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

29Apr/170

The Lost City of Z (2017)

The Lost City of Z was a movie that had all of the makings of a movie I should love. I love aa good adventure movie and the idea of floating down a wooden raft in the Amazon River sounds like something I'd enjoy. I'm a big fan of John Grisham novels, but most of us law thrillers (with the exception of ones like A Time to Kill or The Firm which were adapted into films) often tend to blend together. That is, with the exception of The Testament, a novel that was equal parts big city courtroom as it was Amazon Jungle adventure. There is something about The Amazon that I find intriguing, almost like I can't get enough of it...especially when it's displayed onscreen as a true adventure story. This is exactly what James Gray's (Two Lovers, The Yards) is. Despite not knowing anything else about this movie I was intrigued by this one sentence plot line and the fact that it had an 87% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes at the time of its release. Unfortunately, this movie did not live up to my lofty expectations. At 140 minutes it was often too slow and meandering. But at the same time, it was not long enough to tell the entire story. There was too much to tell and the cuts between the various events happening. So many parts of this movie needed to be longer. Yet at the same time, the movie felt like it was way too long to begin with. It was one of those "damned if you do, damned if you don't" scenarios. I don't know if it ultimately failed. But it certainly did not succeed. 

13Apr/170

I Am Michael (2017)

Justin Kelly (King Cobra) goes for broke in the second feature film of his career leading an ensemble cast that includes current A-listers James Franco (127 Hours, Rise of the Planet of the Apes) and Emma Roberts (Celeste and Jesse Forever, We're the Millers) as well as the always underrated Zachary Quinto (Margin Call, Star Trek) and veteran Daryl Hannah (Wall Street, Splash) with a controversial true story that is very near and dear to me personally as person who identifies himself as a Christian and also someone who is completely okay with homosexuality, despite what The Bible and fundamental Christians feel about it. I am unwilling to get into a debate about my personal beliefs, but I have no problem sharing them with those who are willing to listen and want to hear my thoughts on this. In fact, this post could be as far removed from an actual movie as you might find on my blog. Of course, I will discuss the movie plenty, but I am also using this as an avenue to express my beliefs on a subject matter that I feel very strongly about. Even you're willing to listen, awesome. If you aren't, I'll simply say move on from this post and read the review on Roger Ebert's website instead to determine if this movie is for you.

7Feb/170

Hidden Figures (2016)

I get knocked a little bit when I talk to my friends about Hidden Figures. The Ted Melfi (St. Vincent) directed movie based on the untold story of Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson - Hustle & Flow, Four Brothers), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer - The Help, Snowpierecer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe - Moonlight, Made in America) as brilliant African-American women who were hired by NASA and who served as the brains behind the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation's confidence, turned around the Space Race, and galvanized the world. When I rip on the movie a little bit, it is not because I think the movie is not good, but rather that it's just a little too predictable and too PG for me. While I really do enjoy and recognize a movie that is based on a true story, I appreciate a darker, edgier movie that much more. When I say a movie is too Disney for me, it doesn't have anything to do with Disney at all. It has to do with a movie being too toned down for my jaded self to be able to appreciate it. And, unfortunately, that's my feeling on Hidden Figures. Based on the preview alone, I had no intention of seeing it unless it got nominated for best picture. When it did, I reluctantly dragged myself to the theater and even paid the extra three dollars because it was playing in my theaters featured auditorium. With all of that said, Hidden Figures is by no means a bad movie. It just felt like a "been there, done that" type of movie for me. I feel like I've seen movies about overcoming adversity, fighting segregation, achieving a goal in the eleventh hour, and much more of what this movie does. In fact, I'm often drawn to this type of movie. But, as someone who sees movies a lot, I just feel like I've seen this exact movie a lot recently and it just lacked the intensity and edge that I appreciate at this point in my life.

24Jan/170

Patriots Day (2016)

Too soon? Money grabber? These are two fair questions to ask about the timing of Peter Berg's (Deepwater Horizon, Lone Survivor) 2016 Patriots Day. The movie is based on the April 15, 2013, Boston City Marathon bombing, an event that killed three people and wounded hundreds of others. It might seem like it's too soon for a movie studio to be capitalizing on the tragic events of that day. For many, the event is still fresh in the minds. When I saw the trailer for this movie for the first time, my tendency was to agree. But after seeing this movie, I have changed my mind and instead will go with the mindset that if you're going to make a movie out of a tragic event such as the Boston City Marathon bombing, you better get it right. And I'll be the first to say that Berg and all those associated with this movie did, in fact, get this right. It was a respectful movie that looked at the incident from a variety of angles. And while I have not researched fact versus fiction yet, I am going to give Patriots Day the benefit of the doubt and say that it checked its facts before production. I do know that the lead character Seargent Tommy Sanders (Mark Wahlberg - The Fighter, Daddy's Home) is not an actual character, but, instead, is a composite of various officers in the Boston Police Department. I'm lukewarm on whether I like this or not I like this idea. As you watch this film, you'll quickly learn that Tommy has to be fictional because there is just no way one person can be in every single important situation in the film. It makes Tommy out to be a singular hero. I understand the Hollywood aspect, but I also understand paying homage to a true story. I think I would have preferred each character of the Boston Police department to be more accurately portrayed, but with already an abundance of characters, I could see how that could take away from the effective storytelling of the film.

22Jan/170

The Founder (2016)

As John Lee Hancock's (Saving Mr. Banks, The Blind Side) progressed, I couldn't help make the comparison of his lead character Ray Kroc (played by Michael Keaton - Spotlight, Birdman) to, perhaps, the most iconic television figure in the last 25 years. I'm talking about Walter White from the AMC series Breaking Bad. Now the founder of The McDonald's Corporation certainly didn't go to the extremes that Walter White did when transferred himself from a quiet high school chemistry teacher to a ruthless, cutthroat drug Kingpin, intent on destroying everything in his path by any means necessary to get what he wants. Hancock's version of Kroc felt similar in the sense that when we meet him, he is a man of integrity, doing whatever he can within the confines of the law to make a living. By the end of the film, he is an entirely different man, caught up in his greed, power, and wealth. Like White, he reaches a point where he feels that he is virtually invincible to those around him as well as to the laws of the land. And just like Breaking Bad, The Founder becomes a must watch.