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

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.

3Jan/170

Passengers (2016)

Passengers is one of those movies that your interest would be better served if you looked at the audience score rather than the critics' scores. A 30% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes would suggest that you skip this one. But a 70% audience score suggests something more. This was one of my most anticipated movies of the year. Plus I try to see everything. But even I was skeptical when I saw how it was getting panned by so many different critics. Even my most respected site (Roger Ebert's site) only gave the movie 1.5 stars. But I talked to a couple of different people who go to the movies a lot, and they said, despite some holes, that they recommended it. The only thing I knew about Passengers going in (I never saw a trailer) was that it starred Chris Pratt (Jurassic World, Guardians of the Galaxy) and Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook, Joy) and that they were lost in space. And while I suppose there were holes in this movie, they didn't in any way deter my enjoyment of this film. The parts that I found more troublesome than anything else were the personal emotions and the relationship between the two leads and, really, I didn't even have a problem with that.

13Nov/160

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.

11Nov/160

The Lobster (2016)

Yorgos Lanthimos The Lobster is one weird movie. I don't often do well with movies I find to be weird. Some movies that have gotten high ratings with the critics (The Grand Budapest Hotel, Bottle Rocket, The Darjeeling Limited, Moonrise Kingdom, Rushmore, or basically any other Wes Anderson film) are movies that I have found to be so absolutely dreadful that they are virtually unwatchable. There is a simplicity in the tone, the dialect, and the actions that I find a little peculiar in itself, but the overall strangeness of these movies is what makes the overall experience a chore. I know there are those who love Wes Anderson and to each his own. I personally don't understand what the point of his movies is. The Lobster feels very similar to one of these Anderson movies but, oddly enough, it held my interest. And while I didn't necessarily understand why a movie so strange needed to be made, I did find it engaging and it really didn't feel like I was watching the movie just to say that I watched it. While I didn't like it and would never watch it again, there were parts of it (the loneliness of the characters, their isolation from society, their inability to accept themselves) that hit home, albeit in a way that I am not normally accustomed to.

18May/160

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Captain America: Civil War is perhaps the greatest superhero movie that has not been directed by Christopher Nolan. My two favorite superhero movies (The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises) both belong to him. At of this post, my third favorite would probably be a toss up between Batman Begins, Iron Man, and Captain America: Civil War. There are others (such as The Amazing Spider-Man, Iron Man 2, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, etc.) that are up there, but there is clearly a distinction between the top 3 or 4 and all of the others. It is my hope that superhero movies continue to get better, but unfortunately, it feels like for every good one we get, we get 3-4 bad ones. So when we get a movie like Captain America: Civil War, it's important to take pause, see it, praise it, and encourage more movies like it because we know that poor movies will continue to be made because all of them seem to easily gross over $100 million. And the reason they day is our fault. We continue to see these terrible movies. But that is a different story for a different day.