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

11Feb/180

An Education (2009)

Set in 1961 England, Carey Mulligan's (Shame, Drive) breakout performance in Lone Scherfig (One Day, Their Finest) is a movie that resonates in a way that is completely independent of its time frame as well as location. Does this mean it's a timeless classic? Well, when I think of timeless classics, I think of very different films than An Education. This beautiful film was on pace to be a timeless classic, one where everything is fine and dandy and one that I probably would not have enjoyed as much if not for a late twist. The setting of 1960's Europe doesn't exactly perk my interest. If as I write this in 2018, in my early 40's, when I am much more into the independents than I am the big blockbusters, the synopsis for this film doesn't attract, I can only imagine what I thought going into it back in 2009. I honestly have no idea what peeked my interest about this movie or what even got me past the first 15 minutes. Sure, a 95% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes will have some sort of positive effect, but even that can only care me so far. Whatever it was that encouraged me to continue on with this movie even, when I suspect, that I thought that I was getting into some sort of variation of Pride and Prejudice, Atonement or one of the many other Keira Knightley movies, I am grateful. I'd like to say that this movie had a lasting impact on me because it did. However, upon watching it for a second time, with an eight-year gap between viewings, I can unequivocally say that how I thought I remembered this movie was considerably different than what actually happened. I think I like it the same though I do feel differently about it, especially how I view the final act.

12Oct/140

500 Days of Summer (2009)

500 Days of Summer was one of the most rewarding movie experiences that I've ever had. When I first heard about this movie back in the summer of 2009, I thought there would be no way I would ever see it, let alone see it in the theater, let alone see it in the theater and actually enjoy it. But as word of mouth began to spread and as the movie sustained life in the theater, it started to become inevitable that I would eventually see it. I still was convinced that I would not like it. Boy was I wrong. Not only did I like it, I absolutely loved it. Not only was it my favorite movie of 2009, it most likely has a permanent spot reserved in my all-time top 25.

28Aug/130

The Road (2009)

In my opinion, John Hillcoat's (Lawless, The Proposition) The Road is the best film adaptation of a Cormac McCarthy novel. Yes, I know that this means I preferred The Road over 2007's Academy Award winning Best Picture No Country For Old Men. The Road is a good adaptation, though not a great one, of McCarthy's novel. The novel, with the same name, presents a desolate 2929 America where nomadic tribes scour the earth looking for any signs of life that would allow them to sustain existence. With the animals and vegetation extinct, cannibalism is alive and prevalent, though the number of people inhabiting the earth dwindles with each passing year.

8Apr/120

Brothers (2009)

Brothers, the Tobey Maguire/Jake Gyllenhaal/Natalie Portman collaboration, had the opportunity to be the very best movie of 2009. The trailer, showing a mentally unstable Maguire as a decorated soldier returning home from Afghanistan after being purported dead, shows us one thing is for sure...this isn't the Tobey Magurie we are used to seeing in Spider-Man, Seabiscuit, or The Cider House Rules. From the three minute movie trailer alone, I knew I was going to see this movie the day it came out because I was gripped by Maguire's turn from loving husband and nurturing father to menacing psychopath. 

19Jun/110

Crazy Heart (2009)

Roger Ebert said it best in his review of Crazy Heart about lead actor Jeff Bridges' performance when he said "The notion of a broke-down, boozy country singer is an archetype in pop culture. We've seen this story before. The difference is, Bad Blake makes us believe it happened to him." Such a simple statement, but so true. Bridges (Tron, The Big Lebowski) gives the performance of his legendary career and, rightfully so, earned his first Oscar. He is clearly the highlight of a very good, albeit flawed, movie.