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


A Most Violent Year (2014)

The best movie of 2014 that has really flown under the radar is, without a doubt, J.C. Chandor's (All Is Lost, Margin Call) A Most Violent Year. This movie, as I will mention in the paragraphs below, is subtly amazing. But before I get into the movie, I want to talk about Chandor. This guy is quietly establishing himself as a master of two crafts. This is just his third movie, but it is his third that he has both directed and written the screenplay for. And all three movies have earned at least 88% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes though none of them earned more than $8 million at the box office. All three movies are completely unique from one another and Chandor has already had the opportunity to work with some of the biggest names in Hollywood (Robert Redford, Kevin Space, Jeremy Irons, Demi Moore, Stanley Tucci, Oscar Isaac, David Oyelowo, Jessica Chastain, and Albert Brooks). He has already signed on Mark Wahlberg to star in his next project. And while All Is Lost and Margin Call were both amazing movie experiences, A Most Violent Year is Chandor's crowning achievement to date.


This is 40 (2012)

This Is 40 is an incredibly depressing movie that is not really that funny at all. I love a good, raunchy comedy as much as anyone, but when it's raunchy and not funny, it just becomes really dumb. I say this with lots and lots of love for director Judd Apatow. Apatow has written and directed two of the funniest movies of all-time (The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up). He has also helped produce some of the other major comedies of the last decade including Superbad, Step Brothers, Talladega Nights, Step Brothers, and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Still, this is just the fourth movie he is directed and, one of those, Funny People, was anything but funny. This Is 40 should have been a big hit. Apatow is talented enough to make a movie surrounding this topic into something funny. But ultimately, This Is 40 is a failure. I have yet to talk to a person who has seen this movie and said, "I loved it and can't wait to see it again." I've heard, "I didn't like that." I've heard, "I saw it and I'm glad I saw it, but I wouldn't watch it again." My thought on the movie was "I saw it and I'm not sure that I'm glad I saw it because, being near 40, I found parts of it to be too real and parts of it to be not real at all." I'll try to explain.


Drive (2011)

Original review - September 18, 2011 | Updated review August 12, 2013

Updated review****

This movie is a classic. I had a couple of original problems based on my initial view. The preview made it seem like it was going to be a completely different movie. I wasn't prepared for the violence or the all of the overlapping story lines that were going on. I thought I was going to watch Ryan Gosling drive bad guys around and avoid the police. The trailer for the movie is essentially the first five minutes of the movie (nothing more, nothing less). I expected something different which is why my initial review was lower than it is now.

I loved Gosling and Mulligan. I loved the way the unspoken attraction they had for one another. I loved how Gosling did everything he could to not get attached to somebody he couldn't just walk away from in five minutes, but how circumstances kept driving them together to the point where he would do anything to keep them happy and safe.