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


Kong: Skull Island (2017)

Kong: Skull Island was definitely my most anticipated movie of the first quarter of 2017. Granted the first three months of the year aren't usually known for producing the year's best films. And while Kong: Skull Island won't be up for any end of year honors and won't end up on my year's top ten list (unless this year is God awful for movies), I found it to be a very engaging, exciting, and, if it's even possible, original. While it wasn't nearly perfect, this movie was awesome. As excited as I was to see it when I originally saw the trailer, I wasn't feeling it the day of my viewing. Even with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 79%, I still felt like I was going to be disappointed. I haven't seen the most recent King Kong movie (the 2005 one starring Naomi Watts and Adrien Brody) since seeing it in the theater. I remember liking it a lot. But I don't remember many of the details. I do remember it being extremely long. It honestly felt like it should have been two movies and I think that's why I haven't watched it since, even though there has been a copy of the DVD sitting on my bookshelf for the last decade. Kong: Skull Island was certainly not a sequel or a prequel and it didn't feel completely like a reboot to me either. Sure, there have been other King Kong movies about a group of unknowns visiting Skull Island, but either this one had a different twist than the other ones or I just wasn't paying enough attention (which is entirely possible), but this movie had a sense of freshness in it that I didn't suspect. That plus its visuals, sound, lack of dull/unimportant moments, and relatively short length (118 minutes) allow me to fully endorse this movie as one that you should try to see in the theater. Plus, this movie was not created in 3D when it very well could have been. This is a definite plus.


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.


10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

Perhaps one of the most unconventional sequels of all-time, 10 Cloverfield Lane assembles almost no resemblance to 2008's cult classic Cloverfield other than maybe its name. The movie takes place in rural Louisiana while Cloverfield took place in New York City. We never truly know how much in the future that 10 Cloverfield Lane is, but we can assume it's as soon as a couple of days and maybe as long as a couple of weeks. Cloverfield was a shaky camera found footage film about aliens invading the city. 10 Cloverfield Lane is not that at all. It's more like a spin-off than it is a sequel. An alien invasion is a possibility for how these characters find themselves, but it is just one of the possibilities as described by Howard (John Goodman - Flight, Barton Fink), the film's antagonist. Goodman might be better than he ever has been before. It certainly is his darker role and really the first movie in many, many years (King Ralph anyone) in which he has played a starring role.


The Gambler (2014)

Rupert Wyatt's (Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Star Trek 3) The Gambler is a movie that should have done better both with critics and at the box office. Accruing just $33 million domestically and a 46% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, this movie deserved a better fate. Sure it has it's flaws, but 98% of all movies do. I think that one of the factors going against The Gambler was that it wasn't striking the right audience. The first preview I saw of this movie was a quick 30 second throw away commercial during a ball game. I do not recall seeing a longer trailer for this movie in the theater. When I did see the television commercial, it made it seem like it was a shoot 'em up action flick. That's not it was at all. In fact, I'll going on record saying this was one of Mark Wahlberg (Lone Survivor, The Perfect Storm) finest performances to date. I know Wahlberg is hit or miss with a lot of people, but the man has talent. He has proven he can successfully do drama (The Fighter, Three Kings, Rock Star),  crime (The Departed, Four Brothers), comedy (The Other Guys, Date Night), and action (Shooter, The Italian Job, and a hot of others). He can play a good guy as much as he can a bad guy. But rarely does he really play a really vulnerable character or a character that doesn't look like an all-star for a least a good chunk of the movie. Without revealing too much, I will say that this is one of Wahlberg's most insecure and vulnerable characters. It's also a role he doesn't overplay, which, I think, would have been very easy to do. While I didn't love everything about this movie, I certainly did like it. I would recommend it to all Wahlberg fans or fans looking for a light drama, light crime movie that you don't have to think too much about nor do you have to take too seriously to enjoy.


Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

For every one of their blockbusters (True Grit, No Country For Old Men) or for every one of their movies with grandiose, almost absurd plots (Fargo, Miller's Crossing) there are the more subtle, lesser watched, but still critically acclaimed movies (A Serious Man, The Man Who Wasn't There) by director brothers Joel Coen and Ethan Coen. In the mold of this last type of genre comes their first effort in three years, the simple, yet thought-provoking Inside Llewyn Davis. Inside Llewyn Davis stars Oscar Isaac (Drive, Robin Hood) in, perhaps, the surprise performance of the year and the role that is going to land this talented young actor many more opportunities.