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


A Walk in the Woods (2015)

A Walk in the Woods, the 2015 comedy-drama that I thought would be a throwaway movie that I originally only watched so that I could add it to my list, turned out to be one of the biggest surprises of the year. Now, don't get me wrong. I'd be a fool to think that a year from now that I'd remember anything from this movie or that I'll ever watch this movie again. But for two hours on a Tuesday night in the middle of April, it was a very refreshing escape from reality and a movie had me grinning from ear to ear from the first scene until the last. Also, if Robert Redford (The Horse Whisperer, All is Lost) or Nick Nolte (The Prince of Tides, Warrior) called it a career today and this was either of their last movies, I think that would be okay. Each has had a solid career. While not his number one fan, I find it absolutely criminal that Redford has only been nominated for one Oscar for acting in his entire career (way back in 1974 for The Sting). Nolte has had more success as an actor in terms of awards (three Oscar nominations). And while these two actors are household names who each has more than a dozen movies that you could rattle off the top of your heads, their careers have followed very different careers. Nolte's career has been marred by controversies in his personal life whereas Redford as sort of been the poster boy of how an A-list actor can live his life while staying out of the tabloids. The two don't seem like much of a match for a movie like this so late in their careers. But the movie worked perfectly for each man. You'll leave your viewing knowing that each gave an admirable performance even though it's light-hearted and certainly not one of their most memorable ones.


Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

In a day and age where it seems like a new superhero movie is getting released every other week, it is hard for an average mainstream moviegoer to know which ones are worth watching, which ones should be skipped, and what order should you watch these movies in. This seems to be of particular importance with the Marvel movies and of even more importance with The Avenger movies. I have done my best to see The Avenger movies as they've been released, but there have been some that I have found to be absolutely terribly along the way including Thor: The Dark World and Avengers: Age of Ultron. It certainly has not helped that Marvel characters who aren't Avengers (like Spider-Man) are starting to show up in movies featuring The Avengers. It's only a matter of time before all of these other Marvel characters (Ant-Man, Deadpool, etc.) start appearing in each newly released movie. At that time, it just might be time to give up. Don't even get me started about the future when either Marvel or DC buys the other out and we get characters like Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Iron-Man, Thor, Captain America, Flash, Wonder Woman, The Green Lantern, Hulk, etc. all end up in the same movie. It won't occur for awhile, but when this market becomes stale many, many years from now, there will be too much money sitting on the table to not do it. The purists will be upset as well those who write the comics (though they most likely already are), but, if I've learned anything, it's that money speaks.


Lions for Lambs (2007)

I think when I first saw the trailers for director Robert Redford's (Quiz Show, A River Runs Through It) Lions for Lambs, I thought it was a movie I had to see. The previews made the movie look exciting and it was absolutely loaded with A-list actors. Well when the commercials for the movie became 15-second clips after the first week and the movie scored a whopping 27% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, the need to see it quickly waned. The movie earned just $15 million at the box office. Box office earnings don't necessarily represent the quality of a film, but this movie hoped to earn lots of money. While the production costs of this movie were definitely low (I'll explain below), stars like Meryl Streep and Tom Cruise definitely commanded high dollar figures for their appearances. This wasn't a little indie movie. This movie was produced by MGM. On top of a movie that was received so poorly by critics was a plot (stories about the war in the Middle East, especially political driven ones) that had consistently been keeping moviegoers away back in the early 2000's. Lions for Lambs was a decent movie, but certainly not a great one. And it was by no means as exciting and as drama filled as the trailers portrayed it to be. This is a dialogue driven movie and one that succeeds because it was chalked full of such great actors.


All Is Lost (2013)

The trailer for J.C. Chandor's (Margin Call, A Most Violent Year) All Is Lost was absolutely incredible. It shows a man Robert Redford (The Sting, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) sailing his yacht in the middle of the sea. He has a smile on his face. The sun is shining brightly. The wind is blowing lightly through his hair. The shots of him are broken by black frame credits that say "Alone at Sea", "A Man Has Only Himself", and "His Will To Survive". And then we go to a shot of him sleeping in his cabin. Seconds later, water comes gushing in and it's obvious he has crashed into something. Then we see all hell breaking loose, including high waves, heavy rain, his belongings crashing off the walls as a result of the yacht being rocked back and forth and all around, his yacht capsizing, him saying goodbye to his yacht from a raft, unsuccessful attempts at making S.O.S. calls, and flare guns being shot into the night sky. All the while, critical praise is being flashed on the screen, making it seem like this movie might be the most suspenseful movie ever made. It's not, but the trailer makes it look that way. Check it out here.