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


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. 


Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Captain America: Civil War is perhaps the greatest superhero movie that has not been directed by Christopher Nolan. My two favorite superhero movies (The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises) both belong to him. At of this post, my third favorite would probably be a toss up between Batman Begins, Iron Man, and Captain America: Civil War. There are others (such as The Amazing Spider-Man, Iron Man 2, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, etc.) that are up there, but there is clearly a distinction between the top 3 or 4 and all of the others. It is my hope that superhero movies continue to get better, but unfortunately, it feels like for every good one we get, we get 3-4 bad ones. So when we get a movie like Captain America: Civil War, it's important to take pause, see it, praise it, and encourage more movies like it because we know that poor movies will continue to be made because all of them seem to easily gross over $100 million. And the reason they day is our fault. We continue to see these terrible movies. But that is a different story for a different day.


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.


The Impossible (2012)

The Impossible is flat out the best movie of 2012. There's a chance that could change when I see Zero Dark Thirty, but I don't think so. I went into the movie thinking it would probably be one of the ten best of 2012, but I didn't think it would crack the top five, let alone take over The Dark Knight Rises. As I've stated many times, a really great movie has an advantage over other really great movies if it is based upon a true story. Not "inspired by a true story" or "based upon true events", but "based on a true story". Now a really great movie can lose a lot in my book if it turns out that a lot of the factual information is exaggerated or incorrect. Remember The Titans went from being in my all-time top 25 to falling out of the top 150 because of how factually incorrect it had been. Rather than winning the state championship on the final play of the game as depicted in the movie, the TC Williams Titans actually won that game handily 27-0. And while I haven't sought out any discrepancies between what was shown in The Impossible and what actually happened, I haven't heard anybody say that the events shown were not true.