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.


In The Heart of the Sea (2015)

I was incredibly excited when I saw an ever so small blurb earlier this year in Entertainment Weekly about In The Heart of the Sea coming to the big screen in 2015. I have stated numerous times to anyone who will listen that Nathaniel Philbrick's novel of the same name is the single most descriptive book that I've ever read. There have been others including Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones, and Fyodor Dostoyevsky Crime and Punishment. But Philbrick's In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex had a way to make me feel like I was actually in the book like no author ever has before. I read this book on a whim probably seven or eight years ago and was completely engrossed. I hadn't imagined a movie would ever be made on this movie because, at the time, I didn't really understand it's place in historical literature. I learned a couple months after seeing that the movie was set to be released in 2015 that it would be directed by Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13) and star Chris Hemsworth (Thor, Rush) and this got me even more stoked. Finally I learned that this would have a December release and was being mentioned in Best Picture discussions. It has failed to meet expectations with its critics and any Oscar talk as quickly been squashed. Still, In The Heart of the Sea was probably my anticipated movie of the whole year. I personally felt that this movie met all of my expectations and then some. It was exactly like the novel and I gave it a solid A. With that said, if you hadn't read or even heard of the book beforehand, I could easily see a scenario where this movie might not have been as enjoyable as it was for me.


Transcendence (2014)

By its 19% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes after months of hype was Wally Pfister directorial debut Transcendence. I remember looking forward to this movie when I had first heard about it. My hopes where quickly extinguished when I saw just how poorly it was received by the critics and how poorly it did at the box office at just $23 million domestically (although it did end up grossing $103 million worldwide, surpassing its $100 million budget barely and making it a slightly profitable movie). I thought that movie was not disappointing at all, but maybe misunderstood. It was slow (which was one of its major gripes), but honestly, not any slower than Interstellar (which critics loved, made a ton of movie in the United States, and was released just a few short months earlier). I know I am in the minority when I say that, despite its limitations and shortcomings which I will discuss, you should give the movie a chance.


The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Christopher Nolan (Inception, The Prestige) last chapter in his Batman franchise is the exciting, but imperfect The Dark Knight Rises. This is an excellent movie and successfully concludes the best trilogy that I've ever seen. If you go in with the idea that it's going to be better than The Dark Knight, you are going to be disappointed. With Hedge Ledger's to die for performance as the Joker, The Dark Knight is as close to a perfect movie as you are going to get. It probably forever holds a place on my Top 10 Movies of All-Time list. The Dark Knight Rises is very ambitious, probably a little too ambitious. At 2 hours and 45 minutes, you'd think they have plenty of time to tell its story and conclude the franchise, but there is so much to the story and rushing its development and racing to its conclusion would not have resulted in a successful movie. This is one of those movies where a review such as mine won't persuade you to see it or not see it. You most likely have it in your head that you will either definitely see this movie or definitely not see it. So why do I write it? Because I made a commitment to myself to review every movie that I believe will be in my Top 10 list at the end of the year. I am very, very confident there will not be ten other movies released in 2012 that will be better than The Dark Knight Rises.