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


Sinister (2012)

Sinister is easily the creepiest movie of 2012, a year that did not feature much in terms of great horror movies. It was a movie that I thought I would easily pass on when I first saw the previews. I knew for certain I would not be seeing in the theater. Ethan Hawke is a pretty darn good actor who can sometimes be incredible (Training Day, Before Sunset) , but who can also lay some serious duds (Brooklyn's Finest, The Getaway). Seeing him in a horror was definitely a change for him and one that I didn't think he would be good at. I'll be the first to say that I was wrong. He did well in this movie.


2 Guns (2013)

2 Guns is not my type of movie because it isn't really sure what it wants to be. It doesn't really take itself too seriously, but it does contain relationships between the characters that do seem to be meaningful. At times, it's a terrible drama. At times, it's a comedy that isn't funny. At times, it's a lame attempt at a shoot 'em up in Quentin Tarantino style. It's lead actors are all over the place.  In short, it's a movie that doesn't know what it wants to be. It's also a movie that totally wastes the talents of two great actors like Denzel Washington (Training Day, American Gangster) and Mark Wahlberg (Shooter, The Italian Job). It's a little ironic because this was Washington's first movie since his outstanding performance in Flight and the last movie Wahlberg shot before his outstanding performance in Lone Survivor. I wouldn't go so far to say it's a movie that either of these actors wish they had not done, but it is a movie that I wish they hadn't done.


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.


Celeste and Jesse Forever (2012)

Celeste and Jesse Forever is a fantastic little movie paused on a completely implausible concept, that being that you can remain best friends with the love of your life after a failed relationship. I think that the movie was a difficult sell. While it hit with the critics (70% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes), it missed with audiences (just $3 million at the box office). The movie stars two of Hollywood's funniest young actors (Andy Samberg - Saturday Night Live and Rashida Jones - NBC's Parks and Recreation) who have worked so hard on the small screen that now they are household names. I think that this both helped and hurt the movie. When we see each of the names, we think comedy, comedy, comedy. So when we see them in a movie like Celeste and Jesse Forever that has as much drama as it does comedy, we aren't sure what to think.


Chernobyl Diaries (2012)

Low budget fright flicks have really become a part of our culture since 1999's Blair Witch Project. A good number of these the majority of the public has never heard of because the completed product goes straight to video. Another batch makes it to the big screen, some of which we convince ourselves to see (The Fog, Darkness, Feardotcom) and after 20 minutes, we wished it had gone straight to video and never heard of it. Then there is the small group of these movies that for, whatever reason, you cannot just tolerate, but come to enjoy. The best example of this is 2005's The Descent, which saw a group of six 20-something females get trapped in a cavern on a girls getaway weekend and are hunted by a force that lives in the dark. This movie, in my opinion, was an instant classic and still a top five horror movie of all-time. Chernobyl Diaries is nowhere close to The Descent, but it still offers many of the same elements that made this movie successful. It offered a small group of no name actors. It was set in a location where you were able to suspend your beliefs and start to believe that anything is possible. There are the slowly developing scenes in which you know something bad is about to happen and you just siting there wondering what that will be and when it will occur. Finally it has a handful of jump out your seat moments. For these reasons, I give Chernobyl Diaries a positive review and would encourage low budget horror fans to check it out.