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


An Education (2009)

Set in 1961 England, Carey Mulligan's (Shame, Drive) breakout performance in Lone Scherfig (One Day, Their Finest) is a movie that resonates in a way that is completely independent of its time frame as well as location. Does this mean it's a timeless classic? Well, when I think of timeless classics, I think of very different films than An Education. This beautiful film was on pace to be a timeless classic, one where everything is fine and dandy and one that I probably would not have enjoyed as much if not for a late twist. The setting of 1960's Europe doesn't exactly perk my interest. If as I write this in 2018, in my early 40's, when I am much more into the independents than I am the big blockbusters, the synopsis for this film doesn't attract, I can only imagine what I thought going into it back in 2009. I honestly have no idea what peeked my interest about this movie or what even got me past the first 15 minutes. Sure, a 95% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes will have some sort of positive effect, but even that can only care me so far. Whatever it was that encouraged me to continue on with this movie even, when I suspect, that I thought that I was getting into some sort of variation of Pride and Prejudice, Atonement or one of the many other Keira Knightley movies, I am grateful. I'd like to say that this movie had a lasting impact on me because it did. However, upon watching it for a second time, with an eight-year gap between viewings, I can unequivocally say that how I thought I remembered this movie was considerably different than what actually happened. I think I like it the same though I do feel differently about it, especially how I view the final act.


The Shape of Water (2017)

Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth, Crimson Peak) adult fairytale The Shape of Water is a movie we've seen so many different times in so many different forms that it's a wonder that we'd even be willing to see it again. Starcrossed lovers finding themselves in a situation of forbidden love while fighting off some sort of catastrophe, or at least societal pressures. Think Titanic, a nearly perfect movie that showcased this is in a way that will never be forgotten by any who watch it. So how does del Toro pull off this story in a way that is completely original, yet as equally compelling? Well, he does it in a way that only del Toro can do. And in doing so, he creates both the most unparalleled and also (with no disrespect to Call Me By Your Name) the most romantic movie of 2017. This movie certainly is not for everyone. If Thor: Ragnarok or Justice League is more your thing, then I'm not even sure I'd consider The Shape of Water. This is the ultimate independent movie and if you go into this movie with the mindset that you'll just be able to enjoy the ride and not have to think, you'll be in for a long two hours. In a year where the movies have been the worse they've been since I began my blog in 2010, it is the uniqueness of the movies (rather than the quality of them) that has really defined this year.


Cassandra’s Dream (2007)

Not the biggest Woody Allen (Annie Hall, Match Point) fan myself, I feel that his movies I have seen in recent years, particularly Blue Jasmine and Midnight in Paris, lack the overall substance I desire in my romances as well as my dramas as well as my romantic dramas. Cassandra's Dream is a movie I would never have given a chance when it had been released back in 2007. I'm not a huge fan of Colin Farrell (The Lobster, In Bruges) or Ewan McGregor (The Impossible, Incendiary). Ferrell has grown on me by shedding his bad boy, box office revenue chasing persona and doing a lot more indies. McGregor just never really has. The point is is that I never thought I would have liked this movie and am surprised that I even watched it. I'm grateful that I gave it a chance some nine years after it was released. It was a nice, simple film that kept me entertained the whole time.


Blue Jasmine (2013)

Woody Allen (Annie Hall, Midnight in Paris) has done more than enough in his latest venture to interest me in checking out some of his past films that I have yet to see. Blue Jasmine is a terrific little movie about crushed dreams, deception, and trying your best to accept the life you have, regardless if it is the life that you want. It stars Cate Blanchett (The Aviator, Notes on a Scandal) as the title character, a woman whose life is turned completely upside down when her life of luxury is uprooted as a result of her husband Hal's (Alec Baldwin - The Cooler, The Departed) poor personal and professional decision-making. Instead of continuing to live her posh lifestyle in New York City with (what she thought) was her perfect husband, she is forced to move in with her sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins - Happy-Go-Lucky, Submarine) and her two sons in a rundown San Francisco apartment because she has absolutely no where else to go. Blanchett (Best Actress), Hawkins (Best Supporting Actress), and Allen (Best Original Screenplay) were all nominated for Academy Awards. While Blanchett and Allen were most deserving, I didn't think Hawkins was particularly great. It furthers the argument that the award is most likely a two person race between Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave) who should win and Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle). Blanchett has a small chance to unseat the favorite Sandra Bullock (Gravity), but I just don't see it happening. Bullock carried a Best Picture nominee by herself for more than an hour. Even if Blue Jasmine had been nominated for Best Picture, it would still have been hard for her to defeat Bullock.