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

21Feb/180

Hostiles (2017)

The very first scene of Scott Cooper's (Crazy Heart, Out of the Furnace) under the radar Hostiles lets you know one thing right off the bat. We get a good 10-minute scene of a four-man group of Comanche warriors comes rolling out of nowhere, attacks a family of five in the brutalist of fashions, before burning down the ranch and taking off with their horses. After this scene, we get the title Hostiles pop up on the screen and we know quickly we are in for something different than Will Smith's Wild Wild West. This movie is not for the weak at heart. If you do not like tragedy, this film is not for you. If you have a stomach for, sometimes, senseless killing, characters who carry anger so deep that it burns their souls, and guilt so heavy that it tears lives apart, then this movie could be for you. If you crave a good old-fashioned western, then this movie surely will suffice. And if you want to see A-listers like Christian Bale (The Fighter, The Dark Knight Rises), Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl, A United Kingdom), Jesse Plemons (The Post, Other People), Timothee Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name, Lady Bird) and Ben Foster (Hell or High Water, Lone Survivor) continue to cement their names in Hollywood, you can't go wrong with Hostiles, easily one of the five best movies of 2017. Though it's unlikely to dethrone Wind River for me, it's doing its most darn make its case in the 11th hour.

7Feb/180

Brawl in Cell Block 99 (2017)

I absolutely LOVE a good prison movie. Just like I enjoy films set on trains, edgier (i.e. PG13 or greater) sports movies, alien movies, shipwreck movies, or survival movies set in the jungle, there is something about a good prison movie that perks my intrigue, keeps me interested, and has me thinking about it long after it's over. The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Hurricane, Rescue Dawn, Escape from Alcatraz, Lock Up, Murder in the First, Midnight Express, Brokedown Palace, Dead Man Walking, The Longest Yard, Felon, Law Abiding Citizen, Death Race...the list goes on and on. So what could a prison movie offer that we haven't seen before on the silver screen or television dramas like Prison Break or Oz or on television documentary shows like Lockup or Locked Up Abroad? There is no shortage of options when it comes to getting your prison fix. But there definitely something that you haven't seen before in S. Craig Zahler's (Bone Tomahawk) Brawl in Cell Block 99. Could it be that it's the most brutal prison movie ever made? You could argue that it is. It certainly could be the goriest. If you haven't seen the horror-western Bone Tomahawk yet, prepare yourself. I had heard about it but still wasn't ready for what I saw. I hated it. But I am going to go back and watch it again. And the reason for that is because of how much I really, really enjoyed Brawl in Cell Block 99.

6Feb/180

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.

28May/170

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).

17May/170

The Wall (2017)

First things first, if you think you're going into this seeing a John Cena movie, you will be sorely disappointed. This movie is similar to a move like 127 Hours, Cast Away, I Am Legend, or All Is Lost in the sense that it revolves almost entirely around a single character. The are a couple of major differences though between this one and those just stated. There are no flashback scenes. This movie is done almost entirely in real time. And it occurs in a single location, though 127 Hours, for the most part, does as well. The Wall is similar though in the sense that each of the mentioned movies experiences EXTREME periods of hopelessness during a part or a majority of the movie. The Wall isn't nearly as good as these other movies, but it was unique enough that it held your interest. Whereas 127 Hours was based on a true story, where All Is Lost is easily believable, and where I Am Legend is more of a science fiction movie that we have to suspend our belief for, The Wall falls somewhere in between. I loved that it was just 81 minutes long. It didn't need to be any longer so why drag something out when it doesn't have to be? And the first 20 minutes were completely engrossing. I knew a little bit about the movie, but not enough to know where it was going. But then it took a turn for the weird that took the believability aspect out of it and turned it into a game of cat and mouse that, while entertaining, was not something I'd expect out of my war movies.