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


Dunkirk (2017)

Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight Rises, Inception) might be the best technical director we've ever seen. His precession is perfect. His attention to detail is unmatched. His brain operates in a way that it is always a step ahead of his actors and two steps ahead of his audience. We've seen technical masterpieces throughout his, already, storied career. At 47 years of age, he already has masterpieces like Following, Memento, Insomnia, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, The Prestige, Inception, and Interstellar all underneath his belt. His "worst" movie, according to Rotten Tomatoes, is Interstellar and that still has a 71% fresh rating. That means his "worst" movie still had five out of every seven critics still gave the movie a positive rating. But for all of the positives associated with Nolan's films (and there are many), he has failed to capture the often needed emotional component with every single one of them. When I am enjoying his films for their near technical perfection, their unpredictability, their vision, etc. (and I have enjoyed every single one), I wonder why I feel nothing emotionally. I'm loving these films, but I'm not invested in any single one of them (well...maybe The Dark Knight because that's one of the ten greatest films ever made). He had the perfect opportunity to create a situation that could have drawn out feelings in the audience with Interstellar. You had the actors for it. You had the story for it. Everything was in place for a story that could have been remembered for years. And it fell flat in its attempt to draw out human emotion. Nolan had the opportunity, once again, to right himself with Dunkirk. But he fell back into his old ways, retelling one of the more inspirational war stories of our time and leaving us completely detached from its characters, many of whom we are unable to differentiate from each other anyway. It is one of nine nominated movies for Best Picture. I believe it should be there. I think it could even win. I don't think it will. And I hope that it won't. It was by no means a bad film. In fact, it was a good one and even great in some ways. It just wasn't an overly memorable movie all around. And with all of the hype associated with it, I don't know how you can't be disappointed with the end product.


The Revenant (2015)

Why not save the best for last? It doesn't always work out that way, but The Revenant was the final movie released in 2015. In fact, except for in a few select theaters in a few select cities, you couldn't see the movie until January 7th. Was it worth the wait? Absolutely it was. It seems like we've seen trailers for months building this movie up. Each time I saw a preview, I couldn't help but get excited. I believe that this might have been my most anticipated movie since Shutter Island and with that movie I had reason to be weary because it was a 2010 movie that was released in February. You usually don't get the best movies of the year released that early in the year. While Shutter Island exceeded expectations, The Revenant was all that and more. Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street, The Great Gatsby) has been burned by the Academy so many times before. While The Revenant is his fifth Academy Award nomination for acting, he should have at least three or four more. None of those past omissions matter now though as DiCaprio is the front runner to win Best Actor this year. I wouldn't quite qualify him as a lock to win, but it is only a two actor race and his performance was more impressive than the fabulous performance given by Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl.


Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

The second best action movie heading into the final month of the year has got to be Mad Max: Fury Road, which also happens to be one of the best remakes of a movie ever. I'll be honest in saying that I hated the 1979 original movie that started Mel Gibson. I waited until maybe five years ago to watch the movie, preferring to keep it as one of those classics to watch on a rainy day. Not so much. It was more disappointing to me than both Blade Runner and Total Recall. That is saying something as both of those movies I felt were overrated. Blade Runner gets some slack because it was so far ahead of its time. However, I still felt it was overrated. A few things about Mad Max: Fury Road before I get into the review. I mention that it is the second best movie going into the final month. There is no action movie that is going to beat the amazing Sicario, a movie that is going to compete until the very end for the best movie of 2015. Also, December is when both Star Wars: The Force Awakens as well as The Revenant both are released and both I feel are guarantees to be better than Mad Max: Fury Road. Also, this movie isn't my type of movie anywhere. So while I will recognize it for being a fine film, its score will be slightly better than how I actually felt when I watched it.


The Drop (2014)

I write in my review of Enough Said that the performance of Albert by James Gandolfini was the perfect role for his final movie. Albert was such a likable character in that movie. There were no hidden agendas. The man had some flaws, but those flaws weren't any worse than the flaws that you or I have. I wrote that review when I believed that Enough Said was Gandolfini final movie before he passed away. I still love his role in this movie, but I'm so glad that there was still a movie out there in post-production that I did not know about. The Drop was an absolutely fantastic final film for him and it's one that could earn him a posthumous Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nomination. In this film, Gandolfini return to what he is most known for as an actor. He's a little shady and there always seems to be more about him than meets the eye. With that sly smile of his eyes, his under the breath chuckle, and his ability to say something to one person that is so very endearing one minute, but something to another character that is so brutally honest that it makes the person who is speaking to feel stupid the next, Gandolfini is a master of disguising his characters and their intentions. He may have turned in the best big screen performance of his career with his final one.


Lawless (2012)

Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises, Warrior) is quickly establishing himself as a leading man in Hollywood. Since really coming onto the radar after 2010's Inception, Hardy went on to win audiences over in the surprisingly good Warrior before donning a mask as Bane and becoming 2012 biggest villain  in The Dark Knight Rises. Now, in a movie that is full of top notch acting, it is Hardy who turns in the performance of his young career in John Hillcoat's (The Road, The Proposition) Lawless.