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


The Magnificent Seven (2016)

I'm starting to think that Hollywood is either completely out of original ideas or knows that they are guaranteed a minimum hundred million dollars at the box office if it remakes a movie and has a starting cast of Hollywood A-listers. There is absolutely no reason why The Magnificent Seven needed to be remade. I have not seen the first one, but I imagine it was probably a pretty good movie when it was made...56 years ago. There have not been many great westerns produced in this century and, while they were good, most of them have been remakes (3:10 to Yuma, True Grit). There have been others (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, The Homesman), but there really haven't been many in this genre of film when compared to others. While I appreciate a good western (Young Guns was my number one movie of all-time from when I was 15 until I was about 25), I dislike a bad western just as much as I dislike a poor  movie in other genres. And while I wouldn't necessarily call The Magnificent Seven a poor movie, I definitely would call it an unneeded one. Unless you love westerns, there's no need to see this movie. This absolutely is a movie that you don't need to see on the big screen.


Free State of Jones (2016)

With his scraggly beard, yellow teeth, foreboding scowl, and deliberate limp, Matthew McConaguhey's (Amistad, A Time to Kill) portrayal of Newt Knight, a poor white farmer who led an extraordinary rebellion during the Civil War, is a far cry from the same man who was pigeonholing his career a decade earlier by playing the same character over and over in hit or miss romantic comedies like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Failure to Launch, The Wedding Planner, Fool's Gold, and The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past just to name a few. McConaguhey reinvented himself three or four years ago and re-established himself as dramatic leading man with the likes of The Lincoln Lawyer, Interstellar, HBO's True Detective, Killer Joe, Mud, and Dallas Buyer's Club, for which he won Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role at the 2014 Academy Awards ceremony. While he's had his misses recently (has anyone even heard of 2016's The Sea of Trees?), he has continued to have the ability to pick and choose his movies and, unlike his string of romantic comedies, he continues to branch himself out further and further.


Triple 9 (2016)

If you watched season 1 of HBO's True Detective and you were as much of a fan of the six-minute single-shot shootout scene that ended episode four's (titled Who Goes There) as I was, you might just very well like John Hillcoat's (The Road, Lawless) underappreciated Triple 9. If you watch Game of Thrones and found the intense battle between the Jon Snow led wildlings and the white walkers at the end of season five episode eight (titled Hardhome) as the best single scene in the history of the show, you might just very well like the star-studded Triple 9. If I had trusted my instincts and not those of the critics, I would have been able to appreciate this gem of a popcorn flick on the on the big screen. Instead, I let the movie pass through the theaters, knowing I would see it eventually at home, but convincing myself that, despite the awesome previous, I would be disappointed by this movie. Recently, one of my colleagues at work asked why I hadn't told her to see Triple 9, knowing that it was a movie right up my wheelhouse. She was really the first person I actually knew who had seen the movie. So I feel obligated early on this review to try to match this movie with an audience that can best appreciate it. If you like the intensity that comes with a bank robbery movie (my two favorite bank robbery movies are The Town, which is my second favorite movie ever, and the original Point Break), I can't think of a reason that you wouldn't like Triple 9. There are plenty of underlying storylines, but just like those two movies, Triple 9 refuses to take its foot off the accelerator and doesn't confuse its audiences by undervaluing the ferocity of its story by wasting even a single scene that isn't relevant to its story. In 2016, you almost need a caveat when talking about movies. So while Captain America: Civil War is the best movie to be released in the first five months of the year, the best non-superhero movie is Triple 9


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.


Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

What do you need to know about Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice that you haven't already been told? This has easily been the most hyped movie of 2016 so far. In fact, there may not be another movie all year that receives this kind of publicity. And rightfully saw. This film pits arguably the most recognizable superheroes in the world against one another for the first time. If you saw a movie in the theater at any point between, say, November 2015 and March 2016, you likely saw a preview for this film. What the preview does such a great job of is not really letting us know who is the good guy and who is the bad guy. Just when we think we figure it out, we see a trailer portrayed in a completely different light. Marvel is doing the same thing with Iron Man and Captain America for the trailers of Captain America: Civil War (maybe even more effectively than the movie being reviewed today). It is interesting. It is even more interesting that these two rival companies are releasing these movies so close to one another. An argument could be made that Marvel could have waited until Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice was released and then learned from any mistakes that were made while also capitalizing on what the Warner Brothers movie did well. But, as we know, that we have delayed production and would have probably pushed this movie to a release date to the beginning of 2018 at the earliest.