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


The Hunt (2013)

Mads Mikkelsen is most notably known as a villain. Whether you recognize him more as the man opposing James Bond in Casino Royale or as Hannibal Lecter on NBC's hit show Lecter, he's very adept at playing the bad guy. But, in the most poignant performance of his career and one that earned him praise across the globe, Mikkelsen stars as Lucas, a kind and gentle daycare employee falsely accused of molesting one of his students in the Danish film and Academy Award nominated foreign language film The Hunt. I struggle with movies that are subtitled. My philosophy often is if I can view a good movie in English or one that is in another language that will force me to spend a couple hours reading while also trying to pay attention to the visuals on the screen, why wouldn't I pick the movie in my native language? Unless a movie (or one of its leads) is nominated for an Academy Award (Amour, Maria Full of Grace), is recommended by a friend (The Lunchbox), or doesn't have an English substitute (North Face), I'm probably not going to give it a chance. It's not because I think that those movies will be bad. Like everyone, I have a job and many other hobbies and, frankly, time is limited. However, when a foreign language film does breakthrough and it is one that I do think is well made, it is a film that I am likely to remember for a long, long time, if not for the rest of my life. This was certainly the case with The  Lunchbox and North Face and is also the case with The Hunt.


Mama (2013)

Mama was, by all accounts, supposed to be THE horror movie of 2013. The various trailers with the two little girls and the long stringy hair covering their faces walking up and down walls, sleeping underneath their beds, and basically possessing the characteristics a wild animal was sure to get the hairs on the back of your neck up. Attaching Guillermo del Toro's name to the credits as a producer doesn't hurt the scare factor either. This was another movie that forced me to buy into the hype. It looked like my kind of movie. It had the name credential is del Toro, it had one of my favorite new actresses in Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty, The Help), and it, appeared to be, freaky. This movie looked like a winner. It also didn't hurt when my high school students said, after opening weekend, that it was both "good" and "scary". Well...the movie wasn't good, but it did have its share of scary moments. There wasn't anything totally unexpected, but there were still moments when you felt like you were sitting on pins and needles. Off of the top of my head, I'm not sure what the scariest movie of 2013 was, but it certainly was not Mama.


Thanks For Sharing (2013)

Stuart Blumberg's Thanks For Sharing is a much softer and more humane look at the trials and tribulations of sexual addiction than is Steve McQueen's 2011 Shame. Both movies broach this once taboo topic with relatively deep character studies. While both movies tell fairly compelling stories, neither earned much at the box office. Together, the two movies generated just over $4 million domestically. I think that fact that these two movies were both made over the course of a two year period and between the two attracted stars like Mark Ruffalo, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim Robbins, Michael Fassbender, and Carey Mulligan shows that there are those in Hollywood who want to bring the issue come to light even if the general public is still a little reluctant to make it to the theater to check out these movies on the big screen. 


The Internship (2013)

The most overlooked movie of 2013 may have been Shawn Levy's (Date Night, Night at the Museum) The Internship. The movie reunited Vince Vaughn (Dodgeball, Old School) and Owen Wilson (Hall Pass, Midnight in Paris) for the first time since 2005's box office mega-hit Wedding Crashers. Fans had been asking for the two to reunite for a movie. Many were calling for a Wedding Crashers 2. It was one of those scenarios where no matter what the pair decided to do that it was destined for failure because it would not be able to live up to the hype. In a way, it's as if The Internship never really got its fair chance and I include putting myself in that lump sum. I remember when I first saw the trailer for the movie. I was UTTERLY disappointed at the end of the trailer when I saw that the movie was only PG-13. I was ready for some R rated comedy between the duo. I wanted it to be as raunchy as Wedding Crashers. Unless the reviews for the movie were absolutely incredible, I knew I was unlikely to see the movie in theater, if at all, because of a rating that I deemed unacceptable for a Vaughn/Wilson comedy. However, I did decide to give it a go when it came on HBO and I'm so glad I did. It's a comic gem.


What Maisie Knew (2013)

What Maisie Knew was a movie that I accidentally watched twice. I couldn't remember if I had seen it or not and was not fully convinced until I was about 30 minutes in. But since I had already made it that far and I couldn't remember anything that happened in the movie, I decided to stick it out. Now I remember why I had forgotten it all. It was worth forgetting. It's not that it's a bad movie. In fact, I would consider it to be a slightly above average movie. The main problem with it is that it had much more potential that it lived up to and the story that was trying to be told at the beginning of the movie was very different than the movie that was shown at the end. The star of the movie was clearly six-year-old Masie (Onata Aprile). The story was told through the young actress's eye and she held her own with three Hollywood heavyweights (Julianne Moore, Steve Coogan, and Alexander Skarsgard). Aprile, who I believe is in every scene, stole that show as the innocent little girl who is used as a pawn during her parent's custody battle. This is a movie that showed promise in a couple of different ways that veered clear off the road because of one simple, yet major flaw in the script (which I will discuss), but was ultimately held together by the performances of Aprile, Skarsgard, and Joanna Vanderham.