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


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.


Mudbound (2017)

An early and serious contender for 2017's Best Picture is a movie that may not have found its way to a theater had it not garnered so much critical acclaim. Dee Rees's (Pariah) Mudbound is a Netflix original movie and had it not been for The Academy of Motion Pictures' rule of all Oscar-nominated films be available to the public via movie theaters, who knows where it would have landed. This is not the Netflix's first movie to receive so much praise that the movie had to be released in the theaters. 2015's Beasts of No Nation faced a similar fate. However, the kudos that Beasts of No Nation originally received faded as Oscar season approached and the movie ultimately did not receive a single nomination. The same won't be the case for Mudbound which very well could earn a Best Picture nomination as well as nominations for Best Supporting Actor (Jason Mitchell), Best Supporting Actress (Mary J. Blige), and Best Adapted Screenplay just to name a view.  It's an early prediction and I have yet to see any of the other contenders, but this does feel like a very weak year for movies and I would be shocked if Mudbound is not nominated for Best Picture and I would be surprised if it doesn't win at least one award in one of the other categories before cinema's biggest night of the year is complete.


Suffragette (2015)

I'm not entirely certain how Sarah Gavron's (Village At The End Of The World, Brick LaneSuffragette could have been a film that I truly enjoyed. I'm not the biggest fan of British historical dramas and this was not a movie I went to see for enjoyment. It was a film I went to see just because I try to see every movie that potentially could be nominated for an Academy Award. I think it's unlikely that this film will get any recognition, but there was some buzz surrounding it before its release. In any regard, I knew this would be a movie I would end up seeing. Is it a bad movie? Not at all. It's actually a very educational movie that has some above average acting performances. But, unfortunately, it was very predictable (which I expected) and not nearly as riveting as it probably could have been (also something that I expected). Also, if you are expecting to experience the annual Meryl Streep (Doubt, The Devil Wears Prada) Oscar nomination, this isn't it. She has all of one scene and is on the screen for less than two minutes.


The Great Gatsby (2013)

To say that Leonardo DiCaprio (Titanic, The Departed) killed it 2013 would be an understatement. Prior to his Academy Award nominating role as Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street, DiCaprio portrayed Jay Gatsby, one of the most legendary characters in literary history, in a most sincere an intense way. It was a performance that F Scott Fitzgerald himself would be proud of and would almost make him forget all of the other sub par attempts to recreate his work of fiction that almost all of us have read in high school.


Shame (2011)

Shame was that 2011 movie that most people heard about, but few people saw. It happens to at least one movie each year. In 2009, the movie that was identified with this label (The Hurt Locker) ended up winning a Best Picture Academy Award and put the talented Jeremy Renner on the map for the first time. In the case of Shame, there was more of a reason for its obscurity than some of the movies in other years. Shame is rated NC-17 and rightfully so. It chronicles the day to day lifestyle of Brandon (Michael Fassbender - A Dangerous Method, Haywire), a 30-something year-old man who is addicted to sex. Fassbender was thought to be a lock for an Academy Award Best Actor nomination after earning similar recognition at other awards ceremonies, including The Golden Globes. Fassbender, however, was not one of the five finalists for acting's most prestigious award.