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


The Post (2017)

I was able to preview Steven Spielberg's (Jaws, Saving Private Ryan) The Post two years before it was released to the public and even a year before it went into the production. It was called Spotlight and it won the Oscar for Best Picture. It was a fantastic movie. I wish I was more than kidding and with that, I could be more positive about my viewing of, what I hoped could be, one of the best movies of the year. That was months ago when I only knew of the movie title and that it starred Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep. In my head, I envisioned a movie about an army outpost and was very intrigued. But then I saw the preview and I wished the movie would have been about a post office instead. Then, when I was halfway through the movie, I wish I had been watching a movie about a bedpost, a fence post, or any other post that would have represented something far less predictable and boring than the waste of talent and time that was being projected on the screen in front of me. It was one of those times (I've had many recently) where I have been more than grateful for having a MoviePass. The thought of actually paying for some of these 2017 movies is even more terrifying than the disappointing IT, a movie that was neither scary nor good. And, with the exception of a couple of non-Oscar nominated movies that I am still looking forward to, but have yet to see (Hostiles, The Florida Project), The Post successfully ends 2017, the worst year for movies so far this century.


The Hours (2002)

Oh, man, what a fantastic movie is. This was actually my second viewing of The Hours. I first watched it maybe back in 2010 and remember being extremely surprised with how much I enjoyed it. I would not have given this movie a chance back when it came out in 2002, but my interests in films have changed dramatically since then. Now that's not to say I still can't enjoy a blockbuster (I actually watched Captain America: Civil War earlier in the same day and loved it), but I am much more into the human aspect of independent dramas like The Hours than I am about action movies or comedies. This movie deals with depression, a topic that I am, unfortunately, very familiar with. And it does it from three different time periods with three different stories that are loosely at times (and not so loosely) during others. This movie knotted Nicole Kidman (Cold Mountain, Rabbit Hole) with, surprisingly, just her third nomination to date (as of May 2016) and her first and only win. With a prosthetic nose, she was virtually unrecognizable as Virginia Wolf. But it wasn't her physical characteristics that stood out. It was the way that she immersed herself in the role of a woman who you would think had it all, but was so mentally troubled that she could not find any sort of happiness in her life. An accomplished actress, this is the performance of her career in a movie that shouldn't be missed by anybody who views life with a cup half empty sort of mentality.


Suffragette (2015)

I'm not entirely certain how Sarah Gavron's (Village At The End Of The World, Brick LaneSuffragette could have been a film that I truly enjoyed. I'm not the biggest fan of British historical dramas and this was not a movie I went to see for enjoyment. It was a film I went to see just because I try to see every movie that potentially could be nominated for an Academy Award. I think it's unlikely that this film will get any recognition, but there was some buzz surrounding it before its release. In any regard, I knew this would be a movie I would end up seeing. Is it a bad movie? Not at all. It's actually a very educational movie that has some above average acting performances. But, unfortunately, it was very predictable (which I expected) and not nearly as riveting as it probably could have been (also something that I expected). Also, if you are expecting to experience the annual Meryl Streep (Doubt, The Devil Wears Prada) Oscar nomination, this isn't it. She has all of one scene and is on the screen for less than two minutes.


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.


August: Osage County (2013)

Largely known for his work as executive director of some of the best television shows of the last 20 years (ER, The West Wing, Third Watch, Southland), John Wells is a newcomer when it comes to directing a feature film. Prior to August: Osage County, he has just one movie credit to his name (2010's slightly disappointing The Company Men...a movie whose trailer made it seem like it was going to be a contender for movie of the year). But when it comes to assembling casts, I'm not sure a director can do any better. For his first film, he was able to reel in Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones, Mario Bello, Rosemarie DeWitt, and Craig T. Nelson. Not bad. But even the cast of The Company Men has nothing on August: Osage County. For this effort, with apologies to American Hustle, Wells has assembled put together the best cast ensemble that you will see in all of 2013. American Hustle got five of the best actors and actresses on the planet, but August: Osage County got eight or nine really, really great ones.