assume it's as soon as a couple of days and maybe as long as a couple of weeks. Cloverfield was a shaky camera found footage film about aliens invading the city. 10 Cloverfield Lane is not that at all. It's more like a spin-off than it is a sequel. An alien invasion is a possibility for how these characters find themselves, but it is just one of the possibilities as described by Howard (John Goodman - Flight, Barton Fink), the film's antagonist. Goodman might be better than he ever has been before. It certainly is his darker role and really the first movie in many, many years (King Ralph anyone) in which he has played a starring role.