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

1Jan/180

Molly’s Game (2017)

In my personal life, I've mentioned many times that I am so glad I am not addicted to gambling. I have many other problems and the added temptation of a big payday by sacrificing my own hard-earned money with less than successful odds sounds absolutely miserable.

In Aaron Sorkin's directorial debut, he tells the story of Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain - A Most Violent Year, Take Shelter), an Olympic level skier who once ran one of the most exclusive high-stakes poker games for more than a decade, two years before her arrest that saw FBI agents surrounding her house with automatic guns in the middle of the night. It's a legitimate directorial debut and one that is worthy of its high praise. But despite how well made the movie is, I believe it to be a much more enjoyable and educational film if you are familiar with the game of poker. I have no idea how to play the game, so while I was fascinated by the movie, there were definitely many parts where I felt like the odd one sitting around a kitchen table because there were many terms thrown around that I did not understand as well as actions, motives, dialogue, and even purposes that felt very foreign to me. As a result, the movie didn't hook me like it did many of the other films that Sorkin also wrote (The Social Network, Moneyball, Steve Jobs, Charlie Wilson's War not to mention his credits as a lead writer on television's The West Wing and Newsroom). That's not to say Sorkin should stick to screenwriting. He absolutely should not. It's just that I will look forward to seeing him direct a movie revolving around a different theme in the future rather than revisiting Molly's Game, a film that, frankly, will be one that I will forever forget about soon after I write this review.

7Feb/170

Hidden Figures (2016)

I get knocked a little bit when I talk to my friends about Hidden Figures. The Ted Melfi (St. Vincent) directed movie based on the untold story of Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson - Hustle & Flow, Four Brothers), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer - The Help, Snowpierecer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe - Moonlight, Made in America) as brilliant African-American women who were hired by NASA and who served as the brains behind the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation's confidence, turned around the Space Race, and galvanized the world. When I rip on the movie a little bit, it is not because I think the movie is not good, but rather that it's just a little too predictable and too PG for me. While I really do enjoy and recognize a movie that is based on a true story, I appreciate a darker, edgier movie that much more. When I say a movie is too Disney for me, it doesn't have anything to do with Disney at all. It has to do with a movie being too toned down for my jaded self to be able to appreciate it. And, unfortunately, that's my feeling on Hidden Figures. Based on the preview alone, I had no intention of seeing it unless it got nominated for best picture. When it did, I reluctantly dragged myself to the theater and even paid the extra three dollars because it was playing in my theaters featured auditorium. With all of that said, Hidden Figures is by no means a bad movie. It just felt like a "been there, done that" type of movie for me. I feel like I've seen movies about overcoming adversity, fighting segregation, achieving a goal in the eleventh hour, and much more of what this movie does. In fact, I'm often drawn to this type of movie. But, as someone who sees movies a lot, I just feel like I've seen this exact movie a lot recently and it just lacked the intensity and edge that I appreciate at this point in my life.

24Jun/110

The Company Men (2010)

In August of 2010, I made a list of the movies I had to see before the end of the year after reading Entertainment Weekly's Fall/Winter movie preview edition. I ranked 15 movies in order. #1 was Ben Affleck's The Town which has turned out to be my favorite movie of all-time. #2 was Buried which starred Ryan Reynolds. This movie, which I did not see in the theatre, turned out to be one of the biggest wastes of a two hour time period of my entire life. And #3 was The Company Men which starred 4 Academy Award winners. The release date of The Company Men kept getting pushed back further and further and while its limited release date was in very late December, it wasn't released to the masses until 2011. By then, my list had changed based upon the Oscar Buzz and the lukewarm reviews of The Company Men. I finally was able to check the movie out on Netflix. Based on the movies I had seen since my initial list, The Company Men would have still made the top 15, but it would have been closer to the 12-15 range rather than the 1-3 range. Just to further digress into how poor of a list I made, Little Fockers was #4, Unstoppable #5, and The American #6. The movies  that I ended up liking the most were The Social Network (originally #7), Blue Valentine (originally #8). The Fighter (originally #10), 127 Hours (originally #11), Love & Other Drugs (originally #13) as well as True Grit, Rabbit Hole, Black Swan and The King's Speech (both which I did not even rank). After seeing most everything that I had intended to see in 2010, my top 10 movies for the year can be viewed here.