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


Wind River (2017)

There are so many takeaways from Taylor Sheridan's Wind River that I don't even know which one to bring out first. I guess that I'll start by saying that, though flawed, this is the best movie of 2017 through the first eight months of the year. It's an epic masterpiece that might be missed by the common moviegoer who is so overwhelmed with the commercialization of movies like Wonder Woman, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and War of the Planet of the Apes, that they might not even know it existed, let alone a movie that it might be interested in seeing. In a 2017 Hollywood that has seen a massive uptake in remakes, reboots, sequels, and prequels, it's becoming increasingly more difficult to find originality in a story and then, if you do, for that originality to come out in a way that encourages you to see it again and, hopefully, has a lasting impact on your life. That is what Sheridan, an incredibly gifted screenwriter, has done here in his first film behind the camera. Already to his screenwriting credit are the memorable Sicario and Oscar-nominated Hell or High Water. It's unlikely that Wind River will receive the same box office success as his first movie or the same critical acclaim come Oscar season as his second, but this is one hell of a directorial debut.


Arrival (2016)

Alien, Fire in the Sky,  Independence Day, Men in Black, Starship Troopers, Cloverfield, Signs, Prometheus. These are some of the many movies that have successfully explored contact in some form with extra-terrestrial beings in some form. And then you have movies like E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Cocoon, Contact, Solaris, District 9, Gravity, Interstellar, and The Martian that are also movies about either extra-terrestrial encounters or innovative space exploration that deal more with the human component or relationship building than they do action, adventure, and/or a post-apocalyptic future. Add Denis Villeneuve's (Sicario, Prisoners) Arrival as the latest movie to try to get itself on this impressive list. The critics (93% on Rotten Tomatoes) and audiences (82%) have both enjoyed this movie. I wouldn't say that I disliked this movie, but I don't have the same praise as many of these others. If you haven't seen Villeneuve's Sicario, please see this movie. It was one of the five best movies of 2015. I haven't met many people who have seen this movie and didn't like it. It's an incredible movie. I hoped Villeneuve could recapture that same success with this follow-up, but, ultimately, it was a movie that I found interest in, but one that was a little all over the place and not one that I could ultimately relate to or, to an extent, even understand its purpose.


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.


Kill the Messenger (2014)

After stints in movies that have limited his ability to showcase his range (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, The Avengers, The Bourne Legacy), the talented Jeremy Renner returns to the type of film that has helped establish him as one of America's best, under the radar actors. With Academy Award nominations in back to back years (The Hurt Locker - Best Actor, The Town - Best Supporting actor), Renner brings his acting prowess back to the big screen for the first time in four years in Michael Cuesta's (Showtime's HomelandKill the Messenger.  While researching this movie, I have come to learn that Renner is signed to continue the Bourne, Mission Impossible, and Avengers franchises. Now while I'm never going to chastise an actor for getting as much money as he/she can, it would be my wish that he exit two of these three series (the Bourne series is tired and played out and his character isn't really needed in the Mission Impossible franchise) and concentrate on roles that bring out more of the actor in him. He would still have The Avengers movies for name recognition and bigger paydays. I just feel like this man has a handful of Academy Award nominations (and hopefully a couple of wins) in his future if continues tackling these more character driven movies.


American Hustle (2013)

My review of David O. Russell's (Silver Linings Playbook, The Fighter) American Hustle will be much quicker than some of my other recent reviews. This movie isn't exactly flying under anyone's radar. As of this post, it most likely will earn Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Best Director (though it likely will win neither) and has a chance to land nominations for four of its actors, though the only one that seems for certain is Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook, Catching Fire) for Best Supporting Actress. There are many critics out there (currently rated as 93% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. who will rave about this movie, including Richard Roeper who listed this as his best movie of 2013. I am therefore in the minority. Perhaps the expectations were so astronomically high going into this movie, perhaps it was I had watched The Wolf of Wall Street just two days prior (a movie that dwarfed this one), or perhaps it was that I was just bored, but for whatever reason, I was very, very, very underwhelmed.