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


Alien: Covenant (2017)

Ridley Scott's (Gladiator, The Martian) brainchild franchise proves a few things. The Alien series still has legs. Its sequels continue to evolve. And Scott has no plans of letting his baby fall into the wrong hands again. Ridley's monster first burst onto the screen in 1979's Alien, a movie that did for space travel what Steven Spielberg's Jaws did for swimming on beaches just four years prior. It certainly wasn't the first movie set on a spaceship. And it certainly wasn't the first horror film. But, if it wasn't the first horror film set in space, it was certainly the first one we all remembered as being the first one. And, just as the tagline of the original movie poster suggests, In Space, No One Can Hear You Scream, nothing can be truer as sit down and prepare ourselves for one of the Alien movies (minus the two Alien Vs. Predator movies of course).


The Light Between Oceans (2016)

The Light Between Oceans was a terribly flawed movie that is very likely to bore many, if not most, of its moviegoers. This was evidenced by the guy sitting behind me who was sawing logs for the entire second half. But I am a sucker for broken relationship movies caused by some sort of strife and that's exactly what I got here. The only thing I knew about this movie was that it was about a couple living on a small island while he managed a lighthouse and that they found a baby in a boat who they took as their own after she suffered a series of miscarriages. I actually wish I had gone in knowing nothing about this movie at all. All I needed to know was that it was a heavy drama, that it featured one of my favorite actors (Michael Fassbender - Shame, Steve Jobs), one of the next great actresses of our time who absolutely arrived on the scene with two massive performances in 2015 (Alicia Vikander - Ex Machina, The Other Danish Girl), and the director of one of my favorite movies of all-time (Derek Cianfrance - Blue Valentine, The Place Beyond the Pines). That enough would have gotten me in the theater. And that is enough for me to give this a positive review despite a story that had much promise, but had some uneven turns, and ultimately led to characters making decisions that didn't make a whole lot of sense. What I did love most about this movie (which will be a focus of this review) is how two different people can face the same ethical dilemma and how the decision that is made can eat one person up so much that they almost can't live with themselves while the other person can continue living their life peacefully as if the decision they had to make was whether to have sausage or pepperoni on their pizza the night before.


Steve Jobs (2015)

The much anticipated Steve Jobs exists so much as a single entity that we may forget that the 2013 Ashton Kutcher Jobs movie ever existed. Steve Jobs has been a much bigger hit with critics (85% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes verses 27% rotten) as well as with audiences (the 2015 movie earned more than half of what the 2013  movie grossed in its first week alone). While neither Kutcher nor Michael Fassbender (Shame, 12 Years a Slave) look anything like the actual former CEO of Apple, Fassbender is a much more credible dramatic actor than Kutcher ever will be. That is reason enough to give Steve Jobs the nod over Jobs if you are debating which one to watch. This will not be a comparison review between the two movies as I have not seen Kutcher's Jobs and I have no desire to see it. For whatever reason, I wasn't looking as forward to the Fassbender vehicle as I thought I would have been and it turns out that trepidation was justified. This was a very average movie that I can only recommend with the caveat that, while you might like it, you aren't going to like it as much as you were hoping to like it.


12 Years A Slave (2013)

The common moviegoer of America will soon be introduced to one of the next big names in feature film directing when the Academy Award nominations come out in a few weeks. Steve McQueen will undoubtedly earn a Best Director nomination for 12 Years A Slave, a movie that some say is the greatest movie about slavery ever told. While those who have seen the movie have talked a lot about the acting (and rightfully so), this movie, like any great movie, needs a captain to steer the ship and bring the story together. McQueen does just that. In a few weeks, the common moviegoer will be asking what else has McQueen directed. Well, this is just his third feature film. He has 23 "Shorts" that he is credited with directing, but only two feature-length films. But these two other films weren't just any movies. Much like Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight, Memento) everything that McQueen has touched in his young career has had purpose. He doesn't have any "throw away" movies. The movies he has tackled thus far in his full-length directorial career have been on slavery, sex addiction (Shame), and the true story of an Irish Republican Army activist who, in 1981, protested the way he and fellow inmates were being treated by British guards by embarking on, perhaps, the most internationally recognized hunger strike since Ghandi (Hunger). While both Shame and Hunger earned critical acclaim, they weren't seen by many people. I personally found Shame to be an absolutely brilliant movie. McQueen not just touched, but his ear to the burner in how he tackled the taboo topic of sex addiction. I think as a result, I expected much more when I saw Hunger after this. While I appreciated many aspects of Hunger, I found it to be rather dull. So now with 12 Years A Slave, McQueen has three movies that I admire and two that I think are brilliant.


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.