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


Snowden (2016)

I did not see 2015's Citzenfour documentary about Edward Snowden. Had I, I might not have appreciated Oliver Stone's (Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July) biopic as much as I did. I think part of the reason I was such a big fan of Snowden was that I knew very little about it prior to my viewing. Sure I knew of the Wikileaks and learned a lot from the news, but I didn't pay . Snowden went from your everyday no name to one of the most controversial figures of this century. Now if you think this movie is going to be completely neutral, you don't know Oliver Stone very well. Heck, this was the same main who directed JFK. His approach has always been very anti-government and with Snowden, it's no different. While I haven't loved all of his movies (Nixon, W., Alexander, Savages, even JFK wasn't really my thing), there are certainly more that I do like. Platoon and Born on the Fourth of July are both incredibly amazing while other movies such as Natural Born Killers and Wall Street were revolutionary. Snowden might be my third favorite. Snowden was definitely softer in tone and, maybe even the scope, but was, by no means, less controversial. I don't have a lot of complaints about the movie itself. Some people said it was too long. I did not feel that way. I guess that my only problem with it is that it didn't make Ed Snowden to be as controversial as he was. It made it same that whistleblowing on his country was the right and noble thing to do. For some, maybe most, it may have been. But what we weren't really shown was the "other side" of the story. Nonetheless, it was an enjoyable film that really gave a great backstory for why he did the things that he did.


Insurgent (2015)

As I mentioned near the end of my review on Divergent, what is Kate Winslet (The Reader, Little Children) doing in a movie franchise like this? Anybody could have played the role of this minor character. There isn't any depth to her character. The movie is never going to be nominated for any awards. And Winslet could be spending her time in movies that really bring out her acting prowess. I understand it from the film's standpoint. Why not get another big name? Even if costs 10+ times as much money as it costs to get an unknown actor it makes since. The movie basically covers its costs in the first week or two anyway. What I've always come back to is that appearing in a movie such as Insurgent allows here to sustain her way of life so that she is able to take on more roles of independent movies that can't afford to pay her as much because they won't make as much at the box office. And if this is the reason, then I am cool with it. I am willing to give Naomi Watts (The Ring, The Impossible), who also appears in this movie, the same leeway. It does bother me some that this talented actresses are merely supporting less talented actors and actresses in a movie that relies on young adult fantasy and adventure scenes rather than the performances of its leads. Nonetheless, I'm willing to accept this with the hope that Winslet and Watts continue to put out Oscar contending performances in future films.


Divergent (2014)

In the mold of The Hunger Games, Twilight, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, The Maze Runner and other young adult book franchises comes the surprisingly good Divergent. A surefire box office success because of the successful book series, Divergent did not do quite as well the critics (41%) as well as the first Hunger Games (84%), Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (80%), or The Fellowship of the Ring (91%), but was comparable with the other two. Interestingly enough, the Divergent franchise has the best cast of any of these movies, despite the fact that it is probably the least known. The franchise is four books and it looks like all four will be made into movies, with the third novel, named Allegiant, being broken up into two different films (I am never a fan of doing this...not only does it stall the franchise and make each of the two movies weaker, but it's obvious completely driven by commercial profit. It's actually rather disgusting the way that some of these franchises can milk us for more money while offering a lesser product). But The Hunger Games, Twilight, and Harry Potter have already done this and each of these split movies made well over $100 million domestically. So until we, as an audience, decide that we aren't going to keep shelling out our money, the powers that be will continue to split the later movies in these successful series. 


The Spectacular Now (2013)

The Spectacular Now was one of those movies, before watching it, I thought I was going to be stupid, then I thought I was going to love it, and ultimately wouldn't know how I would feel about it until its conclusion. This was based on the movie's trailer. Then as I began watching the movie, I thought the exact same things. Had I seen this exact movie before? Probably. Was it going to be filled with cliche after cliche after cliche? Most definitely. Was there going to be some sort of twist or some sort of reaction to event that was going to separate it from the other movies in this genre that I had seen before? I hoped so. Was the acting going to be good enough and the characters believable for me to think that I was part of a real story and not just watching a melodrama played out on the screen? Probably not. With all of those things said, it's a cute little film that I recommend watching, especially if you are in the 17-22 year old range.


The Descendants (2011)

George Clooney has been known for hitting the ball out of the ballpark with some of his performances. A two time Academy Award Nominee for Best Actor in a Leading Performance (2007's Michael Clayton, 2009's Up In The Air), Clooney is poised for his third nomination with 2011's The Descendants. Successful as both a supporting actor (Academy Award Winner - 2005's Syriana) as for as work behind the camera (Academy Award Nominee for Best Director - 2005's Good Night and Good Luck), Clooney is at his best when the movie revolves around his performance as a leading man. This is exactly what happens in this movie.