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


Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

Hacksaw Ridge > Saving Private Ryan. That was what I claimed immediately after my theater viewing of Mel Gibson's (Braveheart, The Passion of the Christ) newest film. I've since slept on this, but haven't entirely backed down from this statement. However, it has been awhile since I've seen Steven Spielberg's 1998 Best Picture and I really should have watched it again before making this bold claim. Nonetheless, it doesn't take away from Gibson's film. Hacksaw Ridge was based on a true story whereas Saving Private Ryan was not. For me, when all else is equal, gives the nod to the one that is more factual based. Don't get my wrong, Saving Private Ryan was an amazing movie. The Invasion of Normandy Omaha Beach to open the movie was one of the most captivating and memorable action sequences in the history of film. When I made the claim that Hacksaw Ridge was a better movie, I almost inserted the caveat that "outside of the opening 30 minutes of Saving Private Ryan, Hacksaw Ridge is a better movie." But that seemed like a copout. If I was this passionate about Hacksaw Ridge, I couldn't spoil it with some kind of condition that limited my case.


Everest (2015)

I know I am in a major minority when I give my review of this movie and I know there will be many who wonder what I'm talking about. But...this movie absolutely sucked. I realize that many have never seen a mountain climbing movie or, worse, have only the likes of Vertical Limit to compare it too. But before I get to far into my review of Everest, let me mention a few mountain climbing movies that I would watch a dozen times again before forcing myself to watch Everest. The most notable one to me is a recent one that most people have never heard of. It's the 2008 (or 2010 depending on who you ask) German released North Face (Nordwand). It takes a few minutes to get past the subtitles, but it's worth it. This movie is absolute horrifying in its detail of its climbers experiencing some of the most brutal physical elements in nature. There is also Touching the Void. There is also K2. Heck, I think I'd even put Cliffhanger up there as a more entertaining movie. And while it's not about reaching any sort of summit, the absolute best climbing-based movie is the fantastic 127 Hours, one of the best two hours you can experience with a film (side note...watch the director's cut). But as far as Everest goes, man did I have extraordinarily high hopes for this film. And it disappointed on just about every level.


Cake (2014)

If you want to see the second best performance (nobody is going to be able to touch Julianne Moore in Still Alice) by an actress in 2014, make sure to check out Daniel Barnz's (Won't Back Down, Phoebe In Wonderland). While the movie might not wow you, the performance of Jennifer Aniston (The Good Girl, Rock Star) absolutely will. Nearly unrecognizable, the one time Friend is a physical and emotional wreck during the entirety of the movie. Playing Claire, a mother who lost her young son in an automobile accident while accruing numerous injuries to her legs, arm, back and face that have forced her to become addicted to pain killers, Aniston gives the performance of her career. Now while I have yet to see two of the five nominees for Best Actress (Moore and Marion Cottilard - Two Days, One Night), I will say that Aniston's performance rivals Reese Witherspoon (Wild), Rosemund Pike (Gone Girl) and Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything). I'll give Cottilard the benefit of the doubt and say that maybe there were six great performances for five spots. However, if I were voting, Aniston would have got my vote over Jones (even though I thought Jones was great). I will explain why in the paragraphs below.


The Debt (2011)

The Debt is the second highly acclaimed Helen Mirren (The Last Station, Godsford Park) movie that I have watched in the last month. The first was the The Queen for which she won a Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role Academy Award. I had high expectations for The Queen and I was disappointed by it. I found it boring and just not nearly as good as all the critics made it out to be. It also starred Michael Sheen (Frost/Nixon, Underworld) who I'm not the biggest fan of. I had high expectations of The Debt too, but they weren't high enough to see the movie in the theater. I don't think seeing it on the big screen would have been much different after watching it at home. The movie was a good movie that had a fairly interesting (though not entirely believable) story that held my interest the entire time.