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


A Most Violent Year (2014)

The best movie of 2014 that has really flown under the radar is, without a doubt, J.C. Chandor's (All Is Lost, Margin Call) A Most Violent Year. This movie, as I will mention in the paragraphs below, is subtly amazing. But before I get into the movie, I want to talk about Chandor. This guy is quietly establishing himself as a master of two crafts. This is just his third movie, but it is his third that he has both directed and written the screenplay for. And all three movies have earned at least 88% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes though none of them earned more than $8 million at the box office. All three movies are completely unique from one another and Chandor has already had the opportunity to work with some of the biggest names in Hollywood (Robert Redford, Kevin Space, Jeremy Irons, Demi Moore, Stanley Tucci, Oscar Isaac, David Oyelowo, Jessica Chastain, and Albert Brooks). He has already signed on Mark Wahlberg to star in his next project. And while All Is Lost and Margin Call were both amazing movie experiences, A Most Violent Year is Chandor's crowning achievement to date.


Lee Daniels’ The Butler (2013)

Lee Daniels' The Butler was a well made movie that many thought would be nominated for multiple Academy Awards, but, in the end, was ultimately shut out from selected as one of the best of the best. I thought the lack of awards was warranted. This was a good movie, but certainly not one of the ten best of the year. There were fine performances given by the leads Forest Whitaker - (The Last King of Scotland, The Crying Game) and Oprah Winfrey (The Color Purple, Beloved), but neither gave one of the top five performances of the year in their category. Director Lee Daniels (Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, The Paperboy) told a story that keeps you interested and involved, but this did not match the direction of Steve McQueen (12 Years A Slave) or Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity). In short, this was a good movie that is worth seeing, but one that most likely would not have been nominated for an Academy Awards, regardless of the year of release.